Friday, March 28, 2008

Using Skype and a bluetooth headset to replace my cellphone

Hi all. Yet another snowy day here in Northern New England (darn it!). I love snow, but it's APRIL! Enough already! Hard to play baseball when there's 2 - 3 feet of snow on the field.

Last night I was in Staples buying some blank CD-R's when I came across a "clearance table" where they had lots of things marked down, like external hard drives for $60 and other things like a Motorola H550 bluetooth headset for $17! Needless, to say...I bought the headset. I've always wanted to try using a BT headset with Skype. Here was my opportunity. I began by pairing it to my MacBook Pro running Leopard. Very simple and straightforward. I went into System Preferences and set my Sound output and input to use the headset. It worked fantastic with Skype as I had about an hour long conversation with a colleague.

Next was to try it with my little Nokia N800 and Skype. Pairing was a bit tricky and it could have been because my MacBook was nearby. Once detected it went very easily. I wasn't able to test it beyond having conversations with myself by calling my own cell phone via SkypeOut. It was a bit choppy and overmodulated, but it could have been a network issue. I have to experiment more.

Last was my System76 Darter2 running Ubuntu. I had to install Stephan Graber's BT headset pairing application (which works fantastic!), but once I did it paired and worked great. Skype defaulted to it right away. I use SkypeOut to call my wife at her work number and she sounded very clear and vice versa.

Why do this? Some of you may be like me. I have a weak cellphone signal here in my classroom and many times I can't make or take calls depending on where I am, however, my building is completely covered with WiFi and accessible via WiFi from anywhere. So, I paid my $29 per year for an unlimited SkypeOut account (only calls to the US and Canada...I'd have to buy more credits for international calls) which allows me to call landlines (computer to computer is free) from my computer. Now that I have a bluetooth headset, I'm no longer tethered to my laptop. :-) Skype is a wonderful VOIP tool and it makes life a bit easier for me when I'm unable to use my cellphone and still need to be able to move about my classroom or school.

1 comment:

Daengbo said...

I like your blog. I saw you mention it on the K12OSN list and have been following you for a while now.

That said, I'd like to point out that Skype is neither Free nor Open Source Software (the topic of your blog). In fact, Skype is kind of the antithesis of FOSS. It uses a proprietary protocol instead of the standard SIP, in order to lock customers in and promote its own network while excluding potential competitors.

Just saying ...

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