Browsing articles from "August, 2011"

Disable Skype Home Page pop-up

Aug 28, 2011   //   by Leon   //   Blog  //  8 Comments

Update 4 -Victory..!

People power wins the day!

With Skype version 5.5.0.119 no more annoying Skype Home page pop-up in compact mode:
http://blogs.skype.com/garage/2011/09/skype_55_for_windows_update_release_notes.html

Well done to all who tweeted, posted and generally badgered Skype into submission.

Update 3

Another little twitter parley with @SkypeSupport:

@SkypeSupport Regarding the Skype Homes page complaints that you promised to address. When & how will this resolved?

@dezertdezine Thank you for reporting. We know this is a frequent disturbance & relevant parties have already been informed.

@SkypeSupport That’s not an answer! The question was how and when will this be resolved. Please answer these questions

@dezertdezine Thanks for pointing this out strongly. Unfortunately there’s nothing further we can add to this being a known disturbance.

Update 2

Disappointingly it’s been over a week since Skype indicated to me they were going to address this issue and still nothing has changed.

While Skype is dragging it’s feet on resolving this issue, another programmer has had time to create a programme and website dedicated to to stomping on the Skype Home page. It’s called Skype Tuner and I’ve added added it to the list below.

Update 1

This morning 5th September 2011 Skype has replied to my tweet stating:

We’re aware of the complaints some users have voiced about Skype Home and we are going to address it.

I notice they’ve also updated their developer status has now been updated to Critical, so I looks like we may not have to endure this pop-up for too much longer.

Skype’s done a bad bad thing

Their latest release comes complete with an extremely annoying Skype Home page that pops up every time you start up Skype. This has infuriated Skype users so much that in the past week hundreds have signed up to their forums specifically to express their displeasure and plead with Skype to either remove it, or at least give users the option to disable it. The response from Skype has been a resounding silence, not one word of acknowledgement, something that I find almost as annoying as the pop-up screen itself. But wait, there’s more, not only is there no way to way to disable this nasty little screen, but Skype in it’s wisdom has also decided to remove the ability to disable automatic software updates giving users no option over how and when future updates are installed on their computers. And there’s even more, Skype is also auto-installing their Click and Call plug-in on your browsers, again without your permission. Really there’s only one way to describe that latest iteration of the Skype programme – Malware. In fact here’s how Skype describes Malware.

Skype’s description of malware

Malware (or malicious software) relates to software that is designed to infiltrate or damage a computer’s operating system or other programs. These are often described as computer viruses, worms or Trojan horses. They sometimes come combined with other software and load in the background.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

Naturally, with so many incensed users, people have found work-arounds to disable the Skype Home page. The two most popular methods are the Back to Future method, in other words reverting to a happier, friendlier version and the Terminator method, which uses a separate programme to stomp on the Skype Home page before it’s spawned.

The Back to the Future method

By installing version 4.2.0.187 you will find that you are no longer bothered by that nefarious Skype Home page pop-up and also you’ll be able to disable automatic updates. You can get this version from the fabulous Old Apps site which is here:
http://www.oldapps.com/skype.php
It’s interesting to see that it’s currently the most downloaded piece of software on their site this month.

The Terminator method

As soon as the Skype Home page pop-up was invented, industrious programmers got to work on finding ways to defeat it. The first to come up with a functional programme was Andrew Worcester, the creator of Kill Skype Home. Kill Skype Home is a nifty little programme that stomps on the window before it rear it’s ugly head. The programme has now been realeased as open source software and is available from Sourceforge here:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/killskypehome/
I see that Kill Skype Home has been downloaded over 3,000 times in it’s first 4 days of being released on Sourceforge.

