Looks like several people have been facing frequent crashes with Firefox and the Firefox add-ons team is on the case. The Skype Toolbar for Firefox is an extension that detects phone numbers on webpages and allows you to call them using Skype desktop application.
The add-on is bundled with Skype desktop and is automatically installed in Firefox. Mozilla has pinpointed that the current version of Skype toolbar is one of the main culprits behind Firefox crashes. For instance, according to data collected by Mozilla (when users send crash reports to them), the Skype toolbar accounted for 40,000 crashes last week.
Additionally, depending on the version of the Skype Toolbar you’re using, the methods it uses to detect and re-render phone numbers can make DOM manipulation up to 300 times slower, which drastically affects the page rendering times of a large percentage of web content served today (plain English: to the user, it appears that Firefox is slow loading web pages). We believe that both of these items constitute a major, user-facing issue, and meet our established criteria for blocklisting an add-on.
Starting today, Mozilla will add the Skype Toolbar to their blacklist and soft block it. With soft blocking they will automatically disable the extension while giving users an option to re-enable it. Mozilla has already blocked several add-ons in the past, some of them include the Bing Bar, Apple QuickTime Plugin, AVG SafeSearch and more. You can view the entire list of blocked add-ons.
Back in 2009, Mozilla had blocked Microsoft .NET and WPF extensions terming them as unsafe for Firefox. Unlike the Skype block, the Microsoft block was hard block, wherein users were not given an option to turn it on. There are only a few extensions which have been hard blocked since then.
There is no official statement or update on this issue from Skype. We will keep you posted when more information becomes available.
Skype has acquired the mobile video streaming startup, Qik. Earlier, the acquisition price was reported to be around $100 million, but BI has confirmed it to be $150 million with an earnout.
Qik has been a very strong mobile player and has a huge presence in the mobile video streaming and sharing segment. It has close to 5 million users and is available on multiple platforms including Android, iPhone, Symbian, Windows Mobile and Blackberry.
Through this acquisition, Skype hopes to “leverage the engineering expertise that is behind Qik’s technology, which optimizes video transmission over wireless networks”. The acquisition of Qik will “accelerate Skype’s leadership in video by adding recording, sharing and storing capabilities to Skype’s product portfolio”.
Check out the official press release by Skype.
After numerous leaks, the HTC Thunderbolt has finally been unveiled by Verizon and HTC at the CES 2011. The HTC Thunderbolt features a mammoth 4.3-inch S-LCD screen with WVGA (800×480) resolution. The handset is powered by a 1GHz Qualacomm Snapdragon processor.
The back of the phone features an 8MP camera with 720p HD video recording capability. The phone also sports a front-facing camera for video calling. The handset also supports Verizon’s 4G LTE network.
Other key features of the HTC Thunderbolt include DLNA, Dolby Surround Sound, Built in kickstand, GPS with aGPS, a 3.5mm audio jack and a microSD card slot with a 32GB microSD card preloaded. The HTC Thunderbolt runs on Android 2.2 with the latest version of HTC Sense UI on top of it. HTC have also integrated Skye Mobile with video calling in their Sense UI on this phone.
Sadly, HTC did not mention the release date or pricing of the device. However, I expect the Thunderbolt to hit the shelves by Q1 of 2011.
Image Source Droid-Life
If you are enjoying the CES 2011, there might be quite a lot of more good things coming your way. In a few hours time Skype will be holding their press conference at CES 2011.
The conference will be held at 10:30AM PST and will be an hour long. After the introduction of video calling for iPhone, it is highly anticipated that Skype will announce video calling for Android based devices too. We are all holding our breaths on that.
You can watch the Skype CES 2011 press conference live online at CNET live http://www.livestream.com/skype and also at other live streaming CES links.
You could also watch CES 2011 coverage on TV or listen in on RADIO. Alternatively, you can catch up on the Skype CES 2011 press conference in the embedded video below.
Nearly a week ago, we had reported that Skype will soon be bringing video calling feature to the iPhone 4. Initially, it was expected that Skype will make this huge announcement at the upcoming CES 2011. However, the looks like the company has some other plans for CES as today they have released an updated version of Skype for iOS which enables video calling.
Here is a video demonstrating video calling on the iPhone 4 using Skype :
The updated application will allow iPhone 4, iPod Touch 4th generation and iPhone 3GS owners to make video calls to Skype users all over the world using either Wi-Fi or 3G. iPhone 3GS owners need to use the camera at the back of their phone to broadcast their video though.
iPad and iPod Touch 3G owners can also use the application to receive video calls from other Skype users. Obviously, owners of these devices can’t make video calls due to the lack of any kind of camera on the device. Here is the link to the announcement from Skype themselves.
Hopefully, Skype will announce an updated version of their application at the upcoming CES which will bring video calling to Android as well.
On December 22nd, millions of Skype users were left without service for roughly 24 hours. At the time, Skype was scrambling to get the system back up and didn’t offer a full explanation of what was happening. (what is Skype?)
Earlier today, Skype’s CIO, Lars Rabbe, gave a fairly detailed explanation about the system wide failure. Skype depends heavily on a world wide network of peer-to-peer nodesand supernodesthat are hosted by users running Skype’s software. This network distributes the service’s work load to each Skype user as needed.
