Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
| VoIP & Gadgets blog - Latest news in VoIP & gadgets, wireless, mobile phones, reviews, & opinions

March 2005

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Caller-ID Spoofing

March 31, 2005

A TMC team member recently received a complaint from someone claiming we dialed his number which is on the national Do-Not-Call (DNC) List. TMC has very strict guidelines regarding following DNC laws. Heck, our Customer Interaction Solutions Magazine has covered DNC laws and regulations more than any other magazine. So how ironic would it be if TMC was indeed at fault for violating the DNC laws?

I wasn't worried. I knew we weren't in violation since I was the one that helped implement our DNC policies and procedures.

VoIP + Content = Revenue Generating Possibilities

March 31, 2005

I received a press release from Viseon titled "New VisiFone with Multimedia Capabilities and New Revenue Sources for VoIP Carrier Partners" which discusses a VoIP phone with a large 10.4" color TFT/LCD screen including full motion video, and the ability for "content partners" to push personalized content and information such as news, weather, sports and stock quotes to these VoIP phones.

I couldn't help but flash back to Communications Solutions Expo or maybe it was CTI Expo where Pingtel was singing that same mantra with their Java-based xpressa phones. The media was enamored with the xpressa phone saying it could spark many revenue opportunities for service providers. Now if I recall, several years ago at this tradeshow, Pingtel demoed their phones with a Pizza Hut coupon "pushed out" to the phone's display showing the possibilities for selling ad space. So having content delivered to a phone is nothing new, but as many of us know, Pingtel's xpressa phone did not spark new revenue models for phones.

MPEG Nation's Broadband Streaming Service

March 31, 2005

MPEG NATION emailed me about their new service that allows anyone to stream video via the web instantly. Ironically, I just talked about streaming video yesterday in my Microsoft Launches MSN Video Downloads blog and I mentioned a pseudo-competitor of theirs - Orb Networks. Anyway, MPEG NATION enables individuals and companies to inexpensively begin streaming video across a high-performance, reliable content delivery network without having to spend hours encoding and transcoding formats, negotiating rates, or worrying about ongoing storage and bandwidth costs. MPEG NATION claims to be the first-ever "one-price-fits-all solution" for placing video in blogs, auctions, personal and corporate websites.

Here's the release:
MPEG NATION Launches Powerful Broadband Streaming Video Service for the Masses

Stream your video world-wide to millions of people for less than $1 per month!

CHICAGO, March 30 -- MPEG NATION, a division of Digital Silo, Inc., a global provider of integrated content delivery and streaming media services, today announced a new, first ever, low-cost service to encode and stream consumer and commercial video content via its worldwide content delivery network, within minutes, via a simple upload.

MPEG NATION enables individuals and companies to inexpensively begin streaming video across a high-performance, reliable content delivery network without having to spend hours encoding and transcoding formats, negotiating rates, or worrying about ongoing storage and bandwidth costs.

Telstra Launches Global VoIP Solution

March 31, 2005

Today Telstra launched a global, MPLS-based VoIP solution that is available in 52 countries. No specific PBX or handset equipment is required to access this service.

Here's the release:

New York, NY - March 31, 2005 - Telstra Incorporated, a leading global provider of advanced communications services to multinational corporations, announced today the availability of T-VoIP, its global VoIP offering. T-VoIP provides multinational corporations with a quality solution to control, manage and reduce global telecommunications costs.

How do you fix duct-tape?

March 31, 2005

A friend of mine, Evan, forwarded me a story link titled "1 Killed in Blast at S.C. Duct-Tape Plant" that by itself isn't all that interesting. However, Evan pondered an interesting point about this explosion in a duct-tape plant. That is, he pondered, "Hmmm. Mystery of the ages: if duct tape fixes everything, how do they fix duct tape?

Microsoft Launches MSN Video Downloads

March 30, 2005

While MSN Video Downloads - both paid and free content - is a cool idea, I still prefer to record shows I like on my Windows Media Center 2005 PC and then stream it using Orb Networks or just copy the media file to one of these portable media devices, such as the Creative Labs Zen Portable Media Center depicted below. But for those that don't have a MCE 2005 PC, downloading TV programs and paying for it (ala iTunes) might be a good solution for you.

If MSN Video Downloads starts offering "streaming" live TV programming, then that might be a killer app - especially if you're in a WiFi hotspot with no TV in sight and you want to watch the Duke Blue Devils and Mike Krzyzewski lose yet another NCAA game and not living up to the Cameron Crazies high expectations.Well, at least I would enjoy watching Duke lose over a streaming WiFi connection! Especially if it's another loss to UCONN in the NCAA tournament with the Blue Devils considered the heavy favorite!

It looks like the news about MSN Video Downloads being launched today has brought down the MSN Video Downloads website.

