phone line avoidance

Char and I moved from Jamaica Plain to Somerville, and I had a feeling that our phone reception would suck in the new apartment. Indeed it does. Furthermore my phone, the Sony-Ericsson T610, is known as not getting the best reception in the first place. Basically, I can’t make or receive voice calls in my apartment without doing gymnastics or running outside. Suck.

So, the hunt was on for a solution to my phone reception woes. I saw three possible solutions:

  • Get a regular phone line (40$/mo)
  • Get a cell phone antenna booster (a real one) ($200+)
  • Get Skype VOIP working (.017/min)

All of these options required an initial payment, but Skype’s was by far the cheapest. For 10 you get about 10 hours of talk time. I was worried that, even though there’s a Skype linux client, there would be some problem with my microphone or something.

Skype works as advertised — very easy, no troubles. You have to remember the +1 before dialling an outside number. My dad said that the sound was a little low, so I got a 10$ microphone from Micro Center and hooked it up.

So now I can make outgoing calls with no problem. A note to my friends, when I make a Skype call the Caller ID shows up as “unknown.” So next time you get an Unknown call it might be me. As of yet there’s no way to get incoming calls from a phone. Skype says they’re working on that. For now, it’s easiest to send me a text message or instant message and ask me to call. I can still get and receive text from the apartment.

The rate is .017/min, which is low enough that I don’t care (micropayments in action!). I don’t use a phone enough to warrant a whole phone line, and trying to boost my cell phone reception is more faith-based than reailty-based.

For the investment I had to make (20$), Skype is a steal. Some people might be annoyed by the lack of phone handset, but I’m a hip young person and I can deal with talking at a laptop.