Let’s Talk

Hello SErs! Happy Monday. Harmony here. For those of you who celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday, I hope you had a wonderful day. Here in the UK, we had ours back in March πŸ™‚ And just so you fellas don’t feel left out, I hope you had a great day too! πŸ™‚

Having recently being invited to participate in a podcast interview with someone in America, and wishing to avoid excessive phone charges from the UK, I looked into different methods of using my computer to call in.

Originally, I had a Skype account, which they closed when Microsoft took over. To keep using Skype, I would have to create a Microsoft ID and have a new account. For various reasons, I didn’t want a Microsoft account. However, to use Skype, I have no other choice. In the event, I lost all my credit and contacts history. Of course, I didn’t feel happy about this. Initially, Skype had promised to refund me by the end of March, which they failed to do. So, early April, I contacted them via their chat box, and the operative promised Skype creditsΒ  … okay, I could live with that. However, I then received an email saying they had stopped offering refunds … which angered me on so many levels. Rather annoyed, I emailed them back and called them out strongly. It took threatening legal action or going to trading standards to get a reasonable response from them. I now have a new account set up, complete with my original credit balance, but no contacts. So far, Skype have been unable to effect a transfer between accounts for me.

This took about a week to sort out. In the meantime, I did some Googling. Many VOIP services exist out there, and all have their pros and cons. For video calling, one freebie that stands out is Google Hangouts, but this is difficult to use and pernickety in my experience. Happily, the Podcast I am due to interview on only requires audio.

Far and away the best alternative to Skype that I found was Whatsapp. It’s free to join, and has desktop and mobile apps. You have to sign up with your phone number, but other than that, it’s easy to use and FREE to call, no matter whether that call is abroad or local.

Seeing as I have Skype credit to use up (they’ve put a limit of December 2018 on it just for fun!), I shall use Skype for my upcoming Podcast. However, once I have a zero balance on Skype, I will do my utmost to get any future hosts to agree to use Whatsapp on any Podcasts or Internet Radio call ins I get invites for. It will take them having to sign up to Whatsapp too, but that is the same on Skype anyway in order to make FREE Skype-to-Skype calls. In the absence of both parties being signed up to Skype, you have to call a landline or mobile, and this is what uses up your credit.

So, for FREE calls via internet, my ‘money’ is on Whatsapp.

Have any of you been guests on Podcasts/Internet Radio call ins? Did that involve calling abroad? What did you use to do it … Phone/computer/app/other? I’d love to hear about your experiences and the pros and cons of your chosen method. And if any of you are/have been Podcast/Radio hosts, I’d love to hear from you too on what works and what doesn’t. Thanks for stopping by!

Harmony Kent

25 thoughts on “Let’s Talk

  1. Pingback: Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links | Staci Troilo

    • As I’m no longer on Facebook, I can no longer use Facetime. But if you have access to this, the other party would need to be registered on it as well. I’m not sure how it would work for them recording the session at their end. Most podcasts have a ‘studio’ number you call and then input your pin number. Definitely something to look into. Thanks, Robbie! πŸ™‚

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  2. There seem to be a lot of changes going on out in cyberspace. My sister says it is due to the deregulation of everything. I have no idea, but things like your experience with Skype is happening all over. Glad you found an alternative for the moment with WhatsApp. I use it and find it easy to use (so far.) Best of luck with your podcast, Harmony.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve used Skype and Google Hangouts, but haven’t tried WhatsApp. Most of them were within the USA where I am. One on Skype had people from other countries. The hardest part was really matching up the time zones enough to get everyone on. Even with just this country, the scheduling can be a headache.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, that bloomin timezone thing, lols. Nightmare … especially when you have GMT or GMT+1, and MDT versus MST, etc. … yikes. Thank, Charles πŸ™‚

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      • Gets really shaky when you have an ocean in the way too. My favorite is when those in one time zone are told to get up early in the morning or stay up late for others then the call never happens. If I had a dollar for every time that happened to me when I was doing podcast interviews. Ugh.

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