Talisma Acquires

March 30, 2005

Time for some important CRM news. Talisma, a provider of multi-channel CRM solutions, today announced the acquisition of, a market-leading provider of hosted and on-site Knowledge Management (KM) software for Customer Support and Self-service. Talisma will incorporate's technology, intellectual property, and customer base into its operations, fueling its strategy of organic and acquisition-based growth. The acquisition is the culmination of over eighteen months of technology, product, and business collaboration between the two companies and has already resulted in several product and service offerings.

Alpha Telecom Plug-and-Play VoIP Gateways

March 30, 2005

Today, Alpha Telecom launched "plug and play" VoIP gateways that let enterprises migrate to IP Telephony using their existing Centrex/Digital PBXs and speaker phones.

Enterprises wanting to take advantage of the communications cost savings of IP telephony without changing out their Centrex systems or Nortel or Lucent digital PBXs and expensive digital desktop phones now have a solution - a cost-effective, high-performance, plug-and-play VoIP gateway from Alpha Telecom, Inc. USA that saves most of the capital equipment cost and all of the ancillary retraining expense and time associated with a new network infrastructure. Already chosen by leading North American service providers, Alpha Telecom's broad range of next-generation, carrier-class managed customer-premises equipment (CPE) supports most PBX and managed IP-Centrex platforms.

Alpha Telecom's Arion series VoIP gateways migrate an enterprise's legacy telephones into the service provider's system, enabling the carrier to offer Centrex features over its IP backbone and to seamlessly provision, configure and manage VoIP service without user intervention; the service provider merely ships the Arion units to the customer for plug-and-play attachment to individual phones by the enterprise's IT department or by the users themselves.The IT department can also deploy an Alpha Telecom element management system (EMS) for provisioning, mass configuration, troubleshooting and mass upgrades.This EMS does not require individual user involvement, nor does it require them to load software on a PC.

"With our VoIP gateways, an enterprise can protect their capital investment by extending the life of their legacy system on a per-user or per-workgroup basis," said Alpha Telecom President Sid Sung."Of course, they could do a 'forklift' change to a brand new state-of-the-art PBX that's already VoIP capable, but that entails changing all their handsets - which can cost up to $600 each - reprogramming everything, and then training everyone on the new system because all the features are different."

An added benefit of the Arion series gateways is that organizations can enjoy the advantages of IP telephony with their existing digital speaker phones, where the quality is far superior to that of a dedicated VoIP speaker phone.

Tussa Launches Residential VoIP using Hotsip's SIP-based M2CE

March 30, 2005

Hotsip AB (, a leading SIP Application Server provider with off-the-shelf applications for large scale SIP enabled broadband and 3G/IMS networks, announced today that it has supplied its M2CE product to Tussa, a Norwegian Internet Service Provider, as a part of a residential IP Telephony solution.

"Hotsip has further strengthened its position in the Nordic market and we are excited to have our first commercial launch in Norway. I am convinced that we will see many smaller ISPs launching IP Telephony services during this year. We are very excited about the Tussa's commercial launch and the next projects to follow" says Kenneth Gustafsson, CEO of Hotsip.

With Hotsip's SIP-based platform, Tussa's subscribers gets a standard telephone number which they can use to make and receive calls to and from any fixed or mobile phone using an analogue telephone with analogue telephone adapter. The subscribers will not only benefit from complementary telephony services like call forward, call screening, call line identification, caller privacy etc, but also from some value added telephony services such as forking and intelligent routing of calls.

Triple Play Interop

March 30, 2005

Some news to share involving a test bed that included WiFi, VoIP, VoIP over WiFi, and "triple play"- all important technologies in the VoIP space. Azimuth W-Series was a key component in running performance tests on Wi-Fi handsets and Wi-Fi infrastructure during a what they termed a "first of a kind" interoperability demonstration performed last week at the UNH-IOL. This test is significant because the "triple play" technologies of voice, video and data have rarely, if ever, been combined in an open test and demonstration network simulating how they would actually be deployed in a large corporate LAN serving several offices on a distributed campus.

Here's the news:

Azimuth Systems Inc., innovators in scalable, automated wireless network test systems, today announced that in a "first of a kind" interoperability demonstration performed last week at the renowned UNH-IOL, the Azimuth W-Series was front and center in running performance tests on Wi-Fi handsets and Wi-Fi infrastructure.

rapidBox vs. ActionTec Internet Phone Wizard

March 29, 2005

Yesterday I posted my review of the ActionTec Internet Phone Wizard with Skype. Ironically, four days earlier I received an email tip about a very similar device called rapidBox from RapidVoIP, which retails for $49.99 and is ~$20 cheaper than the ActionTec device.

I have not tested the rapidBox, but like the ActionTec device, it supports Skype and can ring analog phones. In addition, according to its specs, unlike the ActionTec, it has an 3 RJ11 ports (ActionTec has 2 RJ11 ports), so you can actually have 2 persons on the same line talking to the caller. Of course you could just use a phone splitter.

