Have your Skype calls announced over the speaker

By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

I am on a bit of a Skype roll at the moment.   My girlfriend is finally starting to see the attraction of it as one of her best friends has moved to the US and so she is on Skype a lot right now chattering away for hours as girlfriends are prone to do (I’m sure a lot of male GAS readers will relate to this).   So I am using the situation to persuade her to start moving a majority of our phone calling over to Skype.  It really is amazing how much money you can save in the long term by switching to Skype and you can get a normal phone number for non-Skypers to call you on too.

A program which I have been playing around with for the past couple of days is AudioID for Skype.  This suits me perfectly because I am a lazy slob at heart.   My idea of exercise is lifting a TV remote control or a pizza box, so this free piece of software which allows me to pre-screen my Skype calls is a God-send.   Now I only have to lift my butt off the bed for people I deem worthy!

You first have to download a free piece of speech software from Microsoft called SAPI.   Without this, AudioID won’t work.  Then you have to download, unzip and double click on the AudioID file.   That’s it.  Easy.

You’ll need to right-click the program in your system tray and customize it for yourself.  This just involves deciding what voice you want, checking your audio output, checking the rate (this is how fast the voice should be – I recommend not touching this) and the volume of the voice (I would push this up to 100% otherwise it will get drowned out by the Skype ringtone). You should also tick the “run at startup” box.

From now on, every call that comes in will be “announced” to you so you can decide whether or not to take it.    This is especially good if you’re in the kitchen or the living room, the office, or wherever.  Instead of running back to see who it is, just let the program announce it to you.

The only negative to the program is that it hashes up unknown phone numbers.  If it has to read back phone numbers, it reads them back literally.   So for example, (0123) 456 7890, would get read back to you as one billion, two hundred and thirty four million, five hundred and sixty seven thousand, eight hundred and ninety (!).   If you get a call like that, you may want to let voicemail take it!

So the AudioID program is only good for pre-programmed Skype contacts, where there is a name in your contact list, such as “Skype call from Mark“.   The program also confirms outgoing calls, so if you click on one of your Skype contacts to call them, the program says “calling Mark“.   This is good if you’re not actually at your computer screen but using something like a Skype phone and you’re walking around.   It’s nice to have a verbal communication that you’re dialling the right number.

It would be nice if they got the unknown numbers glitch fixed though.   That’s really annoying!   I might email them to ask if they’re planning to get that fixed anytime soon.