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Joy of the Week:Skype

Woman in Bed on LaptopI am not a frequent business traveler compared to some of my co-workers. I am normally one of Ashford Global Training’s virtual ITIL instructors.

I love being a virtual instructor, it means I can stay at home with my family. Still about once every other month duty calls and it is off on a business trip I go.

Traveling does not mean I’m completely cut off from my family. Technology has advanced so much that people can easily connect with others regardless of their location. And they can do this without spending much money on phone calls or travel. One of the popular VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) applications these days is Skype.

 

What is the main feature that I like? Seeing my family as well as hearing them. I can just dial them up on my computer and walk around the hotel room and talk to them hands free as they can do with me. I have to admit as dorky as it sounds when I was a newlywed I did have “dinner” over skype with my husband. Those sappy days are over but it is still nice to see the guy, even if I’m 1,000 miles away.

Using Skype is quite easy. In fact, it is just like using any other messaging application.  You can chat with your family and friends through instant messages as well as communicate through streaming video and audio. If necessary you can also call computers for free or dial landline or mobile numbers at a low per minute rate.

Some of the valuable features that Skype has to offer include:

  • Screen Sharing – You can share your own computer screen with your contacts for free. This way, your contacts can see exactly what you are looking at. I sometimes use this to watch a movie or TV show with my husband at home. It is not the same as watching things together but it is something.
  • Voicemail to Text – With the help of SpinVox, your voicemail messages will be converted into text and will be sent to your cell phone as a text message. I don’t really use this feature but I thought it was worth mentioning.
  • Skype to Go Number – You can call your friends and family abroad while paying only the standard operator fee for a local call.       Since I have family in Germany this saves me an arm and a leg when calling them.

As great as all this may sound, Skype does have a few cons which make its users dislike it at times. The first and foremost negative is the method in which Skype handles support. People who need help with their software or are experiencing problems cannot call the company. Instead, they need to fill out a support request. Another cause of frustration can be the low call quality users sometimes experience.

Using Skype is easy, but you will need to buy a few additions like an excellent headphone/microphone combo for your computer in order to get the best results.

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Mary is a leading trainer in Microsoft® and Business Applications.

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