Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Alternatives to personalise Skype shop

Instead of buying pictures and ringtones from the Skype shop, you can download free pictures and ringtones from the web, or you can make your own. The latter option is the ultimate in personalization!
Here are some suggestions for personalizing your Skype softphone:

􀁕 Free pictures and ringtones: Enter “Free Skype (pictures OR sounds OR ringtones)” into any search engine and you are sure to get a lot of useful hits. But to get you started, I’m going to suggest a few websites. For free Skype-compatible pictures and ringtones try: www.themeskype.com, gallery.mobile9.com/c/wavringtones/ 1, and www.voipfaq.net.

􀁕 Make your own pictures: You can make your own picture for use with Skype using any application that can make, or convert, pictures to .png, .jpg, or .bmp formats. Perhaps the simplest way to do this is to use Microsoft Paint, which comes bundled with your Windows operating system (Start: All Programs: Accessories: Paint). In Paint, go to Image: Attributes, and in the popup window that appears select Pixels under Units, set both the width and height of your image to 96, and then click the OK button. Use the drawing tools of Paint to create the picture you want. When you’re satisfied with the result, go to Paint: File: Save As … and in the window that appears, navigate to My Documents\My Skype Pictures. From the Save as type pull-down menu, select PNG, and type a file name for your picture. Click the Save button and your picture will be added to those already available for use by Skype. To use the picture you created in your Skype profile, follow the instructions that come later in this chapter for adding a picture to your online profile.

􀁕 Make your own sounds: Sounds and ringtones for Skype are small .wav files. Any application that can generate mono .wav files can be used to create a custom sound or ringtone for use with Skype. Perhaps the easiest way for Windows users to create such sounds is to use the Sound Recorder program that is bundled with Windows (Start: All Programs: Accessories: Entertainment: Sound Recorder). Using Sound Recorder you can record sounds you make through your microphone and even mix them with sounds from other .wav files you have on disk (Sound Recorder:Edit: Mix With File …). Sound Recorder even comes with some very basic tools for modifying sounds, such as Add Echo and Reverse, available from the Effects menu. Once you’re happy with the sound you have made, which should be 30 seconds or less in length, go to Sound Recorder: Save As … and in the window that pops up, navigate to My Documents\My Skype Content. If the format for the file you are about to save isn’t some flavor of mono, click on the Change … button and make it so. Enter a file name for your sound, and then click on the Save button. This will make your new sound available to Skype.

Personalise skype shop

You can buy pictures and ringtones from the Personalise Skype shop at http://personal.skype.com. Pictures and ringtones cost $1.20 (1 ) apiece. Note that before you can buy pictures or ringtones from the Personalise Skype shop, you must have some Skype credits.
To buy a Skype picture, go to http://personal.skype.com. This displays a page featuring pictures and ringtones. Click on the Pictures link that appears on the left side of the page. This displays pictures grouped by category. Click on the name of any picture to see that picture, or click on one of the categories to see all pictures for that category. To purchase a picture displayed in a preview page, click on the Buy now link. This takes you to the Skype sign in page, where you must enter your Skype name and password to proceed. Follow the instructions to purchase and download the picture.
Once you have successfully downloaded the picture, a My Pictures window will pop up. Double-click on your newly purchased picture and it will be added to your Skype profile. To buy a Skype sound or ringtone, return to http://personal.skype. com. This once again displays the pictures and ringtones page. Click on the Ringtones or Ministry of Sound links on the left side of the page. This displays some popular ringtones, and also shows categories (such as Classics, Swing, Chill Out and so on) for ringtones. Pick a ringtone, and then click on the listen button to listen to it, or click on a category name to display all the sounds in that category. Once you have found and listened to a sound you want to buy, click on the Buy now button. This will take you to the sign in page for Skype; enter your Skype name and password, then click on the Sign me in button. On the next web page, put a check mark in the box accepting the terms and conditions of your purchase, then click on the Confirm purchase button. Follow the instructions to download, and your new sound will be added to the My Sound Library list in the Sounds page of your Skype Options window, which should open automatically when your download is complete, as shown in the next figure. You are now free to use your new ringtone sound to signal one or more of Skype’s many events, including incoming calls.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Adding pictures and avatar in Skype

Adding pictures or avatars to your Skype profile gives you a visible online persona (go to Skype: File: Edit My Profile …, and in the window that opens, click on the Change … button). It is the primary means by which you are seen and recognized by others in the Skype online community. Because your Skype picture can be any image, you are free to let your imagination—and ego—run wild!
Skype also allows you to personalize your interaction with the Skype softphone by associating different sounds with different events (go to Skype: Tools: Options …, and in the window that opens, click on the category Sounds). Skype comes with a wide variety of sounds and ringtones but you can also add your own. You can download sounds and ringtones from the Internet or you can create your own.

