Skype Adds Feature That Users Said Would Never Happen

This week marks a new beta version for Skype. I was very interested to see that they have included in this version a “typing indicator”. In other words as you type a message in a chat the other chat parties can see that you are composing a message. This might seem as if it isn’t a big deal, but it has been said and said again in the Skype forums that this would never happen.

The reason that this was supposedly never going to happen is that Microsoft owned the patient for the feature and that Skype would never infringe upon Microsoft’s rights. It would seem that this is not the case. From Skype:

“Ever since the Skype chat feature first came out, we have heard from people who have said that their very lives and the whole earthly existence depends on the chat having a “typing indicator”, and that they won’t be happy until they have it in Skype. 😉 So… the day has finally come. There is now a typing indicator in Skype chat. Hurrah and rejoice.”

Skype 3.1 Beta for Windows – SkypeFind and typing indicators

This is in fact a lesson for those that would claim to know the mind of Skype. In addition to that it gives me hope that they will eventually include the other much asked for feature; to be able to record. Again forum contributors claim that they will never include this because of the legal ramifications. I am not saying that they will include this feature but it sure does make me think that it is a possibility.

As a podcaster being able to record Skype natively would make Skype a killer app. The current methods of recording Skype, both software and hardware are flawed on many counts. The quality, reliability and the pain in the butt factor are overwhelming obstacles for a simple task. It would seem that Skype hold the key to reliable high quality recording. All the apps and hardware solutions are a hack for what is known and Skype themselves know so much more. So how about it Skype, maybe this version?

You can download the latest beta from Skype here.

Create Your Own Temporary Message Board

Cl1p_LogoNow this is a bit of fun and actually quite useful. The service is called cl1p.net it provides a service that lets you create an instant message board or clipboard with a unique URL for access and number of handy and useful features. I am sure that there are uses for this that would present themselves to people on a daily basis. A great service to put in your bookmarks, you never know when you might need it.

To set up a message board or clipboard all you have to do is visit cl1p.net and follow the instructions which are very simple. You will see a box like this:

Cl1p_Creation_Box

Fill in what you want the page URL to be after the /. Click the “Show My cl1p” button and you are done. There is no need to register, but you can if you want to to track your cl1ps. Once your page is generated (you should now be looking at it); there are a few options that you may want to activate.

The page is an Internet accessible clipboard or a message board, you select which on the right pull-down menu. The clipboard is the default. Copy and paste anything either plain text or HTML into the space provided. Or upload a file up to 2MB. Want someone else to be able to see the pasted text or file? Just point them to the URL. This is very useful. Say you were helping someone with some code for their blog or web page. You could get them to post their code on the “board”, edit it and then they could then reload and copy and paste it out to their page. Anyone that has tried to use Instant messaging for this knows exactly why this feature is so good. Plus it is way faster then email.

There are a number of options for how long you want the page open for from one hour to “as long as possible” (however long that is). You can change the title if you wish from the default to one that you prefer. I like the idea of being able to password protect the page as well in the “Security” options. Activating this for a message board enables moderation by the creator of the page and prevents others from modifying comments. Create an account to track your “cl1ps” or there is the option to buy the URL that you have essentially created. Enable HTML or plain text to suit your needs. Message boards are plain text which is a good idea.

At the bottom of the page is the option to upload a file up to 2MB, which might be an interesting way to share a file with a lot of people that you can’t host yourself. Finally you can adjust the number of lines that are viewable, save and print the text. Phew… loads of features for a simple page. But that is what makes it great. Good things are simplistic and easy to use and this fits all the requirements for that.

If you purchased the URL it could be a permanent message board for your blog readers. The good thing about this is that there is no registration required, no login, no email submission. You might get more comments from your readers by having one. If you had no blog then this might be a fun way to leave messages for your friends or have an asynchronous conversation. You could start a great flame war with this one, once the URL disappears your comments go with it and it is anonymous. These ideas are just off the top of my head and I am sure that people can think of much better ones.

The URL or page is accessible to anyone with Internet access, just point your browser to it and you can see the page you or someone else has created. Nice. This is also an advantage if you were working with someone in another time zone. Or you had friends that were in a different country. It is another way of communicating and collaborating.

