The New York Times finally catches on to Skype. It's not perfect and, because it is proprietary, you really don't know what kind of security problems it has. Still, for family chatting or for cheap work-related calls, I've been very happy. Two things I'd recommend:
1. Only use it on a broadband (cable modem or DSL) network.
2. Don't pick a user name that's immediately recognizable as your name.
The username wasn't a problem for me, but because theresa's is recognizably a woman's name, she gets a lot more calls from teenage boys worldwide. She doesn't answer them and it is easy to block all calls except those in your contact list, but they are annoying.
I've had chats so far with people from Malaysia (a male student trying to find an excuse not to study), Turkey (a woman trying to learn English) and San Diego (a retired teacher passing on a joke he heard from someone in France). The world really is getting smaller.