If you’ve not already tried RSS (Really Simple Syndication) via Net Newswire or FireFox, do yourself a favor. The collection of web sites I browsed regularly took about an hour a day. Using RSS, it takes about 10 minutes. That’s because RSS gives you the headlines of the newly published web site articles, and you can skip the stuff that doesn’t interest you. That’s loose description of how RSS saves you time, but heck, just check it out. (And feel free to add Davison Online’s RSS feed to your collection. The link is in the left column on the main page under the heading Syndication. You’ll probably want RSS 2.0.)
Dave Van Driesche and I had the chance to place a Voice Over IP (VoIP) phone call using Skype the other day, and we both came away very impressed. Using only the built-in computer speakers and microphone we carried on a normal telephone-quality conversation over our cable modem connections for free. (If you do a search for “Ty Davison” on Skype, you’ll find me. Be sure to make your user name explictly identifiable or shoot me an email with your Skype info, because if I don’t recognize the caller I probably won’t answer.) We talked for 15 minutes before our connection droppedÂ—Skype is still in betaÂ—then we had several more conversations of shorter duration that dropped. Don’t know if that’s a Skype issue or an Internet issue. Either way, don’t bail on your cell phone or landline just yet.
But the prospect of doing so is there, and that’s part of what makes Skype so exciting. Already, you can call virtually anywhere in the lower 48 or Western Europe for 2 cents a minute on a computer-to-regular phone call. (Computer-to-computer calls are free.) That’s promising pricing. If the technological reliability comes along, this may well prove a valid alternative to the home land line.
Two finals miscellanous notes about Skype: First, Computer-to-computer calls are encrypted. Computer-to-telephone calls are encrypted while on the ‘net. As soon as they hit regular phone switching systems, the call could technically be intercepted. Second, there is a nifty rumor floating that Skype may be integrated into a future version of Apple’s iChat. I can only hope so.