Skype 2.5 is easier to use...

Skype 2.5 is here...

I've been using Skype more and more for long distance calls from work. It's not because the calls are cheap, they are actually free. I use Skype because I make a lot of calls to a lot of different people and Skype is conveneient (mostly) pushbutton telephony. If I have called someone before, I can save them to my contacts in Skype and then call them with a single press of a button next time. It's quick, convenient and the call quality is remarkably good most of the time.

While I have used it for a lot of calls and it works pretty well, it had some rough edges. It appears that these rough edges have been addressed in version 2.5, which was released today.

Skype 2.5 makes calling easier...

One of my few complaints about this has been that I have had to copy and paste phone numbers into the dial line, and I have had to manually add the country code for numbers in the US. So I jump into Outlook, copy the number from the appropriate field, go to the Skype dial line, and then press +1, paste the number, and then press enter to begin the dial. It's easy, but tedious yet I have gotten pretty good at it. The new features in Skype 2.5 eliminate all of the tedious bits.

What's new in Skype 2.5?

* Easier to call ordinary phones
* View and call Outlook contacts directly

Easier to call ordinary phones means that I no longer have to key in country codes. Skype assumes that I am calling the country I live in. It still gives me the flexibility to easily place an international call, but it doesn't make me key in the code for the USA which thus far has been 100% of my calls. I like this a lot.

View and call Outlook contacts directly is a new feature that actually allows you to view your Outlook contacts in Skype. It isn't well documented, but you can find the menu option if you look. Under the contacts menu there is an option to View Outlook Contacts. If you turn the option on, Skype will then populate your contacts list as you see in the picture to the right. It adds all of your Outlook contacts to the dial list and keeps them updated. As I have a lot of contacts in my Outlook, it made this list quite long very quickly. I would have been upset at the change if it weren't for the search box at the bottom. I just need to start typing in the first name of the person I am looking for and Skype will zoom over to the contacts that match. I like it, especially since I can turn the Outlook contacts on and off at will.

qv: Skype

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About Phil Yanov

Phil Yanov is a Technologist, Columnist and Public Radio Commentator.

He is the founder of Tech After Five as well as the founder and President of the GSA Technology Council and the IT Leadership Council.

His personal technology column appears in Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Journal.

He co-hosts the Your Day technology shows heard on NPR radio stations across South Carolina and is a frequent contributor to technology stories appearing on radio and television.