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Skype Hacks

Book Description

If you've heard about Skype--and who hasn't with all the recent media attention devoted to internet telephone services--chances are you've been mighty tempted to try it out. Skype Hacks tells you what all the Skype hype is about, explains the basics, and shows you more than 100 clever tips and tricks for tweaking and tuning Skype to make it do just what you want and more.

Millions of people (48 million and counting, in fact) have opted for Skype, which uses peer-to-peer (P2P) technology to turn any PC, Mac, or Pocket PC into a telephone. Skype offers free calls between computers and extremely cheap calls to "old-fashioned" phone numbers (landlines and mobile phones). The sound quality is excellent, and end-to-end encryption means the connection is private and secure.

But if you really know what you're doing, Skype can accomplish a whole lot more than that. Software developer and author Andrew Sheppard recently converted his entire house to Skype and uses it for all his personal and business calls, even when he's traveling. In Skype Hacks, he shows you how to do things with the technology that even the engineers at Skype probably never intended.

Skype Hacks shows you how to:

  • Get started with Skype

  • Figure out how much money you're saving and maximize your savings

  • Cut the ties to your old phone company

  • Optimize your Skype configuration

  • Integrate Skype with desktop tools like Microsoft Office and your web browser

  • Set up a Skype-based call center

  • The book offers ideas for creating and organizing a contacts list, using Skype to transfer files, taking advantage of chat and voicemail capabilities, turning a PDA into a mobile phone, and automating Skype for even greater efficiency. So whether you'd simply like to give Skype a trial run, you want new Skype ring tones and fun on-hold music, or you're considering wiring your home with Skype to get rid of "regular" phone service altogether, Skype Hacks is your ideal guide.