I think it is a great idea and has loads of potential and an early start to a sound business model. In the future I would expect there to be advertising and such but that won’t take away from a great, interesting, simple and fun idea. The idea of accessibility and ease of use is an achievement. I can definitely see myself using this from time to time for a number of uses and a lot that I am yet to think of.

See the Rooster’s Rail Message Board Here [ http://cl1p.net/roosters_rail ] go nuts and tell me what you think about it.

UPDATE: Killed the Message Board it became a spam mecca. This post is getting on and the spammers followed it. Just glad that HTML was off 🙂 Please check out the service and create your own.

Cl1p.net_Screenshot

Global Geek Podcast #004 Recorded

Another one down and recorded reasonably successfully. Although due to my state of health at the moment I am not sure about the speed at which I will have it out this week. For that I apologize in advance but I will do my best.

A few surprises this week. There is a special appearance by a young listener and we run our first promo slot!

Sebastian and I had a blast recording this show. We did a lot of work leading up to the show and we are refining our communication in the lead up to the show. To not give anything away we are utilizing RSS to "feed" each other links and information. I know we could just use email but the problem with email is that we would have to write it in HTML to put all the links in and the stories from web pages would not work unless they were in HTML. To top it off I never use HTML for email. We both use FeedDemon more than we use email so it makes sense. If anyone wants to know exactly what we do I am happy to give you details if you contact me.

I think that Sebastian and I are starting to work more effectively together, utilizing each others strengths and making fun of our weaknessess, as usua. But that said I think that we have put together a great show. We will leave the final judgment to out listeners.

Keep an eye out on the RSS or the web site for when it is published.

Skype 2.5 Installed: I am Over my Hissy Fit

Skype2.5Well I was a "tad" peeved off that this release of Skype did not include a record function and I had decided that I wasn't downloading it until I got over that. But after some encouragement from Sebastian I decided to install it.

I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. The "new" Skype is not all that new, rather more functional. The install is all the same and that had no problems. The first really noticeable thing was that the audio quality is better and there is greater emphasis on that with the inclusion of a "quality monitor". Not sure how that works as I do not have that many issues related to audio quality because I have a pretty quick connection. The problems that do occur are usually related to lag or resources pressure on the other person or person's local machine. And that I am afraid is unavoidable.

I said that I did not think I would use the SMS function. But I have actually found myself using it a lot. Like today I have come online, I got a message that someone wanted to talk to me, they are online but not answering. So I have SMS'ed him and now he knows I am here: he is yet to turn up though. But I think that it is cool that I can do that. The reason that I hate SMS is the fact that it is a pain in the butt when I am used to a keyboard. Having the ability to SMS from Skype actually makes SMS more accessible to me. By the way any reply that is sent to an SMS that I send from Skype goes to my personal mobile, the recipient is none the wiser about where the SMS was sent from. Seamless; an in usual Skype fashion; "It just works".

By the way the cost of an SMS in Australia via Skype is 0.12 AUD and to send an SMS to the UK is 0.13 AUD. I was told today by a colleague that the cost to the UK is normally 0.35 AUD. Definatly a saving there.

I am yet to try the mass call function which can apparently support up to 100 people. I am also yet to investigate Skypecasts, not sure what that's all about but I think it has something to do with this new feature. The thing that bothers me a bit is the fact that when you want to join a Skypecast it says that it says Skype is making a SkypeOut call. Apparently, at this point in time they are not charging you for this service as reported by Andy Bramson. Andy also reports as to the origin of the SkypeOut call, interesting stuff. But I suppose that means they will have that option in the future, we will see what happens. Skypecasts are, as far as I can tell are community chats and conferencing. The scope of this is massive. Imaging a Podcast with 20 others listening, contributing and live! Awesome. Aparently there is a "virtual" microphone that can be handed out by the moderator. I am going to have to explore this as it looks exciting.

Topping up your Skype credit is much easier with 2.5. Which as I have said before is in the interest of Skype. That said it is much easier and it is secure.

There are some other minor additions like the fact that the modern ring-tone has changed yet again to something yet more nauseating! But they have included the "classic" ring-tone that we all love. That is my take on Skype 2.5.
Maybe in the final release they will just drop a record button in there…