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As a frequent home internet user I was keen to obtain a program that I use frequently to go with my collection, i.e. fire fox and msn messenger, and soon enough I heard a media frenzy promoting a program named Skype, instantly I was interested, the main selling point at the time being that it was free, and free to call other users of the network, this got me interested, I downloaded it and I was off.
I have recently taken advantage of most of Skypes services such as video connection, the chatting with friends, and of course the calling, especially through Skype Out, the program in which drastically cuts down your phone bill, so you can treat your home phone as pay as you go instead of contract.
Get Skype at http://www.skype.com ========== What does Skype do?
Skype is a program in which will install on your computer, and then with a microphone and speakers will allow you to call any person within the Skype network for free, also you can construct what Skype call a buddy list, enabling you to add contacts who you have become friends with or who are already your friends. This then enables you to call or chat to them at any time
The thing about Skype that defines its originality is the fact that you can call people from the computer who are on a landline anywhere in the world for a euro an hour, this revolutionary service has already dominated business's around the globe, not only enabling them to have 1 on 1 phone calls cheaply, but also allowing them to have conferences with up to 5 people in, this can be mixed and matched with up to 5 people, online Skype members or landline, making it the ultimate business tool.
= Using SkypeTo begin, the user has to simply sign up to the service by supplying a few personal details, and then after doing so download the program itself, in which will be installed to your hard drive, enabling you to use it any time you wish to open it through the start menu. Once this is all set up then you can begin to take advantage of some of Skypes features. To begin with you can personalise your Skype address, once you have chosen your username, you can create a profile for you're account which will be relayed to any user who finds your account.
fill out your profile details it is a recommended that you do it truthfully, this will benefit you because people will be able to contact you who live near you, or in fact know you, as in the future this could well become an effective replacement for the phone book, two of my friends have recently added me by searching for members in my home town.
When you have filled out your personal Details you can then add a picture as your Avatar, a display picture that people will see when they view your profile, this can be any picture that you have in your hard drive or digital camera, as well as many ready made avatars that Skype have created for you to use.
Skype is not only a phone interface, you can also chat to your contacts or people who you find through the Skype search engine, this enables you to type a message and send it and they will instantly receive it, in response they can message you and you will instantly receive it, this creates another feature of Skype that can be very usefull if you are not in the mood to phone someone, or in fact have not plugged in your microphone or speakers.
It is also possible to browse the internet while using skype, making it possible to talk about a website while talking about it to your peers, this is excellent when in a meeting or an event similar as it allows you to get information quickly , especially seeing as you have the internet at your fingers while having the ablility to talk to virtually anyone.
======== Setting up
If your are computer illiterate then DON'T worry, Skype have created a user friendly environment in which you can set up your Skype program
1.First of all the tab "START" when you click on it will enable you to select what features, or in other words, what you personally want out of Skype, doing so you can fill in the personal details, any parts of the profile in which you wish to set up. This benefits the user directly in the fact that it is really very simple to attain, with guidance from the Skype Crew.
2. Ok so you are set up technically, you now have many options, you can enter money into Skype, enabling you to call real phones, to start off you enter 10 euros credit which if you use on calling landlines will last you a good 10 hours, you will then be able to enter your number in to the Dial tab which will let you call people anywhere in the world, however you need to find out the country codes, for the Uk is +44, but say you were to call France you would simply lookup the country number, to do this open Skypes number engine, which you type in the number you wish to call in a specific country, and it converts it into what you need to type into Skype. Theoretically you only need to do this once, as you can add a "Skype out contact", this means that it will store your number under the Alias in which you wish to use to display the number. Now you can call the contact on the click on the name, this may be time consuming but once done will last forever.
3.If you wish to meet or call people online then you can simply use the search engine's advanced criteria, this will enable you to customise the results of your search, if you want people from a certain town, county or even a certain profession, you can find all of them who are registered on Skype within a few clicks, the only criticism I would have about this part of Skype is that it always appears to miss out some people some times and then not others if you were to do it a few times with the same criteria, but if you are looking for people in general then it is a great sampling method.
The dial tab enables you to dial in a phone dialling pad interface which is useful if you are not used to the numbers on they keyboard, you can also see exactly what all the buttons do for example "#", it is also used for in call pressing of buttons for example when you are on with an automated operating caller.
The call quality can admittedly vary , but when you are purely doing it digitally( to other contacts ) then the sound quality is crisp and you can hear the other persons microphone very clearly enabling you to talk for as long as you want as long as they are online If you are using Skype out, then call quality can vary a lot, but generally it is very good, however in the past I have used it to call business's and it appears to be muffled, that may of course be my hardware but I am unable to identify the route.
================ Great for everyone! I honestly believe the Skype has a distinct advantage for everyone who uses it, and whoever uses it will find it useful in a different way. Keen game players often use a program named "team speak" fundamentally this is the same as Skype, but is designed specifically aimed at people who play team games, Skype will cover the same grounds with its conference call, and can even be used to call people on landlines at the same time enabling the user to call people at home and online at the same time.Relatives abroad? Always regretting not being able to talk to them because of the extortionate pricing, now it is not a problem because it is the same price as calling the house next-door, simply cheap, and can be used for hours on end.
Business Conferencing/ Dealing abroad Business conferencing could never be simpler, simply select the contacts that you wish to add to your conference and you are away, it offers all of the contacts In your contact books, so you can click on them, and the next thing you know it is ringing, you can reach people from anywhere in the world with a cheap rate, what else could be so economically pleasing, for a fantastic price.
==================== Disadvantages People find the whole idea of the Internet let alone Skype fundamentally overwhelming, and are hesitant of purchasing the software because of a techno phobic society in the older generation / computer illiterate. Connection speed needs to be broadband to use the service to use it to the full potential The connection has to be used constantly to let people phone into the service, otherwise it will go to answer phone. =========================== CompatibilityThe computer system being used needs to be relatively up to date, preferable post windows 2000 and the system needs a microphone, or USB Skype set, this can cause problems because if the computer is too old it may cause system to need to be replaced for one that is fully compatible with Skype.
Also to insert credits into the Skype system you need a debit/credit card, or pay pal, this is simple if you read into it, and there Is no worries when paying, just make sure you are on Skype.com as apposed to a fake site.
Conclusion My overall opinion is that Skype is a dominant piece of technological engineering which is yet to reach its full potential and could possible take over as being " the worlds landline" with fantastic potential I recommend the program very much, to download and get Skypeing simply go to Skype.com