For individuals and network administrators alike, Skypekiller could be the answer to a growing problem. Anyone who has tried to remove Skype from their PC or network without Skypekiller will testify to the fact that ridding yourself of all trace is a futile and frustrating exercise.  Whilst many of the 60+ Million regular Skype users are very content with the service they receive, the application is becoming very problematic for companies worldwide, who have seen employee installs compromise the security and bandwidth utilisation of their networks. 

Add to this the inherent fall in productivity that accompanies Skype usage in the workplace, and you see the need for a comprehensive method for controlling Skype installations within the office environment. 

Enter Skypekiller; a great little application that helps to eradicate Skype from one computer or, just as easily, an entire network, in a matter of minutes.  The method employed by Skypekiller ensures that no trace is left behind, and regular manual or scheduled checks can be run to ensure installs don’t reoccur. 

After installing the application, one of the first actions you can undertake is to detect all PC’s in your network, on which Skype is installed.  Skypekiller then allows you to filter which PC’s or computer types you wish to apply the removal to.  Once you activate the de-installation from the selected target computers, a progress status will be displayed.  The execution response screen shows you how successful the process has been. 

The Skypekiller scheduler ensures that regular clean-ups can be executed without the same level of input being required.  This is a really useful tool for SME’s or larger businesses, to regularly audit networks of all sizes for Skype installs with minimal effort.  For all you Skype haters out there (surely there aren’t many), this could be the answer to your prayers.

Skypekiller Homepage

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Let’s face it; if VoIP is to move with the times, their need to be more options for using your service on the move.  More and more cellphone manufacturers and networks are opening up their phones to the use of VoIP over WiFi, with many of them creating new charging plans for the privilege.  The reality is, though, that using VoIP on the move is nothing new, and you probably have all the kit you need right now to start taking advantage.

Skype for Pocket PC has been around for a while now; yet with all the hype surrounding Mobile VoIP, you’d be forgiven for thinking there is such a complex minefield of options, that you’d rather just tether yourself to your PC and be done with it.  That’s why I thought I’d write this gentle reminder to all those readers who feel like they’re missing out, and show you how to get the most of Skype on the move, using your PDA or Smartphone.

To use Skype for Pocket PC you’ll need a minimum 400 MHz processor, Wi-Fi capability, and Windows Mobile 2003 or later. Once you’ve got all that, here’s how to get on the road:

1. Update the version of Activesync on your PDA or Smartphone, in order to make file transfer and updates easier.  You’ll find the latest release at www.microsoft.com

2. Go to the downloads page at www.Skype.com and choose the Pocket PC option.  The Skype for Pocket PC application will be downloaded to your desktop PC or laptop.

3. Open up the application and complete the installation steps.

4. The installer will copy the necessary files to your ActiveSync directory. Click Finish to complete the file copy.

5. A dialogue box will appear, stating: “On the next mobile device connection, the installed applications will be downloaded to the device” Click OK to continue.

6. If it’s not already connected, connect your handheld to your computer.

7. ActiveSync will copy the CAB file to your Pocket PC or SmartPhone and install the Skype application.Skype will now be available in your Program list. 

No prizes for guessing that you’ll need an active Internet connection from your handheld, via WiFi or otherwise.  Once you’ve established a connection, you just login to Skype in the usual way.

If you’ve tried Skype for Pocket PC, tell us about your experiences.  What problems have you encountered?  How does it compare with other Mobile VoIP services you’ve used?  As ever, leave your comments below.  Best of luck!

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VoIP technology has come a long way in recent years, far enough that users can now plug in their home phones and use it without any reminder of its broadband roots. With that in mind, there is the matter of choosing which VoIP adapter is best suited for your home and your VoIP service. While many services such as VoIP.com or VoIP Your Life include and adapter with their service, others do not. If you are interested in buying a VoIP Adapter or router for your home phone, here are some options to get you started in your search.

Linksys SPA2102 NA Analog VoIP Adapter (2) FXS, (2) RJ45
Linksys’s SPA2012 is the newest edition of its widely used 2000 series of VoIP adapters. Linksys offers a small variety of other adapters in this line that are suited for larger, business style locations or for those with a single at home phone. This particular model features four ports; two POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) ports to connect your phone, fax machine or speakerphone to, and two RJ45 Ethernet interfaces for plugging in Ethernet cords to computers.

