Friday Night Trivia: From TalkShoe to Skype

The time has finally come, I’m going to record episodes of Radio Free Caemlyn’s Friday Night Trivia exclusively on Skype. This comes soon six weeks ahead of Friday Night Trivia’s fourth anniversary.

Up until now, we’ve recorded episodes on TalkShoe, a site where you can host live calls and upload pre-recorded episodes. The site is reliable enough, but for at least a year now I’ve been wanting to move trivia off of there for several reasons, including such things as making it easier to join the show, having better audio quality on recordings, and a less problematic interface.

One notable problem with TalkShoe has always been how difficult it tends to be to join the call. Unless you call in with a phone, you have to install and configure third-party software, such as X Lite, or Blink, or Ekiga, and the configuration instructions for each of those are different and tend to be confusing to explain to a new participant. You need to know the TalkShoe SIP address (66.212.134.192), and whether or not to include “123@” before that SIP address. You need to know the show ID, which obviously differs for every call series on TalkShoe (Radio Free Caemlyn’s is 72402, Marble Operator’s is 112081, Cultdom Collective’s is 5421, Media Outsiders’ is 81865, and so on). You need to know what code to enter after that, to enter under a screen-name or as a guest. It takes a long time to explain all of this, and tends to hold up the pre-show discussions for new participants. I needed something easier, something less confusing.

Over the past year or so I’ve considered several alternatives to TalkShoe. I’ve looked at Google+ hangouts, but who uses Google+? I’ve looked at Skype, and it seems the most reasonable alternative. The call-in instructions with Skype are comparatively simple: you need only add me as a Skype contact, or search “Radio Free Caemlyn” as a Skype contact (oddly enough, there turned out to already be a Skype handle of “radiofreecaemlyn” belonging, presumably, to someone in Japan, so the precise handle to search for is “live:radiofreecaemlyn” on Skype). If you’re going to join the call on Skype, you’re already using the one bit of software you need; you don’t need to download, install, and configure some third-party software.

I would’ve made the switch to Skype a while ago, but there were several factors halting me. First, there were people like Ken who call in to TalkShoe via their cell phone. Would moving to Skype exclude them from being able to join the show? It turns out that that isn’t a problem, as Skype offers the ability to purchase a phone number that someone can call to connect to you on Skype. This means that, if anyone wants to join Trivia and they don’t want to use a computer, all they need do is call the number that I have set up for Skype. I’ll see that call and add them to the conference call. Simple as that. The only difference for people like Ken is that they’re calling a different phone number. After realizing this, I have now obtained a Skype Number, and have included it in a new bumper recording.

That was the main problem, what if people don’t use Skype? There is now the call-in number. However, Skype is ubiquitous nowadays, and is simple to configure.

The only issue I’ve noticed is that people calling in on the phone will not have a text chat to consult. This is a relatively minor issue, though.

Anyway, it’s a change to the show I’ve wanted to make for a long while and am finally doing.

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