Skype 3.8 Release Available

Skype 3.8 Release Available

Summary: Skype has released 3.8 "Gold" for Windows.They made one change that is half-good.

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TOPICS: Linux
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Skype has released 3.8 "Gold" for Windows.

They made one change that is half-good. Incoming contact requests pop up without the picture. That's a start. But why don't they get it? A new contact request from SexySandra or whoever doesn't need to pop up automatically in the middle of your display! The names that the hordes of Skype Sex Spammers are using now are nearly as embarrassing as the pictures that come with them (which are still only one click away from your children). A contact request should be treated like any other event, it can be flagged the same as a missed call, to be dealt with at a later time. That's actually a good comparison - is a new contact request from someone, whether it is MostlyNakedMary or an old friend, really more important than a missed call from someone with whom you already communicate? The former pops up blaring in the middle of your screen, and the latter is indicated by a very discreet little flag overlaying the Skype icon in the Windows system tray which many, perhaps most, users either don't notice, don't recognize or don't understand what it means anyway?

Other than that, Skype makes the usual claims about improved audio, fixing video bugs, better handling of audio devices and such. If you then go to the Skype Community (the mutilated Skype User Forums), you find that people with 3.8 beta are still complaining about video freeze, audio dropout, and much more.

I have installed the new release on my test system, and the one thing I can personally report is that the Skype "presence reporting" is still broken. The one major contact I still have on Skype has been shown as offline most of the day, and I know he has been online because I've been chatting with him on ooVoo. The few other contacts that I still show on there have been bouncing online and offline all day, but are they really doing that, or is Skype "presence" just totally hosed? Beats me.

Do I need to say it again? If you are looking for a video/audio/text IM program, do yourself a favor and get one that works - ooVoo, SightSpeed and Gizmo5 are all vastly superior to Skype. I know it can be tough to get your contacts who may already by using Skype to convert, because I've been through that. But believe me, both you and your contacts will be happier if you change over.

jw 30/4/2008

Topic: Linux

J.A. Watson

About J.A. Watson

I started working with what we called "analog computers" in aircraft maintenance with the United States Air Force in 1970. After finishing military service and returning to university, I was introduced to microprocessors and machine language programming on Intel 4040 processors. After that I also worked on, operated and programmed Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8, PDP-11 (/45 and /70) and VAX minicomputers. I was involved with the first wave of Unix-based microcomputers, in the early '80s. I have been working in software development, operation, installation and support since then.

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2 comments
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  • Skype 3.8 Release Available

    Interesting read. I know it's a bit dated, but I appreciate your plug for those other IM programs. I will now be going to google and checking these out. Thanks!
    MisterSavage
  • Skype 3.8 Release Available

    @gemaster - Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm glad to hear that you found it interesting and potentially useful. The IM area has changed quite a bit since I wrote this. Skype is still blundering around with their 4.0 Beta, and is still getting lots of negative comments about it being far too invasive, taking over far too much screen space, and so on; meanwhile, they still have no browser-based client of any sort (not even for IM text only, much less audio or video), they are still stranded at one-to-one video, and they have recently unceremoniously dumped their "Skypecast" users with practically no advance notice, as seems to be their standard way of operating.

    At the same time, the alternatives have gotten stronger, more numerous and more varied. ooVoo has made several updates, and their multi-party video is working quite well now; SightSpeed has been acquired by Logitech, which is likely to strengthen them in the long term (although that might not be good news for you...), a new competitor, VoxOx, has come on the market promising to be everything for everyone all rolled up in one package, and the browser-based programs such as TokBox and SnapYap have gotten better, more stable and more versatile.

    As you said, the best thing to do is go and look at some of the alternatives yourself, and decide what suits your needs, the best, works in your environment, and has the level of support that you need (keep in mind that SKype has NONE).

    Another point to consider is that Skype still insists on being a totally isolated "island", they will not interconnect with any of the other IM products for any exchange, not even simple text messaging. There are others, such as Gizmo5 and a few others, which will allow you consolidate your IM chat from a variety of services (except Skype, of course) with a single client.

    jw 20/12/2008
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