A Little Ripper of an Invention!

Robert's picture
Submitted by Robert on Wed, 2006-03-01 06:46

For those who don't know, I've been banished to Lawrence, Kansas, USA for my sins as a scientist (i.e. being dumb enough to become one).That poses a slight problem in that my loved ones are well out of shouting distance on the other side of the world.  This is what the telephone, telegraph, and radio were invented for, I hear you say.  'Tis true - and very fine inventions they all are - but there is now something much better: the Internet!  Now, before you tell me that you know about that one already, do you know of a piece of software called Skype?  Skype (www.skype.com) is a wonderful piece of software that allows me to place videophone calls to my parents in New Zealand for free!

Yes! I said, “for free!!!” 

There are some catches though.  For the videophone calls, both parties will need a computer with a broad-band/hi-speed connection, a sound-card, a microphone, and a web-cam.  This isn't a huge problem because most modern computers have this anyway.  You download and install Skype (for Mac OSX or Windows XP - though the webcam feature only works on the PC at the moment), create your Skype identity and you may place "calls" to any other customer with a similar computer set-up, anywhere in the world, free of charge.

For a small fee, you can upgrade Skype to call mobile and land-line phones and you can even set up "local" telephone numbers anywhere in the world.  The beauty of this is that you can have a telephone number in the USA, without residing in that country...  [Pause for business opportunities to sink in!]

Now I'm sure that Skype has competitors, and this little review has nothing to say about them because I haven't tried them yet.  However, I have used Skype extensively and I can vouch for the fact that, in terms of long-distance and international calls placed from a fixed address, it exceeds the quality of any conventional telephone service available in Kansas - that includes SBC/AT&T, T-mobile, and MCI.

In summary, it's just the thing for certain New Zealand-based objectivists in the process of setting up a sanctuary for "homeless" Objectivists Smiling