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Diamonds are For... the Web

January 7, 2007

If you are interested in how a dotcom company made it through the bubble and emerged as a leading diamond retailer -- one of the top three in fact, check out When Buying a Diamond Starts With a Mouse by Gary Rivlin of the New York Times. The story focuses on Blue Nile and the online diamond behemoth says nearly every day, the company sells a ring costing $20,000 to $40,000. Last month alone, more than a dozen people bought diamonds that were so expensive — $50,000 or more — that Blue Nile delivered them in armored trucks with armed guards. The article didn’t mention Amazon.com who is also looking at becoming a major force in the jewelry business.

VoIP Changes the Lives of Disabled Veterans

January 5, 2007

Many people know how VoIP has changed lives and how it has allowed communications to take place among people who previously could not afford to communicate. Voice over IP is obviously disruptive but at the same time it has changed the world in many ways. We know about cost savings and how service provider business models have evolved over the years but we have not seen enough media attention on how VoIP is changing lives by enabling people who could not previously be employed to finally get jobs.   There are hundreds of thousands of disabled veterans in the world and in these distinguished American citizens are often unable to contribute to the workforce because they aren’t able to commute to a job.   In May of last year I wrote about how call centers are changing lives and specifically about the excellent work Ken Smith is doing as Program Manager at the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH).   Here is a refresher from the above article:   In November of 2005, the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation or MOPHSF started its first class of 15 disabled, combat wounded veterans in an online call center training program called Veterans Business Training Center or VBTC.

This training was 15-weeks, 600-hours long and focused on the Five9 dialing platform. As it turns out, Five9 gave this agency very favorable rates for their service and they should be commended for doing so.

The foundation allowed the trainees to use this platform to call prospect donors on behalf of the foundation to solicit contributions in the state of Virginia.



Channels

January 4, 2007

One of the fastest growing areas of TMCnet is the channels program which are micro-communities of interest. These channels focus on so many topics I can’t list them all but a few of the more recent ones are here for your perusal. The span virtually every area of communications and they are to me the future of the internet. Why?

Call Recording

January 3, 2007

I recently noticed the new VoIP call recording channel on TMCnet and thought it was worth checking out as VoIP call recording is becoming a fast growing area? Why? Well call centers need to record as many calls as feasible to protect themselves and also to ensure they comply with myriad regulations.   In addition – and speaking of myriad regulations – Sox regulations are quite onerous and public and private companies need to consider recording all calls to comply with various state and federal laws.   This channel will be a good resource for call recording in the world of IP communications and as I perused it just now I learned In-Stat says 7.9% of US households use a VoIP service. Pretty amazing.

Prediction: $100 Laptop to Create Billionaire

January 3, 2007

TMCnet Redesign

January 3, 2007

Today is a pretty big day for me personally. As you know, TMCnet is the world’s leading site for communications and technology information, community building, etc. In fact this past December 2006 saw our traffic reach just under 2 million unique visitors. Our previous record was just over one million.   This is a number unheard of in the competitive space in which we play and we are proud of this fact.   So while our site is not only successful it continues to shine, we knew it also was a busy site.

Sir Terry Matthews

January 3, 2007

Terry Matthews is a living legend in communications and I suppose the only person I will get to meet with a “Sir” in front of their name. For years many people have told me I must meet Terry and for one reason or another we just never connected. Over the years Terry has started 66 companies and only 3 have been unsuccessful meaning they were subsequently rolled back into other companies in the “Matthews family.”.   We often hear of serial entrepreneurs but what separates Terry from virtually all others is his staggering success rate. He not only starts companies at a rapid pace he starts companies that succeed.

Microsoft to Trump Ferrari Laptopgate

January 3, 2007

With all this talk of net neutrality and AT&T’s recent concessions is it possible a much greater net neutrality problem will come not from Texas based AT&T but Redmond’s Microsoft. According to Scott Cleland and the Wall Street Journal, there is huge potential for web discrimination against small companies when using Microsoft’s Vista operating system.   You see the browser has software to spot phishers and the system does not classify over 20 million legitimate small businesses as “phish free” so they have deployed a guilty until proven innocent model.   In my view this is not an intentional way to stop small companies from being successful as this blog entry suggests.   Still the effects of this filter could be disastrous to small business and I suppose Microsoft will be forced to deal with this problem in some way soon before this becomes a media fiasco rivaling Ferrari laptopgate.

The AT&T/BellSouth/FCC Soap Opera

January 2, 2007

The AT&T BellSouth merger has gained FCC approval after AT&T decided to make some concessions and many are hailing this as a win for net neutrality. Below are some of the recent articles – a massive amount for a telecom merger --  I found on TMCnet regarding this soap opera of a merger:     Most of the articles have a positive spin but at least one critic of this merger is Dave Burstein at DSL Prime who thinks AT&T's net neutrality concession has no meaning. Why?   According to Dave this seemingly innocuous later sentence -- following the 2-year net neutrality pledge -- effectively makes it almost meaningless.   “This commitment also does not apply to AT&T/BellSouth's Internet Protocol television (IPTV) service.” AT&T has always intended to give paying customers priority by routing them over the “IPTV” part of their network, with Alcatel routers and Microsoft software designed for QOS.   Basically AT&T says it won't favor one type of traffic on its network over another -- the essence of net neutrality, it then adds this statement that negates their concession.   Many fear service providers will favor some services over others and also restrict competition with pricing which makes it prohibitive to launch a new service that in any way competes with a service provider offering.   After all, would YouTube have stood a chance if they had the service providers stacking the deck against them from the beginning?

Bring a Map

December 29, 2006

I'd like to start this blog entry off by saying Happy New Year and wishing all my readers a tremendous 2007. I hope you are healthy and happy and that your family and all loved ones are as well. Having said that, I cover lots of topics on my blog and many times I focus on telecom and sometimes I get to cover weird stories that are hard to believe   Other times I tie a story into a trade show like the Internet Telephony Conference & Expo (ITEXPO) taking place in 24 days -- January 23-26 at the Ft. Lauderdale Convention Center.   Many times when I write about the show I like to have a hook.
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