Future of Skype

10 04 2009

Jan Castro
Tech 114 D203
Techpost 3

The Future of Skype

The year is 2059. In the dust of the digital era comes a new ‘networked era’. This is an age where the coined term ‘digital divide’ (Wellman, B., & Hogan, B., 2004) no longer exists and technology, more specifically the internet, is accessible around the world at anytime anywhere. Consequently, companies dependent on the internet achieve soaring profits and customer volume. One of these companies is the world renowned Skype. Skype’s huge success is wildly based on the creation of the Skypephone and the S-Bay.

In 2007, Skype announced the Skypephone (Skype Limited, 2009). One year later Skype’s developers have enabled the use of Skype on more than 50 internet connected phones (Skype Limited, 2009). With the ever expanding variety and accessibility of smart phones, internet can be used by mobiles around the world especially when the 3G network was created in 2001 (UMTS, 2005). The Skypephone provides communication through a variety of mediums and distances for one very flat monthly rate. Zero dollars. Although there’s no monthly fee, an initial $199 is needed to buy the phone. However, customers who are a part of the 97% of the population (grown from 60% in 2009 (Murph, 2009)) who uses a cell phone can download Skype for free at their website. This phone provides all of the original Skype program’s functionalities. The phone can file transfer, video conference, instant message, and call other Skypephones, smart phones, landlines, and PCs. This all wouldn’t be made possible without the creation of the 4G network in 2035. The 4G network uses old network systems like the 3G network, broadband and the historical radio towers, and mixes them with newer satellites and stronger radio frequencies which can transmit farther and faster. The creation of the 4G network broke the ‘digital divide’ and changed society forever. Now information is growing at an alarming rate because of its consumption and easy accessibility (Rowland, 2006) and the term global village really became global. With free cell phone services, huge traditional telephony companies are losing money due to Skype’s unique business model (“The meaning of free speech”, 2005) and thus became bankrupt giving the Skypephone a monopoly over cell phone services. This monopoly began during 2009’s sinking economy where Skype saw 30 million new users a quarter whom sought out cheaper ways to communicate (Farrell, 2009).

Now many companies could not provide services without some form of income. Since the Skypephone only generates profits through selling mobile devices, Skype Lmt needed a higher source of income. This was found through the creation of the S-Bay. Society didn’t know it then but when Ebay bought Skype in 2005 (“The meaning of free speech”, 2005) the world would change. Ebay brought forth a new form of business and Paypal to Skype’s already deadly arsenal. So in 2036 after Skype’s new founded monopoly over telephony communications, they employed their new program, the S-Bay. By using their Skypephone, customers can purchase anything anywhere with a simple voice command or fingerprint. The S-Bay merges Paypal technology with Skypephone’s smart phone capabilities. To authorise a payment a customer would simply have to say ‘yes’ to their Skypephone and a voice recognising program will either approve or decline depending on if it is the appropriate owner of the Paypal account. In addition to the voice recogniser, an option of a fingerprint sample adds double protection to authorising a payment. Since the Skypephone and most smart phones are now touch screen a customer would simply put their finger(s) on the screen and a program will sense if it’s who they say they are. With this brilliant program customers can quickly purchase products over the internet by having their information automated with their DNA. The S-Bay can even be used to purchase products while in store by simply going up to the cashier and proving the payment. Consumers can use the S-Bay monthly with a low rate of $19. The S-Bay revolutionises the world of buying and selling, wallets can now even be replaced by Skypephones. Thus making life a lot simpler and faster in this ‘networked era’.

Works Cited

Farrell, N. (2009, January 9). Skype is the limit thanks to recession . Retrieved April 9, 2009, from Fudzilla: http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11338&Itemid=1

Murph, D. (2009, March 3). Worldwide cellphone use hits 60 percent, developing nations largely to thank. Retrieved April 9, 2009, from Engadget: http://www.engadget.com/2009/03/03/worldwide-cellphone-use-hits-60-percent-developing-nations-larg/

Rowland, W. (2006). Spirit of the Web. Toronto: Thomas Allen Publishers.