Vonage Newsletter

March 29, 2005

Just the other day I received a Vonage newsletter in the mail. In the newsletter it discusses the new WiFi phone, how our troops are using Vonage to call home, a letter from the CEO, their 2005 advertising campaign, including TV commercials (woo woot woo woot woo) and last but certainly not least, it discusses Vonage's 911 service and how you must activate it. Made me wonder if the Texas lawsuit against Vonage caused Vonage to make a "special" newsletter just so they could mail it to all their customers explaining you must activate the 911 service. I'm sure a lawyer probably had a hand in telling Vonage it was a good idea to proactively notify their customers about 911 to help negate claims in the lawsuit that Vonage is "not doing enough to proactively warn its customers about the limitations in Vonage's 911 service", i.e.

Juniper Networks Acquires Kagoor Networks

March 29, 2005

Juniper Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Kagoor Networks in a transaction valued at $67.5 million in cash, plus options and certain other incentives and equity compensation. This move is an additional step in Juniper Networks' strategy to bring secure and assured networking to customers worldwide through rich traffic processing. The combination of Juniper Networks' best-in-class secure and assured networking solutions and Kagoor's session border control (SBC) technology, delivers a powerful solution for network operators looking to cost-effectively deploy quality Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and other rich media services. Session border control technology is also one of the key building blocks required for infranets.

Headquartered in San Mateo, California, with a research and development (R&D) center in Herzelia, Israel, Kagoor brings to Juniper Networks a highly skilled engineering team with deep voice expertise.

HotRecorder's Free VoIP Call Recording

March 29, 2005

Yesterday, I received this comment in my VoIP Blog: under my ActionTec Internet Phone Wizard w/ Skype review

Hey guys... I have just tried this new recording tool that works with all my VoIP softwares! It is really awesome! You are able to record your conversations, archive them, and send for free...

Cable broadband an Information Service?

March 29, 2005

I've discussed the FCC's ruling on "naked DSL" a couple of times recently. The FCC essentially has removed state restrictions forcing DSL providers to offer "naked" DSL and taken jurisdiction upon itself. Naked DSL basically is unbundling phone service from DSL broadband service. So with the FCC's recent ruling, if you want to get DSL you have to purchase phone service - even if you plan to use Vonage or another VoIP service provider over the DSL connection - no if's and's or but's about it!

On a related note, the cable companies are trying to be classified as an "information service" and not a "telecommunications service" so they are not bound by the telecom rules which require them to lease their cable lines to competitors so they can offer cable broadband.

Skype + Blog = Next Bill O'Reilly?

March 28, 2005

So you wanna be a journalist eh? Well, these days, just start a blog and you're good to go! Unless of course you're Apple and you don't classify bloggers as journalists. (See Apple suit against blogger) In any case, the good bloggers tend to be great writers and researchers - traits of any good journalist, but do they have the verbal interviewing skills of a no-nonsense, go-getter journalist hound?

RFID to Identify "Hit and Run" Perpetrators?

March 28, 2005

Now here's a scary thought. This website: "" proposes the use of RFID chips that would be left at the scene of "hit and run" accidents. According to their email to me, these unique identifiers would then act as a sort of "automotive DNA," providing the registration information for that particular vehicle.

I perused their website very quickly (could use a web designer IMO) and it appears this involves embedding RFIDs in the paint, bumpers, headlamps, etc. Then when you get into an accident, the RFIDs are dislodged and left at the scene which can be used to determine the car's position at the time of the accident to determine fault, as well as whose car it is in the event of a "hit and run".

I'm sure the ACLU will be all over this...

ADSL2+ fills the need for speed!

March 28, 2005

ADSL2+ fills the need for speed indeed! I've written about ADSL2+ in context of Triple Play a few times, including this Triple Play article. Well, I came across an excellent article discussing how ADSL2+ is changing the high-speed broadband in Australia.

Mr Clark is switching to a 12 Mbps ADSL2 link from Adelaide internet service
provider Internode - the country's first provider to offer the service. The link
will allow him to download QuickTime digital special effects scenes from his
office to home eight times faster than Telstra's fastest ADSL service.

ActionTec Internet Phone Wizard with Skype Review

March 28, 2005

Skype Architecture" />

ActionTec with Skype Architecture

Internet Phone Wizard With Skype

Price: List: $69.99, I've seen it online for $56.61

So you're a Skyper but you hate being chained to a headset connected to your PC? Well, have no fear, ActionTec's Internet Phone Wizard with Skype to the rescue! Essentially, the ActionTec Internet Phone Wizard is an ATA (analog telephony adaptor) that lets you connect your corded or better yet, cordless analog phone to the unit to make and receive Skype calls. It also features a Line port for connecting an analog line giving you dual-line (VoIP & PSTN) capability on the same phone.

iPod FM Transmitter

March 24, 2005

I was just telling my coworker this morning how my iPod FM transmitter apparently stopped working. I can barely hear the music while dialed to 87.7FM. There was a strong station on 87.9FM, but I tried getting it to work over a 32 mile trip and it was 99% static with barely audible music in the background. I actually only used this iPod FM transmitter once, and was going to write a review on it, but I must have forgotten, so it sat in my winter hibernating Viper for the past 8 months.

