Justin Li


VOIP

2007-10-03

As many of you know (how many of you are there anyway?), I don't like cell phones. It's mostly because I don't like to be interrupted so often, and just let anyone find me. Plus, I already have a ton of stuff in my pockets (Moleskine, pen, keys, coins, bills), and I don't want to cram them even more. Some people have said that by doing so I inconvenient people, which is sort of true. Some people have also proposed to give me a phone for my birthday. Er, thanks.

You see, it's not that I don't think phones are useful, I just don't like them.

But my solution is actually not too bad of one. At Northwestern each dorm room gets their own phone line, but while we can receive calls, we have to pay to call out. Works okay if people really want to find me, but email is still easier, as I can check that anywhere on a computer and I don't have an answering machine. In fact, despite living within 15 minutes walking distance from all of campus, I like to check my email whereever I am first before going back to my dorm. So people can find me (of sorts) if they want to, but that does not help me find other people, especially for people who don't check their email very often.

The solution: Click2Voice.com

Click2Voice is a free VOIP page. It's not software that you install, but you use their service through their page, which influences the real world. You enter your phone number, and the number you're going to call, and hit enter. In 5 seconds, your phone will ring, as though someone is calling you. You pick up, and you will hear a prerecorded message thanking you for using their service and to hit 1 to connect your call. You do so, and in another 10 seconds your calls goes through, just as though you had dialed that number.

The beauty of this website is that it doesn't require your phone to be able to call out, which is perfect for my dorm line. So now I can find people, people can find me with less difficulty, and I don't have to put extra crap (yes I did just call cell phones "crap) in my pockets.

Perfect.

Eventually though, I'm thinking I'll get a good headset for my computer, sign up for Skype Out, and do everything through my laptop instead. Look, ma, no phones at all!

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