During the years 2005 – 2007, I took two years of Spanish, at the College of DuPage. But I forgot a lot. Now that I am relearning it, software like DuoLingo and Fluencia are very helpful. Yet nothing takes the place of real human exchanges. In a language exchange forum, I connected with someone from Mexico. We are exchanging conversations in Spanish and English for an hour each day.
Yet the initial attempts had their technical problems. We kept losing connection or his speech became garbled. What should we do? The first thing I suggested was to check what version of Skype was used. Both of us had the latest production version.
Next, I suggested going to a site called Speed Test . It showed I had a high speed connection and my friend had a low one. Is that the problem?
Finally, I checked to see what operating system he was running and if all the patches and upgrades were installed. Both were Windows supported systems, with all the latest patches.
Then I decided to test with Google Hangouts, to see if we had the same problem. We did. So Skype wasn’t the culprit or target.
Finally, I suggested he test with another US friend and a friend from Mexico. This way, we could see if it were a problem he had. Now I could talk via Skype to a US German friend – no problem. My modem had the latest upgrades from Comcast and my LinkedIn router had the latest upgrades from me. What is the problem.
I also do weekly quick scans with Norton Security Suite and Malwarebytes for problems. And I have WinPatrol to warn me of operating system changes. And I use FileHippo to check for open source upgrades.
Then an idea occurred to me. Let me check my video camera software. Some upgrades needed to be installed. Here’s a YouTube video talking about improving Skype video quality. It’s only about a minute and a half:
It’s easy to find the update tab for my Logitech webcam. I just need to open up the icon, click on preferences and then click updates. I had to update twice, in order to get everything up to par. My Skype software was also set for the latest production version
Guess what? The next time my friend from Mexico and I communicated on Skype, the connection quality was excellent. He did report that he tested with a friend from both the US and Mexico. Both tests displayed no problems. We were able to connect each night with no apparent problems.
And if you have a different operating system, then the same rules apply. My friend runs Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and I remind him to check weekly for updates. Maybe it’s a new version of a Linux image, a GUI or an application software upgrade. But the end result is a more secure and solidly running operating system. The same would apple to Apple, and smart phone and tablet operating systems.