Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone

A few weeks ago at the suggestion of my best friend I purchased a usb phone thingy – it looks like a mobile phone on a lead and you can use it through your PC in conjunction with services like Skype. I purchased it (on ebay) instead of a head set because

i) I thought it might last longer than a headset - I would probably walk on it or otherwise break it and

ii.) I only like noise going into one ear at a time unless I am on the bus and need both earphones to hear Newstalk or whatever I am listening to over the engine noise.

Here comes the science : Skype is a service which allows one to make calls for free over broadband to other Skype users, Skype users can also use the service to make low cost calls to non skype users. There are other services available and Voice over Internet Protocol technology and services seem to be the new black (after Irish blogging of course!). Waits for comments from telecoms blogger types telling me how naïve I am.

So far I have made 2 long calls on Skype to friends (including the original suggestee) and I have to say I am hooked. The quality is not bad, a little bouncy or echoey but what I am fascinated by is the way in which because the call is free the interaction or flow of the conversation changes. Last night for example in the midst of a 30 minute call we paused (put down the headsets) to get dinner or put the kettle on (its not a wireless phone – that’ll be my next purchase should one exist!) and we didn’t mind doing it. I got my dinner from the oven and returned to the PC and picked up the headset and munched away. He put the kettle on in Warsaw and ate a banana. We both laughed as we realised if this was a landline call we would be thinking of every minute – whilst still enjoying the call but under the tick-tock of money mounting up.

I realise I am a late enough adopter in this regard. There are probably other services out there that are better value or of better quality. For now I am fascinated by the possibilities and will look at having a Skype account for making other long distance calls to non Skype users and also seek out Skype helplines for companies I deal with etc.


At 01:46, Blogger Simon said...

no skype is the king. And funnly enough is owned by ebay

At 02:10, Anonymous Rob said...

Oh, Skype is great, though I don't really use it enough to justify a handset/headset (my laptop's microphone actually allows a passable quality of conversation). It has helped me overcome my fear of talking on the telephone!

At 02:13, Anonymous Rob said...

Oh, wireless handsets and headsets do indeed exist, though they're quite expensive. There are also things which let you adapt an existing wireless phone; these are less expensive.

(I never can remember all the things I want to say the first time)


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