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Skype For Dummies [Paperback]

Loren Abdulezer , Susan Abdulezer , Howard Dammond , Niklas Zennstrom
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Jan. 17 2007 For Dummies (Computer/Tech)
See how to use Skype for secure chats and connect SkypeOut and SkypeIN. Here's the fun and easy way (r) to understand all the hype about Skype and make this cool alternative communication system work for you! You'll get great advice about hardware, directions for downloading and installing Skype, ideas for using Skype in your business, and the lowdown on making Skype calls to people with old-fashioned phones.

Discover how to:

  • Install Skype and start making calls
  • Create a contacts list
  • Set up voicemail and call forwarding
  • Use Skype for worldwide conference calls and Skypecasting
  • Enhance Skype with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi wireless, and video

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From the Back Cover

Set up Skype on Windows, Mac OS® X, or PocketPC

See how to use Skype for secure chats and to connect using SkypeIn and SkypeOut

Here's the fun and easy way to understand all the hype about Skype and make this cool alternative communication system work for you! You'll get great advice about hardware, directions for downloading and installing Skype, ideas for using Skype in your business, and the lowdown on making Skype calls to people with old-fashioned phones.

Discover how to

  • Install Skype and start making calls
  • Create a contacts list
  • Set up voicemail and call forwarding
  • Use Skype for worldwide conference calls and Skypecasting
  • Enhance Skype with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi wireless, and video

About the Author

Loren Abdulezer is CEO and President of Evolving Technologies Corporation, a New York–based technology consulting firm. He is an experienced IT professional serving many Fortune 500 companies. Loren is the author of Excel Best Practices for Business and Escape from Excel Hell and served as technical editor of Crystal Xcelsius For Dummies, all published by Wiley. Loren is always exploring new technologies and finding pragmatic and innovative applications. When Skype came along he was quick to recognize its benefits in business and all walks of life. This book is a direct result of wanting to bring those benefits one step closer to a broader audience.

Susan Abdulezer is currently a full time Multimedia Developer in New York City. Susan creates interactive DVDs, documentaries, and Web-delivered media. She has received many honors for technology innovation, winning the prestigious Computerworld/Smithsonian Award in Technology and Academia in both 1996 and 1997. Susan has also written numerous feature articles on education and technology as the contributing editor of Converge Magazine from 1998 to 2002. Susan is active in the Digital Storytelling community, exploring the nature and power of the emerging digital culture. She has also been known to tear herself away from the computer to play classical violin in the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra.

Howard Dammond is an experienced IT professional and technical instructor, having consulted at several major Fortune 500 companies. Howard has 20-plus years of experience as a technical trainer and developer of innovative learning materials. His perspective on teaching and skills development was first inspired and then intensively developed at Yale University in its unique Master of Arts in Teaching program, where he focused on learning theory, the acquisition and nurture of analytic skills, and interdisciplinary methods of curriculum planning and development.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Skype for Dummies March 7 2011
This book is very outdated and the publisher needs to update it. I emailed the author and he agreed with me.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.3 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A note from Susan (one of the authors!) Jan. 21 2007
By Susan Abdulezer - Published on
Okay, I had to give it 5 stars since I co-wrote the book and I know all the research, reflection, editing and late nights that went into Skype for Dummies. But I also wanted to add a little personal note about Skype and why I wanted to write this book.

Skype is an amazing way to communicate. I don't use it exclusively (I use land lines, email and cell phones too). But I wanted to open up the possibilities of using a program that let's you talk, type in messages, conference, videoconference, transfer files all at the same time, in the same venue, exploding the idea of what it means to mingle electronically. My husband Loren (my co-author), and our friend Howard Dammond (my other co-author), used Skype constantly in the writing work flow. We'd develop an outline and send the file out (you can send files out to a whole bunch of people at once if they are in a Skype chat or conference with you). We'd each look at it, comment, paste in paragraphs, changes, suggestions and add live links in the chat window, and then get down to work. Our work flow was almost exclusively on Skype. This was true even when Loren was in the study and I was in the living room in the same apartment. It was faster to Skype a file and paste a paragraph into a chat than it was to email or print and walk the chapter over to the next room. We really hadn't anticipated how efficient this was (and grateful for that efficiency when deadlines loomed).

