BOOK Review: Talk is Cheap

Book publisher O’Reilly writes that millions of people are saving money by switching from using their traditional phones to placing calls over the Internet. According to research firm IDC, the number of US subscribers to residential voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) services will grow from 3 million in 2005 to 27 million by the end of 2009.
Talk is Cheap” (Gaskin, O’Reilly, US $19.95) dispels the mysteries surrounding the different options and types of services and shows consumers how to get started. “For the first time in history, you can control your phone service,” states author James Gaskin. “And better yet, you’ll save money doing it while benefiting from free features. In this book, I provide all of the information consumers need to feel comfortable upgrading to Internet phone services.”
The book walks through information on how it all works, details on the different services, the right equipment, and how to place 911 emergency calls. Gaskin also includes a wealth of tips and tricks for advanced users.
“Talk is Cheap” is written for consumers who are tired of paying more for
traditional phone services and are curious about how Internet telephony
can help them. In addition to saving on services like long-distance, readers can learn about great free features, different equipment choices, and options available with VoIP services:
-Standard and advanced features include voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, 3-way calling, in-network calls, call transfer, area code selection, call return, caller ID blocking, calling line ID blocking per call, call forwarding, selective priority alert, 311 dialing, and 911 dialing
-Cost comparisons between SBC and broadband phone services including free
-Comparisons between computer-centric features vs. phone-centric features
-Videophone options
-Call encryption for privacy
-Details for 911 support and alarm calls
-A checklist for new users to help them get up and running easily
-Guidance on how to subscribe and manage accounts
-Equipment details including phone-centric and computer-centric tools, routers, headsets, wireless and conference phones
In the final chapter, we get a glimpse of what the future may hold with the impact of wireless networks, the potential for broadband phones to compete with cellular, and the increased mainstream appeal if companies like Google decide to join the Internet telephony bandwagon. Gaskin’s “Talk is Cheap” is an easy to absorb guide that demystifies Internet telephony for the home or small business consumer.