I’ve been using Gizmo Project to make free long distance calls for several months, and I’ve been extremely pleased with the service. To start with, it’s free, so that’s a good thing. Gizmo runs on Linux, Mac OSX and Windows. The sound quality is unbelievably good – much better than a land line or mobile phone (think stereo vs. cheap clock radio).
I bought a ~$30 Plantronics headset for handsfree talking. It’s small enough to throw in my laptop bag, so I can make VOIP calls wherever I have a wifi connection. I used the Debian package to install on my Ubuntu 7.04 system and it was a piece of cake to get running.
If any of you signup, send me an email with your account name and I’ll add you to my contact list.
However, Gizmo just did something that really ticked me off!
I discovered they had a version for Palm devices (Palm Treo 650 in my particular case), so naturally I got all excited about the prospect of making free calls from my mobile phone without using any minutes from my voice plan. Well, after spending time downloading 5 files and installing them on my Treo, I eventually realized that the Gizmo version for Palm devices is a complete waste of time – it’s only good for chat.
So how did I get this wrong? Well, let’s see, maybe it was the prominent statement on the Palm info page that stated:
Now you can instant message, call and view your Gizmo Project, AIM, MSN, Yahoo, iChat and Jabber buddies on your Treo for FREE. Download Now!
Call Gizmo buddies right from the application.
That sounds pretty clear. Well, I read the FAQ just to make sure. There was an obscure quote stating, “calls made using Gizmo for Treo use the data network connection or your phone’s data plan and not the Gizmo VoIP network”, but that was in a question about calling out to land lines, so I thought it was a peculiarity with calling out to a land line from the VOIP network, and the fact that they specifically stated “phone’s data plan” let me to believe it actually used the data plan as opposed to the voice plan. The former is unlimited; the latter is not.
Judging from comments on the forums, I’m not the only one that was duped into installing it on their phone. I tried to give them feedback on the forum, but after I spent a fair amount of time typing my message, when I submitted it, I received the following:
Error in posting
SQL Error : 1064 You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near ‘ 1185051488, 16, 0, 0, 0)’ at line 1
INSERT INTO phpbb_topics (topic_title, topic_poster, topic_time, forum_id, topic_status, topic_type, topic_vote) VALUES (‘Chat only – what a waste!’, , 1185051488, 16, 0, 0, 0)
Line : 258
File : functions_post.php
So I had to vent on my blog instead. Ok, I feel better now The bottom line is that it’s an excellent service to use on your computer, but skip the mobile phone version.