My Skype relationship has moved past the courting stage and is now a committed relationship. With the fun times over, Skype is starting to get under my skin a little. Let’s consider the following my therapy session.

1. Copying and Pasting – This is really a drag. In some cases I want to show the timestamp from another person, while at other times I just want to copy the info from the conversation. Is it easy to do this? Not at all. Whenever the latter situation occurs, I have to delete the username and time stamp from every line of the conversation. Not the end of the world but as you read my other gripes you can see how these small grievances start to add up.

2. Closing The Program – Skype makes it very difficult to exit the program once it is open.  The X button within the program itself is really a second minimize button and when you select the “Close” option from the Skype drop down menu it doesn’t close the program, it minimizes it.  Furthermore, to exit the program, first you need to sign out, and then you have to close it again. The developers obviously want this program running at all times, which I wouldn’t mind, but as anyone who uses Windows knows, you can’t just hit the Shut Down button these days and expect Windows to do what you asked. Rather, if you have any application running you have to go through the force closing applications charade.

3. Copying A Username – Not intuitive at all. If you view a user’s profile and attempt to copy their Skype name you simply can’t. I would love to know why this was in the code since I’ve not run into many programs that don’t allow you to copy text within their menus. Within Skype this is not an issue as sharing a contact name involves right clicking on the user you want to send it to and selecting it from a list. The problem is when I want to copy my name or someone else’s to share outside of Skype. In this case, I have to manually type it, not the end of the world but a nevertheless a nuisance.

4. Signing In from a New Terminal – If you sign into Skype from a new terminal, all of the old conversations from the previous machine slowly pop up as your contacts initiate new activity. What’s frustrating here is that if I am using Skype on my phone, for the first 5 minutes I have to constantly mark all of my messages as read since I can’t easily see this happening. Another disadvantage to this little bug is that I often mistake a stale message for a new one, causing me to respond to something from several days back.

5. The Status Message – The status message is a great idea but once you set it, you never really see it on a day to day basis. The only problem is that everyone else does. What ends up happening is that you have stale messages:

  • It’s now June, yet this is the user’s status message: “Hey guys, I’ll be traveling to Springfield from March 21st to the 28th. Stop by and visit!”
  • It’s now December, but the user has the following message: “Grabbing an ice coffee to beat this heat :)”
  • It’s last week and this is my message: “My Knot’s Landing DVD finally arrived in the mail today!”

6. Forcing Your Picture – Whenever a new upgrade comes out, you are offered the opportunity to take a new photo of yourself. This is fine I suppose, but instead of a button allowing you to skip a step, it looks as if you are forced to take a picture right then and there. If you close out the box in the window you can proceed but it is not intuitive at all. What ends up happening? Well a few colleagues of mine simply wanted to resume their business, so I speak to one whose photo is of an empty chair and another who took a picture of his foot. Is Skype secretly trying to promote an avant-garde profile picture movement?

7. Running Multiple Instances – Good luck trying to figure this one out on your own. After some searching I was able to discover a hack. I’ll make the steps as simple as possible:

1. Click on the Start Menu

2. Find Run

3. Paste the following text in the window exactly as it is written: “C:\Program Files (x86)\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe” /secondary

(This works on most PCs using Windows Vista and higher. If it doesn’t, you will need to search your hard drive for the Skype file to locate the directory it is stored in. Once you’ve done this, right click on it, go to Properties, and locate the alternative directory. Feel free to contact me if you require assistance.

4. Click OK.

Final Thoughts

I love Skype and like a parent cheering on his child at a sporting event, I want nothing more than for him to succeed. I think if Skype put as much effort into its user experience as it does with its emoticons, I would have a bit more love.