Hello mum…….Hello?……..Can you hear me?
Where do I speak into? Is that the microphone? She cant hear me
…….I can hear you now……..can you see me?
Oh there you are!!
……………mom I cant see you……..you need to hit the camera icon for me to be able to see you…….right now Im just talking to my own face………its weird!
Your brothers here…….how do I fix the camera? Ooh okay…..
This is the intro Ive been having with my mother for many a conversation in the last 7 years, im sure it’s a common occurrence when generationally generated techno-newbies and techno-savvy’s collide. Its one im very grateful for.
My first memory of Skype is using it in a hostel in Melbourne, 7 years ago. Two days after I landed, looking jetlagged and overheated I donned a set of headphones and microphone that would rival any air pilots headgear and I had a ‘face-to-face’ conversation with my family. They showed me my sister’s 21st birthday cake and the presents she had received that day, I told them how my accommodation was and who I was sharing it with.
Skype had entered my life and I hated it.
I didn’t like the restriction of sitting at a pc and the need to put on clunky headgear to have a chat. I felt the conversation was forced and rigid, we were so preoccupied with what we could see or not see that the content of our conversation revolved around the technology.
After stints in 3 countries I have adapted and now it’s my lifeline. The addition of integrated cameras and microphones in my laptop and phone mean that I can have a conversation with my sister in Ireland while she cooks dinner and I walk between classes. I have even done an interview via Skype which opened up my options for employment. I have used it for conference calls at work and for communication with my academic adviser in Ireland. This is a phenomenal technology.
On the whole I believe Skype is an excellent service which provides a very high quality connection but I am not so fanatical about the user interface.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for me is that both users must be signed on in order for a call to be made. While this makes sense on a computer the introduction of smartphones means that people have their devices close to hand but may not be signed in to save energy. This encourages me to use the Viber app as it acts just like a phone instead but the quality is not a high.
There are other elements which I struggle with and I don’t believe that the Microsoft windows app or iPhone app are very well designed. Hopefully the introduction of the fully built-in Skype app for windows 8.1 will resolve some of the less appealing aspects of the user interface.
Overall Skype is an amazing service which allows people to connect across time zones and continents for family communication, business and project coordination.
………oh the signals gone……do we call her back??
….mom…………im still here