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.