Oct 07

So on my never-ending quest for total mobility and agility as an independent consultant, I’ve figured out how to cut the phone tether for working down in Mexico. Thanks to Skype’s phone bridge service, I’m in Cabo San Lucas right now conducting business as usual, taking phone calls and checking voicemail over a wifi connection on my laptop. The connection here is surprisingly quick and reliable (75kb/sec). Basically, I had some frequent flyer miles saved up and an offer from a buddy to stay at his hotel for $20/night. My laptop has a fully self-contained development environment via Virtual PC and I’ve got all the materials I need to build the extranet for AZ Behavioral Health and all the physical meetings archived as voicememos on my iPod. For a total cost of $50 a day to be able to work from a palapa, I figured I’d be an idiot not to go.

The phone setup is pretty sweet- Skype is voice chat service recently acquired by ebay and it let’s you talk to other people free over the internet. They have a service you can pay for that bridges their system to the public switched telephone network and let’s you handle inbound and outbound phonecalls. I purchased 600min of the skypein/skypeout service for $13 and I now have my Cingular Treo 650 forwarding all my calls to my skype number (a very simple thing to change yourself if you happen to have cingular). If I’m online, the phone rings through skype, I answer it and (other than a minor latency which you’d probably experience anyways on an international call) the caller has no idea I’m talking via my laptop. The call quality is excellent and what’s nice is voicemails show up as timestamped events in skype and you listen to them and can even save them as mp3’s. I did hear a rumor that it’s illegal in Mexico to circumvent their telecommunications system for voice traffic – I have no idea if there’s any truth to that and I’m sure as heck not going to ask a Federale. I could see this phone forwarding technique affording one the ability to backpack around Europe and work just as effectively from the road. Hrmm….

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One Response to “Working remotely from Cabo and using Skype as a phone”

  1. Kola says:

    I love Skype. We use it to work with distrubuted development teams – I like the fact that we can send chunks of code back and fourth when working on a problem together.

    Not sure about Mexico but I have heard that China is moving to block Skype:



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