    Table of Contents

    1. Skype Hacks
      1. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
      2. A Note Regarding Supplemental Files
      3. Credits
        1. About the Author
        2. Contributors and Reviewers
        3. Acknowledgments
      4. Preface
        1. Why Skype Hacks?
        2. How This Book Is Organized
        3. Financial Exchange (FX) Rate
        4. Skype Software Versions
        5. Conventions Used in This Book
        6. Using Code Examples
        7. How to Contact Us
          1. Got a Hack?
        8. Safari® Enabled
      5. 1. Start Using Skype
        1. 1.1. Hacks 1–12: Introduction
          1. 1.1.1. What Is Skype?
        2. Hack #1. Make Your First Skype Call
        3. Hack #2. Chat Using Skype
        4. Hack #3. Set Up and Make a Conference Call
        5. Hack #4. Try SkypeOut, Risk Free
        6. Hack #5. Try SkypeIn, Risk Free
        7. Hack #6. Try Skype Voicemail, Risk Free
        8. Hack #7. Roam the World with Skype Zones
        9. Hack #8. Transfer a File Using Skype
        10. Hack #9. Make Toll-Free Calls
        11. Hack #10. Forward Calls
        12. Hack #11. Dial Like a Wizard
          1. 1.12.1. Skype Dialing Wizard
          2. 1.12.2. Skype Widget
        13. Hack #12. Troubleshoot Skype
          1. 1.13.1. Online Information and Help
          2. 1.13.2. Troubleshoot
            1. 1.13.2.1. General.
            2. 1.13.2.2. Windows.
            3. 1.13.2.3. Linux.
      6. 2. Save Money with Skype
        1. 2.1. Hacks 13–24: Introduction
        2. Hack #13. Back-of-the-Envelope Estimate of Skype Savings
          1. 2.2.1. Estimate Your Cost-of-Call Savings
          2. 2.2.2. Estimate Your Fixed Charges and Taxes Savings
          3. 2.2.3. Estimate Your Total Savings
          4. 2.2.4. Making Adjustments and Decisions
          5. 2.2.5. See Also
        3. Hack #14. Avoid Falling Foul of the Taxman
          1. 2.3.1. U.S. Sales and Use Tax
          2. 2.3.2. European VAT
            1. 2.3.2.1. Claim back VAT.
        4. Hack #15. Avoid Problems Paying for Services
          1. 2.4.1. Payment Methods
          2. 2.4.2. Avoid Problems
            1. 2.4.2.1. Verification.
            2. 2.4.2.2. One, and only one, Skype account per payment account.
            3. 2.4.2.3. Initial ₠10 limit.
            4. 2.4.2.4. No transfer of credits.
            5. 2.4.2.5. Payments from anonymous proxies will be rejected.
            6. 2.4.2.6. Delays.
            7. 2.4.2.7. Minimize money transfer fees.
            8. 2.4.2.8. Exchange rate fees.
            9. 2.4.2.9. VAT.
        5. Hack #16. Claim Your Money Back
          1. 2.5.1. The No-Quibble Refund
          2. 2.5.2. The Quibble Refund
          3. 2.5.3. Requesting a Charge Back
        6. Hack #17. Avoid Higher SkypeOut Rates
          1. 2.6.1. Higher-Rate Avoidance Strategies
        7. Hack #18. Avoid Additional Mobile Phone Charges
        8. Hack #19. Make Money with Skype
          1. 2.8.1. Skype Points
        9. Hack #20. Make Money with the Skype API
        10. Hack #21. Avoid Forfeiting SkypeOut Credits
        11. Hack #22. Get the Best Deal for VoIP Telephony
        12. Hack #23. Round Call Time to Your Advantage
          1. 2.12.1. Round Calls and Save Money
        13. Hack #24. Manage Bandwidth Costs
          1. 2.13.1. Monitoring
          2. 2.13.2. Metering
            1. 2.13.2.1. Run Skype only when needed.
            2. 2.13.2.2. Run Skype for only a limited part of the day.
            3. 2.13.2.3. Ration bandwidth as part of a QoS plan.
      7. 3. Configure Skype
        1. 3.1. Hacks 25–42: Introduction
          1. 3.1.1. Internet Connections
          2. 3.1.2. Ways to Configure Skype
          3. 3.1.3. Connecting Hardware to Your Computer
          4. 3.1.4. Setting the Sound Devices Used by Skype
          5. 3.1.5. Safely Cutting Your Phone Lines
        2. Hack #25. Test Your Sound System
        3. Hack #26. Test Call Sound Quality (echo123)
          1. 3.3.1. Fix Sound-Quality Problems
        4. Hack #27. Choose and Configure a Microphone and Speakers
        5. Hack #28. Choose and Configure a USB Handset or Headset
        6. Hack #29. Choose and Configure a Bluetooth Headset
          1. 3.6.1. See Also
        7. Hack #30. Configure Skype to Use Regular Phones
        8. Hack #31. Configure Skype on a Laptop
          1. 3.8.1. Copy Your Skype Data
          2. 3.8.2. Echo and Sound Quality
          3. 3.8.3. Internet Connection
          4. 3.8.4. Avoid Being a Super Node
        9. Hack #32. Configure Skype on a Pocket PC
          1. 3.9.1. WiFi Versus Bluetooth
          2. 3.9.2. Using Your Pocket PC as a Mobile Phone
          3. 3.9.3. Hacking the Hack
        10. Hack #33. Test Your Internet Connection Bandwidth
          1. 3.10.1. Skype's Bandwidth Needs
