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Author Topic: Microsoft and Skype atrocity  (Read 1570 times)

Attronarch

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Microsoft and Skype atrocity
« on: July 12, 2017, 05:40 AM »
I am at loss of words.

First this:
https://answers.micr...81-8d14-3dac0626713b

Then this:
https://answers.micr...d2-ab1b-b55ff97eba0d

And then, few days ago Skype stopped working for me on my devices using their own god damn OS, namely Nokia Lumia 920 and Surface RT. The only reason I got those in the first place was that I thought Microsoft's products and services would work better. And they did, until they started messing around. Oh boy. Oh boy, not entertained when something I paid for stops working and I am told that "huh, tough luck?".

Doesn't really put a lot of trust in Microsoft and its new direction. Great, great.

dr_andus

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Re: Microsoft and Skype atrocity
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2017, 04:17 PM »
I know it's not a trivial matter to change to another service, but you could consider Google Hangouts (though Google is not a stranger to shutting down services either. But at least they give you plenty of notice.).

IainB

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Re: Microsoft and Skype atrocity
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2017, 11:10 PM »
Yes, when I realised that MS was apparently intending to variously change/cripple/kill Skype after capturing its user base and contacts, I decided a few weeks ago to do what @dr_andus suggests above. As an interim measure, it is OK, and Google arguably offers a better user experience than Skype anyway, though it might not last. LINE seems to be a much better option - or so my family have found - <https://line.me/en/>. It is also becoming ubiquitous, which is an advantage.

Being skeptical of Skype, I never really became too invested in Skype anyway and so did not have a huge base of users/contacts there, having deliberately avoided using it much for years (like Facebook). For some overseas calls, I do use VOIP though, via my telco provider and a couple of VOIP software products. The telco service and one of the software products (Net2Phone) do not give free calls, but are pretty damn cheap (as they should be). One software product (SpeakFreely) is free to use, works via P2P and offers end-to-end encryption. I only use it very occasionally. It could be quite handy for highly confidential calls  - e.g., when (say) conspiring with one's foreign spy handlers.     :o

Deozaan

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Re: Microsoft and Skype atrocity
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2017, 02:14 AM »
Since we're recommending alternatives, I've recently become a pretty big fan of Telegram. It doesn't do video chat, but it does have voice chat (like phone calls, currently limited to 1-on-1) as well as "voice messages" which are akin to instant voicemail or, in other words, you record a message which the recipient(s) can listen to at their leisure in a non-real-time fashion. It also has other standard messaging/texting features and group chats and stuff like that. And it works on just about every platform in use these days. Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, or browser-based, wherever you need it, it's there. :Thmbsup:

My only real complaint about it is that creating an account is tied to a phone number. I think that's really stupid and would love to have an account not tied to a phone number. But the good news is that once you have your account, you never really have to use the number again. So if it were that important, I could have just bought a prepaid "burner phone" for 1 month and used it to activate my account and then never top off that phone account again.

Since the main draw of Skype is probably the video chats, often with groups of people, I can see how Telegram isn't exactly a replacement for Skype. But I used to be an avid user of Hangouts (and Google Talk before that) but Google's recent-ish changes to . . . well, everything, I guess . . . have made me start weaning myself off their services where practical. I've pretty much moved completely away from Hangouts except for when I need it for Google Voice. That said, Hangouts is still a pretty good solution for video chats, in my experience.

Deozaan

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Re: Microsoft and Skype atrocity
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2017, 02:20 AM »
Oh yeah, and Discord is pretty good for quick and easy group chats, including voice chatting. But again, no video.

In my opinion, it's kind of like Slack, but geared toward gamers, yet still totally useable for non-gaming purposes. I think I prefer it over Slack.

4wd

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Re: Microsoft and Skype atrocity
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2017, 04:17 AM »
I use Signal on my phones, (also via a Chrome app from the computer), and/or Viber, (again phone/computer).

Depends who I'm conversing with, some use Signal, some use Viber.

Viber also has the option to make calls to non-Viber contacts at low rates, (like Skype).

Also use Telegram but that's just to follow some Android development groups.

So if it were that important, I could have just bought a prepaid "burner phone" for 1 month and used it to activate my account and then never top off that phone account again.

I have a few pre-paid UK SIMs, (99p in the supermarkets or free if you order via their website), that I've used for incoming SMS verification, (don't need to register to receive SMS), just switched them on to activate the SIM.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 04:27 AM by 4wd »

IainB

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Re: Microsoft and Skype atrocity
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2017, 05:31 AM »
@Deozaan: Thanks for mentioning Telegram - I hoped someone on he DC Forum might know about it, as I think it is interesting but have not got around to trying it out just yet.
By the way, LINE (which I mentioned) also requires a phone number at set-up time, though it is not used subsequently.

