The Computer Revolution/Communication/Skype
Skype is an online telephone. It has all the features you can get with a regular phone, but it's online. In case you might be away Skype also has a built in messaging system to receive voicemail while you are away. Skype connects to computers, landlines or mobiles so you can reach anyone over their telephone line.
Money is involved with calling people on the phone and skype is no different. Currently they are offering free calling to landlines and mobiles within canada and the US, but that deal only lasts till 2006. Between other skype customers the calling is always free. There is also an option of video calls or group calls. The voicemail does cost money though, but for 1 year it will cost you $20 CDN to send and receive voicemail. Other costs include International calls to landlines and mobiles, forwarding calls to phones, and SMS. Skype accepts payments through PayPal, certain credit cards, Moneybookers, or even withdraw the money for your own bank account.
More individuals, businesses, and home owners are dropping their regular phone company and are starting to use their computer with their microphone and speakers to use Skype. Skype is a free application and service that you are able to download from www.skype.com. Once you have your account setup all you need to do is log into the application like using any instant messenger. If you know the person id you can add it to your list and be able to make that call for free. For other situations you can add credit from your credit card through PayPal. For individuals who have enough vision to work the application they just use the mouse to add contacts, make audio or video calls, text messages, etc. For individuals like myself on the other hand, who has limited vision, I am able to use the keyboard commands incorporated with the scripts from JAWS for Windows a screen reader that reads the text spoken out loud through the computer’s speakers. So if I want to make a call all I need to do is hit Enter on the person’s name and it makes the call for me. To end the call or video chat on the other hand I use the keyboard commands Alt + Down Arrow that I have created from the settings menu. At the moment my monthly subscription for U.S. Canada and portions of Mexico, is $2.99. Yup! You are not imagining what is shown on the screen. So that is why my cell phone has the cheapest plan of 59.00 a month with unlimited texting, and Data plan to be able to use for emergencies and use my Skype account anywhere.
With all the options Skype also offers products for you to purchase. There are headsets and handsets both wired and wireless. For those that wish to show themselves off there is an assortment of webcams with some that include Skype minutes when purchased through Skype's online market.