Skype had become part of our culture of communicating. We used it for work, play, to explore, to teach and to connect our far flung families.

On any given day, while I'm at work writing or researching on my computer, a little alert comes up inviting me to answer a Skype call. Not unusual...but the call is from my mother, a new user to computers, and well into her eighties. Mom lives in Florida, I'm in New York, and her Skype contacts allow her to instantly call any of her children with a couple of clicks. She also uses landlines and cell phones, but the quality of a Skype call for her is much clearer...a boon to failing hearing. I coached my Mom in how to set up a contact list and how to Skype out to her brothers in Indiana and Virginia, and her nieces in California. She is a confident Skyper (although she calls it Spyke!) and absolutely took to the program because it made sense to use it.

In the book we certainly tried to be really, really clear about how to use all the features of Skype...and then some (editors in the Dummies series are meticulous about insisting on clarity...albeit with a huge dose of humour). But we wanted to talk about the new culture that is emerging because of such programs; the enormity of how much more productive we can be if we take advantage of new tools; how far our reach can go in multi-continent collaboration, language learning, and business development.

To me, Skype is personal. I use it every day. This book was not a platform for political, economic or ethical discussions on Skype, eBay, cable companies and the like (I'll let you know when I become a political columnist). It's simply a glance down the road, a fun travel guide to suggest a path and destination you may not have considered (or didn't know was there). What is that destination? A very rich, varied way to connect with each other.

Loren, Howard and I truly hope you enjoy the book (of course we do). But, more than that, we hope we've opened a few eyes, imaginations, and helped to launch a few enterprises.

Thanks for reading my little missive,

Sincerely, Susan Abdulezer
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good for newbies and experienced Skypers alike... Feb. 3 2007
By Thomas Duff - Published on
Skype is one of those applications that has completely rewritten the rules of an industry. No more does the phone company hold sway over who you can and can't communicate with, as well as how much it is going to cost you. Skype for Dummies by Loren & Susan Abdulezer and Howard Dammond gives an excellent guide to the product, as well as to many of the add-ons that regular users may not be aware of...


Part 1 - Getting Started with Skype: What's All the Hoopla about Skype?; Hooking Up with Skype; Getting Familiar with Skype's Interface

Part 2 - As You Like It - Skype Your Way: Customizing Skype Options to Suit Your Style; Getting Personal; The Mad Chatter; Skyping Eye to Eye - Skype with Video; The Ins and Outs of SkypeIn and SkypeOut

Part 3 - Calling All Seasoned Skypers: Managing Your Messages; Partying On - On the Conference Line!; Spicing Things Up with Great Gadgets and Add-Ons

Part 4 - The Professional Skyper: "Skypifying" Your Business; Exploring Skype Communities; Skypecasting

Part 5 - The Part of Tens: Ten Reasons Your Mom (and Other Family) Will Love Skype; (Almost) Ten Ways to Promote Your Business Using Skype; Ten Ways to Use Skype at School

Appendix A: Skype Multilanguage Support; Appendix B: Skype Tips and Tricks Guide; Index

For the person who has never used Skype and doesn't know about VoIP telephony, this is a perfect, non-threatening introduction. There's enough background on why Skype is important and how it works without descending into complete geek-speak. The authors take you through download, installation, configuration, and your first call. If that's all it did, the book would be OK for a certain target audience, but fortunately it goes beyond that. For people beyond the basics, you'll find out about conference calling as well as other third-party add-ons to the Skype product. For instance, Pamela is an add-on that record calls, remind you of personal details about the person you're calling, and various other nice items. I downloaded and installed it, and it's a nice addition. I also didn't know about designing your own avatar for viewing on Skype. Granted, avatars are not exactly mission-critical, must-have features, but it was fun to do and would have remained hidden to me without a book such as this bringing it to my attention.

