back to article Still using Skype? Good news! After HOURS of meetings, Microsoft reckons it knows when you're Not Active

Microsoft has tweaked the presence model of its chat platform, Skype, in an effort to calm users still shrieking about lost features in the version 8 "upgrade". Peter Skillman, director of design for Outlook and Skype at Microsoft, shared the good news via Twitter that after "HOURS" of meetings, the team had decided to deal …

  1. Spazturtle Silver badge

    If work on a single feature taking hours is tweet worthy then we have 2 options:

    1) Skype devs typically do less then an hours work a day.

    or

    2) The entire Skype dev team has an extreme case of ADHD.

  2. Tim 11

    Don't diss skype until you've tried skype for business

    The presence model of Skype for business is more like rolling a dice. often i receive an email telling me I missed a conversation when i've been online the whole time, then when I log onto the outlook web app on my home laptop a week later, the conversation appears there instead. if you happen to have S4B open on both laptop and phone, you will only get notifications to none-or-one of those devices, and it's totally random which one.

    etc. etc. etc. </rant>

    1. The Original Steve

      Re: Don't diss skype until you've tried skype for business

      This was a new feature in SfB 2015. If you have Exchange integration too (pre-req sadly) then get your admin to run:

      Set-CsClientPolicy -EnableServerConversationHistory $true

      On your particular client policy. Seems to be solid across desktop and iOS, less so fluid on Android sadly.

    2. tin 2

      Re: Don't diss skype until you've tried skype for business

      Christ yes.

      My current favourite is my client showing (what turns out to be) an old presence status for the other party, acting accordingly when I IM, the back-end throwing a wobbler (presumably because my client is the only gatekeeper to what I'm allowed to attempt to send the other party), then the other party's presence status updates to what it actually is, which is usually offline.

      Not to mention the times I send someone something, the system errors and says it was not sent, then said someone replies.

      s4b is fundamentally broken.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Don't diss skype until you've tried skype for business

        Oh yes, nothing like sending a message, getting an incomprehensible error in your chat history, copying the original message you sent from chat history, pasting it to notepad, stripping the superfluous crap copied around it because copy and paste in SfB doesn't work either, copying from notepad, and pasting it back into SfB only to find out that they immediately reply because they had read it the first time round.

        Loads of broken features left unfixed for years... either they don't dogfood it or don't care because it's Office and manglement who buy the licences will accept any old crap because it's MS.

        1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

          Re: Don't diss skype until you've tried skype for business

          Skype for business wasn't even Skype, it was a rebranding of Microsoft Lync (anyone remember / forced to use this?)

  3. TRT Silver badge

    Presence detection...??

    You mean something like this? Or more along the lines of Skype's close/quit application stance?

  4. Philip Storry

    Just kill it already...

    Just kill it already and move everyone to Teams.

    The lack of persistent chat is a real drag in Skype. The only real reason Skype is used is that it's marginally better for screen sharing - once Teams is at least as good, Skype won't be loaded any more on my PC....

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Just kill it already...

      Wrong Skype.

      What a masterpiece of marketing from MS that was.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Just kill it already...

      I agree that Skype is terrible and people need to use something else. I disagree that Teams should be that "something else".

    3. The Boojum

      Re: Just kill it already...

      "The only real reason Skype is used is that it's marginally better less worse for screen sharing"

  5. EmilPer.

    is anyone using the new Skype? I thought everybody was sharing installers for the Classic version.

  6. Number6

    I wish they'd fix the Linux version. It was fine until they forced everyone off the older stuff and made us all use the new one, which I guess proves that progress is a vector. Now I have 'network problems' that only seem to affect Skype and nothing else on my system.

    I think they've used the same code as in Skype 4 Business, which I have the misfortune to use at work and also seems to suffer such issues.

    1. Nattrash
      Facepalm

      Hear hear. I realise and admit I've to be "overly tolerant" and kept using Skype because my "oh-scary-computer-with-buttons-I-should-push-to-do-something-because-trusted-US-company-Microsoft-told-me-so" US colleagues can't/ won't consider alternatives. Apart from the fact that it's a neutered version, not allowing users to "get their job done" in a way that did work decades ago. When this productivity tool then improved by disabling the possibility to converse with SfB users (but hey, my 90+ nan is on WhatsApp anyway) and biz rated cams stopped working, well...

      https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/skype/forum/skype_linux-skype_callms-skype_audioms/logitech-c920-no-longer-detected-in-skypeforlinux/3af20be0-0460-4bd4-b77c-58208b3be599

      But hey, we love Linux because we have a bash shell!

      I must say that the Lync opportunity to join a meeting by phone is a brilliant additional feature of outstanding modern technology.

      What do you say? 2018..? Oh...

  7. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    How about an "I can't get Skype to work at the moment" status?

    Very easy to code...

    IF installation_date(skype)<Now+one_hour then

    I_cant_get_skype_to_work_at_the_moment_status:=True;

  8. David Nash Silver badge

    Do not disturb

    What's so rude about that.

    Maybe it should say "Please do not disturb".

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Do not disturb

      Exactly. It was a useful way to tell people you were online, but in that moment they should not call you, maybe later. I often use it when I'm chatting/calling about some important (at least for me), and I don't want a friend chime in to show me the latest cat video. Maybe it should have been called "Busy". Quiet has a different meaning, and I prefer someone advertising "not now, later", than someone silently ignoring me.

