Thursday, January 29, 2009

Synching with Skylook

Suppose that your company has several thousand active Outlook accounts. Synching up one contact at a time would be out of the question, but using the SkySync Wizard makes this contact mapping possible. SkySync launches automatically during the Skylook setup, but if you want to update your contact links subsequently, choose Tools>SkySync to open the SkySync Wizard and select Search the Global Skype Network for More Matching Skype Users. SkySync goes through all your Outlook contacts and searches for possible matches on the Skype network. Skylook presents possible matches. For each potential match, Skylook asks you whether you want them linked. Suddenly you see that good old Bob has a Skype account, and SkySync links it to Bob’s contact information in your Outlook program. After your Outlook Contacts link up with Skype, simply select Bob from your contacts in Outlook and skype him via the Skylook plugin. To start a new Skype conversation with Bob, follow these simple steps:
  1. Select your Outlook Contact name.
  2. Click Skype Voice Call in the Skylook toolbar. Skylook double-checks your intentions and asks whether you really want to call your contact.
  3. If you really want to have a Skype conversation, click OK.
  4. Start talking!

Using SkySync Wizard

Synchronizing contacts manually through the SkySync Wizard lets you scroll through contacts and decide whether to sync each one individually. However, if you want to synchronize a specific Outlook contact on the fly, here is a little shortcut:
  1. Select a name in your Outlook Contacts list. The selected name appears in your Skylook toolbar between the Skype Phone Call button and the Help button.
  2. Click the arrow next to the Outlook contact that now appears in the Skylook toolbar and choose Link This Outlook Contact to a Skype Contact from the drop-down menu, as shown in.
  3. Follow the screen prompts (as in Steps 5–8 in previous post) to synchronize the contact with the list of Skype contacts.
  4. Click Finish.
Skylook can expedite contact linking between Skype and Outlook with its SkySync feature. Rather than connect one user at a time, SkySync searches through your Outlook address book and maps it to your Skype Contacts list by linking any matches that it finds. You can even use the SkySync Wizard, to run a thorough search of the global Skype network.

Skype and Outlook in Synchronization

Skylook has some slick synchronization tools to pull Skype contacts into Outlook and to roam through Outlook contacts to find Skype users. At times, Skylook walks you through individual connections, as it does when you create a new appointment. Veteran Outlook users make (and have made) hundreds of appointments in Outlook. When you add Skylook to Outlook, the appointment screen takes on a new Skylook toolbar, on which you can conveniently make calls on the spot and then schedule your Outlook appointments all from a single window.
Before you can initiate a Skype call within Outlook, you must synchronize your Outlook contacts with your Skype contacts. Follow these steps to synchronize contacts manually:

1. Find the small, triangular notch to the right of the orange Skylook Tools icon on the Skylook toolbar.

When you click this “notch,” the Skylook Options and Other Functions menu appears.
2. Select SkySync (Synchronize/Import Contacts) to open the SkySync Wizard. The SkySync Wizard opens a SkySync Summary window.

3. Select Review Matches and/or Link Contacts Manually. You also have the choice to let SkySync search the entire global Skype network to find matches between your Skype contacts and Outlook contacts. It takes a few minutes to perform this search.

4. SkySync Wizard asks whether you want to update Outlook contact information from Skype profiles. Click Yes; then click Next. Skype profiles sometimes have extra contact information such as phone numbers that can be added to an Outlook account.

5. Select an Outlook Contact from the list that the SkySync Wizard generates.
The Review SkySync Recommendations window offers several choices:
  • Link: Connects a particular Skype contact with the Outlook contact selected.
  • Unlink: Severs Skype from the selected contact.
  • View Diffs (differences): Lets you see the profile details of each account.
  • Update: Updates your Outlook account with the latest profile details.
  • Don’t Update: Leaves each profile unchanged. Sometimes Skype profiles are deliberately different from Outlook profiles. One may be business related; the other may be personal.

