What is Skype? – Here’s The Skinny To Get You Started

What is Skype:

  • Skype is communications software that you can use on your computer, tablet, smartphone and other devices.
  • It runs on computers running Windows, Mac and Linux.
  • You can do instant messaging, voice calls and video calls

My Experience with Skype:

I first started using Skype about four years ago mostly for the instant messaging feature. I communicate with friends and colleagues across North America and also Europe and it is easy to use.

Also a lot of people I know were switching from MSN to Skype and I decided to give it a try. I still have my MSN Messenger account today, but I mostly use Skype for instant messaging. This is because I like their service and most everyone I know has also switched to Skype now. I guess they like it too.

And now you can blend your MSN Live accounts into your Skype interface and just use Skype. So another vote for Skype. What do you think? If you have any thoughts on Skype and your experiences, please leave a comment below, I’d loved to hear from you.

If you are already “instant messaging” your friends with Skype, then it’s pretty easy to stop taping on your keypad and place a call and since it is free if you are calling someone on Skype, it also easy on your wallet. This is called a Skype to Skype call.

Enough on the comparison, time to get the skinny on Skype.

So how is Skype today? Instant messaging is rock solid and I’ve never had any problems with it.
Skype to Skype calls are usually very good, but sometimes I get dropped calls when talking to more than one person on Skype. I’ve also noticed that the call can be garbled at times. Again, this is usually in conference calls when I’m talking to more than one caller. I rarely have any problems when I’m just calling one person on Skype.

Skype to Landline calls have always been very good and no issues there. This includes calling toll free and long distance numbers. I have unlimited world so all of my landline calls our covered under one monthly bill.

Skype to Mobile calls also work very well for me. Skype to mobile calls are not covered under my unlimited world and I pay on a minute by minute charge. It doesn’t cost a lot, but if you do not have any money in your account you will not be able to complete your call. This is something to check if you are calling someone and you can’t complete the call. Maybe you are calling a mobile phone.

Summary:

As you can probably tell from this article that I really like Skype and I use it a lot. If you haven’t used Skype, I recommend you give it a try.

So what is your experience with Skype? Enjoy reading your feedback below…

The VoipGirl is back

It’s been a few years since I’ ve posted an article on this site and I’m back now and ready to start reviewing products and writing articles again. The last week was spent getting the site up to the latest version of WordPress and this is the first post since that was done.

After a bit of work and help from a friend, thevoipgirl.com site is now running WP version 3.5.1. I went for a basic theme to get started but I may update the site to a StudioPress site in the future. I really like StudioPress, but for the short term I’m using the 2010 theme.

The site has moved to the latest version of WordPress, but I still need to do some work to get the teamplate all setup and looking good. I was really keen to start writing again and I will update the site as I go.

Since this is the first post in awhile, this is also a test post to make sure everything is working and re-introduce the site.

It’s has been awhile since I’ve written an article and the technology has really changed, it’s going to be exciting reviewing new products and providing my feedback. As always, I really appreciate your comments and feedback.

From reviewing the latest comments I see a lot of interest in Skype and I’m planning on reviewing this software and writing some tips. Well that is it for now and more to come shortly.

Truphone (David) and T-Mobile (Goliath) Story Continues

By now the VOIP world knows of Truphone’s victory in court over mobile giant T-Mobile. Yesterday, UK Truphone won an injunction against T-Mobile blocking calls to Truphone users: For the last month, anyone calling a Truphone number on T-Mobile network would hear a "Number not in service" message. By Monday, July 23, T-Mobile has been instructed to start routing these calls.

There’s plenty of cheering on the Truphone website, http://truphone.blogspot.com/2007/07/truphone-wins-court-injunction-against.html but I have yet to find T-Mobile’s official or unofficial response. I couldn’t find anything on their website. In the spirit of gathering the whole picture, let me know if you find a company statement or interview anywhere. 

