Author Topic: Should I get Skype?  (Read 207 times)

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Offline daniel1948

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Should I get Skype?
« on: September 09, 2019, 03:30:38 PM »
Until now I've refused to allow any software from Microsoft on any of my computers or devices, since I first gave Bill the boot and switched to Mac and later, iOS. I regard Microsoft as a security threat. However, I know that my tech knowledge is near nil.

Until now I've had no reason to get Skype. Nobody I know uses video calling. But after a suggestion on another thread to consider italki to find a French teacher (I want to learn French for my next visit to Tahiti, in a year from now) I will need a way to connect to the teacher. I found a teacher who looks promising, but she said that Skype is better because it has a chat feature which allows for the exchange of text, which will be useful for language lessons.

How reasonable is my concern for security if I install software from Microsoft? On the tablet it is easy to remove it if I change my mind, but I'm not sure how easy it would be to remove unwanted software from the iMac, which will be the more convenient device for language lessons. It seems like I'm always hearing about cyber attacks that exploit the security holes several of which turn up every week in Microsoft programs.
Daniel
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Offline amysrevenge

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Re: Should I get Skype?
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2019, 03:44:50 PM »
Depends on what you mean by "security" and "threat" I'd imagine. 

In practical/statistical terms, there is no threat to security, assuming you keep up to date with patches/updates (this should happen automatically, you'd have to deliberately disable updates).  The chance of some evil hacker cyber-criming someone somewhere is 100%, but the chance of that someone being you is vanishingly small.  At a bare minimum, your protection lies in being just another one of the hundreds of millions of Skype users.
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Offline Tassie Dave

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Re: Should I get Skype?
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2019, 03:57:51 PM »
Skype is fairly ubiquitous among the tech crowd these days. Many podcasters use it. Don't SGU use it for the show?

I've used it several times on an iMac with friends and family and it works well. I haven't used it for over 10 years. But I would assume it has only got better.

Microsoft and Apple play nice together these days and uninstalling isn't a pain.


Offline Alex Simmons

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Re: Should I get Skype?
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2019, 05:08:56 PM »
Been using Skype for well over a decade. No issues. You can get the very occasional bot seeking to connect but it's up to you who you permit a connection with, and barring them is easy.

Helps to have a decent internet connection.

Offline The Latinist

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Re: Should I get Skype?
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2019, 05:42:38 PM »
Microsoft under its new leadership has become a much less objectionable company, in my opinion.  They’ve started to support open-source software, have opened up many of their patents and ended a lot of what some considered patent license gouging.  Skype is not as secure as Messenger, but it works across platforms and generally works pretty well. We use it to chat with my Mom, who has a PC.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Should I get Skype?
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2019, 06:24:15 PM »
Thanks to everyone who replied above. In this case, I'm going to let my practical interest outweigh my principled hate for everything Microsoft. I'm going to get Skype and try out French lessons via italki.
Daniel
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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Should I get Skype?
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2019, 06:56:50 PM »
Skype is fairly ubiquitous among the tech crowd these days. Many podcasters use it. Don't SGU use it for the show?

I've used it several times on an iMac with friends and family and it works well. I haven't used it for over 10 years. But I would assume it has only got better.

Microsoft and Apple play nice together these days and uninstalling isn't a pain.

I wouldn't say it's gotten better. Since Microsoft bought it, it seems less stable, more prone to lockouts, and less innovation.

It used to just work. It was easy to connect, easy to find the people you're looking for and connect with them.

Not so much anymore.
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Online arthwollipot

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Re: Should I get Skype?
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2019, 08:38:57 PM »
I personally think that brand-hatred is irrational (as is brand loyalty), and you should use whatever tool works best for your needs. Microsoft is certainly no more or less secure or reliable than any other giant megacorp.
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Should I get Skype?
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2019, 08:46:47 PM »
I recently tried a free trial of Skype.  I didn’t find it particularly useful, so I decided not to continue with it.  But now I get an email from Skype everyday telling me that my credit card payment hasn’t gone through, not that I want it to happen anyway.  It’s a no-reply email sender, my account with Skype is blocked, for some reason or another, so I can’t stop the emails that way.

