Skype 3.8 Release Available

Skype has released 3.8 "Gold" for Windows.They made one change that is half-good.
Written by J.A. Watson, Contributor

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

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