Monday, January 28, 2008

Getting a Load of Add-Ons and Accessories

Having more features and capabilities to enhance Skype can be highly desirable, and Skype makes it easy to integrate third-party applications and plugins to work with its software. Skype permits and in fact encourages third-party companies to bring enhancements to Skype. (Such enhancements are handled through something called Skype Application Programming Interface [Skype API], but that’s more than you need to know.)

Going wireless
Skype delivers a new kind of freedom — the ability to make and receive calls wirelessly and without even needing a computer. A new type of phone, called a Wi-Fi phone, has Skype already built in and can tap into wireless or Wi-Fi networks. When you’re connected to a network, whether from your office, home, or public Internet hot spot, you can use Skype. With these devices, you sign on to Skype as you would from your computer and you’re good to go.
Software and gadgets, too
When you connect through Skype, you need some way to speak and hear your conversations on Skype. Most computers have an audio jack for a microphone and a speaker out line. If you don’t already have a microphone and headset, you can purchase them inexpensively. Bluetooth (wireless) headsets, USB headsets, USB speakerphones, mini-plug headsets, and built-in microphones are available in all colors and sizes, some with noise cancellation, volume control, and mute buttons. You have many choices. The capabilities of Skype are not limited to traditional “telephone” calls.
Skype supports videoconferencing, for which you’ll need a good webcam. You can record interviews and save them as media files with Skype, so you’ll need recording and playback software. If you like to skype but don’t like to be stuck at a desk, you can skype from digital handsets known as Skype Phones that work within 50 feet of your computer. You can even store your whole Skype operation on a USB drive, travel the world, and simply plug and play wherever you land.

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