Sephy’s post today tells you about how to install Skype – I’m going to talk about what you might want to use it for. Skype is brilliant and there is so much you can do with it, I highly recommend it – and here’s why.
Free Stuff –
I’m going to divide this post into things you can do for free – there is a lot of those – and things you have to pay for.
Text Chats – One On One –
You can chat via text to one other person using skype, 24/7, for free.
Text Chats – With A Group –
You can create a group chat, which can have up to 100 participants. So basically I could start a group chat, and then add anyone I had as a contact on my skype list. Group chats can go on 24/7 for the foreseeable future. When you go offline, all the messages you miss arrive as a surprise when you log back in the next time.
We used group chats a lot in the early days of scam victim support and it was wonderful – there was always someone else around who could help you if you needed assistance. This is a brilliant feature. It might not be so handy for bloggers, because our blogs are how we keep in touch. However it could be great for people who are a bit lonely and want to chat to someone.
Other Features –
Send Files To Your Contacts –
Sephy and I use this all the time to send photos – spreadsheets – text files – virtually any kind of file can be sent via Skype.
Send Contacts To Other Contacts –
Say that one of you got skype and added me as your first contact. With a few mouse clicks I can send you other contacts from my list of contacts – thus expanding your contact list.
Play Games –
I’ve never used this feature but apparently it is great fun. They have 18 different games to choose from like Chess, Hangman, Tic-tac-toe and Sudoku.
But Wait, There’s More!
With every update more and more features are added. I have only scratched the surface of what you can do – they now have call centre software (great for scammers who want to call me!), team collaboration additions where you can have a whiteboard everyone can write on, the ability to work on documents together, translation abilities, there’s even the ability to add a “lie detector” – though I’m not sure how well it works, I’ve never used it. All of that is 100% free.
Call Another Computer Using Skype –
I am in Australia. Sephy is in the USA. If we were calling via normal phone lines we would rarely talk via voice to each other due to the cost. However because we both have Skype, we can call each other anytime for free. Anyone reading this who put Skype onto their computer – you would also be able to call us, and we could call you, for free.
Free Video Calls To Other Computers –
I don’t do this myself, but if you have a webcam you can make free video calls to other Skype users. This is fantastic for families when one parent goes on holidays and wants to keep in touch, for families who have divorced and the kids want to speak face to face to the other parent no matter how far away they are, for long distance relationships, for those of us who have overseas family, there’s so many things this is great for. It’s not just for perverts and slightly creepy people. ;)
Call 1-800 Numbers in the USA –
You can call 1-800, 1-877, 1-866, 1-855 numbers in the USA and Canada 100% for free – from anywhere in the world, anytime. You do not need to have any call credits with Skype to do this. You can download the program and start making free calls right now.
Call toll free Numbers In These Countries –
You can call toll free numbers in Australia, Austria, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, UK and Taiwan as well – absolutely free. Again you don’t need to have any call credits.
Conference Calls –
This is one of the best features of Skype. You can have up to 5 people on a conference call at once – sometimes up to 9 if you have the right kind of computer. It takes a little getting used to when you’re talking with 4 other people but once you get the hang of it this is fantastic.
Join Skypecasts –
This is a new area for me, I’ve never used it. Skypecasts are basically public chats – a few I spotted were language exchange where you can chat and make friends with people wherever they are, a maths tutor skypecast, a lunch time music concert, an alcoholics anonymous skypecast – and if you want to create one all of your own, you can do that for free.
Pay Stuff –
Call Home Phones And Mobiles From Your Computer –
The prices for calls are all available here – they are not too bad for the majority of countries. Especially considering what you would normally pay for long distance calls.
The HUGE advantage of Skype is – your call cannot be traced. The way the Voice Over Internet Protocol works is your call is sent to the nearest “out” point in that country. If someone you are calling sees any number (unlikely, we scambaiters have tested this pretty thoroughly), it would be the number of the out point. They would never know you aren’t using a real phone. Well, maybe some people won’t think that is an advantage but we scambaiters sure loved it. ;)
Conference Calls –
Remember the free conference call option? You can combine that with one or more outgoing calls. We’ve used this a LOT with scambaiting – one of the most fun things is to call two scammers and then let them speak to each other – a fun game of “who is on de line” “hello” “why did you call me” “I didn’t call you, you called me” is generally the result. We have also called scammers with four scambaiters on the line and each played various characters during the call.
You might use it to conference family members who have skype with family members who do not, or friends who are overseas and have skype with friends who are close to you without skype.
You can get a telephone number for people to call you on your computer. Again the benefits of this can be huge. People don’t know where you are in the world. You can choose a number in – Australia, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States. You get voicemail free with Skype In.
The price of Skype In seems to have gone up since I last bought mine. It’s now 15 euro for 3 months, or 50 euro for 12 months. However if you have relatives or friends in any of those countries above you can get a telephone number where it would be a local call for them to ring you. That is brilliant.
This is a new option – a low monthly fee for quite a lot of features but they vary per country. Check your country here
You’re In Control
The way payment works is you choose to add credit in small chunks. If you run out of credit it is your choice whether or not to add more. You can pay with Paypal, Mastercard, Visa, Diners, Moneybookers or you can choose a regular bank transfer option if you want to purchase credit regularly. I have used Skype for over two years now – it has always been safe and secure.
If You Want It Now..
Read Sephy’s post for info on how to download Skype, install Skype, and use Skype – Skype – A phenomenal tool for communication. For more information on Skype, you can visit their homepage.