In today’s digital world, personal branding is just as important as company and product branding. One needs to consider usernames, public names, pictures and profile management as part of the thinking. I am sure that like many other users, I did not think about this very much when I started my online work years ago. Over time I have recognized the importance of branding and worked to achieve high consistency in this area. I have settled an internet identity, and fortunately, I have managed to obtain my desired user ID on the wide variety of services I use with just a couple of exceptions.
One of the exceptions was on Skype. Once I realized what I wanted to do with branding, I registered a second skype account with my desired username, which was available. This at least held the account until I decided when and how I would either use two accounts, perhaps for different purposes, or migrate to the new account.
… many months go by …
I have been working through an interesting scenario. I registered my new account with a (then) relatively new but rarely used email address. After leaving the skype account dormant, I could not remember the email address used for registration. Skype searching did not yield any clues, and although I could see my registered account I could not change the password without the email address, and in turn I could not ask the folks at Skype to give me access without that email account.
I decided to take a long shot and put in a helpdesk ticket at Skype. As it turned out, the email address I had used was phased out by the host vendor. Even though I did not have the ‘key email address’ Skype staff provided me a series of detailed questions about the account which I was able to answer to verify my identity. Well, today was success day as I finally gained access to the account and now I can move forward with my plans.
1. Use mainstream email addresses when registering for user accounts.
2. Use a ‘keep’ folder for important things like this.
I am writing this blog post as a shout out and thank you to the staff at Skype who were able to help me resolve this scenario. Thank you for having a good identity management process in place.
At the beginning of the week, I blogged about Tethering and how that made a real difference to someone else in a particular situation. As a followup to that post, I have now had an opportunity to transfer my 90 minute, 2 GB quicktime video file from Ontario, Canada to Scotland.
This was accomplished by connecting with my friend via Skype and using the built in file transfer capability. I actual process is easy – once both people are online, right click the person to receive the file, choose send, select the file and start the transfer. I was sending the file via a wireless connection on my end. The estimated transfer time was 6.5 hours. The actually time was slightly more the 7 hours, which was accomplished in 2 sessions. For the second session, the Skype had the built in smarts to resume the file transfer right where it left off. We verified that the file plays properly, so all is well as far as this project goes.
You never really know when you will use your iPhone to make a real difference. I had one of those unique opportunities this weekend.
Last week, I received a call from a friend from university days to ask if I would consider performing some music at her father’s memorial service. Her father was a very talented musician with a long history of success in our region. I had known him for 30 years myself and had many wonderful memories of performing and working on music projects together. Of course, I was honoured to be asked to play at the service. As we exchanged emails to organize the details, it also became clear that my friend was not going to make here from Scotland for the service due to the volcanic ash in the air that shut down travel in the European air space.
Technology to the rescue. I offered to set up a skype session so that she could at least see the service in real time. First we complete a pretest session to check out things out and get an idea of laptop to speaker distances. Since the church did not have an Internet access, I used my iPhone in tethering mode to establish a connection a few minutes before the service. I was able to sit at the front of the church and pan the laptop to point it at the 2 speaker locations. I used a second iPhone to video the whole service for them. The video turned out great – one take for the 1.5 hour service. The video file was 2.25 GB in size.
We are going to connect this week and try a direct file transfer using a Skype connection. Hopefully this will work well.
Everything turned out great. I was delighted to perform at the service, and glad I could lend a helping hand given the travel challenges.
My daughter will be spending her March Break traveling with a group from her school. We agreed that this makes an ideal time to try some communications and trip updates via her iPod Touch in wifi mode. I am sure she will post on Facebook via the Facebook mobile app and send emails from her MSN or Hotmail accounts. We also wanted to try extending our communications with 2 additional applications.
Earlier this year, I had tried Ping! with @dougpete and @rebrouse. I bought the ‘pro’ version for 99 cents. The Ping! app gives you text messaging between iPhones (cell or wifi modes) and/or iPod Touch units (wifi mode only). I have found the application to work great. This trip will be a great ‘international’ test.
We are also going to try some Skype audio calls. I purchased a set of the iPod earbud headphones with the built in mic. In the photos below, you can see the 3rd marker on the pin connector and the inline microphone.
We have tried some iPod Touch to iPod Touch calls here at home as a test run and everything works great. The grand plan is to use Ping! to set up a call time, then have Skype running at the time of the call. In testing, we discovered that you can stay logged into Skype if you ‘swap out’ to run another app, but in this state you will not be notified of the incoming call.
I am sure she will have a great trip, and I look forward to our iPod based communications. Now, off to check out the wifi availability in the hotels listed on the itinerary.
