Talk Shoe – How to Connect to TalkShoe Community Call System

A Simple Request

I hope you find this page helpful. All I ask is that if the information you find on this page leads in some way to you starting your own TalkShoe show, please list “Chris Meadows” as your referrer when you sign up for the TalkShoe Cash program. It’s not too late to do it even if you already have signed up, as long as you don’t have a referrer listed already; just email TalkShoe support and ask them to make that change.

Connecting to TalkShoe

If you simply want to listen to a program, it is not necessary to do anything beyond clicking a green “Live Now!” icon on that program’s homepage. This will open this program in streaming audio and you can listen as long as you have that page open. If you want to participate, you have several options.

Although it is helpful to do so, you do not have to register a TalkShoe account. You can participate in a text chatroom or even phone in as a “guest” to any non-adult only show. However, to participate fully, or to access adult only shows, you can create a TalkShoe account by clicking a “Sign Up” link in upper right corner of the TalkShoe.com homepage.

Fill out that application completely, and when you are finished you may choose to download a Java based “TalkShoe Live! Classic” chat client. However, you can still phone in or access a show’s text chat without it thanks to a web pop up based chat client. Either a web client or the “TalkShoe Live! Classic” standalone client will allow you to listen to a program by streaming audio at same time as you type questions or responses by text.

However, this standalone client will also let you phone into a show via free Voice Over IP as long as you have a microphone or headset connected to your computer.

Phoning In

There are four ways to connect to TalkShoe by phone.

  1. Using the “TalkShoe Live! Classic” client’s built-in “ShoePhone” Voice-Over-IP.
  2. Direct dialing by landline or cellular telephone to (724) 444-7444.
  3. Using an outward-dialing VOIP application to call (724) 444-7444.
  4. Connecting with a SIP Voice Over IP application to SIP:66.212.134.192 or SIP:123@66.212.134.192.

The “ShoePhone” application is easiest to use, as it automates an entire connection process so you need only click a “Connect” button and a few moments later you are talking on a show. In fact, it is just about an only method I use for my own shows anymore. However, it can still be a bit flaky sometimes, so it is good to know about other methods as backup.

Also, other methods are what you will use if you connect via a web based chat, since it does not have voice over IP capability. Using some other methods, as soon as you connect you will be asked to enter a 4 or 5 digit show number (which TalkShoe shows you on a show’s homepage, in a title bar of a client screen, and on dialing instruction overlay that appears when you first load that client), and then your 10 digit PIN number (usually your phone number, unless you chose to use something else when you registered) and press #, or, if you did not register, to press 1 then # to log in as a guest. After that, you will join that show.

If a show is already in progress, you will hear a 20 second TalkShoe promo recording before you are able to access that show. Otherwise, you will hear a recording as soon as a host starts recording.

ShoePhone

As mentioned above, ShoePhone is easiest to use. All you need to do is either click a ShoePhone “Connect” icon that appears when you first connect to a program, or click an icon in lower right corner of the “TalkShoe Live! Classic” client. You should be connected to that program within about twenty seconds.

If you wish to mute yourself, there is a “mute microphone” box to check. This only works from the “TalkShoe Live! Classic” standalone client. If you do not have it, use one of following methods.

Direct Dialing

If you are dialing in via landline or cellphone, be aware that it is a call to a Pittsburgh area number it is not toll free. Be sure that you can afford those long distance rates or cellular minutes. Also be sure that a battery on your cellular or cordless phone will not run down before you are finished chatting, and that you will be comfortable holding that phone to your ear for that long.

It is a good idea to mute yourself when you are not talking; often background noise such as computer case fans or air conditioner sounds will make their way through your phone line and could result in a host muting you manually. If your phone does not have a mute button, you can dial *6 to mute yourself manually. This will work from an ordinary telephone or from a VoIP application.

This will also add a “mute” icon to your name on the TalkShoe chat client display, so other participants will know why you are not talking. Note: This only works if you have already been unmuted by that host.

Outward Dialing VOIP

With this method, you will be using a Voice Over IP application meant to connect your computer to an ordinary phone number. Some people prefer this method because it can be used for making ordinary phone calls in addition to participating in TalkShoe. At one time, Skype offered a free calling plan; however, its free calling program ceased as of January 1, 2007.

Freecall.com offers a free calling program but after a certain number of calls it restricts you to five minute calls only. Make sure you have a decent headset, or headphones and separate microphone. I tend to favor a separate mic, such as Logitech Desktop USB Microphone, so that I can use whatever headphones are comfortable or convenient that time.

The one drawback is that since a mic is positioned right next to my keyboard, it sounds like an avalanche whenever I type. I tend to use a mute function on my mic, my VoIP client, or TalkShoe itself. It is possible to use a microphone with speakers if you have no headphones; however, this will usually lead to other participants hearing themselves echo while you are talking, which can be very distracting.

If you must use speakers while participating in a TalkShoe program, then use a “mute” button on your VOIP application when you are not talking.

FreeCall

FreeCall is an outbound dialing Voice Over IP client for Windows only that allows you to make calls to regular phone numbers. It offers 300 free minutes of calling per week (which does not roll over) to a number of destinations including the United States; calls beyond that are charged at 1.3 US cents per minute (1.6 cents per minute with taxes). Users may also purchase credits for 10 Euros (about US$13) which will allow them unlimited calling for 90 days.

Although you may use other SIP Voice Over IP applications (see next section) to make calls to phone numbers through the FreeCall network, you apparently cannot make calls to SIP addresses through FreeCall so you will have to dial TalkShoe using a phone system. In order to dial, just enter 1 (724) 444-7444 (with or without spaces, hyphen, and parentheses) in a dialing box and hit enter. You will then be able to enter your show ID and PIN using a keyboard or dialpad.

