ShowStoppers Macworld: The Cheapest Way To Call Antarctica

By Evan Ackerman

ShowStoppers Macworld, which was the only selection of exhibitors I had a chance to see since I had to get my ass out to Vegas for CES, was kinda disappointing. There were perhaps 15 exhibitors in a room which felt the size of a small closet, and most of them were selling services of one type or another. We don’t generally like to write about services, mostly because they don’t tend to come with switches or buttons or LEDs or anything. But, there were two things that caught my eye:

Truphone is a VoIP company (i.e. works on the iPod touch) that specializes in cheap international calls. Much like Skype, Truphone users can call each other for free over the internet, and pay a little bit per minute to call regular phone numbers. Truphone bases its rates on your phone number and the number of the phone you’re calling, not your physical location. So, if you’re in Azerbaijan with your US based cellphone and you want to call your friend in the US, Truphone bills you for a US to US call. Downside is, if you’re in Azerbaijan and want to call across the street, it works the other way. What I found entertaining, though, is that Truphone has predefined call rates for Antarctica, which is not only not a country, but I’m not entirely sure that it HAS cell service, much less landlines. But if it does, $2 a minute is probably pretty damn cheap to call there.

One more mildly interesting thing, after the jump.

The other potentially useful thing I saw was some data recovery software from a company called Stellar. The Stellar Phoenix software is (the PR rep assured me) able to recover your data from just about any problem short of physical destruction of the medium, including “accidental format, virus problems, software malfunction, file/directory deletion, unexpected shutdown, or even sabotage.” Kinky.

The Phoenix software is totally free to try… If you use it, and it finds your lost data, it’ll show you a little teaser of it, and then it costs $99 if you actually want it back. Yeah, that’s a lot, but if you lose pictures or music or important work stuff, it could be a small price to pay to have it restored.

[ TruPhone ]
[ Stellar Phoenix ]

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