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Skype Founder Interviewed On Engadget 190

prostoalex writes "Niklas Zennström, the ever-elusive CEO of Skype, is interviewed by Engadget. Turns out Skype currently has more than 13 mln users in 200+ countries. The interview also discusses the future of Skype and VOIP applications in general."
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Skype Founder Interviewed On Engadget

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  • Mobility (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Arbin ( 570266 ) *
    I'm unsure as to how VoIP is going to pan out. I think the ultimate killer-app for it would be the ability to be mobile and not restricted to the same elements as a regular land-line.
    • Re:Mobility (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sinus0idal ( 546109 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @08:20PM (#10761286)
      There is a skype for pocket pc as long as you are in range of wifi...
      • They need some custom hardware just for this... That would be so awsome!

        Right now one of these rigs is pretty pricey if you don't already need one.

        Long term cheaper than a cell of course but other considerations, when WiMax is available in subways and Cell phones aren't people will switch.
    • Hopefully, on day, someone will devise a plan that puts a number of radio antennas spaced every few miles across populated areas. The area covered by each antenna could be called a "cell". Each would be connected back to a single operator of some sort, tying them all together.

      With this antenna infrastructure in place, maybe we can then possibly have phones that make use of these antennas. We could call them "cellular phones", meaning that they are of the antenna cells.

      The operator of the antenna infrastru
      • "Imagine, being able to talk to someone on the phone while out at the movies! Or while driving! The future holds such promise!"

        I see what you did there. That's so funny. I mean, plenty of people might not have thought of that, but you did. I mean, you must keep the people you know in such stitches with such irreverent comedy. Do your write your own material?

        The point between the disconnect of cellular and Wifi is to create an alternative that will eventually drop the price of data transfer on the c
    • Re:Mobility (Score:1, Interesting)

      by jacksonj04 ( 800021 )
      For the love of God make sure it uses IPv6 first!

      I believe Skype is already multiplatform and has some use on mobile devices (PocketPC 2003). Combine with Bluetooth and a mobile phone with GPRS, and you've got a really expensive mobile!
    • Arbin writes, " I'm unsure as to how VoIP is going to pan out"

      I see VOIP making inroads to the point that the exchanges that own the wire are trying to get the rules changed.

      As it is now, a CLEC pays the same his connection and CO equipment as the company that owns the wire and building.

      I've a buddy who is chief engineer at one VOIP company and another boddy who owns a VOIP company.
      The game now is cash for growth and both companies are targeting small business. VOIP allows these companies ot offer their
  • My poor Linux (Score:1, Interesting)

    Has anyone tried Skype on Linux? Knowing our good friend here has a fetish for spyware (a la Kazaa) does it install adaware/spyware on Linux? Is nothing sacred anymore?
    • Re:My poor Linux (Score:3, Informative)

      by dark-br ( 473115 )
      I've been using it for quite some time and i didn't notice anything unusual about the system.

      And mind you, i don't ware a tinfoil hat but i've runned lsof, tcpdump, etherreal, netstat and so on on the quest to find any suspicious behavior.

      The only problem with skype is that it will decrese your telefone bill but it will *rocket sky* your telefone time :/ Can't get mummy out of that microfone! Damn!

    • Re:My poor Linux (Score:2, Informative)

      by NerdENerd ( 660369 )
      They invented the fasttrck network and not the spyware infested Kazaa as we know it today. Skype is Spyware free and is also a fantastic piece of software. I am in regular contact with a few of my friends overseas no that we all use Skype as we often talk whenever we see each other online. Before Skype we very rarely used the landline to chat. Skype also just works. Doens't matter if you are behind NAT it just works without any port fowarding or configuration. Trying to get the audio option to work on MSN m
    • If there is any spyware, then chances are it's built into the skype executable.

      raven root # cat /var/db/pkg/net-im/skype-
      dir /opt
      dir /opt/skype
      obj /opt/skype/skype eaca94e60b2e92261e007dd3630436ab 1097296070
      obj /opt/skype/skype.bin d4513ce6bb3a5a27818fd7c91e945939 1097296070
      dir /usr
      dir /usr/share
      dir /usr/share/skype
      obj /usr/share/skype/call_in.wav 0bb00f438865d370b1c82bfe749ce22a 1097296070
      dir /usr/share/skype/lang
      obj /usr/share/skype/lang/skype_da.qm c6d8b5bc0d309b001d8b1de4b6048a0b 109

