Skype status on a Cybiko
Skype is a great application. However, one of the annoying things about it is the need to be near your PC to keep track of who is online. Fortunately, Skype has an API that allows third-party applications to interact with the Skype client.
Driven by a Delphi application that runs on the same PC as your Skype client, this application drives a SerialRelay connected Classic. The Serial Relay Cybiko is partnered with another Cybiko running RFTerm.
The status of your Skype contacts is shown on the RFTerminal display. You may choose which of your contacts you wish to monitor on the Cybiko.
RFTerm has been modified to allow a music file to be played on the Cybiko. It will soon be possible to associate a tune with each of your contacts and have the Cybiko play the tune whenever that person comes on-line to Skype.
The aim is to also have an indication of who is 'calling' or trying to start a 'chat session' with you.
To use this program, you need to have two Cybikos. One of these must be a 'Classic'. As ever, the Classic connects to the PC which runs this program. This Classic runs SerialRelay, set to 19200baud, 8bits, no partity, 1 stop bit.
To install the PC based stuff, unzip the contents of the CybikoSkype distribution file into a new directory on your PC. The CybikoSkype.exe doeesn't mess with the Windows registry, so you can un-install by deleting the directory.
The config details for the CybikoSkype program are held on the PC is a good old '.ini' file, 'CybikoSkype.ini'. Edit this with notepad.exe to setup the Comm Port number that will be used to link your PC to the Classic serial port. You can also determine how often CybikoSkype will poll the status of your contacts - if you have a lot of contacts, it is better not to run this too often. The polling period is specified in milliseconds (1000mS = 1 second).
To start the program, first make sure that the Skype Client program is running. Then launch CybikoSkype.exe First time in, you will get a security warning from Skype, see below. After a short delay, the details of your contact list will be shown, then, after another little while, the updated status of each user will be shown.
In order to see the status of a user on the remote Cybiko, you must select 'Yes' on the 'Include' column beside the appropriate user.
===== Security =====
The folks at Skype have (wisely) built in a security check that is invoked whenever a third party application attempts to access the Skype API. So, when you run the CybiloSkype program, Skype will prompt you to allow access. It's easiest to just 'Allow this program to use Skype'. However, if you do block access, and decide later to re-instate this, do the following …
From the Skype Client … Choose the following menu items … Tools, Options, Privacy. Click on the 'Manage other programs' access to Skype' link. Then ensure that cybikoskype.exe is allowed to use Skype.