6. Click Link. When you click the Link button, a window opens and the SkySync Wizard asks you to enter the Skype User ID (Skype refers to this as your Skype Name; Skylook calls it your Skype User ID) of your Outlook contact in the box. If you don’t know the ID, Skylook searches for it when you click Next.

7. Select a name from your list of Skype Contacts generated by SkySync.

8. If you still don’t see your Skype contact, click Next.
A search screen opens. You can add some search details, including:
  • Full Name
  • Email Address: Skype Profiles never reveal email addresses, but you can still search for a contact if you already know the email address and it is included in your friend’s Skype profile.
  • Skype User ID: You can enter a portion of the Skype User ID if you don’t remember the entire name.
Click Next and select the Skype User ID from the list the SkySync Wizard generates.

9. Click Finish. Your Outlook contact is in sync with Skype.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Skype toolbar too crowded?

If you can’t find your orange Skylook icon, you have too many words on your Skylook toolbar. Here’s how to get rid of them.
  1. Move your mouse to the far right end of the toolbar where you see a small, triangular notch; click the notch to open your toolbar options.
  2. Choose Tools>Options. A Skylook Options window opens.
  3. Click the Toolbar tab and select the first check box, Hide Captions.
  4. For the Show Contact Presence Buttons in the Toolbar option, set the number to 3 (see the figure).

Plugging in and setting up Skylook

You can get the Skylook plugin to use with your Outlook program by doing the following:
  1. Install Skype 1.2 or later, and install Outlook 2000 or later. Skylook is not an independent program; it is a plugin. You need to have both Skype and Outlook properly installed before downloading and installing Skylook.
  2. Quit Outlook. Outlook must be closed in order for Skylook to be installed. Skype can remain open.
  3. On the Internet, navigate to
  4. Click Download. You are prompted to choose a place to save the Skylook installer file. Click Save to place the file in a default folder on your hard drive. You can choose any location, as long as you can locate the file on a program such as the Windows Explorer. Jot down the path to the folder where you save the Skylook installer file. The basic Skylook account is free. Additional features require a small incremental fee.
  5. Launch the Skylook install wizard by choosing Start>All Programs> Accessories>Windows Explorer; then, navigate to the installer file you just saved and double-click the file.
  6. To install Skylook, you must accept the terms of the End User License Agreement. Click I Accept the Terms in the License Agreement and then click Next. Before proceeding with the installation, make sure that you close the Microsoft Outlook application if it is running. The Skylook installer program does some behind-the-scenes hocus pocus so that the next time you open Outlook, Skylook kicks into action and prompts you with a series of setup questions.
  7. When you finish the Skylook installation, launch Outlook. Magically, Skylook is integrated into Outlook, but it still needs some configuration. The Skype security screen (shown in Figure appears on your desktop. This same screen appears when any program that wants to use Skype opens. To continue, you must officially introduce the two programs and agree to let Skylook and Skype work together.
  8. If you use Outlook all the time, select the Allow This Program to Use Skype option and click OK. Choosing this option eliminates the security reminder every time you launch Outlook, which is a good idea if you’re a daily Outlook user.
  9. The Skylook setup wizard opens automatically. Follow the prompts to configure Skylook and get a feel for how Skylook works at the same time.

You may be asked to answer questions relating to the following:
  • Whether to synchronize your Outlook contacts with your Skype contacts. We show you how to do so in the next section.
  • Whether you want Skylook to record your conversation (either one or both sides).
  • Whether you want Skylook to act as your answering machine. If you do, you can record a personalized greeting, set Skylook to automatically answer when the Skype status is Away, Not Available, or Do Not Disturb, and specify how many seconds to wait before answering.

You have the option to change any of these settings after the program is fully installed.
To use the call recording feature of Skylook, you need to have Windows Media Player 9 or later installed. Download Media Player at downloads.
Skylook binds Skype and Outlook tightly together. You don’t sense that two separate programs are running at the same time. You see one interface, one program to open, and one environment in which to store and send messages. But Skype and Outlook are, in fact, two separate pieces of software. To truly have them work together, you need to give them a little help connecting.

What do you get when you cross Skype with Outlook?