    • Re:My poor Linux (Score:5, Informative)

      by OzRoy ( 602691 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @08:33PM (#10761387)
      From the FAQ

      Does Skype contain any advertising or spyware?
      • Would it state... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dark-br ( 473115 )

        Yes? If so it's hardly "spyware" in the sense of "something that is running without you knowing about and doing nasty stuff". ;)

        • But doesn't the fact that they specifically state they do not have spyware give people the ability to sue them for false advertising if they do have spyware?
          • But doesn't the fact that they specifically state they do not have spyware give people the ability to sue them for false advertising if they do have spyware?

            Nope. It's just like spam, where the spammer's definition is "that terrible kind of email we don't send".

      • It might, it might not. I don't have the code, so I can't tell you. But I'll tell you this: I'll bet Claria "doesn't" contain any advertising or spyware either. It just depends on who's talking.

    • I have, and it works beautifully. I was fully expecting to have to fight it to get it working, but as I recall all it took was untarring it and running the Skype executable. I've been nothing but impressed with it, myself.

      There's a certain geeky coolness to sitting in the lobby someplace with my Slackware-running notebook, holding a conversation with a friend in another state, via VoIP over WiFi. :-)
    • As said before (by me) the original Kazaa programmers did not put in any spyware. That was after it was sold (by a rogue team member) to another company.
  • What about 911? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by PMJ2kx ( 828679 )
    At home, I still have a regular phone line because I sometimes need to send faxes. At the office, we actually don't have a land phone line. We use Skype mostly, and mobile phones to receive calls from people not on Skype.

    What about 911? How do you dial that without a landline?
    • Re:What about 911? (Score:5, Informative)

      by MoralHazard ( 447833 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @08:13PM (#10761243)
      "We use Skype mostly, and mobile phones to receive calls from people not on Skype."

      Miss Cleo told me that they use mobile phones to call 911.

      No, really--did you even read that quote you cut-n-paste'd?
    • Perhaps they do something like Vonage does where you sign up for 911 service and tell them your physical location. Then, when you dial 911, your call is switched to your local emergency ops office.
    • by anti-NAT ( 709310 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @08:21PM (#10761290) Homepage

      This "911" / emergency call issue is regularly rolled out as a "problem" with VoIP, due to the concern about the perceived lack of reliablity of IP based networks. While it is legitimate to address it, I don't think it is the issue it is made out to be.

      If you consider what life was like 20 years ago, each house only had one land line, and all the land lines in the neighbourhood were attached to the same exchange. From the individual end user's point of view, there was no redundancy at all. If your land line failed, you couldn't go next door to use your neighbour's phone in an emergency, as their's was dead too. All you could do was jump in your car and go to the hospital, police station or firehouse.

      Today, not only do we still have traditional land lines, we also have cell / mobile phones, and we still have cars. If we add VoIP into the mix, in sum, we have significantly more available "emergency communcations" resources as individuals than we did 20 years ago. That's why I don't think "911" / emergency call services is the issue it is made out to be when thinking about deploying VoIP.

      • That's still how we do it here in rural Georgia, y'all.

      • I've worked for Ericsson and the exchanges they had 20 years ago had redundancy built in and their own powersource.

        If you took out the whole building (flood, tornado, bomb) you'd lose your line. But it was still pretty resilient.
        • I figured as much, however, I think this issue really is best judged from the individual's point of view, as they are the ones "suffering" from the emergency. In the past, they were only had the option of relying on a single phone line, or using their car. Now there are multiple, alternative communications channels available to them in an emergency.

        • I have a friend who worked for Ericsson mobile, and now works for a company that supplies batteries and battery cabinets to Ericsson.

          He told me that at Ericsson they boasted (being justifiably proud) that after the Kobe earthquake in Japan, one of the few things still working were some of the Ericsson mobile transmission stations, even a few that were on houses that had collapsed. Since people could still call for help on their mobile and say were they were, that saved many lives.
      • How often did the phone network go out? How often does your Internet connection go out. I can't remember a single time when the phone system was out without there being a huge disaster in the area, but in the last year, I have probably had almost a month of total downtime, twice the length of downtime was almost a week. I don't live in the boondocks either, my ISP, a national cable provider here is based in the city I live in.

