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Book Review: Skype Me! by Michael Gough

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I mentioned before that Skype is hot right now. Two books from O’Reilly (or one of it’s partners, as this one is) should show that Skype is absolutely huge right now. People are getting rid of their regular phone service and hooking up VoIP phones, using them as their regular phone service at a fraction of the cost.

Skype Me! is a book that everyone needs to have. It’s less technical than Skype Hacks, which makes it more accessible to non-techies. Gough starts off with basic lessons about VoIP, Peer-to-peer technology (as it’s used in VoIP), even Skype security. These basics will help anyone who is looking at setting up Skype in their home.

Installation is covered in Chapter 2. Gough gives detailed instructions on testing individual computers setups to make sure that Skype will work properly, and shows how to install Skype on Windows, Pocket PC, Mac OS X, and Linux. Then, in chapter 3, he covers the basics of using Skype.

Gough spends a lot of time on using Skype from Pocket PCs, even Pocket PC cell phones and smart phones. This is something I’d never thought about, honestly — my cell phone bill is pretty small, and we’ve got a good family plan. I can see where people who use a lot of cell phone minutes each month could save some money.

Skype Me! also goes into detail when it comes to implementing Skype in a business setting. This is one area where I think that Skype is being under-utilized. There’s a perception that Skype is for home users, but isn’t powerful enough for enterprise use, but it’s clear that Skype is a lot more powerful than people think. There’s a lot of potential for business use — especially when you look at the call center hack that I mentioned in the review of Skype Hacks.

One disappointment I had with Skype Hacks was that it didn’t really talk much about the Skype API. Skype Me! does this in chapter 14, and goes into enough detail that people with a computer background will be able to take advantage of the API in customizing their own installation of Skype. Skype Me! also goes into more detail in discussing the various Skype-enabled devices that are available, or will soon become available. Gough includes mini-reviews of a lot of popular Skype hardware add-ons that will make your Skype experience much more pleasant — and productive.

For new users, Skype Me! is a valuable addition to their library. The fact that Michael Gough is the guy who runs SkypeTips.com and is constantly adding material at that site is just another reason to get this book.

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