Thursday, March 02, 2006

Skype & Holocaust Art Recovery


A client of mine told me to download Skype so that we could talk for free. I was in the middle of a million things and didn't really pay attention. I heard again about Skype through a friend whose father lives in India. He raved about it, but I figured that the quality was not terrific.

I was wrong.

I am now working on a case assisting descendants of Holocaust victims to recover artworks by the artist Egon Schiele. I have a correspondent genealogist in Austria. The image here is a bad thumbnail of a rather racy Schiele artwork currently at the MOMA.

We both downloaded Skype yesterday and were talking for free with an incredible clarity. Much better quality than speakerphone, which requires shouting and cutting each other off, this was a real, crystal-clear conversation.

For me, this was terrific, but my long-distance bills are not that expensive. For Austrians, the long-distance bills are horrendously high. I am looking forward to better communications with people around the world and will be going out to get a video camera to see whether video enhances the interactive experience.

I bought the book Skype Hacks and need to tackle a couple of problems. Apparently Skype lets huge files be transferred attached to emails, which would help us since we've got problems transporting large image files around the world and to multiple adversaries. My firewall is blocking transfers, though, so I will have to figure out how to reconfigure. Very exciting new technology that should make life easier and cheaper. My only concern is not to have another phone ringing from another direction!

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