Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Feeds, Feedback and Key Words

When I started my blog, I subscribed to FeedBurner A great tool to burn your feeds.
Recently they launched FeedFlare and that is a tool I really like.

FeedFlare allows publishers to easily build “interactivity” into the content they create, making it simple for subscribers to tag, email or share their content with others. Publishers can include a variety of services including a live display of the number of comments to each post, the ability to email the author directly and show the number of blogs that link to their item. Publishers can choose to include FeedFlare within the feed itself as well as on their blog or site.

With great interest I daily view the stats, especially which search options did bring readers to my blog.
Already for some time, I see that “cheating husband PalTalk” is a very favourite subject.
Indeed I once wrote a story about tracking an unfaithful husband via PalTalk.
I clicked the links in the Feed stats and ended up with a list of articles about this phenomenon.

A spring-board to braking up relation ships often seems to be a Dating site.
For what ever reason (they differ enormously reading the stories) men in a relationship log on to Dating sites.
It starts with browsing. Next a brief profile, an old “shimmery” picture, maybe the 'little' lie of being single.
The excitement of being there and being admired by other women, is taking shape, temptation is hard to resist.

But………….. if other women can contact them, their own partners can do that too!
It is very tempting to log on to sites if a woman thinks her partner is (cyber)unfaithful. If the man is talking to a woman, how will he know it is not his own wife gathering evidence? Scary….

No doubt the other way round is happening as well but my stats don’t tell me because I never tried to trace a cheating woman.

Another returning popular post is the one about my cold. At first it puzzled me.
OK, I blogged about it but why on earth are people looking for posts about a cold? But when I looked at the keywords in the search options that lead to my post, some of them were “Avatar” and “Icon Profile
Interesting…. I indeed wrote about an Avatar designed by my Moderator colleague Carola Clavo.

Listening to the stats, one should be able to write a blog post with only popular key words.
It wouldn’t need to make any sense at all but it would work perfectly to draw people to your blog.

What about:

My female cheating Avatar who never used PayPal to fool her sick husband who caught a cold, put her profile on a Dating Site.
While chatting on Skype, beta testing Joost and voting in Estonia, she replied to co-workers who use Bluetooth to connect to the Internet with a protected password. Running out of Skype credits she went for SkypePro to subscribe to the Agile course. The Mac and Windows notebook aside the Pocket PC, made much noise due to dusty ventilators which caused a high CPU. She downloaded Speedfan and viewed the total online users at Skype.

Complete rubbish but with a lot of popular key words!!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Next of kin? I received one again from Nigeria………

I know, I am definitely not the first one to blog about this super annoying way of fooling people.
But it happened again, I received another (probably no. 1005) e-mail from Nigeria:

Compliment of the day.

I got your contact in course of my inquiry to locate relations of my
Deceasesd Client Mr Mercer Holliday,who died in a car crash on the 13th
February 2003.The reason for this is to inherit a Contracts Payment Deposits
Account of $6.5 million of which the Deceased left in a Finance Firm.

Consequently, having gone through to your profile on Internet, I want you to
please assist me to inherit the fund into your Account. This request emerged
last week when the Finance Firm contacted me for the attention of my
Deceases Client (perhaps for one reason or the other they have tried to
contact him and was unsuccessful).

However, thereupon I announced his death and protocols observed, I was
mandated (as the deceased's attorney)to provide the Next of Kin to inherit
the Deposits or they will freeze it as"Unclaimed Deposit".Unfortunately, and
unknown to the Finance Firm, the Next of Kin was among the dead in the car

But rather leaving the Deposits/Account frozen hence I seek your help to
claim the fund into your Account as you share same names with the Next of
Kin and I have the required Information to execute the transaction under
legal process.

Please contact me for further information and commencement of the
transaction,and I need your full mailing address,your direct telephone
number/Fax number,for this transaction to commence successfully.

Be informed that your compensation will be 40% of this fund,while 60% will
be my share.

