GSM in Mexico / Skype rocks

GSM in Mexico / Skype rocks.

took my Treo out of the country for the first time (to Cabo San Lucas,
Mexico — about 1500 miles south of SF) and I was really pleased with
the performance. My phone immediately picked up the Telcel GSM network and my SnapperMail IMAP client
seemed to be in overdrive — the throughput was far better than
anything I had ever experienced in the U.S. in any major city. I don't
know if it's because I was in a relatively remote area with little GSM
demand in the off-season, or if service in the Bay Area just stinks,
but there was a noticeable difference.

I had a minor IT emergency while in Mexico (more in a later column) and I used Skype for the first time to conference with Kevin Railsback, our IT manager back in SF. The hotel I was in
had wireless, but judging from bandwidth tests, they had the entire
hotel running through a 256kbps line to the outside world, so it wasn't
a fat pipe (never confuse the presence of Wi-Fi with actual bandwidth
— something anyone who goes to many conferences in hotels already
knows). In any case, Skype really delivered. I was able to have a
zero-latency conversation with Kevin about the issue we were dealing
with and I saved the $5/minute (!) hotel charges for calls back to the
U.S. Skype isn't perfect, though. When I tried to conference with my
IDG Australia colleague Mark Jones
in Sydney, our initial clear conversation started sounding like a bad
cell phone call. (I was using the beta version of Skype for OS X, which
could have made a difference, I suppose)  [Chad Dickerson]

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