Attronarch

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Re: Microsoft and Skype atrocity
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2017, 07:15 AM »
I actually use Skype for calling landlines. There is a very cheap subscription (cca 10 EUR per month) with which you can call most of the landlines in the world for free.

Now, you might wonder, who the f**k uses landlines these days?! Governments, governments use them. Banks as well. As an expat and a frequent business traveler I often have to call various departments to sort this or that paperwork.

Believe me, that is quite costly with regular mobile phone subscriptions. For me, Skype was a good solution - being present on almost all devices and having good subscriptions.

I know there are plenty of alternatives for various Skype aspects like audio and video calls, but there aren't any direct alternatives with same set of features. At least I don't know of any.

4wd

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Re: Microsoft and Skype atrocity
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2017, 08:42 AM »
I know there are plenty of alternatives for various Skype aspects like audio and video calls, but there aren't any direct alternatives with same set of features. At least I don't know of any.

Try Viber, used to be you could only call people who also had Viber, (ie. VoIP only), but now you can do VoIP->PSTN, (what they call Viber Out), like Skype.

Nice thing I found when I installed it, any contact on my phone that also had Viber was marked with an icon you could hit to start a Viber chat/call/video call, eg. called the rep for Europcar while I was in Ukraine, next thing I see is there's a Viber icon against the number (I had a SIM with free minutes anyway).

Screenshot_2017-07-13-14-15-35-065_com.android.contacts.pngMicrosoft and Skype atrocity

dr_andus

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Re: Microsoft and Skype atrocity
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2017, 10:11 AM »
I actually use Skype for calling landlines. There is a very cheap subscription (cca 10 EUR per month) with which you can call most of the landlines in the world for free.

In the UK some telco companies occasionally offer similarly priced (or even cheaper) add-ons, same functionality. You could check if your mobile/landline provider offers something similar in your country.

Deozaan

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Re: Microsoft and Skype atrocity
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2017, 07:41 PM »
I actually use Skype for calling landlines. There is a very cheap subscription (cca 10 EUR per month) with which you can call most of the landlines in the world for free.

You can call landlines for free using Google Voice + Hangouts, but that may be limited to USA (and surrounding countries?), so your experience may vary. That is, I know you can also call other countries with Google Voice, but it costs money to do so. And I'm not sure how much of that is because that's how the service is for everyone, everywhere, or that's just the rates/services for me as a US resident.



Kind of off-topic, but since we're discussing all sorts of messaging apps:

I use Signal on my phones, (also via a Chrome app from the computer)

I found Telegram after searching for a Signal alternative. I really wanted to use Signal because it seemed to be the most recommended for security/privacy but the Android app doesn't work on any of my aging Android devices and I hate having to use the ugly Chrome app. It basically meant I'd never get a message from anyone if I wasn't at my PC with the Chrome app running. One of the things I really like about Telegram is that it runs pretty much everywhere (with native OS applications, too!) so I can always stay in contact when I need to.

4wd

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Re: Microsoft and Skype atrocity
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2017, 03:52 AM »
I actually use Skype for calling landlines. There is a very cheap subscription (cca 10 EUR per month) with which you can call most of the landlines in the world for free.

You can call landlines for free using Google Voice + Hangouts, but that may be limited to USA (and surrounding countries?), so your experience may vary. That is, I know you can also call other countries with Google Voice, but it costs money to do so. And I'm not sure how much of that is because that's how the service is for everyone, everywhere, or that's just the rates/services for me as a US resident.

Mentioned in their Product Forums.

There are some countries where Hangouts isn't available.

I looked at it a while ago, basically it's a US/Canada only product atm, (or its usefulness is limited to US/Canada).
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 04:11 AM by 4wd »

app103

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Re: Microsoft and Skype atrocity
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2017, 08:07 AM »
I have found that Hangouts is good for international group video chat and we use it where I work, just for that purpose, so that we can all attend company meetings, remotely, regardless of where in the world we happen to live. (company located in AU, with remote workers located throughout the world)

It's not a good international alternative for just calling someone and connecting with their phone number, but for things you can schedule, it's great.

wraith808

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Re: Microsoft and Skype atrocity
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2017, 08:56 AM »
I have found that Hangouts is good for international group video chat and we use it where I work, just for that purpose, so that we can all attend company meetings, remotely, regardless of where in the world we happen to live. (company located in AU, with remote workers located throughout the world)

It's not a good international alternative for just calling someone and connecting with their phone number, but for things you can schedule, it's great.

We used to use it at work, and it was great.  Now we've switched to skype which I hate, though it does have better meeting capabilities.  Having international meetings has quite a few options, but all of them seem to have some measure of problems.

dr_andus

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Re: Microsoft and Skype atrocity
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2017, 10:47 AM »
Apparently MS is looking for feedback on the Skype changes:

Building the next generation of Skype together | Skype Blogs