Please it is only trust and honesty to ourself will make this claim to work
out accordingly,and success will be our achievement at the end of this

Please get in touch with me by my email address :( For
the successful transaction,

Yours faithfully,

What really annoys me is that the senders consider us being complete idiots.
This so called “Nigerian Scam 419 Correspondence” is going on for years and years already.It has been on TV, there are pages and pages about this on the Internet, warnings all over. And they still keep sending them. To me that is an insult to our intelligence. Ok, this an “my glass is half empty” approach and that is not me. Let me put it this way: it is a compliment to the senders intelligence.

A few years ago I called the cell phone of the sender of such an e-mail, who desperately wanted to talk to me.
I was curious whether the number indeed existed.
A man with a Nigerian accent answered: “Hello!
Me:"Ah, I am sorry, I am afraid I dialled the wrong number
He: “No, no… you dialled the right number. You need to talk to me!” (probably a clairvoyant as well….)
Me: “No, sorry for disturbing you but I need to talk to Joe N.” (an acquaintance from Ireland with a lovely bold Irish accent…..)
He: “But dear, you are now talking to Joe N!

Yes, and he was talking to a fool……

This is the less annoying part. The worst letter I ever received tried to let me believe it was composed by a Nigerian lady who’s husband died of Cancer. She found my name and e-mail address on a Cancer site and told me I would understand how hard the suffering of her husband was. Because of me being a successful Cancer survivor, she asked my cooperation to transport the millions of her husband to my account until she moved to another country, safe for the Government in Nigeria.

I am very, very seldom angry but this time I was very close to getting as angry as I have never been before.
Of course I was not the first and last Cancer survivor who received this letter, other must have received it too.
I manage, I know a sick mind wrote this disgusting letter but how many people will be touched and think they indeed can help out?

Never ever reply to these letters, they are called SCAM which is in my opinion a far too lovely word for it. I still need to invent a word that really expresses my true feelings.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Buy Skype Engineering Support

"Professional support now available"
announcement by Peeter P. Mõtsküla at Skype's blogs.

"We will guarantee next business day response and three business days resolution, or your request will be handled free of charge. You will also be able to place your premium support requests confidentially."

· Paid support issues are top priority: your issue will be resolved
before work is started on unpaid issues.
· It's pricey, € 300 per incident, half that if you pre-pay for ten.
· It's only through Skype's issue tracker system. No live support.
· And it's just for software developers.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Small Talk

It is finally Saturday, I know it was Saturday last week and the week before and…
But this time it felt like the week lasted a month instead of 7 days. Everyday I tried to squeeze 72 hours into 24.
(Skype-phone) meetings, the forum, Tracer, Opvion, Agile, Matter Solutions, my other clients, my own administration, applications due to my ad for co-workers, blogging and reading and of course the odd household job.

So today’s blog post is not about SkypePro, Public Beta, Skype and FCC, mobiles, Bluetooth etc. No, today is just Small Talk.

I am tired although I will continue working today. Still lots to do at the office and still lots to do to my new bedroom. I managed to paint the laths for the wooden wall and the doorpost so hope to finish that today.Yesterday evening after food shopping I also bought laths for the little window. With the weather being so nice and Spring-like, the mosquito’s are back. I am fortunate in a way that they don’t like my blood but gosh, I dislike their zooming so much.
You can’t really blame them, they have been zooming at the attic for 30 years and all of a sudden I “live” their. Still, I need to make a wire-blind to keep them out but the window frame needs to be done first. All little jobs but all together they can be time-consuming.

Waking up at the attic is one great pleasure. I have many trees at the back of my house and listening to the birds (and Ug who rejoined her friends) makes me feel rich. Closing my eyes I can even imagine being back in Sweden. Also the sound of the wind in the trees makes me happy. And all for free!
I still don’t have a curtain for this little window so I can watch the full moon passing by and not only through the window but also reflected in the mirror on the opposite wall.
The same for the sun during the mornings and it fills me with energy.

