In a meeting last week I mentioned how much I liked Skype, a couple of comments from other showed not everyone understood how it worked:
- “I can’t be bothered with all that typing”
- “What about when I have a bad hair day?”
Skype has lots of features, some of which are free to the user, while others are available as pay as you go or via a subscription. To use it you need:
- a Skype account;
- Skype software, it is available for most platforms from Windows computers, Macs, iPads, iPhones, Linux machines, Android and other mobile devices, it is also available on PlayStations and even TV.
- access to the internet, it can be anywhere in the world;
- if you want to use voice (as opposed to typing) you need speakers/microphone, a headset or handset;
- if you want to use video you will need a camera, many devices these days have these inbuilt.
I use the following features (all free unless otherwise indicated):
- The text instant messaging to check if someone is actually there and for a quick message.
- I have worked with people around the world and we left a Skype text window open to have a rolling conversation round the world.
- Sometimes we use the text message window alongside a conversation to make notes of a meeting (community minuting) which we can save and share later with each others and those that miss the meeting.
- Mostly I just use voice, much as a telephone, but with my Skype account to someone else’s. This is really useful when travelling.
- Voice conference calls are easy to set up and allow for easy collaboration.
- I rarely use video, my default is that my camera is turned off. But I do use it when talking to my family.
- It is possible to call out to landlines and mobiles, I use this paid service when I am travelling as it is much cheaper than my mobile.
- It is possible to share your screen with one other person for free (you need a subscription to share with more). I use this for technical things, such as explaining which button to press, or to help debug a program. But I also use it socially to share photos.
For more information check out their website http://www.skype.com