Our company has been standardized on Skype as our primary IM client for a few years now – I initially rolled it out agency-wide in the hopes that people would take advantage of its video calling capabilities to better communicate with our west coast office. As it turns out, that didn’t really happen (a surprising number of people don’t like to be on video) but it’s been an adequate client nonetheless.
I recently learned that there’s a whole collection of chat commands you can enter from any Skype chat window that enable you to perform a range of administrative tasks. Some simple examples include:
/showplaceswill list all of the devices you’re currently logged on from
/remotelogoutwill remotely log you out of other devices
The list of functionality goes on and on and on – check out the reference document yourself:
I began writing this post prepared to rant about the many ways I dislike the most recent incarnation of Skype for Mac OS X .
Then I stumbled onto this and realized I’d be wasting my time:
In the past few weeks, as the new Skype has been autoupdating itself onto client’s systems, I’ve witnessed something I’ve never seen in the ad agency I work for: a full-on user revolt. Our company uses Skype for much of its internal communications and our people hate this new version so much that many have taken it upon themselves to revert back to v2.8. And, so long as the old version still works, who am I to complain?
Clearly, we aren’t the only ones unhappy with this redesign, as even Skype has put out a fairly ham-handed call , a la the Gap, for people to redesign the UI for them. I’m encouraged to see enthusiasts already picking up the ball and running with it but I can’t help but to wonder just what the heck Skype was thinking when they decided that v5 was a good idea.
Skype is, in my opinion, a fantastic tool. In a world drowning in incompatible IM clients (AOL Instant Messenger/iChat, Google Chat, Yahoo! Messenger, etc.), Skype has always stood above the rest as a fully-featured, cross-platform product. In particular, it’s video calling capabilities have always surpassed those of the competition and, now that both home and wireless bandwidth is making it possible to video call from anywhere, they’re poised to take a dominant position in that communications revolution. But they can’t afford to do things like butcher their UI and alienate their users at a critical time like this when the field is still “up for grabs.” In today’s tech savvy world, the name of the game is “Do or do not – there is no try.”
Skype would do well to remember that.