Interviewed by TigerPrises/ArcticStartup

Talked to Toivo Tänavsuu last week on what’s happening at Skype, how is the labour market looking and how do we relate to the broader technology startup scene in Estonia. The video inteview was publised on TigerPrises and ArcticStartup.

Interview with Sten Tamkivi from Skype from Toivo Tänavsuu on Vimeo.

Skype 4.0 Beta 3 – UPDATED

Skype launched the third beta version of the new and shiny 4.0 client for Windows in December. I missed reblogging the news here, but you can read from the source what Mike said about Beta 3 on Skype Blogs. In a nutshell, the History is back, a new Bandwidth Manager improves your audio and video call quality and the look of the whole client skin has been refreshed.

If you did not get it then, then today is a great day to download, as we’ve followed with a beta 3 hotfix release that makes it even better quality-wise.

Read also my past posts on Beta 1 and Beta 2 on why it is worth to upgrade to Skype 4.0.

And, as always, your continued feedback is much appreciated by the 4.0 team at Skype.

Tihe telereede

Vabariigi Kodanikud
Eelmisel reedel juhtus nii, et [nädala keskel ilmunud arvamusloo]( järellainetuses sattusin Gonsiori tänavale ETV majja lausa kahel korral. Hommikul lindistasin intervjuu [Erisaatele]( ja õhtul käisin [Vabariigi kodanike]( otse-eetris.
Mõlemas tuli jutuks innovatsioon, Eesti majanduse ees seisvad väljakutsed, tööjõuteemad ja mõningal määral ka kitsamalt elu Skype’is. Aga loomulikult üsna erineva nurga all. Vabariigi kodanike auväärses vestlusrühmas jäi domineerima abstraktsem mure Eesti väärtuste pärast, sest tolerantsi ja teineteise toetamiseta ei juhtu midagi ei teadmistepõhises majanduses ega kultuurisfäärides. Erisaatele omaselt võeti seal teema ette kergemalt ja “praktilisemalt”, näiteks stuudiolaual “nokiat” otsides.
Millegipärast ei saa ETV veebist tuua videolõike blogikontekstis näitamiseks, aga nende oma veebilehel on saated siiski olemas, midagi alla laadida pole vaja:
* [Video: Vabariigi kodanikud, 28. november 2008](
* [Video: Erisaade , 1. detsember 2008]( (intervjuu algus 9:30)

Skype 4.0 is smaller again

As promised in June, the second iteration of Skype 4.0 client is now available for download. If you got on to beta 1 and liked it or hated it, I highly recommend the upgrade to beta 2.

The past quarter has really passed fast. I’m amazed how much the 4.0 research, design, product and project management, development and quality assurance teams got through. Especially given that you have to work under timeline pressure while at the same time being called an ignorant moron (best case) on blogs, forums and random comments across the internet for creating the radically different Skype version you just released. Fortunately we also had plenty of quantified data and user testing around the world in lab environments to separate real issues from pure blind conservatism and hateful noise. Read more about the feedback stats from the official blog post.

That’s the risky transformation the software business seems to go through – applications with tens and hundreds of millions of users get launched in early beta stages, in feature incomplete iterations for feedback and mass-market testing. I am confident the better the end result will be. And if you look at beta 2, it really is powered by the feedback, (re)introducing such things as compact mode, grouping your contacts into categories, a totally revamped alerts and notifications system so you wouldn’t miss any incoming events and many more of the things you asked for.

One of the interesting ones in my circle of friends and colleagues has really been the compact mode. The loudest voices demanding Skype to take up less of their screen. Many happy campers once we enabled mode switching to give the poweruser more control of the screen estate. And funnily, a number of people who have now confessed that they’ve “sort of learned to like” the new one-window layout and really don’t want to go back…

Anyway, there is a new episode of the video series that has been taking world by the storm – Mike Explains Beta 2. In High Definition, of course:

Skype 4.0 Beta 2 for Windows
Uploaded by SkypeConversations

And there is a bunch of screenshots on Flickr. But better download the real thing and give us some more feedback.

See also: Skype 4.0 Beta 1, Beta 3

Skype 4.0 beta 1 is out!

Avatar: Skype 4.0 is here!

Yes, it has taken something like 2 years from first conceptual ideas being bounced around. I’ve been involved in Skype’s Desktop clients team since March and I have to tell you, approaching the first beta launch of our 4.0 client is one of the reasons for deafening silence on this blog. June especially has been very intense and I’m truly proud of what the hundreds of people involved have pulled off.