Preliminary testing suggests FreeCall does not suffer from a touch tone recognition problem that Skype does (see below).

NOTE: Although this is mentioned nowhere on their site, I have since learned that after you make a certain number of phone calls through FreeCall, your account is restricted to five minute calls only unless you buy credit. Given that this seems like a rather cheap and shoddy trick to me, I am no longer able to recommend this software as I once did.

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Skype

For a while, Skype was free to use for outbound calling to ordinary phone numbers; now, however, it requires buying a plan to make these calls. To call in with Skype, you must make that call to TalkShoe phone number, which requires a paid account. You cannot Skype in directly.

When using Skype, simply dial that phone number as usual. Shortly afterward you should be asked to enter your information. Note that due to known issues with Skype’s touch tone generator, you may receive a dreaded “Your password is incorrect” message, in which case you will need to hang up and dial again.

A number of superstitions have grown up around use of Skype, claiming that you should “just use keypad buttons” or “click # on screen, don’t press it on keyboard” in order to avoid an invalid password rejection. To best of my knowledge, none of these are valid. It just depends on a quality of connection you get whether or not Skype will accept your tones.

Raketu

I have not used Raketu, so cannot provide instructions as to dialing. It should be just as straightforward as Skype. I have heard in some places that they have a free outbound calling plan like Skype once did, but haven’t found any proof of this on their website.

Gizmo Project

Gizmo Project is not free to dial outbound phone numbers; you must purchase calling minutes at a rate of 1 cent per minute. Instead, Gizmo Project should be used as a SIP phone; see below.

SIP VOIP

This is a method that is recommended for use by callers outside of the United States and Canada. It routes a call completely through the Internet, and will usually provide a much higher quality audio stream than a connection that goes partly or entirely through a telephone system. Also, tone generation systems of these programs are of higher quality than Skype’s, leading to much less frustration trying to log in.

A future version of text chat client will incorporate VOIP directly into this client, so eventually you will no longer need to use a separate SIP Voice over IP application unless you wish to call in without text chatting. Connecting with SIP is currently free; however, at some point TalkShoe will begin charging non-hosts $4.95 per month for its use (to offset lost revenue from ordinary phone dial-ins). Hosts will continue to get it free no matter whose show they call, and they will also be able to pay to let even non-host callers call their shows for free.

For more information on this dialing method beyond what is given here, see the TalkShoe support live

SIP how to. Note that you can use any VOIP client even if it is not listed here as long as it accepts a SIP dialing address. As with outward-dialing VOIP, make sure you have good headphones and a mic.

Gizmo Project

The Gizmo Project instant messenger can also act as a SIP phone, and is of all SIP phone apps probably an easiest to install and configure. Note that if you have a LiveJournal account, you should download Gizmo Project for LJ Talk and log into it with your LiveJournal userID and password. To dial TalkShoe with Gizmo Project, you need to enter into an address bar

SIP:123@66.212.134.192

and hit return. (It actually does not matter what comes before an @ sign; it can be 123@, abc@, blahblablah@, and so on; Gizmo just doesn’t recognize dialing addresses that do not use an x@y formation.) After you connect, you must then use on screen dialpad to enter those numbers; Gizmo does not accept keyboard entry.

X-Lite (with VoxAlot)

X-Lite is another popular client among Australian and European users. However, to use it you must also create a free account at VOIP provider VoxAlot (or any other such provider, such as Ekiga.net). Simply create an account, configure X-Lite with your VoxAlot account settings as instructed by VoxAlot configuration guides, then click on an address bar at top of your screen and type a SIP address as given above.

You will have to type it because X-Lite will not let you paste it in. You can then enter ID and PIN using a keyboard or mouse clicking.

SJPhone

Note: Some following instructions refer to an older version of SJPhone. More recently, I discovered they had gone to a new version which was changed considerably from old, and I can’t figure out how to make a new version work with TalkShoe. Thus, I can no longer recommend it as the primary SIP VOIP means of connecting.

This is most straight forward of SIP VOIP applications. Simply download it, install it, and check some instructions found in this configuration guide. To connect, click on an address bar at the top of the SJPhone window and enter

66.212.134.192

You may then enter your show ID and PIN by either using your keyboard or clicking an on screen display with your mouse. Note: SJPhone for Mac users have reported being unable to find a dialpad in their version of this client. If anyone Mac side can clear this up, I would appreciate it.

Free World Dialup Communicator

The Free World Dialup Communicator is another SIP dialing capable client. It seems to have a slight problem dialing TalkShoe, but should still be usable. To use it, dial SIP:123@66.212.134.192 as above.

A call window will open, and you will hear a beep. About ten seconds of silence will pass, then a loud TalkShoe voice will say “Your passcode is not valid: 7”. You will then hear a “Welcome to TalkShoe” message and can enter your show ID and PIN as usual by clicking on “Open Dialpad” crossed lines icon right underneath a “Call” menu. Once that dialpad is open, you can dial by either clicking on it or using your keyboard.

XMeeting

A TalkShoe employee who has experimented with multiple VoIP apps claims that this is best SIP VOIP app for Macintosh users to dial into TalkShoe. As I do not have a Macintosh capable of running this program to try it out, you are more or less on your own.

Ekiga

A Linux VOIP client that, like X-Lite, needs an external VOIP service provider (like VoxAlot or Ekiga.net). A Windows version can be found (warning: still in beta). I have not used it myself.

Further Help

If you need further help getting set up, please feel free to email me and I will be happy to assist you. This article was originally written on Robotech Master’s TalkShoe page.

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