According to Lars, a cluster of Skype servers overloaded and threw more of the load onto the peer-to-peer network. Normally, this should have only slowed the network down. Instead, a bug in some of the Windows clients running a newer Skype version, cause many to completely fail. About 50% of the peer-to-peer network stopped responding, and the entire network collapsed like a house of cards.
Skype technicians responded by creating new peers on the network called mega-supernodesto try to recover normal traffic, but the recovery still took a long time.
So what has Skype learned? Can they prevent downtime in the future? Here’s what Lars said about the future:
â€¦ we are learning the lessons we can from this incident and reviewing our processes and procedures, looking in particular for ways in which we can detect problems more quickly to potentially avoid such outages altogether, and ways to recover the system more rapidly after a failure.
Skype has become a critical communication tool for many individuals and companies. If Skype can avoid major disasters in the future, they’ll remain the king of VOIP. If not, they have plenty of competition waiting to jump in as a replacement.
Here are some of our previous posts about Skype:
Skype is a very popular VOIP application for many OS’s including mobile operating systems like iOS and Android. It also supports video conferencing on Windows and Mac. Skype had earlier announced that they will be making some huge video calls related announcement at the upcoming CES.
Now, it looks like the company is all set to bring video conferencing to handhelds as well.
Engadget managed to get hold of a Skype help document which tells the users how to make video calls on their iPhone with the Skype application. It is unclear whether the company intends to bring video calling only to the iOS platform or will also include other major mobile operating systems like Android and Symbian.
If Skype does announce video calling for all the major mobile platforms at the upcoming CES 2011, I expect them to dominate the video calling market.
If Skype has been down for you, you are not alone. Millions of Skype users are reporting that they are having problems with accessing the service. The downtime seems to have occurred a few hours ago and is continuing to plague users.
The official Skype account has been updating users about the progress through Twitter, here is what they have had to say so far:
Some of you may have problems signing in to Skype we’re investigating, and we’re sorry for the disruption to your conversations
Our engineers and site operations team are working non-stop to get things back to normal thanks for your continued patience
Downtimes to such services can cause a lot of problems. Hopefully, the team at Skype are working over-time to fix this problem. If you are locked out of Skype, you can try accessing Skype online to see if it helps. We’ll update this post when more news becomes available.
Update: Skype is still down and make take several hours to come up again. Skype has written a post about the problem and it seems to be something of a problem with their phone directories, which they call supernodes.
Skype engineers engineers are creating new mega-supernodes as fast as they can, which should gradually return things to normal.
Another update on their Twitter page says:
Skype is now gradually returning to normal we expect it may take several hours for everyone to be able to sign in again, however
Welcome to our third edition of the Best Mobile Apps Of The Week. This week we would like to introduce our readers to a very popular Twitter app for the iOS as well as for Android. Along with that, we would introduce our readers to a very popular VOIP client for Symbian.
Here are the featured mobile apps of the week for iOS, Symbian and Android:
Twitter for iPhone/iPad is the official twitter client from the company itself Twitter. The app has a very slick UI and I especially love the sliding panels’ UI feature in Twitter for iPad. The app also supports push notifications and inline media display. I have been using Twitter for iPad right on my iPad since the day it was launched. The app literally blows the competition away!
iOS owners can download Twitter For iPad/iPhone from the App Store for free.
Skype is one of the most popular VOIP services out there. The company also has an official Skype client for all the major mobile OS including Symbian. Skype for Symbian allows users to make free calls to other Skype users anywhere in the world for free via Wi-Fi or 3G. It also allows Skype owners to chat for free.
The company recently rolled out an updated version of Skype which supports the latest generation of Symbian phones like the Nokia N8, C7 and E5. The update also added SILK’ Skype’s own audio codec which helps improves voice quality on a low-bandwidth connection. Symbian owners can download Skype for their handset for free from here.
TweetDeck is one of the most popular third party Twitter client for Windows. The app is also available for other major mobile platforms including Android. The Android version of TweetDeck has a great looking UI and functions really well. I personally switched to TweetDeck and have been using it ever since on my Galaxy S since the day it was released.
The application also supports other major social networking sites like Facebook, Google Buzz and Foursquare. The application however does lack some features like no support for creating lists, no auto-fill while entering @username and some totally useless widgets. However, I am pretty sure the folks behind TweetDeck for Android will fix all these issues sooner than later. Android owners can download TweetDeck for free from the Android Market.
A couple of months back, there were rumors suggesting that deep integration of Facebook and Skype was on the cards. Soon after, Skype introduced Facebook integration in its client. Now it appears that Facebook is also preparing to integrate Skype.
AllFacebook is reporting that a Facebook app developer has discovered the existence of code hinting at Skype integration. Apparently, Facebook is bucket testing this feature, which will be based on the Skype SDK. Tal Alter, the developer who was the first to notice this, wrote in his blog, “The object, which is simply called VideoChat, appears to have everything needed to introduce video chatting functionality.” It is expected that once launched, Skype users will be able to receive and initiate video calls directly from Facebook.