Another programme, Silent Skype has now appeared on the scene. This looks like it’s still in the development stage, but for the curious, the source code can be found here:
http://blog.lyonsdomain.ca/2011/08/silentskypeexe-v02.html

And here’s yet another freeware programme, Skype Tuner. It promises to stop Skype Home from loading when Skype starts:
http://skypetuner.com

The best solution

In my opinion, the best solution is one that needs to be implemented by Skype. They need to listen to their users and release a new version that allows users to configure the programme in a way that their users want.

Express Yourself

I’ve yet to see anyone post that they actually like the new Skype Home page. If enough people continue to express their feelings to Skype, they will eventually relent and return ownership of the programme back to their users by giving them the ability to configure the programme as they want. To that end, here are some ways to make your voice heard.

Skype Feedback – No login or email required to post a comment
http://ecustomeropinions.com/survey/survey.php?sid=603736412

Skype Support Forum Thread – Disabling Skype Home Autostart
Moderators have now closed this thread

http://community.skype.com/t5/Windows/Disabling-Skype-Home-autostart/td-p/46260

Skype Developer Forum Thread – Skype 5.5 should have an option to disable the Home screen popup in Compact view
https://jira.skype.com/browse/SCW-3132

Email Skype Directly
contactus@skype.net

Twitter
@SkypeSupport

Skype Blogs
Skype Blogs

Anti Skype Home Facebook Page
Disgruntled Skype users who hate the ‘Home’ popup

Login to multiple Skype accounts via shortcuts

Aug 20, 2011   //   by Leon   //   Blog  //  8 Comments

Scenario

You have more than one Skype account and need to be able to login to both accounts simultaneously.

Solution

  • Navigate to the Skype folder. Usually something like: C:\Program Files\Skype\Phone
  • Right click on Skype.exe > Click Create shortcut. If necessary save the shortcut to the Desktop
  • Right click on the newly created shortcut > Click Rename and give the shortcut an appropriate name (e.g. Personal)
  • Once again right click on the shortcut > Click Properties and enter the following into the Target field, changing USERNAME and PASSWORD for your Skype username and password:
    "C:\Program Files\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe" /secondary /nosplash /username=USERNAME /password=PASSWORD /legacylogin
    ***Note – Make sure this is pasted without any line breaks
    /legacylogin is only necessary for Windows XP and Vista
  • Change the Run field to Minimized
  • Click Apply and then Click OK
  • Repeat the process above for any other Skype accounts you have
  • Finally, right click on each of the shortcuts created and Click Pin to Taskbar
  • Your shortcuts should now be operational

Understanding the Target command

“C:\Program Files\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe” /secondary  /nosplash /username=USERNAME /password=PASSWORD /legacylogin

The first part of the command is the full path to the Skype programme and must be surrounded with inverted commas.

The first command option is /secondary. This option allows you to open an additional instance of Skype.

The second command option is /nosplash. This option prevents Skype’s splash screen displaying on start-up.

The third command option is /username. This option allows you to set your username.

The forth command option is /password. This option allows you to set your password.

The fifth command option is /legacylogin. This option has become necessary since Skype 5.5.0.113 on Windows XP and Windows Vista

 

 

Forcing Google Chrome to use google.com

Aug 15, 2011   //   by Leon   //   Blog  //  4 Comments

Here’s the scenario. You don’t live in the good old U.S.A., but you do want Google Chrome to use: google.com for your searches.

The solution

  • Open Google Chrome
  • Click the wrench icon (top right hand corner)
  • Click Options
  • Click Basics (left hand column)
  • Click Manage Search Engines
  • In Other search engines add the following (there are 3 fields)
    Field 1 – Add a new search engine: Google USA
    Field 2 – Keyword: google.com
    Field 3 – URL with %s in place of query:
    http://www.google.com/search?{google:RLZ}{google:acceptedSuggestion}{google:originalQueryForSuggestion}sourceid=chrome&ie={inputEncoding}&q=%s

    ***Note – Make sure this is pasted without any spaces or line breaks
  • Click Enter to save the URL
  • With the mouse, hover over the new entry that you’ve just created and click on the Make default button