Let me do a little side note, before I start – Mom, you should really read this post! :)
Now, just a couple of days ago I wrote that I decided to try Skype. I downloaded it and installed on my computer. There were few nice things about it that I noticed immediately, but there are so many more that need a second look!
Here we go…
(This is another note for my mother – Mom, Skype is a program that we can use to talk (with voice) and chat (with text messages). It works over the Internet (when both of us are connected and online), but it also allows for voice call from computer to regular phones (land lines and mobiles). These calls are much much cheaper. And, people say, the quality of sound is much better.)
I haven’t yet managed to try the voice functionality. Originally I didn’t want to at all, but now I got interested. The prices don’t concern me as much as the quality of sound.
It is nice that I can both speak with voice and chat with text. Very very convenient, because some things are easier said, and other things are easier typed (Example: “hello” is easier said than typed, but URL of some site is easier typed (or copy-pasted) than said.).
Skype also makes it very easy to exchange files. Other instant messaging programs have these functionality too, but many people are sitting behind firewalls that block file exchanges. With Skype it just works though.
Another good thing I can’t pass by is Russian language support. It just works out of the box. There is no need to configure anything at all. No encodings headache or anything like that. My guess is that other non-English languages work just fine too.
Conferences (group talks/chats) are nicely implemented too. It is very easy to add more people to the voice call or to a chat. This is priceless when working on a project with several other people.
Chat bookmarks. I don’t know why so few instant messangers have this. This is just so useful. Basically, you can set topics for dicussions, and than bookmark these discussions to find them easier. This is so cool that I can’t even start describing it. It’s like instant email from now on.
As I said, there is a lot of voice functionality that I haven’t tried yet. I don’t have the headphones with microphone, but I intend to get them as soon as possible. Calling regular phones is good. But Skype is also testing calls from regular phones to your Skype number. These calls you can receive with your Skype application. Or you can have them forwarded to any of your regular phones. Or you can have them passed the Skype voice mailbox to listen to later. And if you don’t know which headphones/microphone to buy, or just hate the idea of using headphones and microphone (like my wife), than Skype has a whole bunch of accessories available in its shop.
Some of the services Skype offers are commercial (they have to make money on something, don’t they?), but everthing looks so good that I’m willing to pay. Just wait until I get my headphones unit.
P.S.: And it turned out that many of my friends either already use Skype or are willing to try it. That’s a good thing too, you know.