Skype

What's on Ally's Mac dock right now!

I currently have two Macs in my workflow, a 13" MacBook Air and a 27" iMac. My iMac is my main work machine in my home office while I use my MacBook Air on the go. For the most part the docks on both are mirror images of each other. I have loads of apps on both of my Macs, but I depend on certain ones a lot more than others. Here's a look at the ones that currently earn a spot in my dock...

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New and updated apps: Skype, Facebook Paper, Tadaa SLR, and more!

Every day dozens and dozens of new and updated apps and games hit the iOS and Mac App Stores. It's impossible to keep up with them all, but it's not impossible to pick out the very best. Here they are! Today we've got some updates to Skype, Facebook's new Paper app, and more. Let's take a closer look...

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What's on Peter's Mac dock right now!

Rene's recent What's on Rene's iPad right now! post inspired me to do my own, and as the resident Mac guy, I'm spinning mine in a slightly different direction — here's what's on my Mac dock instead.

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Why I'm rage-quitting Skype for iPhone and considering doing the same on the Mac!

Stop me if you've been driven mad by this before — you launch Skype on an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or some other device you haven't launched it on in a while, and for the next few minutes, if not hours, you're pummeled by notifications going off for messages you've long since seen and conversations you've long since forgotten. Today I opened Skype on my MacBook Air for the first time in 3 or 4 days, and the beeps and bounces went on for over an hour, and now, almost 8 hours later, another batch just popped up. It's even worse on iOS. I haven't launched Skype on my iPhone for long enough that I'm afraid to ever launch it again. That's not only shameful for a company as big as Microsoft and a product as important as Skype, it's inexcusable. And it's only one of many problems...

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What's on Ally's iPhone right now!

We've already decided on our best apps of 2013 but we still want you to know our most personal ones — the apps we have given primetime spots on our Home screens. Rene's already shared his iPad Air setup so now I'm going to share what's on my iPhone 5s, at least for right now. See, the first page of my Home screen rarely ever stays the same for more than a few weeks. I switch apps based on what I need and like at the time. There are a few staples, however, that might get shuffled but never get bumped. Here they are!

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Skype iOS app updates bring HD video calls to iPhone 5s, new iPads

Both Skype and iPhone and Skype for iPad have been updated, adding higher-quality video calling on more recent Apple devices, as well as chat notifications. Skype for iPhone now supports two-way video calls on the iPhone 5s, while the iPad app supports this on the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display.

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Viber announces Viber Out, promising lower cost worldwide calling than Skype

Viber, the popular VOIP calling service, has announced Viber Out, promising worldwide low-cost calling to any regular phone number. Skype already offers a similar service – funnily enough called Skype Out – but Viber's key differentiator is its pricing. More to the point, the promise of seriously undercutting Skype, with credit for calls obtained by way of an in-app purchase.

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Updated Skype for iOS improves startup time, iOS 7 tweak

Skype on Monday announced the pending release of an update to its voice, video and chat software for iOS. The new 4.14 version was not available as iMore posted this article, but it's expected soon.

Skype for iPhone:

Skype for iPad:

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SMS, iMessage, BBM, Skype, Line, Twitter, Facebook: Which messaging systems do you use? [Poll]

Which messaging systems do you use?

My life is a series of dissonant beeps and buzzes. My friends and family contact me via Apple's iMessage or old-school SMS, which are at least both built into the same Messages app on iOS, and the former of which at least has a desktop app on OS X. We use Microsoft's Skype as our office phone system at Mobile Nations, so I that's firing away pretty much 24/7 as well (ironically, almost never because of our friends at Windows Phone Central). My colleagues over at CrackBerry use BlackBerry Messenger, so I get those too now. And, of course, the folks at Android Central use Google Hangouts, as do some of my legacy GTalk friends, so I get those in the Hangouts app, and erratically via Jabber in OS X Messages. (I get the occasional AIM there as well. Old school style.)

Twitter Direct Messages come in throughout the day as well. As do occasional App.net messages. Once in a while a Facebook message will join them.

Then there's the wide world of communications and chat apps which seldom if ever cross my radar. The KakaoTalk and Lines that are so popular in Asia, the WhatsApp and Pinger and WeChat as well. Hell, even the Snapchat. (This must be what my parents felt like after finding out what music I was listening to when I was a kid.)

Unlike email, there's no universal protocol that "just works-ish" in every client. Almost every messaging service is garden walled up unto itself. Even if I knew what Line was, I doubt I could just log in with my iMessage ID and suddenly have all my contacts and messages just show up in their interface. Or my Skype chats show up in BBM. Or whatever.

And that sucks, literally, because it means I have to either leave a multitude of battery-draining apps open and the notifications that go with them, or risk finding important messages too late to really do anything about them. It's fragmented. And, frankly, it's maddening.

So that brings me to this poll. How are you handling your communications? Your instant messages? Your chats? Are you using a multitude of services like me? Or have you gotten every that matters to you all in one place, and that's it? Vote up top and then give me the details below. How are you managing your messaging?

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Skype updated for iOS 7, improved accessibility

Skype has been promising some big updates over the next little while, including chat sync, but today they're starting off with a fresh, new, iOS 7-themed makeover for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPhone that's definitely cleaner, flatter, and more-content centric. They've also improved accessibility, which is fantastic to hear. According to Jonathan Watson on the Skype blog, those improvements include:

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