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It's Time for an eBook about Skype!

Introducing Experience Skype to the Max – a comprehensive guide to enriching your Skype experience.


I’ve had the privilege of covering Skype via the independent Skype Journal and Voice On The Web blogs for over six years. I first experienced IP-based communications back in 1995-96 when I watched engineers at my employer of the day struggle to make voice calls work on 50MHz Pentium PC’s over a 43 kbps dialup modem. (Yes, it did eventually work; in fact at one point I participated in a demonstration for an analyst conference in London, U.K. from my home near Toronto.)

In the subsequent years I followed several attempts at using the underlying technology to develop a voice calling offering. One of my clients in the early 2000’s actually had it working as a feature within a desktop sharing collaboration tool. I signed up for an early subscription to 8×8’s initial service. But these offerings had no directory arrangements and calls had to be pre-arranged by email. Voice quality and robustness were not the best and the infrastructure required hosting on a server.

However in 2005 I learned about Skype and started using it with a Toronto-based medical software client who often traveled to Europe and California. I recall once making a Skype call from my PC in a Santa Barbara, CA medical office to my client in Oslo, Norway. Nobody in the customer’s office knew I had made this call; no need to ask about using a phone or set up a long distance arrangement or otherwise bother the customer’s personnel. No calling card was required. Then we started finding how useful Skype chat was as an effective and complementary conversation tool. I stopped billing my clients for long distance charges. To summarize, significant communications overhead for my consulting business evaporated!

In the spring of 2006 I attended a Voice over Net conference in Toronto and was asked to report for the independent Skype Journal. Over the subsequent years I was exposed to the evolution of Skype and other IP-based communications offerings as well as the transition of mobile phones into smartphones. The user’s Skype experience grew from voice calling and Instant Messaging on PC’s to “Skype Everywhere” with voice, video, chat and collaboration on a wide range of devices and hardware platforms.

Skype introduced its SILK codec providing crystal clear audio that makes it possible to do remote music training. Skype evolved video from postage stamp size images to “amazing” HD video where the other party appears “live” across your desk on a today’s larger flat panel monitors. Video calling arrived on mobile smartphones and tablets. Video conversations came to the family room with Skype for TV. As social networking grew, there appeared integration with Facebook. Skype Shop evolved into a fully featured e-commerce platform offering a wide range of Skype-certified hardware peripherals.

When I completed a project for a Skype partner in the spring of 2011 I realized I had over 700 blog posts and lots of exposure to using Skype both at home and while traveling internationally. That exposure included not only Skype software but also Skype hardware. (I have about 100 pieces of hardware around my office.) Questions and stories from Skype users indicated a need for one comprehensive resource covering all the information needed to get the most out of the Skype experience.

In April 2011 I wrote up an outline and started writing. Sixteen months and a few Skype revisions later (as well as the launch of Skype for iPad and evolution of Skype for TV) resulted in the publication of a Kindle eBook: Experience Skype to the Max – the essential guide to the world’s leading Internet communications platform.

To expand on that theme it’s:
A guide to real time social networking for building and sustaining everyday personal and business relationships, whether geographically dispersed “friends and family”, road warriors, special interest groups, business teams, the wanderlust world traveler and anyone who wants to get more out of their Skype experience.

You can learn more about Experience Skype to the Max at the book’s website. It talks about the author, the content and who can benefit from it. You can purchase Experience Skype to the Max via the U.S. Skype Shops. This will take you to the eBook’s Amazon page where you can use the Look Inside feature to preview the first 10% of the book, including the Table of Contents and/or purchase it at U.S.$9.88 for your Kindle library.

As for being a Kindle eBook you can read it not only on Kindle devices (Kindle Fire preferred; however, it’s only available in the U.S.) but also using Kindle Reader apps for iPad, Android tablets, Windows PC’s and Mac PC’s. (I did the proof reading on an Android tablet.) The great features about Kindle include navigation, bookmarking, highlighting and even note making. If you have multiple devices registered to your Amazon Kindle account you can read it on any of them. With hyperlinks to many blog posts, especially useful is the ability to click on a link, go to a web browser and, in one click, return to your place in the eBook.

One other reason for using Kindle: I can update the book periodically and easily have it distributed to all buyers via Amazon’s services. But Skype is a very dynamic, evolving platform, especially with integration into Microsoft products over the next year; to keep up to date and current on new features and developments as they occur, register for email updates.

I look forward to your comments and feedback. At some point soon I will add a forum to the book website to engage readers in more conversation about the book.
One other comment: I’ll keep on reporting on not only Skype but other IP-based communications offerings; such a broad perspective is necessary to fully comprehend the entire Internet communications picture from both a technology and business operations perspective. I will continue to be critical – for instance I look forward to the return of separate chat windows and would like to see the addition of the Call Quality Info tool to Skype for Mac. But, at the same time, over 250 million are already benefiting from their Skype experiences. This is a reference resource for them to get the most out of Skype and for potential users to learn about Skype.

Disclaimer: This book and its contents have not been endorsed or reviewed by Skype. Any views or opinions expressed are entirely views of the author or the cited source only. The Skype name, associated trademarks and logos and the “S” logo are trademarks of Skype.

Bottom line: for more information check out Experience Skype to the Max!

Finally, I need the acknowledge Dr. Christiane Werneck and her cardiovascular surgery team at Trillium Hospital in Mississauga. Without their efforts in April 2012, this eBook may never have been completed. I am still blown away by what they did and how far medical technology has progressed.

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