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Written By: Gary on December 30, 2010 No Comment

Skype 3.0 has now been released for the iPhone and it now supports video! Of course it supports the front and rear cameras on the iPhone 4! And it does the calls over 3G too! And it’s free. What are you waiting for? Go get Skype with video right now…

What’s New in Version 3.0
Improvements:

  • Make Skype to Skype video calls on WiFi and 3G*
  • Call Skype desktop users (Mac OS X or Windows) and other iPhone users.
  • Two-way video calls supported on iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPod touch 4th gen.
  • Receive only video supported on iPad and iPod touch 3rd gen, with no camera.
  • Make video calls in portrait and landscape.
  • kype video calling requires iOS 4.0 or above.
    *Additional Data charges may apply

What more can I say other than go try it out?

Actually, I could say “Where was this for the last 10 days when I was in Costa Rica?!?“.

Written By: Gary on December 1, 2009 No Comment

So Fring lets you do video calls via their Skype connection. The software is free so it’s worth trying out.

iPhone_video-fring.jpg
The problem is you can only receive video. They say it’s because the iPhone doesn’t have a camera on the front, but I’d rather send video to the other person. I’ve got the portable device, I’m probably somewhere more interesting then they are, right? (Unless they are on their phone too).

I could still be filming where I am while watching their face (or whatever their camera is pointed at) so it seems silly to me. Or send my video when I’m talking (and vice-versa).

The other downside is that it only works over over WiFi, not cellular (no surprise there) another reason to consider a MiFi instead of paying AT&T for tethering.

Here’s the direct link.

Two other things:
If Apple has the API open, it seems like they could check the sensor that detects if the phone is near or away from you (the one that checks if the phone is by your face and turns the screen off) and figure if the camera is facing you or away.

The Fring App uses my BlueTooth headset (which also does A2DP) for sound effects but when a call starts it only uses the regular phone part.

Written By: Gary on November 24, 2007 No Comment

So I’ve always liked Skype it’s a great backup for my phone and it’s great for calling home when I’m on vacation. At 2.1 cents per minute, it’s hard to beat the price as long as you’ve got a semi-decent internet connection. Not that I talk a lot when I travel but I always feel like I’m being initiated when trying to figure out long distance calling when in a foreign country. They 2.1 cents is just for calls to the US, other countries have different rates.

Skype - call the world at rock bottom pricesThe goofy* thing is that it’s 2.1 cents to call the US wherever I am, from next door, Egypt or Costa Rica it’s all 2.1 cents! But with the same reasoning it’s 6.4 cents to call Costa Rica, that’s if I’m here in Michigan or down there. Of course if I’m calling someone else’s Skype computer it’s free from anywhere to anywhere.

I just upgraded to the new Mac version, I was 1.1 versions behind. I think the call quality is significantly better and I noticed the touch tones work better, so now I can call my (misplaced) cell phone and listen to my messages.* – It’s not really goofy, it’s what they pay for phone calls at the destination, the Internet probably doesn’t cost Skype any more regardless of where I’m calling from.

Written By: Gary on May 6, 2007 2 Comments

Skype logoOn Mother’s Day (May 13) you can make unlimited free Calls (from US/Canada Skype) to anywhere in the world!!! Check out the Skype page for more details. Actually, it’s not really unlimited it’s only 200 minutes free, but that’s still a pretty good deal.

Post edited to not incorrectly refer to “today” as Mother’s Day…

Offer valid from May 13th 2007, 5:00 am (Eastern Time GMT-5.00) to May 14th 2007 4:59 am (Eastern Time GMT-5.00)

Written By: Gary on April 6, 2007 No Comment

So PC World has a story on the Best 50 Tech products. Considering a few of the items in the list, I think few things are missing: Skype, one of the early pieces of ZIP/StuffIt software, maybe a Palm (or even Windows) cell phone, a TRS-80, the Sony WalkMan set standards for portable (choose your own) music players and I’m sure I’ll think of a few more later. Half of the software “tools” seem to be things to fix parts/utilities missing from the Windows OS. And there isn’t any software for creating web pages / FTPing files (from the era of Netscape and Eudora) or blocking spam. Should flickr or Google be considered a product? Amazon or eBay? Okay, so I’m getting ahead of myself, lets show the list.

