Sunday, March 19, 2006

Skype's not Hype

I installed Skype on Thursday, but the folks I knew who use it regularly weren't around, so that's about as far as I got.

Today, I was more persistent. It paid off.

Stephe, in Seattle, had been telling me he'd used it a lot; I thought I'd call him on his cell and have him walk me through it. No answer.

Next, I went over to Gmail and saw that a friend at Western State was on, and available to chat.

I popped up a chat window. Tristan quickly downloaded the software and tried it out. I couldn't hear him, but he said (via the chat) that he could hear me fine. I was using my iBook's built-in speakers and microphone. Tristan was running Linux, and had never tried using his microphone from FC4, so he went off to investigate.

Next, I saw a pal in Romania was up, at 2:00 in the morning. Sebastian is the guy who first invited me to Gmail. I popped up another chat window.

"Do you have Skype?" I asked.

"What's your Skype name?" Sebastian replied. As soon as I could get it typed in, my "phone" rang.

Wow. The voice quality is excellent, and there's no noticeable delay. To Romania. For free.

As we were talking, Stephe called me. Contact again. Finally Tristan called back, because he'd figured out how to turn on his mike.

Two countries and three operating systems (OS/X, Linux, and Windows).

Voice over IP. It just works. It's amazing. It's free.

No wonder the phone companies are worried.


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