Monday, November 30, 2009

Skype Conference Call

The more adventurous reader might want to quickly test some of the other features of Skype: conference calling, chat, and file transfer. To do that, you’ll need to have a handful of people setup in your contacts list. So get the Skype names of some friends (or use the Skype search feature [Skype: Contacts: Search for Skype Users …]) to populate your contacts list, and then try the following quick experiments. They’ll take only a few minutes and will be time well spent.
To make a conference call with Skype, select two or more people in your contacts list by holding down the Control key on your keyboard while clicking on the names with your mouse. Next, click on the Conference Call button on the toolbar, and the conference call should start in its own call tab.
To start a chat session with someone, click on their name in your contacts list and then click on the Chat button on the toolbar This opens Skype’s chat window and starts a chat session. To start a multi-chat session, just highlight more than one name in your contacts list (by holding down the Control key on your keyboard while clicking on their names with your mouse) and click on the Chat button.
Finally, try sending a file to someone. Click on a name in your contacts list and then click the Send File button on the toolbar. This opens a window which you can use to navigate to, and select, the file you want to send. Pick a file —any file—and click on the Open button. This initiates a file transfer. You can send a file to more than one person at the same time by selecting multiple names in your contact list before clicking on the Send File button.

Making First Skype Call

Skype has conveniently provided a call test service that enables you to test both your Skype softphone and your sound devices, ensuring that during a call others will be able to hear you, and you will be able to hear them.
To make a test call, click on the Contacts tab in the Skype softphone. Select the contact named Skype Test Call, and then click on the large round green button with a phone on it, as shown in the next figure. This connects you to the Skype test call service.
During a Skype test call, an automated voice at the other end of the call gives you instructions on how the test works. But in essence, the test consists of you talking to the test service and the test service playing back your voice to you. If you hear your own voice clearly, everything is working and you can start using Skype.
Congratulations! You’ve just made your first Skype call.

Skype Basic Configuration

Before you start using Skype, I encourage you to review the following checklist. This list covers problem areas and gotchas that often trip up new users of Skype. By casting your eyes over a short list of Skype configuration settings, you will most likely avoid any unpleasant surprises. So start Skype running, sign in, and check these items before making your first Skype call.
  • Skype: Tools: Options … : Privacy Check your privacy settings.Specifically, you can choose from whom you would, and would not, like to receive calls and chat.
  • Skype: Tools: Options … : Sound Devices Set your Audio In and Audio Out sound devices to the device or devices you wish to use with Skype. I do not recommend using the setting “Windows default device.”
  • Skype: Tools: Options … : Connection Make sure there’s a check mark opposite “Use port 80 and 443 as alternatives for incoming connections.”
  • Skype: Tools: Options … : Advanced Put a check mark opposite “Start Skype when I start Windows,” so that Skype will always be available when you’re using your computer.
Having worked through the checklist, you are now ready to make your first Skype call. But no matter who you call, you will no doubt want to impress them, right? Well, if so, perhaps there’s one last thing to do: make a test call.