Least Cost Routing with AvantiMobile

This caught my eye today. AvantiMobile in the UK is marketing something called Least Cost Routing for mobile phones. When you make a call, the Avantimobile application in your phone checks to see if it can be routed cheaply through their VOIP network. If it can’t, the call goes through the regular cell network. You don’t have to do a thing except dial. It sounds simple and I like that.

Trying to absorb all my choices when it comes to new VOIP handsets, services and applications makes me feel like I need a flow chart just to make a call. Just look at Andy’s list of what he uses day to day!

 

More thoughts on Nokia N95

Luca Filigheddu just posted some interesting comments on testing the N95 the last few months. It reminded me to add a comment of my own.  The cord for the ear buds is two short when the handset is carried at the waist. You’ve got to bend over or tilt your head sideways (looks dorky). The ear piece jack is not a standard size (3.5 mm instead of 2.5 mm) so you may have to hunt around to find something else with a longer cord and mic.

VOIPGirl Recommends Semiologic Pro

This week thevoipgirl.com went down in flames for the first time. I think it was out for a couple of days after I upgraded my WordPress template and then managed to hose my site. After the initial shock, depression set in since I have absolutely NO idea how PHP works. Thankfully the WP template I’m using is superbly supported by its creator and other code wizards. It turned out to be something wonky with the permissions in my index.php and nothing to do with upgrading (greek to me). So, the reason for this post, in a nutshell, is to recommend this highly customizable and well supported template. Check out Semiologic Pro by Denis de Bernardy. Cheers!

But Jajah Says No Headset is Best

Yes, I just bought a new headset. So when I read about Jajah’s new No Headset movement, I thought, ‘forget it Leanne, you can’t win’. They even have a web site:  http://www.noheadset.com. You can check out flicks of people trashing their headsets. (I’m not going to slapshot my shiny new $100 headset thanks.)

However, my take on this campaign can be summarized by their new tag line "If You Liked Skype, You’ll Love JAJAH". It’s a way to put themselves in the same league as Skype but also to differentiate in a way that says we do what Skype does and we do it better. Unlike Skype, JAJAH lets you make internet calls using your regular desktop phone, which is great. But, don’t some people choose headsets because they want to be "handsfree"? If that’s the case, blowing up your headset would be BAD. Whatever.

USB Solves Headset Headaches

It’s been about a year since I bought my Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop and I’ve really loved it, except for one little thing that’s become a big annoying problem. When I have a headset plugged in, I quite often hear squealch-like static that renders the conversation inaudible. Calls I’ve had on SightSpeed and Skype have been plagued by this problem, and until now I always put it down to cheap headset hardware. Instead it turns out to be a Dell design flaw.  My searches on the Dell forums indicate that it’s been more than just me experiencing this static and the culprit seems to be a wonky bit of wiring in the headset jack.

So, I’ve broke up with analog headsets  forever and purchased a Plantronics DSP-400 folding USB headset. So far so good. It’s a wired headset and costs about $100.

Some wireless headsets worth a look if you’re having a similiar Dell moment is the Plantronics CS-50 USB Wireless Headset, Plantronics Voyager 510 Bluetooth Headset, or the Plantronics Audio 910 Bluetooth headset. All are pricey but going wireless may be worth it.

The intrepid Tom Keating reviews two headsets here:

http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/tom-keating/gadgets/plantronics-voyager-510usb-bluetooth-headset-review.asp

http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/tom-keating/headsets/plantronics-audio-910-headset.asp

 

Now that’s practical IM

This morning I was down in our basement office pecking away. It’s a great spot to hide. I am effectively cut off from the what’s going on in the rest of the house (a blessing at times). Can’t hear a thing…no doorbell, kids pummeling each other, or the kettle… I guess my husband got tired of the kettle screeching away so he sent me a text message from the kitchen PC. "Hi…water boiling". Now that’s practical IM.

Skype Call Transfer

Thanks to Tom Keating for alerting me to Skype’s new call transfer feature. Tom points out that this feature that smooths the way for Skype as a practical business phone system.

Call transfer is available as part of Skype 3.5 BETA so it’s still in trial mode. You won’t get this version by updating Skype from the Help menu. You need to go here and download the beta.