callto:user Skype Links Hack for WordPress.com Users

When I was rebuilding this blog with a new theme and looking at the presentation and such I revisited the ability to use call:to links for the blog. Users of WordPress.com will know that many scripts and certain links are blocked. A callto:”user” link is one of them. But this blog has that capability now thanks to a workaround.

The old iteration of the blog listed my user name for Skype in a sidebar contact box. My actual username is: gonzo_001… the username was not a great choice considering what I do now. I choose the name when I first got Skype. I started blogging a while after that but started to build my contacts and did not want the hassle of changing my user name. But I wanted people to be able to contact me on Skype from my blog, minus the stupid user name. So with a little help from good mate Tim King we figured out a work-around for the fact that callto: links are blocked on WordPress.com blogs.

Believe it or not I am not going to spell it out for you. I am sure those that want it will be smart enough to figure it out. A hover will give it away, you are on your own from there. But it is a simple hack really and not really a hack as such because it uses a very simple technique and if you are a blogger you may well do it everyday.

I have voicemail so if you whack the “call me via Skype” button (sidebar button not the one in this post) to test it out to see if I got it to work, leave me a message! I really don’t mind talking to you and telling you exactly how it is done either. So feel free to test it out.

Once you have it figured out create a button and save the button as an image. The Java Script that the wizard generates will not work on WordPress.com blogs. Then upload the image to your blog and complete the coding required. Now you too can receive calls via your blog. Or if you wish you can have it as a chat button instead, this will open a Skype chat with yourself and whoever clicks it. I guess you could get creative as well and make your own button or have good friends that are graphic designers…

All the possible functions and types of links required for them are listed on the Advanced Skype Links, part of Skype Help.

Thanks goes to Tim King for the lateral thinking and the button that you created for The Rooster’s Rail. I should say as well that it would be good if WordPress.com considered allowing this type of link.

Skype Notifications

If you are like a lot of other users of Skype you may have noticed some strange happenings with your notifications. For the last month or so I have had no notifications when a contact comes on-line. I put it down to a glitch in Skype. But there is more to it than that. Don’t be alarmed though if you are one of the many affected, they know of the problem.

I have all my alerts on, although I don’t get any for contacts coming on-line. For that reason I miss people and that is really starting to drive me nuts. So about a week ago I tried to reinstall Skype. No luck. So I started digging in the notifications. I tried turning them all off, saved it. Then switched them all back on again. Nope. I also tried various combinations of logging on then off in between changing settings. Absolutely no go.

In my explorations I also noticed that some of the sounds had been switched off as well. I had not made these adjustments so it looks like this might be related to the bigger problem as the sounds directly correspond to the loss of features.

These sort of problems pop up every now and then in Skype. I had an issue with my Web Cam not being available during a call. It resolved itself using one of the above measures. The other thing that can happen is that it is fixed in an upgrade of the software or just spontaneously resolves. Who knows why or how. This issue has however been persistent. So I took further measures.

Usually when you “Report a Problem” to Skype you either get nothing back or you get the standard support response: make sure you are using the latest version, ensure that you your drivers are up to date and that your operating system is updated. Very useful. This time I said that all of the above was in place, I am glad I did.

It turns out that this issue is a known problem and that the Skype team is working on the problem and that it should be fixed in a coming build. They recommended that I keep an eye on the download page and apologised. I thought that was nice of them. Keeping an eye on the download page is a good tip. As regular users of Skype may know updates have been built into the latest versions of Skype. But they are slow to remind users that there is a new version. Perhaps the two problems are related given the advice? One other thing I did not do and should have is check the forums and this has come up, although it took some digging to find it.

Since I have had this problem for a while and that I know I am not the only users affected I thought it valuable to pass on. While it still bugs me a lot, not having a program that works properly; I am glad that they are working on it. Patience I guess. It is also great that I got a response that is useful and informative.

I am Still Looking

I just finished recording The Global Geek Podcast. This was Sebastian’s last show, that is disappointing in itself. But more disappointing is the fact that I am still looking for a co-host to replace him.

I have had some offers from people I know to host one or two shows, for which I am thankful and really appreciate. But I think that to be fair to the show and to me, a permanent co-host would be ideal. I said today on the show that I am not looking for the perfect person. You don’t have to have the voice for it (I don’t!). You might be interested but don’t think you are capable, don’t worry I felt the same way. I have improved over time and now I don’t think I get nervous or anything I just get in and talk. The other thing is that you might be interested in podcasting and want to do something but don’t know how to get started, why not join an established podcast?

Please, contact me if you think in anyway that you might be interested, or if you just want some info about what it involves and what you have to do.

If you are concerned about the commitment of time, realistically I think that about 2 hours (give or take) a week would cover it. We might have to have the odd chat through the week but that’s it. Show notes and resources to your door… well your inbox.

This is a genuine offer and I will consider anyone, I don’t care where you are from what your background is, male or female. Think about it. My contact details are in the sidebar. This is getting to crunch time and I am starting to get worried… So think quick!

Thanks Sebastian for your efforts, support and all the fun that we have had on the show. I greatly appreciated you being a part of the creation of the show and I wish you well in your career and future.