You'd need to do some port-forwarding in each router (UDP 5060 + the RTP ports) and 'dial' the other site by IP address - it's not hard on the GXV phones and it saves setting up proxys/sip servers/asterisk, etc. If you set each phone to auto-answer then it's not hard to re-establish the link if it fails for whatever reason.
Failing that, if you want to be PC/Laptop based - look for Ekiga...
I use a combination of GXV3000 video phones, Ekiga and my Nokia N900 to make/take video calls from my family and in-laws, although I use an Asterisk server to co-ordinate everything and we don't stream 24/7!
Example of a bit of email they sent me:
Once again I am very sorry that you feel that I haven't been of service to you and that you feel really angry, upset and disappointed.
What I sent them: You haven't been of service to me and now I'm really angry, upset and dissapointed.
In response to their: Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you.
BTcare - what a joke.
A quick google finds this 50 million texts an hour sent in the UK:
The real contention starts when BT wholesale pass feed it into the retail ISPs - such as BT retail who have a grossly overloaded network.
But you get what you pay for. I pay for a business service and get 8Mb in and 800Kb out 24/7.
BT are many companies - BT retail - the ISP in this case is just one of over 100 ISPs who use the BT Wholesale network.
The BT wholesale network is actually relatively good - it's when BTW hand the data over to the retail ISP that things go wrong. BT retail in this case are a very large ISP, therefore have a lot of clout. They also have a grossly overloaded network.
So just pick another ISP that uses the BT wholesale network and you'll get an almost instantly better service.
In my case, I'm using software and configurations I first used in the early 90's - the underlying hardware has changed, buy my desktop still looks the same, email client is the same and so on... Sure, updated versions of them as the years have gone on, but it's essentially the same computer as far as I'm concerned.
Just like my great grandfathers axe - passed down the generations - over the years it's had a new shaft and head, but it's still my great grandfathers old axe...
I prefer imperial units. I know metric units are more simple and logical, but... "A pint's a pound the world around."
Pints are 20 oz where I am. Pounds are 16. Remind me to never order a pint of beer in your country.
I currently use the on-board "BIOS" to PXE boot them first time round which I then use to write the image to the compact-flash card, so keeping that around is handy.
However, I can live with the boot time of my units - little Linux/Asterisk boxes. They boot fast enough for this purpose, ta!
I build little embedded(ish) systems myself - AMD Geode boxards (ALIX) and my custom compiled kernel boots in 1.08 seconds (according to kernel output) If I didn't compile in networking and USB, I'm sure it would be under a second.
The biggest time is the boards BIOS (5 seconds), then loading the image off flash then the kernel uncompressed and boots - 1.08 seconds.
If I had more access to the board and had 4MB of flash ram as part of the memory map, then I could eliminate the long BIOS + Load times and jump into kernel on cycle 0. That's where the trick is, I guess - a fast load of the kernel into RAM, or keep it in FLASH that's part of the memory map.
After the kernel is loaded it's just userspace - I run a cut-down system, but it still takes another 15-20 seconds or so to get time, dns, networking, apache, etc. going. You're probably not doing that with an in-car device or a camera, etc.
So it's not really hard to make a kernel boot fast and possibly even launch one application - the big savings are going to be on the hardware when you can eliminate BIOS and load times, and the amount of userland you then have to load - which is the real difference between "embedded" and general purpose (e.g. desktop)
I have a copy of the original "red book" with hand-written notes on shape tables, etc. I also had a plethora of other sources of information - the Wozpack, Disk Doctor, early copies of call-apple and coutless others which were hard to come-by in the UK at the time.
Kids of today, get off my lawn, etc.
So what we have now are "appliances" and lawyers.
And as they say; If you can't open it, you don't own it.
It's hard to think of you as the end result of millions of years of evolution.