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Why are we down on Skype for their first outage in three years? My cable internet, electricity and cell phone service all fail more frequently than that. Once in three years seems pretty damn reliable to me, especially considering that I pay literally nothing to use Skype.

>> ...This is getting tiresome; trusted services going down...

That statement from the OP rubbed me the wrong way. Trusted services going down are a fact of life. It is going to happen. I agree Skype's last outage was three years ago which is a good track record compared to more traditional services that you might pay a lot more for. Other "trusted" services like electricity, water, heat, transportation fail from time to time even in the most modern of cities. The key is how a company responds to it, triages it, and communicates it to their customers (i.e. with frequent updates)

Hopefully, Skype provides a postmortem describing what happened and how they fixed it.

The statements by the OP rubbed me the wrong way as well. We always preach here that you should have a backup system in case a service fails, why should this be any different for real life? Network not available? Store updates locally and transmit them when it is. Skype down? Find an alternative for a few hours until it's back up. It's not the end of the world. Think of it as an opportunity to explore new products.

Note: I know some people rely on Skype for their businesses, and that it sucks that it went out. All I'm saying is that most people should have some sort of contingency plan for when this situation occurs.

This is the first time Skype has been down for our distributed company. In that same time, my internet has failed a half-dozen times and my VoIP phone a couple of times. Skype is definitely a reliable service - I'm interested in knowing what happened here to take it down.

Agreed. I get enormous benefit from Skype for next to nothing so the criticisms seem somewhat unjustified since most people fall into the same bucket (free.) It's still an excellent service IMO.

My landline at home has never* had an outage in 27 years.

* that I'm aware of

Landlines are from a different era of expected reliability. They carry their own power because it was considered too unreliable to depend on your home's electricity.

And that is a very healthy precaution. I really do not want to lose that security.

but it's not so necessary anymore. If my home line is down (which can happen since it's over ip), with a simple power outage, I can still call with my mobile. If my mobile is out of battery I can call with my girlfriend's mobile. Then the neighbours.

We have highly redundant communication systems compared to when landlines were the only option and SPOF in the building.

If your home line is down and nearby cell stations are not operational, then what? Pigeons? :)

It depends: what is the occasion in which the power grid goes down (or your IP carrier is down) and multiple mobile operators are down? Let's say: flooding, earthquake, riots, evil government shutting down telcos.

Then there is a high chance that also my land line would be down.

Thinking of it, I must get some homing pigeons _now_ ;)

Where do you live? I live in the Northeast US and I can remember multiple outages for my landline over the course of 20 winters and several blizzards. Roughly 5, wasn't really keeping track.

You've never had a bad connection? Or you dial a number and it doesn't go through and you have to try again? Or no trunk lines available when calling internationally?

No, I was mainly just thinking of dial tone. I have experienced "all circuits are currently busy" etc. but that's not quite the same thing in my mind as an "outage" as local calls, etc. still worked.

My landline has outages. For example, just a couple months ago, workers from the phone company intentionally disconnected my phone line while doing some tree trimming. Didn't even bother to knock on the door and let me know they were going to do it.

My landline is a digital phone form my wonderful cable company It's less reliable than the internet connection from the same company - "network is experience connection difficulties"

That is not what is generally meant by "landline".

That's what I thought when they told me it's all they offered in my area!

No phones that I could find were working on the morning of September 11th, landline or cellular.

honestly, you're right. It was just my initial reaction and the first words to come to mind when I wrote the title in my haste to get it out.

My cell phone service has never failed in my home.

My AT&T iPhone has never failed to fail in San Francisco.

My point is that many people would hold home phone service to a higher level of reliability than the ability to browse lol cats on 3G. The only reason I ditched my landline is because cell phone service is so darn reliable where I live. If Skype wants to replace landlines, it's not unreasonable for people to hold them to that standard.

you're welcome.

it's a pretty bad outage though. we're fixing it.

Is it still true that parts of Skype are written in Delphi? If so, can you comment on which part(s), and why that choice was made?

The Windows UI is using the VCL (Delphi's visual component library); it's easy to see with spyxx.exe or similar from the Windows SDK and viewing the window class names: tSkMainForm, TChromeMenu, TSkypeSplitter, TScrollBar, TAccessibleTntEdit (TNT Unicode controls), etc.

As to why it was chosen, I can briefly list my (biased) opinion as to the benefits of Delphi: an easier to use language than C++, proven IDE and framework, a lot of third-party code and components available, but without sacrificing low-level control to a VM.

Any hints as to the problem? Affecting Global Index or something else?

it's a bug :)

here's some official info http://blogs.skype.com/en/2010/12/skype_downtime_today.html

sadly and ironically the blog is also down :(

good luck to fix the bug, you have a great product!

Here's cached version:


22nd December 2010 Peter Parkes

Skype downtime today

Skype structureEarlier today, we noticed that the number of people online on Skype was falling, which wasn’t typical or expected, so we began to investigate.

Skype isn’t a network like a conventional phone or IM network -- instead, it relies on millions of individual connections between computers and phones to keep things up and running. Some of these computers are what we call ‘supernodes’ -- they act a bit like phone directories for Skype. If you want to talk to someone, and your Skype app can’t find them immediately (for example, because they’re connecting from a different location or from a different device) your computer or phone will first try to find a supernode to figure out how to reach them.

Under normal circumstances, there are a large number of supernodes available. Unfortunately, today, many of them were taken offline by a problem affecting some versions of Skype. As Skype relies on being able to maintain contact with supernodes, it may appear offline for some of you.

What are we doing to help? Our engineers are creating new ‘mega-supernodes’ as fast as they can, which should gradually return things to normal. This may take a few hours, and we sincerely apologise for the disruption to your conversations. Some features, like group video calling, may take longer to return to normal.

Stay tuned to @skype on Twitter for the latest updates on the situation -- and many thanks for your continued patience in the meantime.


Distributed whack-a-mole, sounds like fun.

the bug in what exactly? possible to disclose?

What's the story with Skype planning to charge for video calls?

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