Tech-o Tuesday #1: Get Your Skype On

Hi folks … as promised, here’s the first installment of Tech-o Tuesday! A text transcript of the show is available hereclick here (or use the player below) to listen to episode #1! Thanks for listening, and please let us know if you have something you’d like us to focus on during an upcoming segment.


Notes and links from this week’s episode:Sound Problems on Skype

It’s really important to use a headset with a built-in microphone, and to use it properly, when you’re using Skype. Here are some examples why (with some suggestions on how to solve common problems):

NB: These are -real- bloopers; we couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried. 😀

  1. Speaking Without a Headset: [audio:] — Buy and use a headset with a built-in microphone.
  2. Using Regular Headphones instead of a Headset: [audio:] — If you use just a regular pair of headphones, you won’t cause an echo, but any typing you do will come through loud and clear. Please use a headset with a built-in microphone.
  3. Playing with Your Headset, aka Headset Bowling: [audio:] — Find a headset that fits you comfortably so you don’t have to constantly adjust it.
  4. Others Can Hear You, Even If You Whisper: [audio:] — Sometimes others can hear you, even if you can’t hear them – please use the built-in Mute button on your microphone, if you have one, or the Mute button on Skype if you need to speak to a third party without being heard.
  5. Breathing Directly Into Your Microphone: [audio:] — Make sure your microphone is not directly below your nose or right in front of your mouth.
  6. Coughing: [audio:] — Again, use your headset’s built-in Mute button, or use the Mute button on Skype.

***UPDATE*** There’s an article over at LifeClever about how to have a Skype conversation on a laptop without a headset, and without producing echo or feedback. It’s a week old, but I just found it this morning (Wed 20 Jun) via LifeHacker. I haven’t tried this myself yet, and I don’t know how it affects the noise that comes through when you’re -typing- on your laptop at the same time as you’re having the conversation. I’ll post more information as I have it…

Headset Recommendations

  • For PCs
    This is the model we use in our lab; they’re inexpensive and seem to hold up well. Most big-box retailers no longer carry this particular model, choosing instead to carry a more expensive model from the same maker. But you can still find headphones like this for under $30 at your local electronics store.
  • For Macs
    We use this model – it’s readily available online and in stores. Whatever you do, be sure to get a headset that connects via USB for your Mac. There’s a more expensive model from this maker that is identical, except it comes with a Mute button, but Skype has a mute function built in to the software.

Skype Resources

Ryan has been proudly maintaining and contributing to Language Lab Unleashed since 2005, and is the current President of SWALLT. Since the summer of 2013 he's been causing trouble with his all-star colleagues in the UMW DTLT; when not wrangling websites Ryan can be found doing strange things with heavy objects.

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  1. Marlene · August 27, 2007 Reply

    We just got an all-points message about using Skype on campus – thought you might be interested in seeing this:

  2. Barbara · September 1, 2007 Reply

    Thanks Marlene… once again it looks like the IT gods are becoming paranoid for no apparent reason. Let us know of we can be of any help. There are enough of us that use it for teaching (and without compromising our networks!) that that should be significant. Please also show your IT folks the Christian Science Monitor article that LLU participants helped to create… that should help.

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