Skype Limited. (2009). Retrieved Febuary 9, 2009, from Skype Official Website: http://www.skype.com

UMTS. (2005). UMTS/ 3G History and Future Milestones. Retrieved April 9, 2009, from UMTSworld: http://www.umtsworld.com/umts/history.htm

Wellman, B., & Hogan, B. (2004). The Immanent Internet. Toronto: University of Toronto.

Tech Post #2: The Technological Development of Skype through History

19 03 2009

Jan Castro
Tech 114 D203

The Technological Development of Skype through History

“Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you” – Alexander Graham Bell

VOIP providers, like Skype, make it possible for human beings to communicate over daunting distances without transportation, through wired telecommunications. Before the invention of the telegraph, communication over distances had to be transported (Rowland, 2006). For example, letters had to be carried through horseback and on foot in order to deliver a message. As technological advancements radically improved and flourished, messages no longer needed to be transported. Written letters turned into Morse code which faded into vibrating voices. With respects to preindustrial, industrial, and post industrial societies, long distance communication was carried through letters, telegraphs, and voice over internet protocols (VOIP).

In the advent of the industrial revolution, societies worldwide could be categorized underneath four preindustrial categories: foraging societies, pastoral societies, horticultural societies, and agricultural societies (Anderson & Taylor, 2005). These societies were largely rural populations. Meaning abroad communication dealt merely with transportation. The preindustrial version of Skype would be known as the postal service.  Letters are the basic idea and framework of what Skype carries out, distant communication. This calls upon the technology of paper, pen and language. To contemporary society this may not seem technologically comprehensive; however, in the past being able to write the spoken language is only made available to elite. This is partly to do with the bias of communication and how certain communication mediums are controlled by overseeing groups (Soules, M, 1996).

Letters didn’t really affect everyday life just because of the time needed to transport the message. When the letter finally arrived, the news could be completely irrelevant and long-standing by the time it reaches the average household. As a whole society, letters changed people’s knowledge on current events. Now news from around the world could be sent than latter broadcasted to inform the public, like through newspapers. In addition, postal services proved very useful for civilizations to thrive. For example, the Romans’ superior postal route Cursus Publicus expanded their empire. The Romans’ used this highly fast and efficient staged relay system to win many battles by sending informative letters which told commanders of iterations in the war zones (Harley & Woodward, 1987). The delivery speed of this route couldn’t be surpassed until 18th century Europe (Rowland, 2006). Messages turned electric with the Industrial revolution.

According to Deane, the Industrial revolution took place in 1750-1850. During this time developed countries saw the widespread application of modern science, specialization of economics towards markets, change from rural to urban communities, manufactured items are made to suit the companies not families or tribes, increased labour in manufacturing, and the surfacing of new social classes (Deane, 1979). Plaguing all these new innovations was the slow transportation of communication over distances. With scientist like Benjamin Franklin, electric currents were made possible. So to produce faster distant communication creative inventors looked at electricity for the solution (Hillstrom & Hillstrom, 2007).

Using a new way of thinking in terms of applied sciences, the industrial revolution brought together many scientists like Samuel Morse, Alfred Veil, Hans Christian Oersted, and Samuel T. Jackson to create lightening fast communication through the means of Morse code and the telegraph (Hillstrom & Hillstrom, 2007).  Hand in hand with increased manufacturing, by the 1830s nearly one thousand telegraph towers littered Europe’s landscape (Hillstrom & Hillstrom, 2007). This created countless jobs and opportunities, affecting everyday life not only socially but economically as well. Socially faster communication decreased hostilities and prejudices towards the unknown and ushered in new understanding and empathy around the world. Economically business wasn’t bounded by borders anymore. In 1866 communication between the US and Europe was faster through the telegraph. In addition companies made huge profits off the new services, products, and construction of towers (Rowland, 2006)  (Hillstrom & Hillstrom, 2007). The possible profit was not overlooked by the governments. During the 1840s countless bills and questions are proposed over whether government or private sectors should own the communication (Rowland, 2006). But social and economic reform favoured the individual companies ownership. The ownership of telegraphs was deemed “necessary for the well-being of society” (Hillstrom & Hillstrom, 2007). With all this communication became electric.

