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>>>>>> What’s Skype?
In nowadays Internet world, Skype, like Ebay and Amazon, becomes a common word in daily life. The reason it becomes popular is because Skype is a free piece of software that allows people to make free calls to other Skype users and cheaper calls to phones worldwide with fair good qualities. Skype was firstly built to aim good voice communication over Internet and nowadays video as well. There are many similar products in this area namely MSN, Yahoo Messenger and ICQ. But these all start with text communication through Internet although they have already started to allow voice and video chatting long time ago. I have been using Skype on meetings, chatting with family and friends for quite a while, but I haven’t given up using MSN and ICQ just because they offer different features.
>>>>>> Do I recommend Skype?
Yes, I would definitely recommend Skype although it’s not perfect. There are hardly perfect things and everything is working to make them better and better. I think once one product is used by more and more people, this would help it developing. Skype is now on version 3 providing many features.
>>>>>> Skype features
>> SkypeOut SkypeOut makes it possible to call landlines and mobiles; however, you have to buy some Skype credits. You can buy them through Sainsbury supermarket or buy online through Paypal as well as many other payment methods. One disadvantage of buying credits is there is time limit for the duration. Different amount will be given different time allowance, such as £15 for 3 months and £30 for half a year.
Recently, Skype also introduced Skype Pro. With Skype Pro, you pay £1.5 excluding VAT monthly then you can pay nothing per minute to call landline in your own country. You can also get free Skype Voicemail service and discount on SkypeIn.
>> SkypeIn SkypeIn provides a phone number that allows other people to call you from landlines and mobiles at the cost of local call. You can buy up to 10 SkypeIn numbers in 14 different locations worldwide. The cost for it is £11.50 for 3 months or £40.25 for a year.
>> Skype Voicemail With Skype Voicemail you don’t have to worry about missing calls; however you have to pay £3 for 3 months or £10 for a year. You can personalize your greetings and listen to your voicemails anywhere.
>> Skype SMS Skype SMS makes it easy to contact your Skype friends when they are not online. Same as other service, you have to pay for that. The rate depends on your location. However, it is fairly cheap. For UK it is 0.092 Euro.
>> Call forwarding You can choose to forward your certain calls to your landline or mobile even when you are not online. You will only pay the calls you want to forward. The rate depends on the location as well. You can check on Skype web site before you want to use.
>> Call transfer It’s simple and free to transfer Skype-to-Skype calls. However, for others calls to landlines and mobiles, you have to pay about €0,017 per minute and subscribe Skype Pro as well.
>>>>>> Advantages of Skype
Download free Easy to setup Fair good voice quality Free video chat with other Skype users Cheaper international calls Support different languages Fair safe to use
>>>>>> Disadvantages of Skype
Free calls only available to Skype users Voice quality reduces significantly when calling international without broadband connections
>>>>>> What to use Skype? 1. Perquisites The stuff definitely required for running Skype is a computer with Internet connection (broadband preferred), a microphone, a speaker, and a webcam (optional, you need one if you want to make video calls). Then you have to check your computer system against Skype system requirements. Generally, Skype supports Windows 2000 and XP, Mac OS and Linux but features may be available differently.
2. Download and installation Skype can be downloaded from www.skype.com. The download symbol is notable on the first page. The step is simple and all you need to do is following the three instructions to launch it.
3. Apply Skype account As the first time to use Skype, you will be indicated to sign up a Skype account. You have to choose a user name and a password and build some your basic settings such as location, contact details etc.
Once you get your account and login at the first time, Skype will ask you test your installation, microphone and speakers with Skype Test Call. In addition, Skype gives you 5mins free call credit which allows you to call anyone.
4. Add Skype friends into contact list If you prefer free chat, you have to ask your friends to be Skype users as well. Then you can simply search them and add them in you contact list.
5. Call them and chat With Skype, you can make a person to person call or a conference call. The conference call allows maximum 9 people to talk together. To make a person2person call, you just simply select one person from your contact list then click the call button. Not like many other chat software, you have to wait a bit time for connecting to the user. Using Skype, the call goes through very quickly to the other side just like making normal telephone call. To make a conference call, you need to click the conference button and select people you want to add in.
When there is an incoming call, Skype will pop up a small menu from the right bottom the desktop which allows you to accept or deny.
Skype records all call events including the missing calls. If there is a missing call, Skype will tell you in its Event.
6. Call landline and mobile You can use Skype to call landline and mobile as well, although they are not free but it is normally cheaper than calling from normal phones. You have to buy Skype credits to make these calls. With Skype credits, you can even forward your calls to normal phone.