Vonage Adds Software Phone for Mac -- Last week, the voice-over-IP (VoIP) service provider Vonage added a software option for its subscribers to place and receive phone calls to the public telephone network from their Macintosh. A "soft phone," as Vonage calls its VoIP software, costs $12 per month, including fees, for 500 minutes of outgoing local and long-distance calls. Additional minutes are 3.9 cents each in the U.S.; international rates are fantastic. The soft-phone service has to be added on to an existing Vonage line, which costs as little as $15 per month before tax. The service uses software from Xten, a British Columbia firm that makes the best-looking and best-functioning software phone for Mac, Windows, and Linux.
I've found that the soft-phone service works terrifically, and was able to make my first call from a landline to my Vonage soft phone number within two minutes of adding the service to my account. But I recommend using a USB or microphone/headphone headset: the built-in speakers and mikes on some Macs cause feedback and echoes. [GF]