In preparation for the Poisoned Pen Webcon this October, which I’ve registered for, I needed to put Skype on my computer and figure it out. I know some of you have thought about registering for the conference, but weren’t sure about tackling Skype.
I know exactly how you feel. I’m tired of learning new things! Okay, not tired, just frustrated.
Anyway, here’s my take on Skype. You could do Skype without a camera, I believe. Skype is basically a way to make free calls from one computer to another, so what you really need is a microphone on your computer. However, the plus about Skype, if you’ve watched any Oprah, is that you also can use a camera so you can see who you’re talking to and vice versa.
So, I went to the store and checked out the little cameras. You can get expensive ones or ones not so expensive. You can get ones with built in microphones or you can get a headset type of microphone.
I got a camera with built-in microphone that was not the top of the line, but, then, I don’t expect to use it a lot. Loading the camera on my computer was easy. Stick in the CD, do what it tells me, and I was done. Getting the little camera to balance on my laptop and focus on something besides the ceiling was a bit of a hassle. And since it sits on the top of the open lid of my laptop, I can either look into its little eye and not see the screen and the person I’m talking to, or I can look at the screen to see the caller and that person sees the top of my head. Plus, I think my image resembles a fish with eyes on the side of her head. Or maybe that’s the way I really look. I dunno.
I’m assuming I sound okay to the person I’m talking to. I’ve only made one call.
Let me rephrase that, I’ve made several calls, but they were one right after the other trying to make the connection. The wonderful Jean Henry Mead volunteered to work with me. She’s new to Skype, too, and wanted to test her equipment. So we set up a day and time. And she called me.
I could see her (she’s pretty as a picture, no fisheyes) and hear her. She could neither see me nor hear me. We could, however, text each other. We hung up. I fiddled with my software settings and called her back. If I remember right, this time she could see me, but not hear me, but we could still text. As we “talked” I kept clicking stuff until, finally, we could both see and hear each other.
I will point out here that Jean had hers all set up properly from the beginning. I was the screw-up. I will also point out that I did get it fixed. I think. I’ll need to try a few more times before the conference, for sure.
This is all to say that if you’re thinking of setting up Skype, you can do it. It’s not impossible. And when you’re ready to test it out, you can call me. I’ll fumble around and probably cause you great frustration, but, hey, what are friends for?
5 weeks ago