Post-industrial revolution is exponential times with a shift from a manufacturing based economy into a service based economy (Little, 1998). In 1875 the telephone was created by Alexander Graham Bell with help from Thomas Edison and Elisha Gray to make it easier for users to communicate without the complexity of the telegraph. 5 years later 30,000 telephones were used worldwide. Then coming into the end of the 19th century over 800,000 telephones were in service (Hillstrom & Hillstrom, 2007). And the billion dollars a year industry which is telecommunications is born. Large corporations like AT&T (American Telephone and Telegraph) were created.  A phenomenon occurs, the ability to get instantaneous feedback which is unprecedented in history. Telephones like telegraphs shatter time and space (Rowland, 2006). This is parallel to Bell’s infamous quote: “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.” This could not be achieved through the written letter or even the electric telegraph. The telephone accomplishes this because it is a convivial technology. Pre existing technologies didn’t allow people to “pursue their own goals in their unique way” (Rowland, 2006). For example the telegraph needed expertise like Morse code, operators and messengers in order to use. But with the telephone, voice is all that is necessary (Rowland, 2006).

As the post-industrial age pushes into a more contemporary society, economy becomes more reliant on service based industry. VOIP providers take the telephone and make it even more service based. VOIP companies like Skype optimize the business model by using internet connections over telecommunication landlines. Skype doesn’t need a modem or hardware installation like the telephone, all it requires is pre existing equipment like a computer and internet communication. With customers providing their own hardware and a large market, telecommunication companies should be highly wary of VOIP business models or else they’ll be out of business (“The meaning of free speech”, 2005).Now letters carry messages, Morse code has dependability, and phones have high accessibility, Skype learns from these and creates a new service based experience.

Works Cited

Anderson, M. L., & Taylor, H. F. (2005). Sociology: understanding a diverse society. Stamford: Cengage Learning.

Deane, P. (1979). The First Industrial Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Harley, J. B., & Woodward, D. (1987). The History of Cartography: Cartography in prehistoric, ancient, and medieval Europe and the Mediterranean. New York: Humana Press.

Hillstrom, K., & Hillstrom, L. C. (2007). The Industrial Revolution in America: Communications / Agriculture And Meatpacking / Overview/Comparison. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.

Little, A. (1998). Post-Industrial Socialism: Towards a New Politics of Welfare. London: Routledge.

Rowland, W. (2006). Spirit of the Web. Toronto: Thomas Allen Publishers.

Soules, M. (1996). The Bias of Communications & Monopolies of Power. Retrieved Febuary 9, 2009, from Harold Adams Innis: http://records.viu.ca/~media113/innis.htm

The meaning of free speech. (2005, September 17). Economist, Retrieved February 11, 2009, from Academic Search Premier database.

Wiki Reflection

26 02 2009

Prior to this experiment most group projects’ writing aspects were passed on to each group member at a separate time through email or file transfer. Being able to edit in real time is a lot faster and will be used by me in future team assignments because of its efficiency. The only real downside is the fact only one member can edit the article successfully at a time. If two group members were editing at the same time they would overwrite one another’s edit and have to start from scratch again. So being in the same room helps remedy this limitation.

Although many of the team members were new to wikis and we wasted a lot of time on the navigation, I consider this experiment to be fairly successful. For starters it did show how effective it is to be able to have everyone edit a single article in real time. And using wikis helps organizes a group’s ideas and work. In addition it allows members to fill in gaps of what others are missing.

The fluidity of the wiki post would be very different if I were to produce the article myself. Since we worked on the post as a whole in an allotted timeframe, our wiki post is somewhat choppy with headings giving transition to a new part rather than fluid coherent sentences. Given the same time frame the length and depth of an individual article would be smaller. For instance, we were given around a hour to finish our 500 word post, but given the same hour I wouldn’t be able to produce an essay with the same length and depth of knowledge.

