For all you long distance labu labu (lovers) , as the Japanese say, surf on over to skype.com and download a copy of skype, voice over IP phone software.
the software which only runs on Win platforms. Sorry Robin.
Speakers and microphone or a headset
Internet. Dial up is fine.
Someone who has the program to talk with.
The sound quality is pretty good. Better than my oft dropped cel phone (where's that headset anyhow...). It may take a bit of tweaking the headset and mic levels before it sounds good. My mic, a cheapie labtec I picked up at Fry's three years ago, sounded pretty decent off the bat. James' headset had to be adjusted for a few minutes.
Cost- headset/microphone cost. Program and Calls are free. You do need internet access. But what are you doing reading this if you don't have internet access?
Pros- FREE calls. That means US - Australia, CA-NY, NY-WA.
Simple Installation. Really.
Voice Quality is good
Can speak at the same time without getting too garbled like earlier generations of voice over IP.
Should work in houses with meager cell phone reception.
Cons- Stuck in one spot chained to computer. Sorry, unless you're going with some fancy bluetooth/wireless headset, your stuck to your system. Those of you with wireless networks and notebooks, though, well, now you have a 5 lb phone.
Have to move around your headset boom mic a bit until it sounds right.
Lack of privacy if you have speakers instead of headset. You could always plug in a set of headphones, though.
Have fun chatting!