This year I was introduced to TalkShoe, an internet service for group collaboration and podcasting, during my participation in a podcast series. TalkShoe allows you to setup a scheduled session that lets participants to engage in text-based chat while connected to an audio conference. When you connect to the text chat online it will allow you to stream the audio from the conference bridge, but you can’t participate in the conversation unless you dial into the conference with a phone. The audio bridging for TalkShoe uses a local US number, which not an issue for a Collab guy like me who has 1 or 2 (or 12) phones around him at any given time, but it can prove expensive for those outside the states or those who still pay Long Distance charges.
During today’s episode of our podcast I noticed there was a “VoIP” address, an internet-routable IPv4 address, in the dial-in information and curiosity set in. I polled the team on the chat to see if anyone was using IP to connect but my questioning resulted only in responses related to cheap or free SIP trunking to the PSTN. A quick Google search led me to a page on TalkShoe’s site that listed several clients, but all the links led to pages that no longer existed. I had invested over 60 seconds in my pursuit of a solution at this point, so there was no turning back…time to solve it with with tools I know work; enter X-Lite. For those who may be unfamiliar with X-Lite, it’s a mature SIP softphone that has been around for a quite a while and it works very well with open-source SIP solutions. The best part about X-Lite is it’s free and works on multiple platforms.
With a quick download and a bit of focused web search I had X-Lite connected to TalkShoe and I was able to dial into the podcast session that I had previously been streaming.
- Download X-Lite here
- Open X-Lite and navigate to the account settings:
- Enter your TalkShoe username in the “User ID”, “Display name”, “Authorization Name” fields:
- Enter the VoIP address from the dial-in info of your TalkShoe session in the “Domain” field:
- Enter your TalkShoe password in the “Password” field:
- Uncheck the “Register with domain and receive calls” box:
- Click “OK”
That’s all there is to it. At this point you should see the green check mark and the status message of “Available” in your main X-Lite interface, like in the image below.
You can now use X-Lite to dial into the TalkShoe audio bridge for your session, just as if you were calling in from a phone on the PSTN, without paying for the call.
It’s noteworthy to point out that TalkShoe automatically stops the streaming audio when you dial in to the bridge so you don’t have to worry about feedback or receiving 2 unsynchronized streams of the session.
One last tip, make sure you to use the mute button in X-Lite when you don’t want to be heard. Your computer’s microphone is going to add your audio to the session’s bridge as soon as you get done entering your PIN and get connected.
I hope this helps some folks avoid needlessly paying carrier charges or lets them participate in podcasts that they otherwise would not have been able to. Drop me a comment and let me know if it worked for you. Happy podcasting!