Tag Archives: skype

Personal Do Not Call List

I’ve joined a few different social networking sites, and when I join I want to quickly add my friends who are already on the site. Many have a nifty feature that allow you to upload your Outlook contacts file, which they use to generate a list of existing users. Sounds harmless, right?

The problem is that some sites can be a bit aggressive about it, and if you’re not careful, they will sent invites to your whole contacts list. We often forget who we have in that list. People we haven’t spoken to in years, or those who we had one short conversation with. In short, people who might be little taken aback to find you still had their contact info. And even more creeped out that you want to add them as “friends” on whatever social site du jour. I just installed the latest version of Skype, which includes your Outlook contacts in your Skype contact list by default (you can turn that off, thankfully). It would suck to accidentally call some girl whose phone number I should have purged years ago.

So I created a personal Do Not Call List. I moved every contact that I’d feel embarrassed about contacting accidentally. As I’m a bit of a data pack rat, I cleared out 37 (!) old contacts. I still have them just in case, but I can now export my current contacts without fear. It also makes finding contacts a bit easier.

How cool is Skype?

Very cool. I just loaded it yesterday and did a couple test runs with Agent Hulagun – kudos to him for his part in the vital mission. Overall, it was pretty simple. You have to click download a few too many times, but eventually you get there. When running the installer, remember to click the [ Options… ] button and make sure everything’s kosher.

I had a slight issue due to a non-standard microphone configuration. I have an Audigy 2 ZS card with an I/O plate for the front of your case. It has a 1/4″ mic input with preamp, into which I have plugged in a Shure SM58 mic (pretty much the most famous ball mic ever). This shows up in audio/sound programs like Audacity as “Line-in 2/Mic 2”, but most programs just show the sound card or “windows default” (or something like “system”) as an option. This requires you to use the control panel to select that mic as the system default. Problem is, programmers who think they’re oh so clever will change the system default to “Microphone”, and this is very frustrating when troubleshooting!!! I had to uncheck an option in Skype that says something like, “Let Skype mess up my options that I’ve taken a while to get right”. I am paraphrasing to accentuate truthfulness. When that was done, though, it worked.

And it works really well. Granted, I’m using a $100 mic and $60 headphones, but it’s pretty clear on both sides. And of course, totally free. There is a slight chance that Yahoo! Messenger with Voice will also work with my setup, but it doesn’t have a “don’t screw things up checkbox”, and it definitely screws things up when you use the voice setup wizard. I’ll have to find another test subject to troubleshoot that.

I recommend either a headset or mic/headphones combo. Using a speaker will turn it into – surprise! – a speakerphone. And those are annoying for both parties. However, you probably want to be able to unplug the headset/headphones easily; I know my computer will mute speakers when headphones are plugged in. You can uncheck that option, but then you’re driving both at the same time, which seems like kind of a waste.

I originally wanted this set up to communicate with East Coasters without burning up all my cell phone minutes. If I call them 9pm their time, it’s still 6pm (primetime) for me. Of course, this also works for locals with only cell phone access.

So feel free to add me using my Crack Team email address. If you don’t know it and can’t figure it out, email me and I’ll clue you in.