So I’m getting daily junk emails, which I can’t stop, and which I delete automatically (actually, around 90% of my emails I delete unread).
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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Should I get Skype?
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2019, 08:52:43 PM »
I personally think that brand-hatred is irrational (as is brand loyalty), and you should use whatever tool works best for your needs. Microsoft is certainly no more or less secure or reliable than any other giant megacorp.

I don't disagree. I have plenty of microsoft products. But Skype was better software before microsoft bought it.

and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

I'm not a doctor, I'm just someone who has done a ton of research into diet and nutrition.

Online arthwollipot

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Re: Should I get Skype?
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2019, 08:56:18 PM »
I personally think that brand-hatred is irrational (as is brand loyalty), and you should use whatever tool works best for your needs. Microsoft is certainly no more or less secure or reliable than any other giant megacorp.

I don't disagree. I have plenty of microsoft products. But Skype was better software before microsoft bought it.

Eh. I don't have a use for it other than at work (which, being government, is totally dependent on a Microsoft environment - we've just updated to Office 365 and no government department will ever consider being anything other than a totally Microsoft shop, apart from a very tiny number of Macs kept by a few staff for very specific purposes), so I don't have a lot of experience with it. If I had a need, I'd probably use Discord these days unless video chat was important.
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Offline jt512

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Re: Should I get Skype?
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2019, 09:47:32 PM »
I recently tried a free trial of Skype.


Skype is free.
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Offline jt512

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Re: Should I get Skype?
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2019, 09:49:54 PM »
Thanks to everyone who replied above. In this case, I'm going to let my practical interest outweigh my principled hate for everything Microsoft. I'm going to get Skype and try out French lessons via italki.


My girlfriend and I have taken German lessons over Skype with a language school in Germany.  I would be interested in hearing about your experiences with italki.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Should I get Skype?
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2019, 10:40:47 PM »
I installed Skype. The video window was black. Tried Photo Booth, and sure enough, my camera was not working. A Google search suggested I reboot the computer, and now the video seems to work. I need to find someone to try a chat with before I actually book a lesson with the teacher I picked. I'll ask around at the canoe club tomorrow morning. There's bound to be someone who has Skype and who will try a chat with me to see if it works. Then I'll book a lesson. There are lots of teachers to choose from. For starters I picked one who is a native French speaker from France and whose speaking in her intro recording is clear and easy to understand. Skype has a feature for a test call, and the audio works, but there's no video in the test call.

I'll probably start a thread to report on how it goes and, eventually my progress, or failure.

Before I enrolled in Spanish class around the mid-1990's I tried several teach-yourself methods, but none of them worked. I needed an actual teacher and a structured study plan. We had three classes a week, and for each class (or each week?) there was a vocabulary list to learn, and a grammar subject. Then in class we (mostly the teacher) talked, using the vocabulary and grammar we had learned so far. After a year and a half I enrolled in the exchange program and went to Mexico. After about another year and a half, I was enrolled in a history class taught in Spanish for Mexican students when I realized one day that I had actually understood everything the teacher had said in his lecture, though I still couldn't understand him when he switched to informal Spanish for digressions or to describe the homework. I think I'd been in Mexico for three years when I realized I was using compound verb tenses without thinking about them. And at about the same time if I was startled by something, Spanish came out instead of English. And my bilingual Mexican friend, Ana, started asking me, in English, "How do you say X in Spanish?"

I cannot hope for easy fluency in French in one year. But maybe I can learn enough to get by in French Polynesia when I go back there in a year to swim with the whales again.
Daniel
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Should I get Skype?
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2019, 10:47:53 PM »
I recently tried a free trial of Skype.


Skype is free.

But it’s not free to have a telephone number.  I don’t have a cell phone, and I needed a way of receiving SMSs.  For some strange reason, businesses seem to assume that everyone has a cell phone, and insist on a mobile phone number for registration.  And won’t allow registration without one.  I usually make up one, 0418123456 is my usual one (I hope there isn’t someone with this number who’s getting all my junk phone calls...)

I needed to validate my account with Qantas Money (a debit card I load with foreign currency for travel). To do that I had to get a code from them sent as an SMS.  I complained to them, and about a month later, they included the option of sending the code in an email, so it became unnecessary.

Sending or receiving SMSs isn’t a priority for me, along with social media such as Facebook.
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