At fuego’s suggestion I signed up for Skype. Skype is a simple-to-use application that allows you to telephone any other Skype user for free, no matter where they are in the world. It also includes chat and file exchanging capabilities. You can call anyone’s normal phone as well, and the rates look pretty low, at least for calls to the US.
It’s not quite as versatile as a telephone, since both people have to be on the Internet to converse. If you spend a lot of time online, however, and your computer has a microphone and speakers, you might want to check it out. Drop me a line and I’ll tell you my Skype ID (check the first comment for my email address). There are other similar services and I can’t compare them, but it’s hard to imagine them being easier to use than Skype.
Gimme a call!