As a long time user of Skype, it is nice to see the use of this powerful, yet free, software package getting greater use in the classroom. Recently we have had a few more teachers in our Board asking to use Skype for classroom projects, so we have installed it when requested. If it performs well in our network environment, it could easily be made part of our standard setup.
Of the Skype related resources listed below, the first two were of particular interest to me. The Skype an Author project seems like a natural way to connect reading and writing experiences in the classroom with the real world. The blog post outlining steps to create video content for blogs using skype offers some useful tips and could be a great resource in classrooms where blogging is part of the writing process.
One of my PLN members and Twitter user, teacher @zbpipe, has been using skype to connect to other classes to learn folk songs as part of their music and global studies. You can find additional information on Twitter about Skype in the classroom by simply searching for the term ‘Skype’. I keep a ‘Skype’ search open in my Seesmic Desktop application to keep up with new ideas and resources.
1. Virtual Author Classroom Visits: Skype an Author
2. How to produce video interviews for your blog using Skype.
3. Skype Directory for Educators
4. Skype in Schools wiki
5. Blog Post: All Schools Should Skype
6. Download Skype Software
Give it a spin and enjoy the video conferencing!
Links: 2009 09 26 — Interesting finds of the week
1. Security Heads Up: Phishing scam steals Twitter passwords
2. Edutopia: 10 tops tips for teaching new media – click here to download your copy. I have mine!
3. Free Ivy League lectures
4. Skype in Schools wiki
5. Microsoft has a rival to the Apple tablet – overview
6. Game Based Learning for innovative math educators
7. Tech Learning: Cell Phones Welcome Here
Enjoy the reading and learning.
Since my earlier post about Skype for the iPhone and iPod Touch, I have had an opportunity to try out the application first hand.
After the file download & sync from iTunes, and a quick stop at an electronics store to pick up some iPod earbuds with a built in external mic, I was ready to go in short order. Since I already had a Skype account for my computer, the setup was a snap ~ join a wireless network, launch the software and log in. I took advantage of my prepaid Skype out package to make a couple of test calls – one to my wife who was cooking at the time and did not expect my call from the dining room, and a second call to a work colleague. How nice to say ‘Hello, I am calling you from my iPod Touch’!” The next day, a third test call occurred at work while standing in the same cubicle as the person who you are calling. 🙂
In each case, the iPod performed well and the voice calls were crystal clear audio. Based on the quality of the calls, my mind turned to potential classroom instructional uses of Skype (computer and/or ipod based). After a bit of internet searching, I located the following resources for Skype use in the classroom to share:
1. 50 awesome ways to use Skype in the classroom: Teaching Degree
2. Using Skype in education
3. Skype in the Classroom by ISTEvision
4. Technology Medley: Skype in the Classroom
5. Skype in the classroom: Celebrate Oklahoma Voices
6. Skype in Schools: Resources and Videos
7. School Tube: Howe High School
Vendor website: Skype
Goods news, and further to my August 12th post Skype in the Classroom, it is out – Skype for the iPhone and iPod Touch is now available in Canada. The free application is available on the Canadian iTunes store. A quick search for Skype will locate the application for you.
Skype allows you to make free wifi calls to other Skype users anywhere in the world. If you have paid for the Skype ‘out’ feature, you can call landlines and cell phones over wifi in the geographic area you paid to access. I have been using the North America package and it works great! See the Skype web site for details. Have an iPod Touch? – just add a mic or earphones/mic combo and you are good to go!
Now, think about all the curriculum applications!
Product details as listed on iTunes:
I have used Skype for both personal and work related projects, so I have a good feel for the capabilities of the application. Over the summer I have been following a few interesting blog and Twitter conversations about using Skype as a collaboration tool in the classroom. A few of the posts referenced using Skype with iPod Touches and iPhones. Interesting reading!
I checked the Skype website, and sure enough, they had posted information about releasing a client for the iPhone and iPod Touch through the iTunes store. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the new Skype client was available on the main iTunes store in the U.S., but not the Canadian one. After watching the Canadian iTunes store for a few days, no client was posted. I decided to contact Skype directly to gather some additional information. On August 10th, I received the following response from Skype support staff:
Thank you for contacting Skype Support.
We apologize for the delayed response. Due to a recent increase in
inquiries it has taken longer to respond to you.
Thank you for your understanding and patience.
The Skype for iPhone application is not available for use in Canada at
this time. There is an ambiguous restriction in one of the
standards-based technology licenses, and we are looking into it. The
issue is not related to Apple, nor is it specific to Skype.
Skype Customer Support
Visit http://www.skype.com for latest news, updates and tips.
For Canadian customers, it looks like the availability of the client will be caught in a holding pattern for the foreseeable future.