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Popular communication service Skype has been in the news quite a bit lately. First, there was the problem about users having their chats delivered to the wrong person. Soon after, the company caused controversy again because of security problems, or enhancements depending on whose side you're on.

Skype recently made changes to the way communication through the software connects. The network used to be entirely peer-to-peer, creating very secure encrypted conversations that connected two computers directly to one another. Recently, the company has shifted from peer-to-peer connection and is now having calls go through server centers.

The main source of controversy is the fact that Skype and its owner, Microsoft, have not made a clear statement on why they made the change. Many people are speculating that the change was made simply to make the service more reliable. The peer-to-peer nature of Skype's previous architecture was hard for the site to keep up, with more than 600 million users. The service experienced several well-publicized blackouts, which were damaging to its reputation.

But, the changes to Skype also mean that conversations are no longer completely secure. The company's founders built the network so that it was deliberately hard to spy on calls. Many people, including criminals, chose to use Skype on their Sony Vaio or Apple MacBook Air for the privacy it provided.

Experts are saying that, for most users, the changes don't mean much. The service remains available, and maintains all of its free resources. Conversations will still be saved for only a month, after which time they are purged.

Still, the change has rubbed some longtime fans the wrong way. An anonymous commentator in the Washington Post summed up this viewpoint best, saying that "This is just making Skype like every other communication service, no better, no worse."

Skype software only runs on computers with recent operating systems and a certain amount of RAM. If your laptop doesn't meet these requirements, perhaps you should consider an upgrade from PortableOne.

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