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I do a fair bit of tutoring on Skype, at $80 an hour. Often 5-10 minutes of an hour long lesson is spend watching my student deal with technical difficulties on their computer.

Their system fails them at very simple tasks: displaying a website (often the solution is use chrome or firefox rather then IE 8), opening a picture file, bandwidth for Skype video, audio/microphone output, RAM for running Skype + a browser, etc.

They waste money with me, and they're surely wasting time with almost everything they do. It's bafflingly inefficient, when you consider the marginal cost of buying a better computer at purchase time.

However, much of what you described has little or nothing to do with them having bad hardware. It's almost exclusively software and amenities (bandwidth).

Yeah, I generalized it to not makintbe effort to setting up a good system, such as paying $10 a month for better bandwidth, or upgrading old software. XP + IE8

Try Sococo instead of Skype. Its tested under low-capacity situations and we (I work there) intend it to be self-adjusting to conditions.

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