I have a few friends scattered about the world and long distance calls can really start to add up. Even though I have a long distance plan on my cell phone, it still uses up a lot of minutes. Now, though, I have Skype
and I can talk as long as I want for free.
At it's simplest, Skype is a Voice Over IP (VOIP) program that allows you to call from one computer to another (or even create a conference call.) As long as I have an Internet connection i.e. Starbucks, Library other public Wi-Fi, I can make and receive calls to other Skype users.
For an additional fee, though, you can make a Skype call to almost any phone in the world, for an absurdly low rate, compared to using the telephone. This service is called SkypeOut. A new service, SkypeIn, allows you to buy a real phone number, which can be called by any other, normal phone. Instead of ringing your home phone, though, it rings your PC via Skype.
There are a lot of additional features, including Voice Mail, but the software (available for Windows 2000, XP, Pocket PC, Mac OS X and Linux) and the basic service is free. Additionally, I am setting it up so I can record interviews for my Career Opportunities podcast. Since it is compu0ter-based, a little creative routing of the sound inputs and I am set up for a remote interview using only my Mac.
If you would like to try out Skype, download the software from http://www.skype.com/. Then, add DouglasWelch to your contacts list and give me a call. I try to mark myself away when I am out of the office, but I will see that you tried to call when I return to the office.
Skype Id: DouglasWelch
Skype Version 1.2 Released
Skype has just released version 1.2 of its popular VoIP application. Some of the new features, which were added in response to users' requests, are new central contact list for remote access (previously contact were stored locally), new multi-application contact import (compatible with Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, MSN Messenger and Opera, and others), multiple file transfer, updated sounds, and more customizable personal settings. More...