Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Has Microsoft made Skype suck?

A bit of background on two things:  Thing one, like lots of people, I love Skype.  Thing two, I've been looking forward to the release of Windows 8 from our Seattle neighborhood software giant for a while.  I actually like a lot of Microsoft products, even though I'm a died-in-the-wool Linux devotee, at least on servers.  I was one of the three people in the universe who liked Windows Vista.

I didn't expect MS to ruin Skype when they bought it.  I hope it's just something I don't understand.  Here's the thing.  You can no longer log on to Skype with your Skype name.  The first time you run Skype on Windows 8, you have to join your former Skypename with your Microsoft account (think Hotmail, Windows Live, etc.)  You now have to use your Microsoft account to log on to Skype and doing so connects your Skype with some old Microsoft messaging account that you never used.  (Did anyone ever really take Microsoft seriously in the messaging arena?)  Okay, okay, I understand corporate takeovers and assimilating...err, integrating the taken-over into the Borg...err, new family.  The problem is that now I'm getting spammy IMs from who knows where, except that it's from somewhere on a MS messenger account that I never used anyway.  Grrrr.  Oh wait, I'll just right-click on the message and delete it.  Nope, can't do that.  You can only delete all messages.  Grrrr.  Okay, well, I'll just right-click on the account that's spamming me and report it.  Nope, can't do that either.  The right-click in Skype for Windows 8 does nothing.  WHAT?!?!?!  Does Windows 8 turn a computer into a Mac? What's happened to the power of the right-click?  Has it been emasculated? 

Someone told me that MS had invested a billion hours of testing into Windows 8.  Must have been a billion hours somewhere other than testing Skype, one of the world's most popular applications.  I wonder if we're witnessing another New Coke or Edsel in progress here.  I hope, I hope, I pray even, that it's something I'm missing and that Microsoft hasn't completely lost touch with their user base, including me.

In fairness, I like the Windows 8 tiles and the concept of the Start Screen instead of the Start button and menu.  However, I don't like my new HP ENVY dv6-7210us Notebook PC's battery life (or the lack thereof).  It's rated at about five hours and appears to run out at about three hours, even with the screen brightness set on the lowest level, plus the keyboard seems to occasionally miss keystrokes.  You know, part of the problem is that I expect better from both Microsoft and HP.

Now, the sentence I never thought I'd type and the words I never thought I'd utter:  I think I might, just possibly, return my new Windows 8 laptop and go visit the Apple store.  Oh, Steve...  Oh wait, there's that nasty issue with Apple Maps.  Maybe it's time for another look at Ubuntu.

I hope that someone will tell me I just haven't spent enough time with the new operating system.  I hope someone will call me a moron for overlooking the obvious.  (Well, I don't really want to be called a moron, but I do hope it's something I'm missing.)  We'll see.

More to come.


Unknown said...

I hate skype app too, but i just downloaded skype desktop version and Voilá! my dearest skype is back!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the tip. I'm planning on installing Windows 8 on a new hard drive this weekend. I'll give it a try.