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View Full Version : Skype (or similar) - can someone please give me the FACTS!!



Aporosa
06-08-2009, 12:05 PM
Hi, I run a Windows XP Toshiba laptop with 3GB memory. I have been considering downloading Skype (or something similar) - not for video phoning, just for audio phoning. I phone the Pacific Islands a lot (landlines and mobiles Ė lack of computers there) from New Zealand and want to cut my phone bill. Last night I was told to stare clear of Skype because itís unreliable and to use iChat instead. I subsequently read the thread on Press F1 and learnt that iChat is incompatible with Windows. I then read a pile of other stuff which seem contradictory regarding what actually works and doesnít. Some say there are applications that allow you to call landlines and mobiles for FREE using Ďvoice calls over the internetí.
SO, CAN SOMEONE WHO ACTUALLY KNOWS (as opposed to someone who thinks they know) answer this question for me:
1. Is there a program (maybe its Skype), that is RELIABLE, SIMPLE to use, that will allow me to call landlines and mobile phones in other countries using Ďvoice calls over the internetí for FREE?

I would be extremely appreciative if someone could please give me some accurate information.

Cheers.........

wratterus
06-08-2009, 12:12 PM
Not landlines and mobile phones, no.

Other computers with the correct software installed, yes.

Skype does offer very cheap calling rates to landlines/mobiles though.

Speedy Gonzales
06-08-2009, 12:14 PM
The call option on skype isnt free. It uses skype credits, that you have to pay for, before you call landlines. Altho Skype may not be around soon as its in battle over licensing. And depending on what happens in court, it may shut down

Chilling_Silence
06-08-2009, 12:19 PM
For PC -> PC use Jabber / XMPP / GoogleTalk

For calling Landlines, use something such as 2talk which is a TRUE VoIP / SIP service.
2talk.co.nz :)

Skype doesnt allow you to call Landlines for free, but things such as VoIPStunt / VoIPBuster do (1 minute free), longer calls cost.
They're basically crap-quality VoIP, but *the* cheapest option.

Long story short, if you wanna call a regular landline anywhere, use a VoIP service such as 2talk. If you want PC -> PC voice chat, use Google Talk / XMPP / Jabber


EDIT: Yes, avoid Skype at all costs... Its evil for so many reasons.

Aporosa
06-08-2009, 01:18 PM
Thanks all, I think I will have alook at 2talk.co.nz. Cheers.....:rolleyes:

kjaada
06-08-2009, 04:20 PM
Kia Ora,We use Voipcheap.com. Free calls to landlines in most countries (including Nz) as long as you have a credit balance..10c per min to Cooks 17c pm Fiji 19c pm Niue.Also very cheap rates to Mobiles all over the world and you can send texts from yr puter for nothing or very cheap.Minimum credit to buy is 10 euros about $23 nz.

somebody
06-08-2009, 04:50 PM
Thanks all, I think I will have alook at 2talk.co.nz. Cheers.....:rolleyes:

I second 2Talk - I use them regularly (via a Softphone on my PC) to call NZ landlines and mobile phones, and occasionally international calls (to the US and beyond) - all have been fine. Obviously it's not free, but it's cheap.

Another option is to use those cheap phone cards you get a dairies and corner stores - there are a number of brands like Kia Ora Cards, Go Talk, and similar. They're an option you might want to consider (basically you ring a local number, enter in the code on the card, then dial the phone number you actually want to call and they put you through). Call quality with those services is acceptable.

Neil McC
06-08-2009, 06:48 PM
For PC -> PC use Jabber / XMPP / GoogleTalk

EDIT: Yes, avoid Skype at all costs... Its evil for so many reasons.

Why is it evil,Chill ? Interested, not criticizing you.

Greg
06-08-2009, 06:50 PM
Or just use email.

Chilling_Silence
06-08-2009, 07:15 PM
Its a proprietary system (goes against morales), its peer-to-peer which means your calls aren't going through the most direct route, meaning they can be intercepted, not to mention they give you a false sense that everything is secure... They also try and lock out other vendors softphones, aren't good at interconnecting with, have lousy support to say the least and their attempts at supporting Linux are horrible.

