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How to make calls with Skype
Submitted by adfm
Posted Sep 15 2009 03:11 PM
Skype—once primarily known as a service that let you make decent-sounding phone calls from computer-to-computer over the Internet—has become something of an all-around messaging program that lets you also do video chat, send instant messages, fire off text messages to mobile phones, or even send and receive calls from mobile and regular phones.Windows users can get Skype at www.skype.com. Download the Skype installer and run the program, just as you would install any other bit of downloaded software.
Ubuntu Linux users can snag the Skype software through an online repository by choosing SystemAdministrationSynaptic Package Manager (which works much like the Add/Remove software feature under the Applications menu). Type Skype in the Search box and turn on the checkboxes to install the program.
The Skype software and basic computer-to-computer service are free, but you do have to sign up for a calling plan with Skype if you want to call regular phone numbers. The plan can be a monthly subscription (unlimited calls to 40 countries around the world for $13 a month), or Skype Credits charged to your credit card.
To use Skype, you need the free software, a free Skype account, and a netbook with at least a microphone and speakers. If the idea of talking to a computer makes you uneasy, you can also use a headset-microphone or a USB-connected phone handset; all are available at www.skype.com/shop. Using a headset also cuts down the feedback effect you might experience with audio signals from the computer's speakers echoing back into the computer's microphone. For video with the Windows version, the Skype site also sells compatible webcams.
When you open the program for the first time, you're prompted to create a Skype name and account, which is just like creating a screen name for an instant-message program. Once you have your Skype name, you can log in and start adding other people's names to your Skype contacts list so you can call them up. If you don't know a person's Skype name, check your netbook's address book to see if the information is listed there—or just ask the person. You're friends, right?
Like most instant-message programs, you can set your current status to be displayed in the Skype window for all to see. If you're working hard and don't have time to take a call, change your status to Do Not Disturb. Lonely and want someone to talk to—anybody at all? Change your status to Skype Me.
Making Calls with Skype
To place a computer-to-computer call, click a name in your contacts list and then click the green Call button. To hang up after you've finished chatting, click the red End button.
To call a regular phone number using Skype on your netbook, click the Call Phones tab in the Skype window. A telephone dial-pad pops up, along with a box to buy Skype Credits, which you need to pay for the call. Have your credit card or PayPal account ready.
Once you've paid up, click the flag pop-up menu and select the flag of the country you're calling, and then type the phone number. (Click the Save button to have Skype retain all this information so you don't have to type it in every time you want to call your friend Max in Brighton.) Click the green Call button to start the call and click the red End button when you're done.
If you want to dial it up video-style, click a person in your Skype contacts list and click the green Video Call button. You can even do text and video chat at the same time—just click the Show Messages link at the top of the video window to start up a regular instant-message textfest while you talk to your friend in the video window.
Tip: Need to keep an official copy of a Skype call for future reference? Windows programs like vEmotion (www.voiceemotion.com), Pamela for Skype (www.pamela.biz), or Skype Call Recorder for Linux (atdot.ch/scr) let you record the call right to an audio file on your hard drive. Before you record, though, check the local laws for recording phone calls at www.rcfp.org/taping.
Alternative solution by jerrycalks
Posted Oct 27 2010 07:07 PM