Skype Cordless Phones
Pete writes, Is there any way of making Skype into a cordless phone? Specifically, the computer is in the home office attached to the broadband jack, but we'd like to be able to respond to incoming calls from Europe from the bedroom, since they tend to be late at night.
Making Skype more like a plain-ole telephone used to be a tricky matter, but not anymore. Skype is doing a handful of things to make it easier to get Skype calls away from the PC. My personal favorite is integration with cell phones, because that allows me to take Skype and all my other calls anywhere, but inside your home, you're likely to get better call quality and burn fewer minutes using one of the VoIP and landline integration tools.
The hardware solutions for integrating Skype with your home phone world aren't cheap, with prices in the $100 range depending on what you opt for. On one hand, there's the Cordless DUALphone, which connects to both a standard phone line and to your computer via USB. This lets you receive calls through a traditional telephone service provider and through Skype using the same handset.
A second option from Linksys connects to your PC and skips the old phone service. A base station connects to your phone via USB and provides cordless communication with the base station to provide caller ID, as well as SkypeIn and SkypeOut, in addition to the standard Skype contact calling. The Linksys Cordless Internet Telephony Kit is $129 as I'm writing this.
A third option is free, assuming you have a smartphone. Search your phone's app store for Skype and receive calls via Skype using your phone data plan.