Sunday, July 10, 2005


Three Conversations with B: #2, Skype

I'm usually in the bottom 20-30% when it comes to adopting a new technology. I didn't start seriously using email until about 1998. I bought my first DVD player a year ago. I hear there's this thing called an "Eyepod"...

But B got me somewhat ahead of the curve with Skype. True, there have been over 131 million downloads of their software, so I'm probably 131 million and two to get the technology. But none of my "Eyepod" using friends seem to have it, and I don't hear much buzz about it.

Skype is instant voice communication -- telephone -- over the web, and for the moment at least, it's free. No charge beyond whatever you're paying for your web access. All you need is a mic and earphones to plug into your computer, and Skype's download, and you're off. Oh, yeah, and people to talk to who have also signed up for the Skype service. B had several hours of transatlantic phone conversations with her work colleagues while we were in Germany.

I've had exactly one telecon on Skype. Not transatlantic. I was at Grandma Moses the other day and impulsively called B at home, about a mile (1050 steps) away. There I was talking into my computer. No sound came back -- B could hear me over her built-in speakers, but didn't have her mic handy, so she kept up her end with Skype's text IM window.

To the other coffee drinkers at Grandma Moses, I was just some nut talking to his laptop. Like the first wave of cell phone users with those discreet headsets who seemed to be talking to themselves on the street...


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