Again, if you're unfortunate to use a Mac, don't bother reading on. Go out, and find some poor soul (like me) to give your obvious fortune too. The rest of you, read on...
Skype has been around for about 8 years. It was thrown into the fire that was the 'using your pc as a phone' back in the days of dial up connections. At the time however, there was a huge multitude of alternatives, from the ever popular MSN messenger to the more obscure PalTalk, and even netmeeting. Skype came in, and with no conceivable difference between it and it's competitors, floundered. Then someone realised that if you plug it into a phone system, you can make cheap calls internationally. This meant that people (my Dad was a good example) could phone across vast oceans for a fraction of the cost. This also meant that Skype survived.
With the advent of broadband, the calls were actually found to be better quality then the old phone system. Using it also meant that packets were sent via fibre optic, so the old time delays of sending up to a satellite and back were gone. This was also a good thing. The one thing it seemed to be missing from it's competitors at this point was a good webcam facility.
Version 3 appeared, now with added cam. The algorithm of the camera meant that you could now have full screen video with very little jerkiness (if your broadband allowed it) and people all over the world were reunited as if they were in the next room. They still had to iron out flaws in the system, but by version 3.8 they'd got it almost right. It was Vista compatible (for the mugs that use it) and it was reliable. It was also rather cpu hungry, even when it wasn't in use, so to combat this they released version 4. Much like a typical Windows release, then the problems started. The webcam can freeze, either end. Disconnects are common, and the sound quality leaves something to be desired. And rather more worryingly, people you've never heard of start adding you as friends. You can turn on the option "only allow those in my contact list to contact me" and it doesn't make the blindest bit of difference.
What do I recommend? That's easy. Download 3.8 here. If you haven't used it, I recommend it. You'll find me under Rikaitch...
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