Tag Archives: voip

Jump the Shark

Did Skype Jump the Shark with In-Call Ads?

Jump the SharkAbout two weeks ago Skype introduced in-call advertisements in voice calls or “conversation ads” as they call it. Well, we can’t say that we did not see this one coming as Skype has talked about plans to monetize the platform through ads for a while now. And you know that I am probably the last one to blame a company when it wants to make money, in fact the question “What is your business model?” is probably the one I use in every talk I have.

And let’s be honest. If you were really annoyed by the ads there is a pretty simple fix. Just add some credit to your account. When it’s short to expire just call yourself on your land line number for a couple of seconds and your credit will be good for the next six months or so.

Still, I have never been a fan of advertisements to monetize a service or platform, especially when this revenue model is added at a later stage like in this case. Yes, I know that my Deutsch Happen project is pretty much plastered with ads but hey, it’s free. Skype has been my tool of choice when it comes to online teaching and content creation for a long time now and I have to admit that it is still the best VoIP client out there. Nevertheless, I feel an increasing personal need to find a new service that has the potential to replace Skype as I ran into a lot of minor problems with Skype and the tools I use that are based on Skype lately. I am just not 100% happy using it, anymore.

For example, Chris and I gave it a shot and we tried out ooVoo, a VoIP client that I had used in the early days of EDUKWEST to record my interviews. And though the advertisements are even more intrusive than on Skype in the free version, the advantage is the integrated call recording that works like a charm. Downside however are the smaller videos you get from the callers and the audio also cannot compete with Skype.

The second option I am currently playing around with is Google+ Hangouts, and it might be a potential Skype replacement for some of our shows like ENT. The platform seems to be pretty robust, similar to Skype and there are advantages like live streaming on your Google+ profile and your YouTube channel. The recording will automatically be added to YouTube, as well.

But still, Skype is on nearly everyone’s desktop, mobile phone or tablet these days. At least I have this impression when I am talking to interviewees for our shows. It has become the VoIP client that people use on a regular basis – at least here in the western world. We should keep in mind though that Skype is banned in UAE and the recent articles around a new law in Ethiopia which might put people in jail for using VoIP services, though it seems that it was a misunderstanding. Talking about internationalization in education this is definitely something we have to take into account.

I believe, reactions to ban Skype are largely due to the fact that governments cannot control what’s being talked about on the service. And I assume as long as Skype and other VoIP services are not willing to open a back door (and I hope that they remain firm here), those services will remain unavailable. On the other hand, these reactions also show the increasing popularity of VoIP as an alternative to telephones all over the world.

But back to my search for Skype alternatives. Asking people in advance if they are on Google+ to add them to a Hangout or sending them a link to join an ooVoo call via the web feels unprofessional and looking back at my early interviewing days it also did not work in 50% of the cases.

One thing is clear though. In the coming weeks and months you will see more live events from me and probably our EDUKWEST team. The experiences I had using Google+ Hangouts were pretty positive, especially from the viewers’ side the reaction was very positive. There is definitely a need for live content and, probably more importantly, live interaction with the audience. The interview Benjamin Stewart did with me on WizIQ lately was another reminder for me to get back in the trenches and talk with people in real time.

R:ED October 24th to November 6th

  1. What does the $15,000 Anybot tell us about the future of telecommuting?
  2. Connect Any Wi-Fi Device to Any Other Wi-Fi Device with Wi-Fi Direct
  3. The Stampede: Razorfish Reveals Latin America’s Untapped Digital Consumer
  4. Inkling Debuts Interactive iPad Textbook Experience With Photography App
  5. How A Mixergy Listener Got Sal Khan His DotCom!
  6. RediLearning Closes $1.75 Million For Systems To Train Senior Care Workers
  7. Survey Says: Men More Likely Than Women To Use Skype Or Mobile VoIP Apps

Virtual Classroom vs Skype / VoIP only – Round #4 #5 #6

4) Greater availability
Some countries ban Skype (i.e. UAE), some learners prefer MSN or Yahoo and many companies do not allow Skype for security reasons.
(Giselle Santos, AmericanTeacher, Heike Philp)

5) Conferences
Conference like the ETCon would not have been possible on Skype.
(unknown)

6) Plan B as in ‘back-up’
Internet communication technology is fragile and it is advised to always have two of everything. So, it is good to use MSN AND Skype or Skype AND Virtual Classroom. If one fails, one can use the other.
(Heike Philp)

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Three Years of Resistance – Why I will finally buy an iPhone

Finally. After over three years of resistance I will buy my first iPhone when it will hit the market in France. This time Steve Jobs got me on the right nerve, FaceTime.

Of course there are other nice features like the new display, the smaller size etc that turns the iPhone 4 into a decent replacement for my Asus EEE netbook which I now use when I am not at home but I truly think that FaceTime could be a massive game changer.

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Virtual Classroom vs Skype / VoIP only – Round #3

3) Professionalism Using Skype seems to mix business with personal use, hence using a virtual classroom lifts the professional image.

Alright, reason number three to prefer a virtual classroom over Skype. Continue reading

review:ed Episode #3.5 – Do Ads interfere with Education?

Last topic on the list for this episode of review:ed was about VoIP. Skype launched a new 5 way video calling feature in beta which will later on become a paid premium feature. The other news about Skype is that the company is considering to display ads in its free service.

Second news item is the acquisition of GIPS by Google which leads to the rumor that Google is actually planning to launch a Skype competitor based on Google Talk, soon. But as Google’s products are all somehow based on ad revenue this service might display ads during calls, too.

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Virtual Classroom vs Skype / VoIP only – Round #2

2) More control
For better or for worse, in a virtual classroom the teacher has more control over what students look at and sees how they interact with their peers, the chat and with the learning material.
(Stephen Jones)

You can argue about this point from an academic and a for profit view, as you can basically for most points on the list. I will argue from the second point, of course.

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Virtual Classroom vs Skype / VoIP only – Round #1

Almost 10 months ago I hosted the first E-Teachers Conference and in case you are wondering what happened to it, I am working on the launch of the new and revised version ;).

Anyway, the topic of the event was “Lesson Slides and Virtual Classrooms – do we really need them?”. I would love to share the recording with you but due to some “hick ups” that led to the total crash and burn of the meeting there is none available. Also the second part of the evening that was backed up by eduFire did not record the event properly.

Two take aways from this evening: I am known as Skype fan girl and Heike Philp’s legendary 20 reasons why to prefer a virtual classroom to Skype only in language teaching. This blog post has recently been republished by Stefan Booy on the Myngle blog. I was thinking of writing a quick response to this but the more I thought about it the more it became clear that it can’t be done in just one post.

Hence I decided to give my two cents on every single point in a series of, yes, you guessed it, twenty blog posts starting today with reason number one:

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Mingleverse – The Missing Link?

Last week I had the same experience anthropologists must have when they might have found a new species that fills a gap in the family tree of humans.

The missing link in online education has been the seamless group talk right now. You can have great 1o1 teaching over Skype and decent lectures in various online classrooms. But the interaction of a smaller group with seamless talking has been missing so far. But that might have changed now. A Canadian start up might have built the holy grail of online teaching.

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