My particular occupation (software development) and profession keeps me in regular contact with friends all over the world. Without Skype, I'd be restricted to email or instant messages. Reading this book has reinforced the need to keep my headset plugged in and nearby for incoming Skype calls. It's also motivated me to check out getting a webcam for video chatting. That will shrink my world even further. Yes, I could find out about all this stuff in Skype without reading a book. But having Skype for Dummies at hand made it much easier to review what I didn't know about the software, as well as tweaking my work setup to take better advantage of it.

Good book, and definitely recommended for those who want to talk to people all over the world without it costing an arm and a leg...
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars useful, but be wary of eBay sellers using Skype Jan. 16 2007
By W Boudville - Published on
Skype is currently perhaps the most popular VoIP implementation out there. This book explains in simple terms how you can use it for free long distance phone calls, using the Internet. Of course, you can also make free local calls. But, at least in the US, for many users, the latter is moot. Since local phone companies often offer unlimited local calling at some low flat rate.

The downloading and installation steps are easy to follow. If you want just to use the basics, then you don't even need to read all of the book. Very straightforward. But the text shows that the latest Skype now has some nice extra features. Notably conference calling and live video. The latter can be from Webcams, which have proved widely popular with many people, quite aside from any involvement with Skype. You can also handle SMS. In the US, note that SMS is not as heavily used as overseas, however. Another nice feature is voice messaging.

Actually, what Skype is doing is mounting a direct challenge to the traditional PBX business, and well as video conferencing. Both usually have vendors offering expensive custom hardware. As least for you as an individual, the book shows how Skype gives a very affordable alternative.

One slight drawback about the book is the lack of mention of VoIP. It is a "Dummies" book, and deliberately written to minimise jargon. But VoIP is one of these popular buzzwords that a layperson might have heard of, in conjunction with Skype. For example, if you google "Skype" and "voip", you find some 28 million results. Showing that VoIP is one of the most popular terms associated with Skype. So perhaps the book could at least have made a passing mention of it. There need not be a technical explanation of VoIP naturally; this is not that kind of book.

Another drawback, and not so slight, has to do with the purchase of Skype by eBay. The book has a brief passage on this. Mentioning that buyers and sellers on eBay can now talk directly to each other. Too simplistic. It does not warn that this may actually be a bad thing. Of course, if you go to the Skype and eBay websites, there is little mention of the disadvantage of buyers and sellers talking to each other. The danger is that a seller offering fake (or nonexistent) goods can now use Skype to sweettalk buyers. This is WORSE than the previous situation, where the seller was restricted to providing a written description (plus images) in the sale page, and by possibly providing more details in email to buyers. Written descriptions are easier to parse, and are a written contract, against which the seller can be held to. Whereas spoken blandishments are a verbal contract. Notoriously hard to enforce, if these just depend on the conflicting memories of buyer and seller. (Which is why you always hear the phrase "get it in writing".) Sure, the buyer might record the conversation. But some [many?] won't. And if eBay/Skype records the conversation, this just increases their storage costs. If the book mentioned eBay, the authors could have provided a more discerning service to readers by warning of the dangers. Instead of just pablum statements.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Skype Hype July 31 2007
By Stephen M. Archer - Published on
I was interested in Skype only for video conferencing on a Macintosh computer,
in order to connect with a Windows machine across the state. It all worked just
as the book said it would, so I was quite pleased with it. I did not investigate the
telephone capacities.

I would recommend the book for anyone approaching Skype for the first time.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Awesome Aug. 12 2011
By JoyR - Published on
My skype was up and running in minutes. Very convenient and easy to use. Highly Recommend Skype and this book
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