Pamela, the original Skype Extra that provides a range of utilities to enhance your Skype conversations experience, recently introduced Pamela 4.5 with enhancements which provide new call management functionality.
Pamela’s feature set can be broadly summarized as including:
- Conversation management
- notification management
- voice mail (with optional email forwarding)
- video messaging (caller can leave a video message)
- call transfer (missing from Skype for Windows 4.0)
- call scheduling (new)
- conference call management (with new features)
- launch an application (when a call is received)
- Conversation archiving
- Call notes (personal text notepad while in a call)
- Call recording
- Chat session archiving
- Video recording
- Custom recording (for blogs or podcasts)
- personalized chat auto-responses
- rich mood editor
The two key new features are probably of most benefit to business users who have repeated calling patterns to, say, customers and/or suppliers or those who have routinely scheduled (say, weekly) conference calls with a common set of participants, such as a sales or marketing team.
Call Scheduler, shown above, allows you to schedule Skype calls with notification and recurring calls features. When the call is made there are options to provide an audio notification prior to the call, record the calls and/or open a text notes window.
More interesting is the Auto Conference Group Editor which provides the ability not only to create conference call groups but also to trigger a conference call with the “group” when either (i) a call is received from a designated Skype contact or (ii) an outbound Skype call is made to a designated Skype contact.
It’s a feature-limited conference call management feature; it’s not a full conference call service such as Calliflower or HiDefConferencing with full moderator management features.
As outlined above Pamela has a long list of features that I have used over time, there is one feature that still needs work on both its operational reliability and the user interface. The video recording feature requires download of DivX decoders (which have licensing issues otherwise). I also find that it only works with one of the DivX decoders (DivX 6.8.5 YV12) out of a list of decoders available in the drop down box for selection of a video decoder. Apparently there are some PC- and webcam-specific dependencies related to the decoder issue.
Pamela is traditionally associated with Skype call recording – the feature that made it become virally adopted over the years; however, this is only one feature out of many that can benefit Skype users. Its uniqueness arises from:
- archived content (call recordings, chat sessions) is stored on the local PC’s disk drive in a standalone “Pamela” folder (whereas, say, Skylook is tightly linked into Outlook stores this information in your Outlook folder or Evoca stores your Skype call recordings at a hosted location accessible from anywhere on the Internet).
- the comprehensive feature set of the utility allowing you to select the combination of conversation management, archiving and personalization that adapts best to your individual Skype-enabled conversation activities.
Both PamConsult and Skylook offer basic call recording utilities based on the more feature-rich “parent” utility. Pamela Call Recorder is a free utility for Skype calls up to 15 minutes long. Skylook’s Call Burner has free basic call recording of Skype-to-Skype calls where both parties have CallBurner but requires their premium version for calls to non-CallBurner users and SkypeOut calls. Evoca offers a free 30-day trial of their hosted recording service.
You can download Pamela 4.5 here for a 30-day trial of Pamela Professional. Pamela comes in four different configurations (including a free Basic configuration) when it comes time to purchase. Updates for Pamela and Call Recorder released
Pamela Case Study: Radio Free Asia: A Skype Facilitated Broadcasting Service