What did we do before Skype?

When I’m meeting my mates for a jar we often muse how we used to arrange which pub we were going to meet in and when, before mobile phones became ubiquitous.

Did we use, horror of horrors, landlines? Did we send each other letters through the Royal Mail advising in advance where and when to get squiffy together? I don’t think we did.

The massive outage on Skype which started yesterday and is still continuing highlights the extent to which these days all of us rely on the interwibble.  At TechEye we use a group chat to share story ideas and to figure out what we’re going to do today.

We’ve a virtual office, you see and only physically get together for parties and occasionally a few of us meet in London. With writers in Rome, in Delhi, in Argentina, in Dublin and in the pub, it makes perfect sense to conduct a pure play internet magazine purely playing on the net.

So far, there’s only a feeble explanation from Skype about the massive outage – it says its engineers are working to test all the connections. As well as the writers in the TechEye chat, I have acquaintances and contacts all over the world that use Skype. And, of course, Skype is now attempting to sell its services to the corporate market as well as to the millions of ordinary folk that already use it.

This outage will not make it an easy task to persuade enterprises that they should all get Skyped up. There has been speculation that Skype could have suffered a malicious attack but until it fesses up to how the problem came to be and why it has taken so long to fix it, all of us – especially paying customers – are going to be a little wary of going the whole Skyping hog.

Right now at TechEye we’re chatting on Google Talk. We suspect others are doing the same too. Skype really needs to come clean, and soon, on what has caused this pre-Yule SNAFU. The explanation on its blog is far from satisfactory.