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Plantronics Calisto Pro Series Review

June 4, 2008



I have had a few months to use the Plantronics Calisto Pro Series wireless telephone and bluetooth headset and I remain tremendously impressed by this solution which I say is perfect for the small business who wants maximum flexibility with excellent call quality. As a side benefit you get a phone which looks pretty slick.... More like a cell phone than home phone.

In addition to the typical phone features you expect like Caller-ID, etc. it can also download Microsoft Outlook contacts and has a 300 foot range thanks to DECT 6.0 technology.



Mobile Virtual Worlds Emerge

June 4, 2008

There are so many communications companies pushing products and services revolving around virtual worlds, one wonders if we are about to see a new subset of communications break out and achieve mass appeal like VoIP, the iPhone or Blackberry. Do you think we could see a time when we all have avatars -- or even multiple avatars used when communicating with different people?

Think about it... A work avatar in a suit, a casually dressed avatar for hanging out with your friends and yet another more "elegantly dressed" avatar for communicating with members of the opposite sex.

I recently wrote that Nortel, Dialogic and NMS are in this space but I forgot to mention that IBM too is deploying a virtual world communications system for US intelligence agencies. (Credit goes to Tony Rybczynski for reminding me yesterday of this).

Nortel recently espoused how we will one day use avatars on our mobile phones and it seems they were right on -- at least in theory.





Why Microsoft Needs to Worry About Firefox

June 3, 2008

Mozilla's Firefox is on schedule to break 20% share next month and this is very bad news for Microsoft. If we are to play out what the next 5-10 years will look like in the world of technology, one of the knowns is that SaaS will become a bigger market and as such less companies will care about the OS and the applications on local machines.

Knowing what we know now, we can expect most new computers to have Intel and AMD chips but from there, the OS is becoming less important. Soon enough we could see machines with no operating system per se but just a browser. This is a revisit on the web-only devices made popular for a short time during the dotcom boom.

As this happens, Microsoft needs to be worried about which browser customers get comfortable with.



Headed to Telx CBX 2008

June 3, 2008

Later this week I will be a video reporter at the Telx CBX (customer business exchange) event in New York. I always like the CBX events and am looking forward to meeting with the companies in the carrier hotel space (many lease space in the Telx interconnection facilities throughout the US) who come to network and exchange ideas and do business with one another.

I reached out to Telx to get a quick quote on why you should be at the show and Tesh Durvasula, Chief Marketing Officer of Telx had this to say,"With over 400 NANOG attendees at the Marriott and by moving CBX to Thursday to accommodate those traveling in for ITW and GTM in Washington which ends on Wednesday, our theme 'all roads lead to the CBX' is the final networking event of a week filled with major international meetings featuring ISPs, Carriers, Service Providers and more."

Here are some more notes on the  event from the CBX website:

This year's event is shaping up to be the biggest in Telx history. 2007 was a year of tremendous growth and change at Telx as we integrated various acquisitions that included 10 Meet Me Room Facilities from Digital Realty Trust and NYC Connect, the Meet Me Room at 111 8th Avenue.

2008 offers to an aggressive start as we integrate our latest acquisition, 21,000 of Colocation Space in Dallas at 8435 Stemmons Freeway. Our growth doesn’t stop at acquisitions though, we were recently announced as the first company to Host a NANOG in New York City.

Attendees will have the unprecedented opportunity to network with over 1,000 industry decision makers in one of New York's most spectacular boroughs.

See you there this Thursday, June 5th, 2008.











Vocaltec Sells Patents to Karo Millennium

May 29, 2008

In a way, I must thank VocalTec because it was companies like them that helped me realize how IP would revolutionize communications and further help me decide to launch a magazine dedicated to the market in 1997. VocalTec was one of the first to have a column in Internet Telephony Magazine and I will never forget my many interactions with the company over the years.

So it is with mixed emotions I witness the fact that the company is selling some of its VoIP patents to Karo Millennium J.P., L.L.C. It should go without saying that these patents will likely be used to get others in the industry to pay a "tax" for using VoIP and this is likely bad news for many in the market.

On the flipside, you cannot fault VocalTec for selling 11 patents -- or half its portfolio for $12.5 million. Why?



SIP Forum Growth

May 28, 2008

The SIP Forum seems to be making some nice progress in attracting a broad swath of companies to its organization.