Skype is a communications engine that enables you to talk, write, watch video images, listen, and chat instantly with a variety of contacts. When you use Skype, you can reach skypers, nonskypers, and text messagers, all from one program. Outlook is also a communications engine that helps you manage communications with your contacts as well as information about your activities and your schedule. With Outlook, you compose, receive, and archive emails, make appointments, schedule your time, and share your calendars and folders. Both Skype and Outlook are amazing programs that offer access to a broad circle of friends, associates, and family. So it stands to reason that both programs work with much of the same information (contact information, that is).
Consider the following strengths of each program:
  • Skype lets you connect with your contacts by exchanging information through the Web and extends that outreach with sound (voice calls), sight (video), live text messaging, and file transfer.
  • Outlook connects you with your contacts by moving information around through various networks, extends its reach to organizing and scheduling your activities, and even gives you a way to send information to hundreds (or thousands) of people at one time.
Without any integration between the contact information stored in Skype and Outlook, you can quickly get caught up in switching back and forth between the two programs to replicate and update the same information in each one. This inefficient jockeying is the quintessential example of electronic pencil pushing at its worst. So to alleviate the annoying repetition and duplication, Skylook (a software plugin used with Outlook) was born.

Bridging Skype with Your Outlook Contacts

Skype is all about connecting with people. And when you use SkypeOut, you are only a click away from making that connection. But here’s a problem: All the information about the people you want to connect with (your contacts) may live on a separate island known as Outlook. Wouldn’t it be nice if Skype could just take a peek at your Outlook contacts, see their phone numbers, and skype out to them by clicking on their phone numbers from within Skype? Starting with Skype version 2.5 and later, you can make this happen by following two simple steps:
  1. Open both your Microsoft Outlook program and Skype (on Windows) so that the two programs are running at the same time.
  2. Choose View>View Outlook Contacts from the Skype menu. Don’t confuse the Outlook program with Outlook Express. Skype and Outlook work together very happily, but you won’t get Outlook Express to share information with Skype.

Making it short and sweet with SMS messaging

The blossoming of technologies for communication shows that people crave constant contact with each other. Nowhere is this trend more evident than in the popularity of text messaging, which is a communication method that teenagers use frequently because it’s fun, easy, and (perhaps) even addictive. Many people find that text messaging is practical, even though it has these two drawbacks:
  • Limited screen size for message viewing: Any text message sent must be viewable from a tiny cell phone screen.
  • Tedious and time-consuming creation: Typing a message — beyond a short sentence or two — takes more patience and time than most people (especially teenagers) are willing to invest.
To help work around these text messaging limitations, a communications standard — the Short Message System, or SMS messaging — exists for a variety of mobile phones and other devices such as Pocket PCs and GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) phones. And when you’re running Skype, the circle of devices offering SMS text messaging capability even includes your desktop computer.
Sending SMS messages via Skype involves these simple steps:
  1. In your Skype menu, choose Tools>Send SMS Message. A window pops up, prompting you to select the recipients you want to receive your message. Recipients need not be Skype Names. You can also enter phone numbers.
  2. Add the Skype Names or phone numbers of your message recipients and click OK. An SMS message window appears.
  3. Enter your text message in the Skype SMS window (see Figure) and click the Send SMS button.
The Skype Names or phone numbers of the recipient(s) appear in the title bar of the Skype SMS window.
That’s all there is to sending the text message with Skype, but here are some points to keep in mind about this service:
  • SMS messaging has a cost attached: When you use SMS messaging, you pay a small fee that’s based on two things: the length of your message and the number of recipients getting the message.
  • Charges apply only to messages delivered within 24 hours: When you send a message, you are charged only if the message reaches the person within 24 hours. If the recipient’s GSM phone battery is dead or his or her phone is off, you get a refund.
  • Watching your message length is a good idea: The maximum size for any SMS message is 160 characters. So if you send a message with 167 characters, it is split into two SMS messages with 160 characters in the first and 7 in the second. In this situation, you are sending two messages instead of one and you’ll be charged accordingly.