That said, I like how it auto-detects the best codec to use, and the call quality isn't too shabby ;)

rumpty
06-08-2009, 07:36 PM
Its a proprietary system (goes against morales), its peer-to-peer which means your calls aren't going through the most direct route, meaning they can be intercepted, not to mention they give you a false sense that everything is secure...

But according to an article on The Register -

Skype's proprietary scrambling technology is purportedly the bane of electronic spies at the NSA and GCHQ...

That sounds good to me!

Nomad
06-08-2009, 08:57 PM
My parents calls overseas and they pick up those calling cards, about the same price as the 4c Skype charges but so much easier that you are using a std phone and so are the other party.

If I was travelling and not staying in a country for long I can see the usefulness of Skype and pay the 4c a min or leave home a Skype handset (that works via the internet) and call that for free.

Chilling_Silence
06-08-2009, 10:54 PM
If Skype's 4c then its cheaper with 2talk ....

Sweep
06-08-2009, 11:21 PM
Or just use email.

Email to a landline with no computer at the other end.
How do you do that?

gary67
07-08-2009, 07:44 AM
One of may parents friends in the UK has some sort of phone that handles email, it's not a computer. I have never seen it so no nothing about it apart from they have one

pctek
07-08-2009, 09:23 AM
- Skype includes the ability to send and receive files similar to other peer-to-peer (P2P) programs and services.

- Because the file transfers are over a proprietary encrypted channel (similar to HTTPS) the inbound file transfers can effectively bypass security mechanisms in the same way P2P networks do.

Yet another aspect of Skype is its ability to tunnel though firewalls without the user ever having to write a single line of code.

The tunnel is created without the need for an active Skype call.

Skype Supernode

Skype's official End-User Licence Agreement (EULA) no longer mentions supernodes, but now says merely:

"4.1 Permission to utilise your computer. In order to receive the benefits provided by the Skype Software, you hereby grant permission for the Skype Software to utilise the processor and bandwidth of your computer for the limited purpose of facilitating the communication between Skype Software users. "


When a computer goes into supernode mode, Skype opens up a great number of network connections over TCP (Transmission Control Protocol, part of the Internet Protocol suite).

So even though the bandwidth needed is quite small, the effect is that internet access grinds to a halt with DNS and web timeouts.

US-based web security blogger Paul Henry (MCP+I, MCSE, CCSA, CCSE, CFSA, CFSO, CISSP, CISM, CISA, ISSAP, CIFI)is Vice President of Technology, Secure Computing.

Richard
07-08-2009, 09:55 AM
We use Skype to talk to family in the UK. It is brilliant and call quality is excellent. I found it easy to set up and use. We have a stand alone base-set in the kitchen alongside our normal phone. Our conversations are not security sensitive to the great nations of this world so if anyone is listening to us, good luck to them on a time-wasting excercise. :)

Zippity
07-08-2009, 10:12 AM
So Chill, is Skype really as bad as you first stated, or have you backed down on your original claim? :(

Chilling_Silence
07-08-2009, 04:11 PM
Ah but its not just about the "security" side of it, but the fact you can become a supernode, the way it handles its traffic, the "morale" side of having an open communication system etc etc

Yes, I still stand by my claim of it being evil, not to mention its future is "uncertain" (Though thats still debatable):
http://blogs.zdnet.com/igeneration/?p=2351
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/5942213/Legal-dispute-threatens-eBays-flotation-of-Skype.html

Switching Skype to a SIP-based system would be an amazingly awesome way to go, and I would most probably renounce all my previous statements. Until then, I despise it!

Chilling_Silence
07-08-2009, 04:11 PM
Ah but its not just about the "security" side of it, but the fact you can become a supernode, the way it handles its traffic, the "morale" side of having an open communication system etc etc

Yes, I still stand by my claim of it being evil, not to mention its future is "uncertain" (Though thats still debatable):
http://blogs.zdnet.com/igeneration/?p=2351
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/5942213/Legal-dispute-threatens-eBays-flotation-of-Skype.html

Switching Skype to a SIP-based system would be an amazingly awesome way to go, and I would most probably renounce all my previous statements. Until then, I despise it!