        Downtime and access to 911 is a huge potential problem, and I suspect that while
        • but in the last year, I have probably had almost a month of total downtime, twice the length of downtime was almost a week. I don't live in the boondocks either, my ISP, a national cable provider here is based in the city I live in.

          I don't think that is an inherent limitation of the technology, I think that is a limitation of the people deploying the technology. In my experience, a higher than acceptable number of network engineers don't treat the network as carefully as they should. They take somewhat

          • You can blame it on whomever you want, the fact remains that the Internet is a very unreliable network by the time you get to end users, and the users are not going to stand for it. On top of that, I know the last major outage, 5 days, was the Electric companies fault, installing an improperly shielded something or other, so its not just 'them young whipper-snappers.'
            • You can blame it on whomever you want, the fact remains that the Internet is a very unreliable network by the time you get to end users, and the users are not going to stand for it.

              If you are so unhappy with it, why are you still using it ?

              'them young whipper-snappers.'

              My comments about ego being greater than care factor are independent of age.

    • I don't know about the states, but here in NZ emergency calls (111 here) can be made from any mobile phone, wether or not it is currently active on the network/paid up. I believe that landlines are the same here (if your phone is 'disconnected' you can still call 111).

      So all that's required is a little bit of hardware, and either a mobile phone (no service providor though) or maybe landline. Emergency numbers are simply routed over that, standard numbers go over the VOIP.

    • While I don't think this issue will (or should) hinder the adoption of VoIP, it does bring up a good point: Why can't you email the police? Or report an emergency online? Why not a whole RFC for an emergency distress protocol, using hard-crypto for authentication, that can run over any IP medium (mail, IM, HTTP, etc)?

      For that matter, is there any reason to restrict it to the "standard" authorities? What about some sort of broadcast topology, so that someone can send their identity, location, and situa

  • What I dont get... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Creepy Crawler ( 680178 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @08:11PM (#10761222)
    Ok, this lil program is closed-source but works with little lag, and decent sound.

    We know that there's nothing special about the audio, it's known.
    We know that there's nothing different about the latency of the lines (software cant change network hardware on telco side ;P )

    Can somebody explain why we couldnt do something like this by using UDP packets over a tunnel? GnomeMeeting should provide the rest..

    TCP's the killer here. Drop it and you have less lag (no negotiate).
    • by anti-NAT ( 709310 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @08:30PM (#10761361) Homepage

      and if you're referring to using UDP over tunnels to get around the problems NAT causes, look up "NAT traversal" in google. It is being introduced to both IPsec and SIP.

      Skype doesn't do anything special, other than lock its "customers" into a proprietory VoIP network.

      I think skype will kill itself [].

      • I was thinking some of nat traversal, but I was considering the security aspect much, much more. I'd rather have all my A/V conversations recorded ONLY by me or my target.

        Just a UDP-based IPsec implementation using GnomeMeeting.
        • There's also SRTP. RTP is the protocol used with the actual sound, which is encoded in some way (g711 ulaw is very common). SRTP is an encrypted version of the protocol.

          GnomeMeeting is cool, but it uses h.323 for call setup, widely considered to be on its way out in the voip world. Microsoft has dropped NetMeeting, which GnomeMeeting was designed to replace. Replacing h.323 is SIP. KPhone is a good Linux SIP softphone.

          Basically, I believe Skype uses a proprietary call setup scheme (instead of h.323 or SIP
      • by Geoffreyerffoeg ( 729040 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @09:14PM (#10761706)
        lock its "customers" into a proprietory VoIP network.

        Why does it look like everyone can't abide the concept of a software company making money - and this one on the service not the software, no less?

        The majority of the innovations in the software world come from people paid to innovate, or people figuring out how to make money innovating. I love open-source software as much as the next guy, but face it, most OSS is a copy of existing software: Linux, GIMP, Mozilla (from Mosaic),, etc. There is a purpose for proprietary software; even if you don't believe in it, that's no grounds to attack them just for being proprietary.