Of the 50 I’ve bolded items owned/used (some were free or work owned for my use) and added comments to many items (even ones I don’t use):

  1. Netscape Navigator (1994) – Netscape and NCSA made the Internet (and Eudora), thanks!
  2. Apple II (1977) – I never owned one until years later when I got a deal on one.
  3. TiVo HDR110 (1999) – Early adoptor and I’ve added many converts
  4. Napster (1999)
  5. Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS (1983) – More of a VisaCalc/Excell user but they’re all great.
  6. Apple iPod (2001) – I waited for a color one with a big hard drive and spent the early adopter prices for it (now better ones are 1/2 the price).
  7. Hayes Smartmodem (1981) – I can’t be sure I actually had a Hayes, but I had one of the first generics if I didn’t (I’ve had so many modems, I can’t recall). Hayes changed computer communications IMHO.
  8. Motorola StarTAC (1996) – Several of these from several carriers and they were all awesome.
  9. WordPerfect 5.1 (1989) – I used it but I’m not proud, I think it’s awful
  10. Tetris (1985)
  11. Adobe Photoshop 3.0 (1994) – This has almost always been too complicated for any needs I’ve ever had.
  12. IBM ThinkPad 700C (1992)
  13. Atari VCS/2600 (1977) – I always wanted one of these (even years later) but I never had one.
  14. Apple Macintosh Plus (1986) – I was a late apple adaptor but I loved it. I still love Apple and I think I always will…
  15. RIM BlackBerry 857 (2000) – no interest in one of these ever
  16. 3dfx Voodoo3 (1999) – I don’t think I’ve ever had a machine with this card.
  17. Canon Digital Elph S100 (2000)
  18. Palm Pilot 1000 (1996) – I jumped on the palm bandwagon late but now I’m a fan
  19. id Software Doom (1993)
  20. Microsoft Windows 95 (1995) – I’m sure one of my work Machines ran this, I’m not sure if I ever owned a machine with it. I think I jumped from Windows 3.1 back to DOS and then to ME or 98 at home.
  21. Apple iTunes 4 (2003) – THE best/easiest way to shop for music on-line
  22. Nintendo Game Boy (1989)
  23. Iomega Zip Drive (1994) – These folks dominated the market. Everyone I know had one of these drives and then they just faded away…
  24. Spybot Search & Destroy (2000)
  25. Compaq Deskpro 386 (1986) – We sold these and I’ll always remember the customer that pronounced it Comp-A-Que and we had no idea what they were asking for.
  26. CompuServe (1982) – Had an account for a while, this was pre-Internet…
  27. Blizzard World of Warcraft (2004)
  28. Aldus PageMaker (1985) – I have never been a PageMaker fan.
  29. HP LaserJet 4L (1993)
  30. Apple Mac OS X (2001) – It just works! (generally)
  31. Nintendo Entertainment System (1985)
  32. Eudora (1988) – Probably one of the best e-mail clients ever, way way way before it’s time.
  33. Sony Handycam DCR-VX1000 (1995)
  34. Apple Airport Base Station (1999)
  35. Brøderbund The Print Shop (1984) – This was why people never wanted to get rid of their dot matrix printers (the pinfeed paper for banners).
  36. McAfee VirusScan (1990)
  37. Commodore Amiga 1000 (1985) – I always wanted one of these!
  38. ChipSoft TurboTax (1985) – I love tax software, it’s so worth the money
  39. Mirabilis ICQ (1996)
  40. Creative Labs Sound Blaster 16 (1992) – This was the standard for audio cards forever.
  41. Apple HyperCard (1987) – Best software ever! This was the premiere application using hyperlinks and (almost) had plug-ins and supported multimedia. Think linking and interactive pages (cards) of information and graphics all running on your computer (pre-internet)
  42. Epson MX-80 (1980) – These were one of the most durable dot matix printers ever.
  43. Central Point Software PC Tools (1985)
  44. Canon EOS Digital Rebel (2003) – I love this it feels like a real camera in my hands. It works like one too.
  45. Red Hat Linux (1994) – Awesome easy to use/maintain version of a free OS.
  46. Adaptec Easy CD Creator (1996) – I have/use various versions of it, but I’ll always love toast.
  47. PC-Talk (1982)
  48. Sony Mavica MVC-FD5 (1997) – The floppy disk cameras made it easy for everyone to get their photos off the camera. This was always my favorite camera to have schools use.
  49. Microsoft Excel (1985) – Excel is an awesome spreadsheet.
  50. Northgate OmniKey Ultra (1987)

Here’s a complete list for “printing” but I’m not sure if it’ll link properly (at the bottom of the page are just the items).

Written By: Gary on February 4, 2007 No Comment

It’s the Linksys CIT200 iPhone and works with Skype and you’d might not even realize it was a real phone. It looks more like a generic Nokia cell phone than a home phone and it works great. Actually, the one thing that makes it “not normal” (which doesn’t bother me as much as others on-line) is if you are manually dialing you need to dial the “+1” before all calls, to me it’s slightly silly, you should be able to configure it to have a default country (and area) code.

