August 20, 2007

Skype Was Down. So What?

Due to the recent Skype outage for over 24 hours, there were a few things which I've noticed:

  1. There were actually businesses who relied so heavily on Skype as their business line, that there were no backup phone lines.
  2. People in long-distanced relationships (friends, family, lovers, etc) were going beserk because of the outage.

Skype techies mentioned in the Skype blog that they were working hard in fixing the problem they were having (apparently there were some problems with Skype's network algorithm), and would be at it around the clock, and that the problem would be resolved in 12-24 hours. Apparently, that was simply unacceptable. Never mind the people at Skype were already working their asses off to fix the problem, they had to be on the receiving end of the countless insults hurled at them by Skype users. Don't believe me, check out Skype's blog.

Now I know, it's their job to get it working. And that a lot of people pay to use Skype's SkpeOut
services. Hell, so do I (as in, I paid Euros for my SkypeOut too). But really, a day of not using Skype would not hurt. There are so many instant messenger clients out there who offer free voice and video conferencing services as well (MSN, Yahoo to name a few). Granted the quality's not as crisp and clear as Skype, but they do the job.

As for businesses who solely rely on Skype as their communication tool without a backup phone line, now that's just silly. It's such a high risk, and to rely solely on a VOIP client as a main communication tool with their customers is not a good move. You should always have a backup plan. Why do you think companies put at least two contact numbers on their business cards? Just in case one goes down, you have a backup. I know, you PAID for the service and as such, expect it to be 100% fool-proof. Regardless, there should always be a backup.

Email down? Pick up the phone. When technology fails you, find a solution. In fact, have the solution ready BEFORE the problems occur. Anticipate much?

For the rest who feel that their girlfriends and boyfriends are 12,000 miles away, and need to be in contact with them 24/7, well, I have news for you. If you can't survive a day without skyping each other, then something's not right. Never mind the fact that there are so many other IMs out there which you can use.

Tim and I chat with each other on Skype every night. At the time when he was at Shepparton, and did not have Internet access, I used VOIP Discount to call him. Yes, we didn't see each other on webcam for a few days in a week, but all it did was just to increase our anticipation to see each other when he's back in Melbourne. When VOIP Discount did not work (the service's a bit cacat at times; oh well, you get what you paid for), I had phonecards as a backup. When Skype was down, we used MSN to transmit video, and Google Talk to chat (audio quality is much better on Google Talk than MSN). If all fails, then we'll just call each other on our phones. No big deal.

Moral of the story?
  1. Always have a backup plan.
  2. Don't scream your head head off threatening to sue just because you're not satisfied to wait 24 hours for something to be fixed.
  3. Always have a backup plan (yep, it's twice as important).

The phone does not seem like such an ancient tool now, does it?


pelf said...

Yes, a day without Skype wouldn't hurt, but it would make lives more bearable by KNOWING which day Skype would go "off".

I mean, I think people go berserk because they didn't expect it to go "off". So imagine you have a scheduled interview with a potential employer and you realize 30 min before the interview that Sky is "off". You'd go berserk too, no?

Anyway, I'm not one of them. I have Skype installed but rarely use it, LOL..

Tine said...

Pelfy: (sorry, I don't know why, but everytime I see your name, I always think Pelfy :p If you find it offensive, I'll stop ;p) Woah, that's going to be a toughie, to know when it's gonna be off :p Of course, for scheduled maintenance, they'll tell you way in advance, but for the breakdowns, it's a bit too last minute.

I don't know, for our video conferences with our counterparts, we always have a phone ready. Just in case the VC equipment doesn't work (and we've had breakdowns before), we'd just pick up the phone and CALL. Either continue the meeting on the telephone, or reschedule. That shows responsibility and initiative for the caller :)

I'd admit going berserk once when my Internet connection wasn't working for a week, and I couldn't get online. It really frustrated me, and I took it out on Tim. In the end, we just resorted to the phone. A bit expensive, but no point losing sleep and stress over it lah. I've definitely learned my lesson :p

tihtahpah said...

i know some people at work who sit side by side but prefer to

Giddy Tiger said...

I've been procrastinating on getting on Skype for as long as I can remember. Would you believe it, I could not settle on a nick when I tried registering last time!

Tine said...

TihTahPah: Try IM-ing at home. My parents were out one day, and my dad somehow got onto MSN on his phone, and IM-ed me on what I wanted for dinner. My brother, who was in the other room, was also on MSN. So I IM-ed him on what he wanted to eat, and I IM-ed my dad back. Nowadays, that's how dinner's like. Mum will yell at one of us to announce that dinner's ready, and we'd IM each other IN THE HOUSE :p

Giddy Tiger: Hehehe, well, thing is, if you don't use their VOIP facilities, then there really isn't a need to use Skype. Their IM GUI's really basic.

May said...

google talk eh? yea msn is driving me crazy

sebol said...

there is no way to do voip without depending to a single company.

anyway, I like you blog design