Using mood message in Skype

A mood message is any short message that people who have you in their contacts list can see. Even though it’s called a mood message, the message doesn’t have to convey your mood. To set your mood message, click on your name in the notification bar of the Skype softphone and enter a short message in the field opposite your picture,

How to Make an Interesting Skype Name?

You can decorate your online profile name to make it stand out from other names in a contact list. You can even exert some control over where you appear in those lists: toward the top, or toward the bottom. To decorate the name others will see for you in their contacts lists (unless, of course, they manually rename your entry in their lists, see Chapter 10), open a word processor such as Microsoft Word. In the word processor, using the keyboard and the symbol box (Insert:
Symbol …), construct a name. Remember that, in addition to the letters A through Z and numbers, you can incorporate punctuation marks and nonstandard characters, as shown in the following figure.
Once you’ve created a name, copy it to the clipboard (for example, in Microsoft Word, use the keyboard to type Ctrl+A followed by Ctrl+C; that is, hold down the Control key and press A then C). Next, open your Skype profile by going to Skype: File: Edit My Profile … and paste your decorated name into the field labeled Full Name (click on the field and hit the Shift+Ins keys). Then click on the Update button.
Congratulations, you now have a name that stands out from the crowd in the contact lists of other Skype users, as shown in the following figure. Note that not all nonstandard characters will work when pasted into the Full Name of your profile, so you’ll have to experiment a little. Also, bear in mind that decorated names that begin with any of these characters ! “ # $ % & ‘ ( ) * + ,—. / will appear at the top of a contact list, even before names that begin with a digit. Alternatively, a decorated name that begins with a nonstandard character, such as one of these, 􀀸 􀀿 􀀾 § £, will appear at or near the bottom of someone’s contact list.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Archiving Skype Contacts

Your contacts list is stored on the Skype network. However, for peace of mind, you might want to create a backup archive of all your contacts to store on your PC. Skype archives your contacts list in vCard format, and this is also a good way to export your contacts to another application, many of which can import contacts in vCard format.
To backup your contacts list, go to
Skype>Tools>Archive Contacts>Backup Contacts to File …, and in the window that opens, choose a location and filename under which to store your contacts list and click on the Save button.
To restore deleted contacts, go to Skype>Tools> Archive Contacts>Restore Contacts from File …,
and in the window that opens, navigate to the file in which you stored your contacts list and click on the Open button.

Sharing Your Skype Contacts

You can share selected contacts from your contacts list by sending them to others. This is a nice way to build a community with common interests; for example, a club, family, or work group. You can use either of two methods to send your contacts list, or a subset of it, to other Skype users:
  • You can go to Skype: Contacts: Send Contacts …, which displays a window in which you can form a list of your contacts to send to a specified list of Skype recipients (a comma-separated list of Skype user names).
  • You can selectively choose multiple entries in your contacts list by left-clicking on them while holding down the control key on your keyboard, and then right-clicking on one of the highlighted entries. From the popup menu that appears, choose Send Contacts …, which displays the same window as before, but with the Send contacts to field filled in with a comma- (or semicolon-) separated list of the names you selected, as shown in the following figure.
After you’ve created a list of contacts, click on the Send button. Each recipient of your contacts list will then be asked, via a window that lists the contacts you are sending, whether he or she wants to accept the contacts and add them to his or her contact list. Recipients can choose to accept the whole list or just specific users in the list.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Hiding Contacts in Skype

As a further aid to organizing your contacts list, you can shorten it by choosing to hide users who are offline, or users who are not sharing their contact details with you, or both kinds of users. To hide contacts, go to Skype: View: Hide Contacts That Are, and put a check mark against Offline or Not Sharing Details. This is a simple, quick, and effective way to trim the length of your contacts list.

