Monday, November 3, 2008

You Can Find Me Skypin'

A few weekends ago, my best friend and I were complaining about missing one another, and never getting enough time to spend face-to-face. This is normal and quite frequent conversation for us. We can catch up by phone but distractions alway seem to pop up and interrupt our conversation. So, we decided to replace our usual complaining with action, and stumbled upon Skype. We are now addicted to Skype, a web-based software that allows us to see each other while we talk through internet calling. The thing I have discovered about Skype, especially its video feature, is that somehow it is easier for me to schedule a Skype session than to orchestrate a successful phone call.

Most members use Skype for its unlimited, free Skype-to-Skype calls, but it has many other features. Users can get great rates on national and international calls, text messages, voicemail, an online number and call forwarding. These allow users and their friends to contact each other anytime, anywhere. Skype is also great for businesses, because conference calls can become actual conferences where ideas can be transmitted in a simulated round-table discussion. Skype is offered in 28 languages and is used is nearly every country in the world. 

As I think about this web technology, I am reminded of today's group presentation on GrandCentral, because, as noted in the presentation, GrandCentral was already outdated when it was released. Skype, which was introduced in 2003, and others like it, have been offering similar if not better services for quite some time. 

I prefer the video-calling feature because I love to see the faces of the people I love. With Skype, my best friend can show me her new apartment, and she can see how big my dog has gotten. Though these things seem insignificant, they are important to me. I have been over 400 miles away from my friends and family for the past three years, and it's difficult for me accept that our daily lives have very little to do with one another. I am the first to acknowledge when a technology is extravagant or unnecessary, and I don't think Skype is one of these. It's hard enough to stay in touch with loved ones to then have to worry about ever-increasing phone rates. Instead, all we have to do is log on and we are instantly connected.

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