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Quick tip: record Skype calls and enjoy voicemail for free

08 February 2011, Nick Peers

Skype is a great tool for making free and low-cost calls using your computer, but there are two major features missing: voicemail and the ability to record your calls for whatever reason. Sure, you can purchase a call plan for access to voicemail, but why do that when you can get both features for free?

Pamela Basic is a cut-down version of Skype recording software, but it still allows you to record up to 15 minutes of a Skype conversation plus add voicemail functionality to Skype for free. There’s also a custom voice-recording tool that can be used outside of Skype to record whatever it is you’re saying or listening too.

As with all third-party Skype extensions, install and launch the program, then wait for Skype to pop up an alert asking if you wish to grant Pamela access to it – click Allow to do so. Once in place, the next time you make a voice call a window will pop up asking if you wish to record the conversation. Click Yes to do so – unfortunately another restriction of the Basic version is that it can’t be configured to record automatically. You can then record up to 15 minutes at a time – to get around this restriction, just make sure you stop recording before the 15 minutes are up, and then immediately start a new recording from the main Pamela window.

The program’s voicemail feature is set to kick in 15 seconds after the phone rings when you’re in any mode other than online – this can be tweaked when you come to create your customised voicemail answer message from Pamela’s Tools > Options screen. It’s also worth ticking the “Bring to front on call accepted” option to make sure the prompt for recording appears the moment your call is answered.

Pamela can also be used to record video from your webcam, plus act as a scheduling tool reminding you when to make a call as well as set up automatic conference calls and transfer calls from one source to another (Skype credit required for this feature).

Pamela is supposed to record in MP3 format by default – on our test machine, it reverted to WAV, so it’s worth taking a trip to Tools > Options > Advanced > Sound to set it to WMA or OGG instead if drive space is an issue. You can see what format each recording has been made in by right-clicking it and choosing “Open recording folder”.

Pamela Basic is freeware, and runs on Windows 2000 or later. For unlimited recording, plus other exclusive features such as the ability to record video chats plus download Skype Voice Mail calls to your computer, look at Pamela Professional Edition instead.

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