The chat-like interface makes Skype an easy program to pick up and use. (Credit: CNET Networks)

One of the best choices for online telephony for Mac just got better. The latest Skype update pushes the program to version 2.6, adding a call transfer feature and some new chat options so you can stay in touch with friends and family around the world. Skype has always been one of my favorite apps for its familiar chat-like interface and the ability to talk to users around the world for free (provided they're also using Skype). For a little extra money, you can sign up with Skype and make calls to anyone in the world (including land lines) at a fraction of the price of regular long distance. Got a friend in another country? Skype might be just the solution you're looking for.

In other Mac-related news, the MacBook (lower-end Mac laptop) line just got an upgrade from Apple. You may have read my recent blog entry about waiting a little bit longer to purchase a Mac laptop, and clearly I was right, but only to a degree. The big change I was talking about in that post was the rumor of backlit LED displays. Though the new MacBooks don't sport the "greener" screens, there's plenty of speculation that Apple might be making that a feature of the higher end MacBook Pro laptops due out later this year. Unfortunately, we'll just have to wait and see.

These new MacBooks definitely got a significant upgrade worthy of a look with three levels of power--all available today at Apple. The entry-level MacBook ($1,099) comes with a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 1GB of RAM, an 80GB hard drive, and a Combo CD drive. The second level MacBook ($1,299) ups the ante with a 2.16 Intel Core 2 Duo processor, a 120GB hard drive, and a double-layer SuperDrive. The top-end black MacBook ($1,499) offers the same 2.16 Intel Core 2 Duo processor, but upgrades to a 160GB hard drive.

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.