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When Skype Linking is gone, what's the best alternative for remote TypeWell?

In an earlier post this week, we announced that TypeWell's Skype Linking feature is likely to be discontinued in 2014. 

The good news is that TypeWell supports two other methods for streaming text to a remote reader over the Internet in real time: 

  • Web Linking
  • Simple Serial Linking (commonly used with StreamText)


Of the two remaining options for remote linking, TypeWell's Web Linking is the most reliable. That's because we maintain two top-notch servers, so that in the rare case one ever goes down, users can immediately switch to the other. 

Web Linking is also the most readable. Unlike StreamText, the TypeWell Web Linking display supports special formatting (bold, italic, etc.) as well as the accurate display of math/science symbols, Greek letters, subscripts, and superscripts that transcribers can capture using TypeWell's Math Mode.

Until now, our Skype Linking feature was the only free method for streaming text to a remote reader. V6 Premium users must now purchase the Web Linking add-on or upgrade to V7 Premium in order to use Web Linking. For those transcribers who use streaming text services more than a few hours a month, TypeWell's Web Linking is much more affordable than StreamText's per-minute pricing.

One frequently asked question we receive from remote transcribers is whether the changes to Skype will affect their voice calls, and the answer is (fortunately) no. Transcribers and readers can still make and receive Skype voice calls or video calls so the transcribers can hear class discussion. 

Transcribers can also continue using the Skype desktop application to send instant messages, for example to share a Web Linking URL or to troubleshoot microphone or call problems with the reader.

Example Skype Chat

Remote TypeWell transcribers frequently listen to the class lectures and discussions by using Skype's voice-over-IP service. They also use Skype's instant messaging feature to communicate with the reader about microphone placement or to troubleshoot technical problems.

Skype is by far the most common voice-over-IP service and instant messaging client used by remote TypeWell transcribers. Skype's support page indicates that these talk and chat features will not be affected:

These changes to the Desktop API will not impact any core Skype features, and your Skype for desktop clients will continue to be supported as we release new features and improvements to enhance your Skype experiences.
Skype Menu Red X

In short, Skype is still a really useful application for remote transcribers. But due to Skype's business changes, the Skype Linking option in TypeWell may cease to work this year. When that happens, we may have to remove the Skype Linking option from the TypeWell's "Link" menu.

Join us on January 10, 2014 in a Skype conference call to discuss remote linking options. Visit the TypeWell Learning Center for more information and to register.


Kate Ervin

Kate became a TypeWell transcriber in 2004 and began training new transcribers in 2009. She has served as TypeWell's Executive Director since 2011.

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