While cleaning the car I realized I had forgotten about this little gadget, so I took it to work with me in my 3000GT.

Ericsson and Siemens Interoperate Push-to-Talk Handsets

March 24, 2005

Ericsson and Siemens Communications have successfully completed interoperability tests between Siemens push-to-talk handsets and Ericsson infrastructure (IMS system including push-to-talk server). This major step will significantly expand the customer base for operators planning to offer standards-based push-to-talk and will give consumers a simple and seamless push-to-talk experience. In addition, it shows the two global mobile communications suppliers' commitments to open standards.

Now we just need Nextel to get on board the interoperability train and then we can have a three-fold increase in the number of "push-to-talkers" that can not only interoperate & communicate, but this will probably result in a three-fold increase in how much these "push-to-talkers" irritate the hell out of me! See my Voiceglo's Nextel-like push to talk VoIP feature blog entry for details on why Push-to-Talkers irritate me.

DNA Backup Surprises Scientists

March 23, 2005

Scientists have apparently found a "backup" to our DNA. According to the journal Nature, one plant was able to revert to genetic code that doesn't contain a genetic mutation that its parents had, (using a previously unknown "backup" copy method), and it reverted to the genetic code of its grandparents. The authors of the paper theorize that the backup may reside in molecule RNA somewhere and that stress may trigger the genetic reversion. If this turns out to be true in humans as well, not only will we have to rewrite the genetic textbooks, but this could lead to cure of diseases caused by genetic malformities.

According to the article, the finding challenges textbook rules of inheritance, which state that children simply receive combinations of the genes carried by their parents.

Skype v1.2 Released

March 23, 2005

Skype, the Global Internet Telephony Company, today launched Skype for Windows version 1.2 (v 1.2) with enhanced user benefits including a centralized Contacts list, which allows users access to their list of contacts from multiple devices from wherever they connect to Skype, and a new 'Getting Started Wizard,' which makes finding friends, importing contacts and making test calls even easier.

Skype is the leading VOIP-category product worldwide, with more than 31 million registered users growing by more than 160,000 new users per day. More than 6 billion minutes of Skype calls have been made by users around the world who have enjoyed the instantly downloadable, easy-to-use software.

"The latest Skype software for Windows builds on previous versions and takes Skype portability, ubiquity and quality to a new standard for modern communications,"; said Niklas Zennstrom, Skype CEO and co-founder.

VoIP over EVDO

March 23, 2005

This guy made a VoIP over EVDO phone call in his car using Vonage. Good stuff! I love this quote: "I got some really strange looks as I held this old fashion POTs line to my ear while parked in a parking lot. People walking by probably thought I was on the strangest cell phone ever."

For his tests, he used the following to make Vonage calls:

- Compaq Presario

- LinkSys RT31P2 VOIP router (included with VOIP server)

- Crossover Ethernet cable (need this if not using a router)

- Old fashion dialtone phone

- Radio Shack power Inverter, power for the router in the car

- EVDO Antenna (External Booster Antenna)
- EVDO TurboCharged PC 5220

He also writes, "It will be interesting to see how cell phone companies handle this technology - especially as cell phones come standard with EVDO.

Personal Air Bag

March 23, 2005

I'm really not sure what to make of this... iVoice has filed for a patent for a personal air bag! (you wear it) Apparently, it detects a sudden change in elevation and angle and then deploys the airbag. Just what 90 year old women weighing 98lbs need - an air bag that saves them the embarassment of saying "I've fallen and I can't get up!" - assuming of course the fast-deploying airbag doesn't propel them into low orbit!

Wish I had a picture or video of this air bag device to share.

Mio136 GPS Navigation

March 22, 2005

As a huge GPS fan, I just had to share this bit of news... I have a portable GPS system already - Destinator1 running on a very old PocketPC whose irreplaceable internal battery is on its last legs (holds about a 2 minute charge). Really annoying when the battery dies and I have to restore from CF backup to get the GPS software re-installed. Usually happens when I don't start my car for a couple of days to charge the iPaq via the cigarette lighter.

There are hacks to take apart the older iPaqs to replace the battery, but I can't be bothered.

8x8 to sell Packet8 in Malls?

March 22, 2005

Texas Attorney General sues Vonage over 911 issue

March 22, 2005

The attorney general of Texas, Greg Abbott is suing Vonage, charging that Vonage does not "clearly disclose the lack of traditional 911 access" nor adequately inform its customers they must first sign up for the free 911 service. This omission violates state law dealing with deceptive trade practices, according to Greg Abbott. The state is asking for civil penalties of more than $20,000 and an injunction requiring a more pronounced disclosure of Vonage's 911 access.

