Sunday, April 17, 2005

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Techno Files: An Update on Stuff That's Cool (Like Google's Photo Maps)

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Techno Files: An Update on Stuff That's Cool (Like Google's Photo Maps): "This is a 'where are they now?' report on some products and innovations previously described in this space.
Let's start with Skype. This is the system that allows anyone with a computer and a broadband connection to call mobile or land-line telephones almost anywhere on earth for pennies per minute. When two people are at computers running Skype, they can talk to each other (using a headset or microphone) as long as they want, with sound quality far better than that of telephones, absolutely free. Skype conference calls can include up to five participants - I have used this feature to talk simultaneously, from Washington, with people in England, New Zealand and California, at no cost to any of us. Working out the time zones was the real challenge.
...
As with Google, once you get used to Skype, it's hard to imagine doing without.
Also as with Google, Skype's problems mainly arise from its rapidly growing worldwide reach. For Google, the problem has been how much to tailor its results to varying political sensibilities: its versions in Germany and France, for instance, screen out many neo-Nazi sites. Skype has had to cope with the abundance of fraudulent credit cards. For the time being, it declines most credit cards and prefers payment via PayPal."

I've been using Skype a lot lately. I've run into some serious problems when communicating with people using different versions of the Skype software (as in I've needed to power-cycle my Linksys a few times...) but for the most part it has worked exceptionally well for me -- better voice quality than my Vonage line in most cases.
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