So, I am going to try Skype, just downloaded it and registered (Skype Id: rycaut).
In doing so, I realized that the product I would pay money for, if it turns out that Skype is useful and the network of people whom I wish to reach who are on Skype grows large enough, is a Bluetooth enabled headset/microphone for my laptop. Similar, likely, to the wireless headsets for cell phones, it would let me listen and talk without wires via Skype.
Thus, when connected via WIFI (as I usually am), and assuming that Skype truly works through various firewalls, such as those of commercial hotspot providers, I could make many important calls from anywhere, at no cost other than my access fee which I already pay. Very cool, but also suggests changes that are global in scale.
Free calls mean that what is unthinkable today (or hard to contemplate) can be real - for example, opening up a connection to a business partner, across the country, but instead of holding an ongoing conversation, just using audio cues to indicate when they are online and nearby and casually ask them a question as you need to - like "did you see what I just posted, does it look okay?" etc. Disolving, potentially at least, the lines of geography in many respects.
In the near future, I would imagine that services such as Skype will be extended to semi-virtual spaces, making virtually transparent processes that are very complex today.
For example, I could imagine using the whitelist of Skype callers, especially those whom you have initiated a call with and accepted, access to files in a common area - shared via a simple, non-complex means (such as dragging the folder with the files over a skype icon or something similar). Thus allowing something like napster or Kazaa but in a focus, business orientated way.
Potentially Skype calls could be easily recorded by your computer - this could raise issues, but with the right voice recognition software as well it could also provide for simple review and useful tools - for example I recently talked with someone who gave me some names of people to call, my notes were not up to the speed of the conversation, could have been useful to have a transcript of the call to review - especially if the other party had the same transcript and we could both review it for errors and then mark it agreed upon.
Increasingly my options for communication seem endless - three (now essentially four) IM systems which I use, many email addresses, online discussion boards that I monitor, various blogs I read, comments to blogs that I check for responses to my comments, and a handful of commercial sites I read (Salon.com for example). Tools that would log, archive, sort, and help make sense of all of this are of great value to me. To an extent the various online social networks such as Ecademy, Ryze, Spoke, LinkedIn etc help, but none of them do it all.
4/14/2004 11:52:00 AM
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