The tech helper: Skype tips and tricks (Feature)
By Jay Dougherty Oct 10, 2010, 3:06 GMT
Washington - Millions of people the world over rely on Skype to place internet-based telephone calls to friends and colleagues at little or no cost. But the more you use Skype, the more you begin to wonder what else it might be able to do - and how to do it.
Is there, for example, a way to use Skype from your mobile phone? And can you record the phone conversations you have in Skype? Read on to find out.
Q: Can I use Skype on my mobile phone?
A: For some time now, mobile phone and smartphone users have been clamouring for an app that allows them to place Skype calls directly from their phones. And, until recently, only third-party vendors have delivered products. While you can still find products online that will let you place a Skype call directly from your mobile phone, most of these products are disappointing.
The good news is that Skype itself has started to release smartphone apps that let you place calls both to other Skype users and to regular phones right from your mobile device.
Skype for iPhone and iPod Touch, for instance, is available now. Call quality is generally good. The catch is that you will need have a phone equipped with WiFi or 3G to use it.
However, if you can satisfy that requirement and you also have a SkypeOut number, which lets you place calls to traditional phones as well as to other Skype users, you'll have yet another telephony option in the palm of your hand.
To find out whether yours is supported, you can use your phone to visit http://www.skype.com/m.
Q: I make regular calls to my family with Skype, and I'd like to keep a record of the calls for memory. Is there a way to record the calls?
A: Yes, but you'll need to rely upon a third-party tool because there's no built-in conversation recorder in Skype. Perhaps the ultimate voice and video recorder for Skype is Pamela (http://www.pamela.biz), which integrates well with Skype and provides a fairly hands-free way to record all of the interactions you have via Skype.
There's a free version of Pamela, but it limits you to 15 minutes of recording time per call. The paid version, which costs about 15 dollars, removes the limitations.
There are alternatives to Pamela, including the free Hot Recorder (http://www.hotrecorder.com) and MX Skype Recorder (http://www.skyperec.com).
It's important to note that you should always inform your calling partner about any recording you make of a session. Pamela, by default, will send out an audible message informing everyone on the line that the call is being recorded.
Q: There are times during a Skype call that I'd like to be able to send someone a link to a website. Is there an easy way to do this?
A: Yes, Skype has a built-in chat facility that lets you send text messages - including links - during the course of a call. It's easy to miss, though, if you've never used it.
You can access Skype chat a couple of ways. First, from your Contact list, simply right-click the name of the person you wish to chat with, and select Send IM from the context-sensitive menu.
If you're already in a Skype conversation, the chat area is at the bottom of the conversation status window. There's a blue, circular icon with a dialog balloon in it that signifies the chat area.
Q: Is there a way that I can turn phone numbers I see in my browser into clickable links that Skype will call?
A: Install the latest version of Skype, and you'll have the option to convert phone numbers on web pages into clickable links. With the feature activated, merely clicking on a phone number on a web page will initiate a Skype call to that number.
If the feature is not activated on your computer, you can turn it on from within Skype by opening the Tools menu and selecting Options.
From the resulting Options dialog box, select Advanced from the left-hand panel, and select the check box labeled 'Use Skype to call callto links on the web.' If that doesn't work, consider using the third-party tool Callto Linkifier (http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/6111).
Q: How do I get my webcam to work with Skype?
A: Skype works automatically with most webcams on the market. But if yours is not automatically recognized, there are steps you can take to troubleshoot the problem.
First, make sure that your webcam is plugged in and that you have downloaded and installed the latest drivers for the camera. Visit the manufacturer's website to get the drivers. Once all the drivers are installed, ensure that your webcam works on its own by using the webcam software that came with the product.
Finally, open Skype on your computer, and from the Tools menu, select Options. From within the Options dialog box, select 'Video settings' in the left-hand panel. You should then see a live video image that you can adjust to taste by selecting the Webcam Settings button.
--- Have a tech question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about US Technology