21.10.09

Day 269. The Skype Ones.

[Man, I'm clever with those titles aren't I?]

So - another Europe story - I know, the mind reels. Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, when I arrived in Zurich, to the first hotel with true free hi-speed internet (and time to use it) at my disposal, my MacBook pro promptly decided to stop working. The in's and out's of this technical melodrama are not important, what is important is that after dealing with some local resources at 10PM local time, I thought my final resort was Apple Help.

Well, here's the thing, I can't talk German well enough to go through technical issues, plus, in Europe, the Apple help lines aren't open at 10PM. Its that whole "Europeans have such a healthier outlook on managing time and balancing life with work than Americans" thing. So, I was sitting there thinking about calling the US Apple Care people. I literally sat there and debated the merit of paying $1/ minute on my iPhone to call back to the states and then I said, "hey, I have Skype on my iPhone". Another long story short, I was able to use Skype over wi-fi to spend a completely free 2 hours talking with Apple tech's trying to resolve the problem. As I mentioned, earlier, it took quite a bit more for the computer to get fixed, but it sure was reassuring to know that one thing I wasn't going to have to face was a huge phone bill back to the States or floundering through broken German or broken English wondering if the issue could ever have been fixed.

To the best of my research, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis are the two men to which I owe my gratitude. They are the co-founders of Skype. In addition to the story I've shared here, Skype has given me some of the best impromptu conversations I've had, a connection with my mother-in-law, some truly classic moments involving my Godson, my sister-in-law and a video conference, and a tremendous business resource. Skype was another "game changer" in technology, in my humble opinion. I love it on my MacBook and I love it on my iPhone. It lets me stay in touch with those who are most important to me professionally and personally no matter where I am in the world - via text, video or audio.

I think the power to envision that which doesn't exist yet is amazing - and so, for all that its given to me - particularly that night in Zurich, I thank Niklas and Janus.

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