Imagine you’re sent to a remote island and you’re only allowed to take one Firefox extension: which one would it be?
For web developers, it can only be the aptly named web developer extension: whether you’re using it to test your own pages or to find out how someone else designed his website, this extension is extremely useful. The only thing I miss is the ability to disable frame support, but this feature is already on the to-do list (if you need it badly, Opera has an option to disable frames).
Not a web developer? Use Foxclocks to display the time in different cities around the world or Crash Recovery to automatically restores all opened pages after a crash happened (useful if you behave like me and always open new tabs instead of bookmarking interesting websites right away).
Combine the advantages of VoIP with a WWW-triggered callback system and you get: Jajah, the newest VoIP prodigy child.
No need to install software on your PC, no need to use a headset or an external VoIP gateway or phone: all you need is an internet connection to enter your phone number and the number you want to call in your browser. Seconds later, your phone rings and the connection to the destination number is established.
It’s hard to imagine an easier solution for making cheap phone calls and even your least tech-savvy friends and relatives should be able to use Jajah. 😉 But Jajah is more than some sort of “Skype for idiots”, just consider the following situations:
- You’re using almost all your bandwidth to download… uh, “large files”, so PC-based VoIP would not be possible with an acceptable quality.
- You’re sitting at a PC with a slow internet connection, or no headset, or you’re not allowed to install software.
- You just want to use your old-fashioned phone instead being bound to a headset.
Of course, Jajah has some disadvantages, too: You can’t make free PC-to-PC calls* and the sound quality is limited by your ordinary telephone (and phone line). However, during some tests with calls from Luxembourg to Taiwan, we found the quality to be no worse than when *gasp* making a regular phone call.
Unlike many VoIP providers, Jajah uses a “post-paid” system instead of forcing you to pre-pay. Plus, you get 5 minutes for free when you first register your phone number. Currently, you can only pay by credit card and – as we found out – you have to be careful when doing so: if the country you’re located in doesn’t match the country where your credit card has been issued in, your payment will be declined and your account will be locked. Unless you have many phone numbers to register, you’ll have to contact Jajah’s customer support to unlock your account. On the plus side, response time was very fast.
In conclusion, in the time it took you to read this post, you could easily have made your first phone call. Don’t hesitate! Wake up your relatives in another corner of the world now and tell them about Jajah!
*Update Nov. 19, 2006: Since several months, JAJAH allows you to make free phone-to-phone calls under certain conditions.
The first beta version of the Universal Chinese Romanization Converter is now on line. It uses a MySQL database which contains a huge romanization table (kindly provided by Taffy) to convert between a number of different romanization systems.
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