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skypes.jpg I am a total Skype fanatic, to the point where I use it for 95% of my phone calls and virtually all of my Instant Messaging chats. But when you download Skype for the first time, you are given a basic shell of a program and then you have to make the effort to personalise your Skype and add the programs which will be useful to you.

So today, let’s take a look at my Skype and two of the features I have found useful.

Record your Skype calls with PowerGramo

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After a disasterous experience with Pamela Recorder, I next turned to PowerGramo and I have never had any cause to be disappointed. PowerGramo is a small software program which you can use to record your Skype telephone conversations. Unlike Pamela, PowerGramo runs silently and automatically in the background and the person whom you’re speaking to will never know they’re being recorded.

Calls are initially recorded as “PGA” files (PowerGramo’s own file format) and from there, you can convert the audio file into MP3, OGG and WAV (although MP3 files need a “lame.dll” encoder file which I can give you a copy of if you like). The sound quality is also crystal clear.

Upgrading to the paid version, you can also record conference calls (the free version limits you to recording conversations with only one other person)

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The only problem I have found with PG is that if you run several Skype programs at the same time (under different Windows accounts), PowerGramo crashes (maybe because you have to connect a specific Skype account to the program and if you run other Skype ID’s at the same time, the program doesn’t know what to do). I often run up to 4 Skype lines at the same time and during those times, I have had to shut down PowerGramo. I have reported the bug to the company but have not received an answer to date.

Another little niggly thing is that PGA files can be pretty big in size so converting it to another file format is a must. When I convert my audio files to mp3’s, they are often more than half the size of the original PGA file!

How PowerGramo has helped me: Since I partly use Skype for business calls, I’ve often found that keeping a recording of a phone call helps when chasing bad debts or negotiating agreements. In a “he says, she says” situation, having a MP3 file of the phone call can make the problem go away instantly or the call recording can be used in court as evidence if you’re collecting a bad debt. Which is why I like the fact that PowerGramo doesn’t warn the other person they’re being recorded, unlike Pamela Recorder, which broadcasts it far and wide.

Send faxes on Skype with PamFax

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I was overjoyed when this feature was rolled out as I have never been able to afford a fax machine and I lost track of the number of times when business clients asked me to fax them something, and upon hearing I had no fax machine, they virtually asked me if I was an amateur or a professional. So PamFax comes as a welcome relief. OK, you can’t receive faxes with this service, you can only send them. But hey, it’s a step in the right direction.

You have to download a small program and from there, it’s an easy step-by-step process. The cost of sending the fax is taken out of your Skype credit, there are no up-front or recurring costs, and you can get a status report of your fax’s progress by Skype chat, SMS or email.

The only problem is that, as I have said, you can’t receive faxes through Pamfax so if you send a fax and the other person tries to fax you back, it will fail. Strictly one way.

How PamFax has helped me: Obtaining new business clients by being able to fax back important documents quickly such as signed contracts, completed work and confidentiality agreements. Being able to fax documents also makes you look a little more professional – that is unless they try to fax you back then the whole professionalism thing goes right out the window!

Tomorrow, we’ll be looking at some more ways to build up your Skype application, including taking a look at the Extras Manager and the programs being used by Skype API developers.

  1. Chris
    December 7, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Hello,

    I too run Vista, and would love some step by step instructions on how to run two accounts of Skype at once.

    I have two Windows accounts going, and have tried to click on Shift then Right Click on Skype then click Run As, but I never get any options to run as a different user.

    Any help would be great.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. petja
    July 17, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    I havent got "run as..."on computer...is that because i work with windows vista?Could somebody help me?

  3. mark
    September 7, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    If you want to run more than one Skype line at once, then you need to set up multiple Windows accounts (let me know if you need help with that) and obviously multiple Skype user accounts. Then just right-click on the Skype desktop icon, choose "run as" and choose a Windows account. Once you have chosen a Windows account, Skype will open under that Windows user ID and you log into the desired Skype account.

    Using this method, you can run virtually unlimited numbers of Skype lines on your desktop.

    I might write a post on this subject tomorrow.

  4. sityu
    September 7, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    thnx
    I've already subscibed the rss. (both the site and the comments)

  5. sityu
    September 7, 2007 at 9:49 pm

    yes.yes.yes.

  6. Aibek
    September 7, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    @Sityu

    I think Mark have multiple accounts but I am not exactly sure how multi-account thingie works. I guess you're looking for something more flexible than 'logout and re-login under different id '.
    Check up on the comments later maybe Mark can recommend you something.

  7. sityu
    September 7, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    Or I want two different skype names for my skype account?

  8. sityu
    September 7, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    I'm not sure if there's forwarding (from an account, to another) in skype.

    But the forwarding was just an idea, it's not important.

    The main question is: is there a way to use the skype for two skype account at the same time?
    (I have two skype accounts, for diferent uses, and I want to use it at the same time).

  9. Aibek
    September 7, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    Forwarding? I am not sure what you mean by that can you provide some more details

  10. sityu
    September 7, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    I'm looking for the possibility of managing multiple skype account at the same time.
    Maybe the forwarding?

  11. Aibek
    September 4, 2007 at 10:17 am

    @ ZOverLord
    Cool app, thanks for sharing.

  12. ZOverLord
    September 4, 2007 at 9:42 am

    MyToGo for Skype allows ANY Phone to gain access to Skype calling services, this includes calling Skype Names for FREE, checking Skype Voice Mail for FREE as well as using Skype rates for both local and long distance calling, and does not require any software to be installed on the phone. MyToGo for Skype is FREE as well, for more information please go here:

    http://www.testing.onlytherightanswers.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=58

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