Tag Archives: skype

What is Ventrilo?


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The community-at-large is loving GoToMeeting as we’ve been using it (they’re offering an exclusive 45-day trial for you right now). While we were chatting tonight, Wirelesspacket demonstrated a VoIP client that we’ve started to use on a regular basis around here (even though it’s been used by gamers for a while now).

Ventrilo is the next evolutionary step of Voice over IP (VoIP) group communications software. Ventrilo is also the industry standard by which all others measure themselves as they attempt to imitate its features. By offering surround sound positioning and special sound effects on a per user, per channel, per server or global configuration level the program provides each user the option to fully customize exactly how they wish to hear sounds from other users or events.

Ventrilo is best known for it’s superior sound quality and minimal use of CPU resources so as not to interfere with day to day operations of the computer or during online game competitions. It is also preferred for the simple user interface that any first time computer user can very quickly learn because the most commonly used features are immediately visible and can be activated with a single click of the mouse.

Version 2.3.0 introduces more user control of how the main window is displayed. You can turn on and off the title bar, display the large buttons on the right or switch to toolbar mode with icons on the top to maximize the usable width of the window. Extended mode which hides the User Name, Server and Bindings options. Turn on and off grid lines in the user list window. You can also customize the user list window icons and toolbar icons.

All of these changes still keep the most commonly used features at your finger tips by means of a single click of the mouse. No need to navigate clunky multi-stage menu options just send a comment to the other users. Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video:

Are You a Skype Supernode?

If you run Skype outside of a NAT configuration, you may be passing traffic as a supernode. Skype’s documentation claims the impact of this extra traffic is negligible, but you can prevent your Skype client / connection from becoming a supernode altogether:

  • Beginning with Skype 3.0, an explicit switch is provided in the registry settings to allow the disabling of supernode functionality.
  • Any computer hosted on a network that is behind a network address translation (NAT) device or restrictive firewall will disable supernode functionality.
  • Skype clients behind an HTTP or SOCKS5 proxy will not serve as supernodes.

I’m guessing that most of you are behind a router with NAT, but the University of Waterloo has a fantastic wiki page with further Skype tweaks in relation to the supernode feature.

Skype Audio Problems on the MacBook Pro

For the life of me, I could not figure out why I was only getting audio out of my right MacBookPro speaker. Live chatter Eric Wrixon made the reason abundandly clear:

I think I might know why your Skype client on your Macbook Pro only plays audio out of the right speaker. If I’m not mistaken the microphone on the MBP is located under the left speaker grille. If the audio in your Skype conversation was played back through the left speaker it would generate a lot of nasty feedback into the mic. The client may be purposely using only the right speaker to reduce the amount of microphone feedback. I don’t know if that really is the reason for the Mac client using only the right speaker, but it sounds like a reasonable explanation to me.

Makes total sense to me now.

Skype and VOIP Thoughts


Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

http://live.pirillo.com/ – Online auctioneer eBay Inc. said Monday, Niklas Zennstrom, the co-founder and chief executive of Internet phone service Skype, , is stepping down and will become non-executive chairman of Skype’s board.

Four of my friends joined me for this discussion: Kat, SC_Thor, Wirelesspacket, and last but certainly not least… Datalore.

EBay acquired Skype, a provider of Internet telephony services, in October 2005 for approximately $2.6 billion, plus an optional amount dependent on the achievement of certain goals.

From the start, many have questioned the logic behind the acquisition, suggesting that eBay would have a difficult time recouping its investment and leveraging Skype to boost interactions eBay among buyers and sellers.

Skype will try to boost its monetization capabilities by exploring broader e-commerce options, possibly within services like SkypeFind, in which businesses are listed and recommended, and SkypePrime, a service for selling advise and expertise.

The general consensus amongst us on the Skype call is that Skype is a good service for communication. I personally don’t use it much, because I prefer my phone or other IM clients. We haven’t come to an agreement yet, though, on what the future of Skype actually will be. What are your thoughts? Do you use Skype? Do you feel it’s going to become a huge force in the VOIP world, or will it fizzle out? Let me hear your comments, thoughts and ideas!

