Eric and I have told some of you about Skype, the program we have been using to call back to the US. I thought I'd give everyone a little bit of information about it in case you were interested. Right now we have just been calling everyone from our computer to your landlines and cell phones, and it is fairly inexpensive to do it that way. But, if you sign up with Skype, it could be totally free for both of us!
You must have the following for it to work though:
*High Speed Internet (dial up won't work)
*A microphone for your computer
*Speakers for your computer
(Or, you can buy a headset that has both and plugs into your computer)
*Optionally, you can also add a webcam if you want to talk face-to-face!
If you have all that, go to http://www.skype.com/
Download Skype 3.5 for Windows
Then you will have to set up a username and profile
Add us to your contacts (our username is "e_zieser")
Now you are all ready! They have a free Test Call you can make to check that your microphone and speakers are working properly (I always make that call before I call someone else to double check my connections!)
It is free to download the program, it is free to call other people from your computer if they are Skype users, and if both people have a webcam (we do) you can even see each other and have a face-to-face conversation for free! The only catch is you would both have to be online at the same time to make and receive the phone call. We could always set up something ahead of time through email though or we could call your landline for pretty cheap and ask you to get online to continue the conversation for free.
I kind of feel like an ad for Skype right now, but it really is helping to make the world a little smaller! (insert big cheesy grin here)