Hadrys's Weblog

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Skype Beta – The end of Skype?

with 2 comments

There has just been released a new beta of Skype 4.0 Beta 3 and Skype for Windows Mobile 2.5 Beta.

Skype Mobile – It  is supposed to work better but looks exactly the same as the old one, still you can’t use voice through EDGE conveniently and sound comes from the rear speaker instead of the ear piece of my Eten. Oh wait, they’ve changed status icons so you can’t tell anymore if the user is on or offline. You can try and install it (remove previous one first), no harm and maybe after throughout tests it will turn out better.

Skype PC – It also has new cool icons which are useless and I can’t think of any clues what the hell was wrong with the old ones? The new Skype is supposed to be more user friendly by merging all the functions into one screen and by providing an unique experience called “Skype custom style”. Yeah right… all you can see is every Skype feature thrown randomly into one small screen, including contact list and chats. I really tried to like the new idea but I failed. First impression just gets worse with every minute. Every smallest bit of this beta is now tragic. Probably a whole bunch of people had to be involved in the process to succeed that much.

Skype custom style sounds cool but it simply means that you can switch between something previous-interface alike and the new all-in-one-piece-of-trash. I wasn’t even able to change the background so probably we have a new definition for the word “customize”. Also the new version enables a bigger, better video window but as far as I remember it was possible for ever to have it as big as you like or even full screen. It also has a completely stunning new feature called “conversations” which we know as a history tab.

They even managed to completely mess up the readability of the chats. Now it looks just like an unformatted bunch of text. Very cool indeed, you can’t tell who is saying what, there are no breaks, just a flow of text. IRC was hundred times better. What was wrong with perfectly distinctive from distance, blue and gray labels with a timestamp and tiny black separators for continuous messages? Why is it better to scratch your head all the time thinking if this text was written by yourself… oh crap. They even went further by placing smileys on a dark semi transparent window so you actually can’t see or use them. Probably millions were spent searching for a man who had no idea what readability and user friendly stands for or how can it make users very happy. Even file transfer window doesn’t pop up anymore, now it’s inline within the chat and scrolls off the screen as you type. Maybe this is a new security feature preventing you from downloading malicious stuff by not remembering to do download anything at all.

They even messed up the window bar. Probably OS manufacturer like Microsoft has no idea how to handle windows and Skype does, so they came up with a vista styled transparency-pretending bar, some ugly writing on it and Vista styled icons which look horrible on a black background. It was too hard to leave it standard. Why? Why this is a good ol’ Skype inside but f*** up so much that you just sit with your mouth wide open and keep on wondering – how was it possible??

Oh, I can’t say anything about voice quality which was meant to improve, because when I’ve changed my ISP recently I have superb quality now but this can be improved by a simple patch.

During all those years I’ve trashed two communicators because from neat simple programs they become huge and useless all rounders, focused more on being a rock star (and eating resources like grannies’  cookies) than actually doing their job.  At this point it’s very important to point out that I’m a huge fan of Skype and I really would like to stick with it, but I don’t want fancy stuff just a proper tool for the job. Remember, “The perfect is the enemy of the good” and how can you improve perfect?

Sorry Skype but it’s your fault!


Written by Hadrys

December 13, 2008 at 16:12

2 Responses

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  1. I agree completely, and have sent feedback to Skype saying pretty much the same thing. I rolled back to the previous version.

    I will not use the beta version and I will never ‘upgrade’ to 4+ until they fix the issues raised here, at the very least, they must re-implement an IRC look to make the chats readable.


    January 1, 2009 at 08:37

  2. […] must admit that Skype did a great job with the final release 4.0. Beta described earlier was a total disaster and this one is the proper Skype. You can make it look a lot like the old one […]

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