Throw away your KDDI International telephone cards!

Being the computer nerd I am, I’m always looking for new and interesting programs to help me in my daily tasks. It is not often that I find one worth blogging to the world about but this program will be of great value to you. The program is Yahoo Instant messenger and allows you to have a video/audio conference with others using the same IM service.

I have been using IM programs since ICQ first developed the idea, was still owned by an Israeli company and ran on the Windows 95 OS. As time went by I began using AOL and MSN instant messengers. However, MSN eventually won out due to the ease of conferencing with my overseas friends with video and audio. I was a big fan of Netmeeting and had no problems getting even my mother to feel comfortable with it. However, as the OS became more complicated, security concerns (firewalls and such) began to create connectivity problems, netmeeting was discontinued and I lost contact with my own family since we couldn’t get both the audio and video to work.

However, yesterday a friend with a new computer (and camera) and I began trying to video conference again and I’ve found that Yahoo IM simply destroys the competition. The video is superb and connectivity is no problem unlike the MSN which constantly tells me there is a network problem when trying to make an audio connection. The only catch is that you both must be using the English version of the program. That is to say, you cannot connect if one is using the Japanese version while the other has the English version. I tried to install the Japanese version at first on my pc but my computer could not read the Japanese written into the program and all I got were symbols and one messy looking interface.

Therefore, those expensive KDDI cards from 7-11 which only give me 40 minutes for 5,000 yen are now no longer needed!! I will encourage all my friends to download this program and thus my living an ex-pat life will no longer be an obstacle in keeping in contact with my friends from around the world.

6 Comments so far

  1. Jim O'Connell (unregistered) on September 16th, 2004 @ 1:27 pm

    You’re right about “Yahoo!” Messenger – for video and audio, it is fantastic and has been for a long time.

    Unfortunately, it didn’t work for Mac, at least with audio and video. Lot too long ago, they added video, but still not audio.

    There’s iChat, of course, but it’s a Mac thing mainly, though there *is* an AIM version that claims to be able to work with it, but after several tries with my brother, it just wouldn’t go.

    So between Mac and Windows, you really just couldn’t talk.
    Finally Skype came out with a Mac version and I can say it works brilliantly, seemingly through any firewall and while detecting all your audio hardware. I’ve been talking to my family a lot with it lately and not only is the sound quality good, it’s better than iChat and even better than a regular telephone.

    There’s a Linux version, a Windows version, a PocketPC version and now a Mac version.

    Oh, if you buy some credits over the web, you can call a regular phone.

  2. Patrick (unregistered) on September 16th, 2004 @ 7:58 pm

    On the topic of calling cards, pretty much any card other than KDDI is cheaper. KDDI are just the worse.
    Right now I’m using something called Love2III Home Card (!?. by Cable and Wireless IDC, 0120-85-0061) which has given me about 3h for 5500yen.

  3. Christopher Kobayashi (unregistered) on September 17th, 2004 @ 3:23 am

    I’ve been hearing alot about Skype. Or what about Yahoo! BB VOIP phones. Has anyone used these?
    When I arrived in Tokyo last year in January, it seemed like every station had Yahoo! BB sales reps giving away the VOIP phones.

  4. Gen Kanai (unregistered) on September 17th, 2004 @ 8:57 am

    As far as I am concerned the best deal for calling the US from Japan is to sign up with You get a US phone number, in Japan, so its a local call for friends and family to call you. $20/mo. Can’t beat that.

  5. ElMateo (unregistered) on September 17th, 2004 @ 8:56 pm

    I’ve also been hearing a lot about Skype. My buddy who is getting his masters in computer technology informed me about it and I usually go with his suggestions. However, from what I hear it’s a work in progress and there is still no video. If they get video then I might try it out as my Linux IM program but for now I’m sticking with Yahoo. As for the VOIP phones, they really pushed those in the Japanese market didn’t they. Since there are so many vendors trying to hand me things everyday, I usually make it a point to not accept unless they are handing out tissues. Also, I refrain from anything that even remotely looks like it might cost me money.

  6. name (unregistered) on September 18th, 2004 @ 7:31 am

    Skype skype skype!!!

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