Sunday, February 05, 2006


Okay, how about a bit of geek fun? Skype is a fun little program that allows you to talk to anyone else in the world running Skype using a headset with a microphone. Suitable headsets are pretty cheap these days, and Skype makes the whole process easy.

So, let's say that your family is in another state, but has a computer. You can call them using Skype from your computer to theirs for free. The cool thing about this is that, if you're a geek type, you're already paying for a fast Internet connection anyway, so Skype truly is free.

But, the folks at Skype weren't content to just have you calling computer to computer, and they also have a for-cost service that allows you to use your computer to call out to any regular telephone. The way it works is that your computer calls one of their computers close to the city in which the person you want to call lives, and then makes a local call to the telephone in question. You end up paying a lot less than regular long distance (it's about 2 cents per minute in the United States).

As if that wasn't enough, you can also buy a phone number from the Skype store that lets people with regular phones call your computer. The coolest thing about this option is that you can choose a phone number in several different countries. So, I could be sitting in Ohio, and my computer could have a phone number that's local to Paris, France. That'd really only be useful if I knew anyone in Paris, but it's still cool!

As a community building tool, Skype is interesting because you can set your status to "Skype Me", which means you're sitting at your computer wishing you had someone to talk to. Someone else can search the Skype directory for people with that status, so you might get a random call from another person looking to talk.

While none of the features of Skype are anything revolutionary if you've been following Voice Over IP over the years, they've put it all together in a very professional package that leaves the core feature, computer to computer telephony, absolutely free.

Now if I just had someone to call!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I did not know about this phone number in a different country feature of Skype. I may have to invest in a London telephone number so I can talk to my friends overseas more.

I'm positively a-squee with geekgirlishness.