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How Skype's Chat Feature Put Me in the Dog House
Ed Kohler

Here's a little story about how this little smiley face Skype Me Icon can get you in trouble.

I was planning a demonstration of Skype's new video chat features in our boardroom at work today for a few coworkers. While setting set up, I turned on the Skype Me feature (this icon Skype Me Icon) so I could show my coworkers how you can let other Skype users know that you're interested in chatting. In the few minutes leading up to my presentation, a couple Skype users contacted me, so I started chatting with them.

Unbeknownst to me, at very same time my wife was at home using one of my computers with Skype running in the background.  While my wife tried to look up movie times for the two of us , Skype kept displaying my chat messages with two mystery women! Here is the juicier of the two chat sessions she saw:

Skype Chat History

As you can see, my wife interrupted my chat session with "indiana_girl" from Russia. Then she called me to get to the bottom of this. Coincidentally, seconds after my 1:04:39 chat message to indiana_girl, I undocked my laptop, walked to the other end of our boardroom table, re-docked my laptop, and started my Skype video demo. I noticed my wife was calling while setting my my demo but didn't take her call, so she had a good 30 minutes to stew about what the heck I was doing on Skype while supposedly "at work."

Luckily for me, I had a roomful of coworkers who could vouch for me. We all found it more than a little amusing once we figured out what happened. Now my wife is only appalled by my typos. Sorry, indiana_girl. It's over between us, and it never even started.

Lesson learned: Cheaters beware! But seriously, if you use Skype on more than one computer for any reason, you may be publishing your conversations simultaneously to each computer whenever you use the service if you don't make a point of shutting off Skype when you're done. Keep that in mind the next time you use Skype from a shared computer at a coffee house, cyber cafe, or computer lab.

We'll review Video Skype in a future post. Here, here, and here are some sources offering reviews.




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Comments

1. Posted by: Benjamin Higginbotham on December 10, 2005 6:08 PM:

What are you talking about? I never remember seeing you in the meeting today. (jk)




2. Posted by: Gershom on December 12, 2005 1:00 AM:

I had an opportunity of using Skype to call my home country in Africa. I was like "wow", I should have been using this service since I learnt about it over two months ago. My concern, however, is that the cost of the calls should be reduced because phone cards like Go Mad For Bananas, Planet Talk Africa etc, still offer the least and, therefore, very attractive rates. Think about it...




3. Posted by: Ed Kohler on December 12, 2005 7:17 AM:

Good point, Gershom. It sounds like Yahoo plans to challenge Skype:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/12/08/yahoo_voip/

This should be good for consumers.




4. Posted by: Rafael Menezes on December 12, 2005 7:36 AM:

Yahoo should learn to respect their linux users before yawping about Skype...

Not that Skype's doing a good job at that, but at least, we have a somewhat good program for the 3 major plataforms (Win, Mac and Linux)




5. Posted by: suwa on December 15, 2005 3:52 PM:

It is a nice habit to make account for every separate user!




6. Posted by: Ed Kohler on December 15, 2005 4:48 PM:

Agreed, suwa. Sharing accounts would be way too confusing, and lead to issues like this. The challenge then is how to manage more than one account on a shared computer.




7. Posted by: skype dating on April 7, 2006 6:54 PM:

It's fun story, actually you can find your match in skype because for me it's the best communication tool ever .... I found my girfriend using skype ... this encourage me to make a Skype dating site. Check it if you want
pls excuse my english :)




8. Posted by: Helen, chat lover on April 13, 2006 3:17 PM:

I make sure my boyfriend never sees my chats otherwise I don't even know what his reaction would be.




9. Posted by: Shianne on March 30, 2007 12:22 PM:

i like chat rooms may u add me 2 chat
thanks,shianne




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