For the latest in what is fast becoming a series on How (Not) To Do Stuff, I roadtested Skype. I remember first hearing about Skype a few years ago when the earliest of my Early Adopter friends emailed her entire list extolling its joys and insisting we all sign up. Given that like attracts like, it will surprise no-one to discover that most of my friends are also Luddites and we all screeched with (cyber) laughter (it looked something like this: LOL, LOL, LOL).
Why would we want to look at each other while we talked? Isn’t the whole point of the phone so that you can sit around in your pyjamas and pretend to be professional?
Or maybe that’s just me.
Suffice to say that my Early Adopter friend had to make new friends, probably on Skype, just so she’d have someone to talk to.
Fast-forward a few years and the technological revolution has even touched The Fibro. Today I not only conducted my first ever Skype call, but it was recorded and will be available for the whole world to view via the Sydney Writers’ Centre website in a few weeks. A situation that combined three of my least favourite things in the world:
a) Answering questions instead of asking them.
b) Being captured on camera (which I abhor, be it still or video)
c) New technology.
I did all the right things. I downloaded Skype, read the how-to manual, signed up for an account. Easy. I even tidied up the portion of my office that I thought might be visible via the computer’s camera. I was ready. Ten minutes before the appointed time, I attempted to open the application, so that I could work out how I’d work out that I had a ‘call’ coming in.
No dice. “Your operating system does not support this version of Skype.”
Cue: panic stations. It took me five mintues of Googling and faffing to work out that I’d downloaded the latest version of Skype onto my not-latest-version operating system. It took another five minutes to find a version that my not-latest-version operating system would support. Twenty seconds before the appointed time, I had something open on my computer and my fingers crossed.
It worked. I saw my interviewer, she saw me. She asked questions, I attempted to answer them in a meaningful manner whilst determinedly not looking at the image of myself in the bottom left hand corner. Of course, it wasn’t until after the interview that I thought of all my best answers. You know, the succinct, witty, intelligent ones. But that’s par for the course and can in no way be blamed on Skype.
In hindsight, all that panic and faffing was probably for the best. I was so busy fretting about the technology that I had no time to worry about whether my hair was frizzy or how many chins I was featuring at any given time. I remembered to look at the camera, not the screen, so hopefully people will see my eyes, and not a fab view of my eyelids (thanks Lady Estrogen!). And I didn’t even have to take another friend’s advice to shut down the computer if the questions got too hard and pretend it was a ‘dropped line’.
So here I am. Almost fully functioning member of the 21st century.
Next step: updating the operating system.