I haven’t paid for a long distance or international call since 2004. When I was a soldier deployed to Iraq members of my platoon pooled their money, investing in the temporary ownership of a satellite dish. They did this because they guys with computers were sick of waiting in long lines at the makeshift internet cafe on our FOB. Admittedly, it was definitely nice to be able to go online, check and send E-mails, surf the internet, and just distract ourselves a while. The price of this luxury was enduring long lines, signing in and out for ten minutes of usage, some nosy guy waiting for their turn looking over your shoulder, commenting how your wasting time going on this site or that site, reading your personal emails and being a general nuisance made the whole thing seem not worth while. One our platoon’s duties was to be QRF (Quick Reactionary Force) for the surrounding area. Much like firemen we were confined to our area only leaving on spur of the moment notice in response to a call for action. Needless to say the waiting around got pretty old pretty fast, prompting most of us to buy laptops, then of course a satellite so we could go online. As soon as we got personal internet access we didn’t have to sit in our area staring at one another, listen to roommate rating, play the same card games, read the same books and simply tolerate the passing of time, we were liberated from boredom, and the feeling of waiting for something, anything to happen. At some point between emails, online games, online shopping, watching funny videos and surfing the web my parents suggested I download Skype. Skype is a free downloadable program I use on a regular basis. Any calls I make on Skype are free, the only catch being the person receiving my call has to have the program on their computer or have a Skype enabled device. While deployed in Iraq, I was able to call family in the US. I chatted with friends in Germany, Canada, and other parts of the world. That was five years ago, since then I have saved thousands of dollars and talked for hundreds of hours using Skype. Available at www.skype.com the program has the capability to make simple calls I have used to make conference calls, have video conversations with webcams and sometimes just text chats or instant messages. When the person I want to contact is offline or doesn’t have a Skype enabled home phone I can still call their cell phone or send them a ems (text) at a very low cost.