Be Good Not Bad by Brian Warren

9 December 2004

More on Skype

A few days ago I mentioned using a program called Skype. This was a really cool experience, using my computer to talk to Aaron in Iraq. Skype is very easy to use, and it is extremely powerful. I encourage you to try it out.

When I used Skype to talk to Aaron, I talked into the built-in microphone of my computer; and Aaron talked into his. We both used headphones, so that our microphones didn’t pick up the sound from our speakers. Eventually I’d like to try an external microphone to pick up my voice better and to avoid having to hunch over my computer.

So, just yesterday I used Skype to call my friend Casey in Arkansas. I used a different feature of Skype called SkypeOut. This feature lets me call from my computer, over the internet, to a regular telephone number. I found it to be easy, and the sound quality was excellent. I was very impressed.

Skype is a free program, and calling computer-to-computer is free. The only thing for which Skype charges is to call computer-to-telephone. This is to the tune of 1.7 Euro Cent per minute. Due to the abysmal value of the dollar right now, this works out to be about 2.3 cents/minute.

A few cool things regarding how they bill this time.

  • They charge based to where you’re calling, not from where you’re calling. So, say I’m in Thailand and I get some decent internet access. Well, if I call Casey in Arkansas, it charges me 1.7 Euro Cent per minute, even though I’m in Thailand.
  • The 1.7 Euro Cent per minute rate goes for most of the western world. Calling my friends in Germany costs the same as calling Casey in Arkansas. Ironically, it costs slightly more to call Alaska than to call Germany.

So, I don’t mean to make this post sound like a bunch of Skype propaganda. But I just think it’s neat, I see some great potential there, and I love how easy it is to communicate.