I finally got around to using Skype to talk to Shelley back in Saskatoon, Canada from Loreto, Baja Mexico where I am currently.
The first time we connected we couldn't hear each other, although we both heard the "ringing" in our headsets. At least we had the Chat facility to try to debug the problem. It was a little harder since I was on the Mac version and Shelley was on the Windows version, so the menu options are different. On the Windows version the settings are in a "Personalize" option - which seems like a rather odd choice of name. (On the Mac it's the standard Skype > Preferences)
Everything seemed ok so we tried again and this time it worked. Not sure why it didn't work the first time. The only thing I can think of was that Windows hadn't finished recognizing the USB headset (Shelley had only just plugged it in).
I could hear Shelley great. She said my sound quality wasn't so good. That might have been due to my bluetooth headset. The microphone is quite far from my mouth. And on top of that, I was outside on the deck (to reach the wireless) and there was a breeze and traffic noises. There's a definite lag time and you pretty much had to take turns talking, but it was definitely usable.
I wouldn't want to use it as my regular phone, but it beats dealing with long distance when I already have an internet connection.
Pretty amazing - bluetooth from headset to laptop, wireless from laptop, and then by internet across North America. And all for "free" :-) And more amazingly, given all the software involved, it works.