Skype is an application that allows users to place phone calls over the Internet. Many users enjoy the benefit of free domestic calls within the United States when both users are using Skype and cheap rates when calling internationally. Calls can be placed via a microphone on the computer or through a Skype-specific phone both for Wi-Fi and for those bound to a desk. The VoIP company now has created apps to be used on Apple's IPhone and on cell phones using Google's Android operating system. However, despite the plethora of useful features, Skype users do encounter problems at times.
Skype is free when used for calling other Skype users through the application. A phone number, called a SkypeIn number, also can be purchased to allow calls from traditional services such as land lines and cell phones. Users are not limited to Skype-to-Skype calls. They can use a SkypeOut plan to call non-Skype users at a very inexpensive rate. Voicemail, SMS messaging and video-chat are also popular features available to users.
Because of the number of features and the different versions of the application running on Windows, Mac OS, cell phones and Linux, many problems can occur. Video-sharing issues, crashing applications and even simply logging in can provide a negative experience for the user. By far, the No. 1 problem affecting computer-based Skype users involves complications resulting from microphone or speaker usage. Many also experience problems with running Skype on Vista and Windows via Boot Camp for the Mac.
It's difficult to have a conversation with a friend when you can't hear him and he can't hear you. Communication issues can stem from an improperly installed microphone, a bad sound card in your computer or by simply having your computer's mute button on. Because Skype is an application that runs over the Internet, it is paramount that a solid Internet connection is made. Users with a dial-up connection will experience performance degradation if they try to make a call.
In order to remedy typical microphone problems on a Windows platform, Skype has an option to adjust the microphone volume automatically. In your Skype settings, uncheck this function and adjust the microphone volume manually. Also, use your microphone with other programs such as Windows Live Messenger or Yahoo Instant Messenger be sure it is working. Using multiple microphones on your system also may cause issues when you try to call friends. You can select different microphones in Skype by going to Tools, Options and then Audio Settings. Under Microphone, you may have multiple hardware options to choose from and the wrong microphone could be listed.
Skype on Mac OS X
Issues related to the internal microphone are common problems with Skype on Mac OS X. Most computers, including MacBooks, have a built-in microphone that can be used in the application. While the internal mic can work in a pinch, it's hardly a great solution for making business calls. Calls placed using this method can have the appearance of a nonworking mic because you can't hear yourself when speaking. Before you change options with the application, make sure you see the green volume indicator in Skype move up and down. If the bar moves while you are talking, you are good to go.
- Photo Credit Skype Inc.
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