        Skype may have faults, but that's not (necessarily) a symptom of malicious intent.
        • I'll give you a couple of clues.. What if I want to use my Cisco 7940 (used in a lot of offices) with Skype. Oh, I can't. Welp, maybe I can use it with the Asterisk PBX (... for that fact, insert you favorite model PBX..) Oh wait, you can't. Unless you've been in a freaking hole, there are plenty of _working_ (and some crappy) VoIP providers besides Skype (Vonage/Packet8/Nuphone) that use standard VoIP Protocols (IAX2/SIP). It's not just about Linux and open source. Locking into a protocol li
        • by anti-NAT ( 709310 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @11:13PM (#10762542) Homepage

          or would you prefer to only be able to use Sony batteries in your Sony devices, Ford petrol (gasoline) in your Ford car, etc.

          I'm certainly pro-open source, however, I think open standards are far, far more important than the open / closed source issue. If the best tool for the job is closed source, that's fine. I use closed source Adobe Acrobat under Linux rather than xpdf, as I find it better and quicker to use. I would abandon Adobe Acrobat if Adobe closed the PDF specification though, as the open specs of PDF are more important to me than the Adobe Acrobat software itself.

          • Open standard? PSTN via SkypeOut. If you want to call into the Skype network, set up your own interface.
            • PSTN via SkypeOut.

              So if I wanted to make an Internet-only call, are you suggesting I should have my call hop off the Internet onto the PSTN (open standard VoIP -> open standard PSTN), then from the PSTN back on to the Internet (open standard PSTN -> proprietory Skype), just to talk from an open standard Internet VoIP end point ? Do you really expect me to throw away the cost benefits of Internet telephony just to support Skype's proprietory VoIP ? Have you bought into the Skype technology so much

              • Have you bought into the Skype technology so much such that you are willing to ignore the major advantage of VoIP, that being reduced call costs ? I think that's what the definition of a "zealot" might be - somebody who believes in something so much that they are willing to ignore the reality of why something exists in the first place.

                I have not used Skype. They look interesting, though.

                2.5 US cents/min is reduced cost, and the price might be fair for the quality they're offering.

                I fear that an open net
        • Why does it look like everyone can't abide the concept of a software company making money - and this one on the service not the software, no less?

          Because, if you were given the choice between talking for free as long as you wanted, and talking for a price, which would you choose?

          And why, especially if the answer was the less efficient method?

          • Because, if you were given the choice between talking for free as long as you wanted, and talking for a price, which would you choose?

            And why, especially if the answer was the less efficient method?

            I'd chose the service that gave me the connectivity I needed and the audio quality I needed. It doesn't matter if the service is free and "efficient," whatever that means, if I can't reach the person I want to call or understand what he is saying when I do.

          • If given the choice, free, of course. My point is that no true innovations come from the freeware world; it's the commercial businesses that innovate. A while later, the free stuff usually comes, but it isn't entirely fair to leech off of their development like that.
            • Hmm. I'm not sure what your point is. Most free software is written to an existing closed source piece of software's specifications. (Not all; some is written to "scratch the itch" but generally that itch is financial in nature; even the birth of GPL was a quasi-financial transaction (RMS didn't want to sign the NDA which would open him up to lability if he were to share with others).)

              Why isn't it fair to stand on the shoulders of giants? Because the giants just had their growth spurt? That's probabl

      • Yawn. Wake me up when Free Software lets me make calls to a regular telephone number from my computer at the same rates SkypeOut does.
    • 1. Design open source business model that can offer something like Skype-Out.
      2. ???
      3. Profit

      Open source is brilliant for many things but ongoing services or support are not one of them.

      Skype to Skype fine, but it also has instant skype out functionality, the ease of use makes up for the price.

      When everyone has skype it will be free, then if they spyware/adware it we can all switch.

      The Napster and Kazaa switches was relatively painless.
    • Skype has several cool features: a distributed directory, bulletproof NAT/firewall traversal, hard crypto, etc. All of these things are understood in theory and may have even been demonstrated, but actually making it all work is obviously not easy.
    • Well the problem isn't that these guys have done something special, they really haven't, and yes there are lots of other possible solutions, even if I don't want to lock myself into GnomeMeeting. There are open standards, and open protocols, and knowledge, and just about everything you could think of. And they work, and they've been around for some time.


