March 29, 2005 4:06 PM PST

VoIP calls get podcast treatment

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Skype goes for the gold

March 17, 2005
Calling all music players.

A growing number of people are sharing the digital music on MP3 players and other music devices using freely available software and Skype, a free Internet phone service.

The enthusiasts are borrowing heavily from another personal broadcasting phenomenon called podcasting, in which digital recordings are posted on a Web site for download to a variety of music players, including desktop PCs and portable gadgets like Apple Computer's wildly popular iPod. "Skypecasters," as they call themselves, use Skype's peer-to-peer telephone network to distribute recordings over the Internet directly to each other for free.

Some evidence suggests that Skypecasters may be becoming more widespread, even though it requires a high level of technical know-how.

The "implications are very disruptive," according to the SkypeJournal, a well-known Web community that provides Skypecast instructions. "Many Skypers want to record their Skype conversations and turn them into podcasts."

Skype is the largest of the new breed of companies offering voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, which lets Internet connections double as telephone lines by treating calls no differently than e-mail, Web pages or other common Internet travelers. Skype gives away its VoIP software, and phone calls that stay on the Internet are free. Skype also has premium services that charge about 2 cents a minute to call cell or landline phones.

The Luxembourg-based upstart has so far signed up 29 million registered users for its free PC-to-PC Net phone calling service. Earlier this month, the company reported that its SkypeOut service, which connects PC calls to traditional phone lines for a fee, reached 1 million customers since launching in July 2004. To some extent, Skype competes against Vonage, which at 550,000-plus subscribers is among the world's largest commercial VoIP providers, as well as some cable companies, which have commercial VoIP services of their own.

Skype's peer-to-peer infrastructure--similar in construct to Kazaa, Morpheus and other file-swapping programs--makes it well-suited for turning Net phones into a broadcasting system, as Skypecasters now do. Skype and Kazaa were both developed by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis.

Other possibilities discussed by Skypecasters at Unbound Spiral or Moodle are to turn an MP3 player into a radio station for any of Skype's 29 million registered users to dial up using their Skype line. Instructions also are available on how to record a personal soap opera and use Skype to distribute it en masse. Even more ominously, some Skypecasters record Skype calls and post them on the Internet.

All of the work is being done without Skype's active input. But it has made some of its source code public so developers can tinker with new applications, such as Skypecasting, said Skype spokeswoman Kelly Larrabee. "We're aware of this and encourage developers to help facilitate it," she said.

"It's a relatively complicated set-up that requires some technical sophistication and awareness of one's entire hardware and software environment," she added.


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Fire The Editor!
How can the CNET Editors let this mindless piece of dribble they call an article get posted?

Does this editor have a chub for everything Mac?

The fact is Podcasting and now "Skypecasting" is just another fad by Mac users trying to gain attention to their cause. (Being taken seriously in the computing arena.)
Posted by (1 comment )
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podcast is what!?
I'm sorry but your definition of podcasting was horrible: "available to download to an ipod"? Ughh, can you say "clueless"? You guys should really get this better...maybe make one and see the revolution up close. Wiki: "Audio files (most commonly in MP3 format) are made available online in a way that allows software to automatically detect the availability of new files (generally via RSS), and download the files for listening at the user's convenience." and I might add "on ANY! MP3 device" including my computer. Sorry for the rant but that silliness had to be addressed. :)
Posted by BartleyF (14 comments )
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Wavigo is Skype done right and honorable way!
I have been using Wavigo now for several months and I am using it to connect to my mom in Europe and with my friends. She is on dial up and the voice quality is awesome! I had to get rid of Skype, after I have found out why my computer runs so slow and I had to manually remove all of the still active processes. It will not take long time when others will realize, this Skype is taking advantage of them. They are making $$$ on these poor users, who are so clueless just as I was. I feel I was invaded by this company Skype. It was very hard to get rid of them&.sort of like parasite. Once you have it, its hard to get rid of !!!
I wish those people writing about Skype would have good knowledge of Skypes technology and would inform readers much better and in full truth! It is sneaky of Skype to give free tech just so they can get you, because many users have limitated technology knowledge, and the only one benefiting is Skype. They use computer resources of their users for others &how LOW!!!! No wonder Skype went out their way to promote sharing is good which is more like brainwash, so they can make $$$. Now that is my story&.I USE WAVIGO it is done RIGHT!
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