Saturday, November 17, 2007

Stream music/radio to incoming Skype calls

Aj aj aj... Sweden plays Spain in a EURO2008 qualification game in a few hours, I am in the California, and I was going to listen to the game live on Internet Radio (broadcasted by But now I realized I might not have access to Internet where I am at the time. What to do?

Ok, I've a cell phone plan with 5000 free weekend minutes a month and I've got a Skype In number. There must be a way to call my Skype number, have the Skype client automatically answer my call and play back whatever is playing on my computer. Here is how to do it in Windows XP (you'll need a Skype In number which is not free).
  1. Go to the "Master Volume" control (double click on the speaker icon in the tray bar).
    a) Open menu 'Options | Properties...' and select 'Recording'. Make sure "Stereo Mix" is selected. Click OK.
    b) You should now see the "Recording Control" (instead of the Master Volume) dialog. Select 'Stereo Mix' as your input (typically it is set to 'Microphone').

  2. Go to and play the radio station (or some other audio player).
    (The radio station should now be play in your speakers).

  3. Open Skype. Go to menu 'Tools | Options...' and:
    a) Go to 'Call Settings' and expand with 'Show Advanced Options'. Select 'Automatically answer incoming calls'.
    b) Go to 'Audio Settings' and turn down the 'Speakers' volume to zero. The select 'Windows default device' for 'Microphone' and select 'Let Skype adjust my audio settings'.
    (The microphone indicator bar should now correlate with the playing sound).
    c) Click 'Save'.

  4. Mute or turn down the volume of your computer. Call your Skype In number. You should now hear the radio in your phone.

That's it! Don't forget to reset the above when you're done!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Firefox add-on: AT&T Minutes Minder

The AT&T Minutes Minder is a nifty little Firefox add-on that connects to your AT&T account and reports the number of remaining minutes (or text message) in the status bar. When you hover the mouse cursor over the message you'll see more details.

Monday, October 01, 2007

How to completely turn off AT&T/Cingular's voice mail and save money

I often miss calls because the voice mail picks up the call (after 4 rings/20 sec), and how often don't you call back and forth several times until you really get a hold of each other, ehe? ...and while doing this, the phone companies makes tons of money on connection fees and minutes used. For people calling you from abroad this is even worse, especially if they have large connection fees. Today, I decided to turn of my voice mail forever.

In order to complete turn off (inactivate) your voice mail, you have to call customer service. Dial 611 from your cell phone or 800-331-0500 and just press 0 at each prompt until you get to a real person and ask them to turn it off for you. They are "happy to do this".

Pros: 1) Your voice mail wont pick up already after four signals (approx 20 seconds). 2) No one will not get charged unless you really answer the call (see below). Note, AT&T customers calling will get charged airtime ("minutes") when ringing for more than 30 seconds (see below).

Cons: 1) People cannot leave you voice messages (but they can still send text messages and you will see their numbers in the list of missed calls).


Case 1) Phone is off or without a network connection: When called, the callee will immediately hear "The wireless customer you are call is not available. Please try again later. Message 1: OK D7."

Case 2) Phone is on, but you don't answer the call: After about 8 (eight) rings, or approximately 40 seconds, the callee will hear "The wireless customer you are call is not available. Please try again later. [Repeated in Spanish]. Message 1: CA 10GN." followed by an error tone.

Case 3) The phone is on and you actively choose not to answer the call (by pressing "Busy"): It rings, but when you actively select not to answer the call, the callee will get a busy tone (or a message explaining the number is busy).

Note, no connection or minute fee is charged for either party. The above messages are in the phone system, meaning there is no call being connected but the message are still played. This was confirmed by calling from both Skype and Gizmo and both plays the message while reporting "Connecting/Calling...". No fees were charged from either accounts.

Update: If an AT&T customer calls for more than 30 seconds without the call being answered, AT&T is playing a dirty trick and starts charging airtime ("minutes"), cf. "Unanswered outgoing calls of 30 seconds or longer incur airtime" from AT&T's Explanation of Rates and Charges.

See also:
My 'Turn off voicemail forever!' thread in the AT&T forum on 2007-10-01.