ah, i guess we should have mentioned the myriad of restrictions to access on a military network. there are a plethora of sites that are off-limits to anyone using the network on my ship. craigslist, eBay, facebook, myspace, youtube, IM, skype, blogger... basically any social networking or media-heavy site. video takes up a huge amount of bandwidth and presents multiple security concerns. from the ship, you can email or snail mail and use one of the POTS lines to make a satellite call home. that is about it.
in port, you are able to use your laptop to do whatever is allowed on the internet by the country you happen to be in. dubai is different form bahrain is different from europe, etc. so you can skype home when you are hooked up to a hotel internet connection, but not from the ship... sorry to burst your bubble!