Tomorrow is my day off. My brother and his family are coming to spend the day with Mum and of course I will be there too. And I am much looking forward to it.
Mum’s heart is deteriorating which hurts watching her. It has to be her very strong spirit that keeps her going.
My respect for my mother is endless. She did not live an easy live with my father being ill for 24 years, the foster children and us but she loved being a wife, nurse, mother and friend. She lived tropical years so it is a miracle on its own that she is still around at the age of 79. Still smiling, still an open ear for all who love to talk to her, a shoulder to those who need a good cry.

Every day starts and ends with a cup of “Wiener Melange” at Mum’s and we talk about numerous subjects. Although nearly blind due to her diabetes she didn't loose interest in what is going. Mum listens to news from all over the world as to documentaries and discussion programs. She reads spoken books and a reader myself, we discuss those.
It will be so empty when she isn’t around anymore. We make the best of the time we spend together.

For now breakfast… yummy. Then a walk with the dog, a chat with Mum and back home…... back to where I started the Small Talk.

Enjoy your weekend, love and hug the people who are dear and close to you. Smile at the sun, dance in the rain, run through the snow. Where ever you are, have a great day.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Introducing the Book

For my generation it is not that long ago that the Computer got introduced and by now we are all used to it.
Even the much older generation can handle a PC to e-mail to children and grand children all over the world.

But did you ever think of learning how to read a book in medieval times??

View one of the funiest video's I have ever watched........


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Skype 3.1 Beta for Windows with SkypeFind and Typing Indicators

Finally Skype 3.1 Beta for Windows went public. It was a great joy to test it and I am sure it will be welcomed by all users because it finally has a Typing Indicator. And a nice one too!
Of course all parties need to be on 3.1 to see it and it is even more fun when you are in a groups chat with more people. I love the little pencil that is moving or erasing. Yes, it also shows when you erase your text.

Click the picture to view the animated version.

New is also “SkypeFind” where you can list your favourite shop, restaurant, club, bank or what ever business you like to share with others.
This is going to be a great database for not only your own area but also for when you travel around the world.
When you are e.g. hungry, log on to Skype, type the country you are in, type a keyword and see which restaurant is near and what the recommendations are.

All the new features in Beta 3.1 are nicely explained in Skype’s Blog. Enjoy but remember it is a public Beta version! Downlaod here.

Yesterday Skype launched SkypePro, something I have been looking forward to as the connection fee made Skype more expensive then ever before.

Skype Pro is indeed offering a lot of extra’s but I am still very disappointed.
Let me first list the extra’s :

* pay nothing per minute within the following countries:
US, UK, France, Hong Kong, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Estonia, Australia, Brazil and Japan.
* Includes €5 Skype Credit as a special introductory offer.
* €30 discount on SkypeIn numbers - people can call you at local rates.
* Free Voicemail
* Save €30 on a Philips VoIP 841 cordless phone.
* Save €10 on an SMC WiFi phone.
* Exclusive discounts on Unyte Desktop Sharing Extra.
* Two free animated avatars from CrazyTalk.
* Three free ringtones from Emotive.

* €11.50 where VAT applies.
* Connection fee and fair usage policies apply.

Unfortunately there are no Dutch SkypeIn numbers. Varras Consultancy has numbers in the UK and Sweden so will benefit (in a way) of the discount. But…….. this connection fee….. I have to admit it annoys me.

Let’s do some simple arithmetic’s:
876 connection fees is as much as € 30 which still leaves an additional € 20 for a one SkypeIn number (€ 50). It sounds like a lot of calls but it is only 2.4 call per day. Maybe the average user doesn’t make that "many" calls but others do.

Calls within the above mentioned countries are free of charge apart from the connection fees. But now a days there are very cheap mobile subscriptions and Skype clearly states it is not a replacement for your landline so as an alternative I have a mobile subscription of € 2.50 per month (including VAT) and 500 free calling minutes within Holland and to other subscribers of the same provider.

Needless to say I am not going to use SkypePro for national calls because with 6.25 connections, I already reached the mobile monthly subscription.

I do use Skype a lot for calls outside Holland and will continue doing that but will it be cheaper with Pro? No, the connection fee comes on top of the existing calling rate. Here we are back again with Free SkypeIn….
On top of all of this there is the monthly € 2 (€ 24 per year…) which will be deducted from my credits (with my permission because this is a free choice when you purchase Pro).

