Archiving/Exporting Skype Chats

Many long time Skype users have been unhappy how the service has changed over the years, especially after the company was acquired by Microsoft. I am one of them.

Starting out as a fairly powerful, secure and private peer-to-peer network, Skype gradually mutated into a client-server product with limited privacy and significantly reduced functionality and performance.

Every now and then I used to make backups of important Skype chats, so I would have the information available for future reference. This used to be doable with copy and paste, but that no longer works. Skype then offered a function to export the chats to a file, for viewing with a viewer.

In late 2017 that chat export functionality was removed from the macOS client in the upgrade from version 7 to version 8. Everything typed in chats after that upgrade no longer gets tracked on the client side but ends up on the server, where of course it is no longer private. According to Microsoft, the chat archives going back as far as April 2017 will be maintained until you delete them.

Skype chat archives after April 2017

To download chat archives, log into your Skype account from a browser using this link:

https://go.skype.com/export

Select what you want to download and click “Submit request”. You will be notified once an archive of the chats is ready for download. Alternatively, you can go back to above export link to check manually. Once you download and extract the archive, there’s a Javascript viewer for it.

Skype chat archive until 2017

For older chats, the macOS Skype client has an option to export the locally saved chats. Go to:

Setting / Messaging / Export chat history from Skype 7.x

Pixel 3a: “Analogue audio accessory detected. The attached device is not compatible with this phone”

Three months ago my wife and I both changed our local smartphone plans and changed to a Google Pixel 3a.

Within a week she had a problem where her phone would suddenly shut down when the battery still had 50-60% charge left, while doing nothing. This even happened after the phone had been factory reset, with no third party apps installed. It took a few weeks before Softbank Mobile replaced the phone under warranty.

Now it’s my turn it seems. Recently I would find the phone with less than 50% of battery left in the morning when I had left it hooked up to the charger (so it should have been at 100%). I would reconnect the phone but it would not show the charging symbol. I then tried different cables and chargers and also rebooted the phone. Eventually it would charge again.

Today it showed the following error:

Analogue audio accessory detected. The attached device is not compatible with this phone

Nothing was plugged into its headphone socket or into the USB C port. There was no analog audio device connected. I googled the problem and most results suggested it was a problem with the USB C port. That makes sense, since it would explain both the charging issues and the audio warning, as one can plug an analog device into the USB C port via an adapter.

Other results suggested a factory reset may get it working again, but that did not work for me. After the factory reset I could charge the phone with the charger from my earlier Nexus 6P and a USB C cable when powered off. However, after I powered it up and started the system restore, it no longer charged from either that charger or from the Pixel 3a charger or a Pixel 3 charger. The problem was back.

Time to take it back to the Softbank Mobile shop, I guess 🙁

Needless to say, I am not impressed with a 2/2 failure rate for our Pixel 3a phones so far. The Pixel 3a was great while it worked. The picture quality seems as good as for its more powerful sibling, the more expensive Pixel 3 and battery life was decent too. But that is all meaningless if it randomly shuts down or you can no longer charge it.

UPDATE: Softbank Mobile sent the two months old Pixel 3a in for testing and repair. A couple of days later they quoted almost 20,000 yen (US$190) for the repair of the unspecified damage, which they said would not be covered under warranty 🙁