Skype's Mini-Outage On March 30 - And The Need For Greater Transparency
Whoa! Skype releases an update for the Linux version!

My 3 Main Issues With Skype 5.x For The Mac - And Jim Courtney Summarizes The Skype for Mac 5 Saga

SkypelogoI had planned to write a longer blog post today summarizing so much of the recent discussion happening online about the "Skype for Mac 5" client, particularly after the recent release of "Skype for Mac 5.1". I was planning to link to the various posts, provide context, etc., etc.

However, in one of those moments of synchronicity that happen from time to time, I woke up this morning to find that Jim Courtney published a post very much along the lines of what I was going to write:

Skype for Mac 5 – From Ecstasy to Agony

Sooooo.... read his post! :-)

Seriously, though, do read Jim's post because he's done a great job bringing together the various posts in the last couple of weeks related to the Skype for Mac 5.x issues.

For my part, I use BOTH Skype 2.8 and Skype 5.1 on a daily basis... just on two different Macs. I switch back and forth between them, although Skype 2.8 running on my Voxeo laptop continues to be my primary user interface for Skype. I just run 5.1 on an iMac in my home office so that I can try to get used to it.

My biggest issues with Skype 5.x on the Mac continue to be:

  1. LACK OF MULTIPLE WINDOWS - Right now on my 2.8 client, I show about 100 chats being open in two different main windows, each with a drawer showing those chats... and then a third window showing my contacts. It's an extremely efficient way to work... and I have found it personally incredibly difficult to move to the "one window" paradigm of Skype 5.x.

    I frequently find myself working simultaneously in two different chats... or I will be on a call with someone and simultaneously talking about what is happening in another chat right then. I need the ability to have multiple chat windows open simultaneously before I can seriously move to using Skype 5.x.

  2. CHAT SORTING - As Jaanus Kase relates, the sorting of chats in Skype 5.x is markedly different than in Skype 2.8. I mentioned this back in November in my post, "3 Interesting Omissions From the Skype 5.0 Beta for Mac OS X". We used to have the ability to sort like this:

    Now in 5.x, as Jaanus notes, we have the time-sorted chats and the alpha-sorted "Favorites". It's really a huge step backwards from the flexibility we have in 2.8.

    I like manual sorting... I loved being able to prioritize chats. Particularly when I have multiple windows open, each with a separate list of chats. In one of my windows, I have the chats manually sorted so that I can just look over and see which chats have new messages. In my other window, they are sorted by date so that the most recent chats always show up on the top. It all works very well.

  3. BIZARRE DIALPAD - Again, like Jaanus, I often use Skype to call into traditional conference call systems and getting to the dialpad in Skype 5.x is just, well, strange. You have to click the button on the top... but then you can't control the call from that window... you have to hang up the call back in the main window... and the dialpad sometimes goes away.

    It seems a very strange departure from the "one window" paradigm Skype is promoting for 5.x overall... and it's just bizarre.

I also have issues with the window size... but that gets at least better if you use one of the various minimalist "chat styles" that are out there. There are a number of other minor UI details that bug me from time to time... but it's mostly again this multiple window issue. If I had the ability to "undock" chats and put them into separate windows, Skype 5.x would be a whole lot more useful to me. I might even consider switching full-time. But not right now. My efficiency with Skype would be too severely impacted.

Skype has a 5.2 for the Mac apparently in the works... someone pointed out that some documents indicated it would bring ads to the Mac version (Oh, joy!). We'll have to see what else it brings...

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