Thursday, February 18, 2010

Skype - a Novice's View

I make no apologies for this sounding like an infomercial, those 30-minute things they screen on TV on Sunday afternoons, or Monday mornings. I forget which; it's been so long ...

It IS information. I make no money by pushing Skype.

Skype burst into my consciousness about 4 years ago; a speaker at a networking meeting gave a talk on Skype. I seem to recall it involved a box which the other party (in South Australia) needed to have.

Soon the sales world jumped on Skype, and I began getting garbled telemarketing calls, garbled because THEY were using Skype/internet, and transmission from them to me was patchy. I had a landline, so from me to them sounded just fine.

Maybe they didn't know how bad they sounded, until I told them that I wouldn't do business with anyone who was too cheap to make a proper phone call.

Then two days ago a colleague 50 miles north from me (and hence long-distance charges) urged me to try it.

I'm Glad I Did

And I in turn urge you to try it.

There is a quick, single download from Skype's web site, and that, amazingly to me, is about it.

You get to key in your real name and your GMail address, a nickname or "handle", and you're in business.

Your correspondent knows how to find you and will initiate the first call; or you can search Skype's directory (I found a slew of relatives from my first marriage!) and start the call.

There is a share-screen function which I've used once, allowing me to watch what Michelle is doing on her computer, but rendering me impotent to stop her clicking where she shouldn't, unless I scream loudly enough and soon enough!

What It's Good for

IMHO it's good for long-distance chatty calls between friends and close colleagues.

I'd still not use it for business calls, except with peers. The client in NJ who writes cheques (to me) for thousands of dollars deserves my land line quality.

And any friend or colleague who tells me that transmission is iffy will get an immediate response from me that we switch to landlines.

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