Today I am going to try Skype. I’m a newbie, a first-timer, a frightened adventurer into the unknown. Yesterday, my publisher wanted to show me a few ideas for Anaedor’s new book cover. He wanted to use Skype so he could physically show me the pictures. Great, I thought! My husband has Skype…we can use his. There was only one problem.

I couldn’t figure it out.

Okay, first I had to figure out how to get to it. My husband’s computer is a bit of a landmine to navigate but he managed to guide me through it via iChat (I didn’t want to use the Linux Operating System apparently). Next, I needed to set up my own account. The site kept asking me to download Skype. Well, my husband already had it on his computer. I didn’t need anymore Skype, thank you very much. Skype didn’t care. Finally, I gave up in disgust. Of course, I’m sure the answer to my dilemma was sitting right in front of me, but I was too blind or tired to see it.

Story of my life.

Last night, my helping hubby set up an account for me, in like seven seconds. Plus, he told me I had to turn on the microphone and sound. Hmmm…That makes a lot of sense. So even if I could have used Skype yesterday, I wouldn’t have been able to hear anything, or be heard. Nice.

Today, I actually had a conversation on Skype. First I had to tell my four-year-old to stay away while the door’s closed. Ha! He wasn’t too sure about that. Then I had to find somewhere to put our overgrown puppy. I didn’t need a dog licking me or trying to get me to play when I’m trying to look sophisticated and business-like. So I decided that Dorrie could hang out in Grandma’s room – she loves it up there because that’s where Harold resides (my mom’s dog).

Well, as you might have guessed, she decided to leave Grandma’s room and find me. There were only a couple minutes before the conversation was about to start…so I let her come into the office…she was nosing at the door and making sad sounds. Once inside, she immediately left, curiosity satisfied. Good, I thought.

Well, my publisher and I finally worked the Skype right and we had a nice conversation about my book…after the fiasco happened, that is. The dog stole a toy from my son and my son chased the dog into the office. The toy she stole? Once of those bouncing noise making balls that sings, “Louie, Louie!” and makes cat calls. She lost it under my desk and then got a hold of the mouse and started playing with that. Needless to say, I had to interrupt the conversation to save my computer. Finally, I removed both child and dog from the office and the conversation continued quite nicely.

So, here’s my opinion on Skype:

Bonus: It’s free, easy to use (once you’re set up), and you can see the other person and they can see you (if you have a web cam). What you need: A web cam (my husband’s apple has one built in) and some sort of microphone and sound system (again, he had that all figured out – you’re on your own with that).

Negatives: The set-up is hard to figure out (well, it was for me), you have to agree on a time to do the call, there was some feedback on my end (I could hear my voice repeat everything I said, which was distracting), and finally, you can see the other person and they can see you. Actually, I was glad I wasn’t able to make Skype work yesterday. Let’s just say I wasn’t at my visual best.

Anyway, it’s free and kind of neat. I would certainly use it again.

Give it a try yourself…Skype’s Website

www.KristinaSchram.com