In This Article:
=> How to Record Skype Calls at NO COST
=> WARNING! Download Accelerator Plus is a Spyware!
How to Record Skype Calls at NO COST
When freebies work better than paid softwares, it naturally surprises me!
Why record a call? For record-keeping purposes, of course! It is a good way to protect yourself from crooked people! Someone may say something on phone but flatly deny it when both of you meet in person. That is when the call record would save you :D
I have just started using Skype and to be honest, I am yet to call anyone on phone except Paypal (Paypal was the reason I installed Skype in the first place). As it goes, I have a weird fetish for trying and testing out new tools.
One day, when checking out the Skype "extras" I came across a tool called "Pamela Call Recorder". It looked all good. They offer three versions: the free one didn’t look all that promising, so I downloaded the free trial of the professional version:
Pamela has a lot of cool features, but sadly enough, I couldn't make it work on my system. I tested it three times with the free Skype call tester service "Echo123" but each time Pamela had trouble recording my Skype calls because (if it were to be believed) my firewall blocked its access.
Well, so far as firewall is concerned, I use Norton Antivirus, the Windows firewall and a NAT router. I "whitelisted" the program in all the three but that helped little. I searched Google and found out that many other users were suffering from the same trouble and from what I saw in their forum, many such queries get unanswered.
I didn’t even bother to contact customer service; I thought it was better to uninstall the program altogether. That said, don’t let my experience keep you from trying out the tool for yourself. Stuff varies from system to system and what didn’t work for me might just work for you. At least, trying won't hurt! ;)
Next, I started hunting and hunting and found a freeware program that is not only light but pretty easy to use. Their previous version was a bit buggy in that it would load on startup every time you reboot your computer, even if you tell it to do otherwise. This has been fixed in the latest version:
I tested it trice using the Echo123 service and each time the call recording worked! In addition, it doesn’t eat too much system resources.
The only complaint (and a big complaint actually) I have against the tool is that it has no option to warn the caller of the call recording. In USA (and perhaps in certain other countries too), recording calls without the consent of the other party is ILLEGAL! This is the reason why I won’t be able to use the software live! If only the developer includes this feature, I am sure it would be a great tool! Pamela has this feature, but like I said, I couldn’t make it work on my system! :(
Download Accelerator Plus a Keylogger???
I have been a huge fan of Download Accelerator Plus, or DAP as it is popularly called, for several years and even recommended it to friends and subscribers alike…that was before I became aware about the tricks of spyware and adware programs. For the uninitiated, DAP basically lets you download files faster than the browser download.
While it didn’t boost my download speed by a large extent, I still kept it because it had options for pausing and resuming downloads, queuing up multiple downloads, previewing zip files before downloading them and testing the integrity of those zip files after downloading them (the last ones were what I used most), etc. Little did I know it was silently logging my keystrokes!!!
It was only until I started using Spyware Doctor that I got to know of its key logging activities. When I started DAP, I got this alert from Spyware Doctor:
"This program is logging keystrokes.
Process: D:\INSTALLED SOFTWARE\DAP\DAP.EXE"
As soon as I got the alert, I had to quarantine it, for I was not sure what else to do! Consequently DAP crashed and finally I removed it from my system by running the uninstaller.
I wasn't surprised that others were having the same issue:
And if this site is any indication…
"We at SpeedBit take your online privacy very seriously and pledge to you, our SpeedBit user, that:
– Our products and services are 100% Spyware free
– We do NOT track your online activities or browsing habits
– We do NOT collect information about your personal downloads"
I reported the matter to Speedbit, and got the usual, expected canned response:
" Dear Sir
Thank you for your feedback, and for bringing this important information to our attention.
We at SpeedBit, have been working hard every day (for the last nine years..) to bring our users (over 170 million registered users worldwide) products and services that really make a difference and at the same time respect and preserve our users' online privacy. We at DAP strongly believe in Google's motto – "Do No Evil" and thus are not involved in any spyware/adware/threat/evil related activity.
We are very proud that over 170 million users worldwide have chosen to use our award winning Download Accelerator Plus (DAP) product. This is a huge vote of confidence in DAP as a product, and maybe even more so in SpeedBit's commitment to safeguarding users' privacy.
DAP operation and advertising conduct has been examined, reviewed and trusted by the leading vendors, among them: Symantec/Norton Anti-Virus(tm), Adaware(tm), Computer Associates(tm), CounterSpy(tm), Spyware Doctor(tm), Webroot(tm), McAfee(tm) and many more, and it enjoys an industry wide recognition as being a 100% spyware free product (see: http://www.speedbit.com/SFree.asp).
Thank you for bringing spyware doctor to our attention, our team will test it and its treatment of DAP. Should we find that it warns about DAP or detect DAP as any kind of threat, we will defiantly seek ways to contact the respective vendor behind this product to make sure that any and factually inaccurate information regarding DAP will be corrected ASAP.
We hope that the above provide you with a better understanding of the situation, and we would like to thank you again for your feedback .
We look forward to serve you as one of our users.
Download Accelerator Plus team."
I have now made Orbit downloader my primary download manager. Actually, I have been using Orbit for quite sometime but I refrained from making it my default download manager since it doesn’t have all the features of DAP. However, as it stands now, I would prefer to compromise on a few features than have a spyware sitting on my system! It is another freeware, and I hope you like it:
From my experience, its download speed is much faster than what I got my DAP. The cons of this program are:
1. I cannot test the integrity of the downloaded zip files as I used to do with DAP
2. I cannot set different download folders for different types of files
3. I cannot export the list of incomplete downloads (Orbit allows you to export only the COMPLETED list of downloads). One workaround is to backup the entire "Orbit" folder located at: " C:\Documents and Settings\arindam\Application Data\Orbit" (replace "arindam" with your username) to wherever you want! ;)
4. It doesn’t remember the location of the "last download folder". For example, let’s say that you have set the default download folder to C:\downloads but you have a bunch of files that would like to download to your Desktop. In this case, you would need to browse to the location of your Desktop manually each time you download a new file! This is because Orbit doesn’t remember the location of the folder/drive where it downloaded the previous file; instead, it would revert back to the default download folder.
5. If you are downloading a file that already exists on your PC (I make this mistake many a times), you have got only two options with Orbit: it would either rename the old file or overwrite it with the newer one. All the while, it won't prompt you at all :D
6. The "Speed Limit" tool doesn’t seem to work for me; if I ever want to decrease the download bandwidth (which is what the tool is supposed to do), it doesn’t help me at all.
However, other than these shortcomings, Orbit is a great downloader, and for free! It integrates seamlessly with Internet Explorer, Firefox, and several other browsers I am yet to try! Good luck! In this day and age of economic downturn, the more money you can save the better for you!
Please don't forget to comment on my blog. You know, those comments are what motivate me to keep writing such long boring articles every week :D