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Top 10 Skype Problems for OS X

Well, they may not be problems for everyone – but they’re problems for me with the latest OS X client:

  1. I can’t seem to turn off warning messages – like the one that tells me that I have multiple tabs open in a chat window.
  2. I can’t seem to turn off cascading windows – I want my video chats to be in ONE position, period. This becomes a problem when…
  3. When I’m in the middle of a call, new calls interrupt that call when I have Skype set to pick up all calls automatically. “That’s a feature, not a bug” – yeah, but Skype should be smart enough to understand that I’m already in the middle of a freakin’ call, man.
  4. You can’t tweak the volume of a current call if the other side is sending video. At least, not that I have discovered.
  5. This should go without saying, but the Skype Mac client is a distant second to the Windows version. I’m starting to understand the frustration Mac users have had all these years, and I’m about to become a LOT more vocal about it.
  6. The login pane doesn’t adhere to the size I set for the client. If you’ve bothered to resize your contact list window, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
  7. The menu bar icon doesn’t remain when you exit out of Skype. At least, if I’m offline, Skype should eliminate the icon from the Dock – or allow me to configure it that way.
  8. There’s no “Mute All Sounds” toggle in the Notifications preference pane.
  9. I can’t resize the PIP in a video call.
  10. I can’t swap the PIP with the recipient’s video (since I use CamTwist with a chat overlay for my video source).

Skype on Windows Vista


Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

http://live.pirillo.com/ – A user asked if Skype works on Windows Vista, as he was having trouble getting it to work for him. The short answer is yes! Skype works on virtually any platform you would have on a computer.

The day this question was asked, Skype was apparently having issues. That may have been a contributing factor to the problems he was experiencing. All over Twitter, people were commenting how Skype was broken, and then how it was working again. You have to remember, Skype only works if your computer is configured and working properly, your Internet service is working correctly, and Skype’s services are running. There are a lot of factors that come into play, which makes it more difficult to diagnose a problem.

Another thing you can try is to run Skype using Windows Compatibility Mode. This option can help you use programs that worked well on older versions of Windows, but are giving you nightmares in Vista (or any Windows platform).

I use Skype myself, although not as much as many of you do. What other VOIP programs or applications do you use? What ones do you find are the best? I’m always interested in your comments and feedback. You can leave me a comment here, send me an email, or send me a video through YouTube.

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Skype Increases Cost of Calls, Silently?

From Skype Journal, although the permalink for the article is currently 404:

Effectively without telling you Skype has raised the cost of every Skype Call. They call it a connection fee. So you make a less than 30 second call and leave a quick voicemail. In the good old days of SkypeOut this action cost you 2 cents. You would probably be surprised to learn that today the same call will cost 6 cents. Not much if all your calls are one hour long. A huge amount if the other person isn’t there.

I’m getting ready to start using the Pro version of Pamela to start recording video… should I be holding off?

Miranda vs. Trillian

As reported tonight, I’ve switched from Trillian to Miranda (for several reasons). It’s been a pretty good experience so far, save a couple of random crashes. Here’s what I love about Miranda:

  • Active development community cranking out updates frequently
  • Slick interaction with popular and minor IM protocols
  • Polished skins are readily available through the directory
  • Fast startup and shutdown, relatively small memory footprint
  • My buddy list is transparent (read: no background)
  • I can see what IM clients and versions all my buddies are using
  • There’s a decent “Find Updates” plugin available
  • It’s a nice upgrade from Trillian 2.x’s feature set
  • Individual message windows can contain useful info
  • It’s open source – bonus!

Things I dislike about Miranda:

  • It took a full day to configure to my liking
  • Options are all over the map (in a disorganized config hierarchy)
  • no full support for Skype (read: Skype must still be open)
  • Skins aren’t applied program-wide (very frustrating)
  • I can’t undo a specific font change I made
  • You can’t set a universal buddy icon easily
  • User experience lacks the polish of Trillian’s
  • Some cryptic error dialogs
  • It was designed with geeks in mind
  • I’ve been having problems with MSN connectivity
  • Random crashes with no easy way of recovering open convos
  • I can’t access more than one account on any single network
  • It doesn’t auto-organize incoming IMs by preset protocol groups

I’ll stick with Miranda for the time being. If Trillian 4.x can lick the performance issues that dog 3.x, I’ll go back to it. No word on when the new version will be unleashed, though.

Blocking Skype

You aggitatin’ my dots? Turns out, Holland America is blocking Skype – wholesale. I went to download the VoIP client, only to be met with a message (on Skype.com) saying that it was blocked. I can only assume they’re blocking Skype traffic, too – considering they charge (no joke) over $7 per minute for voice calls from your room phone. It ain’t cheap to communicate on a cruise ship. I’ve got Google Talk installed, so I might try dialing through that in a few minutes – assuming they’re not going to cut in on the call. So much for recording a conversation with Pluggd from sea.