So I’m recording the second skypecast for Global Voices, talking with Sokari Ekine about the “war on terror” and the line goes dead. Skype makes a “click”, we’re cut off and I can’t redial. So I call her in Spain on my cellphone to apologize and finish our conversation, even though we’re no longer recording. We joke about the fact that the line goes dead just as soon as we start talking about terrorism – is the US government monitoring her phone? My skype account?
Jokes aside, I return to my computer with hundreds of scenarios for what might have gone wrong. I’ve had a bad week with this Mac – water crept into the display on Monday, and I had several dozen crashes when trying to set up my first Skypecast. But reading the server logs and doing a bit of diagnosis, it’s pretty clear what happened – I’m broke.
Unlike with Dina, I was calling Sokari via SkypeOut, which allows me to use Skype to call conventional telephones. And, since the call is still routed through Skype, I can record it. But while SkypeOut is cheap, it’s not free. I’d failed to check my account balance before initiating the call, and burned 9 euros of credit before – without any warning – Skype hung up on me.
If any Skype developers are reading this blog, a couple of thoughts: In the US, payphones (remember payphones?) used to warn you a few moments before cutting off your phonecall. A mechanized voice would cut in and urge you to deposit a quarter for the next three minutes. It certainly wouldn’t be hard to flash a warning that you’re almost out of credit and will be terminated shortly if you don’t transfer more money to Estonia. Or you could give us a little grace period. Those of us who have already sent in money and had our credit validated probably aren’t going to refuse to pay an additional euro to have our call continue uninterupted.
So that’s why the interview with Sokari ends so abruptly. I’m cheap. And Skype has some interface issues… :-)