Skype 101

I’ll be hosting my last skypecast for our informl learning unworkshop tomorrow. The availability of Skype and now skypecasts has simplified the process of hosting audio conferences with people distributed around the world. Here’s what I’ve learned this past month about hosting free skype conferences and skypecasts.

Skype Conferences

  1. Skype conferences are the simplest way of getting up to five people into a conference call. Just right-click on the contact you wish to “Invite to Conference” after you have started a call with one person.
  2. The host cannot mute other particpants in a skype conference, but each person has a mute button on the skype application (top right).
  3. If you have an Intel dual core processor powered computer, you can invite up to ten people to your skype conference.


  1. For more people, you can create a skypecast which will allow you to have ~99 participants in a call.
  2. To create a skypecast, the host goes to the Skypecast website and logs-in with his or her skypename and password.
  3. The host creates a session, either to start immediately, or for a later time. Provide a title and description and set the time (after the set time period, no one can join or rejoin the skypecast so set a sufficient time period).
  4. As the host, you can mute anyone/everyone, which you should do, as it keeps the excess noise level down. Imagine the sound of a cocktail party coming through your headset. I would strongly suggest that all participants use a headset and microphone.
  5. Muted participants can “ask for the microphone”, which the host will see as the icon beside the participant’s name turning from green to orange.
  6. Note that skypecasts are open to the public and anyone can drop in. The host can eject anyone, but be sure to read the terms set by Skype.
  7. With most people muted, the sound is usually quite good.


  1. I used Pamela to record our skypecasts. Pamela Pro is required and it’s available for a 30-day trial or can be purchased for $25.
  2. Once you’ve downloaded and installed Pamela Pro, go to “Tools – Options – General” and uncheck the box marked “Automatically start on Windows start-up”.
  3. When your skypecast is running and you decide to start recording, just open the Pamela Pro application (easy if you accept a shortcut on your desktop on set up). A window will open asking if you want to record the call and click yes. Pamela will record the call for as long as you keep it and the skypecast open.
  4. Pamela Pro will save the recording as a date stamped .wav file in “My Documents – Pamela – Callrecord”.
  5. To convert from .wav to MP3 and make the large file a lot smaller, you will need a converter application like Free CD to MP3 Converter. Using this application, click on “File – WAV to MP3” and it will do the rest. The resulting MP3 can be renamed and uploaded to a website or shared via FTP. An hour recording is about 40 MB.
  6. There are many other ways of recording a skypecast, including more complex audio edit suites, but this is the simplest method that I’ve found so far.

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