An Introduction to Skype

You may be asking yourself, What is Skype?  Skype is a free online service that allows you to talk and see family or friends anywhere in the world or send instant messages through the internet so long as they are also connected to Skype.  For those not familiar with it, this article is for you.

How do I set it up?  You will need a computer, headset with microphone, and internet connection.  Once you have these in place follow the steps below:

  1. Download Skype.  Get on the internet and download Skype here.  It will install on your computer and guide you through the process with step-by-step instructions.  Follow them carefully.
  2. Sign up / Join Skype.  Once downloaded you will need to sign up and Join Skype here.  This allows you to create an account. You will enter a username and password which is needed in order to “login” and gain access to Skype’s features.  The username will become your “Skype Name” so make sure it is one you are happy with to be seen in the “skype community”.  Be sure to store your password in a safe place.  Roboform is a good password management tool.  Read our article Computer Tip on how to Secure Passwords for more information.
  3. Find Family and Friends.  If the person you want to talk to is already signed up with Skype, then you will need to exchange skype names (username) to find each other and connect.  Skype will automatically store people you connect with under the Contacts section (left-hand side).  Only give your username to people you know and never accept invitations from someone you do not know or recognize.
  4. Make the First Call.  Go to your Contacts and select the person you want to speak with.  You will see a picture (maybe?) and small bubble next to their name indicating if they are online or offline.  Hover over it to check, but usually it is shaded green if they are online or white if they are not.  If they are online put your headsets on and start away!  If you want to test it feel free to call me first.  My skype name is: patient.computer.tutor
  5. No computer?  If you do not own a computer you can still use Skype.  Go to an internet cafe, ask if they have Skype, and follow steps 2-4.  Most of these internet cafes already have Skype downloaded on their computers.  If who you want to talk to is not on Skype or does not have a computer, you can still make Skype calls easily and affordably.

We hope we scratched the surface enough for you to give it a try.  If the instructions above do not make sense and or you would like to learn more, then Contact Us for some PC Training.  

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry. He holds a Bachelors degree in MIS with cum laude designation. His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, website design and internet marketing.

 

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Communicating Long Distance

Communicating Long DistanceIf you live far away from family and friends there are many forms of communication available through the use of the internet that give a more personal touch than just a regular email while saving money.

1. Digital Photos:

If you own a digital camera you can send pictures via email and receive pictures in return.  You can then save these pictures to your computer and create a photo album.

And if you want to print and frame the pictures you can purchase an affordable printer that will allow you to print quality photos.

If you don’t want to buy a printer there are several websites where you can create an online photo album at a reasonable fee. We recommend Shutterfly, an online photo site to frame and customize digital photos.

Another popular alternative is Facebook.  I am not endorsing this website, but in keeping up with technology it is by far one of the most popular social websites used by many to keep in touch with friends and family.  You can upload photos, chat online, and inform everyone with any news or highlights of your life.  If you do create a Facebook account, follow the instructions in our article Secure Your Facebook Account to protect your privacy.

Webcam2. Webcam:

Another great way to communicate is via webcam.  You can really have some fun with this. Sometimes it is better than a phone call because you can see people live in real-time so long as the other party has a webcam, too. We did this last year for Christmas to communicate with our nieces and nephews across the country.  We had a blast and the kids loved it!

You can purchase a webcam for as little as $15.  There are many varieties and features so make sure you shop around.

3. Save Money on Long Distance Calls:

There are several remote telephone providers which allow you to make phone calls with your computer.  Most will offer a free trial period to test the product.

One service we are familiar with is called magicJack.  For less than what most people pay for a month in phone bills, you can call anywhere in the US from anywhere in the world as long you have an internet connection.  You will receive a US phone number. If you travel a lot for business or pleasure within the US then this is worth looking into.

Contact me with any questions or if you need help learning these features.

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry. He holds a Bachelors degree in MIS with cum laude designation. His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, website design and internet marketing.

 

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