keeping in touch
It was jojo's birthday today, so I rang him to say 'hi & happy birthday'. We actually ended up talking books more than birthday, but it was good to talk instead of type. Which brings me to the subject of this post. I LOVE calling cards!!
It used to be last year that I had to factor international calls into my scant budget, as well as endlessly trying to work out time differences. Calling Akujou regularly was a (worthwhile) logistical nightmare at times and keeping in touch with Roofshadow (who was still in Japan) even irregularly was an expensive venture. Ai I could almost never call because I was working or sleeping during her few free moments each day. If jojo had lived in Shanghai then it would have been crazy expensive to call, though we don't call that often anyway. Since I got administrator rights on my work computer (and with that the ability to download and use MSN Messenger at work) I've been able to keep in better touch with him that anyone else, because we are both online for hours a day across workdays in countries with only a 3 hour time difference. Still, every once in a while you want to hear someone's voice.
The point is that calling cards (or rather VoIP) have changed everything. For those unfamiliar, I buy a $10 calling card. I call the local number on the card and enter a PIN, then dial the international number I want to call. The prices are crazy cheap (eg 0.5 cents/min to the US - that's 30cents an hour!!), but I also don't have to be sitting at my computer; I can be anywhere my cordless phone can go. And more importantly, I can be at work. Ths makes time difference really easy to deal with, because I can call the US in my lunchtime from my phone at work. With the calling card all I'm doing is making a local call, which we are allowed to do from work anyway.
VoIP is going to change the world. Here is Australia it's the thing that's going to finally solve our eternal dilemma of providing reasonably priced phone services to regional areas (huge country, small population). But right now I'm just cool that it's providing reasonably priced international phone services to ME! ^_^