Speak Freely - Voice-Over-IP Taking Root

Written by Trevor Bauknight

Continued from page 1

What Do You Need?

Not much. It doesn't take broadband to carry decent-sounding voice traffic -- a 33.6 Kbps dialup connection is fast enough. The Skype site states that you need a PC running Windows 2000 or XP, at least a 400 MHz processor and 128 MB RAM, 15 MB free disk space on your hard drive, a Sound Card, speakers and microphone. The Skype program is free, and is available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and even PocketPC devices. To use Skype to call normal phones, you'll have to put money in your account.

If you have those things, you're set. A good speaker and microphone combination goes a long way toward making your Skype experience more enjoyable. Better still is a nice comfortable headset with a boom mic. It doesn't take much tinkering to get your setup performing well, and once you do,repparttar conversations are crisp and clear, with a presence you really don't find in a normal phone call.

Are There Drawbacks?

Not really. I'm sure some of you groaned when I mentioned thatrepparttar 137853 company was started byrepparttar 137854 founders of KaZaA,repparttar 137855 notorious peer-to-peer file sharing program that relied on advertising for its revenue and became an enemy ofrepparttar 137856 anti-spyware effort. But Skype is different. Skype plans to earn money through services like SkypeOut and by offering value-added services to businesses. According to its founder, viral marketing drives awareness ofrepparttar 137857 product. Zennstrom points out that "If we had adware in Skype, it would kind of be counterproductive to our business model."

For viral marketing to work, he continued, "you need to gain trust of end users... If there is a bunch of adware inrepparttar 137858 software, you probably don't recommend it to friends and family."

As a practical example, we're super-paranoid about spyware and adware at our office. We've had Skype installed on our machines for months, and haven't seen anything out of order yet. Skype is going out of its way to appeal to business users, andrepparttar 137859 company seems intent on doing thingsrepparttar 137860 right way with regard to privacy and security. Calls are digitally encrypted and Skype has a stout privacy policy. Three cheers for that bit of news.

What Next?

Who can say? Zennstrom and Friis both seem proud to be purveyors of what they have termed "disruptive technology." That sounds like it could be a bad thing; but in reality, what's being disrupted is a stale status quo in desperate need of disrupting. Most local phone companies are a monopoly inrepparttar 137861 regions they serve and are only now beginning to face competition. Cable companies like Time-Warner want a piece ofrepparttar 137862 VoIP action, and deals are popping up everywhere.

We're pulling forrepparttar 137863 friendly little Luxembourg company, however, to changerepparttar 137864 face of not just Internet telephony, but of all sorts of person-to-person direct communication. They want you to tell your friends, family and coworkers to treat themselves to Skype and spread repparttar 137865 word by cheerful praise. It seems far-fetched to talk about talk about that inrepparttar 137866 same sentence with your telephone service provider; but that'srepparttar 137867 point here. Once in a while a company comes along with an idea that changesrepparttar 137868 world, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if this wasn't one of those times.

Trevor Bauknight is a web designer and writer with over 15 years of experience on the Internet. He specializes in the creation and maintenance of business and personal identity online and can be reached at trevor@tryid.com. Stop by CafeID.com for a free tryout of the revolutionary SiteBuildingSystem and check out our Flash-based website and IMAP e-mail hosting solutions, complete with live support.

Teach Yourself CSS The Easy Way

Written by Erich Bihlman

Continued from page 1

"But how is an old-time web coder supposed to learn CSSrepparttar easy way?!" Well, I say you should learn itrepparttar 137600 way I, and countless others, have:

1. Downloadrepparttar 137601 Firefox browser

2. Installrepparttar 137602 Web Developer extension

3. Open one of your "old" HTML files

4. Viewrepparttar 137603 source, clickrepparttar 137604 "Cleanuprepparttar 137605 page" button

5. Checkrepparttar 137606 "replace FONT.....tags by CSS" box, then Refresh

Now you have a very neat and tidy piece of code, with allrepparttar 137607 CSS dirty work done for you! At this point you can copy

Erich Bihlman, of Bihlman Consulting - PC and Internet Tutoring and Website Design in Prescott, Arizona. http://www.bihlman.com For additional helpful articles visit http://www.bihlman.com/iqzone

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