More of you should get Skype

Fall Leaves, Wadham College, Oxford

I got lots of thesis reading done today, as well as spending a good couple of hours conversing with friends and family members back home. More friends around the world should install Skype. Since arriving in Oxford, I have spent hundreds of hours exchanging text messages with 126 different people. That said, while an hour or two spent exchanging MSN messages can certainly keep you abreast of what another person is up to, the psychological significance of even a twenty minute phone call seems much greater.

For a conversation between two computers running Skype, there are no fees at all. All you need, in order to use Skype, is a Mac or PC with a high speed internet connection (pretty much any university network is more than fast enough), headphones, and a microphone. There are even Skype compatible phones. The headphones aren’t really required, but if you don’t use them you can get odd echo effects from the 80ms delay that tends to exist for messages between Oxford and the west coast of North America.

While I can use Skype to call normal phones (Canada to the UK costs €0.017 a minute), it always seems like something of an imposition on my part – especially since most of my friends can only really be reached on cell phones. Seeing that someone is online and interested in talking is a useful affirmation of the wisdom of giving them a ring. I haven’t personally been in the habit of leaving Skype running, even when I am at home, primarily because so few of my friends use it. That said, I will make a point of remaining online more often, so as to reward those who take the advice above.

PS. On account of today’s atrocious weather, I was unable to produce a photo worth putting online. Next time I get a good batch, I will backdate one to this entry.

PPS. This ongoing discussion of the moral importance of inequality is highly interesting.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

9 thoughts on “More of you should get Skype”

  1. Yes, Skype is great. I bought a Skype phone number so my family can call me without having to pay long distance fees. It’s only 30 euros a year, which is far better than any mobile phone plan. And the phone number is my local area code at home, so there is no roaming or long distance of any kind.

    I know they could just go on Skype, but my parents are kind of technologically challenged – the phone makes more sense to them. Plus, my family members who don’t have Internet (like my grandfathers) can call me that way as well. So it’s really great.

    Hope your term is going well…

  2. Kaitlin,

    I have been checking every few weeks to see if SkypeIn numbers become available in Canada. So far, no luck.

  3. I thought Skype came under p-2-p type software we aren’t allowed in college…

    I think you can get quite dramatic shots in/of rain, if you can get the lighting at least.

  4. Ben,

    If the college can’t fix the hot water in our kitchen within two months of it failing, I don’t think they have the right to pester me about the only means by which I can speak with my family back in Canada.

    As for the rain, you certainly can get such shots, but I have enough of a cold already.

  5. Am hoping to sort out Skype shortly and needed to source headsets – thanks.

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