Skype - Cross Platform VOIP Service

I love using iChat - especially among other Mac users... For many things though, Skype is a much better option - Skype is iChat on steroids.

For those unfamiliar with Skype, let me just say that this an online service that uses the internet as a giant telephone network. It's a VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) service that allows you to make telephone like calls to anyone in the world.

If the person you're calling is another Skype user and you are communicating via your computer, the call is free. You can also call land line numbers and cell phones as well. Those cost a bit more (than free) but the cost is unbelievably low - somewhere in the range of 2.1 cents per minute.

Just like iChat, you can create an audio call, and you can also talk via a video chat as well. And, just like iChat, you can share your computer screen with the other party. Unlike iChat, that other person doesn't have to me on a Mac to share your screen - they can be on a PC! And as I just mentioned, with Skype, you can call anyone in the world for next to nothing.

A regular Skype account is free and any other services you want to add can be done so with no long term commitments. Skype gets you started quick too by uploading all your address book contacts; A fast and easy way to get up to speed chatting with Skype.

Click the icon to explore ways Skype can help you save money and improve your chat experience.

MobileMe Online Service

I've been a MobileMe user since it's earliest days, in fact I was a MobileMe user when it wasn't even called MobileMe, but DotMac instead.

That should give you some indication of the value I think this service provides.

image of mobileme software application
As an online service, MobileMe is a bit hard to describe in the short amount of space I have here but to put it succinctly, MobileMe is an online data storage service with the capability of synchronizing that data across multiple computers and mobil devices.

If you have more than one computer, or a computer and an iPhone, etc you really should consider the benefits of this service. Even if you only have one computer but use it to work with critically important data, this again is a service you should consider.

MobileMe stores all your email, contacts, and calendars on an online server--or "cloud"--and syncs them to your iPhone, iPod touch, Mac, and PC. When you make a change on one device, the cloud updates the others. The sync happens automatically and continuously. You don't have to wait for it or remember to do anything--such as docking your iPhone and syncing manually--to stay up to date.

This service does have one caveat though - you need to be connected to the internet with a high speed connection in order for it to work correctly. If you are still using a dialup connection, you'll need to wait.

As I said, I've been using this service for a very long time and I'm continually finding new ways to use it.

For instance, the other day I had a very large file I wanted to send a colleague. Email would have chocked on it so instead I used the finder and dragged the file to my MobileMe icon. After the file copied to the cloud, I accessed my account and used the share button to send an email message to my friend with a hyperlink to the large file. All my buddy had to do was click on the link I sent him to download the file.

Another way I use this service is to run a backup utility that backs up all my passwords and financial data to a secure folder on MobileMe. Yes, I use TimeMachine to keep my regular backups but what happens if I should get robbed or have a fire? My TimeMachine would most likely be compromised too. But with my MobileMe backups, I can go to any computer (even at the library) and have access to my data.

One last example, I have two computers that I use. One at work and one at home. I'm constantly updating my files with data collected throughout the day. I created a shortcut in the dock that is a folder of all these files that sit in the cloud. As update them, the data is constantly in sync so that when I go home, I can reference the same data and make change to it there as well because I have the same shortcut folder in the dock on my home machine.

Ok, one last example. The same thing holds true for updating addresses in my address book. If I should make a change to an address by updating a phone number, when I get to work or even if I use my iPhone, the updated address with new telephone number is there.

These are just some of the basic things you can do with MobileMe. To find a more in depth review and explanation of what this service is all about, just click the big link below. Btw, for some odd reason, when you buy this service through Amazon.com, you save $10 over the exact same product directly from Apple. I for one like to save money so I use the Amazon approach.

Hope you find this service as useful as I do.

MobileMe Internet Services from Apple