MAKE: Turning an antique phone into a USB headset (and therefore Skype phone)
My article "Using IP Communications as a Tool for Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity" is now online

Skype begins private beta of Enterprise Edition, rolls out new versions for Mac (including Call Transfer), Windows beta...

Quite a bit of activity lately, it seems, over in Skype-land:

1. Private beta of an "Enterprise Edition" - First seen on Jan Geirnaert's weblog and then subsequently confirmed, it appears Skype is sending around an email looking for participants in an "Early Adopter Program" for a product that would include:

  • Enterprise network compatibility.
  • Company-owned Skype Name creation.
  • Customisable to your corporate requirements.
  • Direct technical support from Skype.
  • Ongoing upgrades maintenance.

A bit more text about it on Jan's weblog.  Will be interesting to see what evolves out of this.

2. New version 2.6 for the Mac with Call Transfer, public chats, Skype Prime, etc. - Over at Skype Journal, Jim Courtney writes about the new Mac version that brings the Mac version closer to parity with the Windows client (as seen in the release notes). It also apparently includes "call transfer" that will, per the download page, "Transfer calls to your Skype contacts - effortlessly." Jim provides a teaser to us that Windows users can use this Call Transfer as well... and this will be described later this week. 

If Call Transfer does indeed work, this is the first time I've really seen it in a P2P client.  (I'm suddenly thinking my wife's Macbook might need some "system administration" time spent with it.)

3. New release of the Windows 3.2 beta - Jim notes in the same post that a new build of the Windows 3.2 betaa is available, which, per the Release Notes, seems mostly about bugfixes.  (Hmmm... I suddenly become curious what the "odd background noise" is that apparently appears in the silence between two 3.2 users...)

4. Multi-device presence - I didn't note here that last week Jim also had a post about two small features in the Skype 3.2 beta that made for interesting reading.  Skype is interesting in that unlike MSN/WLM or AIM, you can have multiple instances of Skype running at the same time.  (In fact, there's a security issue related to this that we've talked about on Blue Box before.[1])  Having multiple computers, one of which has a DUALphone connected to it, I make use of this feature to have Skype on both systems.  However, there is the very real issue of "which instances' presence setting do you broadcast to Skype contacts?"  And also to the web presence icon.  I've seen the issue myself when I look at my blog from my laptop (with Skype running) and see that my Skype web presence says that I'm "Away" or "Not Available"... due to the fact that my other PC has had enough inactivity for Skype to automatically change the presence setting.

It would appear that Skype's solution out of that is to have presence be pulled from whichever Skype client logged in last.  I guess it's one way to do it... but I'd prefer a checkbox in the options that said something like "Make this instance of Skype authoritative for my presence" (obviously worded a bit better).

In any event, these are all some interesting developments... thanks to the Skype Journal team for continuing to provide the investigative digging they do.

[1] In a nutshell, the "security issue" is that with the "multiple login" feature, you have no way of knowing how many instances of Skype are open with your username.  An attacker could open up Skype, enter your username and keep guessing passwords until he/she could get in as you.  If the attacker is successful, he/she can see all your contacts, all your chats, see your event history, etc. The attacker can't listen to your calls (since those are point-to-point), but they could make a call as if it were you and presumably could also deplete your Skype Credit.

Technorati tags: ,