HOW TO: SKYPE for Dummies (and loved ones)

You can do it!

So I went to the doctor the other day and he said that I’m developing a form of ‘Repetitive Stress Injury’ in my neck.  My neck of all places!  I can only attribute this to how many times a day I shake my head back and forth followed by a self administered forehead slap. Why you ask?  Because no one in my tiny little sphere of influence knows how to use Skype?

Why am I such a hardcore proponent of Skype?  Because anything your app can do, Skype can do better!

  • Instant messaging (for all you keyboard junkies)
  • Group chat and Group video conferencing (few can compete with the group video conferencing feature)
  • A real phone number (you choose the area code)
  • Free calls to other Skype users (HELLO!)
  • Call forwarding (forward incoming skype calls to your cell phone)
  • Visual Voicemail (first to come up with this one, everyone else has been copying since)
  • File Transfers (not the fastest, but extremely easy to use)
  • Desktop/Screen Sharing (great for one on one How-To sessions)
  • Platform independant (OSX, Windows, Linux, mobile devices)
  • Integrates seamlessly with Facebook (see your news feed from the Skype home window)
  • Send and receive SMS messages (Can’t say I’ve ever used this one, but I did use a service once that converted my voicemails to text messages and sent them to my cell phone — kind of cool, although wrought with inaccuracies )
  • Unbelievably cheap international calling rates (for calling those people in countries where the internet doesn’t exist yet)
  • Outbound calling to anywhere in the US for $30 a year (untouchable)
  • An unbelievable amount of gadgets and specialized devices built just for Skype (my personal favorite –> Bluetooth Retro Handset [shameless plug])
  • A countless number of add-on apps (you name it — call recorders, faxing capabilities, lie detectors, translators, games, etc. etc.)
  • Integrates directly into web browsers (recognizes phone numbers on websites and converts them to links == single click to call)
  • To Go – Fake Forwarding (amazing feature that can be re-purposed for a number of clever uses)

The list goes on kids.  While some features cost a buck or two, most features the casual user will ever need are completely FREE.  Skype is a text book example of how to find success using the Freemium business model. Below is the first in what will likely turn into a series of Skype How-To videos.

This one is aimed at all those loved ones out there still using tin cans and string to reach out and touch when you’ve got a brand new, shiny, ultra-expensive mac laptop sitting in front of you. I can do separate videos for Windows and Linux if need be… just ask.

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