20 Essential Tricks Every Skype User Should Know

Make Skype Calls with Your Smartphone

It took a little while for Skype to get with the times, but it's finally possible to integrate the VoIP service with your smartphone and call other Skype users from your handset. It's still a little bit rocky, but serviceable for the most part.

If you own a G1 or other Android-based handset, hit up the Google Market and search for Skype Lite Beta. After you install the app, you'll be prompted for your username, password, and phone number. We had mixed results getting the beta to work properly, but when it does work, the cool thing is you don't need a 3G or Wi-Fi connection. Calls to other Skype users are free, minus any local rates and minutes charges through your wireless carrier. Receiving calls, however, is not free, though you have the option of disabling this function.

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Alternately, Android owners can also give iSkoot a spin. This app works pretty much the same way Skype Lite Beta does, so if you've having trouble getting one to work, try the other.

So what happens if you want to make a Skype call through your iPhone? There's an app for that (see what we did there?). You can download the Skype app for the iPhone and iPod touch here , and unlike Android owners, the iPhone/iPod touch version sports a slicker interface with a few more options.

For a full list of compatible handsets, rate information, and other FAQs, see here .

Have Skype Send You a Wake Up Call

Don't trust hotel management to send you a wake up call in the morning? If you need a wake up call, Skype can oblige.

This hack takes a bit of preparation in order to work properly. On your home PC, or whichever system you're configuring to make the wake up call, you'll need to disable UAC. Click on Start and type UAC. Drag the slider down to Never notify and hit OK.

Next, open up Skype and navigate to Tools>Options>Advanced. Check that box that reads 'Use Skype to call callto: links on the web.'

The ability to place wake up calls isn't integrated into Skype, so we're going to tap into Windows to get the job done. To do this, we need to create a scheduled task. Click on the Start menu, type Task Scheduler, and then click on the Task Scheduler link. In the right-hand pane under Actions, click on Create Basic Task...

This opens up the Basic Task Wizard, which will walk you through process creating an automated task. In the first step, you'll give your task a name. In this case, go ahead and name it Skype Wake Up Call. Add a description in the designated area if desired, otherwise click on Next.

On the next screen, you'll choose when you want this task to start. For a one-time wake up call, select the One time radio button. Alternately, you can configure your wake up call to occur daily, weekly, or monthly. Click Next.

The next screen is where you'll choose a time and date. Be sure to pay attention the AM and PM setting so you don't accidentally set a wake up call 12 hours too late or too early! Click Next.

This brings up the Action menu. Click the Start a program radio button and press Next.

In this next step, we're going to direct the Task Scheduler to the Skype executable. Click on the Browse button and find Skype.exe. By default, this should be in C:\Program Files (x86)\Skype\Phone . In the Add arguments (optional) field, type /callto:+1xxxxxxxxxx and input your mobile phone number, including area code, in place of each 'x.' So for example if your mobile phone number is 555-555-1234, you would type /callto: +15555551234 .

There's one more step we need to take to make sure the wake up call goes through without a hitch. In the main Task Scheduler window, click on Task Scheduler Library. In the pane immediately to the right, find the Task you created (Skype Wake Up Call). If you don't see it, you may need to exit and restart the Task Scheduler. Right-click the task and select Run. If you followed the above steps correctly, Skype should now open automatically and try to call your mobile phone, but the process gets halted by a pop-up window alerting you that you're about to call a number (duh). Click the 'Do not ask me again' checkbox and hit OK.

That's it! The next time this task runs (at the designated time), your PC should fire up Skype and call your mobile phone. Just be aware that this taps into your Skype credit, so make sure you have enough in your account for a wake up call.