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5 Ways Skype VoIP Benefits Small Business, Solopreneurs And Freelancers

Freelancers, solopreneurs, and microbusiness owners would benefit from having a business number through Skype. The popularity of the application has grown for several reasons, and with Microsoft’s recent acquisition of the company, we see a lot of possibility for Skype’s future.

As a solopreneur, here are five reasons you should consider Skype to meet your communication needs.

It’s Mostly Free

Sure you’ll have to pay a small fee before you can access Skype’s premium features, but the application offers a lot even if you never pay a dime. For instance, you can call other Skype users for free or chat online with your clients. You can conduct online calls with multiple people at once or have a video conference with just one user.

Upgrade your package for a small monthly fee and you can add more users to your video chat, call landline or cell phones, make international calls, setup voicemail and so much more.

Getting Started Is Simple

No technical savvy is needed to master Skype. That’s saying a lot for an application that does so much. You’ll need to sign up for a Skype ID, or use your existing MSN ID, and the application will more or less do everything else for you. By far the best feature for beginners is the Skype test call that you can use to play around, adjust your microphone and speakers, and learn the interface.

Take It Anywhere You Go

This current era is defined by the mobility of its generation. Smartphones, tablets and similar devices are developed with the mobile user in mind. It’s the same principle with Skype. As long as you access to the internet, you’ll have your Skype account within easy reach of your laptop, smartphone or tablet.

A small monthly fee will give you a Skype number that you can use for business. That number can be used as a backup for clients to reach you if your phone gets lost, or your battery runs dead. You can also forward the number to your smartphone while on the go.

More Reliable Than Your Smartphone

Really? Yes, it is! The quality of VoIP calls has improved drastically. The dropped calls and poor audio are a thing of the past if you have a robust and stable broadband connection. If, for some reason, your call quality drops, an automated Skype operator will notify everyone on the call of the danger of a dropped call. Skype is also using call feedback as a way to improve the quality of the service.

With this type of commitment to detail, where would you take your chances when you have to make an important call to your client?

Excellent Call Quality

Skype delivers crisp, clear calls almost 100% of the time. Even more important is that the quality of the call is not affected if you use the built-in microphone on your smartphone, tablet or laptop.

If you’re making calls from a desktop, you’ll need to purchase and connect a microphone. Any inexpensive microphone will do, but if you would like to improve the quality of the call get one with mid-range capabilities.

Steve Brown made the switch to voice over IP years ago. Skype is just one of the services that he uses regularly. To find out about some other great solutions that he’s found and rated, see what he has to say on uSwitch.com.

New Windows Smartphone Includes Built-in PowerPoint Projector

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I have always loved Volkswagens.  Maybe it was because my dad worked on them for 40 years.  But they remind me a lot of Microsoft.  Everytime you are about to give up and throw in the towel for them – they come out with something so cool…you cannot help yourself.

Now they have done it with a new phone.  Let me tell you – I have had three windows mobile based phones.  They have all pretty much stunk.  Now – I always managed to get them sync’d with Outlook – but things failed pretty quickly after that.

Search the news for phones today and it is hard to find a Windows Mobile one int he news.  Then this:

LG and AT&T have just announced the launch of a new Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphone with one standout feature: a built-in projector for displaying PowerPoint slideshows on the go. OK, OK, that’s not all the projector can be used for – the DLP pico projector can display other media too, like photos or videos. But let’s get real here – the most common use for projectors, especially in the business world, is slideshows.

Seriously – this is something we’ve heard rumors about.  Nut no iPhone or Android I’ve seen is even rumoring these yet.

New Windows Smartphone Includes Built-in PowerPoint Projector

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Semantic Wishlist for 2009 from ReadWriteWeb

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All I have to say is yes, yes and yes.

  1. Microsoft makes a very bold play with Powerset technology
  2. Semantic Web advertising
  3. Semantic apps for managing your finances
  4. Semantic apps for health industry
  5. A Personalized Memetracker
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WordPress, Drupal & Django = Apple, Microsoft and Linux

¡Three Amigos!
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So I’m driving to work last Thursday and it comes to be.  WordPress, Drupal and Django relate to the three OS’s we all come to know and love.

WordPress = Apple
Think about it.  It is the prettiest of all the platforms.  It makes the hard thing a bit of a no brainer – plugins have become a simple act with. WP2.7.  Anyone can use it, there is very little training needed and as the man says “Code is Poetry”

Drupal = Microsoft
This gorilla is a solid product.  It’s not as shiny as WordPress, but not matter what – it will work for you.   Don’t worry about the new module you wrote 3 years ago, its still supported and it always will.  This is a popular product and it gives you 40 ways to do the same thing.

Django = Unix
This is solid and requires some serious console time to get things done.  Django screams masicist and taped up glasses.  Now – this baby will give you some serious street cred, but you have to REALLY know the jung-fu to get around.

OK – that was the drive, it’s a bit off the wall; but it makes sense, at least to me.

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Olympics, NBC and Silverlight

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I read this post from the “The Herald Tribune” the “Global Edition of the New York Times”, the post was titled “Microsoft leveraging Silverlight and riling critics” and it really about made me puke.

The were criticizing Microsoft for the closed solution:

But there’s a catch. To view the video, it will be necessary to download a Microsoft Web browser software component based on a new proprietary technology, Silverlight, that is intended to make it possible to display interactive animations, graphics, audio and video, all within a fixed window inside a Web browser display.

But in the next flippin’ paragraph they say this:

Silverlight will work for both Macintosh and Windows PC users, and a version for Linux is also available. A mobile version will be available on Windows Mobile and Nokia smartphones.

Excuse me – what makes that differnet from Flash or Quicktime?  Ummm…nothing.  Well really – it is different because I’m not sure they support all those formats.

The post then goes on to say that it doesn’t allow enough room for innovation:

“They’re still playing the same games,” said Michael Nelson, professor of Internet studies at Georgetown University. “It’s a way to lock up the content, and it’s not enabling as much innovation as we would like to see.”

Have they seen what this thing can do?  What NBC and Microsoft has done with the Olympic video is just wicked cool.  I’m spent about 2.5 hours using it last night and I was so happy.  Instead of watching gymnastics like the other NBC viewers – I watch Judo, Archery and Greco Roman Wrestling – LIVE.

Yes LIVE.  It was awesome.  The only thing missing was commentary – but it was so great.  Super quality – and I do not have a very fast internet connection.  I was amazed.

All I say – kudos to NBC for letting go of the control and allowing people to see what they want, when they want it.  (For the most part – it seems there may be a little issue with the simulcast of TV/Internet)  Microsoft – for leveraging the Silverlight platform to show some new cool video applications and The New York Times – for not getting it…at all.  :)

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