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Rich Tehrani
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Consumer Electronics

Home Automation Could Be Next Tech Bright Spot

June 22, 2011

The future looks bring for home automation and energy management vendors



Hold onto your hat tech investors – we already have some hot sectors like consumer electronics, wireless, the cloud, VoIP, collaboration, healthcare automation and security to name a few. Now, home automation is looking like it could be the next big thing as evidenced by this great article by TMCnet’s Peter Bernstein who goes through seven reasons why we are at a home automation/energy management tipping point.

Deep Facebook Integration Coming to Your Smartphone

June 22, 2011

Quad: The Death of E-mail and Cisco's Social Enterprise Ambitions

June 20, 2011

Quad moves to the cloud, has native Cius tablet support and offers better interoperability

Last week I took a train into the city from TMC’s Connecticut HQ to spend time with the Cisco Quad collaboration team – using Cisco telepresence technology and it was a fascinating look into the company’s foray into a post-email, collaborative enterprise world. First things first, I wrote about Quad and spoke with Murali Sitaram VP/GM of Cisco's Enterprise Platforms unit last September and since then Quad has not been talked about much in the media and has limited buzz in the market. Moreover, Cisco is repositioning itself – lightening up on consumer products meaning much of the company’s messaging has been in other areas of the market including launching consumer telepresence product UMI – something which should never should have gotten the green light.

CradlePoint Wireless N 4G CTR35 Impresses

June 6, 2011


CTO and founder of CradlePoint Gary Oliverio just sent me the company's CTR35 - wireless N portable router allowing you to plug in a USB dongle and light up a room with WiFi - where up to 16 devices can share a wireless broadband connection. And the great news is this gadget can now share a 4G connection.

I tested it with a Verizon 3G EVDO card and was able to achieve average download speeds of 1.9 Mbps downloads and 500 kbps uploads which is respectable considering I did the tests from TMC's HQ where 3G coverage isn't generally super-strong.

The router supports devices from AT&T, Bell Canada, Clearwire,
icket, Rogers, Rover, Sprint, T-Mobile, Telus, US Cellular, Verizon Wireless (Alltel), & Virgin Mobile and claims its range is about 350 feet - for WiFi. I did test the range inside of TMC's headquarters and got to about 100 feet of dense metal and electronics and found the signal started to drop dramatically. This is in line with all other WiFi APs I have seen - more or less so I would say the range of this device is comparable to any other generic AP out there and all this with a small size - about the same as two iPhones stacked. So basically - 350 feet of open air range is well within within reason based on my tests.

The device allows you to have dual SSIDs - in case you want to share a second one with guests and it has bulletproof installation - you plug it in and it works.







An Honest Critique of Microsoft and Steve Ballmer

May 26, 2011

For the last five years there have been calls for Steve Ballmer to step down from Microsoft and I have refrained from comment until today because a confluence of news and events has made commentary necessary. Specifically, David Einhorn, an influential hedge fund manager – whose firm Greenlight Capital owns almost 9M shares of Microsoft, said (video) Ballmer is stuck in the past and is ruining Microsoft’s stock.

Technologist Vs. Businessperson: One compliant about Steve Ballmer is that he is more a businessperson than a technologist and as a result, new and innovative products have been developed much more slowly. This point is very tough to argue with and more importantly, what is Ballmer’s vision for Microsoft?

Lady Gaga Causes Monster Cloud Crash

May 24, 2011

Born This Way is one of the most popular songs of the year - it already was the fastest-selling single ever on the Apple iTunes App Store. And Amazon knew this when it offered the entire Born This Way Album for 99 cents. The limited time offer offer as you could have imagined in advance is one which would attract massive sales - $7 off on what could be one of the most popular albums of our day.

Still, even with this notice, Amazon servers buckled under the massive strain - causing users to complain about not being able to buy all the songs.

Currently, Amazon is offering the Born This Way album for $7.99 and a special edition version with an additional eight songs is valued at $12.99.

The problem marks the second glitch for Amazon this year - following a cloud outage for a number of days which brought down a number of start-ups.





Flash Support May Be Apple's Only Weak Spot

May 23, 2011

I’ve got two kids and for privacy reasons we will call them X, age seven and Y, age six. For their last birthday X received a netbook and I noticed over the last eight months or so – it was rarely used while an iPod, a Nintendo DSi and my iPad were. So partly because I was sick of lending my iPad to the kids constantly and because I saw just how much use iOS devices were getting in my house – I lobbied the grandparents to not get another netbook but instead get the youngest child “Y” an iPad.

Y didn’t want an iPad – only because you couldn’t play some Flash-based game on it.

Family Plans Coming to Verizon

May 23, 2011

It took about six months for carriers to respond to my suggestion - and many families will be happy they did.


Back in December I wrote about the need for carriers to offer group data plans - especially for families. Specifically I said:

But one wonders if carriers aren't doing themselves a long-term disservice by not coming up with some sort of group or family plan for devices. In this way they get consumers to ante up a bit more - let's say for example $10-$20/month per device for dedicated 3G.


Today, I noticed on TMCnet's sister information technology site (I am the CEO of global media company TMC) TechZone360 an article about how Verizon will offer family plans in the future.






VocalTec adds magicJack to Name

May 22, 2011

In Life and Internet Telephony, Timing is Everything

VocalTec will now become magicJack VocalTec Ltd. – a nod to the fact that most Americans see more magicJack ads than they do even McDonalds and name recognition for VocalTec is virtually zero – except for the handful of us in the VoIP space in the nineties.

The personal irony for me is that Microsoft NetMeeting was an Internet telephony software package which was given away for free by Redmond shortly after VocalTec announced a paid product. As a result, VocalTec had to refocus completely on hardware gateways and Microsoft became the leader in VoIP.

BlackBerry PlayBook First Thoughts

May 19, 2011

In my review of the BlackBerry PlayBook I must say I am impressed with the device - it is small - not too heavy, feels good in your hands and runs Flash like a champ. The back of the device is rubberized which holds the promise of increased durability and a large degree of scratch-resistance. TMCnet's Stefanie Mosca has more thoughts on the device and as a BlackBerry user it was certainly more functional for her. She also thinks it is an ideal device for traveling which is tough to disagree with - it likely even fits in most purses.
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