Some of the most popular articles on Bauer-Power are those realted to my series on hacking a Magic Jack. Lots of people go out and buy a Magic Jack to replace their home phone service for something cheaper. Magic Jack costs around $40 for the USB adapter, and the first year of service. After that it's only $20 per year. If you don't hack it using my tutorials, then you get a fairly reliable service for making phone calls from your computer.
If you don't mind being tethered to your computer for phone calls, then why waste your money on Magic Jack? With Google Voice, phone calls are free for all calls within the US and Canada at least until 2012! Now, you may know that you can make outbound calls from Google Voice using either Gtalk, or the plugin in Gmail, but did you know you can receive calls too?
In order to receive calls, all you have to do is go into your Google Voice account and click on your phone number in the upper right, and check the box next to Google Chat.
Now inbound calls to your Google Voice number will get routed to your Google Chat client as well. All you need now is a USB headset or a USB phone, and you can make and receive calls via Google Voice! Only one caviat though, Google voice does not support E911. If you only need a land line for calls because your cell service sucks in your house (like me) then this solution might be good for you.
- Google Voice now let's you export your data
- Google Voice finds another way to screw with (some) Asterisk users