See You Soon, But Not on Skype

If you're looking at a person, ignoring the conversation is tough
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2010 2:18 PM CST
A Skype conversation.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – When Joel Stein is on the phone with you, here’s what happens. “As soon as you begin to talk, I feel trapped and desperately scan the room for tasks I can do to justify the enormous waste of time that is your talking. I wash dishes, I file receipts, I read news sites, I make little fake suicide faces to my wife.” Now, how can he do that if you’re staring at him on Skype?

“Skype is the only one of all the cool gadgets that cartoons promised me would exist by 2010,” Stein writes for Time, but “people don't seem nearly as excited as they should be.” And who can blame them? “The stuff we thought we wanted in the future sucks.” Even on Star Trek, “Bones and Jim would use their flip phones to talk” and save the video phone for imminent Klingon attacks. Skype, an expert tells Stein, “gets you back to sitting there and being available in that old-fashioned way.” Who wants that?

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