I signed up for Pro because I think it isn’t fair to complain without trying and I am told people with a bump of languages are horrible mathematical geniuses’ so please feel free to add your comment to convince me of the opposite: SkypePro makes calling cheaper….

SkypePro FAQ

Monday, February 19, 2007

Estonia ahead of the Netherlands and Venezuela

In a previous blog article I reported about Estonia being small but innovating, especially with Internet Technology.
Although the Netherlands (she says with proud) were the very first with electronic voting, Estonia is taking it a step further.

"There have been several e-voting projects around the world, but I don't think there have ever been parliamentary elections where everyone nationwide could vote online," Arne Koitma of the Estonian electoral commission told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. According to a system introduced for municipal elections in 2005, any Estonian voters can exercise their democratic rights online, as long as they hold a valid ID card with a computer-readable chip. Election officials say that almost all registered voters - over 940,000 people - now hold such cards. And that, experts believe, makes Estonia's forthcoming election the world's most comprehensive experiment yet in internet-based democracy.

"The Netherlands have had electronic voting in polling stations for a number of years, and Venezuela recently held an electronic referendum, but I'm not aware of any other internet-accessible general election," said Dr Lewis Baston, director of research at the UK-based Electoral Reform Society. "Estonia has been ahead of the curve in lots of ways in terms of election technology," he added.

It is not just elections: in recent years, Estonia has made a name for itself in the innovative application of communications technology. It is famed as the birthplace of internet-telephony company Skype, sold to eBay for 2.6 billion dollars in 2005. But it has also been one of the world's pioneers in mobile-phone payment for services such as bus tickets and parking metres, and of wireless internet access in public spaces from cafes to parks.

"Estonia is smaller (population 1.35 million) than traditional high-tech innovators such as Japan and Finland, and it's always easier to try things out in a small society," explained Andres Kasekamp, professor of Baltic politics at Tartu University. "Politicians have also pursued a liberal policy regarding innovation - they've been keen to reduce the footprint of government generally, and this seems to be part of that ideology," he added. Estonia's online voting certainly looks likely to reduce the burden of bureaucracy.

To cast ballots, voters simply accesses the electoral website in the three-day advance-voting period, swipe their chip-card through a card reader attached to the computer, punch in their pin number and make their choice. Card readers are widely available in public libraries, internet points, and even in private hands. They can cost as little as 100 kroons (6.39 euro), Koitma said.

To avoid the risk of fraud or coercion, any voter can cancel a vote registered to their card by voting again online, or by casting a paper ballot on election day, March 4. The effectiveness of this security system was so convincingly proven in municipal elections in 2005 that the e-voting system is barely being discussed in Estonia this year, experts say. "Nobody's questioning e-voting any more: there's no debate on whether it can make life easier," said Raivo Vetik, head of the Institute of International and Social Studies at Tallinn University.

While official figures show that under 2 per cent of eligible votes were cast online during the 2005 local elections, observers predict that online turnout could reach 5 per cent this year. But with Estonia making a name for itself as a test-bed for the application of existing technologies, some are hoping that the next step will be for it to begin producing high-tech wonders of its own.

"Estonians developed Skype, but Scandinavian entrepreneurs made it a successful company. The Estonians didn't have the experience or financial strength - but they're learning," Kasekamp said. Whatever the outcome of the election for Estonia's 11 registered political parties, its voters will be hoping that the online experience will hit the right button with the next generation of high-tech entrepreneurs. (Source: Playfuls)

Come on Holland!! You can’t stay behind…………

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Joost for Mac

As a Windows Beta tester I had the joy to test Joost for quite some time already.
But the Mac users who signed up for Beta testing had to wait. Until Saturday the 17th…….
Joost for Mac is now available. I hope you do enjoy it as much as I do!!


· beta
· download
· intel
· joost
· osx

Friday, February 16, 2007

Close your Skype eyes

Being on line with Skype most of the day (or should I say most of my present life) I observe old fashioned behaviours, dressed in a modern Skype coat.

