Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Skype Is Great Stuff!

Skype is becoming one of my favorite software programs. Making and receiving phone calls around the world, instant messaging, video calls, and more, and more. I am not alone in my Skype love. Colleague, tech and law firm guru, practice management hero Lee Rosen also loves Skype. Because his words are always better than mine, I will share with you what Lee has to say in praise of Skype:

Skype is my most used software package. I use it, literally, all day long. It’s pretty amazing when you really put it to use.

I use Skype, primarily, as my instant messenger client. Everyone in my firm, in all three offices, runs Skype all day and we communicate with instant messages constantly. I use it when I want someone to call me. I send a quick message that says “call me now” or “call me when you get a chance.”

We use it when someone arrives at the office for a meeting to let the attorney or paralegal know their visitor has arrived. We use it to arrange for front desk coverage when the receptionist needs to go to the bathroom. We alert attorneys that a caller is holding when the attorney is on another call. Skype works well between offices and within a single office. It’s also terrific when someone is working from home. Of course, you can send messages while already on a call so you don’t need to deal with a noisy intercom or putting a caller on hold.

That’s just the beginning of what Skype can do. In addition to its messenger capabilities you can also make video calls. Everyone in our office has a webcam and we can communicate, between offices or home/office, with video. I also video chat with my friends, family and some clients who have Skype set up. The quality is fantastic and the calls are free.

Skype just added, yesterday, video conference calling. It’s in beta and it’s only available to PC users (not Macs) for now. It’s free, but they plan to charge late this year for the feature. We started testing it yesterday with excellent results. Skype, of course, also has built-in audio conferencing. The audio conferencing has a feature that highlights the name of the participant that’s talking so you don’t need people to identify themselves when they speak. You can seek their name blinking on the screen as they talk. Skype to Skype audio conferencing is free.

Skype also provides the capability to send SMS text messages from your desktop. This isn’t a free feature. It costs a few cents per text and you can leave funds in your account and pay as you go. There isn’t a monthly minimum.

Finally, of course, you can use Skype to make phone calls. They charge for calls to landlines. It runs two cents per minute in the U.S. or you can sign up for an unlimited plan for $3.00 per month. My mother called me earlier this week from Marrakech on my home phone. That cost her two cents a minute. Skype is almost always the best deal for calling people around the world.

Skype can give you a phone number so non-Skype users can call you on your Skype account. They also offer voicemail and you can forward calls from your Skype number to your cell phone or landline. They offer a free Skype to Go option so you can dial in from any phone and make international calls at Skype rates.

I’ve got Skype with me even when I’m away from my computer. I have Skype on my iPhone and iPad and I use IM+ on both of those devices so I can keep getting instant messages when I’m mobile.

To really use all the goodness of Skype you need a webcam and a headset with a microphone. You can download Skype for free and give it a try. What have you got to lose?

Please click here for Lee's original article on DivorceDiscourse.com.

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information of Harding & Associates Family Law

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