Do you Skype?

I have just gotten myself a Skype account – a search under “David Schutz” in Melbourne Australia will get you the right address if you want to give me a call or see my exact account name in the sidebar. Do any of you Skype? What has been your experience of it? Thus far, I have found that I often can’t get the video to work properly. And sometimes the sound comes through a bit garbled too. Anyway, just experimenting with this new technology at the moment.

Update: My God, Skype is cool. I’ve just been able to speak to Pastor Weedon in the States!



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3 responses to “Do you Skype?

  1. Tom

    Skype is a really handy tool. My older brother and sister both live overseas, and Skype makes contact with them very easy and very cheap. Also, you can’t get video on your phone, so it’s nice to see them when you talk to them.

    If there’s a problem with your video or sound, it’s more than likely a driver or hardware problem (as opposed to being a problem with skype itself) on someone’s end – as in your mic may not be of sufficient quality, or your speakers are sending reverb through the mic to give it a garbled and echoing sound. Much the same with your camera, if the picture is particularly grainy, or badly lit, etc.

    It also may be that your hardware is sufficient, however it is incorrectly setup – a simply google search with the precise model name of the various pieces of hardware will give you the latest drivers for each of the pieces you use. If you have continued problems, this should be your first port of call – updating drivers can fix a whole host of problems.

    If after all these steps you’re having problems it might be one of two fairly standard issues:

    a) your internet is simply not fast enough – streaming live video/audio can be bandwidth intensive. If your internet provider is very small due to a variety of issues (mostly to do with line sharing) the quality of the connection may not be the best. Also on that note, you may have an internet plan that caps your download and upload speeds which can cause problems. If you are on broadband, this usually is not a problem; only a very poor quality broadband connection will cause this kind of issue.

    b) your hardware is poor quality. I went through 3 webcams before i finally found one that worked well – the first was a $15 job from China, and the quality and software for it was practically worthless. The second was a microsoft camera, and it also was terrible. For the company that produces the operating system, their driver integration is terrible. Far and away the best webcams (which usually include microphones) are the Logitech cameras – i’ve been using mine for about 2 years now and it still works very well. Logitech also provide regular software updates (if you change operating system from XP to Vista, for example).

    I use an earlier model of this webcam. This one retails in Aus for around $60, and is designed specifically for skype. I’m a big fan of logitech; they make excellent webcams.,en

    • David Schutz

      Tom, thanks for going to all that trouble and detail. I will go thru your list step by step to find my problem. I am using a logutech camera – the cheapest one they had. But we are also using an old microphone and this may be the problem.

      • Tom

        It’s no trouble; if you’re using a logitech camera, even a very cheap one it should be good. Your best bet to resolve performance issues is updating drivers. If you have trouble finding the latest drivers yourself, you can try running Windows Update, and that should install all the latest drivers (if your camera is XP/Vista compatible; and i’m assuming you use Windows XP/Vista).

        On this note though, if you do update your drivers, make sure you update for your particular OS – getting Vista drivers while using XP will cause a whole raft of problems, and vice-a-versa. They may also ask if you use a ’32-bit or 64-bit operating system’. A good rule of thumb is, if you use XP you’re probably on 32-bit. If you’re using Vista, it’s about 50-50. To find out you can right-click on the ‘computer’ icon in the start-bar (or on the desktop) and click on the properties button. That page will tell you if your OS is 32 or 64 bit.

        If you find the poor quality is caused by the microphone, i’d recommend buying a webcam that includes a mic, rather than a separate mic – separate mics tend to be rather flimsy and easily broken (at least, the mics i’ve bought have been, but they were usually very cheap affairs.)

        Anyway, if you need any help feel free to e-mail me.