In the old days, if you were not in the mood to answer a phone call for what ever reason, you just let it ring. Nobody knew for sure if you were indeed at home or not.
With Skype we are far more “visible” but can control much of our time with the on-line, DND, etc. icons. Also the mood message is very helpful.

Users are very inventive and come up with the most wonderful messages. About the weather, work related issues, quotes etc. We are not afraid to show our moods, not even when we are angry. A “nice to know” for those who had the intention to call us, they know it is better to wait a while.
You can view Skype mood messages at the “Moodgeist” site. Moodgeist is an experiment to show what’s currently happening in the “Skype Land” and what’s the Skype community’s “collective state of mind”.

When I started my telephone career in 1974, the word moodmessage was not even invented. People were less outgoing those days. So, did we change that much? Or are there still basic feelings left? Instincts?

Children and animals act far more instinctively then grown ups. According to Wikipedia, instinct is the inherent disposition of a living organism toward a particular behavior. Instincts are generally inherited patterns of responses or reactions to certain kinds of stimuli. In humans they are most easily observed in behaviors such as emotions, sexual drive, and other bodily functions, as these are largely biologically determined. unless overridden by intelligence, which is creative and more versatile.

Intelligence comes with the years and can be sharpened by learning from life.
Children and animals react by their instinct. Their instinct is telling them what their intelligence can’t cover.
I have noticed instinctively behavior more then once working with a small animal Vet and a country Vet.
As soon as animals smell the practice or the Vet or they expect pain and fear, they panic. And if they can’t go anywhere and accept the one who is holding them as a stronger, read dominant, “animal”, they close their eyes.
If you close your eyes or like children also do, hide behind your hands, the others around you are gone. They disappeared and can’t hurt you anymore. If necessary, you can peep through your fingers or eyelashes. Prepared for the worst.

What is the relation to Skype?
Well, remember the status icons: on-line, away, not available, do not disturb and off-line.
Apart from the off-line icon, what ever your status is, you show you are still approachable, you still take the risk of being disturbed.
But with the off-line icon, you “close’ your eyes for the rest of the world. Others can’t talk to you because they think you are not there. And if they can’t talk to you, they can’t say things you don’t like to hear. If you are in a low mood, you don’t have to listen to funny jokes. If you are extremely busy, you can’t get upset by unwanted messages. If you feel hurt, they can’t reach you to hurt you even more.
So the off-line setting is a virtual close your eyes, hide behind your hands and still, if necessary, you can watch the behavior of your contacts....... prepared for the worst…...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Agile Best Practices

March 19: “Agile Best Practices” course In Amsterdam

Varras Consultancy and Business Play are pleased to invite you to attend a one-day introductory course in agile concepts and practices, presented by John Hammink, agile architect and practitioner. The course takes place on Monday, March 19, in Amsterdam (venue to be confirmed). Instruction is aimed at students, entrepreneurs and programmers who want to know more about agile best practices and how to apply them to their projects. Through hands-on workshops, the student will learn how to:

* Envision
* Analyse
* Realise
* and Reiterate

. . . turning ideas into reality quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively. The course does not focus on any specific tool or methodology but, rather, it aims to provide a general understanding of agile best practices and benefits.
John has 15 years of experience implementing agile practices in real-life situations; as architect of the Skype certification program and providing pre-certification consultancy to audio, hardware and software companies in Europe, US, Asia and South America.

More Info:

Booking Info:
The fee for the one day course including lunch is 149 euro per student, payable in advance via PayPal. To book your place and to receive your booking form, please contact :

* Triona Carey:
* Varras Consultancy:
* Business Play:

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Back up your files

The nightmare of everyone working on a computer is to loose your important data.
This problem is slightly solved with external disks. Mine has 180 GB space. But…… I am not always at my own office but are known to dwell at times. And I do not carry it around in my laptop bag.

But technology is evolving and remote access to your backup’s is possible.My provider UPS is offering it too but for a monthly fee I am not really interested in.