The key features of the Linksys SPA2102 are the ease with which it adapts to most services. Allowing users to complete customized installation and easy access for service providers to control your voice traffic, the adapter has few of the problems many other adapters tend to have such as dropped calls, high latency and poor connections. Additionally, the router allows for easy, remote software upgrades as required by your service provider. The SPA2102 is a relatively small router and with four ports is perfect for the home or a small office. 

D-Link DVG-2001S VoIP Phone Adapter
While not as widely used as the Linksys 2102 adapter nor quite as reliable, the D-Link adapter offers a slightly more affordable option with just as deep a feature set. The 2001S is not a fully functional router however and is used for conversion of internet data to traditional phone line data for use with existing telephones and fax machines. It comes with only one FXS, POTS port and one RJ45 Ethernet port though, making it hard to plug in both a phone and a fax machine without a second adapter.

Additionally, the adapter utilizes SIP protocol, the soon to be standard for most VoIP providers, allowing optimum performance and call quality. This adapter is built to ensure compatibility between most VoIP services and phones. The adapter also includes the ability to allow VoIP service providers access to change server address and other protocols directly on the adapter, ensuring no service interruptions.

Another interesting couple of features of the 2001S are the inclusion of Voice Activity Detection and Comfort Noise Generation. Both features are designed to keep the actual amount of bandwidth to a minimum and ensure high quality calls most of the time. For those seeking a simple solution to connect your existing telephone to your internet access for VoIP service, the D-Link DVG 2001S is a good choice.

Other Options on the Market

While Linksys and D-Link are hardly the only companies on the market to make decent VoIP adapters, they are currently the two most commonly implemented. The VoIP companies are constantly changing as well as the technology associated with the service as well as the adapters. The Sipura line of adapters and routers was a popular choice because it was one of the first to offer easy analog adaptation. Other options on the market include Cisco’s new line of adapters. Once used exclusively by Vonage for its home customers, Cisco has recently reworked its products to more effectively utilize the newest SIP and CODEC technologies for VoIP service. Basically, they ensured that all services are covered.

For those looking for a simple adapter to turn their home phone into an IP phone though, either of the above options is a good choice. The cost varies but will likely remain below $70 and the call quality is consistent, depending on whom your service provider is. Just, be aware of what you need for your home or office and be prepared to recognize those features in your adapter. There are dozens of options on the market and only a few will meet the requirements you desire.

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Outages and disruption to Skype’s service caused suffering to many users last week, when an “unexpected interaction between its servers and users’ PCs” prevented millions of people from signing into the service and making calls.  A statement on Skype’s website blamed a security software upgrade, issued by Microsoft, which caused an unusually high number of Skype users to attempt their logins simultaneously, causing contention at the Skype network.

Skype have since issued a statement to its’ customers, which read “as a result of this disruption, Skype was unavailable to the majority of its users for approximately two days…  we’d like to apologise and thank you. Precisely in that order.”

If you’re a Skype user, and were affected by the weekend’s outage, add a comment to this post and let your fellow VoIPers know what you think of the Skype service.  Was it enough to send you elsewhere for your VoIP service, or is it just a small blemish on an otherwise excellent record?

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Following our recent VoIP Provider review of the “VoIP Your Life” service, I was kindly contacted by Gary Holhouser, from VoIP Your Life, to pass on his thanks for our kind words (though you can be assured of our impartiality at all times!), and to correct us on a couple of statements we made. Here’s his email…

“I was reading through your site and want to tell you that we appreciate your positive reviews on our company. However, I noticed some items listed in the review that I might be able clarify for your readers:

The 1500 minute cap only applies to small businesses that opt for our service. For residential subscribers the plans are truly unlimited. There is a very generous fraud cap to help prevent enterprise accounts from signing up and abusing the service. The typical residential subscriber never notices or comes near this cap. It is far greater than 1500 minutes.

We do not apply 911 or USF charges to customers outside of North America. Consequently, we cannot provide 911 or emergency services for those customers.

While our service for UK customers have not yet been defined, your readers can sign up for a US and Canadian number, provided they have a US or Canadian credit card.” Thanks to Gary for adding clarity to the review. So it’s over to you readers: How have you VoIP Your Life customers found the service? We’d love to get your comments.

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