I first experimented with Skype when I stayed at a hotel in central Wisconsin in which there was no cell phone reception. It was a great way to avoid the obscene per-minute charges for the hotel’s phone service.
I haven’t really needed it since then. Until today, when I wanted to set up a videoconference for tomorrow. We have a videoconferencing unit at work, and when I called an external collaborator to get the IP address for her videoconferencing service, she replied, “We just always use Skype.”
While we were still on the phone, I downloaded Skype on my (relatively) new MacBook Pro and signed in using my previously established account. Within a minute or so I got a message telling me that videoconferencing was enabled using my built-in iSight camera. A few seconds later we were talking face-to-face.
My main point in writing this post is to call your attention to Skype if you haven’t used it previously. I expect to be using it all day tomorrow for a videoconference (which will be free, like everything else you see here.) And when my daughter and her husband move to California next year with our first grandchild (who’s due in September), I’m sure we’ll be videoconferencing regularly.
But meanwhile, if you’re a SMUG student and would like to have a “Chat with the Chancellor” for some videoconference tutoring, send me an e-mail (leeaase at gmail.com) and we can arrange virtual office hours.