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3 Interesting Omissions from the Skype 5.0 Beta for Mac OS X

Since the launch of Skype 5.0 Beta for Mac last week, I've continued use it on one Mac and simultaneously using the current Skype 2.8 on another Mac. In using both, I've been struck by a couple of interesting omissions.

One is somewhat trivial but was always kind of fun to see - the 2.8 client listed the number of people online in the bottom right corner:


As a numbers/stats geek, it was kind of fun to see that number change over time, both in terms of hours of the day and also the overall growth. If this number is somehow visible in the Skype 5.0 Beta, I've yet to see it.

UPDATE: This was added to a 5.0 release, but through a typed command, not directly in the user interface as it was in Skype 2.8. You can now go into any chat in the 5.x client and type: /mac users to see the number of users currently online.

UPDATE - 5 Mar 2012: This /mac users command no longer works in at least the Skype 5.5 client for the Mac.

UPDATE - 6 Mar 2012: It turns out that the command in Skype 5.5 for Mac OS X is simply "/users".

UPDATE - 16 June 2014: This "/users" command was apparently removed from the Skype for Mac client sometime in the last two years. It seems the only way to get Skype statistics is from Skype's statistics RSS feed.

Another much more annoying omission is the "Mark All Viewed" button that was available in the 2.8 "history" feature. If you clicked the number of open chats on the right side of the Skype 2.8 contact window, it would show you your history of what chats are currently open with messages in them. There was then this "Mark All Viewed" button that let you very easily "catch up" with all of chats.


This has often been incredibly useful when traveling or having other periods away from the computer. As I've mentioned, I am in a LOT of Skype chats and sometimes when I get to a hotel after traveling, I want to look through some of the most important chats ... and then simply zero out the count of new messages in the rest so that I will only learn of new messages in that chat from that point forward.

UPDATE: This feature was added to a 5.0 release. Under the Conversations menu there is now a menu choice "Mark All Conversations As Read".

Which brings me to the third omission and one that I do miss. With the 2.8 client, you have the ability to sort chats in several different ways through a menu a the top of the "drawer" attached to a chat window:


This allowed me to, for instance, flag some chat as a higher priority and have them appear at the top of the list of chats. Now, the 5.0 Beta does provide a limited version of this in the "Favorites", but the 2.8 client let you assign different levels of priority to different chats.

In any event, this sorting is gone in the 5.0 Beta... we only have the sort by date and then the "Favorites".

None of these are showstoppers to me... my decision to continue with using the 5.0 Beta won't rest on these omissions. I just thought they were interesting things to drop from the GUI. Hopefully Skype will bring bring them back during the beta process... we'll have to see!

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