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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Comments

Howard - if you get rid of your cell phone how in the world will you ever call me again....still in spokane but leaving soon

Hi Howard & Linda
Have read your blog since the beginning. I really enjoy the adventure and your writing style.

We recently purchased a DW7000 and we have it on a tripod. I found yahoo voice to be a reasonable alternative. You can get a number and a year of in calling for under $30.00/year. Your out calling in $0.02 a minute, and you purchase time in advance. Minimum is $10.00 but that will last a long, long time at .02/min. There is also the delay, but the price is right and my only extra expense was purchasing a headphone with boom mike-$24.95 in Walmart of course. That is in Canadian $'s. Our in number is a US #. The voice messages are crystal clear. We will try the "over" to try and make calling in and answering easier. Thanks for that tip. Very easy to talk over each other otherwise.

We have been fulltimers since Aug. 7, 2004 when our house sold in southern Ontario. Still enjoy it.

We were in Florida the first winter and Arizona and Texas last winter. Back to Florida this winter.

Happy trails

Bonnie and Doug Sales

Howard and Linda,

Really enjoy your website, it is a Masterpiece for full time RV knowledge. You guys are doing a terrific job. Hope you get a little time off to enjoy yourselves! One thing, your magnetic signs, try to keep the back side clean, hit it with a little cleaner of some kind and a rag every once and a while. The magnetic signs get tiny dust particles between the magnet and the paint of your truck and will eventually take the polished shine off the paint, leaving a very dull area where the sign was.

Keep up the good work and Best Regards!

Regarding VOIP over satellite... Speed, although a significan't issue (specially up to the satellite) is probably not as significant an issue as latency which is the time delay from the signals traveling the great distances between you and the satellites and the network operation centers. That I think is a bigger issue. Some software does not deal well with this delay.

I have used Skype succesfuly (at times) but I think it has been dependant on network load... less load on network more bandwidth avaialable without 'waiting' for you.

This suggests that load has a significant part to play in having a succesful VOIP session. This is separate from speed and somewhat related to the latency I described above. Think of it as yet another kind of latency. You could have all the speed you want, but if the 'host' (Hughes Net in this case) can't pass the data to you in a very timely manner, it won't allow VOIP software and hardware to work very well.

There is a new internet satellite service called Wild Blue that very economically addreses the speed issue as well has significantly improved latency performance, but as of a couple of days ago, they still do not support RV mounted dishes of any type. They are apparently getting lots of calls from RV folks from the conversation I had with a representative from the company.

Finally, I have found two VOIP services that are very interesting and attractive. One is GizmoProject (gizmoproject.com) which offers outbound calling for 1 cent per minute and a free inbound number with voicemail. The other is Sipnumber (sipnumber.com). Sipnumber will give you a free US number and what is more interesting to me, a free fax number. When a fax comes in it is delivered via email as a pdf! Both of them will deliver voicemails via email. The voicemail files are quite small.. 7 to 10 seconds runs about 20k to 30k of file size.

I found that though the software for Sipnumber is adequate, the Gizmoproject software works much better and is much more user friendly.

Both of these services use a VOIP standard technology that is interoperable, so I use the Gizmo Project software with my Sipnumber number.

Both of these services offer free numbers for inbound calls but Gizmo Project requires a creit card because "you might potentially" use their other services... that is why I got a sipnumber telephone number. When I get serious about using the outbound function, if I ever do since all outbound Skype calls are free through the end of the year, I will subscribe to Gizmo Project because they are the least expensive and their software is so attractive.

All of these services have software that is Mac, PC and Linux compatible. I am primarily a Mac user. Also calls on any of these services are free computer to computer.

Hope this is helpful.

We have VOIP at work (oops - bad word!) and one thing I noticed is you can't call everywhere. There's been some campgrounds that I couldn't contact because they didn't have digital service in their area. Without digital service, there's no VOIP. (I got through on cell fine which automatically switches to analog). Just something to be aware of. I'm sure the digital network is growing each day, although many campgrounds being in remote areas, do not yet have digital service.

Regarding VoIP,
Thanks to all for the info! Great point on the digital service, Greg.

Now, I contacted our satellite internet guy. He told me that they don't support or recommend any VoIP service with the Direcway/Hughes satellite internet platform because of the latency and poor voice quality.

I think we will just wait on that whole thing. As long as we have internet and email, we're good to go. I kind of like it when we don't have cell coverage. :)

Bonnie & Doug,
Nice to hear from you! Glad you enjoy the blog. Thanks for the info on your DW7000.

Looks like our launch dates are about the same Aug 3 & Aug 7. We call it our re-birth-day. :)

See ya down the road. :)


Paul,
Thanks for the wonderful accolades! And thank you for the tip on the signs. The sign guy told me the same thing about cleaning the back side, but didn't tell me why. :)

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