      The difference is that these guys are doing it. Talking about it is all well and fine, but noone is actually doing anything to seriously match them. U
  • Comments on skype (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nomeko ( 784750 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @08:11PM (#10761223) Homepage Journal
    Ok, first of all, I must say:

    I love Skype. Really.

    Since I got it working I have been calling my family for affordable prises. It makes it possible for me to call my parents, my grandparents, my siblings in Norway, and allso Friends studying in other countries all over the world. And for this I love Skype..


    There is always a but.

    Skype has introdused a rather strict paying system, and in fact, it markt me as a possible fraud, thus making it impossible for me to pay.


    Because I managed to use my credit card in a country from which it didn't origin. And; I did this three times, thus blocking it for ever beeing used at Skype.

    This is all well and fine, as Skype must secure themselves and their customers. BUT; They inform about this nowhere. In their questions and answers, not even in their live help. I spendt one week talking to customer support, trying to get things to work, but instead of beeing honest and tell me that, sorry, I don't think it is going to work they had me try again tomorrow.

    At the end of the week they were nice enough to tell me that all IP's from Argentina was blocked. Too late :)

    So. Allthough they provide a nice new service, they still lack in customer support.

    All grudges aside, I had a friend in norway buy credits for me, and now I am a happy ignorant skype user ;)
    • Re:Comments on skype (Score:2, Interesting)

      by eobanb ( 823187 )

      My problem with Skype is this.

      The very first versions of AIM had no ads. Zero, none. At all. Then there was a small one. Then it became animated. And they added some stupid shit. Then the ad became bigger.

      Isn't ANYONE afraid that this is going to happen with Skype? That these sons of bitches will backstab everyone and put ads in the free version of Skype once enough people have started using it? You may say, "oh, but this is different" all you like. These guys made KaZaA Media Desktop, too. That s

      • The difference is Skype has SkypeOut to actually make money, whereas AIM does not.
      • In my opinion, integrating voice and video into a single application is really not essential and tends to lead to fairly troublesome results. Eventually it will work and the solution will be free and open and common. But for now it is simpler to keep the video and audio separated. The results are far more rewarding in my opinion, especially if you're dealing with people who have different connectivity on the other side like family memebers.
        If you want voice and video I think the best way is to simpl
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Same thing happened to me. I'm from the US and work in Peru. I was able to purchase time in August and September and have now been refused and locked out of my account. I understand the need to screen out fraud, but they should realize their best customers for Skypeout, which is where the revenues come from, are going to be people who are in a foreign country and have parents, children, and close relatives back home to communicate with. They would have had at least 25 euros a month just from me. Now I've ha
  • by ivi ( 126837 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @08:11PM (#10761229)
    I got into Ham Radio as a kid...

    Besides access to a lot of cool technologies, it offerred one of the only places around where you could go & call out (albeit cryptically):

    "Hey, anybody out there wanna talk to me right now?"

    Of course, there were many more males prepared to jump the entry hurdles into Ham Radio, then as now.

    But, today, we have Skype... Since September 2004, I've had the pleasure of meeting:

    - a plastic surgeon (from India) in Israel

    - a Palestinian woman in Jordan

    - a Swedish-speaking student in the Far North of Sweden, with whom to practice my Swedish

    I've also used a Kenwood TS-2000 HF / VHF / UHF transceiver remotely (it's a bit like the now dated JavaRadio, but with Transmit Capabilities for licensed Hams). ... all via Skype!


    What do I need to provide so as to be able to use Skype exclusively on an Intranet?

    Has anybody done this -without- an Internet connection? ;-/

    • I've also used a Kenwood TS-2000 HF / VHF / UHF transceiver remotely (it's a bit like the now dated JavaRadio, but with Transmit Capabilities for licensed Hams). ... all via Skype!
      Where can this be accessed?
    • Oh, so you are that random guy that keeps calling me just because my Skype account name begins with an A and is at the top of the list.

      But seriously, my major problem with Skype is an inability to only receive calls from people that are on your list (why that list isn't centrally stored is another mystery).

      Yes, they can be blocked, but normally it's not repeated callers, it's different people every time. I want people to be on the blacklist until I've added them, much like IM works.

