Place Skype Calls Using a Real Phone
Imagine a world where you can make free outgoing calls to landline/mobile phone numbers. Does this sound like a far-off Utopia that will exist only in the distant future? Believe it or not, that time is upon us, courtesy of Skype. For the uninitiated, VOIP (voice-over-Internet protocol) calls are placed over the Internet. This technology allows Skype users to call other Skype users for free. This offering is pretty cool, but unless your correspondents are techno geeks, there is a good chance that they won't be running Skype.
Skype does offer a service called SkypeOut, which allows you to call traditional landline and mobile phones from your computer. In the past, this service was not free—Skype users had to buy Skype Credit in order to call landline and mobile phones. However, in May of 2006, Skype announced that SkypeOut calls to both U.S. and Canadian landline and mobile phone numbers will be free until the end of the year. To clarify, that means free calls within the U.S. and Canada to all phones! Skype works best over a high speed internet (broadband) connection, and though a dial-up connection is supported it's not recommended for best performance).
In this article, I'll show you how you can use a standard telephone with your computer to make outgoing calls over the internet. Why would you want to do this? In short, it can be quite annoying having to speak into your computer’s microphone and then listen through your computer's speakers to make a telephone call. Such a process doesn't give you the feel of a normal telephone. Using a traditional telephone (whether cordless or corded) gives you the privacy and feel of a "real" telephone.
If you haven't jumped on the Skype bandwagon, I would really suggest trying it out. Doing so is free, and all you have to do is download the Skype application (which was in Version 2.0 at the time of this article's writing). Skype is available for the Windows, MacOS, and Linux platforms. After installing Skype (installation is quite simple and I won't go into details here), launch the Skype application. If you don't already have a Skype user account established, click on the "Don't have a Skype Name" link to create one.
After creating a Skype Name, sign in to Skype using your Skype name and password.
At this point, you are almost ready to make outgoing calls to your correspondents. But first, we have to create a Contact. Contacts are what Skype calls your correspondents. To do so, click the Add Contact icon.
In the next screen, enter a name for your contact and put their phone number in the form like so: +1YYY-01-01X. YYY represents your contact's area code and 01-01X represents their main phone number. In the next figure, shows me adding a contact named "SomeOne" with the fictitious number of +1512-555-5555:
Dialing the number of your chosen contact is pretty straightforward. In the Contacts pane, simply click the number associated to your contact and the Skype application will call the phone number.
At this point, you can carry out your phone call using your computer's microphone and speakers.