Thursday, July 24, 2008

How to change your text size and style?

Changing the font and increasing the font size may be both decorative and practical. Large fonts are easier to see. Fonts with serifs are more formal as well as easier to read, but they take up more space. You can change the fonts by selecting the Font pop-up menu just above the writing box in your chat window. You can experiment with each font to see which is best for you. Note that changing fonts may replace the shaded separator bars with outlined placeholders (which may or may not be empty), but forfeiting shaded separator bars is a small price to pay for legibility. Any font changes you make in your chat window are for your eyes only. Other chatters do not see your font selections.
If you change your font size and style and are totally miserable, don’t despair; you can restore the default font. It’s Tahoma, 8 points, Western script.

How to hide your contacts?

You may want to simplify the chatscape so that you can see more of the text window. Click the Hide Users button to eliminate the Contacts list and expand the user text window. You still know who is chatting, and you can bring your Contacts list back at any time by clicking the Show Users button.

How other skypers can get your attention?

With Skype, you can choose how you are notified when someone invites you to a chat. You can have a chat window open immediately when the chat starts, or you can have a pop-up alert tell you that someone is waiting for your attention. You can even decide not to have any obvious alert, although you may still like to have the option of knowing that a chat is about to start.
Select from the following types of options:
  • Show alert pop-up: Choose Tool➪Options➪Notifications and select Display Notification, If Someone Starts a Chat with Me.
  • Show chat window: Choose Tools➪Options➪Advanced and select Pop Up a Chat Window When Someone Starts a Chat with Me. Click the Chat alert to expand the window and type away in the text box.
If you don’t respond to an alert, your Skype window indicates that one new event has occurred. If you click the chat event link, your chat window opens for business. You may hear a sound alert if you have chosen Tools➪Options➪Sounds and selected the check box next to Play Sounds. These options (well, two of them) are a little like call screening. You want to know who is calling, but you want to choose your chats carefully. A highly social person with a long contact list can easily be overwhelmed with willing, needy, or just plain gregarious skypers. It’s nice to have some control over your time and privacy.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

How to bookmark a chat?

Some chats are worth setting aside in a special place for quick access. Skype has a bookmarking feature for these chats. You can bookmark only chats that have a topic, Web site, emoticon, or email in the topic bar; otherwise, the pushpin-style icon used to mark the chat is not shown. To set up a bookmark, click the pushpin icon in the chat topic bar. When this icon is “pushed in,” the chat appears in a special list that you open by choosing Tools➪Bookmarked Chats.

How to return to former chats?

Just because you left a chat doesn’t mean that the chat has disappeared. You can log off of Skype, log back on, and continue a chat that was started previously. To find your former chats, choose Tools➪Recent Chats and pick the chat you want. Chats are identified by Skype Name and the first line of the chat, or by the topic name if one was chosen and entered. Click the topic and the chat reappears.

If your chat partner is offline when you resume the chat, you may see a gray icon with an X inside it in the chat participant list. When your chat partner is logged on to Skype, the icon in the participant list appears green. A white check mark or a little clock symbol appears next to the green icon, depending on whether the participant is available or away. You can still send a message, or receive a chat message, whether you indicate through your status icon that you are not to be disturbed, away, or otherwise unavailable. However, Skype —again doing your dirty work for you — explains why you don’t answer.

How to leave a chat?

When you want to close a chat, just click the round red button with the white X inside in your windows heading bar. The chat window closes but the chat is still active. To reopen the chat window, select the name of the contact you were chatting with and click the Chat button. The same chat window with the same text appears. You can pick up where you left off before you closed the chat window.

How to Chat Strategically?

Do you ever get a sensitive telephone call at work and find yourself whispering your way through the conversation? Or perhaps you are calling someone on your cell phone and the signal stops. Well, the Skype environment gives you both the opportunity to communicate privately and the choice to type or talk. You can receive a Skype voice call and respond in a chat window. The half-voice, half-chat conversation is a great solution to the open office or portable cubicle work area.

Another reason for a half microphone/half chat conversation is that sometimes you may not have a microphone available. Your sound preferences may not be working properly, so you can’t hear the caller’s voice (or your caller may be your 86-year-old dad who has no idea what a sound preference is or how he would change it). Having an alternative way to respond to a call provides a simple way to overcome the personal and technical glitches that trip us up on a daily basis.

How to swap contacts?

File transfer is one of several actions you can carry out on an individual basis. You can also send a list of contacts to other users. Simply choose the Send Contacts menu item and then select the contacts you want to send. Of course, your contacts must authorize your chat partner before he or she can see their online activity, but this process is much more efficient than flipping through the old Rolodex for phone numbers. Another useful feature of a Skype chat is having each participant’s profile on hand.

There may be members of the group you have never met. Their profile can contain useful information such as where they live, a Web site for their business, and a phone contact. The old problem of trying to remember everyone’s name and what he or she does for a living is greatly alleviated by having access to a profile to review while you’re on the chat. Transferring files and swapping contacts holds enormous potential for efficient workflow. In writing this book, we took advantage of these capabilities, even when we were sitting in the same room. Sometimes the files popped up faster on our screen than we could have handed them to each other across a table. Large files took longer, but after each file was sent and received, we were all on the same page — literally.

How to pass notes around the virtual room

The Skype chat window serves as a virtual conference. As in a face-to-face meeting, you can place a document in front of every participant of a Skype conference — just to make sure that everyone has all the facts straight. Skype permits the transfer of files instantly to all or only selected participants. If your chat window is too narrow to fit all the toolbar buttons, you can click the double arrow to reveal hidden toolbar buttons and then click the Send File to All button. You now have access to your directory and can open a file and deliver it. What your chatters see is an alert that lets them know you are sending a file.

An easy way to transfer files to members of your chat is to drag the file from a folder in Windows Explorer, Windows desktop, or My Computer directly into the chat window. You can even drag an image that’s visible from your Web browser into the chat window.

Chat members have to agree to receive your file. If you pick a file to send and realize it is the wrong one, you can cancel the delivery. However, you have to do this quickly, before someone accepts the package. You can send files only to contacts who have authorized you (they agreed to exchange information upon first contact). So you may be in a chat with five people, but because you have formally authorized only two contacts, you can transmit and receive files only from those two contacts. Another strategy for sending information in a chat environment is to paste a Web address or an email address in the message window. These are live links that chatters can click to access Web sites. Everyone can check out the same Web page or email the same organization as the virtual conference takes place. To add to the flexibility of distributing information, you can also copy and paste prepared text into a message window, which is even faster than file transfers if you don’t care about the document format. Not every file is meant for all eyes. Fortunately, Skype enables you to send a file to one person at a time by choosing the double arrow that appears when you move the mouse into the user’s identity box. Clicking the double arrow opens a vertical menu that includes Send File. This menu enables a person-to-person file transfer. Alternatively, you can send a file to a single participant in a chat by dragging a file from your desktop or Windows Explorer directly onto the contact name in the Chat Drawer of your chat window.