(Note: the sound quality on this translantic Skype call is poor. We suggest reading the transcript.)
This reminded me of a recent experience. I live on the east coast of the united states, and my mother lives in the UK not terribly far from London. WE chat online at least weekly, but for a special occasion, I wanted to video chat, or at least audio chat without spending $$ on either of our mobile phones, or other international calling options. We tried three different major options, Skype (free), Google talk, and Yahoo. Not one of the three could even sustain a decent audio only stream, let alone video. I wanted to do some troubleshooting, but my mom is not a geek, and I could not enlist her assistance on the other end. The question remains however, when both of us have 'broadband' connections of some sort, with more than enough bandwidth to support multiple video streams, and fast downloads of files from servers across the Atlantic, why can't what amounts to a small UDP audio stream make it through? The ISPs involved are Comcast and BT. Is it one of them? Someone in the middle depriortizing the packets? Is it Google/Yahoo/Skype. To me it seems unnecessary, so what can we do as geeks to get around, or better yet, push to have the problem solved?
Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.