Using a wiki in the same room as the other people using the system proved very helpful. Since our group members were all face to face we had a productive dialogue rather than destructive monologues. If we were to do this experiment in separate rooms we would not be able to have real time discussion to clarify and improve the wiki post. Instead a “wiki war” would commence with different editors re editing and retooling the entire post not knowing what direction the previous writer was headed towards.

Jan Castro, 301101256

Tech 114 D203

Skype in Contemporary Society

12 02 2009

Skype is an online service provided by Skype Limited and can be downloaded off of the internet for free. This program offers communication over the internet through Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol or VOIP for short. It basically uses internet connections through broadband or even 3G networks for means of communication, rather than traditional landlines and phones. Subsequently, Skype is used to communicate in many ways, like from a computer to a conventional phone (Skype out) or vice versa (Skype in). Skype can also be used as video messaging from computer to computer or even to phones on the 3G network. It can also be used for instant messaging, file transferring, and video conferencing. To use Skype’s many services, the program must be first installed onto the computer or phone in use. Along with the program an account has to be used for initial set up. This can be achieved by registering onto their website. When registering account information, options are given for different Skype communications. The free accounts are given free access to all Skype communications but have a limited amount of Skype Out and Skype In minutes. After all those minutes are used than for additional time prepaid accounts must be bought in order to still use the Skype Out and Skype In services.

The unique way Skype’s infrastructure works produces an exceptional business model. In the article “The Meaning of Free Speech” (which can be found on this link http://web.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/ehost/detail?vid=6&hid=120&sid=9a860046a3d84d3bb22e4aca24092e72%40sessionmgr103&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=aph&AN=18328082), this business model is described along with its social effects.

The article begins with Ebay’s latest acquisition, the purchase of Skype Limited. Although Ebay bought out the company, they left Skype Limited to independently run and manage all of its resources. Unlike other companies, like Yahoo! And Microsoft, which inevitability disintegrated the bought out corporations. Now Ebay didn’t buy out Skype Limited for huge profit margins, considering in 2005 Skype’s revenue was a mere 60m, but rather they acquired a unique business model. Skype’s general plan towards customer volume is receiving as little money as possible from users. So they worked on shear volume. Skype receives 150000 new accounts each day, totalling to 54m users in the year 2005. Since the service is free, the sole income Skype Limited receives is the small percentage of clients buying minutes for the Skype Out and or Skype In options. Additionally, since the clientele provides their own hardware (computers and internet connections) Skype sees no marginal cost resulting in maximized profits. Consequently, this leaves other telecom companies to rethink their business models. Traditional models are based on ARPU or average revenue per user. This essentially works on smaller volumes of customers paying more for services. With VOIP services growing at an exponential rate due to minimal cost, traditional telecom companies are haemorrhaging revenue. In meek retaliation, these telecom companies are introducing flatter monthly rates, buying out smaller VOIP providers incorporating VOIP into service plans, banning clients’ access to VOIP providers, and even suing VOIP users. (“The meaning of free speech”, 2005)

Now when I read Skype’s statement of “The World for Free” (Skype Limited, 2009), I instantly fall in love with the company. At a consumer stand point, anything free is good. But more importantly Skype is just another example of newer technologies obsolescing older ones, in this example traditional phones. The social effect Skype has on our contemporary lives is positive. Mainly, it begins to dismantle the key junctures in communication media which are controlled by trillion dollar telecom companies (Soules, M, 1996) (“The meaning of free speech”, 2005). No longer will these companies have a monopoly on telephony communications, but we citizens will now have a say in the matter. Many of Skype’s extensions are ground breaking. For travellers who don’t want to pay hefty amounts for pre paid cell phones they can switch their laptops or even smart phones, using the 3G network, into online video conferencing to communicate to friends, family, or even businesses all for free. By using internet connections local and international calls are the same rate. The idea of using internet connections for free multi faceted communication just makes sense. The technology is there why not use it, especially if the technology is ours to begin with like computers. When traditional companies overcharge its clientele they’re essentially robbing them of their hard earned money when it can all be offered for free.

