Previous month:
May 2009
Next month:
August 2009

Posts from June 2009

Skype launches version 4.1... (yawn)... still only Windows... still a fragmented product strategy

skype_logo.pngSkype today announced Skype 4.1 for Windows. As Raul Liive outlined in a post about the 4.1 beta (see also Jim Courtney's take), this version brings to Windows users the "screen sharing" feature that we've had in the Mac version of Skype for a bit. It also restores several of the features that were in the previous Skype 3.8 for Windows but that got left behind when Skype rushed 4.0 for Windows out the door. And it adds the SILK codec and some other odds and ends.

Per Raul's Skype blog post today, the final 4.1 version fixes a whack-load of bugs as well.

If I were on Windows, I'd definitely head over and download 4.1. The bug fixes alone are probably worth it.

Of course, I'm not on Windows (I'm a Mac user) and so today's announcement is pretty much irrelevant to me. Just as whenever Skype comes out with a new Mac version or beta, it's irrelevant to Windows users. And if by some miracle Skype should actually come out with a new Linux version (no update to their blog in 6 months), that would be irrelevant to both Mac and Windows users.

It's hard to get excited about a new Skype release when regardless of what is new in it, you can generally only use it with people on your platform. Maybe. If they care enough about Skype to download the new version.

Don't get me wrong - I'm a huge Skype fan. It's open for me all the time and I have something like 40+ group chats (IM) open at any time for various projects and teams.

But Skype's continued belief in a fragmented, fractured, siloed platform-specific product strategy is still a path of monumental stupidity, in my opinion. I've ranted about this before. It's still the same.

In contrast, Mozilla comes out with Firefox 3.5 on the same day across all three operating systems. For any given Firefox release, there is tons of attention and interest because everyone can download, try it out, write about it, tweet about it and generally use it. There's a good buzz that can happen.

I know, I know... Firefox is "just a web browser" and Skype is a much more complicated real-time communication tool... etc., etc. And yes, I know that Windows still has the largest market share so it makes sense to focus there to reach the largest % of customers. (Although I'd wonder if that is true of the "influencer"/word-of-mouth/blogging community that seems to have a higher Mac %.) And sure, maybe there is good sense in both those statements. (or not)

Still, as a Skype fan, I'd love for maybe Skype 5.0 to be a release that came out across all platforms and let me share the excitement with Skype users across all the different platforms.

Probably not. But it would be nice.

Meanwhile, if you are a Windows user, you can get 4.1. And if you are a Mac user, you can safely keep ignoring Skype... no update for you, yet.

If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either subscribing to the RSS feed or following me on Twitter or

Technorati Tags:

Speaking at the Enterprise 2.0 conference this week in Boston

enterprise20-2009-boston-1.jpgThis week, I (Dan York) am at the Enterprise 2.0 conference today through Thursday at the Westin Boston Waterfront in downtown Boston. The keynote panel I'm on, The Future of Social Messaging in the Enterprise, doesn't happen until Wednesday morning at 9:15am... but I came down early as a good number of the sessions are of interest.

If you are at the show and would like to say hello, please do email me. I expect to also be posting updates to Twitter on both danyork and voxeo.

You can also follow along with the conference "backchannel" on Twitter by following the hashtag "#e2conf". Here's an easy search URL:

I expect to have a very cool Voxeo announcement out on Wednesday, too... but more on that then... ;-)

P.S. And why do I do the silly "I (Dan York)" construction at the beginning of this post? Because I see my content being scraped and so "I" alone doesn't make sense in other places the content winds up :-)

If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either subscribing to the RSS feed or following me on Twitter or

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

For a brief bit - Skype video calls from 30,000+ feet on Southwest Air WiFi!

Upon entering the Southwest Airlines plane this morning on my flight to Orlando to visit Voxeo's headquarters, I immediately noticed a "WiFi zone" sign on a column by the entry door. Naturally, I had to pull out my Macbook Pro and give it a whirl... and, given the issue of Skype-blocking last summer... try out Skype.

To my great surprise and pleasure, it worked great. (For a little while - see below.) Here's Bruce Lowekamp:

03_33 | Call with Bruce Lowekamp-1.jpg

As you may or may not be able to see in the graphic, our call had been up for 3 minutes and 33 seconds when I snapped the picture.

Technical Call Info-1.jpgUnfortunately, I didn't have easy access to my headset, so I couldn't really have a great conversation. The ambient background noise in the plane was really too much for my voice to be heard unless I bent down toward the microphone... and likewise even with the MacBook Pro volume up all the way it was a bit hard to hear Bruce unless I bent down toward the laptop.

And, of course, I didn't really want to annoy my fellow passengers. :-)

You can see on the right the technical stats for the call. Packet loss was surprisingly low. At the time I captured this window, I had a 3% receiving packet loss... but through much of our call that was hovering down around 0%. A roundtrip of 789ms is, of course, rather entertaining.

Sadly, though, the connectivity didn't last forever. After about maybe 30 minutes of trying this out and making video calls to different people, my Skype account went offline.


No instant messaging/chat, either. Which is exceedingly annoying.

Out in Twitter-land, Fred Posner asked Southwest if they were blocking VoIP, to which Southwest replied:

@fredposner yep...we do.


Actually, what annoys me more is Southwest blocking Skype IM. Other than the novelty today, I don't know that I really want to be making calls from the plane... although I could see the usefulness from time to time.

What I do want is the Skype IM... since I use Skype IM heavily for communication with people including my team. It seems, though, that my Skype connection is completely blocked. Which is unfortunate, given that all my other IM services seem to be working fine.

Southwest, can you please figure out how to block the Skype voice and video, but still leave us the chat?

Despite the VoIP-blocking, though, it was seriously great to be able to use my laptop and work online during the flight. Even better, on this flight the Southwest WiFi was free while they are apparently testing it out. I did a couple of speed tests from DSL Reports, naturally, and seemed to be getting around 3Mbps down and around 200-250 Kbps up. Here's one of the results:

Speed Test -

What a crazy world we're now in... 3 Mbps downlink... on a plane!

P.S. And of course I had to snap a picture like this:


If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either subscribing to the RSS feed or following me on Twitter or

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,