Chatrooms 2.0 - Skype Live, micro-performances, social networking and pedophilia sting ops

I was testing out the new version of Skype yesterday, clicking around the "Live" tab and trying Skypecasts, still in beta mode, to see what they offered.  I stumbled into music cafe, largely because it was the only venue with any significant crowd.  The group was very international...Bianca from Honduras, Johan from S. Africa, Suzanne from Malaysia and Inbal from Israel among others.  I envisioned myself in some far-off cafe with a group of travelers from distant corners of the world.  Without warning,  someone in Romania, presumably our host, started repeating "hello, hello, hello" at 4-second intervals which a severe echo.  It reminded me of the scene in Independence Day after Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum save the world and then struggle to establish scratchy reception with headquarters back on Earth.  Eventually our host explained that he was about to perform a concert with his guitar, "some blues and rock & roll," he told.  Then, he played a few songs, and the sound quality thankfully improved.  Unfortunately, most of the room's inhabitants lost interest and left somewhere between the third and fourth ditty.  Around this time, Laura from the UK, also in the cafe, contacted me directly asking to chat.  After a few messages back and forth, she asked my age.  "31" I told her, "how about you?"  "14."  "Oh, I better get back to work now, this is probably a bad idea [on many levels]."  "Yeah, I know," she said.   When I closed the window, Skype asked me if I wanted to add any of the group's members as contacts.  A nice twist on social networking, but I respectfully declined.

By Josh Guttman

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