It turns out that the Skype 5.x Beta releases for Mac OS X have a hidden feature. In my last Skype-related post about the simultaneous release of 5.7 Beta for Windows and 5.4 Beta for Mac OS X, I mentioned that the release notes for the 5.7 Beta for Windows included a "Push To Talk" feature that was not in the Mac OS X version. From those Windows release notes:
Push to Talk
We have introduced a Push to Talk feature in Skype. Many people who are playing multiplayer games have requested this from us.
With this feature you can set a hotkey which will toggle microphone muting on Skype call.
You can set the Push to Talk up on the hotkey's selection under tools > options > advanced > hotkeys.
In my post, I mentioned that while I personally wasn't sure I saw the need for this feature, it was an example of the continued missing parity between the two products (Skype for Windows, Skype for Mac OS X).
This morning I received a nice note from Skype's product manager for the Skype for Mac product letting me know that this "Push To Talk" feature actually is included in the Skype for Mac 5.x Beta releases, albeit as a hidden feature. To use "Push To Talk" during a Skype call, you need to press (ready for this?):
Control + Option + Command + Up Arrow
Yep... three keys with your left hand and then the up-arrow with your right hand. (or yes, you could press the command and option keys on the right side, but you still need the control key on the left side.)
It does work. I tried it on a call and found that once I pressed the key combination the call was in "Push To Talk" mode and I had to hold down that key combination to speak. I was also able to just click on the icon of the muted microphone in my Skype window to leave this "PTT" mode and go back to regular microphone usage.
Unfortunately, unlike the Windows version, there does not seem to be any way, yet, to configure the key combination. I don't regularly play multiplayer online games so I don't know whether this particular key combination is a problem. It just seems to me to be inefficient in that it requires both hands. It would be great if Skype would allow the configuration of this key combo as the 5.x release for Mac OS X leaves beta.
Anyway... for those of you using the Skype 5 Beta for Mac OS X, you, too, can now use "Push To Talk"...