          2. 3.10.2. Measure Your Connection Bandwidth
        11. Hack #34. Test Your Internet Connection Latency
          1. 3.11.1. Skype's Latency Needs
          2. 3.11.2. Measure Your Connection Latency
        12. Hack #35. Build a Skype Server
          1. 3.12.1. Hacking the Hack
        13. Hack #36. Make Skype Work with Personal Firewalls
          1. 3.13.1. See Also
        14. Hack #37. Set Up Multiple Phone Lines
          1. 3.14.1. Multiple Machines
          2. 3.14.2. Multiple Instances of Skype on the Same Machine
          3. 3.14.3. Multiple Virtual Machines
        15. Hack #38. Test Your Connection for Skype Friendliness
        16. Hack #39. Eliminate Echo and Noise
          1. 3.16.1. See Also
        17. Hack #40. Reset Your Skype Configuration
          1. 3.17.1. Hacking the Hack
        18. Hack #41. Run Skype Based on Time of Day
        19. Hack #42. Schedule When Skype Runs the Mac Way
      8. 4. Tweak and Tune Skype
        1. 4.1. Hacks 43–51: Introduction
        2. Hack #43. Make Calls from Your Web Browser
          1. 4.2.1. skype:
          2. 4.2.2. callto://
          3. 4.2.3. Skype Toolbar
        3. Hack #44. Accelerate Skype Using Your Keyboard
          1. 4.3.1. Hacking the Hack
        4. Hack #45. Tweak Skype by Editing config.xml
          1. 4.4.1. config.xml Deconstructed
          2. 4.4.2. Editing config.xml
          3. 4.4.3. Tweaks
            1. 4.4.3.1. config.xml tweaks.
            2. 4.4.3.2. shared.xml tweaks.
          4. 4.4.4. See Also
        5. Hack #46. Run Skype from the Command Line
          1. 4.5.1. Windows
          2. 4.5.2. Linux
        6. Hack #47. Display the Technical Details of a Call
        7. Hack #48. Remove Unused Names from the Login List
        8. Hack #49. Add Fast-Dial Shortcuts to Your Menu or Desktop
          1. 4.8.1. Menu Shortcuts
          2. 4.8.2. Desktop Shortcuts
        9. Hack #50. Fix Windows Wireless
          1. 4.9.1. See Also
        10. Hack #51. Fix Badly Behaving Routers
          1. 4.10.1. See Also
      9. 5. Skype at Work
        1. 5.1. Hacks 52–59: Introduction
        2. Hack #52. Automate Skype Installation
          1. 5.2.1. Hacking the Hack
          2. 5.2.2. See Also
        3. Hack #53. Set Up a Toll-Free Number for SkypeIn
        4. Hack #54. Set Up a Call Center
          1. 5.4.1. Hacking the Hack
        5. Hack #55. Integrate Skype with Microsoft Office
          1. 5.5.1. Skype Toolbar for Outlook
          2. 5.5.2. Importing Outlook Contacts
          3. 5.5.3. Inserting callto:// and skype: Links in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Documents
            1. 5.5.3.1. Word.
            2. 5.5.3.2. Excel.
            3. 5.5.3.3. PowerPoint.
          4. 5.5.4. Adding a Skype Me Button to a Web Page or to Your Outlook Email Signature
          5. 5.5.5. See Also
        6. Hack #56. Record and Archive Conversations
          1. 5.6.1. Hacking the Hack
        7. Hack #57. Transfer Files Among Diverse Machines
          1. 5.7.1. See Also
        8. Hack #58. Disable Skype File Transfer
          1. 5.8.1. Hacking the Hack
        9. Hack #59. Improve Service Quality
          1. 5.9.1. Hacking the Hack
      10. 6. Mobile Skype
        1. 6.1. Hacks 60–64: Introduction
        2. Hack #60. Make Cheap Long-Distance or International Calls from Your Mobile Phone
          1. 6.2.1. Hacking the Hack
          2. 6.2.2. See Also
        3. Hack #61. Communicate Using Skype, Even When Bandwidth Is Low
          1. 6.3.1. Hacking the Hack
        4. Hack #62. Give Your Mobile Phone an International Dial-In Number
          1. 6.4.1. See Also
        5. Hack #63. Run Skype from a USB Memory Stick
          1. 6.5.1. Loading Skype onto a USB Stick
          2. 6.5.2. Installing, Configuring, and Running Skype
          3. 6.5.3. Cleaning Up
          4. 6.5.4. See Also
        6. Hack #64. Make Free Calls While on the Move
          1. 6.6.1. Skype WiFi Program
          2. 6.6.2. Hotspots
          3. 6.6.3. Use Someone Else's Machine
          4. 6.6.4. Carry Skype with You
      11. 7. Skype Fun and Play
        1. 7.1. Hacks 65–69: Introduction
        2. Hack #65. Fun with Ringtones
          1. 7.2.1. Use Windows Recorder
          2. 7.2.2. Find Free .wav Files to Use as Skype Ringtones
          3. 7.2.3. Convert Ringtones from Other Formats to .wav
        3. Hack #66. Band Together with Skype
        4. Hack #67. Stop Incoming Calls from Interrupting Game Play
          1. 7.4.1. See Also
        5. Hack #68. Learn to Speak a Foreign Language
        6. Hack #69. Build Skype Communities
          1. 7.6.1. Hacking the Hack
      12. 8. Skype Chat and Voicemail
        1. 8.1. Hacks 70–73: Introduction
        2. Hack #70. Log Chat Sessions Outside of Skype
        3. Hack #71. Automatically Forward Voicemail
        4. Hack #72. Listen to Voicemail Using a USB Handset
