Vonage (www.vonage.com) allows use of any standard telephone with a broadband high-speed Internet connection. For a low price, you can make unlimited calls to anywhere in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico from anywhere in the world. Dialing international destinations is much cheaper than the usual rate plans. Receiving calls is more convenient now, too; you can have virtual local phone numbers in various countries and area codes. Online website support allows customization of voicemail and call forwarding options, instantly directing incoming calls to ring my office and mobile phones simultaneously and emailing me wave files of incoming voicemail messages.

Another invaluable tool is Skype (www.skype.com). From my laptop computer, it offers unlimited crystal-clear calls and easy-to-read instant messaging between Skype users, without the need for an actual telephone instrument. For a low rate, Skype users can call out to any actual telephone number.

Suddenly, the world has become a smaller, easier place to work productively.