Make calls on MBP?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by doubledee, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. doubledee macrumors 6502

    doubledee

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Location:
    Arizona
    #1
    I don't have a cell phone, and can't stand them! :rolleyes:

    However, it would be nice to have a way to use the phone when I travel.

    Is there some way that I could turn my MacBook Pro into a cell phone of sorts?


    Here is my thinking...

    VOIP has been around for nearly 15 years now, and you supposedly can make free phone calls over the Internet, and companies like Vonage use the Internet as a means to let people talk, so maybe there is some way I could call people over the Internet using my MBP? :eek:

    Sincerely,


    Debbie
     
  2. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    #2
  3. doubledee thread starter macrumors 6502

    doubledee

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Location:
    Arizona
    #3
    I thought Skype was a video thingy?


    I called them today, but the rep said, "You need access to high speed Internet like DSL or cable..."


    Debbie
     
  4. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    #4
    Did you click the link?
     
  5. doubledee thread starter macrumors 6502

    doubledee

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Location:
    Arizona
    #5
    I'm looking as we talk.

    Rewind...

    Is there a way to for me to make outbound calls to another phone in the U.S. using my MBP?

    Is there some way that people can call me from their phone to my MBP?

    And is there a way to do this that is either free or really affordable AND reliable.

    I guess my questions are as much about the technology as the service...

    Sincerely,


    Debbie
     
  6. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    #6
    1. Skype, but you have to pay (rates are pretty cheap)
    2. FaceTime audio if they have an Apple device or you can pay Skype for a phone number.
    3. free: Facetime, affordable: Skype.

    They may be offer services too.
     
  7. doubledee thread starter macrumors 6502

    doubledee

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Location:
    Arizona
    #7
    Do you use Skype?

    If so, how reliable is it?

    What is the conversation quality like?


    Do you worry that Microsoft bought Skype?


    What about Security and Privacy? (From what I am reading on WIkipedia, Skype is almost like broadcasting your calls on the Internet for anyone to hear... ) :(


    Debbie
     
  8. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #8
    Skype or Google Voice.

    Skype has subscription packages that let you call anywhere in the world for a flat rate. You can also buy a "Skype In" number which lets people call you as if it was a regular phone number. There is obviously a desktop client along with mobile clients. They also make Skype Phones that literally are cell phones that only have WiFi and connect to Skype. Skype is also encrypted, and I don't worry about Microsoft; Microsoft is a very solid company especially their enterprise stuff (Lync, SharePoint, etc.).

    Google Voice is pay per use, but it's very cheap. Google Voice number is free, but if you want to switch it's not. Google Voice does not have a desktop client, and you need to bind a credit card to your Google Wallet.
     
  9. doubledee thread starter macrumors 6502

    doubledee

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Location:
    Arizona
    #9
    Do you use either?


    What do you have to do to maintain the Tele #?

    Could you keep the same Inbound Tele # for years at a reasonable cost?

    Can you make it so your Inbound Tele # is synched up to were you live?

    For example, could I get a (602) 555-1212 number since I live in Arizona?


    How much more or less secure is using Skype versus a Cell Phone or Land Line??

    Do I have to worry about hackers and viruses?

    What about the NSA or even Microsoft spying on me?? :cool:


    What are my payment options for Skype?

    Do I have to use a credit card?

    And does Skype or Google Voice require a whole bunch of intrusive information like AT&T and Verizon ask for (e.g. Social Security Number, Proof of Residency, Credit Card, Deposit, etc.)??

    Sincerely,


    Debbie
     
  10. Nyguy76 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    #10
    Google voice is free for domestic calls. If you already use gmail it's easy to add. You will need access to a cell phone to set it up and then google will give you number which you can pick. After that, as long as gmail is open in your browser you can make and receive calls.
     
  11. BrianBaughn macrumors 601

    BrianBaughn

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    #11
    What do you mean by this?
     
  12. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #12
    Looks like the OP was just repeating what the Skype rep said - and Skype does recommend a broadband connection, although without the need for video, then Skype might even give a good audio connection on a much slower connection (I've never tried Skype on dialup)
    Is there a different interpretation that would give you another meaning?
     
  13. Cubytus macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #13
    Here are some general thoughts about your questions.

    Typically use it every now and then, OR pay the monthly subscription if you choose a paid-for service.

    Typically yes, especially in the US.

    Landline (assuming PoTS): zero security. As long as someone has access to the wires, you can be wiretapped with a simple phone and alligator clips.
    Cell phone: in 2G, some security, but very easily defeated as most carriers don't force call encryption the standard can support in order to save on cost.
    3G, somewhat more secure. With proper but cheap equipment, though, you can be listened to.

