KILKENNY -- I connect my Skype phone into my USB port several times a week because I mean to contact family and friends with it. Thanks to the magic of Skype-Out, I'm chatting at two cents a minute to many locations. It should cost more but I know from the €21 worth of credit on the account that I've got a lot of calling to do if I plan to exhaust the money. So I rang mom in the blizzard belt of Pennsylvania and she chatted for more than 20 minutes. It's good talking to mom, especially when she sounds so upbeat and in control. Then I clicked into my Bloglines and found a Skype story from John Perry Barlow worth retelling.
I was sitting at my desk in New York on Wednesday night, writing a BarlowSpam, when Skype started to emit the old-fashioned bell tone that signals a request for a voice chat. I looked at the window associated with the request and saw a bunch of Chinese pictograms where the name should be. Some kind of Asian chatspam, I figured, and I ignored it. A few minutes later, it rang again. The name of the caller was "Kitty11_3". There was also a text chat box on the screen, also from kitty11_3 which read, "I need a friend." I was skeptical. I figured that "Kitty," or whomever, was probably looking for "friends" to come see her "relax" in her web-cam equipped "bedroom." But I took the call. A delicate Asian-sounding voice came from someplace in Cyberspace. "Will you talk to me?" she said.
"I want to practice my English."
"Because your name is John. I think that anybody named John speaks English."
I remained skeptical, but further conversation convinced me that she was telling the truth. She really had no idea who or where I was and had plucked me at random from all the Skype users named John. Kitty11_3 turned out to be a 22 year old girl from Hanoi, who, like her father, works for the state-owned oil company. She had managed to get five of her neighbors in the Hanoi suburb where she lives to go in on a DSL line and WiFi which she had set up herself. Her boyfriend is off in Korea getting a master's degree in telecommunications. She has three sisters, and her real name is Vu My Dung.
Skype just made the world smaller. The technology must be a favourite part of the international broadband experience because the little image of my phone is one of the top four most frequently visited in my Flickr photostream.
John Perry Barlow -- "The Intimate Planet"
tag: skype shows you why VoIP is so hot in Asia. Most of the Technorati references require some form of Asian type font to read the blog references. x_ref26121 x_ref125mc