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Rich Tehrani
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Apps Swallow Car Tech as Slacker Integrates With Ford

November 29, 2011

Slacker announced it will integrate with Ford vehicles via SYNC AppLink. It further says it will launch new Lifestyle stations with ABC News. For Slacker Premium subscribers, you will be able to listen to music on demand as well as a customizable radio station. The company says it offers the best of both worlds - the benefits of Spotify and Pandora in one.

The company provided me with a premium subscription months back and I am now an addict. In addition to the above benefits, it provides the ability to cache radio stations for times when you either don't have great Internet access or are low and battery.

Although I am not allowed to share the company name, Slacker will have big news soon regarding integration with a well-known WiFi stereo solutions provider as well.

The big picture here is the fusion of consumer electronics, streaming radio and telematics/automotive tech.

The latest model Mercedes for example has an iPhone app which allows you to check things like distance to empty as well as the location of your car.

Its all coming together nicely and to me it seems the biggest challenge ahead is for terrestrial and satellite radio providers who have to deal with the additional overhead of running a satellite network and/or radio towers throughout a geographic region.

One issue remains - how will consumers deal with bandwidth caps? In other words in an all-you-can-eat world, streaming wins - right?











Big Week for Tor and The Privacy Minded

November 16, 2011

Two big pieces of news are out this week for the privacy minded users of Tor who would like to surf anonymously to keep from the prying eyes of government – first off is a new iPad browser called Covert Browser which sells for $2.99. It is no frills, no Google search bar or bookmarks but you can switch from Tor servers in various locations with a simple drop down list. The list further includes flags so you know which country they are in and server bandwidth speeds are included as well.

Browsing Disney.IN and seeing a list of TOR servers on the right hand side of the screen (click to enlarge image)

I Use Google and You Siri are no Google Killer

November 14, 2011

I worry more it will kill the public’s interest in speech rec

I have been reading with great interest all of the back and forth chatter on the web regarding Apple’s Siri and its merit as a Google killer and as I read these articles I wonder if many of the people writing these stories have followed the speech technology space these past decades. In 2000, I ran a show called Communications Solutions and on stage I did a live demo of General Magic’s Portico calling it a killer app – the next big thing. It was incredible to me and it worked pretty similarly to Siri. Sure, Apple’s speech rec “wizard” Siri has enhanced functionality allowing you to do information searches but in a decade you would expect such advancements, right?

But one has to wonder why is Siri the Google killer and why now?

Plantronics Headset Line Exudes UC Dominance

November 3, 2011

Recently I received a care package from Plantronics with a number of their headsets and other products and when I opened the box it served as a not so subtle reminder of just how dominant the company is. Back in 1982 when my company TMC (I am CEO) launched the first magazine in the call center space, Plantronics was one of the few companies in the market and almost 30 years later they have evolved into an organization delivering unified communications endpoints for virtually every segment of the market.

Blackwire C435

China App Market to Surpass US by 2013

November 2, 2011

Sound ID SIX Proves Bluetooth Headsets Need an App

October 31, 2011

Reheating a casserole? There's an app for that.

The evolution of the headset mirrors virtually everything else in the world – it has become more technologically sophisticated and a lot smarter. Case in point is the Sound ID SIX Bluetooth headset, a technological marvel which continues to impress me and the more I use it, the better it seems to get.


China Telecoms and Incoherent US Foreign Policy

October 28, 2011

China telecom companies growing globally Go to any of the recent shows in technology and telecom such as CTIA Wireless and Interop and you see a huge presence from Chinese telecom companies like Huawei and to a lesser extent, ZTE. Moreover, talk to the competition and you will hear them say these companies are poised to “take over the world.”

This shouldn’t be a surprise because these companies have been able to benefit from the massive build-out of China’s tech and telecom infrastructure and while the rest of the world was experiencing post telecom-bubble burst syndrome, their Chinese competitors were feasting on home-grown growth and rapidly expanding worldwide.

No selling into the US Of course these companies are said to be state-controlled by the US which is why they aren’t allowed to make certain acquisitions or even sales into the US.

iPhone 4S Review with Help from Duran Duran

October 27, 2011

Two days ago I happened upon a new iPhone 4S as a replacement for my current 4 model. On the same day, I had an opportunity to go to Madison Square Garden and watch a Duran Duran concert where I was able to put this state of the art phone through its paces. I found it ironic that Simon Le Bon, the lead singer of the group said he was first in the Garden 30 years ago – and that was around the time I was introduced to PCs and programming in general. Now, here I was using the new phone as a camera in what has to be one of the harshest environments ever in which to shoot photos and videos.

See Digital Photos on iPad Immediately

October 27, 2011


Photojojo, a site I learned about at TMC and Crossfire Media's DevCon5 HTML5 developer conference this past summer has a new iPad card reader supporting CompactFlash and SD allowing you to immediately see photos you shoot with your digital camera. You can have the best of both worlds - no more waiting till you get to a PC to upload and then download to the iPad.

The CF reader is $30, the SD reader is $15 and for $40 you get both.

For about $60 you can further opt for an iPad card reader from Koolertron which handles all major formats such as CF, SD, MMC, MicroSD and M2.

Slowly but surely, the limitations of having an iPad as opposed to a PC or laptop are beginning to fade. If only Adobe Flash support were next.

Disclosure: I am the CEO of TMC








Blackberry Outage: Lives Saved, Accidents Down

October 20, 2011

Abu Dhabi saw accident rates plummet by 40% with no fatal accidents precisely at the time when Blackberry had its three-day outage in the country. Moreover, in Dubai the accident rate dropped by 20% during the same period (perhaps they have more iPhones and Nokia devices?).

As word spreads, expect even stricter laws to prevent texting while driving. But as studies have shown, such laws tend to increase traffic accidents because it causes drivers not to text less but to hide the phone while they text, meaning their eyes are even farther away from the road.

Will Apple's new Siri on the iPhone 4S be the solution to the texting while driving problem? Perhaps.



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