Category Archives: VoIP

The 8000 mile tech. support call with Skype and Crossloop

It has always amazed me how complicated vendors make it to set up a WiFi network at home. Case in point. I am currently in Saudi Arabia. My sister lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She recently received a new laptop and wanted to connect to her WiFi router. When I was out there in 2008 I had set up their home network for them and written down all the important passwords such as the router administrator password and the network key. That was over a year ago and things get misplaced. Thanks to Skype I was able to talk to her about some of the things to do, but without those key passwords, there was skypeonly so far I could go. So I took the last step of resetting the router and proceeded to set up her home network for her. Usually this could have been a very long process if I had to describe this over the phone to someone who is not technical. Trying to explain to a non-techy how to enter http:// by itself can be confusing for some. But I was using Crossloop which allowed me to connect to her laptop and do all the work as if I was sitting right there. Now I know that the latest version of Skype allows you to share screens, but when you are rebooting routers, you loose the connection. So I was using Skype to call her land line. With Skype subscription service, I pay $3 a month for unlimited calling to North America.

crossloop

Crossloop is a very simple program to use. You go to Crossloop.com and register an account. The registration and use of the software is free. Then you download the application and start it up. You have 2 tabs depending on which end of the call you are on. If you are the one needing support, you click on the Share tab. You will be given and 12 digit number. The person doing the support clicks on the Access tab and enters your 12 digit number that you give them, and clicks on connect. After a few seconds the person getting the support is asked if they want to connect, they click on the connect button and say yes they want to allow the person giving the support access to view their screen. From then on it was like was sitting there on the computer in Vancouver (except for the +25 degree difference in temperatures). Crossloop is very secure as it generates a new code for each connection. So there is no need to worry about the support person dialing back in and downloading data. Once the session is ended, the code is no longer valid.

So thanks to technology, a happy ending to the story. My sister is happy and everything is working fine with her new laptop and home network. I wonder what the fee would be for a tech. support call from 8000 miles away?

The Future of computing

Recently there has been a few companies that have come out with UMPC’s. Ultra Mobile PC’s. Everyone has complained about how expensive they are and how impractical the small format is. What is important to realize is that these are the "betas" of the UMPC. Like everything else, the first version is expensive. Look at HD-DVD players. They first came out over $1,000. Now pricing is down to $799. This past weekend I received a flyer for an external HD-DVD player for the Xbox 360 for $149 Canadian. (which apparently you can install in a PC.)

To really understand where the UMPC is going, simply watch the Intel video below. The only thing I could say after watching this is "I want one of each!"

Skype deal ends Jan. 31

I have posted about this a couple times. I have talked to some of those who read my blog, and there are still many who don’t get what Skype is or think that it is for computer to computer only.

Jan. 31, is the last day of the 50% off special that Skype is running on their SkypeOut service. Now read this carefully:

For $14.95 per YEAR (not per month), you can call any phone (not computer, but a phone, just like the one you have plugged into your wall at home) in the US or Canada, without additional charges.

So go to Skype.come and sign up. You won’t find a better service or deal anywhere.

FREE Long Distance Phone Calls from Skype

No this is not some spam that I recently received. This is not some bait and switch tactic to get you to sign some multi-year contract with an ISP or cell phone provider. This is the real deal. Out of the blue on Monday, Skype announced they would allow FREE SkypeOut calls to any phone number in North America. SkypeOut is a service where you buy credits, and it allows you to call a land line phone number for about 2 cents a minute. Well now that service is FREE until the end of the year. After that Skype isn’t saying. I can tell you from experience over the last 2 days, that is words fine. I called family in B.C. and it was crystal clear. So what are you waiting for. Download Skype and start making your free calls.

Use Skype without a PC

I am a big fan of Skype. Who wouldn’t be, free phone calls anywhere in the world. Check out my Skype-me icon on top right. Netgear has introduced a new phone that is Skype compatible and you don’t need a PC to use it. This is the first time I have seen this. There are a lot of Skype compatible phones, but they all plug into PC’s in order to work. This phone can be use anywhere there is WiFi access; like Starbucks or Second Cup for example. You can receive or make phone calls to anyone on your contact list for free. The phone is coming soon, and you can Pre-order Phone Here

Skype

I have been using Skype for about 2 years now. Skype is software that allows you to talk to anyone in the world for free. When I was in Beijing, I was talking to my wife and kids. When I travel to Fremont I talk to my family. The clarity is better than the phone lines. Most people that I have talked to do not know about Skype. They have heard about Vonage and their VOIP phone plan. Skype is basically the same thing, but it costs nothing. As long as both parties have the Skype software and a headset. You can talk for free. The latest version now allows for video. You can do conference calls with up to 5 people. Skype was recently purchased by eBay for $3+ billion. With that kind of money it will be interesting to see where they go. Check icon below or the one at the top to see if I am online