Beyond the Hype of Skype December 25th, 2010
I’ve been using Skype for quite a few months now, mostly to video chat with my mom who lives a considerable distance from me.
Some basics about the technology: Skype allows you to make voice calls and more over the internet. You can use it just to talk on like a regular phone, or you can also video chat, instant message, share your screen, pass files, audio/video conference with multiple parties, etc. Cost is free to reasonable depending on how you use it. There are alternatives out there too, such as Google Talk, VoIPBuster and iChat. More generally these applications are called VoIPs, or Voice over Internet Protocols.
You can refer to other sources for some of the more basic info, but here are some more subtle, personal observations about using Skype – again from the perspective of mostly using it for video chatting with family.
- You find yourself chatting with family or friends you haven’t talked to that often, because they’re on Skype
- It’s contagious – people you Skype with end up seeking out others to Skype with
- Quoting a friend: “It’s amazing the emotions and feelings that can be conveyed with a smile, frown or one of a billion other expressions.”
- The younger kids sometimes tap on the screen and ask, “how did you get in there?!?”
- You can share your pets with people too
- You’re talking with your mom and she tries to show you something in her apartment – then disappointingly realizes that she cannot, because she’s talking to you on a normal phone, not video chatting on Skype
- If you’re someplace that has no or limited phone service, but you have a reasonable internet connection, Skype is a great alternative
- Along those lines: it’s a great option if you’re in a foreign country; you pay some for this but the rates are quite good. You can get it as an App on your smartphone too.
- It really is the next best thing to being there. It was nice to open presents together and spend an hour with my mom this Christmas, even though we were 2000 miles away.