I’m visiting my brother in Panama, a great country — but unfortunately one in which my cellphone will not work. But I came prepared for this situation. Among the things I took with me was my Packet8 phone, which is an internet-based phone system (i.e. VOIP, or ‘Voice over IP’). For $20/month I can make and receive unlimited calls in the U.S. and Canada. I have been using this phone for my work. I have a New Orleans area code, and I can set the phone up so that it rings simultaneously to my cellphone (where I can take the call if I want).
But since my cellphone doesn’t work here that’s not useful right now (although it’s very useful when I’m in New Orleans). Anyway, I set the Packet8 phone up here by attaching it to my brother’s router and –bada boom bada bing— my ‘landline’ phone works like a charm. Another thing that works like a charm is Skype, the free VOIP phone system that lets you use your computer to make and receive phone calls. I can call anyone in the United States for free. Skype works with Macs and PCs.