Turn Your Computer into a Phone with Skype
What's Missing in the Linux Version of Skype?
Skype for Linux is several versions behind the current Windows program and is still in beta. In later versions (keep your fingers crossed, but be prepared for a long wait), it could add:
Enhanced file transfer speed.
More stable video calls among users with Internet connections of different speeds.
Improved video and audio quality on low-speed Internet connections.
Call quality feedback and bandwidth indicators.
Safety and privacy improvements.
Support for MySpace.
High-quality video calls.
Private telephone numbers.
Import contacts from MSN, Yahoo and Gmail.
Skype Prime (calling lines that charge per minute).
Skype Find (a community-generated directory).
Ten-way conference calls.
Public chat rooms.
This is a (shortened) version of all new features in the release notes since January 2006, when version 2.0 for Windows came out, so there should be plenty forthcoming for Linux users.
The first time you run Skype, check its configuration. Click the S on the bottom left, and you'll see the Options window. Here are some of the possibilities:
General allows you to specify what happens when you double-click on a contact (either start a call or a chat), the timeouts (after how much time you will be shown as Away or Not Available) and the program language. Although Skype's Web site advertises almost 30 languages, it came with only 13. Spanish was noticeably missing.
Privacy lets you decide whether you will accept calls or chat invitations from anybody or only from people you specifically allow, whether you will answer incoming calls automatically (I wouldn't check that), and how long you want to keep the chat history.
Notifications allows you to assign sound bits to different events, such as an incoming call or an answered call, and whether you will be shown a pop-up notification. If you click Advanced View, you can specify scripts that should be executed on specific events, or a message that should be sent to the other party.
Chat permits you to define what will happen if somebody starts a chat with you, such as whether to use emoticons and whether other parties should be informed when you are typing.
Call Forwarding is a paid feature. When someone calls you, and you are not at your computer, you can have Skype call your mobile or landline phone, paying per minute at the regular call rates. (If you call people who forward their calls, you pay nothing.) You even can forward calls to more than one phone, answer whichever you want, and you will be billed accordingly.
Voice mail is another paid feature, available only with a Skype Pro subscription. Basically, it works as an answering machine, and you can listen to the calls you received whenever you are signed in.
Sound Devices lets you choose which devices should be used for sound. I'd suggest keeping the default devices, unless you know what you're doing. Click on Make a test sound to verify whether Skype can produce sound, and then click Make a test call to check whether your microphone is working. Then, follow the spoken instructions to see if everything's working.
Web Devices can be used to specify whether Skype Video will be used, whether video should start automatically, and whether you want to receive other people's video and let them know you have video capabilities. After you have set up your Webcam, use the Test button to verify that you can see yourself.
Advanced lets you select whether you want to check for updates when starting Skype (I'd suggest doing so), which port to use (leave it as suggested), and if you are using a proxy, its details.
Blocked People lets you manage your blacklist. If you don't want to receive calls from particular users, you can block them from Skype's main window. Right-click on users' names, and you will have the option to block them. If you want to restore (unblock) someone, you can do so here.
Play around with all options, but be sure to check, at the very least, the Sound Devices screen and do a test call. Otherwise, you might find that people call you, but you can't hear them, or that you speak, but nobody hears you.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide