(Please see UPDATE at end)
... I thought initially that my difficulty in getting online to Skype was a problem with my Vista laptop (which I wrote about on Wednesday), and although I have had a few continuing glitches with that (see below), it seems that the problems logging on to Skype have a quite different explanation - the whole network has been down since at least yesterday morning, and I think probably since the evening before. Latest report I read, says that some users in Asia (not in India, it seems) and Europe are now able to get online, however I haven't so far succeeded in doing so, so my little bit of Europe is obviously not one of the fortunate bits that can.
As for my Vista laptop (which it so happens I'm not on right now, but was until a few moments ago, as I wanted to check my Skype access on my XP machine and I can't get online there either), I'll write about that in due course, particularly if things starts to go 'hay-wire' again. The problem I alluded to above seems to have corrected itself, for the moment, after it started its 'St Vitus Dance' rolling-screen routine I've become far too familiar with, which requires it to be switched off with the power button. Then it wouldn't start. It then went into an automated Vista CHKDSK routine (you know, the very utilitarian white print on a black screen that Windows goes back to when things go very wrong with its front-end 'pretty bits' such as Windows) which seems to have dealt with whatever problems caused it to happen. I await with trepidation what might happen next, without warning.
I've got quite used to the convenience and low-cost of Skype since I first used at about 20 months ago - I hope it gets back to full-functioning quickly.
Update: (Friday 17AUG07 13.53) I've just got back online with Skype and successfully completed a test call; none of my online Skype contacts are yet showing on the system, though - it's obvioulsy getting back to functioning, but it will probably be a while before it's fully up and running. I've had the impression that the service has been a bit 'clunky' and slow for the past week or so - perhaps it was building up to a crisis; I hope they've got to the root of the problem, unless it's just a simple case of network congestion as the service becomes increasingly ubiquitous. In which case I suppose one might expect further problems once they think they have everyone connected again. I'll wait and see ...