As a remote workers and road warriors, there are certain tools in our toolbox that are indispensable. The ones that take some of the remoteness out of being located away from your teammates and colleagues.
IM is great for quick conversations and email is fantastic for more important communications, but when it comes to feeling connected to those you interface with, nothing beats Skype. This is why I was elated to see that yesterday Skype updated it’s client on the Mac to version 2.7 and added some fantastic new features and bugfixes.
Many Apple-based Skype users considered the Mac client to be the red-headed step child compared to the Windows client. It lagged in features, wasn’t as reliable, and was missing that pizzaz element the more polished Windows version had. Skype had addressed these issues with some great update releases and 2.7 is no exception.
One of the greatest features Skype offers web workers is video chatting. Sure we Mac users have iChat, but with Skype you can video chat with your Windows and Linux colleagues and clients as well. With 2.7, they’ve improved video quality. Also, another much needed addition, now you can integrated Skype with your Address Book.
That’s right, no more having to re-enter contact information for a Skype contact when the data is already in your Address Book. To see how this works, once you have Skype 2.7 loaded, scroll down on your contact list and after all you’ve scrolled past your Skype contact list, you’ll see all the phone numbers of your Address Book contacts available to call right from within Skype.
Like the Windows client, you can now group your Skype contacts. By creating categories for family, friends, clients, and co-workers you don’t have to spend as much time searching through a huge laundry list trying to find Aunt Martha or your web developer to shoot him/her an IM or call.
Other additional (and welcome) functionality includes: a file transfer manager, available automatic redialing of busy numbers, and an easier way of changing volume control and audio setting. In my trial of Skype 2.7, I found all the new features worked as promised. I did notice a quality increase in a video call, and my caller reported the same.
Skype is a fantastic tool for communicating with the people in your work and social life. It allows you to do many much needed functions including IM, normal phone calling, audio calling, video calling, file transfer, and screen sharing, among other things. As an added bonus, IM, Skype calls and video calls, and file transfers are carried out with built encryption, for those of you who need to communicate in a secure manner; perhaps where intellectual property or company secrets are involved.
To get started, grab the Skype install file and follow the installation prompts.