OK, now that I've mentioned my intentions to switch to VOIP, I thought I'd better provide a quick rundown of the technology, as many people still are unsure of what it is. So, here we go:
Q. What is VOIP?
A. Basically, it is the transmission of voice communication over the internet (Voice Over Internet Protocol).
Q. Can you talk to other computer users on the internet, or to phone users?
A. Both. Free clients such as Google Talk and Skype allow you to communicate freely to other internet users. Services such as Vonage and Skype (free for now) also offer cheap communication to phone users.
Q. Do I need a computer to use VOIP?
A. Technically, no. You just need a broadband connection, and you can get a VOIP phone that connects directly to it. You can now even get VOIP cellphones.
Q. Are there any disadvantages?
A. Yes. Many services don't work during power failure, and some don't connect to emergency services such as 911. Also, you'll probably have to use your own means for phone number directories.