Back in the day, we all used phones to communicate. Then Skype came along and changed the world. Sure, there were other systems before it, but Skype had it all sewn up with a neat little package that bundled the hallowed VOIP with a simple interface and of course – It was free!! Later, video was added (that Beta seemed to last forever!) and the whole thing really took off. Skype has always had some big hitters looking over its shoulder with the likes of the goliath Windows Messenger (Currently in its ‘Live’ incarnation) and the Gmail (With its flexibility and low resource usage) to name but a few.
With this in mind the major release of Skype 4.0 was much anticipated… What new wonders can we behold?… Well, I can tell you one thing – if you’re expecting better video you may be sadly disappointed. :-\
Last week if you’d have asked me what my preferred video calling software was I’d have said Gmail and Skype were pretty much 50/50, this week however it has to be Gmail. The new Skype 4.0 video looks like a nasty police photo-fit or, worse, a deliberately pixelated news item. Yes it gets a little better if you give it a few minutes but the previous video was clearly better (IMHO). They have, however, done a good job with the voice side of things which is undoubtedly smooth, and sure, there are some new whistles and bells to play with (the “Open” or “Open with Video” seems so obvious now) but why would you release an update with worse performance on the one thing everybody stares at???…
Now if only Google could make their video a little more resilient to all those sudden crashes….
You must have noticed that my last post was on the 1st of April. And it has been 9 days since. Where was I? Was I locked in Sona? Was I stranded on an uninhabited island ala LOST? Naah! My previous laptop was a work laptop which had to go. And I was waiting for my Dell Vostro 1500 to arrive. I ordered it through a friend in the US and the configuration specs of my Black Mean Machine is as follows.* Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T5470 (1.6GHz, 2MB L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB)
* Genuine Windows® XP Home
* 15.4 in Wide Screen XGA+LCD (1280×800) Display w/TrueLife™
* 2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz, 2 DIMM
* Intel Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
* 250G 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
* Integrated 10/100 Network Card and Modem
* 8X CD/DVD Burner w/ double-layer DVD+R write capability
* High Definition Audio 2.0
* Dell Wireless 1395 802.11g Wi-Fi Mini Card
* 56 WHr 6-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery
* Dell Wireless 355 BlueTooth Module, (2.0+EDR), for WindowsXP
* 2.0 Megapixel Integrated Webcam
So here’s the deal. I added an extra 60$ for upgrading from the default processor of 1.4 GHz. Added the Bluetooth hardware for another 20$, and the Webcam for 30$. It costed me a total of 725$ inclusive of all taxes and free shipping to NY in the next 3-5 days. And now that I have my machine for quite a few days, here’s my review of my New Dell Vostro 1500.
First Impression-BUILD AND DESIGN:-
It is colored in IBM Black and that is a welcome change from the dirty grey Dell Inspiron . The build is sleek, smooth and rugged. It looks quite big compared to my previous Thinkpad T42, primarily because the screen size here is 15.4″ compared to the previous 14″. This weighs somewhat similar to the R-series of Thinkpad series . Enough with the first look, let’s open the lid.
Complaint 1: The Lid doesn’t close tight enough to make the Laptop feel like one piece. The monitor still has some space to move (however very small) even after the lid is closed. But leaving that aside, just another glance at the build, this one’s really a Black Beast. I can’t stop commenting on the color which makes it look as sleek as a Business end-user laptop and not as flashy as the VAIO shiny ornaments. The black matt surface on the back of the screen and the shiny silver buttons aren’t flashy at all, and add to the overall style statement. However the lower half of the laptop is the one which feels thick, and you know where the weight is coming from. Continue reading