Call Free with Skype

Though Skype has been on my radar for quite a while, I haven’t been motivated enough to try it out. But after reading an article on Neville Hobson’s blog about it, I thought I should bite the bullet and give the program a whirl.

Skype is an internet telephony program based on peer-to-peer (p2p) technology that allows people to communicate through their computer with great sound quality (they claim a sound quality far superior to what you’re used to from ordinary telephones). The program is free to download, and the Skype-to-Skype calls are free. What more could you want? It also allows you to make calls from your computer (with a microphone and a speaker or headset) to a real phone anywhere in the world for a very small per-minute fee (approx. 2.6 cents).

I haven’t until now tried it out because I couldn’t think of any long-distance friends who were geeky enough for me to suggest it to without feeling embarrassed. But, if you’re reading this, you’re probably at least a little geeky. So, how about it? Are there any takers out there? I just need a friend or two to try it out with me. There are no drawbacks, as far as I can tell—except that it will take a little time to set it up and to actually make the call.

Skype is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. In addition to voice calls, it has instant message and file transfer capability. You can have multi-person chats and conference calls. And Mr. Hobson notes that they’re testing a voicemail feature as well. The only real disadvantage compared to regular phones, other than the fact that you’re tied to the computer during the call) is that other people can’t call a Skype account from a regular phone. So it wouldn’t work as a replacement for a regular phone, but it could be a nice complement. Did I mention that it’s free?

Update: After installing Skype last night, I used it successfully to speak with Paul VanderLei in South Korea and Neville Hobson in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The sound quality was pristine. The cost was nil. A good time was had by all.

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11 Responses to Call Free with Skype

  1. I am in Korea this week and all my buddies are calling back to North America with skype. But I didn’t think Beth would be up for installing it on her own, so I haven’t tried it out. But I will sign up and you can try calling me, Karl if you like. Just remember Korea is 14 hours ahead of Michigan.

  2. Wow, that was quick! Thanks, Paul. I guess that means I’m really going to have to try it. I’ll install it a bit later and buzz you. Fun, fun, fun!

  3. Karl, if you need a caller to test it out with, just Skype me, I’d be happy to chat!
    We’re in the same timezone (CET).

  4. Thanks for the offer, Neville. What an honor! I’d love to chat sometime, but finding a mutually agreeable time might be difficult: I’m in the US Eastern timezone—GMT -05:00—not CET (do I have a setting wrong in Skype?). Oh well. Maybe this Saturday sometime if you’re online…

  5. Hey Karl…
    I don’t know if you consider Holland (MI) long distance or not, but I’ve got Skype on my Mac here at work if you wanna give it a shot.

  6. Dad says:

    I’m not a good research candidate, Karl, but thought I’d mention that there’s an interesting article in the latest Macworld magazine about Skype. Let me know if you want it.

  7. Nicole says:

    Um…HELLO!! Karl!? You couldn’t think of a long-distance friend GEEKY enough? Need I spell it out for you?! S-C-O-O-T-E-R G-I-R-L!!
    Thanks for checking this out, as I too have been too lazy to look into it.
    Kisses,
    Nikkers

  8. Rodney says:

    I’ve tried out quite a few VoIP products. I use Skype with a DECT mobile USB phone, gets away from that tie to the computer. If you want to try Skype to the UK. Look up rwillott

  9. sean says:

    Can I use skype to call the philippines from s.korea or the states and if so what would be the rate?

  10. Karl says:

    Hi Sean,
    I think you’ll have better luck looking for answers at skype.com.

  11. khaleel says:

    well i’d be the happiest one if i could talk with you by the way where r from? how can i get your skype address..i’ve been lookin someone who could speak in american english becouse since i live in a remote village where english hardly is spoken so i manage to learn as much as i could by downloadin amercian idiomatic expression and phrasel verbs and as i dont have any of my friends who doesnt wanna speak in english sometimes i speak it to myself in order to not forget the thing i’ve learned from the site or maybe i speak to some long distance friend with whom i studied over the phone well i hope im on the verge of getting fluency in engish plz help me out to learn more

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