Zippity
07-08-2009, 04:55 PM
you got a stutter there?

pctek
07-08-2009, 09:16 PM
the fact you can become a supernode,
Yes, I still stand by my claim of it being evil, not to mention its future is "uncertain" !

For sure. I warn people. But most don't listen. And yes, I have had people ring me wondering what the problem is - the thing has gone into Supernode, it does happen.

Chilling_Silence
07-08-2009, 09:43 PM
"We have a lot of bandwidth disappearing and we don't know why?"

"Oh really? I'm sure I warned you about something about 2 months ago, remind me again what it was?"

"Aaaaah yeah ... heck we'd better uninstall it then"

B.M.
07-08-2009, 10:24 PM
Well, I've used Skype both here and in AUS and spoken to friends all over the world regularly and never had a problem.

What's worse, I even use a computer with no AV or any other protection, firewall included.

Ok, the computer is an "old dedicated clatter guts" that doesn't hold anything of interest, or value, but I leave it on and often don't use my 1 gig of bandwidth a month.

Personally, I'm getting to believe that all these terrible things that can happen are in keeping with Global Warming, the Y2K Bug, Bird Flu, Swine Flu the Aid's epidemic, (sorry, pandimic) and on and on and.............................

Tell me guy's how many virus's did your AV catch last month, week, year, .......?

I've been twenty f'n years and never caught one of the sods! :rolleyes:

What's more I've been working on it because I feel a little left out. :crying

Chilling_Silence
07-08-2009, 11:10 PM
Long story short, your internet isnt deemed by Skype to be "Good enough" to use you as a supernode, but it DOES happen... I had a client with a 10m/bit wireless link chew through a hundred-odd gigs *very* quickly, and they paid dearly for that reason!

rumpty
08-08-2009, 02:51 PM
Well, I've used Skype both here and in AUS and spoken to friends all over the world regularly and never had a problem.

Tell me guy's how many virus's did your AV catch last month, week, year, .......?


None. I don't use any AV software.

pctek
08-08-2009, 06:36 PM
Well, I've used Skype and never had a problem.

What's worse, I even use a computer with no AV or any other protection, firewall included.


all these terrible things that can happen are in keeping with Global Warming, the Y2K Bug, Bird Flu, Swine Flu the Aid's epidemic, and on and on and.............................



Luck.

Thats like saying I've been driving xx years and not been in any kind of accident.

Or I've owned an Acer for xx and never had a failure.



A certain amount of malware is caused by visiting dodgy sites, doing such things as P2P sharing, chatrooms, porn sites and so on. But. You will, sooner or later, get some infection. And how would you know?

Not all of them are destructive as such, some are designed to harvest info, some designed to use your PC for various activities and so on.

And they will try to keep that sort of activity hidden from you.

As for Skype, luck again. It hasn't done anything on your system - yet.

B.M.
08-08-2009, 08:04 PM
Luck.

Thats like saying I've been driving xx years and not been in any kind of accident.

Or I've owned an Acer for xx and never had a failure.



A certain amount of malware is caused by visiting dodgy sites, doing such things as P2P sharing, chatrooms, porn sites and so on. But. You will, sooner or later, get some infection. And how would you know?

Not all of them are destructive as such, some are designed to harvest info, some designed to use your PC for various activities and so on.

And they will try to keep that sort of activity hidden from you.

As for Skype, luck again. It hasn't done anything on your system - yet.

Oh, please give me a break. :)

By todayís standards Iíve probably driven, technically piss.d, ninety percent of my 50 years licensed life. :D

Iíve woken up in the morning with no idea where I was, or where my car was, or who the girl was. :wub

But through all this Iíve never had a traffic prosecution, never had an insurance claim and never knocked over the letter box,

Then, in my twilight years Iíve checked out every godam dodgy site, to make sure it was dodgy, ;) and still ZIP.

LUCK, it cant be luck, because Iíve never got a cent out of Lotto or horses.

Don't think I'm blessed either. :lol:

mikebartnz
08-08-2009, 08:30 PM
They also try and lock out other vendors softphones, aren't good at interconnecting with, have lousy support to say the least and their attempts at supporting Linux are horrible.
I've been using it lately on PCLinuxOS2009 along with Skype call recorder and I thought it work rather well.