Skype â€“ Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP)
John Gbur, Presenter
Skype is a little piece of software that lets you talk over the Internet to anyone anywhere in the U.S. and Canada for free.Â You need to have a computer connected to the Internet, a webcam for video calls, a microphone for audio calls only, and high speed Internet service.
Skype provides free audio and video calls between Skype users.Â Also, group chats and conference calls for up to 9 people and forwarding calls and to other Skype users are free.Â They offer low-cost audio calls to regular phones for $29.95 for 12 months for unlimited calls in U.S. and Canada and conference calls to anyone.Â Rates for international calls are based on the destination country.
If you have a local network, one computer can be used for calls without interfering with the others.Â For more information, log on to the website at www.skype.com .
To make calls, have your friends download Skype from the website so you will be able to call them free.Â Skype can also connect over ordinary phone lines.Â You can write to a friend with Instant Message, can send files, make conference calls to several people at once.Â On conference calls, some contacts can be on a computer and others can be on cell or regular phones.Â Conference calls are audio only, not video.Â It is possible to add people who use regular phones that do not have Skype to the conference call.Â Skype will also save the phone numbers of the calls you have made.Â To call the same person again, just click on the personâ€™s saved name.
To send pictures and files to another person, right click on the personâ€™s picture and click to send a file.Â There is also a search feature available to search to find people who are users of Skype.Â You can block this feature if you wish to protect your privacy.
Advantages of Skype are its low cost and that it keeps track of calls made and can build a database of who was called, when, and their phone numbers for future use.
To use Skype, download the software; the file is not very large.Â Place your call from the Skype phone contact screen.Â Skype will announce the call and can even show a full screen picture of you to the person you are calling if you have a web camera.Â If the person called has a web camera, his/her picture is shown in the bottom corner of the screen.
This service is a great way to keep in contact with friends and customers at a low cost and have information stored on the calls.
Thanks, John, for a great presentation and for bringing this to the clubâ€™s attention.
Before the presentation, Lon Hosford, President of the Hunterdon Computer Club opened the meeting.Â He asked members to check the HCC website for information and updatesÂ for upcoming meetings.
Bob Marsiniak suggested a Links tab be added to the Blog page of the clubâ€™s website.Â Lon said he would do that.
Q.Â A member asked what to do to see a speed performance report for his computer.Â He uses DSL.
A.Â One method is at the DOS prompt to go to Sam Spade.Â Find your service provider and go to DSL reports.Â Also go to the discussion group for users of your ISP.Â They will be able to provide more information.
Another way is to go to www.patmedia.net.Â Click â€œMy Speed Checksâ€ on the right side. This site is open to anyone, not only PatMedia’s customers.Â They will provide a speed check no matter who your service provider is.Â The speed check will tell you if the speed of your computer is up to what your service provider advertised.Â The speed can be different based on the location of the service nodes.Â There may be bottlenecks along the line.Â The check will give you your computerâ€™s speed, but there is nothing you can do to change it.
Also from DOS, you can get trace reports that will display how your signal travels going from one location to another.Â At DOS, type in â€œtracert.pingâ€ and the name of the location you are tracing to.Â For example, type in â€œtracert Hunterdon Computer Club.orgâ€.Â The results will show where the signal from your computer goes.Â This is interesting also, but there is nothing you can do to change it.
Q. A member had to reinstall Windows XP.Â He now gets only one-half of a screen on IE, but will get a full screen on other software.Â He cannot resize the page.
A. Try switching from MSN to Googleâ€™s home page to see if the screen will resize itself.Â When XP was reinstalled it may have saved different settings in the Java script.Â Can also try F11 to get a full screen.Â Can also try to download all the Windows updates, which may correct the problem.
If this doesnâ€™t work, it may be best to go to a professional computer expert to reload the whole XP operating system.
Q. Memberâ€™s Dell computer, running Windows 2000, runs slow and has now displayed a message that says â€œrunning out of virtual memoryâ€.Â The computer will not go to other sites.Â The computer now comes on, loads everything, and shuts down.Â Should she get another computer?Â She doesnâ€™t want Vista because of incompatibility with all the peripherals.
A. This may be a virus. It may be a lack of virtual memory.Â It may be best to get a new machine.Â Some companies will allow XP to be installed on new computers; for example, Gateway and Compaq.Â Suggest buying a medium priced machine with a quick processor and lots of memory and then customize it.Â An external hard drive using a USB port can be used to transfer all the information from the old computer to the new one.
Q. Member uses Netscape and her computer is not working properly.
A. Netscape cannot be updated.Â Use Firefox or Safari.Â Use Internet Explorer if the web page requires it.Â Firefox can be downloaded.Â Put the new browser on your system and then convert your address book to a comma delineated file and it can be imported to the new browser.
Q. Member tried to remove McAfee from his system but was unable to do so.
A. Maybe McAfee has special software on its website to help delete it.Â Check the directions to remove it on the McAfee website.Â Use Google to find the information and website.
Q, Member heard there is an email virus sent using a message titled â€œCard from a family memberâ€.
A.Â There is a virus getting by the virus software using a link that is in plain text that bypasses the virus software with that title.Â When receiving email cards, donâ€™t open them unless you know the personâ€™s name that sent it to you.Â Delete everything else.
Q. Member needs recommendations on where to buy inexpensive hard drives.
A. Go to the Allentown computer fair.Â The next one will be in October.Â Try eBay.Â There are many vendors selling them.Â Can also use Google to find other sites that sell them.
Peter Czerwinski brought in a digital picture frame for the club to see. The frame was purchased at Staples and measures 15â€.Â The frame scrolls pictures in the order the pictures are put onto the disk.Â It can use any type of memory camera card.Â Some models play music too.Â The digital frames sell for about $75.
Check the HCC website for information on next month’s presentation.