Now that Skype has been available for about a year, we decided it was time to give it a try. For those who\u2019ve been lost in the Himalayas for the past year, Skype is a \u201cfree\u201d point-to-point voice-over-the-Internet application. We put \u201cfree\u201d in quotes because, to date, the software is still labeled as a beta version, and the company has not disclosed what the ultimate pricing might be.Over the years, we\u2019ve never been very impressed with Internet-based PC telephony. It sometimes works, but the quality of the calls usually leaves something to be desired. Nevertheless, our discussion last week concerning ShoreTel\u2019s \u201chi-fi\u201d telephony jogged our memory that Skype promised \u201cbetter than corded\u201d sound. So we decided to take it for a test drive.Downloading and installing the application was painless. But that\u2019s true for most applications. However, the \u201cproof in the pudding\u201d was going to be whether Skype could successfully negotiate our cable\/DSL routers and the intrinsic network address translation issues. Every other time we tried a similar application, this is where the process fell apart.To our amazement, the software not only worked; it worked the first time and the user interface was quite intuitive. Both ends were behind routers, and Larry\u2019s end even was going over his home 802.11 wireless network. The fidelity of the sound was indeed higher fidelity than normal \u201ccorded\u201d telephony. And the delay - usually a most annoying factor - was actually less than with a typical cellular phone call.In spite of a few items that we wished had performed somewhat differently, it\u2019s still two \u201cthumbs up\u201d from our initial testing. Next time we\u2019ll dig a bit more deeply.