Tell me about Skype

Is it good for IM? Does it load up the PC too much?

Are you perhaps asking about Skype?

My wife uses it for making international phone calls to her coworkers (we’re in the US; most of the rest of the firm is in the UK). Lots cheaper than making international calls over conventional phone lines.

I use it as an IM chat client as well as for voice calls, it’s completely unobtrusive and has some decent features. The only downside is that a lot of people don’t use it for IM chat, so you might find yourself in a minority if you want to.

I use Pidgin for all of my IM needs, but have Skype installed as some clients prefer it over the telephone. If it wasn’t for the VOIP, I don’t think it would still be very prevalent (pure opinion).

I’ve used skype for international phone calls, and it worked great. Just make sure to keep it turned off when you’re not using it.

FTR, all my phone calls were planned, so I knew exactly when to turn it on.

Fixed spelling in thread title (originally “Skpye.”).

General Questions Moderator

It is very unobtrusive. If those you wish to IM are using Skype, it is great for that purpose. It automatically keeps an easy-to-navigate history of chats (although I suspect most IM applications do that these days). I use it for hands-free phone calling when I’m at my laptop using only the microphone array and speakers in the laptop. Sound quality over a reasonable Internet connection is usually better than cell phone sound quality for me.

Skype-to-Skype voice calls are free, but Skype-to-phone calls are $0.021/min plus connection. I charge my account with $25, use voice for a couple hours a week (for work, mostly), and recharge every couple of months.

For International calls, the rates are usually quite good. A handy example usage: I was in the Rome airport with some time to kill. While my cell phone was a brick in Italy, I connected to the airport wi-fi with my laptop and made some clear Skype calls back to the USA for about $0.02/min. The other direction (USA–>other country) is just as good, if you have the need. Some rates here.

Why this recommendation? I leave Skype on in the background all the time (necessary for incoming IMs), and it never has been a problem. Resident size in memory: a negligible 25 kB.

I use skype as my primary business phone number. I have a SkypeIn number which is a regular phone number - people calling me don’t know they are calling me on skype.

I also use it for international calling - it’s cheaper than most calling plans.

My wife has managed to get all her international friends using skype and she uses it for free video conferencing to her family for about 5 hours a day.

Call quality is noticeably worse than a landline and often much worse. About once a week, I have to apologize to the caller and call them back on a landline.

I almost never use it for IM - even with my friends who use skype a lot. There is nothing wrong with it - I just never think of it.

For a while, when my wife and I were working in different countries, we used Skype all the time. It was great. We used it much more for voice calls than IMs (although we did IM pretty often). As someone pointed out above, Skype-to-Skype is free, including, I think, video calls, although we didn’t use that feature.

Sound quality was better by far than a cell phone call, and equal to land line calls (although hardware may have a lot to do with this, so your mileage may vary).

I use it for most of my telephony needs: I can auto-dial from within my database thanks to the callto:/ URL type that it registers, I can record conversations or voicemails to .MP3 files.

Use it less but sometimes for IM’ing.

I don’t have a video cam but at my last temp workplace they used Skype extensively for letting a consultant remote in and be part of the morning meetings.

Thanks, all. It seems worth trying.

It does have fairly high CPU usage when you’re making voice calls. (I’ve noticed that my CPU usage is about 12%.) However, I have no idea how this compares to other VOIP programs.

Is it possible to send a message to someone who is not logged in?

We use it to “talk” to our daughter who is away at college. It’s wonderful. We use it on a laptop and can “take” her with us to show her the new couch or whatever. And she can take us to show us stuff in her dorm etc. I highly recommend it.

I think it may open a window if someone is logged off, but it’s a message, not a connection. I’m not sure about that and your computer would have to be on for even that much to happen.

I use it to make phone calls to other countries (mainly, Brasil). For webcam and computer to computer voice messaging, I prefer MSN.

Yes. They’ll get it the next time they log in.

How do you do it?

I logged in and looked, but didn’t see anything. I did try opening Chat and using the Leave Message under the Tools icon (the one that looks like a cog). I got a female voice informing me that my party is not logged in, and to leave a message after the tone. Only there was no tone.

Are you talking about voice messages or just typing? I’ve left and received messages that way. I just click on the name in the list, and type what I wanted to say.

Either one, though for a message I’d prefer typing.

OK, I clicked on the name. There’s no place to type.

If you right click the name, there should be a “Send IM” option. If you send an IM to someone who isn’t logged on, they will get it when they next log on.