  • Bloated (Score:5, Interesting)

    by linolium ( 713219 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @08:12PM (#10761233)
    Skype seems a bit bloated though; the Windows executable weighs in at just over 10 MB. For a small VoIP application, I find this pretty rediculous. How could they possibly make it take up so much space?
    • Man who cares? Is hard drive space at a premium all of the sudden?

      Anyways, skype is awesome for a lot of reasons.

      It works transparently thru nats for chatting, file transfers and messaging. Try that msn messenger.

      All 3 of the above activities are encrypted with a AES-256 symmetric cypher.

      It does all of this with VERY little lag and better quality than a telephone.

      Cuz its 10mb i wouldnt exactly discount it. Havent found anything else that really compares.
  • I know we are supposed to forgive and forget but I will not trust this corp all that quickly considering how spywared up Kazaa was/is.

    It is not so much about what Skype is now but what Skype might become, the company have shown us how much value they place on ethics and treating their customers with respect..
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 08, 2004 @08:30PM (#10761363)
      The invented fasttrack, not Kazaa. Thats like blaming the car companies for people drinking and driving. They sold their idea, then end purchaser choose what to do with it -- not them. Come on, we've been through this before.
  • I'd use Skype if (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gilgongo ( 57446 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @08:23PM (#10761307) Homepage Journal
    They (or somebody) sold a cordless handset.

    On their shop they sell a "CyberPhone":

    "Plugged into the USB port of your PC / laptop, you can chat using the Cyberphone just as you would on a normal telephone. "

    Cool. But it still means I have to be at my PC to make/receive calls.

    Hey Skype: sell cordless CyberPhones and you're on!

    • by jallison ( 693397 )
      They (or somebody) sold a cordless handset.

      I agree. The Skype software is fine, and it works well. But I don't want to be tethered to my computer when I make a phone call. I know there are wireless headsets out there, but what sort of range do they have? And how well do they handle the rest of the stuff flying through the air in a typical home (802.11, 900Mhz phones, 2.4Ghz phones, microwave ovens, etc.)?

    • Re:I'd use Skype if (Score:2, Informative)

      by brentl ( 808343 )
      They (or somebody) sold a cordless handset.

      VPT1000 []

      You still have to plug it into a computer, but you can make (and recieve) calls with the handset. There's more skype realted stuff on [].
  • 200+ countries ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by deniea ( 257313 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @08:35PM (#10761409)
    Wow, that's really extra terrestial, as I thought that ther are only 192 international recognised countries !
  • Please, Skype (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Trejkaz ( 615352 )
    Just give us the Palm OS port already.
  • A version of Skype for PalmOS PDA's was forthcoming, but now it looks like it may not surface. This REALLY sucks, because it would rock on my Tungsten C. Probably won't happen because the numbers probably aren't there, but it would still be a great app...
  • Instantly Irrelevant (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Skype is a pretty cool system. I've used it a couple of times and found it to be pleasant. However, I'm shocked that so many people vote to use it since its a closed source project from a company who shows how much they value their customers by including spyware in their products.

    The sad part is that VoIP is better. I'll grant skype has fewer issues with latency, but with a decent internet connection you can get awesome audio quality from a well configured Asterisk box.

    I'll vote with my wallet. When skype
  • by levl289 ( 72277 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @08:53PM (#10761537) Homepage
    So I'm not quite sure what the big deal is here.

    I mean, I was using VocalTec's Internet Phone in '96, and really, given todays general ample bandwidth, I don't understand why Skype is so big. I've seen Fortune articles on it, and this guys name used with some sort of business-man's reverence.

    Once you get past the novelty of talking to random people by voice over the Internet, the novelty wears off, and all you've got is a VOIP that you can't actually use real phone with (granted, the end party can).

    I have a Vonage line at home, and that form of VOIP seems all that much more interesting, if only because they've bridged the software/hardware gap. Is this really that much different from video chat, other than the fact that you can call to a MeatSpace phone (or is that the Big Deal?)?
    • The fact that it runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux perfectly is nice. I have several friends with Macs, a Linux notebook myself, and everyone else in the world uses Windows, so the fact that this works on all three platforms is nice.

