Why I Use.. SKYPE

March 13, 2009

in Humor/Satire,Righteous Reviews

This week I’ve explained why I use certain internet software and programs and wondered why some people don’t.

We’re wrapping it up with Skype, the magical video to video chat program.

Here’s what we’ve covered so far..

Monday – Twitter/Tweetdeck (I no longer use Tweetdeck and haven’t a clue why I’m still using Twitter, so I deleted the post.)

Tuesday – Firefox

Wednesday – Gmail

Thursday – Google Reader/Google Docs

So, let’s continue with..

Guess what? We’re here!

The Future is HERE!

The Future is HERE!

By “here”, I mean all of those futuristic portrayals of video phones we see in 1940′s – 50′s media. They thought that someday we’d be talking to each other on video screens, and they were right. It’s just that it hasn’t quite come around the way they said it would.

Skype is a free program you download from Skype.com. You can install it on either your Windows or Mac computer and then you can talk to me on video by adding “daverhodester” as a contact.

“Rhodester” was taken, so if any of you know who took that, please punch him/her in the nose for me.

The Internet is all about options these days and Skype is no exception. You can just text chat like any chat program or chat room if you’re camera shy or don’t have a web cam. You can enable “voice only” if you don’t want to be seen but don’t want to sit there typing away. I’ve used it various ways, according to however the person at the other end wants to do it.

Sometimes we’ve just text chatted (how very 1995!) while at other times I’ve had my web cam and mic on while they just have mic but no camera.

When you go to the Skype website, one of the things you’ll see prominently displayed is “BUY SKYPE CREDIT.” This is only if you want to talk to someone on their phone, be it a cell phone or land line, by calling them using your Skype program. When you add me – daverhodester – and we call Skype to Skype, it’s free.

Now that web cams are so cheap and prolific, plus it’s so easy to get one and install it, programs and sites that use video streaming are commonplace. For a while I was using STICKAM, which enables you to have a video chat room and be on camera while up to six other participants are on camera, plus an unlimited number of other users can be in the chat room at the same time.

Leo LaPorte The Tech Guy

Leo LaPorte The Tech Guy

I haven’t held a Stickam session in quite a while but if you want to add me, feel free – I might fire it up again soon. It’s a web based application – no software to download – so it’s kind of buggy and likes to crash a lot in the middle of your sessions. It’s also a pedophiliac paradise that’s rife with sweet young things who flash their boobies, but it has a few prominent members who hold frequent booby-free sessions, like Leo LaPorte the tech guy.


In getting back to Skype, I’d like to talk about Google for a moment.

This is because I’ve been talking about Google all week and, as you already know,  I use Gmail, Google Reader, Google Docs, Google Calendar and Google Chat. But lately I’ve been using Skype more than Google Chat, despite the fact that Google thought they’d get all Skype-y and add the ability to do video and sound chat to their chat system.

You don’t even have to download software to use the Google Chat video – it’s all web based. I haven’t tried it because I haven’t been able to get anyone to try it with me. People are slow to catch on – one of my friends who has a nice MacBook didn’t even know she had a built-in web cam. Also, the people I hold a video chat with are already using Skype so they’re all, “Why would I try the Google thing? I like Skype!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out a couple of problems with Skype, because we’re not exactly in the Star Trek era just yet, where technology is perfect and things never go wrong.

Starship Enterprise Crash

When I talk to Grandad in Ireland, everything is fine. We have good audio and video, and he shows me his garden while I show him our Palm Springs swimming pool. When I talk to Jamie Grove in Ohio, the audio cuts out – EVERY TIME – and it drives me friggin bonkers because we’re trying to plan world conquest and, dammit, you can’t take over the world if you have audio problems.

Speaking of audio problems, someone on Twitter actually said this to me – “I’m enjoying your series and looking forward to Friday’s Skype write-up. I’ve tried to use it but can’t get my audio card to work with it. Maybe I’ll get some tips in your post.” To this person I say, “what’s an audio card?”

You might want to ask this guy instead..

Leo LaPorte


I have some other friends who are on the road, traveling in an RV and using a satellite link up for Internet. They recently said they couldn’t do a Skype video session for a while because Skype ate up all their bandwidth allotment, so they had to settle for just plain old text chat. Bugger! We don’t have a bandwidth allotment, as far as I know.

In closing, here’s what I like about Skype..

In yesterday’s post I spoke of my mother-in-law Phyllis. She and my other half, coffeesister, are close – kind of  like Lorelai and Rory.

But Phyllis lives in a different part of California, up in a mountain community that’s only accessible by Yak. They do have broadband Internet though, so we managed to finally get Phyllis to download Skype. She did, and the other night she and her daughter had a five hour Skype video session.

They spent the evening together, enjoying tea, chat and a cozy fire in the fireplace (on Phyllis’ end.. here, we just turned on the oven and opened the door).

They both ran it “full screen” on their laptops, so it kind of felt like they were actually in the room with each other, except they were both flat and two dimensional, plus they also had a bit of digital blocking wherein they had little squares on their faces and the colors weren’t accurate. But otherwise, the session was trouble free. There were no audio or video glitches and best of all, it didn’t cost us a thing except our normal broadband internet bill.

Phyllis, have another cup of tea.

Everyone else, download Skype here. Once it’s set-up, add “daverhodester” and give me a call. Let’s talk about stuff.

Tell the WORLD..
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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sidfaiwu March 13, 2009 at 11:14 am

*ahem*

I believe the exact wording of my tweets was

I’m enjoying your “Why I Use” series. I already use all them except Skype. Skype and my audio card don’t play nice… I’ve read that others with the same card have gotten Skype to work, but I lack that level of tech savvy. Maybe your forthcoming writeup on it will convince me to learn how.

I think I’ll just install it on my wife’s laptop instead.

I enjoyed the post, especially the part about the two-dimensional Yak named Phyllis, or something like that.

sidfaiwu´s brilliant babbling..Home Schooling Minefield – Part I

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2 RhodesTer March 13, 2009 at 11:16 am

How certain are you I was referring to you?

That yak happens to be my mother-in-law.

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3 sidfaiwu March 13, 2009 at 11:20 am

93.764% certain with +/- 117% error.

sidfaiwu´s brilliant babbling..Home Schooling Minefield – Part I

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4 RhodesTer March 13, 2009 at 11:55 am

You see now? I was referring to someone called “sadfiwe”, so you’re close but no cigar. Can’t smoke in here anyway.

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