My grandma lives on the eastern tip of Canada in Newfoundland. She doesn't have a computer, which means no email, iChat, or Skype-to-Skype. She only has a phone. We live in Costa Rica. We can use Skype to call her (which is still very reasonable), but why pay when you can do it free?
- Get a Google Voice account. In order to activate your account, you have to have a US number to link with it. There are many ways around this problem, but I have a Seattle-based work number, so just went that route. Google Voice in turn gives you a real phone number that anyone can call. It also enables you to make free calls anywhere in the US or Canada. When you dial a number with Google Voice, it rings the phone number associated with you account, and when you pick up, it then connects you with the number you dialed. I want to be able to do this at home where I don't have access to my work phone, so we....
- Created a Gizmo5 account. Gizmo5 is like Skype in that it provides a software interface on your computer for receiving and making calls. Google Voice can be configured to dial your Gizmo5 software instead of a real phone. You can read more about this solution at: http://www.gizmovoice.com/.