So I really like my iPhone.You can see all the people you have on your Skype list on the display of the phone so you just scroll down and pick who you want to call. I’ve wandered all over the condo and it’s clear everywhere (I’m on the 3rd/4th floor and it’s clear on the first level too!). It’s got a headset jack on it, a great speaker phone and supports call waiting. From the USB base the plugs into the computer it even has a button to press so you can page the phone so you can’t misplace it. You do need to route the audio on the computer so it properly goes to the phone (Skype has audio settings but it seems like the computer overrides them).I initially set up Skype when I dropped my land-line phone. I wanted a way to make phone calls in case I forgot my phone somewhere (or it broke) and wanted an easy backup. Plus when I’m out of the country if I have interent access, I can make phone-calls to the US very inexpensively (2.1 cents a minute).

If you use Skype it’s a must have, if you don’t have Skype and you need an extra phone line in the house get Skype and pay for unlimited outgoing calls to land-lines in the US and Canada for $30 a year. If you don’t get a phone like this you just use a headset on the computer.

What don’t I like about my iPhone? It’s got a crappy wallpaper background and while they have several to choose from, none are a plain background so it’s always hard to read the screen. The “+1” is a minor annoyance, but since I really don’t use it that much, it’s okay. The audio configuration is mildly annoying, I’m hoping an update fixes that (update: I did just install the Jan 22, 2007 update and the audio confusion seems better, we’ll see how it feels after a few days).

Written By: Gary on February 1, 2007 One Comment

No not that iPhone. The iPhone that’s been out for a while, the one that Linksys/Cisco owns the trademark to (but debating that is not the purpose of this thread). It’s a regular old looking phone, kinda cellphone-ish, it’s cordless and you can carry it around the house and it connects wirelessly to your Windows PC and can make and receive Skype calls. Your Skype friend’s list shows up in the display and you can dial from there. I thought it was pretty cool and it was on the odd clearance rack at Target (the UPC on the box didn’t scan and the had an extra price tag on it, like they received it by accident but needed to tag it to get rid of it) it was a great deal! It’s even got a spot for me to plug in a headset!

I like Skype, it’s a great idea and even though I only intermittently use it, it always seems to work for me. You can call other computers for free from your computer to and from anywhere in the world (this includes conference calls and video calls). You can call land lines in the US or Canada for just pennies a minute with no monthly fees (or unlimited for $30 a year) from anywhere in the world. Calling other countries cost a bit more depending on the location. Getting a number where people can call you at your computer (no matter what computer you are at, anywhere in the world) is about $60 a year. So going on vacation, it doesn’t matter where you are just load up Skype and connect to the net and people can call you! Get several skype numbers, one that’s close to Grandma and one that’s close to the kids in college and you’re just a local call away for each of them.

Then phone’s charging and so I haven’t even used it yet. But I can’t wait to try!FYI, they do make some other models of the iPhone that don’t require a computer, they just need WiFi to work. I see that as a minor problem in some places since you need a web browser to activate the Wifi (Panera, McDonald’s, Border’s, etc.). And they’re a lot more expensive. When they get smaller and cheaper, or better yet when they come built into my cell phone…

Written By: Gary on January 29, 2007 No Comment

It’s “Skype Gift Day”! Log into your Skype account (or sign up) and click give me my gift of 10 free minutes of calling to non-internet phones (landline or cellular). Probably limited to the US / Canada.

And it’s almost the last day (Jan 31st) to sign up for unlimited calling to the US and canada for only $14.95 (50% off).

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Written By: Gary on December 15, 2006 2 Comments

A few months back I mentioned that Skype was allowing free outgoing calls to US & Canada for free for the rest of the year. Well the year is almost up and it looks like they’re going to charge $30 a year for unlimited outgoing calls. Please note that it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, it’ll be free outgoing calls to the US and Canada from anywhere.

Skype logoHere’s the important part: It’s only $15 for the first year if you sign up before January 31. 2007. Plus it looks like they give you $1.25 in international calls and $50 in coupons towards other Skype equipment.

Now you can still buy blocks of calls from Skype to the US for 2.1 cents a minute, so if you’re not going to use it that much (I probably won’t) then it’s probably not a deal, but if you do, it’s certainly a deal for the first year, they second year you’ll need to make 1400 minutes to break even.


If you lived out of the country it might be a deal, but there might be better ways for international calling if I needed it all the time, I just don’t use it that much. I think I’m still using the original block of $20 worth of minutes I purchased (about $8 of that left since April 2005).

It’d be great for your kid in college if they had high-speed internet in their room!

The question is for my trip to Costa Rica, will I have good enough internet connectivity for me to save $15 in calls? I did use Skype to place my hotel reservation for the first few days in Costa Rica it was easy to use and I think pretty cheap a minute to use it.

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