Wednesday, February 15, 2006

skype me!

Until something better or easier to use comes along, it looks like eBay Skype has most of the market in the accessible VoIP-from-your-computer. It's always been easy to see if someone else is online from your copy of Skype, but advertising that to another place (like somewhere on the web) has been difficult. There have been various plugins or helper applications which need to be downloaded, but finally Skype released their Web Presence API... this means that with a single line:

img src="http://mystatus.skype.com/iusher"
it's possible to see if I (or anyone else) is online... so am I?
there are different styles available, so it was a fairly simple thing to add to Moodle - if you have a Moodle.org account (if not, then why not sign up?) then you can have a look at whether Martin Dougiamas , Josie Fraser or I am online on Skype from our profiles... if we're running Skype 2.0.0.79 (Windows only at time of posting) or newer. If we're running an version of Skype which doesn't broadcast our status to t'internet, or are choosing not to show our online status to people not on our contact list, then you'll get a grey Skype question mark icon.
This could be really useful for us, since a number of our headteachers and networked learning communities use Skype as a really useful way - it would be a very easy thing to create a Moodle HTML block which showed which of the groups were on - so this could be visible to anyone from anywhere, without needing Skype.
If none of this makes sense then there's a Flash video (with audio) available from Skype which explains it...

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