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Sunday, March 27, 2005
ancient beginnings, motherless child, couches get a reprieve, skype VOIP
Listening to:Jeff Beck & Rod Stewart, Morning Dew
Reading:EarthCore, etc.
Weather:36, mostly sunny
Happy Easter to those who celebrate it! Just a little reminder of the ancient origins of the Easter holiday: Long before Jesus Christ was born or died or reborn, pagans around the world were celebrating an Easter-like holiday around the Equinox dedicated to various goddesses of spring, rebirth, dawn, renewal, resurrection, etc. Here's a short and incomplete list of such celebrated deities:

  • Eostre - Northern Saxony
  • Astarte - Phoenicia
  • Ostara - Norse
  • Ishtar - Assyria
  • Kali - India
  • Aphrodite - Cypress

And many of the symbols of Easter are not clearly connected to Christianity, but easy to relate to pagan spring and fertility rituals: eggs (duh), rabbits (the ultimate reproducer), lilies (early spring flower that looks like reproductive organs), candles (dawn light), etc.

My dear sweet friend Dantheman lost his mom this weekend. But she has risen, on angel wings. I don't know what it must be like for him, but I imagine you feel like you need a mom in this world at every age. Reminds me how lucky I am to still have a mom, and a dad, too. Both my mom and dad lost both their parents before they were 40. Olivia has all 4 of her grandparents, lucky kid. But back to Dan's mom, she was a cool woman, very tenacious, and deeply proud of Dan. And she must have been a hell of a mom, because Dan turned out awesome.

I generally detest sports and sports culture, but I have to admit I enjoyed several Mountaineer men's basketball games this season. I even had hopes of seeing us get to the final four in the NCAA tournament. But no. We made it to the elite eight, but lost our lead against Louisville in overtime. Those Grant Ave dwellers who saved a couch or two for the fiery celebration will have to sit on them for another year. Wrong. There's always football season.

I have been avoiding VOIP since I first tried Dialpad years ago because of poor audio quality. But that was then. Now with broadband VOIP is actually better audio qual than landline copperwire phones. I tried Skypeout on the advice of Leo via podcast. First, let me explain a little about Skype. It's a computer-to-computer free internet telephony service, I believe created by the dudes who created Napster. But there are also not-free add-ons, including Skypeout, Skypein, Skypevoicemail. Skypeout enables you to call from your computer to any regular phone, land or cell. You pay by buying credits in advance, so no worry about impending phone bills. The rates are very cheap for domestic calls and many international, too. 1.7 euros, or about 2 cents a minute for US, Canada, most of Europe, Australia, New Zealand. I tried calling Lar's cell last night (he's in PA) and Olivia said the audio quality was great from her end. Sounded like a cell phone to me, but then again, it was a cell phone. I look forward to trying a landline far away, perhaps my pal Bente in Alberta.

Downsides of Skypeout I've detected so far: though the website says credits in 15 minutes in big fat letters, don't kid yourself. It took about 6 hours for my credits to appear, and according to the gripe forums, a day for others. Also, limited ways of buying credits. The site says credit card, but I think I've seen on the forums that you have to use Paypal. I used Paypal. No customer service. That's right, none. They have friggin user Forums where people bitch and other people make up suggested answers. That sucks. As I told them, if it's a free service, forums are reasonable, but when you take people's money you need to be accountable for problems. Of course with Paypal you can yank your payment, but that's extreme. And regarding functionality, there's a slight delay in the audio. Very slight, but you know any delay creates a little weirdness in a conversation.

Overall, I'm pretty content with Skypeout. I haven't tried Skype, the computer to computer calling, yet, but if you have Skype, Skype me, my username is Justpeace.

permalink posted by cat 8:49 AM

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ancient beginnings, motherless child, couches get a reprieve, skype VOIP