Please do read the official blog post, download the client and start giving feedback on things you like and things you don’t. This multi-stage beta program of a radical redesign is very special for Skype, so I promise you – feedback will be listened to and even slicker beta 2 will follow.

The high def video clips (briefing, intro demo and advanced demo) might also be worth your time to get a quick start on what’s happening. Or just think of them as your last chance to see Mike’s stellar on-screen performance for free. Next time you might have to stand in line and buy a ticket for the big screen. Of course, you can share these clips in your Skype mood message, also on 4.0.

As for myself, I’ve been using internal versions of the next generation client primarily for almost half a year now. I could not go back to versions before even though there are still a bunch of features yet to be implemented. Unified conversations bringing chat, file transfers, SMS and calls neatly together. Conversation management with proper unread message tracking for heavy traffic multichats. Large crisp video calls. Headsets and USB speakerphones getting managed as I need.

One thing that has been really painful for last months is that I could not share all this neatness with my friends yet. So, here you are now, enjoy. Hope you like it.

See also: Skype 4.0 Beta 2, Beta 3

Skype’i uue CEO esimene intervjuu

Skype “uus” (hakkab juba kaks kuud täis saama varsti, tegelikult) pealik Josh andis oma esimese intervjuu selles rollis Eesti Ekspressile.

Soovitan lugeda neil, kes segaduses iga Skype-uudise juurde kuuluvatest kommentaari-teadjameeste juttudest, et Skype on valmis ja seal enam midagi teha ei ole, kolib Eestist minema Indiasse, palkab siin ainult odavat orjatööjõudu, ei kasva enam, ei ole rahaliselt edukas jne jne.

Ja nagu ikka, on eestlasena aeg-ajalt huvitav ja alati kasulik mõne kaugemalt tulnu pilgu läbi siinset elu näha.

Video Call with Her Majesty

Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
Just finished a video call with Her Majesty [Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands](
She was visiting Skype Tallinn office as part of her state visit to Estonia. I was babysitting at home. One of these physical location misses when [Skype]( really becomes handy.
Also, [Etta]( joined the ranks of the babies worldwide who have had their first video call while less than 10 days old.

Numbers to Prove How Much I Love Skype Chats

Played around with some simple queries in my active Skype chats database, which weighs 215MB in plain text and has data since May 16th 2006. Probably I did a computer migration around then and earlier history (since I started using an early beta of Skype in mid-2003) is buried somewhere in backups.

Found out that I have sent 59709 and received 273715 messages during this time. And respectively 27389 outbound and 140505 inbound messages in the year of 2007. That’s an average of 75 / 385 messages per calendar day. I don’t even want to think if these numbers were my e-mail traffic…

I also found out that a week of vacation has a 5x lowering impact on my Skype communications – 132 messages out /1980 in last 7 days, versus a random weekly sample from a month ago 587 out / 2658 in.

And I also found out that my SQL skills have gone really, really rusty even compared to the mediocre level they used to be at.

Skype for Your Mobile is here

It used to be that you had to be lucky enough to live in one of the eight countries of Hutchinson’s 3 network to use the “official” version of Skype on a 3 Skypephone handset.

That option is still there, but the world has gotten smaller again for those of us elsewhere, say in Elbonia. If you are a Skype user and have one of these 50 mobile handset models (more on the way), just go and download a client now. Presence, chat, Skype to Skype and SkypeOut calls — the works — land in your pocket.

I usally don’t replicate the official product announcements from Skype’s blog, but this specific one is definitely in the Top3 things my friends have asked for over the past years. So, please enjoy.


A few more people
Spent a few days in Tokyo. Finally. This place is now officially number #1 in my World Cities toplist. And frankly – I was sort of expecting (or hoping?) this to happen.
The Skype Developer event I was attending there was a huge success with great turnout of interesting partners. Everything else in the counted few days before and after was just mind-blowing. I need to have the thoughts and emotions settle a bit to blog anything sensible. Until then, you have to live with the photoset.
My special thanks go out to German customs who were so happy to see me back in Europe that they decided to welcome me with some extra taxes + a 350 EUR fine, because tumbling off a 12 hour flight I did not voluntarily land in the red customs corridor while I had a certain new gadget in my bag with purchase value exceeding 175 EUR. Did you know that this extremely low threshold is applicable to “all other items not listed explicitly like alcohol and tobacco” in whole EU? I do now. Hier, nehmen Sie meine Kreditkarte.