This lawsuit was brought forth as a result of a case in early March when a 17-year-old Houston girl was unable to get through to police after dialing 911 on a Vonage phone after both her parents were shot by intruders.

Vonage responded by pointing out that there are references both on the Internet and material mailed to customers explaining the 911 service's limitations and its the need for its customers to be proactive in configuring it (i.e. entering in your home address via the Vonage web administration)

I configured my Vonage 911 service as soon as it became available, but I can see how the less technically inclined may not be aware that they have to configure it.

James Crowe Comments on Withdrawal of Level 3 VoIP Forbearance Petition

March 21, 2005

According to TMCNet, Level3 has withdrawn its petition to the FCC.

Check out the breaking news:
According to James Q. Crowe, chief executive, "Today, Level 3 withdrew a forbearance petition the company had filed in December 2003 with the Federal Communications Commission seeking to clarify the regulatory status of Voice over IP.

"In the petition, we asked the FCC to reaffirm that legacy interconnection fees called 'access charges' do not apply to a certain class of VoIP traffic. By statute, the agency was required to issue a decision in the matter by March 22, 2005.

"Level 3 has withdrawn the petition in deference to the Commission. Given the appointment of new leadership only three business days before the statutory deadline for ruling on the petition, we determined it was inappropriate to ask the agency to resolve this important issue in the timeframe required by law. However, there remains a pressing need in the industry for clarity in this area, and Level 3 may elect to refile the petition or take other appropriate regulatory actions in the future.

"Our decision to withdraw the petition was made in consultation with industry participants that share our views, including the VON Coalition and CompTel/Ascent.

"Level 3 is committed to offering the industry's broadest suite of wholesale VoIP services, and our decision, which in effect maintains the regulatory status quo, will not have any material financial impact on the company.

Naked DSL

March 21, 2005

CNet has an interesting article on "naked DSL". Basically, there are two camps here - the consumer camp which wants the ability to unbundle DSL from phone service, and then the phone companies/DSL providers which want to force you to pay for phone service in order to get DSL. The FCC is stuck in the middle determining which way to go, evaluating consumer interest and competition against a corporation's "right" to offer products and services it wishes. Of course, the FCC has a say in all telecom matters, so phone companies don't have as many rights as your typical corporation.

I personally cut my landline years ago when I switched to a VoIP service provider, namely Vonage.

Centrex Dead or Alive?

March 21, 2005

Saw an interesting news release from BellSouth on TMCnet. In this release, BellSouth touts the launch of BellSouth Centrex Simultaneous Ring, a service that allows the integration of wireless and wireline calls for business customers.

"As the workforce becomes increasingly mobile, businesses are seeking to establish a seamless presence for customers," said Fred Shaftman, president - BellSouth Business. "Simultaneous Ring meets this need and BellSouth will continue to enhance the Centrex platform, as well as next-generation solutions like voice over IP, to support businesses that desire total voice management through a network-based solution."
According to BellSouth, the new feature simultaneously delivers incoming calls to up to five different phones at a customer's location. One of these numbers can be a cellular phone, allowing each employee with the feature to reduce the risk of missing critical calls from customers, partners or colleagues.

MovableType Aggregation

March 18, 2005

Sprint is on the WiMAX Trail

March 18, 2005

More News for China and WiMAX

March 18, 2005

Sprint PCS Competes Using WiMAX

March 18, 2005

Falling in Love Wirelessly

March 18, 2005

WiMAX: The Metamorphosis

March 18, 2005

Verizon Wireless: A Company After My Own Heart

March 18, 2005

In Which Search Engines are Stock Piled

March 18, 2005

In Which I Write about CRM and Releasing IP

March 18, 2005

iPod Battery Problems? Not So Much.

March 18, 2005

WiMAX Taking Over Japan Like Godzilla

March 18, 2005

Nortel & LG Electronics to Develop WiMAX Products

March 18, 2005

Motorola & WiMAX

March 18, 2005

Holy COW - WiFi on Wheels!

March 18, 2005

Confirmed: FCC Names Kevin Martin as Chairman

March 18, 2005

WiMAX, VoIP and an Exciting Announcement

March 18, 2005

Yahoo 360

March 18, 2005

CallVantage: Only 53,000 Customers

March 18, 2005

Phone+ Mention

March 18, 2005

New Dell Call Center in India

March 18, 2005

AT&T CallVantage Numbers Disappoint

March 17, 2005

If you read my blog, then you know that AT&T has been very guarded about it's AT&T CallVantage customer numbers. Skibare has emailed me several times asking if I knew AT&T's CallVantage's numbers. Since I'm always busy doing something (testing VoIP products, blogging, traveling), I didn't have time to research it myself, but I told Skibare to check out AT&T's SEC filing. I don't think they broke out the VoIP numbers last time.

