I recently discovered http://www.postful.com/ as a virtualization tool, and decided to repost my current tools for maintaining a remote presence in the United States while living in Asia.
- http://www.earthclassmail.com/ is a remote mailbox/remailer that can scan items into pdf. $9.95 x 12 at one time (March 17, 2009 + 9.95/mo. (for Seattle non-P.O. mailbox). Total cost per year = $238.80 + remailing charges (mostly not used, as PDF copies of my mail is usually good enough)
- http://www.faxaway.com/ inbound and outbound faxing. $10 to start, no monthly, decrement on outgoing and incoming. Inbound (206) fax number and faxing text/pdf from email with per use charges. Total cost per year ~$10 (low volume)
- http://www.gizmo5.com/ offers voicemail and inbound calling for $35/year (plus per minute) and for an extra $4/year outbound caller ID. This is much cheaper than the $60/year Skype for similar service, and more flexibility in terms of area code choices. Total cost per year ~$40.00
- Of course we have to use http://www.skype.com/ at various times, for per minute outbound and Skype-to-Skype. I did have $2.95/mo unlimited Canada and USA but no longer. Instead I stick with the 0.021/min to USA. Total cost per year ~$40. (Note: I also have a local phone sim in Asia and pay maybe $5-10/mo for local phone service, but this should not be included in virtualization costs.)
- http://www.postful.com/ for email text/pdf to snailmail which has per item charges. ~10.00-20.00/year
Total costs for the remote presence is around $360/year ($30/mo) to maintain a remote presence, as well as the convenience of managing the presence using the web and email.