    On an Android smartphone, yes. On iOS, possible, but unlikely. Using a computer-based VoIP client, possible. Though if you download it from the official provider website, there shouldn't be any problem.

    They will spy on you, whatever technology you choose. They placed backdoors in Skype (the protocol was not so secure anyways), compromised encryption key generators to make them easier to crack, and have the technical means to crack open any encrypted conversation at the consumer level. While you can't avoid being spied upon by the NSA, you should worry more about being spied upon by private companies. Microsoft is one, but Google surely leads the pack when it comes to information gathering.

    Most providers will require you use a credit card, although some may use PayPal as an option.

    Typically no, only a valid credit card and billing address info are required. By the way, no one provider is authorized to ask for your social security number. Only the government can do that. However, a few select companies may be given an exceptional right to ask it. They are asking it just because it makes customer tracking easier. Of course, your mileage may vary given the freedom-robbing laws you have in the US.

    Whatever the provider you choose, if you want to make a call from your computer, a high-speed connection is required, even in the lower tier. Don't even try on dial-up, no voice codec will sound right on a maximum of 6 kilobytes/second. Avoid high-speed, high latency access like satellite connection.
     
  14. doubledee thread starter macrumors 6502

    doubledee

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Location:
    Arizona
    #14
    Just what it says...

    According to the rep, the way Vonage works, is that you need to hook up your desktop or laptop to a DSL modem or a Cable modem.

    Since VOIP uses the Internet to send/receive telephone calls, you need access to the Internet, and according to the rep, it has to be a "high-speed connection".

    So you couldn't do it with something like Free Wi-Fi at McDonald's and I assuming that my AT&T Hotspot wouldn't work either, although I'm not sure.


    BTW, if I took advantage of something like Skype, how fast would I burn through my data-plan?? :confused:

    I am thinking that making a telephone call using Skype and my Hotspot, would use a similar amount of data as listening to streaming audio on the Internet.

    Thoughts??

    Sincerely,



    Debbie
     
  15. BrianBaughn macrumors 601

    BrianBaughn

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    #15
    I was wondering what your present internet access was, if any. You didn't say anything about a "Hotspot" until now. To me it appeared like you were saying that you wanted to make calls from a laptop but don't have broadband...seems most here have been giving you advice based on your having a broadband connection.

    One or more of the ideas given here could work but I think you'll probably have a lot more trouble getting consistently good quality calls while on the move than someone that uses a cellphone.
     
  16. Cubytus macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #16
    Typically voice codecs use very few bandwidth. With a typical G711 codec, you'd use roughly 40MB per hour of call. So a mobile 1GB data plan would last you 25 hours of call. Of course, with Vonage you can select a lower-quality codec to allow for weaker connection speeds.
     
  17. siurpeeman macrumors 603

    siurpeeman

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Location:
    the OC
    #17
    i also second the google voice recommendation. google gives you a number which you can link to any domestic number (doesn't have to be a cell), and you can give out the google voice number for others to call you. you can make and receive calls on your computer on a gmail webpage for free.
     
  18. doubledee thread starter macrumors 6502

    doubledee

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Location:
    Arizona
    #18
    Not sure where you are located, but that is not correct.

    U.S. companies are real pushy bastards when it comes to Americans' SSN's and the Gov't is NOT there to stop them.

    Last year I was just about ready to get a Verizon Hotspot when I found out that they flat out refused to sell me service unless I coughed up my SSN. (That includes fighting on the phone and in person with several managers, and calling the Executive Offices.)

    AT&T wasn't much better. The only difference is that I used to have an account with them - and a physical address associated with my account - the rep let me get away with only giving the Last-4 of my SSN. (Actually, they asked for the entire SSN, but we did a 999-99-xxxx trick!)

    Sincerely,


    Debbie
     
  19. Cubytus macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #19
    Sure they are, as are other big companies around the world. Don't wait for the government to intervene (except in your private life) and hold your ground, even if it means staying on the line for unreasonable length of time. Your time is their time, too.

    At the bank we were routinely required to ask customer's SSN to identify them, but the few refusals I received didn't prevent the application from working as intended. Simply, more fields to fill, more prone to typing mistakes. Of course we didn't say it to customers calling.
     
  20. doubledee thread starter macrumors 6502

    doubledee

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Location:
    Arizona
    #20
    Is that based on actual experience, or is that just an educated guess?

    If it is correct, then that is encouraging.

    When I record radio shows, I think I average about 90 MB per hour, and I have a 6GB/month plan with AT&T.

    Sincerely,


    Debbie
     
  21. Dave Felix macrumors 6502a

    Dave Felix

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2011
    Location:
    Scranton, Pennsylvania
    #21
    If you have Gmail, you can log in and make calls for free.
     
