Be Good Not Bad by Brian Warren

7 November 2004

Skype Calling to Iraq

Skype.com Two days ago, I got to talk to Aaron, a friend of mine who is a crew chief with the 82nd Med in Iraq.

First of all, he has high-speed internet. This is just amazing. Did I mention that he’s deployed in Iraq? My how things change. How did we do it? We used Skype, a program designed to allow people to talk with each other using their computers. Not just instant messaging, but actual voice chat. This technology isn’t new, you can do this with nearly any instant messaging program out there. Apple’s iChat is one of the best ones out there, allowing for excellent high-quality video with your chat.

But I had been wanting to check out Skype. I had heard some great things, and it also allows Windows and Mac folk to talk together. A handy feature indeed, though I haven’t gotten a chance to use it yet.

The other excellent thing about Skype is that it lets you make low-cost phone calls to actual phones. Another feature I have yet to take advantage of, but seems very neat.

For our purposes, though, we used Skype to call computer-to-computer, a free service. Installation of Skype was simple, and soon Aaron and I were talking. What a wonderful, classy thing to talk using your own voice. There was very little lag between us, and we comfortably chatted for an hour or two. The connection dropped a couple times (something to which anybody with a cellphone has grown accustomed).

Having tried it with Aaron in Iraq, and also with Casey in Arkansas, I can vouch that it works great. Try Skype, and let me know how it goes.