Today I received a link from one of my clients about “
Mozy” Online Backup which (not unimportant) is also supporting Windows Vista. Unfortunately they do not support Mac.
They are offering Mozy Unlimited for only 4,95 USD/month and Mozy Free.

It is very easy to install and configure, even for PC dummies.

What do you get:
- secure storage (free or unlimited for $4.95/month!)
- Open/locked file support
- Block-level differential backup
- 128-bit SSL support (to secure your data during transport)
- 448-bit Blowfish encryption (to secure your data on our server)
- Continuous or scheduled backup options

I am aware that some might question storing their “stuff” elsewhere as one of my contacts put it but I feel comfortable with the idea that I can access a backup of my most important data no matter my location.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Stay safe, install Skype

My mother is looked after by some very nice ladies who either nurse her or keep her house clean.
One of them lives nearby. She is a wonderful lady, married with 2 great kids.

Her husband is a highly skilled serviceman with
KPN and problem solver. He is polite, nice, calm and clients like him very much. Needless to say he is a busy serviceman. Let’s call him Tommy.

Last week he was visiting a rather demanding family who claimed to have received the wrong telephone. He was asked to have a look and to discuss what they wanted to make sure they were going to deliver the right phone.

When he arrived, the family was annoyed and wanted the right phone straight away. They were impatient, angry, impolite and the two muscular sons, blocked the doors when Tommy wanted to leave to organize a correct delivery.

The whole family got all of a sudden extremely angry, locked the doors and changed into hostage-takers.

They shouted at him that he could call his boss to tell him they would hostage him until someone else was going to deliver the phone. They were trying to frighten him with abusive language and attitude.

I already mentioned that Tommy has a calm nature and even though being a hostage all of a sudden, he remained calm. Unfortunately, talking did not help and he got his mobile out of his pocket.
The family thought he was going to call his boss and were quite satisfied with what they achieved by threatening him.

But no, Tommy phoned the police to whom he explained he was kept as a hostage.
This was something the family didn’t expect, the woman got frightened, pushed her muscular son away, unlocked and opened the door and told Tommy to leave as soon as possible.

Tommy left for the police station where he told his story and from where he called his wife to tell her he was OK (although she did not know what happened of course!).

It looks like people get more and more abusive, even when it is about an ordinary phone.

So, stay safe, stick with Skype……

Friday, February 09, 2007

Skype Reads Your BIOS and Motherboard Serial Number

No, I am not going start another blogpost with the whole story but days after it was published on the Internet for the very first time, I still receive IM’s from concerned contacts.

Fortunately I can forward them to the blog post of Jaanus at Skype’s Blog.

So please

“Over the past few days, we have
seen a story circulating about how Skype is reading BIOS data of your computer and what this might possibly mean. Here’s an update from our Chief Security Officer Kurt Sauer on this.”

Monday, February 05, 2007

Skype based Co-workers

Varras Consultancy is a Skype based Secretarial- and Answering Service.
Our main goal is answering forwarded incoming Skype calls from
one-man / one-woman companies but we are expanding our services.
The Internet is our office which means that our clients can be based anywhere in the world.

Varras Consultancy is founded in 2006 and looking back on an exiting year with wonderful opportunities for the future.
Being known world wide means working world wide. Therefore we are now looking for international co-workers who run their office from home, who are looking for part time work and who have a knowledge of how to work with the program Skype.

Please note that although I am a Moderator at Skype’s Forum, Varras Consultancy is not a support channel for Skype. Of course we do offer our clients Skype support which is part of the subscription.

Our co-workers can also be located world wide and at this very moment we are looking for a

telephonist / secretary (m/f)

in the Californian, Uk and Dutch time zone

Your required skills if you like to work for us:
A solid knowledge of the English language (and for Holland also Dutch), secondary languages very welcome
A reliable broadband Internet connection
Good knowledge of the Skype Program and interested in learning more
Excellent USB sound device
Excellent communication skills
Experienced in using programs such as Word, Excel and Remote Control
A non criminal back ground which will be checked by a Security Company

If you think you would like to work for us in the near future, please contact me at

And if you are too busy to work for us but you know someone who would, please forward the link of this blogpost!
Looking forward hearing from you

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Skype for Dummies

Susan Abdulezer commented on my post about "
Greet", the Dachshund who barks with her friends over Skype.