Cisco VoIP Phone System on eBay

March 17, 2005

It's a Small World After All

March 17, 2005

It's a Small World After All Attraction

I couldn't resist the Disney title to this blog entry, especially since I am going back to Disney World in May. (Although I may skip the "It's a Small World After All" attraction this time even though the ride has been renovated it probably still smells like 20 year old mildew and I have no interest in the theme song getting stuck in my head for the rest of my vacation..)

Anyway, the reason for this blog is to give thanks to James Seng who wrote the very popular Captcha plug-in for MovableType blogs which stops comment spam in blogs. Ironically, James also writes about VoIP and participated in the VoIP Blogger panel that I was also participated in. I was using his popular Captcha before I even knew he had an interest in VoIP and before I knew he blogged about VoIP. Considering the vastness of the internet, the millions of programmers, and the dozens of MovableType plugin programmers...

Subscribe to MovableType Comments

March 16, 2005

Well, I had some visitors to my blog request the ability to "subscribe" to comments so they know if someone responds to a comment that they posted. Or if they are just interested in a thread they can even subscribe to comments on a particular blog entry.

I spent a good portion of yesterday trying to get the EZ Subscribe plugin for MovableType to work - only to find out the plugin is no longer being developed or supported. My background is in programming, but MovableType plugins are in Perl, which is not my forte'. Fortunately, the developer of EZ Subscribe pointed me to another subscription-based plugin for MovableType called MT Notifier.

FCC names Kevin Martin New Chairman

March 16, 2005

Packet8 Virtual Office's New Features

March 15, 2005

New Packet8 features to their Virtual Office VoIP-hosted PBX service include Virtual Extensions, Metered Extensions and Toll Free Local Number Portability (LNP). 

According to Packet8, with the Virtual Extension feature, businesses can customize any number of specific extensions to function as information-only mailboxes for items such as driving directions, special promotional offers and other customer service announcements. While Virtual Extensions are not associated with a physical Virtual Office telephone, they can be forwarded to remote numbers anywhere in the world for 3.9 cents per minute in the U.S. and Canada plus applicable international rates when calling overseas. Virtual Extensions can be reached from the auto attendant, through direct inward dial (DID), and an extension call, and may be added to Virtual Office plans for $9.95 per extension per month plus a one-time activation fee of $19.95.

smart2go Mobile Navigator

March 14, 2005

I love my PocketPC GPS and GPS technology in general, so this news was especially interesting to me. Basically, using smart2go's MMC card and a smartphone or PDA, along with a BlueTooth GPS, you can instantly turn them into a GPS navigation system!

Socket Communications today announced in partnership with gate5 and Tele Atlas, the launch of smart2go Mobile Navigator, an affordable, high performance GPS-driven navigation system for smartphones and PDAs that separates itself from the competition by providing functionality inside and outside of the car.

gate5, Socket and Tele Atlas Announce Partnership to Provide the Most Advanced Mobile Navigation Solution in the U.S.

gate5, Socket Communications (Nasdaq: SCKT) and Tele Atlas today announce a partnership to provide a complete mobile navigation solution to US consumers. The partnership is key to gate5's launch of smart2go Mobile Navigator, an affordable, high performance GPS-driven navigation system for smartphones and PDAs that separates itself from the competition by providing functionality inside and outside of the car. The partnership will also bring useful city content to help consumers choose where they want to go.

"With Socket, gate5 is able to bring to market a GPS-driven navigation system that rivals in-car systems costing thousands more.And, since it's not tied to the vehicle it can be used anywhere, anytime - inside or outside the car," said David Rolf, Managing Director for gate5."We chose Tele Atlas for its outstanding map quality in both the United States and Europe."

smart2go Mobile Navigator is powered by the Socket GPS Receiver with Bluetooth Wireless Technology.

Packet8 and Walmart and Shop at Home Network

March 14, 2005

I knew about Packet8 and Walmart two weeks ago, but was too busy to blog about it. However, I didn't know they are now a featured product on the Shop at Home Network. I can just hear the call-ins now: "This is Mr. Smith from Atlanta, Georgia, and I'd sure like to have one of them fandangled Packet8 videophones. What do I got to do to make this thing-a-mig-jig work in my house?

Orb Networks for Windows XP

March 14, 2005

This morning, Orb Networks announced that all Windows XP users can stream any of the digital media held on their home PC - music, videos, photos, (even live TV with a tuner card) to any device with an Internet connection and a media player.

Orb Networks launched the initial version of its streaming media service for Windows Media Center PCs at CES, already allowed thousands of subscribers to extend their "digital living room" outside the home. I personally use Orb Networks to access my Windows Media Center 2005 PC content and it works great. I used it to stream SmallVille from my home PC to my hotel room when I didn't have time to watch it live.

AT&T CallVantage Slows Down Broadband Throughput

March 14, 2005

Microsoft and Action Engine Corporation

March 14, 2005

Microsoft certainly is strongly pushing their mobile/wireless phone technology. Once they get Microsoft Live Communications Server's (LCS) feature-set to the point where people actually use it, and then they offer the client on mobile phones, things could get interesting. LCS leverages presence, VoIP, and the ability to communicate with PBXs (using Genesys's technology). This news below furthers Microsoft's goal of having a strong presence in the mobile phone arena.