      Skype Out is definitely a Big Deal(TM) as well. I've got a friend studying in Japan for about a year, and before he had internet access, Skype was a much cheaper way of getting in touch with him for people here stateside than international calls through POTS providers.
  • by achilstone ( 671328 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @09:26PM (#10761800)
    EG: Hi Hello?
    CEO:Anyone there?
    EG: Can you hear me?
    CEO: Yes I hear you loud and clear!
    EG: Great! So this is the first Voip app that "Just Works"?
    CEO: What? Can you repeat that.
    CEO: Nope. Didn't get that try adjusting your mic.
    EG: MMMmm ok, do you hear me now?
    CEO: OOoh yeah thats nice and clear but getting a little echo, try turning down the speakers a little.
    EG: Righty ho ...and now is that better?
    CEO: I said try turning down your speakers.. ok thats good.
    EG: OK, the great thing about Skype is that it "just works" right?
    CEO: Yes.
    EG: Do you think that Voip and Skype especially will be bext big thing after P2P?
    CEO: Yeah! Thats absolutely right Skype is the BEST in tech thats so easy to use your grandma can use it.
    EG: Err OK? Do you include any spyware or malware in Skype?
    CEO: You Bet! Skype will be on every platform from windows to hand held pcs. There's just no excuse anymore even linux users can join the fun.
    EG: Rigghht. So you're sure you'll be a success?
    CEO: What! No way! We would never do anything like that ever!
    Hey /. I could go on but you get the idea.
  • With Skype:
    1- You can't receive calls from land lines, traditional VOIP services or cell phones

    2- No location awareness and No 911

    3- You can't use your land lines or cordless phones

    4- WiFi just isn't pervasive enough...Yet

    5- You can't take your address book with you

    In the meantime, I keep my cell phone.

    • Congratulations! You've discovered the Slashdot theme! For anybody watching from the sidelines, the Slashdot theme is, "It's not useful to me, therefore it's not useful to anybody." Well done!
  • by ediron2 ( 246908 ) * on Monday November 08, 2004 @11:06PM (#10762492) Journal
    Wait a minute...

    • Spam is two-thirds of internet traffic,
    • BitTorrent is 80%
    • add in MMORPG's, websurfing, porn, p2p, and a few percentage points (apparently that's all) for legitimate uses, etc.
    • and Skype has *how* many million people using it for VoIP, a bandwidth-intensive use?

    How did we get some wierd sort of n-dimensional internet capable of several times it's own capacity! ? And is there a RealLife version of this that'd let me only show up for 2 hours per workday?

  • skype is pretty good generally and having an old bell type telephone sound coming from your nearly sleeping laptop is kinda cool although it often finishes up with skype user places call, ends call, you call 'em back :)

    The quality is generally pretty good and will normally go for a few hours before needing to place the call again.

    the instant messaging is great for placing urls when searching for useful sites with your friends.

    the file transfers can be terribly slow 0.5 kbs the help documentation blames i
  • by PhiRatE ( 39645 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @11:18PM (#10762569)
    They've had enormous issues with SkypeOut, related to people being able to pay. Check the forums, there's no end of bitching about their CC clearing company. I never even managed to get so much as $10 worth of credit, despite correct CCV and everything, it just decided to decline to serve me.

    The support leaves a great deal to be desired as well, they seem badly informed about this issue in particular and utterly unable to provide any kind of solution to the problem short of hoping your get bored and go away. I suspect that until they put some serious pressure on the people validating the credit cards for them, it will be more of the same.

    I can use my CC to purchase stuff all over the 'net, but not 10 measly dollars of SkypeOut credit.
  • I have a NAT firewall, and so does my friend. Somehow we're both able to use Skype without changing our firewall setups. How is this possible? I thought P2P had to connect direct to each other, but most other programs require some changes to the firewall to open ports. I don't remember configuring any incoming ports for Skype.

    Can someone who understands Skype and TCP/IP explain how it works? I know code, not networking.
    • Its a simple trick with UDP. Both peers that want to establish a direct connection send UDP packets to each-other. This fools their firewalls into expecting UDP packets to come back as responses, and so each-other's packets can get through the other's NATs - and hey presto, a direct connection between two computers both of which are behind NATs.

      Its just surprising that more P2P apps don't take advantage of this.

Were there fewer fools, knaves would starve. - Anonymous