Speak Freely - Voice-Over-IP Taking Root

Written by Trevor Bauknight

Years ago, I tried to convince my parents, who lived about three hours away from me, to install a program called PGPfone on their computer so they could call me online for free (as a bonus, it was encrypted, so nobody could eavesdrop on their lecturing me about school and work!); but this was inrepparttar days of dialup access, and it was too complicated or something.

But it did allow me to look a decade or so intorepparttar 137853 future and seerepparttar 137854 Internet merging with and taking over traditional technologies like phone service. That's finally starting to happen, now that broadband forrepparttar 137855 masses is a reality, and one little company stands poised to make it huge.

In 2003, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, better known asrepparttar 137856 founders ofrepparttar 137857 wildly-popular peer-to-peer file sharing system called KaZaA, created Skype,repparttar 137858 Global Internet Telephone Company. Based in Luxembourg,repparttar 137859 Skype Group's website (http://www.skype.com) states that their client program has been downloaded over 100 million times andrepparttar 137860 company's website ticksrepparttar 137861 number of minutes served -- over 8 BILLION and counting.

How Does It Work?

Atrepparttar 137862 most basic level, you downloadrepparttar 137863 free Skype program, which most resembles a chat program like iChat or AIM. You can even use it to type back and forth if that's your thing. You set up an account at repparttar 137864 Skype website where you can maintain profile information, preferences and contact lists. It even stores your chat transcripts in your account online so that you can access that important website link your boss sent you while you were home when you get torepparttar 137865 office repparttar 137866 next day. Yahoo! could take a lesson.

The real beauty of Skype is when you connect with another Skype user and talk with them as if they were sitting next to you. I was blown away byrepparttar 137867 quality and ease of userepparttar 137868 first time I used it here at Cafe ID (http://www.cafeid.com) to talk to one of our programmers in Eastern Europe. You set up contact lists and making calls is as simple as initiating a chat in a lesser program.

You can also use your Skype program to call normal phones anywhere in repparttar 137869 world simply by depositing money into an account and dialingrepparttar 137870 numbers. SkypeOut Calls are billed based on their destination. For example, if you're in China, and you want to callrepparttar 137871 U.S., you pay repparttar 137872 low U.S. rate, but if you're in South Carolina and you want to call China, you pay a higher rate. Skype has blessed large portions ofrepparttar 137873 globe --repparttar 137874 continental U.S. and Canada, Western Europe and Australia -- with a low (roughly $.02/minute) Global Rate. Other destinations are more expensive, as is calling mobile telephones. The most expensive rate is $1.17/minute to -- you guessed it! East Timor.

Two new features are inrepparttar 137875 works, as well. SkypeIn is a service that allows you to set yourself up with a Skype phone number whererepparttar 137876 technological laggards can reach you. It doesn't matter where you are, as long as you're logged into Skype, you're at your phone number. This is an invaluable service for business travelers who go places in which their cellphones don't know they're inrepparttar 137877 world. The other new service is Skype Voicemail. It, of course, works like your traditional voicemail system, but stores your messages online where you can retrieve them at any point.

Teach Yourself CSS The Easy Way

Written by Erich Bihlman

I taught myself HTML back inrepparttar mid-nineties and was proud ofrepparttar 137600 fact that I was able to accomplishrepparttar 137601 design of fairly complex web pages with nothing more than a starter HTML book, an HTML reference book, andrepparttar 137602 knowledge I had stored in my head. But back in those days, we web designers had what looking back was a fairly limited amount of tools with which to work, andrepparttar 137603 quality (or lack thereof) of sites onrepparttar 137604 web was lackluster at best.

Fast-forward to today: The hand-coder has more powerful and intuitive software packages available that will still allow us "to get our hands dirty", which brings us torepparttar 137605 purpose of this article. Withrepparttar 137606 standardization ofrepparttar 137607 much anticipated Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) inrepparttar 137608 late-nineties,repparttar 137609 web design community has become familiar with a much more powerful and precise method of web page layout.

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