[Scribus] How to make ``photo book'' easily? + some "bug-reports"

John Beardmore John
Sun Mar 16 00:59:33 CET 2008

Jim Baker wrote:

> John,
> 	This is off the subject, but you seem totally current in the world of 
> digi-tech,

Hi Jim,

:)   I used to be, but since the heady days of the dot com bubble, I've 
spent the last 8 years mutating into an environmentalist.

> so I have a question about computerized telephony. Are we 
> there yet as a dependable alternative to landline?

It's a good question.  I suspect that largely depends on your ISP, 
broadband contention ratios etc.  And as a general rule, emergency calls 
may not be supported over VOIP.

It also depends on your philosophical position.  There seem to be VOIP 
purists with strong views about the political correctness of various 
services, mostly relating to their adherence to open standards.  The 
bottom line though, frequently seems to be that you end up paying for 
some part of the service.

By contrast, you can make skype to skype calls trivially.  OK, skype 
does not use open standard protocols, but the service is free, and works 
well.  There are various fees to dial out into telecoms networks from 
skype, but even then, these can be good value if you make a lot of 
international calls.

I've never been a VOIP purist.  We use skype a fair bit, and seldom have 
problems.  Our line is 20:1 contention ratio, but most of the people we 
call are 50:1.  Typical calls seem to use about 48kbps bandwidth.  We 
ran a national energy charity over skype for a couple of years, and 
still use it for a lot of our commercial work within our company, T4.

Sound quality can be better than a land line on a good day, and is only 
very seldom worse than a mobile.  It seems to work well, even if I 
saturate our 640kbps uplink with FTP traffic.  We're not using any fancy 
traffic shaping -  just XP out of the box behind a NAT router.

I gather that microsofts MSN offers broadly similar functionality.  I've 
not stooped to it myself, but as most of our relatives and the 
children's friends use MSN, I think we'll have to put it on the families 

Our ISP specialises in VOIP. See


if curious, but I don't see any personal reason to move away from skype. 
Indeed as skype is available under linux, I'd much rather avoid MSN as 
we are slowly migrating to Linux as our main platform.

At the moment I normally use skype from my XP laptop using a bluetooth 
headset, accessing the household LAN via an 802.11g radio link.  Hands 
free and portable.  Good for 'type as you talk' situations.

Skype is a quick download and seems to work with most headsets, so as a 
starting point, maybe try skype, and if your line can deliver good 
enough performance, feel free to invest in other kit if you prefer.

Cheers, J/.
John Beardmore, MSc EDM (Open), B.A. Chem (Oxon), CMIOSH, AIEMA, MEI
Managing Director, T4 Sustainability Limited. http://www.T4sLtd.co.uk/
Carbon Trust Consultant: Energy Audit, Carbon Footprint, Design Advice
Energy Efficiency Accreditation Scheme, (EEAS), Registered Assessor
Phone: 0845 4561332   Mobile: 07785 563116   Skype: t4sustainability

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