How many ways are there to use your computer to talk on the telephone? Honestly. Just when I thought iChat AV was so cool, along comes Skype.
Now there’s Yak. Your Mac is truly becoming a digital hub for all things communication.
It can’t be that long before your Mac controls your home’s lights, security system, refrigerator, washer and dryer, right?
Back to topic. Phone service. It’s like the weather. We all complain about it, but no one does anything about it.
The digital age is providing some solutions to the age old problem of expensive phone service. Internet connections now let you connect to anyone anywhere.
It’s not just computer to computer, either. It’s person to person, even on the phone company’s phone lines.
iChat AV is Mac user to Mac user. It’s good. It works. It’s free (except for that pesky ‘gotta buy a Mac’ thing). But it’s not a substitute for a telephone.
Skype is. So is Yak. I saw an ad for Time-Warner’s new ‘Digital Phone’ service, so digital telephony is definitely mainstream. $39.95 a month gets you all the phone service you want. Including long distance.
I’m not sure that the term ‘yak’ has the same meaning in languages other than English, but the idea comes across within seconds after landing on the Yak web site.
If you want to talk, and you want the price down low, Yak and Skype are the way to go. Since we’ve already reviewed Skype, let’s see what’s yakking at Yak.
Yak WorldCity VOIP
VOIP means ‘voice over IP’ which is simply your voice being converted to digital and being sent over the internet. Vonage is VOIP. So is the cable company’s ‘Digital Phone.’
What WorldCity does is give you access from your computer and internet connection to the rest of the world’s phone systems for just pennies a minute. Pennies as in two cents, three cents, four cents to places like the UK, Australia, France, Germany.
Subsets of Yak World City VOIP include these:
Yak for Free
Ah, now we’re talking my language. Use your Mac or PC, a video camera, and Yaks’ Virtual Video Phone software. Instant audio and video. It’s like iChat to the masses (Windows users, mostly), computer to computer.
Yak to Anyone
It didn’t take long for ‘free’ to disappear, huh? Yak to Anyone lets you set up a pre-paid plan. Still, the per minute charges are low.
Yak Basic and Yak Unlimited
You get what you pay for. Low rates for Basic and more money but more time for Unlimited. Again, this is audio and video (if there’s video at the other end of the call, of course).
This is a simple long distance service like those you see on TV commercials. Five cents a minute gets you long distance via 10-10-925 (yak). Clever, huh?
Not to be outdone by the basics, you can also designate Yak as your long distance provider. Rates are less or higher or the same, depending on who your current provider may be. Nothing special about this but it looks good on the home page.
Same thing as a low rate on your cell phone. Again, nothing special.
Yak is very similar to Skype, though the web site is classier. All you’re doing is adding software to your Mac or PC. Then, using your high speed internet connection, you connect to Yak’s system which connects you to callers (or, answerers) at the other end.
It’s VoIP, so there are monetary savings if you, well, if you ‘yak’ a lot. And, yes, Yak, like Skype, connects to local phone company customers at the other end (that’s where you pay a few cents per minute).
And, as with Skype, Yak has all kinds of extra goodies you can add. Certified phones. Cameras. Phone adapters. T-shirts. Baseball caps.
Vonage. Skype. Yak. Cable’s ‘Digital Phone.’ Where will it all end? It won’t. For now, if you have a fast internet connection and it’s dependable, you can save more than pennies on telephone calls.
The cable company will be the most expensive (unless you get free long distance and spend all day yakking), Skype and Yak can be the cheapest.
How’s the quality? It’s as good as your high speed internect connection, the phone or headsets your hook up to your Mac or PC. Click Here for the Mac software download.
The Yak Mac software installs just like Skype and works about the same way. If the iPod morphs into wireless and iChat AV is included, this time next year there’ll be more ways to ‘yak’ than there are yaks.
Tera Jean Patricks
Choices. Man, there are plenty of choices for this stuff these days.
Carol Mary Miller
We use Skype. Works great, Mac or Windows. Doesn’t take the place of a cell phone, though.
Jack D. Miller
I use what Carol uses. She pays the bills.