Saturday, August 8, 2009

How I call my grandma in Newfoundland for free

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?


Google Voice muy pronto!

  1. 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....
  2. 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:
As a result, I type in my grandma's number into the Google Voice website, it then rings my Gizmo5 software. I accept the call on Gizmo5, and 5 seconds later I am talking with my grandma. We spoke for 30 minutes and there was not a single charge. Awesome.

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