18 Jun 2011

Skype hotline

Q: What exactly is Skype?


A: It’s a piece of software that functions as a telephone, on a computer.


Q: What is software?


A: Software is a computer programme or more commonly known these days as an ‘application’.


Q: What’s a computer?


A: It’s usually an electronic device that processes information and carries out instructions determined by the software and the way you use the software.


Q: So – why would  I want Skype?


A: I don’t know. It depends on your needs. Why do some people prefer automobiles to horse-drawn carriages?


Q: So what does skype do that my phone can’t do?


A: It’s not that skype is so fundamentally different from a phone. It does the phone thing in a more flexible way with a few important differences.


  1. You don’t need to remember a number to call a friend, if your friend has a skype ID. You click on your friends name (no numbers involved) and skype connects you to your friend. Or if you like the numbers thing, Skype will easily let you phone by pressing on a dial-pad (on your computer screen, using a mouse).
  2. If you want three or more people to discuss a matter – you select three names and click to pull them all into the same ‘room’ i.e. conference. It’s literally that easy. No operators involved.
  3. You want to see your friends when you’re talking to them. No problem - ‘right-click’ on a friends ID and then select video call.

Q: Suppose I want to send a text message?


A: Easy – skype can do that. Right-click your friend and select ‘send SMS’.


Q: Will skype do the washing and ironing?


A: I think you’re trying to be daft. Surely you don’t expect your telephone to do those things, so it’s ridiculous to expect Skype to do them.


Q: How much does it cost again?


A: Skype is free. Calls between skype devices using Skype ID’s are free.


Q: But some people say they charge to call phones.


A: Yes. Calls from a Skype device to most phone numbers attract various charges. However, calls to UK and USA toll-free numbers are free of charge.


Q: So what if I call from my computer to someone with a mobile phone running Skype?


A: You’d connect to them on their mobile, free of cost to you, so long as you have called them on their Skype ID.


Q: So you mean I can speak to someone on their mobile using Skype free of charge?!


A: Yes. It is true of Skype calls in the UK. However, this may not apply to all countries.


Q: So what if I don’t have a computer, can I still use skype?


A: Yes. As mentioned above many mobile phones can run skype.


Q: But is there a charge for calls using skype form mobiles?


A: It depends on whether your mobile phone service allows you to use skype free of charge. Most do.


Q: Can I be hacked by using Skype?


A: Not for using Skype. But if your computer does not have a good firewall anyone can hack your computer. The risk of you being hacked has little or nothing to do with skype.


Q: But can anyone peep at me through my camera using skype to see what I’m up to – I like to walk around naked in my house.


A: They can peep at you naked in your house only if you switch on skype and invite the world to look in on you. I’ve not even found that function on Skype as yet. You may wish to consider seeking psychiatric attention.


Q: Are you trying to be rude?


A: No – are you trying to be paranoid or are you truly paranoid? What have you got to hide?


Q: What if I don’t have a microphone?


A: It’s the same as if your mouthpiece for your telephone isn’t working – the other person won’t hear you.


Q: Do I need a camera?


A: Only if you plan to do some video conferencing.


Q: Is that pretty technical?


A: No. It’s as easy as right-clicking on a contact and then mouse-clicking ‘video-call’.


Q: I’m shy of cameras, can I leave it out?


A: Sure.


Q: Is ‘big brother’ in on all that I do on Skype.


A: Sure thing. Unknown to most people, ‘big brother’ monitors or has the capacity to monitor every word you utter down your telephone line. You can’t escape.


Q: Am I gonna get strange folk calling me up at all hours of the day and night?


A: It’s very much like a telephone. If you leave your computer on day and night, connected to the internet day and night, and leave your skype on day and night, you might expect this.

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