Action Engine and Microsoft Bring Breakthrough Mobile Software to the Enterprise Market


March 14, 2005

Interesting news to report...


Collaboration Drives Interoperable MobileVoIP Convergence Solutions
For Wireless Carriers and MVNOs

CHICAGO and NEW ORLEANS, March 14, 2005 - BridgePort Networks, the leader in MobileVoIP convergence, today announced that Kyocera Wireless Corp. and Boingo Wireless, Inc., have joined its MobileIGNITE Alliance. MobileIGNITE (Mobile Integrated Go-to-Market Network IP Telephony Experience) an alliance of leading technology companies committed to standards-based, interoperability of MobileVoIP convergence solutions for wireless network operators.

With a commitment to interoperability, alliance members will work together to ensure that dual-mode handsets support seamless roaming and in-call handoff of voice calls between mobile and Wi-Fi networks. By enabling network interoperability with a single, mobile phone number and BridgePort Networks' NomadicONE Network Convergence Gateway software, the companies expect to deliver a simplified and vastly improved MobileVoIP user experience.

Blackberry 7290

March 11, 2005

Breaking news from Blackberry & T-Mobile.


The BlackBerry 7290 Includes Bluetooth, Brighter Screen and Improved International Capabilities

The days are getting longer, temperatures are getting warmer and thoughts of getting out of the office are getting stronger. Today, with the introduction of the BlackBerry 7290 Wireless Handheld, T-Mobile USA, Inc. and Research In Motion (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM; TSX: RIM) are making it easier than ever for mobile consumers to get out of the office, balancing work and life, while staying connected.  

United States Court of Appeals Addressed Rural Telephone Carrier Challenges

March 11, 2005

Some very interesting news today courtesy of Today, in two closely related cases, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (DC Circuit) reached contrary results in challenges to two orders of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that address the rules under which one telecommunications carrier must transfer or "port" a subscriber's telephone number to another carrier, the Wireless-to-Wireless Order and the Intermodal Order. (Central Texas Telephone Cooperative, Inc. et al. v FCC, Case No. 03-1405, United States Telecommunications Assc. et al.

Covad VoIP

March 11, 2005

I realize this bit of news is 3 days old, but I've been traveling, so cut me some slack! ; ) This news release claims Covad VoIP on T1 is up to 40% less than competitive offers

Covad Managed Voice and Data Bundle Up to 60% Less than Competitive Offers

San Jose, Calif. (March 8, 2005) - Covad Communications Group, Inc. (OTCBB: COVD), a leading national provider of integrated voice and data communications, today announced Voice-Optimized Access (VOA) technology on T1 and SDSL available to 6 million small businesses in over 900 cities nationwide.

"Covad stands alone with the creation of the only managed, business-class VoIP service that's available nationwide," said David McMorrow, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Covad. "Voice Optimized Access further unlocks the value of our facilities-based network and enables Covad to manage the voice quality over both the 'last mile' and our entire nationwide network."

McMorrow continued, "This strategic development demonstrates Covad's continued commitment to creating solutions that provide small-to-medium businesses with competitively priced, innovative communications services."

Unlike consumer-class VoIP products which require the customer to 'bring their own access' and do not control the quality of the broadband underlying their voice service, Covad's VOA technology manages the quality of both voice and data services simultaneously.

eAgency Wireless CRM Solution

March 11, 2005

Photo License Plate, Tow Car, Get Delinquent Taxes

March 11, 2005

According to CNN, it looks like my home state, Connecticut, is employing technology to snare car propery tax delinquents. City marshals in cash-strapped New Haven are armed with a tool called BootFinder that photographs auto license plates and instantly matches them against a tax scofflaw database. Once they have a match they tow the car away - doesn't matter if it's sitting in your driveway or a Walmart parking lot. I always pay my taxes, but this technology has some scary implications.

What really surprised me from the CNN article I read about this is, "Connecticut is among a handful of states where local governments levy annual fees, typically a few hundred dollars per vehicle, based on the value of residents' automobiles."

You mean to tell me that not all of the U.S.

ZigBee SDIO Card

March 11, 2005

C-guys announced today the industry's first ZigBee SDIO card. The card is designed to deliver wireless device-to-device communications for PDAs and Smart Phones. The company will demo its new card at CeBit to show how a ZigBee device can remotely control systems such as home lighting or security systems.

Here's the news release:



The ZigBee SDIO Card Promises to Deliver Wireless Device-to-Device Communications for PDAs and Smart Phones

Hanover, Germany March 10, 2005 - CeBit C-guys, Inc., a global leader in the design and development of SD and SDIO solutions for home, SOHO and SMB applications, today announced the world's first ZigBee SDIO card.

