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A few weeks ago, a potential new employer contacted my wife, wanting to interview her for a high-level administrative position.
The only problem — the interview had to be conducted the following week, via a Skype live video call.
My regular readers know that, for the past ten years, my wife and I have been happily using Linux on all of our computers, instead of Windows.
There’s a new alpha version of Skype for Linux — but unfortunately, it’s reportedly pretty buggy and currently doesn’t support video calls.
So, I did some research, and ended up renting a Windows laptop computer for one week, so that my wife could use it for her video interview.
It’s a Dell Inspiron E4310, with a built-in webcam and microphone, and with fully upgraded Windows 7 Professional and Skype installed on it.
It worked perfectly for my wife’s Skype video interview. In fact, we were so happy with how well it worked that I talked to the computer store’s owner, and we ended up buying it for what it would have cost us to rent it for another week. So from now on, we’ll have it in case either of us ever needs to do another Skype interview — though, since it runs Windows, we probably won’t use it for anything but Skype.
In the meantime, I used it this afternoon, to make my very first live Skype video call — with my friend Paulo, who lives in Portugal. As my regular readers may remember, Paulo and I have exchanged thousands of email messages over the nearly 14 years since he read one of my articles and then wrote to me. But, in all that time, we had never met or spoken with each other.
He writes to me in Portuguese, then uses Google Translate to translate his messages into English before he sends them to me. Then he uses Google Translate again, to translate my replies from English back into Portuguese.
Over the years, Paulo and I have written back and forth about many different topics, both technical and personal. For the past several years, one of our favorite topics has been my dogs, Bud and Max. Paulo has loved Bud ever since I rescued him, and, in every message, he always asks me how Bud and Max are doing.
Well, this afternoon, thanks to a totally free Skype live video call, Paulo and I got to see and hear each other for the very first time — and Paulo got to see his friends, Bud and Max, live and up close, for the very first time.
I don’t know any Portuguese, but I was very happy and surprised to hear that Paulo speaks English well enough that we were able to talk for several minutes. 🙂
Update: With Microsoft taking Skype in a decidedly insecure and data-collecting direction, my conversation with Paulo may end up being the one-and-only time that I’ll ever use Skype.
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