Sending SMS in Skype 2.5 Beta

Skype SMS IconFor those of you running the new Skype 2.5 Beta have you been having trouble sending SMS? I have found some problems that may be the source of the issues you have been having.

I have been having fun with the SMS ability of the new Skype 2.5 Beta. But I have had some issues like SMS send failures when I know the number is right and the network should accept SMS from Skype. I had some mobile phone numbers already listed in my Skype contacts. I upgraded to Skype 2.5 in the usual fashion. I found that some numbers worked with SMS and some did not. New numbers that I put into Skype worked, that got me thinking as to why that was.

A typical number here in Australia might be "0449557250". I discovered that the "0" prefix should be omitted when using Skype, as it works with international dialing codes and these are usually not required and indeed cause problems when they are used. I found that the numbers that I had already stored in my contacts retained this "0" in front of the number and some did not. The ones that did not have the "0" worked with the SMS. So what I did in my wisdom is input-ed all my mobile numbers omitting the "0". Wrong move! They still did not work. Seems that I was too smart for the new Skype dialing wizard!

The correct thing to do is to select "Add a Contact" then select "Add new SkypeOut Contact" then select the country that the number originates from and enter the number in full (yes including the zero!). Skype will "strip" the zero out in the final number that you will see listed in your contact list. This may or may not be a bug in upgrading from 2.0 to 2.5 Beta and might be fixed in the final version.

As far as the existing numbers are concerned. It seems that Skype had failed to "strip" out the zero and that was causing the SMS failure. This was not an issue in Skype 2.0 as we were not able to send SMS and as far as SkypeOut to mobiles it did not seem to matter. What I have done is to delete these contacts and add them again in the above method and all seems to be working fine now. So try that before you throw your arms in the air screaming shite!

One other thing that I have noticed is that I am getting SMS failures from SMS messages that I know have gone through. I am not sure why that is but I know that the SMS sending feature is in early development and all the bugs have not be ironed out yet. In addition this is all part of the plan to enable Skype users to receive SMS in Skype. Now that would be cool!

Just remember that if you are using the 2.5 beta and you are having some issue that seems to be a bug, log a problem with the Skype team and let them know what it is, that way we all get a better final version!

Happy SMS'ing!

Also check out this article as it has a lot more on SMS and what can go wrong and why and how to fix it and where this is all headed. 

Skype SMS… what's up with the beta?


FeedDemon Beta Tested: Positive Results

Tonight FeedDemon was tested with an unable to connect to server error. I was impressed with the performance, there were a few bugs but nothing major. This may or may not have been a NewsGator Server problem.

I fired up FeedDemon and got the "cannot connect to server message". I got the option to un-synchronize the feeds and to manually page each feed for updates. I selected that and I was presented with a message that informed me that the feeds would be updated directly from the feed URL's and that it would be slower. So I selected OK.

To say that the feeds would update slower is an understatement, it is really slow and I have a 1500/256 connection (that is pretty quick here in Australia), so bear in mind that with functionality comes a slowdown. That said it was not something that bothered me too much. One error that occurred was that when the feeds updated it imported "old" updates. I got posts from January 2006 and they were out or order by date and some were marked read and others not read even though I knew I had marked them as read previously. I did however get the new feeds at the top, which is what you want.

While this was going on Sebastian had asked me to listen to a podcast he had done the day before, so I went to the folder, I did have to manually update the folder with the "update feed" command; but when I did I got the new podcast listed. I clicked the "paper-clip" and FeedStation opened and started to download. It noted that it could not connect to "my podcasts" but it did not seem to bother the download. The podcast downloaded and synchronised to my sync folder on my local machine with no problems.

One thing that is not made as clear as it could be is how to re-synchronise your folders. Basically; you get an icon in the bottom left corner of FeedDemon that has a disconnected symbol on it – or something like that. You can click this icon and get options, one is to test the connection and another one to say you are not synchronised with a tick – selected next to it. I just presumed that to resynchronise you "deselect the box". I was right, but it is not indicated that you have; or are trying to synchronise again. The indication that you are trying to connect and have been successful is the fact that the synchronising with NewsGator splash comes up. I think this needs to be improved.

A new feature is the "test" connection option, again an option within the click icon at the bottom left. So every once and a while I tested the connection and I eventually got a "good" result back and I went through the resynchronise process described above. No problems. FeedDemon synchronised and updated the feeds and did not have a problem with the fact that I had read some new posts and download an enclosure. FeedDemon even marked those as read – so it performed better then expected there.

As far as the reason for the outage, I am not sure if the NewsGator server was down or that I could not connect to it because of the connection between my machine and the server. If it was the server, it was not down for long, which makes me think it was a connection problem. Well done Nick, this is what I expect from you guys, thanks.

Nick Bradbury says Blog Away on Beta

Had a few responses from the last Blog entry and it would seem that for some reason or another wires were crossed and I

If Nick says it is OK to blog about it then it is. So I am very happy about that. Thanks Nick for reading the blog and I hope that I can review this up and coming release with fairness and we can get some issues ironed out.

So in brief I have installed I am happy to say that it installed fine and without any problems. One of the great things was that all my feeds were already subscribed, which meant that I did not have to import my OPML file to set it it up. That is one feature of synchronization that is excellent. Updating feeds seems to be a little quicker but I don’t know if that is because of the build or just coincidence. At the moment I am only using the basic features to ensure stability and see if there are any problems.

One thing I have found out is that anyone that is getting text that show up like this:

Lowers Temp. by 30° Fahrenheit in just three minutes.

It is not an error in FeedDemon. It is the fact that you are using the Firefox hack to use Firefox in the browser window. I am not sure who wrote the hack but if it was Nick Bradbury I hope it gets fixed, It is stated that this feature is not supported in any version. If however it was the trusty open source community then we need to get some guru to fix it. The alternative of using Internet Explorer for me is not an option, I can put up with a few screwy characters.

My podcasts seem to be working fine and downloading without any problems.

When I know that everything is working fine I will start to “test” some of the things that should have been fixed in this version. I am planing to block access with the firewall. I am also planning to update all the feeds and pull the network cable and see how it handles that. I think it would be interesting to see how it handles a connection being unavailable from start-up. Just as important will be how it re-synchronizes with the NewsGator Server upon reconnect.

So thats for allowing up to blog about this and stay tuned for updates.

FeedDemon: Under Wraps

It's is official. I got an email today saying that NewsGator would appreciate it if beta testers would keep details about FeedDemon release "under wraps".

Well it is not a contract but a polite, please don't say anything. Which is fair enough. I understand why that is though. If say; this release crashes all the time or has some great problem (which it does not) then the last thing that NewsGator is going to want is for bloggers to plaster that all over the place. I can appreciate that.

So I have decided to be a beta tester. As I said previously I was undecided but after Jack Brewster got in touch with me and letting me know the details I was happy to do it. But I am sorry folks thats all I am going to say. But I did email them today asking if I could get a heads up before it is released so that I could post something before it was released. I would be bummed if I could not get the break on everyone else on something that I tested. We will see if I am allowed to do that.

I am flattered that I was chosen to review the beta version and I am enjoying putting it through it's paces… nuf said.

Keep looking out for news here and I will let you know if there are any details that I can devulge. 

Nick Bradbury Speaks: FeedDemon Pre-release Beta Tester!

Yesterday Nick Bradbury blogged about the efforts to fix the bugs that were brought to the fore regarding synchronization and FeedDemon.

The main issue regarding this is that when the NewsGator server crashes FeedDemon fails to connect to the direct feeds. Not only that there is an issue that once the NewsGator server is back up it then needs to re-establish synchronization. Other issues are those regarding firewalls, and trying to make FeedDemon play more peacefully with a firewall and with proxy servers. I have not had any such issues in this regard.

And so after my blogs here and some email with the NewsGator Team, I was actually very impressed with the way that NewsGator have been handling the consumer issues of last week. They are actually working so hard that Nick Bradbury already has a pre-release version ready for beta testing that addresses these issues.

So today I get a rather nice surprise in my inbox. I have been invited to be a beta tester for FeedDemon! I have not decided if I am going to do it or not. I am going to send a few emails off and find out exactly what this means:

…”So if you can’t risk loosing everything, please don’t install this build.”

I am not sure if this means my whole system could go belly up or that FeedDemon might. The former is not an option but I do not mind if FeedDemon dies. One of the great features of FeedDemon is that you can export all your feeds as an OPML file, so that would be easy enough to restore. As for the whole system kicking the bucket, I do not think that is an option that you could ask beta testers in the wild to put up with. And no doubt if I did take up the offer my brother would roll his eyes and say “… life on the bleeding edge dude…”. But I am contemplating it and it would give me some cool content to blog about, as long as I don’t have to sign a non disclosure.

But I can say that it will not be long before we have an updated version of FeedDemon to fix this huge problem. In addition I am glad that I am still on speaking terms with the team at NewsGator, even after my rant here.