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VoIP Hacks by Theodore Wallingford

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Hack #39. Emote by Sight and Sound with Skype

In this modern age of voice and video, emoticons are not forgotten and have become equally modern.

In the early days of text-based chat, we developed text expressions like :) and =( to show signs of happiness and dissatisfaction, respectively. We called these emotion indicators, emoticons, or simply emotes. And unless you've never chatted online, never talked to an Internet user, or never seen the film You've Got Mail with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks (or one of its several knockoffs), chances are good you know what emoticons are. Today, with voice chat augmenting text chat and video chat and with webcams becoming commonplace, the old-fashioned emoticon seems plain out of place. It's small, monolithic, and, well, underwhelming. Emoticons just don't convey as much emotion as a speaking voice or the human face, which is what you hear or see when you Skype folks using voice or video facilities.

You're about to use Skype add-ons to enable audio emotes, 3-D avatars, and video chat, making old-school text emotes seem downright archaic. The tools I've looked at are all built around the Skype API for Windows, though, so if you've got a Mac (for which the Skype API has only just been introduced), you'll be watching the action from the sidelines.

Adding Sound and Video Emoticons

Sound emotes and 3-D avatars are two really cool add-ons for Skype that can enhance the social aspect of the Skype experience. Sound emotes are essentially just prerecorded sounds ...

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