  22. Cubytus macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #22
    (F)Actual experience in a bank inbound call center. Radio shows usually rely on a much better-sounding codec than phone codecs, so they use more data. That's why I almost never download podcasts from radio broadcast over 3G.

    And as a bonus, you will be spied upon both by the NSA and Google!
     
  23. sjinsjca, Mar 2, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2014

    sjinsjca macrumors 68000

    sjinsjca

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    #23
    Sure.

    Besides Skype etc, you can set up an actual VoIP service that mimics a landline in every way by tracking the tips at http://unvexed.blogspot.com/2011/06/how-to-roll-your-own-with-voip-for.html

    Basically:

    1. Set up an account at http://voip.ms or a similar wholesaler. Cost, $0.50-$0.99 plus funds to pay for subsequent calls (which are super-cheap, literally pennies).
    2. Download Whistle Phone from the App Store or Zoiper from http://www.zoiper.com/en ...or both...
    3. Set up Whistle and/or Zoiper to talk toyour VoIP.ms account (via the SIP standard).

    Now you can make and receive calls. NO other hardware is needed. (The example at the link above is aimed at people who want to keep their "landline" phones in their homes, but cut costs and improve quality by disconnecting from the phone company. To connect legacy house phones to a VoIP service requires an analog telephone adaptor, about $35-40 now. You won't need one of those.)

    Of course, you'll need an Internet connection, such as a hotel or coffee-shop hotspot access. And the connection must be of good quality. Bandwidth isn't so much an issue, but dropouts and hangs in the connection will be problematic. Basically, if your browsing experience isn't responsive and smooth on a given Internet connection, don't expect much from VoIP on that connection.


    ...And, keep in mind that many hotels and other hotspots (and even some national firewalls) block VoIP, forcing you to use expensive in-room phones to make your calls. You can get around this by tunneling through to a VPN where you have an account. Or, set up your own VPN at home on a Raspberry Pi or something of the sort (see http://unvexed.blogspot.com/2012/08/how-to-set-up-real-encrypted-vpn.html for details). This happened to me in my high-end hotel in Europe just last week. I needed to call my rental car company, and cell phone roaming and in-room calls are so damned expensive... so I booted up my preferred VoIP client (3CXPhone, available for iPhone, iPod Touch and Android). Alas, couldn't get a connection to voip.ms, so I connected to my home VPN and everything worked great. That saved me $25!

    (VPNs can also allow you to use a VoIP app on a smartphone using cell data... often much cheaper than actual cell calls, and also often blocked.)

    Also keep in mind that some countries (and even employers) forbid VoIP. So, proceed at your own risk and with your eyes open. If you use a VPN, it should be difficult or impossible for your VoIP usage to be detected, but... just, be careful if your travels take you to repressive localities, or if your employer or school takes a dim view of evading enterprise usage blocks.

    Incidentally, if you hate cell phones but don't mind having a nice music player, you can do all the above with an iPod Touch and any number of VoIP applications, including Whistle's iOS app or the aforementioned 3CXphone. Instructions for setting up the latter are at http://unvexed.blogspot.com/2011/07/voip-as-alternative-to-cell-phones.html. And, of course, you can have more than one device set up to access your VoIP account. You can even set up "sub-accounts" (extensions, basically) so several devices can talk on your VoIP account simultaneously.
     
  24. doubledee thread starter macrumors 6502

    doubledee

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Location:
    Arizona
    #24
    What the "(F)"??


    Well, if I can get this to work, then that means I can talk longer which is always nice! :D


    Agreed. But if I use my AT&T Hotspot with Skype then I still get spied on by AT&T and Microsoft and the NSA, right?? :(

    (Although nobody spies like Google!!!)


    Is there any reason why I would be exposing myself more using Skype than if I used a cellphone or land line?


    And would I be unduly exposing my new MBP to extra threats online that might compromise my Mac? (For some reason I have a fear that things like Skype are akin to File Sharing?!) :eek:

    Sincerely,


    Debbie
     
  25. Cubytus macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #25
    Most likely AT&T doesn't really care. They have the technical capability to pinpoint where you are as long as you're connected, a capability used by emergency services when calling from a cell phone. Calling from a landline can't have you tracked with such precision as with a cell phone or other mobile, Internet-accessing device. Eventually you'll have to break down what kind of spying you're comfortable to take.

    Microsoft doesn't spy, AFAIK, on users, and Skype, aside from obvious backdoors inserted by the NSA, isn't more insecure than other closed-source software, until proven otherwise. It's not like Flash, a recognized security vulnerability on Macs.
     

Share This Page