I clicked on Susan's name and arrived at the site "
Skype for Dummies". Loren and Suzan Abdulezer and Howard Dammond are the co-authors of the book with the same name.
Niklas Zennström (Skype's co-founder) wrote the foreword.

The book is devided in 5 parts:

1) Getting Started with Skype
2) As You Like It: Skype Your Way
3) Calling All Seasoned Skypers
4) The Professional Skyper
5) The Part of Tens
Appendix A: Skype Multilanguage Support
Appendix B: Skype Tips and Tricks Guide

A wonderful written book for not only the Skype newbies but for everyone who wants to know all about the ins- and outs of using Skype. A must have for every Skype lover and those who think Skype is "just another IM application" (it is not! )

The website "Skype for Dummies" is an extension to the book. In it the co-authors will be adding lots of information, ideas, stories, and updates. In the weeks to come there will be a steady flow of articles, factoids, product reviews, and a lively discussion about the emerging cyber-culture centered around technologies like Skype.

Thanks you Susan for commenting on Greet's story!
Use Skype to bark your friends

One of my Skype contacts recently got a new friend in her life, a Dachshund called Greet. She started a blog about Greet which is amusing to read. Always been a dog breeder, she loves them and sees the funny side of them. Besides that she is a great writer.

I will translate her story about Greet and Skype. For those who read Dutch, please visit her blog


I wrote before that with Skype the world opens up for you, or did Skype say that?
The same for Greet. Besides de "ordinary” new world she is trying to understand, there is also Skype.
Using human legs to climb an office chair was a discovery. More fun for her then for me because I now often sit with a Dachshund on my lap. Sometimes there is a sound from the microphone which triggers dogs; they start barking.
So I introduced Greet to a barking James and Noury via Skype.
To get to know each other before they meet

Maybe Greet would also like to bark to Skype's mascotte "
45+ and keen to use Skype

About a year ago, I added a 13 year old teenager to my contacts. A great kid with an own view on life and he became a special contact.

One of the first things he said to me was: “Just browsed your profile, it is good to see the older generation working with computers” (I am the same age as his grandmother

Shame he never met my great uncle who went to a home for elderly people when he was 89.
His children and grandchildren bought him his very first computer for his 90th birthday. He went to a computer course and from then on he designed the complete lay-out of the monthly magazine for the home he lived in. I was so proud of him!
Unfortunately uncle got ill at the age of 94 and passed away two weeks later.
For me 94 wasn’t old, for my teenage friend 50 was very old.

To me it didn’t come as a surprise that Britain’s mums and dads are becoming more Internet-savvy than their children according to a report out today from Birmingham Midshires. I can’t find any survey’s for mums and dads outside the UK but I think there will not be much difference.

Not only are the over-45s skype-ing (15%), VOiP-ing (13%) and popping up on MySpace, YouTube and Second Life (15%), they are driving the boom in online price comparison and e-griping. The findings come as Birmingham Midshires launches its first quarterly Life 2 report. Throughout 2007, Life 2 will examine different aspects of the lives of over-45s and will challenge traditional perceptions of this age group.

The report mentions different types of Internetters. Amongst them the so called “Info-Jockeys”. Accounting for around 7% of the over-45s, these ‘pragmatechies’ are the keenest to use tools such as Skype on their mobiles and are early adopters of tech tools they can use to enhance their work.

Peter MacBride, author of Brilliant Internet for Over-50s, added: “Gone are the days when over-45s saw the Internet as a gadget solely the preserve of techies and the younger generation. Instead, today’s over-45s are exploiting the Internet to their own end. These are smart consumers who are not scared of new technology but rather embrace it because of the important benefits it offers, saving them time, effort and money.”

Interesting to see that us “oldtimers” are not doing too bad at all!