      This lack of understanding, and the fear of offending who know who, is becoming ridicule and counterproductive.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Do not disturb

        "This lack of understanding, and the fear of offending who know who, is becoming ridicule and counterproductive."

        Maybe the away/busy/etc messages should be user defined then MS and their weird American fetish for politeness can abrogated to the user? After all, isn't that supposed to be one of the goos things about computers? Users can personalise their "experience" but these days MS seems to be defining everything and removing all the customisation options.

        (I thought it was supposed to be we Brits who were up our own arses with a fetish for politeness)

        1. VanguardG

          Re: Do not disturb

          Its not being polite. Its being afraid of the remotest possibility one might offend someone else. One is polite because one wants to make a good impression. This is about not making a bad impression. Not the same thing.

          I am put in mind of a very well-established musician in the US who wrote a defiant song in the aftermath the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attack here, which quickly climbed the charts. That musician was invited to a major gathering because of his long and recently-stoked popularity, but was told he couldn't sing his defiant new song 'because it might offend some people'. The musician said "If they would be offended by my songs, they'll be offended by me. Have your party without me."

  9. JohnFen Silver badge

    No explanation?

    "The final notable change is “Hide my Presence”, which marks a user as “Not Active” and, in what Microsoft calls an effort to “foster an environment of trust and openness”, stops users seeing anyone else’s presence."

    I found this really strange. They toss this out like it's obvious how this limitation "fosters trust and openness", but it's not. If they're going to tie the hands of users like that, the least they can do is actually make an argument for why.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: No explanation?

      The idea is you don't set your state to appear as if you're offline because if you do you won't be able to see other people's states.

      This is trust and openness. Apparently getting some peace and quiet so you can concentrate is a bad thing.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: No explanation?

        "This is trust and openness."

        That's the part I'm missing. "Openness", maybe, depending on how expansive your definition of it is, but how is this "trust"?

      2. Alan_Peery

        Re: No explanation?

        You're not seeing the issue. Setting the "I'm not here" setting and then keeping an eye on which of your colleagues are online isn't very very open. If they can't see that you're in, there's no reason why you should be able to see that they are in.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: No explanation?

          Of course there's a reason. You have work to do, you need help from a colleague, so you need to be online. You don't need interruptions from everyone else though.

        2. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: No explanation?

          "You're not seeing the issue."

          True, I don't see how this is an issue, even a little.

  10. Graham 25

    Any chance they could sort out the nonsense that is Status when on an iPad.

    Friend of mine is still 'Away' but not offline on an iPad after about a year of not using it and uninstalling it.

    1. Random Handle

      >Friend of mine is still 'Away' but not offline on an iPad after about a year of not using it and uninstalling it.

      It's approaching 2 years since a former colleague of mine died - poignantly Away according to Skype.

  11. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
    Facepalm

    " It is much more complex than Copy/Paste S7."

    Meaning: "we still can't get it working properly and can't work out how to find out how the old version worked from TFS"

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Well, they can't copy what is probably Delphi code (for the Windows version) and past it into Javascript for Electron...

  12. Chris G Silver badge

    If it ain't broke....

    Don't fix it. Has been my mantra in Feedback for years.

    Now it seems, if it ain't broke they now break it so that they can fix it.

  13. arctic_haze Silver badge

    I wonder

    Why people still bother with this application becoming worse and worse with every "upgrade"?

    Out of nostalgia?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder

      Because it's still useful to call landlines/mobile abroad without spending 3€/min...

  14. BGatez

    Everything Microsoft touches dies

    Ever since MS acquired Skype it's been a struggle to use, even signing in. Had opportunity to try WeChat and soooo easy to start a video call.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Everything Microsoft touches dies

      Skype dropped of my 'acceptable' list when MS broke the security model.

      1. N2 Silver badge

        Re: Everything Microsoft touches dies

        Skype dropped of my 'acceptable' list when MS bought it.

  15. Pomgolian
    Flame

    I'd Settle For It Doing What I Tell It

    By which I mean when I set my status to Invisible, ferking remember that and don't set it to anything else until *I* decide, manually, to do so. Since the Upgrade to 8, this has been a major pain in the arse.

  16. ecofeco Silver badge

    Yes but...

    When does Skype actually work?

  17. Cavehomme_ Bronze badge
    FAIL

    Unemployment scheme

    Since Skype was taken over by MS it’s become a scheme to keep their devs working and off the streets as they make completely superfluous changes and gradually wreck what was once a great product.

    1. David1

      Re: Unemployment scheme

      Does not seem gradual to me.

  18. David 155

    Update prompts

    Yeah but when are they going to stop giving standard users admin prompts to update the thing? You'd think they'd know how their own os works.

  19. TonyJ Silver badge

    Appreciate if's SfB but to echo others, I see the same. Messages that say not delivered that are then replied to; attachments / screenshots not being set etc.

    But for me, the biggest one (I've mentioned it before on here) is not being able to add more than one account.

    FFS MS...I've been able to do it with Outlook for years, so why not SfB?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    doing it wrong

    Any half-decent communications tool (like , uh, email for instance. Or letter post. Or the telephone) allows you sufficiently fine-grained control of status that you can easily be 'online' to some people while being 'unavailable' to others. Until that's possible, these social networking tools remain toys.

  21. Tom Melly

    God, I hate skype. Is it really possible to fuck something up so badly by accident?

    1. Terje

      No I'm quite sure it requires a dedicated effort to make something that much worse.

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