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Two Links Regarding the Skype Outage

Here are two articles which are worth reading for perspective on the recent Skype outage:First, a blog post from a small business who was directly impacted by the outage:http://technorati.com/business/small-business/article/why-did-skype-tell-me-to/The moral of that story is just what I have been saying for a long time.
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Written by J.A. Watson, Member blogger on

Here are two articles which are worth reading for perspective on the recent Skype outage:

First, a blog post from a small business who was directly impacted by the outage:

http://technorati.com/business/small-business/article/why-did-skype-tell-me-to/

The moral of that story is just what I have been saying for a long time. Don't bet your business on Skype, because you are bound to lose.

Second, a description of why this outage was inevitable, just as the previous Skype outage was inevitable, and the next one will be inevitable, and the one after that...

http://digitalmediaupdate.blogspot.com/2010/12/skype-its-major-service-outages-are.html

The moral of that story is that an amateur-hour infrastructure which is almost entirely built on systems over which the "service provider" has no control or even access is going to be unreliable, period.

Finally, something else to think about. The supposedly authoritative accounts of what caused the outage actually contain a lot of dry description of how some "Supernodes" crashed, which shifted additional burden to the remaining "Supernodes", some of which then crashed, and so on. What it does not make clear, and I believe goes out of its way to avoid mentioning, is that those "Supernodes" were not dedicated Skype systems; they were not even systems which were owned or operated by Skype. The vast majority of them would have been ordinary users who just happened to have Skype running on their computer, and the Skype application had decided to establish itself as a "Supernode" on their computer. Not only were they not asked, nor informed about, this use of their computer, it is very difficult for an average user to determine that their computer has been appropriated in this way, short of looking at the lights on their modem or router and seeing that they are blinking like crazy at a time when the user thinks the computer and internet connection should be idle. Now, imagine that you were the owner of such a computer (that shouldn't take much imagination, if you are a Skype user you very well might have been). Is this the kind of thing you expected, or are willing to tolerate? The load on your computer and your internet connection suddenly start increasing, then Skype crashes, then it restarts, and the load starts climbing again, and again, and again...

Now, Skype proposes as a "solution" to this problem that they will start forcing "automatic" updates of their buggy software on end user systems? So, when you install Skype on your computer, you are not only implicitly allowing them to use it as a "Supernode" if they want, you are actually turning over control of that portion of your computer to Skype, so they can modify the software whenever they want, once again without asking or informing you of it?

There seem to be some perspectives which are out of whack here, relating to who is providing what services to whom, and under what conditions.

jw

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