Thursday, June 22, 2006

red diamond My first Skypecast

This morning I participated to my very first skypecast. Skyepcast is a new feature of Skype the VOIP company recently bought by EBay. A skypecast allows to give of live talk over the Internet, using VOIP. It also offers the possibility for listeners to to participate in a conversation.

I was a mere participant of a skypecast by PitoSalas about "BlogBridge:Library". Pito faired quite well considering the glitches this beta product still has. I found out about the event through an announecment on Pito's blog. I followed the link to a page on Skype's website, where the basics of the event where listed.

When it was time to join the skypecast I clicked on a button on that page and my Skype was started. I got a bit confused, when the application asked me if I wanted to connect to an +99..... number via SkypeOut. I was not sure if this was a way to run up a hefty bill with Skype, but I figured my balance on SkypeOut was a mere few dollars and I could risk these.

A new window opened and in a few minutes half a dozen people had gathered. However, the host was still missing so we did not hear each other. Once Pito had logged on, we were all connected in a voice conference. This lead to lots of audio feedback and a very noisy environment. Thankfully, Pito as presenter was able to mute all microphones of the participants and so we could actually hear what he had to say.

Pito talked about their new product BlogBridge:Library (more...) and guided us through a demo on their website. Using voice broadcasting only, pito had to talk us through his demo. Adding Skype Instant Messaging (IM) capabilities helped to facilitate questions to the presenter. However, we didn't manage to all be part of one IM session, so that the burden fell on the presenter to read many windows and post his link into all of them. I imagine this will become unmanageable when the number of participants exceeds 10 or 20.

A few minutes into the skypecast an new participant joined and rather loudly commented on what Pito was presenting. I guess she didn't realize that we all could hear her. It appeared that the new participant came in at the default setting "open mike", which was not intended by the presenter at this point in time. I guess this is a bug in the skypecast software.

In my experience, skypecast has to iron out some kinks in its beta version and give some better instructions and training how to use this new product. As medium skypecasting is quite limited compared to full fledged web-conferences, for example from


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