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Rich Tehrani
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Technology

Entertainment Wars

April 11, 2007

Movie review site Fandango was snapped up today by cable company Comcast with the ultimate goal for Comcast being increased web traffic and support for a new site Fancast.com devoted to allowing consumers to watch on demand content on a variety of devices.   Comcast is the nation’s largest cable company and Fandango is one of the largest movie sites around. There is a natural synergy between Fandango’s base of movie enthusiasts and Comcast’s goals to allow users to watch on demand content across a variety of devices.   The question worth asking is what other acquisition ideas have been created as a result of this one. Will other cable companies, AT&T and Verizon be looking for movie content sites as well? Does everyone who distributes content now need a TV Guide like audience to market to?   Fandango has a community of interest and Comcast will now be able to tap into this community to sell things – beyond its geographic boundary if it so chooses.   It seems companies are waking up to the concept of online communities and their inherent value.

Scala-700

April 11, 2007

Testing the Scala-700 Skype Bluetooth Headset



Behind my desk sits a mountain of boxes containing videophones, wireless headsets and unimaginable gadgets for me to look at, evaluate and consider writing about. My day job is running the largest communications & technology media company in the world with four print magazines with over 600,000 readers a month, three trade shows with over 15,000 attendees in total a year and a website – TMCnet, attracting about two million people a month. My night job is to share my thoughts on the industry… Where things stand today and where they are headed.   As TMC has grown I miss the days when I had more time to devote to sharing my thoughts. So yesterday I decided to delve into the pile and start a review of the Cardo Scala-700 headset which the company bills as the world’s only voice-controlled wireless headset for Skype and high quality cell phone communication.   About a year ago I mentioned seeing an earlier Cardo System’s bluetooth, Skype-enabled headset for the first time.

Skype for Mac Improved

April 11, 2007

Skype for Mac has a new beta version 2.6 available here and it’s brimming with new features. In addition you can expect improved sound quality and software stability according to the company. There is a nifty new call transfer feature allowing you to send a call to someone else. This is something you had to use an office PBX for and this is an unexpected bonus for Mac users.   The concept of having software come out for the Mac first used to be something we saw in the desktop publishing world all the time in the late eighties and early nineties.

Vanu

April 11, 2007

Software defined radio (SDR) systems are somewhat of a holy grail in technology as they use software to shift frequencies and modulation schemes while utilizing multipurpose underlying hardware. In a perfect world you could use software defined radio technology to receive cellular calls, WiFi, bluetooth, GPS, AM/FM, Sirius, XM, HDTV, etc.   Imagine if your smartphone used all the communications modes above with need for just a single processor – wouldn’t that just be amazing? Of course this will likely be possible some day but for now there are hardware components which handle each of the above functions.

MobileCierge

April 10, 2007

At some point the secretary became the executive assistant and then a strange thing happened – there seemed to be less of these assistants. It seems executives started doing more and more of their own “secretarial work” such as scheduling meetings, making travel reservations, etc.   But let’s face it… Work is not getting easier for many of us as we all struggle to catch up with e-mail and assignments on nights and weekends. The internet has created an environment where those who choose to work 24x7 finally can. Even those who don’t want to sometimes work around the clock.

Nice Systems

April 10, 2007

Stop IMing Me

April 10, 2007

Finding the Holy Grail of Unified Communications   We all have our peculiar ways of working and mine is e-mail centric. It is precisely this love of e-mail that enables me to really find a product like SpinmyVmail useful as it converts my voicemail to e-mail.   I am signed up for an IM client or two but I don’t use them that often. I do find them useful when I need to get a quick answer or as a means to schedule a quick conference call.   But IM is a pain for me and I wonder if I am alone.   The reason I don’t like it is the fact that what other people want is not always my highest priority at the moment. Sometimes I would like to respond to a request at night, on a weekend or on a plane.   IM does not allow me to easily accomplish the above.

Blogging and Human Rights

April 9, 2007

I was reading a wonderful AP story on human rights in the middle east and how bloggers are potentially transforming countries from the inside out. The problem of course is some middle eastern countries are jailing bloggers and blocking their blogs form being accessed in their county.   Reporters Without Borders has five Mideast countries -- Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Syria -- on its list of the globe's 13 worst Internet freedom enemies that block web sites and detain bloggers. Most of us are likely not surprised by the strong middle east showing in this statistic.

According to the article, governments defend their Web regulations, saying they are protecting citizens from "immoral" and "defamatory" content. But rights groups and bloggers say officials are really trying to retain their media control.

"Five years ago, authorities didn't care about bloggers because the Internet's reach was less," said Julien Pain, head of Reporters Without Borders' Internet Freedom Desk. "Now, what is most interesting is the Weblogs in the local languages.



The FMC Border Architecture

April 9, 2007

In 1999 I had an interesting discussion at a Lucent Technologies luncheon with Arun Netravali who then headed up Bell Labs for Lucent Technology. Netravali spoke of the future of communications being an all encompassing communications skin which would have all sorts of devices connected to it.   The idea made sense and wasn’t such a logical leap but at the time it was something that wasn’t really happening. Networks did not interoperate so well with one another. Arun predicted this would happen at around 2025 or so.   Although the concept seemed a bit far off, I decided to write about it in the January and February 2000 issues of Communications Solutions Magazine.   Here we are in 2007 and it seems like to concept of a communications skin is farther away and closer than it ever has been before.

Dialogic Does Video

April 9, 2007

When it comes to the world of communications, the development world used to revolve around Dialogic. Ten years ago you virtually had to buy a DSP resource board from this company or one of its smaller competitors if you wanted to develop an application such as unified messaging, voicemail, IVR, speech, recognition, ACD or just anything else.   In fact for a number of years VoIP gateways were sold almost exclusively based on DSP resource boards. Larger telecom equipment providers would repackage systems with these boards through an integrator and claim the resulting gateways as their own.   I have taken many plant tours at industrial computer companies where I had to promise not to disclose the logos I saw throughout the plant. These were typically gateways under construction with boards from NMS or Dialogic.   In the late nineties while Dialogic was enjoying a nice time atop the enabling technology perch, the company received an offer from Intel it just couldn’t refuse.
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