Skype’s marketing

Skype MarketingWhile preparing a replacement laptop I do install a lot of (somewhat) useful software. Most of it is freeware like Skype, which I am going to talk about.

As always I went to Skype’s web site and downloaded the latest version of program. If you still on that arctic expedition and haven’t noticed – Skype has bundled a Firefox plug-in with it’s software. And it’s mandatory. That’s right – you are notified about the plug-in installation only AFTER the install is complete. Pretty neat, eh?

Next surprise – if you launch Firefox after installing Skype, instead of your regular home screen (in my case – the ever-tempting about:blank page) you will see an uninvited Skype page devoted to Firefox plug-in (located here: that still has (as of August 26, 2007) the following passage:

Calling phones within the US and Canada is free until the end of 2006. You need to buy Skype Credit to make international calls.

Gee, do you think we still got time for free calls? Or another version: Earth to Skype – it’s already 2007 halfway gone, damn it.


Outlook 2007 to Mozilla Thunderbird mail database conversion

Outlook to Thunderbird conversionEver since I purchased Office 2007 with Outlook 2007 for my business this question was haunting me – how do I convert my 700MB Outlook mail database into other formats? Obviously, converting it into a (really really large) bunch of EML files is definitely not an option. Outlook’s own Import/Export functionality is very limited (to put it nicely). So I set a realistic goal – convert my Outlook mail database into Thunderbird e-mail database. Or at least find a tool that can realistically do it.

Similar problem had risen year ago, when I was transitioning from TheBat! mailer to something more user-friendly with calendar and contacts manager built-in (namely – Outlook 2007 Beta). TheBat’s mail format was unique and non-exportable to anything but EML files. The only sensible way to transfer three years worth of e-mails from half a dozen accounts was (I kid you not!) drag and drop all e-mails into IMAP mailbox (I used my personal AOL account), shut down TheBat!, fire up Outlook, open and sync AOL account there, drag and drop e-mails from that folder (must have different data file and folder for that) into the main inbox (or specific folder). Took me several hours on broadband connection to move everything properly.

But, there is no way I was going to do same thing again. Among many various solutions, including, but not limited to, exporting the whole thing into Outlook Express format and then converting from OE to Thunderbird, I found a software I wish I’ve seen a year ago. It’s called Aid4Mail by Fookes Software and it “understands” bunch of formats, among those Outlook (PST, MSG, MAPI), TheBat!, Eudora, Pegasus and, of course, Mozilla-compatible mailboxes. The conversion is guided by simple wizard and only took me about 20 minutes to process all Outlook folders. The only drawback of the program is its licensing structure – the Standard version ($24.95) does not support Outlook formats (most popular, as far as I know) and in my opinion simply useless. Professional has all the necessary features but will cost you $49.94 and up (depending on number of licenses). Given the one-time use nature of this program fifty bucks isn’t cheap, but not unrealistic. Site license (the one that doesn’t require activation) costs astronomical $1999.95 and I have no idea who it is aimed at. As to my understanding the pricing structure was created with single goal in mind – to push the Professional ($50) version of the product. Why the other two prices exist at all remains a mystery.

However, in spite of 90-s web site and messed pricing structure the software itself worked flawlessly and fast enough to complete conversion during lunch break. Additional perks include mail filtering during conversion and ability to skip the duplicates. Must have if you do a lot of experimenting like this.


Migration Complete

Migration from Blogger to WordPress is complete, thanks to great importing tool in WP. Although it wasn’t easy, this is the way it worked:

  1. Create an account on
  2. Login, go to Manage->Import to import all posts from Blogger to that account’s blog.
  3. Assign authors. Since I am the only one author here, this was easy.
  4. Manage->Export all posts to the XML file.
  5. Login to your hosted WordPress blog.
  6. Assign authors (again!).
  7. Manage->Import from WordPress, browse for downloaded XML file.
  8. In my case – deal with Uncategorized posts (that I had the majority of), took me around couple of hours to assign them to proper categories/tags.

Last time I touched WordPress was more then a year ago, so I was glad to find out that WP looks better then ever. Number of useful (from my personal perspective) plugins is finally catching up, I was able to find, install and set them up in no time, the blog engine itself is very fast and still good looking.