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I've been using this wonderful piece of software for a while now and thought hey if anything deserves a review it's a 'revolutionary' piece of kit like this! Skype has been around for a while now so if you haven't heard of it or don't use it there is no excuse really but don't worry too much if you don't use it because i'm going to fill you all in right now then you can go off and download it =].
Skype has been around since 2003 but was really pushed to the forefront when eBay took over the company in 2005. The software allows you to make free calls using the internet to other Skype users or for a usually small fee to landlines and mobiles. It also incorporates an instant messaging service like that of MSN, yahoo etc for all of you IM lovers.
Skype has a multitude of features and there is always something to suit the needs of everyone. Most are free especially when it's skype-to-skype though if you are willing to pay a little more you never know you might find your Skype account overtakes your home phone! FREE Calling people who have Skype - this is what most people use it for so if you want to fully utilise this feature make sure to get everyone you want to call to sign up too!
Instant Messaging - much like other IM services you can choose to appear online, away, do not disturb, invisible and offline and talk to other people online as you please.
Video calling - this is a great for anyone who has friends or relatives abroad so doesn't get to see them that often. Given that you both have a good internet connection chatting and the picture are great and can really make you feel like you're missing out that little bit less. In my case seeing my new born cousin scream her lungs out live on video was miles better than any silent picture!
CHARGED Calling people who don't have Skype - for a small charge you can call people in the UK or abroad. For landlines prices vary between 0.012 GBP (for UK calls and most other European countries) to GBP 0.153 for other destinations. Though your first call to landlines is usually free to let you test it out.
Skype voicemail - this service can be booked separately and is really useful if you have a lot of contacts on Skype
WHAT YOU NEED (apart from Skype)
Operating system- Skype is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X
Internet connection - I'd probably say (as with most things) a broadband connection is the best and will give you the best quality though I have used Skype effectively with a dial-up connection also.
Hardware - Microphone, speakers and webcam - the first two are a must for any call and for those of you who want to take part in video calling a good quality webcam is also essential.
Once you have downloaded Skype onto your computer guided by the very helpful wizard which makes it quick and easy all that is left is to register. It only takes a couple of minutes but you need to create a user account before you start. You input your real name as well as a Skype name of your choosing your email address, country, region and town and you're away!
Before you start - Skype will make you test your speakers and microphone and help you troubleshoot any problems with sound. If you experience any problems there is also extensive help on the website. Adding Contacts - You can search for new contacts using their Skype name if known, their real name or their email address which is usually the easiest way. You can also import your contacts from your Microsoft Outlook or Yahoo email addresses. After you've found the person you want to add you ask to be added to their contacts list and Skype send them an invitation and then you wait until they reply (all very exciting!) If they accept you you'll be able to see them online and all you need to do is click on them to IM or make a call.
Credit - A must if you want to talk to anyone without a Skype account. It's very easy to do and you can pay for it using a credit card, paypal and lots of other ways. The page is 'padlocked' so you can be quite sure that your transaction will be safe.
Calling - This is so simple on the condition everything prior to making a phone call has gone well i.e. downloading, mic and speakers. Once someone has 'accepted' you as a contact or even added you then all you need to do is click on them and press a big green button that'll say call.
IM - I only really use this when a friend I want to get into contact with isn't online and I want to tell them to call me as soon as they are lol. Very similar to MSN and all other IM services but what I like about it is that if the person isn't online your message isn't just 'not sent' but the person receives it when they log in again. The emotions are also a LOT better than the ones on MSN and never fail to make me laugh! If you haven't spoken to someone in a while or wanted to remember what you were talking about its quite handy to have your conversations saved which Skype does unless you delete them.
Conferencing - I reckon this is one you'll love or hate! Remember those ridiculously large MSN conversations you had with like 20 people? Well with Skype it's possible to do this with up to 100 people! Personally I find these 'conversations' very confusing and unnecessary as usually people just say 'hi' for 20 mins but this may be something you'll love if you have a lot of friends and can type at around the speed of sound...
I would definitely recommend Skype to anyone! Good quality home and international calls for free or at a fraction of the price. It's ideal for anyone with absent friends and relatives or anyone else. I guess what i'm trying to say is... Skype really does connect people!
How to get it - www.skype.com There is a download link on the homepage that will get you on your merry way.
Free Phone cals and video chat. What more wouldI want? Good review. Nothing-But-The-Truth (I will return all ratings within 24 hrs)
grandchamp 02.09.2009 20:55
Ah the Skype craze :-) good review
randomreviews2 01.09.2009 19:25
Great review. We use Skype occasionally. My brother's always on to chat with his girlfriend since she dorms far away for college. And now I use it with my friend who left the US to study abroad in Asia. Technology these days is amazing.