In case you aren't aware, The SIP Forum is a non-profit IP communications industry association that engages in numerous activities that advance and promote SIP technology, such as the development of industry recommendations, the SIPit interoperability and testing events, special interoperability workshops, and general promotion of SIP in the industry.

One of the Forum's recent technical activities is the development of the SIPconnect Technical Recommendation -- a standards-based recommendation that provides detailed guidelines for direct IP peering and interoperability between IP PBXs and VoIP service provider networks, and the SIPconnect Compliant Certification Program through which eligible companies can gain SIPconnect validation and the right to license the use of the SIP Forum's 'SIPconnect Compliant' certification mark.

What sort of progress are they making you ask? Well, they have recently told the world they are experianceing 100% 100% growth compared to the last quarter of 2007. The organization now has
46 Full Member companies and more than 5,000 individual members from around the world.

Why do people join the forum? Well Ken Kuenzel, Founder and CTO, Covergence, Inc. says his company joined the SIP Forum because of its efforts to build on existing IETF standards to define a standards-based approach that will enable seamless IP peering between IP PBXs and VoIP service providers.

Eric Swift, Senior Director of the Office Communications Group at Microsoft Corporation said We at Microsoft have long embraced SIP as an important standard and foundation for interoperability...










Google To Explain Search Rankings

May 24, 2008

Quite simply, ranking on search engines is crucial for so many businesses and a even slight change in the way search engines rank results can cripple a business. Having said that, it seems Google is one of the more active search engines in terms of constantly changing algorithms.

Since the search engine is so popular, it is also one of those search engines people obsess about and I have been involved in more and more conversations lately where people have mentioned how a slight change in Google Rank can wreak havoc on a company's web traffic. In fact, even Yahoo! and Microsoft, two of the company's biggest competitors rely on Google for massive amounts of traffic.

For all the talk of Microsoft being a big, bad company and controlling the world, the simple fact is a simple algorithm sneeze by Google can wipe out legions of companies in a moment. Some have even concluded that Google is more proprietary than Microsoft.

Microsoft has erased many competitors over the years but this has usually been done by giving something away for free or at a lower price or developing something better than the competition.

But in Google's case, when they do change algorithms and subsequently shift a company's search rank, the company blames it on an algorithmic change designed to serve users better.







Camera Van Exposed

May 21, 2008





Many of us have seen the street level view of Google Maps and other mapping software company services and wondered just what sort of van is taking the pictures. After all, the van does not have a big sign on the side saying hey -- smile, you are on candid camera.

Generally the vans traveling the country taking videos and photos of you are in disguise. Most people in fact have never seen one of them in action.

So imagine my surprise as traffic slowed to 15 MPH in a speed zone which is usually double this amount. I was calculating how I could get around the van and even contemplated passing over the double-yellow line.







Roku: The Apple of TV?

May 21, 2008



Without a doubt, the new Netflix Player by Roku set top box will become a serious contender for the title "iPod of the world of television." I haven't seen this device yet but based on what I have read on Tom Keating's blog and on the New York Times, it is a killer offering.

Here are the details... A $100 set top box, a sub $10/month subscription and a web-based interface which helps you narrow down movie selections from a total of 10,000 Netflix offerings which are ultimately made by remote control.

At these price points some could be tempted to give up cable TV service altogether and if the box gains traction, it can become the TV delivery mechanism of the future -- worldwide.

I am not naive enough to think Roku will easily take over the world as Apple, Microsoft, the cable companies and phone companies will be looking to do everything short of hiring hitmen (is hitpersons more PC?).

Expect the box to eventually support YouTube, streaming TV and perhaps newer movies.

Really, everyone should be gunning for Roku except for content providers (including Yahoo! and Google) and chip manufacturers who can benefit from lower cost distribution and the sale of product to this consumer electronics company.

It is not hard to see Roku becoming a telephony provider in the future by upgrading these boxes with ATA functionality.

Expect this company to be included in net neutrality discussions of the future and if they aren't purchased in six months I will be very surprised. If Vonage had the finances or access to capital -- their brand would be a huge help in getting this box in millions of homes as fast as possible. They should consider a merger.

Then there is Google who could get broader YouTube penetration.

















CBS Picks up CNET

May 18, 2008

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