Skype for Intercom and Public Address System
Sep 10th, 2012 by Xarah

Skype is a Multipurpose Communication Tool.

skypeIt is NOT just IP voice and video phone software. With just a little bit of creativity it can replace all kinds of fancy electronic equipment costing thousands of dollars.

A few weeks ago, an organization I belong to decided to address a problem in its communication system.

Specifically, the question was posed:

“As many of you know, we try to enable the nursery workers to hear the service going on in the main building. The present method is a baby monitor setup, but it’s not really satisfactory. If any of you (or your friends/relativesJ) have an idea for getting the sound from the auditorium over to the nursery, or would like to research the problem, I would really appreciate it. Audio systems are not one of my skills.”

I replied:

“Use your WIFI network or extend it as necessary, and then initiate a VOIP “phone” call (eg. Skype) from the auditorium to the nursery. Skype runs very nicely on a smartphone and the audio quality will be more than satisfactory. Assuming the WIFI is in place and that people have smartphones or laptops, everything else is free.”

The alternative they were considering was a PA system, wireless or hard-wired, costing well over $1,000. On the basis of a satisfaction guarantee and a cost estimate that was a small fraction of the alternative, I received permission to go ahead with my plan.

  • On eBay, we bought a refurbished iPod Touch (latest generation) for $140.
  • We acquired a used Windows laptop and speakers. Value: $150.
  • We boosted the WIFI signal at both ends to reduce the possibility of dropped Skype calls.
  • Skype was downloaded onto both the iPod and the PC. Separate Skype names were procured and they exchanged contact permission. There was no need to purchase Skype credits.
  • The PC was set up in the nursery with the following special configurations:
    • Computer would run 24/7 with the lid down. It would be attached to a set of speakers sufficient for the nursery.
    • Skype would remain open, ready to answer incoming calls automatically from approved contacts (one and only one contact).
    • The microphone was muted (system software) so that nursery noises would not be heard in the auditorium.
    • Because of a further decision to record the events in the auditorium, we installed recording software on the PC (freeware), and set it to record Skype calls automatically with recordings going into a “Dropbox™.”
  • The iPod Touch was set up in the auditorium as follows:
    • A piece of Velcro was put on the back, and the iPod was appointed to be attached to the podium (but removable for a speaker who wished to move around with the “microphone” in his pocket.
    • Power was provided at the podium to eliminate any worry that the iPod might run out of juice, so it is provided with a USB power cord to the power outlet.
    • Skype was configured to “never” go offline except when deliberately taken off. This means that the screen can be turned off during an event without hanging up the call.
    • After some testing we determined that the iPod’s internal microphone was more than adequate. Therefore the Lavalier microphone we had purchased was returned.

The process of broadcasting an event to the nursery (or to any location) is now accomplished simply by placing a Skype call, which is automatically answered by the computer at the other end. The one-way channel provides crystal clear sound and is turned off by just hanging up the call at the podium. Non-technical managers are able to handle the setup with no problem, and if the speaker needs to wander away from the podium, he merely takes the iPod off its Velcro holder and slips it into his shirt pocket. The new system has completely replaced the baby monitor PA system. The sound quality is vastly improved.

The new system has also replaced the former recording system that used wireless microphones. The new recording system automatically records Skype calls and deposits the audio files into an assigned “Dropbox™” which is then linked from the website. The entire recording infrastructure has been replaced with free software.

If our purpose had been to broadcast a video feed to the nursery instead of just audio, Skype would have again comprised the solution. Also, if we ever need to broadcast an event off the campus or even to multiple remote locations simultaneously, that should present no difficulty either. Skype is proving to be a multipurpose communications tool that solves a myriad of problems.


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Round Robin Holiday Greeting Videos
Nov 29th, 2011 by Xarah

SOCIAL SHARE PROJECT for Skypers, Bloggers, YouTube & Video Maketers and Social Sharers:

Julie Wolf and I have planned a wonderful Holiday video project you may want to participate in to build your brand and business.

… To learn an easy video making method as part of a traffic getting social share project in her  YouTube Video  Skype Room watch the video. Do give us a Like on YouTube while you’re at it please.

If you want to join in, just watch this video

Schedule Benchmarks for the next Project for Dec 24th – Christmas Eve

A Holiday Video Greeting

* Nov 29th
* Dec 13th
* Dec 20th
* Dec 24th


Nov 29th –


1) Plan video project, whose in?  make teams maybe?, answer questions, get started. Xarahs and my how to video links go here…

a) Example Video Link circle Series on Gratutude and ThanksGiving
b) How to Join Skype Room YouTube & Animoto Video Social Share Club Link Circle Learning Project
c) (*)  The Jing Video that shows a bit what you can do with Animoto:

The Result:

(*) How to export from Animoto to Youtube, add anotation (link for Round Robin)
(there is a long pause, i had thought i had paused it but it kept running

(*) How to do a playlist on Youtube:

Other video I put in my Animoto Skype room just a quick test
this is a video mixed with photos and video clips done with a video cam

2) Make a free account with Animoto
Free Animoto account give you 30 second videos.
and if you dont have one yet, a YouTube account too. It’s free.

3) Share videos and how to info, how to get images, video clips, watch my how-to video, Julie’s how-to-perticipate video

Dec 6th –


1_ start for those who blog… a draft blog post (choose tags, keywords and make an outline)

2_ Collect images into a folder for this project. Chose your main topic.

3_ Make Animoto Video

4_Optional – Finish blog posts with images and place to embed your YouTube video

Dec 13th –


1_ Make video if you haven’t and upload to YouTube (and embed in blog post), you might want to “not list” it yet until you were able to link to your Round Robin Buddy.

2_ Make Links in your videos to join the link circle togther – Anotation Notes! Link to partner and get linked to from another partner. (I guess we need 3 people teams min. to partner with). We will agree in the Skype room who will link to whom.

3_  one of 2 last chances to link into a team … who are your 2 partners?

Dec 20th –

1_ Link to each others video and list it in your youtube channel. Feature it.

2_Makes video responses for those who wish to

3_  Absolute last chance to link into a team …
who are your 2 partners?  Last chance to link in… this is easy and powerful and creative and fun… don’t miss it!

4_ Send traffic – Holiday Greetings via internet

Send Holiday Greetings

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Social networks
  • Bookmarks
  • Squidoo
  • Skype of course… (mood message, auto-replay)
  • Video-Emails
  • Emails
  • Blogging!

Dec 23 or 24th –


Go crazy with sending traffic to your Holiday Video. Let us know about any other traffic method you use.

  • Facebook, Twitter, Social networks and bookmarks, Squidoo, etc, and  … Skype of course…
  • Skype Share Options:
  1. Skype profile : Skype Mood message next to your picture and About.
  2. Skype auto-reply for When offline or Away skype status
  3. Skype message send holiday greeting in rooms and in pms, use xsky or message magic to your permission lists!
  4. Want a Skype training webinars from for the next few weeks? When?

That’s it. Care to join in? Come to our Skype Video room!

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