I was recommended Skype VoIP software from my friend Uri. I had not tried voice over the net since I worked on one of the pioneers in this area, an Israeli company called Delthathree. I expected metallic sounding voices and gapped and stuttered speech as signals would be distorted and delayed by network traffic. Skype is a peer-to-peer voice over the net application, you pay nothing for calls between computers and low prices between computers and phones. This is nothing new Net2Phone did this back in the day, both Yahoo! Messenger and Apple’s iChat allows you to do video conferencing and voice calls. Skype has something else, sizzle.
Skype’s client software arrived just as broadband has become mainstream, secondly the player looks and works really well, Skype had the underground cool heritage of Kazaa – both shared the same development team based somewhere in the Latvia. Finally the Orrin Hatch pestilence of anything that doesn’t cost the consumer must be bad has co-opted authority against open source, P2P communities and telecoms providers against any web service they would like to tax to feather their own nests.
Usability in the Mac OS X client is second to none and very intuitive. Encryption of conversations would be nice just to wind the powers that be up a bit more! The way I look at it, the more we make them work to read our personal mail, the better the peace dividend in five years or so as the NSA has had to increase its computing power and write wicked cool software to cope. Hell, it would be un-American not to help be everything they can be!