          1. 8.4.1. Hacking the Hack
        5. Hack #73. Run Commands Remotely Using Chat
      13. 9. Security and Privacy
        1. 9.1. Hacks 74–78: Introduction
        2. Hack #74. Manage Your Skype Privacy Settings
        3. Hack #75. Scan Files Received via Skype for Viruses
          1. 9.3.1. Hacking the Hack
            1. 9.3.1.1. Windows (VBScript, AVG Free Edition).
            2. 9.3.1.2. Linux (Python, Clam AntiVirus).
            3. 9.3.1.3. Mac OS X (AppleScript, Clam AntiVirus).
        4. Hack #76. Manage (or Delete) Your Skype Public Profile
          1. 9.4.1. Manage Your Profile
          2. 9.4.2. Delete Your Profile
          3. 9.4.3. Hacking the Hack (Windows Only)
        5. Hack #77. Avoid Skype "Spammers"
          1. 9.5.1. Hacking the Hack (Windows Only)
          2. 9.5.2. See Also
        6. Hack #78. Choose the Right Username to Avoid Being Harassed
          1. 9.6.1. See Also
      14. 10. Quirks, Gotchas, and Workarounds
        1. 10.1. Hacks 79–85: Introduction
        2. Hack #79. Avoid Problems with Interactive Telephone Services
        3. Hack #80. Find a Fax Alternative
          1. 10.3.1. Keep Your Fax Machine
          2. 10.3.2. Use Skype File Transfer Instead
          3. 10.3.3. Online Fax Services
          4. 10.3.4. Consider Alternative VoIP Providers
        4. Hack #81. Workarounds for 911 Emergency Service
          1. 10.4.1. 911—You May Have It by Default
          2. 10.4.2. Set Up a "911-like" Service
          3. 10.4.3. Test Your Emergency Phone Number
          4. 10.4.4. Use a Mobile Phone As a Backup
          5. 10.4.5. Location
        5. Hack #82. Workarounds for 411 Directory Assistance
        6. Hack #83. Workarounds for Home Alarm System Monitoring
        7. Hack #84. Transfer Folders, Not Just Individual Files
          1. 10.7.1. Transferring Folders Among Windows Machines
          2. 10.7.2. Transferring Folders Among Linux Machines
          3. 10.7.3. Transferring Folders Among Mac OS X Machines
          4. 10.7.4. Transferring Folders Among Diverse Machines
        8. Hack #85. Dial with More Than Just Digits
          1. 10.8.1. Hacking the Hack
      15. 11. Skype Add-Ons and Tools
        1. 11.1. Hacks 86–90: Introduction
          1. 11.1.1. Skype Add-Ons
            1. 11.1.1.1. Hardware add-ons.
            2. 11.1.1.2. Software add-ons.
          2. 11.1.2. Software Add-On Showcase
        2. Hack #86. Control Skype Using Spoken Commands
          1. 11.2.1. Hacking the Hack
        3. Hack #87. Add Video Conferencing to Skype
          1. 11.3.1. Festoon
          2. 11.3.2. Spontania Video4IM
          3. 11.3.3. Side-by-Side Comparison
          4. 11.3.4. In the Author's Opinion
        4. Hack #88. Show Your Online Status in a Web Page
          1. 11.4.1. Hacking the Hack
        5. Hack #89. Send Skype Chat Directly from Your Browser
          1. 11.5.1. Hacking the Hack
        6. Hack #90. Manage Add-On Access Control
          1. 11.6.1. Understand Add-On Access Control
            1. 11.6.1.1. Windows and Mac OS X.
            2. 11.6.1.2. Linux.
          2. 11.6.2. Manage Add-On Access Control
            1. 11.6.2.1. Windows.
            2. 11.6.2.2. Linux and Mac OS X.
      16. 12. Automate Skype
        1. 12.1. Hacks 91–100: Introduction
          1. 12.1.1. The Skype API
          2. 12.1.2. Windows Scripting
          3. 12.1.3. Linux Scripting
          4. 12.1.4. Mac OS X Scripting
        2. Hack #91. Hot-Switch Among Sound Devices
          1. 12.2.1. Windows
            1. 12.2.1.1. Script Skype's GUI.
            2. 12.2.1.2. Script Skype's API.
          2. 12.2.2. Linux
          3. 12.2.3. Mac OS X
            1. 12.2.3.1. Script Skype's GUI.
            2. 12.2.3.2. Script Skype's API.
        3. Hack #92. Automate Chat
        4. Hack #93. Automate Your Interactions with Telephone Systems
        5. Hack #94. Schedule Calls and Chat Using iCal on the Mac
          1. 12.5.1. Hacking the Hack
        6. Hack #95. Send Email and SMS Notification of New Voicemail
          1. 12.6.1. Windows
          2. 12.6.2. Mac OS X
        7. Hack #96. Convert Your Friends List to Fast-Dial Shortcuts
        8. Hack #97. Make Chat Talk Out Loud
          1. 12.8.1. See Also
        9. Hack #98. Erase a Skype User Account
          1. 12.9.1. erase_profile_from_network.vbs.
          2. 12.9.2. erase_vm_history.vbs.
          3. 12.9.3. erase_chat_history.vbs.
          4. 12.9.4. erase_call_history.vbs.
          5. 12.9.5. erase_folders_and_files.vbs.
        10. Hack #99. Spy on Skype API Messages
          1. 12.10.1. Windows
          2. 12.10.2. Linux
        11. Hack #100. Disable the Skype API
          1. 12.11.1. Hacking the Hack
      17. About the Author
      18. Colophon
      19. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly