Skype 3.0 Out of Beta

SkypeSo Skype 3.0 is out of beta, I am yet to be impressed.

While the interface now looks a bit better and functionally easier for users to get Skype functional I was disappointed to start seeing bloat. The RAM that Skype now uses is up around 30 MB. The Skype client itself is taking 12 MB on it’s ow, the other 20 MB is an application called skypePM.exe. It is the Extras Manager. Damn if that ain’t bloat I don’t know what is. This is optional on the install. It may well explain why my computer now takes an aeon to load as well. I will be uninstalling and reinstalling with this feature out.

Then there is the recording issue. As regular readers would know I have been harping on about the ability to record Skype for ages. But since Skype is yet to build this ability in I have and used Hot Recorder, it worked beaut. Until Skype 3.0 showed up, it now successfully records silence. Sure the new Skype as the old Skype could be used with a plug-in, now “Extras” that are able to record. One hot tip; none of these applications are able to record Skype with anywhere near the quality required for podcasting. So what now Skype? It looks to me that Skype are going to rely on 3rd party applications to take up the slack in the recording department. A shame because Skype would produce the best one. These other applications are lacking the quality required.

The positives while there, are hard to find for me. The audio quality seems to have improved, so that is a good thing. The other thing that has improved that may or may not have to do with Skype is that file transfers seem faster. Nothing huge but they are no longer dismal. The integration of Skypecasts is a good one.

Speaking of Skypecasts, having them in the interface of Skype is great. I have never heard one before today. The fact that they are in the interface meant that they were easy to access and that the ones there were on then or starting soon. So I thought that I would pay one a visit. It was great fun and I was able to network with a few people and added them to my Skype contacts. I even meet up with another Australian podcaster! Small world.

The cast was a computer help one that offered people that had joined the opportunity to have their questions answered or a problem sorted. Which is a great idea and people seemed to take advantage of getting some real-time assistance with what they were trying to do. Far less formal than a podcast it offers a great forum.

I was surprised at the sound quality which was good. Although the quality of other participants was the limitation. Some “callers” I am sure were on dial-up, given how it sounded! But most people had reasonable connections. It was fun and I’ll be doing it again. The other thing is that you could easily listen to a Skypecast and do something else at the same time. Does that make me a lurker?

This is the extent of my experience with the new Skype. I hope that it improves and I feel a bit better about it in time.

So my mixed feelings on Skype continue. I sincerely hope that they keep their focus on call quality and just consider including a RECORD button for future releases (I would even pay for it). Some nice improvements. Regular users will find it a worthy upgrade, not much here for the person that has special requirements and the bloat is not necessary in my opinion. I certainly feel that this is the most corporate version to evolve so far. A sign of the times? Only that very thing will tell. But with over 7 million Skypers on-line as I write this who am I to argue?

NOTE: The Hot Recorder Homepage is broken and this product is no longer developed from my experience.

Skype 3.0 Release Screenshot


No Pretty Lights

The other day I went to town the other day and bought a USB hub. So I looked around Harvey Norman and chose one that was compact and reasonable “cool” looking. I found one and purchased it. So I hooked it up that night, but only used it a day or so later. This thing was so cool. When you powered it up it had these very nice blue lights at the front for each port. They were that really great looking iridescent blue. Great I thought…

So a day or so later a hooked up the MP3 Player to transfer about 200 odd megs of podcasts and when I did that, I noticed something was a bit amiss. The transfer was as slow as a wet week. Turns out that the damn thing was a USB 1.1 device! I assumed that it was a USB 2.0, nothing on the box and since that’s the standard these days I thought that would be the case. Wrong. What it took was a hunt on the Internet to get the specs on it and there it was. But I was surprised to find that there was nothing on the box or in the documentation. So I waited for about 10 minutes while it transfer the files…

Yesterday I went back to the store and hunted for another USB hub. I found one. It is pretty basic and the only cool thing about it is that it is aluminium! The only light on it is a red one, at the back to say it is on. Bummer. Yeah sure this one is 2.0 compliant but I can tell you this hub is boring.

So I concluded that I want the one with the cool lights without the slow speed! I think also I am more disappointed that the cool lights had to go back and I have a boring alloy Hub. So I like things to look good and be functional, I am disappointed in myself, I always thought that I did not mind what something looked like, as long as it did the job! Seems not.