Hack 38. Use Custom Rings and Sounds with Skype
Skype allows you to use your own sounds to alert yourself to incoming calls and eventswith a few gotchas.
One of the most popular downloads (and purchases) for cell phones are customized ringtones. This feature is available for Skype too, with none of the proprietary nonsense pushed on you by your cell-phone carrier; you can use just about any WAV file as a Skype ringtone. (On a Mac, an AIFF file will suffice, too!) But not just any WAV file will make Skype happy: stereo WAVs won't work, as the WAV needs to be monaural (one channel). Thankfully, you can use a common recording tool to convert your stereo WAV file so that it can work with Skype.
If you've got SOund eXchange (SoX) installed (see "From Podcasting to Skypecasting" [Hack #36] to find out where to get the Windows version) on your Windows, Mac, or Linux machine, you're ready to convert files to mono:
C:\> sox stereo_file.wav c 1 mono_file.wav
SoX's -c option knocks that stereo file down to one channel, perfect for use with Skype. If you'd like to convert an MP3 file into a mono WAV file, just specify the WAV file extension for the destination file's name:
C:\> sox stereo_file.mp3 c 1 mono_file.wav
Drop the file created by SoX into a directory where you can access it from Skype, and pull up Skype's Options dialog. To do so on Windows, select Options from the Tools menu in Skype (Figure 3-13). To do so on a Mac, select Preferences from the Skype application menu (Figure 3-14).
Figure 3-13. Skype for Windows Sound Alerts options dialog
Figure 3-14. Skype for Mac OS X Events options dialog
When the preferences window appears, click Sound Alerts (Windows) or Events (Mac). Here, you can browse to the sound file you'd like to assign as your ringtone. The Mac version even allows you to have Skype use OS X's speech synthesizer to announce the name of the incoming caller, if you like.
It's not just the incoming call event that you can disassociate from the default alert sound, either. Thumb through the event list to check out all the possible combinations.