Sunday, April 05, 2009

Phones

Being abroad has resulted in me having a rather complex setup of forwards and temporary numbers so that everyone can still reach me on my old number and I can call home fairly inexpensively. Until a couple of weeks ago, I relied entirely on Skype for this. My US cell forwarded to a skype-in number, which rang either my computer or forwarded to my HK cell through skype-out. To call the us, and not have to pay international rates, I used a skype-to go number.

Apparently the Hong Kong phone companies finally got wise of the skype-to go setup, and the service has either been blocked or discontiued as a result. Disappointingly, skype made no effort to notify users who have a HK based number, or even upon inquery provide an explanation - poor customer service; shame on them.

Thankfuly, almost at the same time google updated Grand Central into google voice. As an old user, my account has been ported, and this now nicely fills the skype-to go hole. Logging on to the google voice from my mobile, I can have it call me, and then connect to whomever I am trying to reach at home. This still depends on the skype-in/out setup described above, but incurs no extra cost and actually is a bit easier that skype-to go, as it's a visual interface instead of voice prompt.

Ideally, google voice will add international numbers and porting at some point. This would allow me to plug into their voicemail (and transcription) service, but for now this is working and will keep me happy.

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