Thursday, August 14, 2008

Skype and Broadband on the Water


I have mentioned Skype while in the Bahamas but thought it might be worth repeating. Skype is great! It is a very cheap way to make phone calls, within and outside of the US, on your computer. Here, Peter is talking with our friends Rob and Christine in Canada, all for 2 cents per minute. Here is how it works, it is simple, since I am able to do it:

1. Get a headset like Peter is wearing. We got ours at Radio Shack, I think it was about $40. It just needs to be able to plug into your computer via a USB port.

2. Go to (I think) and download their software and spend a few minutes with their tutorial. It really is simple.

3. You prepay for minutes using your credit card. I think when I did it I signed up for something that kept the balance at a specified amount, like $10. That's a lot of talking at 2 cents a minute.

4. After you have established a Skype account and passwords, enter your phone numbers and follow the Skype instructions. The person getting your call won't even know you are using the internet,
provided you have a good internet connection.

5. Speaking of internet connection, we are using a Verizon broadband. I think this costs $59 a month and gives unlimited use of the internet provided there is a Verizon tower around. You are given a gizmo that inserts into your laptop and software to load. I don't think I have been anywhere where I could not get a signal good enough to connect except for most places in Maine, and that was a few years ago. There is no connectivity in the Bahamas.

6. In the Bahamas, we had to find a random or purchased signal to use Skype, and while sometimes this was not possible, it was surprising how often we could find a way to connect. Christine told me while at anchor in remote Pipe Creek for a week, every day she was able to sign on using someone's signal from Lord knows where.
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