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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Seattle, WA
    Thanked 132 Times in 86 Posts

    Staying in touch with voice and video


    Staying in touch with voice and video

    By Katherine Murray

    If you enjoyed spending time with family and friends over the holidays and are looking for good ways to keep in direct contact, look to the Web for free services.

    When an e-mail or Facebook post just won't do, here are popular voice/video-communication tools worth trying out.

    The full text of this column is posted at (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by Kathleen Atkins; 2012-01-04 at 16:33.

  2. #2
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Courtenay, BC
    Thanked 17 Times in 16 Posts
    Thanks for the update.
    Just a note on the screen capture in AV - Skype has it too. It used to be a handy camera button but they've moved into the submenus. Under Call, Video as I recall.
    I have an inexpensive annual subscription to Skype that gives me unlimited N. America wide long distance. It's great for conference calls and such.

  3. #3
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Guatemala City
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Major problem with Skype for me is the lack of a touch-tone capability. My international calls frequently run up against menus that require touch-tone.

  4. #4
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    I have been using Skype for several months.
    As noted in your column, it gets launched at startup automatically.
    However I find that when it is running I cannot instal updates to Microsoft Security Essentials.
    It won't close in the usual way, but remains dormant. I have to use the three-finger-salute to get to the Task Manager and close it from there, then do the updates manually. After that I can launch Skype again from the Start menu if I want to.
    (I am using a notebook computer running Winfows Starter Edition).

  5. #5
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Hinsdale, IL, USA
    Thanked 157 Times in 131 Posts

    Flash Based Applications Are Dangerous

    Keep in mind that all of these services have privacy and security concerns. Especially AIM's AV application.

    This application illustrates a very dangerous (reckless?) feature of Flash Player -- any web site or service can access your webcam and microphone and record you without your permission or knowledge. Resetting your Flash Player settings is to no avail if you regularly clean up your Flash Player LSOs (those .sol files which accumulate in the Flash Player storage directory). Cleaning the .sol files removes your Flash Player Settings .sol file. Then you would have to reset it every time you clean up.

    My point is that leaving a webcam open to this type of Flash Player intrusion is downright dangerous. Adobe should have been forced to offer a more permanent way to disable this "feature" long ago, but the company has resisted all efforts at reform. The best alternative right now is to go into your Device Manager and hardware-disable your webcam and microphone when not in use. It's the only to be safe and secure.

    Remember also that if no software is installed, AV must be sending out the sound and pictures in an unencrypted form. This means that anyone can intercept the video and audio stream and do with it whatever they choose. They only need to be within WiFi range. The signal between the computer and the router or access point is often not encrypted, so you are wide open. Definitely do NOT use these types of web services in public places, and consider the dangers of letting children use unencrypted chatting technologies.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2012-01-12 at 12:09.
    -- Bob Primak --

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