The positive effects of Skype could be reversed by the key juncture points in within knowledge monopolies (Soules, M, 1996). It’s already happening. Companies like Yahoo! and Microsoft, as previously stated, are known to completely convolute companies they buy out (“The meaning of free speech”, 2005). If Skype were bought by a big corporate firm for the sole purpose to make revenue, than all of Skype’s work can be reversed. That company can completely rebuild Skype’s service rates to resemble traditional telecom companies service rates. If this were to occur than these telecom companies would regain ownership of these juncture points in communication media and thus establishing another monopoly of knowledge. These monopolies end up changing our social culture because of imbalances of time-biased and space-biased media (Soules, M, 1996). It’s also interesting to note, since local and international calls with Skype are almost synonymous, “real world disconnection” (Wellman, B., & Hogan, B., 2004) is further developed in contemporary society. By using Skype to communicate worldwide we lose the grasp of space and time (ibid).

Works Cited

Skype Limited. (2009). Retrieved Febuary 9, 2009, from Skype Official Website: http://www.skype.com

Soules, M. (1996). The Bias of Communications & Monopolies of Power. Retrieved Febuary 9, 2009, from Harold Adams Innis: http://records.viu.ca/~media113/innis.htm

The meaning of free speech. (2005, September 17). Economist, Retrieved February 11, 2009, from Academic Search Premier database.

Wellman, B., & Hogan, B. (2004). The Immanent Internet. Toronto: University of Toronto.

The Ghost of a Good Thing

15 01 2009

So the other day my friend and I were walking past this drop dead doll of a girl…. Drooling like a school boy, I couldn’t help myself but ask: “Those can’t be real!” And in fact they weren’t real. The pair of eyeglasses she was wearing, to the untrained eye, seemed prescription. But the peculiarity of the size and shape made me realize they couldn’t be real.

Although that story may be some fabrication, if not a total fabrication, the truth to the matter is that “Flasses” do exist. Flasses? You might ask what are they. If the clever name resembling the word glasses didn’t tip you off; well flasses are essentially glasses without the horrid prescription. Hence the terms fake glasses. Or how urbandictionary.com describes them:

“Glasses that do not contain prescribed lenses, usually found on the shelves of your local Dollar General. worn by women who want to look sophisticated or cop out of putting on make-up/doing hair”

As contact lenses were created to mask the use of prescription eyeglasses, it almost seems society has taken a step backwards. More and more people are becoming inclined to wear flasses as a fashion statement, trend, or even to project the image of intelligence. I was recently reading an article that took a survey on why people wore flasses and many users wore flasses during interviews to appear smart and sophisticated. It seems that the old connotation of geeks with glasses are fading with each new purchase of flasses. Nerdy Ned and Clever Carol are becoming iconic in the lens of certain people.

Now if only sunglasses at night would be socially acceptable….. Till that triumphant day i’ll be sporting my flasses.

-Jan Castro


A Dashboard Confessional

8 01 2009

Hi my name is Jan Rainier Villena Castro! But you can me Jan for short

So i’m brand new to this blogging thing, i don’t have no idea if this post will even remotely work heres hoping for the best!

Below is a future projection of how my face will hopefully look.


So just a few interesting facts about me and only a few i wouldn’t want to give away too much info about me without even talking to you. So i was born on Dec 27th 1990 at a staggering 6 pounds…. anyways people think i’m nice and friendly… i’ll let you decide. But if you wanted concrete info please read the following: I work at GAP, i like tech and alternative music, i was the Valedictorian of my graduating class, and i legitmitly enjoy long walks on the beach.

My favourite technology would have to be mp3 device, quite simply because without it i would die? But seriously i live with headphones in my ear. I use my ipod at school, working out, traveling, and even at work… And recently i’ve found even more use for the ipod other than music like video podcast… so yea i’m an mp3 addict.

Hello world!

8 01 2009

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!