Managing Group Contacts in Skype

You can group your contacts lists into various categories only if you have enabled Show Contact Groups. To enable contact grouping, go to Skype: View and put a check mark against Show Contact Groups. Contact grouping adds a group-management bar to the top of the panel displayed when you click on the Contacts tab, as shown in the following figure.
Using the contact groups bar you can create new groups and selectively display groups of contacts in your contacts list. To create a new group click on the small round button with a “+” on it, and to selectively display groups simply click on the small round button with a “>>“ on it; both buttons can be found on the far right of the contact groups bar. In the case of the previous figure, groups named “People and Friends” and “Skype Testing” are used. However, you are free to choose how many groups you want, and how they are named.
In addition to filtering and organizing your contacts list, another useful feature of contact groups is that you can carry out group actions on them. By selecting a group and right-clicking on it, you can then use the popup menu that appears to carry out actions for all the contacts in that group: Start Conference Call, Start Group Chat, Send File to Group, Send Contacts to Group, and Send Group which sends only those contacts in that group to a list of named Skype users. Also, using this popup menu, you can Rename and Remove existing groups. In short, contact groups are a great way to organize your contacts list and to carry out actions for a group that would otherwise be tedious and cumbersome.

Removing contacts in Skype

To remove an entry from your contacts list, right-click on that entry, and from the popup menu that appears choose Remove From Contacts. It’s as simple as that!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Renaming Contacts in Skype

When you add a Skype user to your contacts list, the name that is displayed by default is the full name from the person’s Skype profile, or if no such name exists, his or her Skype user name. If you are a SkypeOut subscriber, you are asked to name phone numbers as you add them to your contacts list. In either case, you can change the name of any contact to a name of your choice to help you better organize your contacts list.
To rename a contact, right-click on it in your contacts list. Then, from the popup list that appears, choose Rename …, and type in a new name then press the enter key or click elsewhere with your mouse. The name will change and the entry will reposition itself in your contacts list based on alphabetical ordering (within the group to which it belongs.

Searching and Adding Contacts in Skype

To search for other Skype users to add to your contact list, either click on the Search icon on the Skype softphone toolbar, or go to Skype:

Contacts: Search for Skype Users.
Search for other Skype users.

Using the search window, you can filter the list of all users in the Skype online community down to only those people you are interested in and that you might want to add to your contacts list. Note that the users you are searching for don’t need to be signed in to Skype for you to find them and add them to your contact list. When you find someone you want to add to your list, highlight her entry in the list and then click on the Add Selected Contact button. When you’re finished adding new Skype contacts, click on the Close button. An alternative way to search for, and add, new Skype contacts is to click on the Add Contact icon on the toolbar of the Skype softphone.
Alternatively, you can go to Skype: Contacts: Add a Contact ….
Either method will display the Add a Contact window, as shown in the following figure.
If you are a SkypeOut subscriber, the preceding method is the only way you can add regular and mobile phone contacts to your contacts list without first making a call. In the Add a Contact window, just click on the link To add a SkypeOut contact, click here (this link is only displayed if you are a SkypeOut subscriber). Otherwise, when you hang up after dialing a phone number not in your contacts list, you will be invited by Skype to add that number to your list. Using the Add a Contact window, you can search for a Skype user by Skype user name, full name, or e-mail address. Entering a search string and clicking the Search button (or the Search Again button if you are conducting additional searches) presents you with a list of matching Skype users. Again, simply highlight a name and click on the Add Selected Contact button to add the name to your contacts list. Alternatively, if you are a SkypeOut subscriber, clicking on the link To add a SkypeOut contact, click here enables you to enter a name and a regular phone number for that name.
By whatever method you add a new Skype contact to your contacts list, when adding the contact, you will be given the opportunity to send him a personal message, as shown in the next figure. In the interests of everyone’s privacy, just adding a contact to your list does not automatically give you access to that person’s contact details (for example, that person’s online status). A person you invite to join your contact list can choose to accept the invitation, ignore it, or block you from contacting him ever again. If a contact accepts your invitation to share his contact details with you, his entry in your contacts list will provide more information; if not, all you will see next to his name is a gray icon with a question mark on it, and when you mouse over his entry in your contact list you will see a message saying, “This user has not shared his/her details with you”.

Importing Skype in Contact

Your contact list is a tiny subset of the Skype online community with whom you communicate more often. If you are a SkypeOut subscriber, you can add SkypeOut contacts as well. Contact names are displayed in your Skype softphone for convenience and ease of use. You can also call or chat with someone not in your contact list by using her Skype user name or phone number by manually entering in the address bar her name or number each time you want to communicate with her. However, organizing and managing your contacts list can be a real productivity boost!
Skype is unlikely to be the first application you run on your PC that maintains a list of contacts. So to help get you started, Skype has a tool for importing contacts that already exist on your computer. It will import, if you so choose, contacts into Skype from the following applications:
Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Outlook Express, Microsoft
MSN Messenger, and Opera (www.opera.com). To import your existing contacts into Skype, go to Skype: Contacts: Import Contacts …, and follow the instructions of Skype’s contact import wizard tool.