The thing that is appealing to me about Skype is that you can call ordinary phones, land-line and wireless for free right now. (In the US and Canada only.) They have this great deal where you can make these free calls until the end of the year. I'm sure it's a way for them to get people hooked. The thing is if I train myself to use this free service after the end of the year it's only about .02 cents per minute on calls to ordinary phones. If I get my extended family into using Skype we can call each other Skype to Skype and it will always be free. The other thing is if you need to call out of the country the calls are really cheap, but that's land-line calls. Skype to Skype no matter where in the world you are calling is always free.
After hooking up the webcam and mic I have spent all day calling everyone I can think of long distance. I just love getting things for free. I have determined something about my equipment though. I first bought just a stand alone microphone and used the computer speakers I already had. That didn't fare very well. You get a lot of static and feedback with things set up that way. You really need to use headphones so that doesn't happen.
I went back to the store and returned the stand alone microphone and bought this cute little set up from Logitech - it's called the QuickCam Chat, it's a webcam with a Headset included. I thought that would be just fine but I've decided I have to make another trip back to the store. The Webcam is to grainy. My son's Micro Innovations webcam is much clearer. I'm sure the resolution 640 x 480 pixels is to low on the QuickCam. I'm not sure what the resolution is on my son's webcam. The headset isn't what I want either. At first I thought I wanted one that hooks around my ear but it keeps falling out. I think it has something to do with the space between my ear and my glasses. Just isn't enough room there to keep the thing attached. The store clerk sold me on the mic that extends from the ear piece on a bar not the loose kind hanging down. He said the ones hanging down can make a scratching sound if they hit the collar on your shirt. The bar thing is ok but it's the stupid ear piece bugging me. I guess you get what you pay for the whole set up was $29.99.
So tomorrow it's back to the store for the headphone and microphone combo that fits across the top of your head. I saw one at Walmart that looked tiny enough to not be bothersome for me and only $14.99. The thing is that doesn't have the webcam but I learned I can live without the webcam for now. I need to convert my friends to Skype before it will make sense to have a webcam. Who's going to be looking at me anyways?
I know they make real phones that you can use to call on Skype but I don't need the fancy stuff - I'm trying to save money here! The only other expense was setting up my Skype account to make land-line calls. Even though all calls in the U.S. and Canada are free right now you still need to have money in your Skype account to use it. That cost me $10.00 EU, which is $12.79 U.S. Dollars. You have only 180 days to use the service or it goes inactive and you lose the money in your account. That had me worried but they say if you just make a call you have 180 days to make another call or lose the money. So every 179 days I better be making a phone call. That isn't hard for me to make any calls, that's the whole point afterall.
Now how does this all relate to us genealogist? Well staying in touch with family is the name of the game. If you stay in touch you will know all that great stuff to add to your genealogy. Your lines grow down as well as back so it's important to talk to all those nieces and nephews that are growing up and having children of their own. Same goes with cousins you need to know all that's going on to keep your datebase current. I've got a potential Weatherwax cousin I'm just waiting to get the courage up to call and see if we make a connection. This is just going to be great the sky is the limit as to who I can call. Well I guess I better go and type up the minutes to my UVPAFUG Executive Meeting we had last night - I'll let you know the good stuff I found out.
See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day!<.lj-cut>