Thursday, August 13, 2009

Skype as a Research Tool

Yesterday, I used Skype on three different research projects to synch up with my collaborators. I hadn't realized Skype was becoming a basic research tool for me, but I suppose that's the sign that it is.

Generally I wasn't even using the video features. Most of what I do with Skype I could do as well on the phone. The conference call feature is very nice and easy to use, moreso than the standard phone system, but I still experience more drops on Skype than I would on a phone.

Somehow, the real value of Skype is that it's running on my computer, where I'm doing the research work as well. I can look through relevant old e-mails or read relevant documents while Skype continues managing the conversation. Somehow, it all works more conveniently than using the phone and the computer. I expect that "long-distance" research will continue to become easier and constitute more of my research time.

8 comments:

Sasho said...

My research advisor in grad school regularly uses skype when he can't meet a student in person. You are absolutely right about the convenience of using the computer to manage the conversation. In addition, Skype is cheaper than international phonecalls when someone is out of the country

deepc said...

Indeed. Skype is good. And therefore, the following is bad.

http://www.theage.com.au/technology/biz-tech/shock-threat-to-shut-skype-20090731-e3qe.html

jyby said...

I saw one week ago (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alyssa_A._Goodman) give a talk at distance to a conference through Skype on Mac, and I was impressed: she not only talked and presented her slides, but also performed software demonstrations *on her computer*, which output we could observe on the projector screen through her shared desktop. From Harvardo, US, to Pucon, Chile, the quality was more than decent.

Loïck said...

And I cannot wait for Google Wave with a LaTeX plugin: real-time editing and sharing ideas + history. That's gonna change the way we do long-distance collaborations.

Anonymous said...

Here at a National Research Agency in France the official policy is to forbid Skype (not others VoIP software), because of some not explained leaks (I think this was the reason). No problem from your side of the Atlantic?

such.ire said...

Indeed, after hurricane Katrina, when one of my dad's students was displaced to a collaborator's lab in Seattle, my dad used Skype to continue advising him long-distance.

Anonymous said...

I got stuck outside US due to some visa problems and discovered the power of Skype. If not for skype it would have been impossible to wind up the journal/conference papers initiated during my postdoc.
Mad hats to skype.

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