How Skype has changed the way I do voice communication

OutlookskypeI have been pretty pleased with Skype so far.  Here is a snapshot of how I use voice communications now:

At my home office:

  • when I get home I put my mobile (Treo 600) in its cradle and this initiates an automatic auto-forward to my SkypeIn number, which also comes with free voicemail.Microphone
  • at my desk I am using my Logitech noise cancelling USB Microphone and my desktops speakers, people tell me the quality is very good – so there is no need to mess around with headphones
  • I have contacted about 30 people who I often call to try and get them using Skype,  about 20 of them have installed it.  For these people Skype to Skype calls have been very successful.
  • I still have quite a lot of people that I contact who are not using Skype, mainly because they are highly mobile so for these people I have been experimenting with SkypeOut.  The quality of SkypeOut does not seem as good as Skype to Skype, but it seems good enough in most cases.  I have suffered a few dropouts when calling mobiles (UK –> Australia) but this may have happened anyway.  The call charges were much less than I would have expected from my landline.
  • I do a lot of conference calls, which would be an ideal use for SkypeOut if the free-phone numbers were free! but unfortunately they are not so I rely on my trusty Polycom VoiceStation.Speakerphone
  • To make SkypeOut more effective I wanted to integrate it with my address book, so I used an evaluation version of DoubleLook to create a copy of my Lotus Notes personal address book in Outlook and used a free Add-in for Outlook which integrates very nicely with the Outlook contacts functions, by adding the toolbar shown above.
  • I have invested in a SkypeIn number which also comes with free voicemail.

Around the house:

  • It’s not appropriate to have all calls forwarded to my SkypeIn number when I am out and about around the house and garden.  So with a quick click on my Treo I can forward all my mobile calls to my home phone network, I have mainly DECT phones, which have a good signal strength anywhere in the house and garden.  The reception on the DECT phones is much superior to the Vodafone coverage I get which is really only reliable in my front bedroom!

Around town:

  • Around town I rely on my mobile, which is also my MP3 player and PDA.  Vodafone reception is not that good where I live but outside is bearable.600C_127dialpad_med
  • Because I have to do a lot of walking and cycling I tend to listen to a lot of MP3’s so the integration of phone and MP3 player in the Treo works particularly well for me.  At the moment I am just using an ear-bud headset (which I happen to have 4 of, so I always have one with me no matter which jacket or bag I happen to be using)
  • There are still a few dead-spots in my town where the 02 signal strength is excellent,  I have tried to get transfered to o2 but have had no joy so far.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

7 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m very curious to know how you get your Treo to auoforward.

    Rob Hyndman

    rob – at –

  2. Anonymous says:

    Steve, Do you think the Logitech Microphone would be a good option for Podcasting. I am specifally looking for a good setup that will allow we to interview people either locally or using skype (remote interview). Thoughts?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I don’t see why not. the quality seems good, much better than my speaker phone and it provides a much better environment for interviewing and is pretty cheap.

  4. futurephony

    in the not too distant future, all the phone calls we make (nationally or internationally) will be free, they’ll all be routed over the internet (VoIP in tech-speak), and all we’ll pay is a monthly fixed fee to our ISP…

  5. Anonymous says:


    When you have your Treo forwarding calls, do you not pay extra on your Treo GSM bill for that forwarding ?



  6. Anonymous says:

    You got me worried, so I finally figured out how to get access to my billing information on-line. Fortunately I found that it was zero cost on my plan to do the autoforward.

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