About a month ago, I got a lap top that came with a web cam built in. I had heard about Skype and had some friends that recently moved to Brazil, so I thought I would give it a try. Skype is software that allows you to make audio and video calls from your computer to another computer (that has Skype) over the Internet for free and call to land line or cell phone for a low per minute charge.
I got it installed and tested it out. I looked up my fiends Skype id and I was all set. My friends weren’t online so I couldn’t call them. This Saturday, I was online checking tweets and email, a little window from Skype came up and said “Zane is online”. I clicked on it, made the call and WOW! Video conferencing to Brazil for free. The video was clear, the audio was great, and there was not much lag at all. I called my wife over to the computer and we had a good visit with them catching up with their new life in Brazil. They carried their laptop around their apartment and showed us the view from their balcony. It was great to visit with them and great to get to use technology that was new to me.
I guess the lesson here is that technolgy doesn’t have to be brand new to solve a problem. Skype has been around for several years (ok compared to some things that is new, but in Internet years is it pretty old) and it was a good solution for me. So don’t forget to check out some of the older technologies that still have value and that can still be part of a solution to a problem you might have.
I also installed Fring on my iPhone. It is a free iPhone app that will let you, among other things, use Skype over WIFI from your iPhone. After a little effort (finding out that you had to dial 001 before the US number) I was able to get it to work. I am taking trip oversea and can’t wait to give it a try to call home. Have you done this?
Have you been able to use some older technology to solve a problem today?