Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Skype Connects The World via Internet Phone Calls

I recently heard on a podcast by This Week in Tech about an internet telephony service named Skype.

Although I had heard of Skype before and had been to their website, I never was motivated to really check the service out.

But after hearing that the podcast was created by a conference call held on Skype, I gave the service another look.

I ordered a digital usb headset from eBay which arrived yesterday. The headset cost was a little under $20. But you can obtain one from a local computer store for about $10. Just make sure that the headset does not require any additional software or a CD if you are using Windows XP.

I had already downloaded and installed the software so after connecting the headset, I was off and running. But due to the time being in the early evening, there was virtually no one to talk to online.

During the installation, the software checked my MS Outlook address book and none of my contacts are subscribers of Skype yet.

There is a search feature within Skype that you can use to search for people worldwide. You can look at the each person's profile and it pretty much looks like Yahoo! Messenger.

But when you add the sound, this service is a totally different animal.

I continued to search for people who were available to chat (called Skype Me) as their status indicated.

Since I could not find anyone in the US to talk to, I paid 10 euros ($12.91) for 10 hours of talking time. The calls could be made to any land line phone (residential, commercial, and/or cell phone) or anywhere worldwide.

All domestic calls are currently free!

I talked to a guy named Nick in Canberra, Australia for several minutes until he lost his dial up connection. Skype works with broadband and dial up accounts.

Nick called me back and we talked some more about the size of our families, the weather, the calls he has made using Skype, and the fact that he was my first call using Skype.

It was a great conversation to have with someone that I completely did not know. Who said that you cannot talk to strangers?

Now I wonder if the headset can be used with other instant messaging services. But I believe that it will be used best for Skype itself as well as to create my own podcasts that are coming soon.

If you decide to check out Skype based on this review, then mention me as the referral source and do not forget to Skype Me!

My Skype user id is wysiwysell.


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