Monday, November 28, 2005

Favorite Gadget #5 - Skype

Last year on our way down the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula, while anchored in Magdalena Bay, we heard another boat on marine radio touting the latest gimmick on the internet.  It had the unusual name, Skype.  According to the testimonial, one could make free telephone calls over the internet.  We wrongly assumed that this was some kind of “techy fever”, probably for computer geeks only and forgot about it.

 

But later in our cruise we began to have a need to make phone calls back to the states, and while it is possible to make phone calls using phone cards from pay phones in Mexico, we thought it would be much easier, not to mention much less expensive if this Skype thing really worked.

 

Well, in short, it does.  At least most of the time.  It is affected by the quality and speed of your connection.  So at times when we are using wireless connections at less then full strength, the people we call may have a hard time hearing every word we say, and sometimes there is a delay between the end of a spoken sentence and when it starts to be heard at the other end.

 

Skype is currently a free download from the internet.  Calls between Skype users are free.  Skype users can call non-Skype contacts (using ordinary phone numbers) for 2 cents a minute.  Until recently it has not been possible for a non-Skype contact to call a Skype user from a regular phone or cell phone.  This would of course require that a Skype user have a regular phone number somewhere.  Skype is just now beta-testing this capability and we haven’t yet signed up.  It will cost about $40 per year to establish a US-based phone number.

 

To use Skype after we have successfully downloaded it is very simple.  As soon as we have established an internet connection we can look at the Skype window and it will tell us if any of our regular Skype contacts are also online.  It will also notify us if one of them signs on to the internet while we are online.  If one of them is online, we simply click on their name and Skype places the call.  Our laptop rings like a phone.  Unless you have a built in microphone, you will also need a computer headset.  These are pretty cheap Radio Shack, CompUSA, etc.  They have two plugs, one for the microphone and one for the headphones.  We often just plug the mike in and use the computer’s speakers so both of us can hear what is being said.

 

We can only talk to other Skype users if they are also online.  However, we can call anyone with a regular (or cell) phone number.  We just set them up as what is called a Skype-Out contact, click on their name and once again the computer dials the number.

 

When we got to San Carlos last spring, we needed to make a lot of phone calls and Skype made it a lot easier.  So, if you’d like to call us for free, or any of your friends around the world for 2 cents a minute, give Skype a try.  Over 211 million people have downloaded it to date.  Just click here, www.skype.com

 

Our Skype name is: svkavenga

 

 

6 Comments:

At December 14, 2005 at 7:03 PM, Blogger cmeltifa said...

What up kavenga! I just finished up a ten hour work day and decided to kick back and do some surfing. So I grabbed myself a drink and stumbled across your blog while doing some research on seattle hotel discounts for a upcoming project I am doing. Well even though Favorite Gadget #5 - Skype isn’t what I was looking for I really enjoyed reading your blog. Your doing a great job and please keep up the good work. Lots of people do not keep their blogs up to date :0) There are some very interesting view points stated here. Anyways I am going to grab the bull by the horns and continue to plug away at seattle hotel discounts. I have already bookmarked your blog. You many want to visit me at seattle hotel discounts. You never know you might see something you like! Again great job.

 
At December 15, 2005 at 6:22 PM, Blogger Rebek said...

Hey kavenga. Very nice blog :0) I just got inside from washing and waxing my truck. It is my baby. Took me 2 hours though. So I settled down into my basement and started doing some web surfing. Anyways I am in the process of grabbing my masters degree and have spent the last 6 months researching . In the midst of my surfing I landed smack dab in the middle of your blog. I hope you do not think I am intruding but I must say it is great blog. Even though Favorite Gadget #5 - Skype is way off base from I found myself cruising through your blog archives for the last half hour :0) You have some nice blogging friends. Anyways, I need to get back to my mission. I wrote don’t your url and feel free to visit me here at . I am so busy so I can only update my site monthly. Keep up the great work.

 
At December 16, 2005 at 5:01 PM, Blogger hplauze said...

Well this blog certainly is not about hotel discount codes. What the heck! I guess the internet can play some tricks on us sometimes. I have been on-line for two hours
researching hotel discount codes and came tumbling across your blog. I LOVE IT! I needed a break from hotel discount codes anyways :-) If you don't mind I want to add your
blog to my favorites list so I can come back later on and read some more stuff. Well I guess I should get back to researching hotel discount codes.
Even though my search is not on Favorite Gadget #5 - Skype I am glad I came across your blog. Keep blogging away!

 
At December 17, 2005 at 4:43 PM, Blogger Derek said...

Hey this blog is not about hotel discount codes. Silly internet bringing me here :-) Funny I have been doing hours of research on hotel discount codes and it brought me to your blog on Favorite Gadget #5 - Skype. The web plays funny games sometimes. Anyways, I was reading your blog kavenga and I think it is really cool. Keep up the great work.
If you do not mind I may snag your blog and put it in my favorites. I read a ton of stuff that interested me. Keep blogging away :-)

 
At December 19, 2005 at 1:51 PM, Blogger hplauze said...

Hey kavenga. Very nice blog :0) I just got inside from washing and waxing my truck. It is my baby. Took me 2 hours though. So I settled down into my basement and started doing some web surfing. Anyways I am in the process of grabbing my masters degree and have spent the last 6 months researching discount hotels in paris. In the midst of my surfing I landed smack dab in the middle of your blog. I hope you do not think I am intruding but I must say it is great blog. Even though Favorite Gadget #5 - Skype is way off base from discount hotels in paris I found myself cruising through your blog archives for the last half hour :0) You have some nice blogging friends. Anyways, I need to get back to my mission. I wrote don’t your url and feel free to visit me here at discount hotels in paris. I am so busy so I can only update my site monthly. Keep up the great work.

 
At February 21, 2006 at 7:15 AM, Blogger Lab54 said...

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