Haha. I'm the biggest geek. I'll get to the point now because you'll probably stop reading after this. I've made it so that when we make a phone call on either of our cordless phones or when a call comes in, it automatically fades the music/TV/whatever volume down and when the call ends, it fades it back up again. Why? BECAUSE I CAN.
I've used Asterisk for this. That's the software I was paid to set up a few years ago to create a joint phone exchange between London and Shanghai. I resisted the temptation to install it at home for a long time because I already had a VoIP phone and they're prone to problems enough as it is. Having said that, until our router died, the phone was actually very reliable. Rather than replace the router, I set up this PC as the router and that did lead to the occasional breakage but I've since ironed out some of the glitches so it has been behaving a bit better lately. Since the phone now relies on the PC regardless, I figured there'd be little harm in adding Asterisk to the mix. Asterisk itself is pretty solid, it's just things like flaky graphics drivers that tend to cause problems.
I didn't install Asterisk just to do this nifty volume thing though. I'm not that bad. (-; Marna recently acquired a new toy. I say acquired
because I'm the one who signed up for it. It's a Nokia E71
on a contract from 3 for £20 a month. The phone has every bell and whistle you can think of and the contract allows free unlimited Skype-to-Skype calls. I think this is an excellent deal but while Skype is very popular these days, I think there are relatively few people who use it as a conventional phone and so I suspect that most people won't take advantage of it for practical reasons. I, for one, don't like being chained to my PC by a headset. I can do better than that though. Skype has traditionally been quite a closed system and I haven't been its biggest fan for that reason but lately, it's started to open up a bit. Skype themselves are introducing Skype for SIP and Digium are introducing Skype for Asterisk. These are aimed at businesses though and will probably cost a packet. In the free world, there is something called Skypiax. This allows Asterisk to integrate with the regular Skype client. It's a bit clunky but I have got it working here. That means, Marna can call our regular phone for free and vice-versa. In fact, anyone on Skype can call us for free. One annoyance is that Skype has to be started before Asterisk but a little tinkering with the code will fix that.