Friday, March 21, 2008

Not-So Fun Fact

I learned something today: Skype credits expire.

I think I’ve sung the praises of Skype before. It’s a service that allows you to make very cheap, sometimes free calls to anywhere in the world using your computer. Sometimes calls have that echo-y, transatlantic cable quality to them, but it’s so inexpensive that it’s worth it in a lot of cases. I loaded my account up when I was planning my trip to Shanghai, and I still had a lot left even after bickering with the soccer-ticket salespeople several times. (I would have gone broke attempting this with my landline.)

I’ve barely used Skype since then, though, because I don’t need to call overseas very often. And today, I got an email saying that my credit would expire in a week if I didn’t make a call.

Curiously, though, you can call anywhere for any length of time and it counts. So I performed the curious ritual of calling myself from my desk. My home phone rang across the room. I picked it up and listened to myself breathe for a few seconds, and then hung up. This appears to be all it takes to keep the account active. Strange business.

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