I like to think of my computer as a tool box. There are a lot of tools that I’ll go to frequently and those have to be of the highest quality. It is sometimes worth spending a little money to make sure that those are as good as they can possibly be. These are the hammer and screwdriver of your toolbox. On a computer this may be your office suite or your browser, if you do a lot of surfing. There are some tools though, that you don’t use very often, but you feel better knowing they are there if you are really stuck.
One of these for me is Icondial. This is a new start-up, but there always seems to be a new one of these cropping up, that lets you use your computer to make free telephone calls to regular phones. Each one of them has there quirks and this one does too, but sometimes this might be just the thing to get you out of a jam.
The interface on Icondial is delightfully simple. It’s just a dialpad a green call button and a red delete button. You simply click the number, click the green call button and Icondial will connect your call. If you don’t want to go through the interface you can just type the number in a text box above. After you enter your number, the program will play a short 3-5 second ad, and then connect your call.
This is pretty neat, but there are a few problems. First, for some reason I was not able to call any US number with a 212 area code. This may have to do with some local restriction or any number of reasons. I was able to call London, and actually had my best luck with those calls. The quality of the calls was not fantastic however, there was a fair amount of static and a not insignificant amount of delay. However, I was able to have a conversation.
In case you was to make your own comparison, I have a cable speed internet connection, but was using a cheap pair of headphones and a decent but not expensive microphone.
I think that it is probably worth a try, as I think everyone’s mileage will vary on it. The situation where you might need to use this are rare. For example, if the phone is out but your internet connection is working and you need to make a call, this may be the perfect temporary solution.
So, welcome to the awl of your toolbox, IconDial.