Skype “Dropping” Instant Messages and Calls

Don’t know if anyone else has been experiencing this lately but we had an instance last night where Skype was “dropping” instant messages and not letting calls through.

So last night before we recorded The Global Geek Podcast Seb and I agreed to meet in half an hour. So I instant messaged him after that time and said I was ready when he was. So then I sit there waiting for a response. After a while I start to think, where the hell is he? Then about twenty minutes later I get this call from him on Skype which I attempt to answer and when I do it says “dropped” in the call window. Then another call and this one goes through.

Turns out that Sebastian had been messaging me for the last fifteen to twenty minutes. I did not get a single message. He gave up and tried to call me and succeeded on the second attempt. We chatted and he had been constantly messaging me during that time. He did get my “ready when you are” message. That is to say nothing of the “dropped” call; which seems to be happening more and more.

To this present time I am yet to get the messages that Sebastian sent me. They are lost in the “Skype Cloud” (whatever that is). I could not tell you what is going on here and I do not know if it is happening to anyone else. Could it be the result of the Chinese hackers? Or could it just be the fact that they are trying to accomplish too much at the detriment of the main feature set? I would be interested to know if this is just me or if we are looking at an epidemic here? Let me know.


Odeo Cripples Functionality

Odeo LogoOdeo seem to be updating and improving their services every other day of late. However, it is not every day that you see such a great service actually remove a feature and make it harder for users to utilise their service. They have indeed done so and perhaps in doing so shooting themselves in the foot.

One of the great features that is available to Odeo users is to have an "inbox". If you were to place a button on your website, be it blog or some other site you have enabled your readers to leave you audio comments by clicking the link. They get taken to a page that has a recording interface, which is simple and easy to use and the result is great audio. You as the user of Odeo get that recorded audio in your inbox once it is sent to you. You are notified of this by an email.

Another great feature is that you can subscribe to an RSS feed of your own inbox! So this is a great way to receive feedback on anything. Including podcasts. Seb and I saw it as a great way to get feedback for Global Geek Podcast, so we set up an account. The advantage of getting audio as feedback is that you could go to your inbox once you were notified and click the new Odeo comment that was left for you. You can listen to it. But the biggest feature was that you could click a "download as MP3" button and download the audio comment and insert it into a podcast! The result was excellent and we loved it.

The ability to download the MP3 has been removed from the play window! So what the hell is Odeo thinking in removing this key functionality. It means that it is impossible to download the audio from the page to your local machine. Rather it makes it a pain in the butt to do it.

I found that there is a work-around but it is messy: Open Audacity, set the source to "stereo mix" get ready to hit record… Open the Odeo message that you want to record. Flip back to Audacity and hit record, nip over to the Odeo page and click play. Go back and hit stop on the recording when it has finished. As I said messy. In addition the audio that you end up with is less than ideal and requires a bit of editing.

I am utterly dismayed as to why Odeo have removed this from their site. The only thing that I can think of is that they want users to listen to audio, only from them and not from another source. Perhaps they were not aware that the service was being utilized in this way and they have done it ignorantly, I just don't know. Sebastian has suggested that perhaps they are beginning to think about implementing a pay service and this has something to do with it. But since when has any site reduced their services as opposed to offering more. We are not the only podcast doing this. I can honestly say that if this situation remains as it is; the blogging and podcasting community could deliver some negative press, big time.

Global Geek Podcast has mentioned Odeo on every show that we have done. Not only that there is a link on the Global Geek Podcast website to Odeo, there is a link to Odeo on Rooster's Rail, Seb's Random Thoughts and we have plugged them for their service and functionality since utilizing their service. It is not like we have not given back to Odeo. This I feel is the thanks that we get.

Global Geek Podcast have sent off an email to Odeo in regards to this issue and we await a response, I will let you know what we get back from them when and if we do.

Update: Please check out the Follow-up Story

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.

Recorded First Podcast!

Well we have recorded the first Global Geek Podcast.

It was fun and we had a blast. The only thing that kept going through my brain was I hope this is OK. Yes I was nervous and I am not sure how it came across. In fact we both had fun, and I guess that’s what podcasting is all about; for me anyway.

Technically, Hot Recorder behaved itself so that was good, we didn’t loose the whole show with that barfing. Sebastian had some trouble with his microphone initially. Mine was set and sounded good. But then Sebastian “hacked” Skype to allow him to control the audio settings so that his audio was loud enough. But the big mistake on my part was not then doing another test to make sure I was loud enough compared with me. I wasn’t. I was not inaudible though just a lot softer then I would have like to be. But I guess if that’s the biggest mistake we made then it did not go badly at all.

This show was basically an intro show, nothing too hard or challenging. We talked about what we have been doing and what we had done to prepare for the show. Played a bit of music which is cool. While we joked around a fair bit I hope that we can talk about some serious topics when we need to. But it was a blast and a good way to ease into the whole thing. Just don’t know if people will listen to the whole thing! I hope they do. I guess that’s what it is like for anyone that does anything public; an author hoping that their book will get read, a musician hoping that someone will buy the album.

Anyway be kind, the first show so don’t hammer it too badly! I am hoping to have the show up in the next 24 hours.