Skype Returns to the Living

After Skype users became unable to log in to their accounts from late Wednesday on, the network gradually came back online at the end of the week.

The company, now a part of eBay, lets individuals make free or low-cost VoIP calls over their computers using the Internet backbone. Whenever I'm logged on to Skype, there are typically well over 7 million others online.

Skype didn't go into detail about the problem, instead referring to it as a "deficiency in an algorithm within Skype networking software." More specifically, the self-healing function in the peer-to-peer network seems to have failed. The company also offers fee-based services for voice communication over the Internet, which were also disrupted.

Do you depend on Skype? I mostly use it for overseas calls. What did the outage do to you? Don't call my Skype account; instead, e-mail me at

Ad Words Protected by Trademark?
American Airlines has filed suit against Google, asking that the company cease selling ad words that reflect its trademarks. American says that searching on its trademarked keywords is fine, but Google shouldn't be making money from selling those words.

In practice, competitors and aggregators purchase company names and other well-known terms in order to bring their own products or services to the attention of searchers.

Does a trademarked term extend to its use as a search keyword? If so, can a third party sell it? I doubt the courts have caught up to this issue yet, so if you have your opinion, let's hear it at

Monster Hack
Amado Hidalgo, security analyst for Symantec, claims that a new Trojan horse called Infostealer.Monstres by Symantec has stolen more than 1.6 million records belonging to members of the job search service.

This Trojan uses the collected data to create more credible phishing attacks against those whose personal data was stolen.

I have a profile; I wonder if that's why my volume of phishing spam has gone up lately. If you have a profile, how do you feel about possible unauthorized access by the phishers? E-mail me at

About the Author

Peter Varhol is the executive editor, reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university level.


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