ZigBee is a set of networking, security and application software protocols based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard - a low-power and low-bandwidth mesh-networking scheme that allows devices to wirelessly communicate with each other without the need of human intervention.

Motorola E399 iTunes phone

March 11, 2005

Both ZDNet and Engadget are reporting that the first iTunes cellphone is going to be announced, possibly tonight at CeBIT. I assume you'll be able to access the iTunes music library and download songs to your cell phone for $0.99. But the real question is will you also be able to copy the song to your iPod or if Apple will restrict the copying of downloaded iTunes music to just the phone device.

Motorola E399 to be the first iTunes phone - Engadget -
Motorola E399 to be the first iTunes phone

UPDATE! Engadget is now reporting that the Motorola E399 iTuned phone launch has been postponed, supposedly in response to a "last-minute message from a wireless carrier or carriers."

Open Source VoIP Debate

March 11, 2005

I thoroughly enjoyed reading George Ou's ZDnet article titled "The great open source VoIP Debate" where he moderated some panelists discussing and debating over open source in the VoIP space. The VoIP open source debate took place at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo a couple of weeks ago in Miami. Partaking in the debate were some VoIP open source "heavyweights" including Mark Spencer creator of Asterisk and CEO of Digium, Bill Rich, CEO of Pingtel; and Alan Hawrylyshen, CTO of Jasomi Networks.

The discussion definitely seemed quite lively and although I am disappointed I was too busy at the show to attend this open source debate, George Ou's article definitely makes it seem like you were there at this conference panel debate. I also missed the opportunity to meet George who I have found to offer some great insights into what's happening in the VoIP space.


March 9, 2005

I'm in the press room at VON and attempted to logon to VON's WiFi network. It asks you for your email address which must be in the VON registration database in order for you to access the show's WiFi network. So I entered in "" (minus the "-nospam part) and it denied me access to the VON network. Damn it, I need my WiFi fix!

Largest SIP Community?

March 9, 2005

Am I missing something? Am I out of the loop here? This release below from TelTel claims that they have the largest SIP user community with a claim of 800,000 members. I've barely heard of this company and they're claiming to have the largest SIP community?

Asterisk Business Edition Launched

March 8, 2005

Press release from Digium, which develops the popular open source Asterisk solution.

Digium Launches The Asterisk Business Edition The First Open Source Telephony System Geared Towards Business Professionals

Digium Inc., the leader in open source telephony, announced Asterisk Business Edition today, a professional-grade version of its acclaimed open-source PBX for the Linux operating system. Asterisk, the world's first open source PBX, offers a strategic, highly cost-effective approach to voice and data transport over TDM, switched, and Ethernet architectures. Asterisk Business Edition provides enterprise environments with a PBX and telephony platform with the tested reliability necessary for critical business applications.

Digium's comprehensive test program ensures Asterisk Business Edition's reliability, performance, and interoperability with key hardware, software, and protocols.

Microsoft Unveils Istanbul

March 7, 2005

Tomorrow, March 8th, Microsoft's Bill Gates is expected to unveil their new instant messaging and communications product, code-named Istanbul which is a much more advanced front end than Windows Messenger, which is the client currently used with LCS.

The unified system is expected to feature improved links to VoIP and Instant Messaging. According to a Microsoft announcement, "will discuss the newest wave of Microsoft Office System real-time collaboration products."

Genesys will power much of the telephony integration (i.e. IP-PBXs) for Instanbul so you can for instance via phone presence in addition to viewing online presence status.

8x8 and Uniden Partner

March 7, 2005

8x8, Inc.(Packet8) and Uniden America Corporation, today introduced a fully integrated, service-ready whole house VoIP phone system. The Packet8-enabled UIP1868 is a 5.8GHz digital expandable corded/cordless phone with built-in VoIP technology. The UIP1868 is expandable with up to ten handsets, deploying VoIP capability to each handset using a single broadband Internet connection. No more daisy-chaining multiple duplexors on the ATA!

Telecom Bill would Ban Free WiFi

March 4, 2005

Wow, just came across this bit of news from the Houston Chronicle.

Texas congressman, Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, has filed a massive telecommunications bill in Austin this session that, in part, bans Texas cities from participating in wireless information networks.

Telecommunications companies have taken notice as cities, nonprofit organizations and startup companies have begun using these technologies to offer free or steeply reduced Internet access, said Bill Gurley, a Silicon Valley-based venture capitalist with Benchmark Capital who closely follows the issue.

Maybe they read my 2005 VoIP Predictions and it scared them. I wrote:

8) Cities become their own phone companies
You will start to see more cities not only offering high-speed wireless broadband using WiMAX and other high-speed wireless technologies, but you will start to see cities offering their own phone services as well. Just think of the loyalty they can build! If I have my choice between paying a private VoIP company based in New Jersey versus paying my local town, heck I'll give the money to my local town.

Breakthrough VoIP Softphone HA! HA!

March 4, 2005

Just received an interesting release about a softphone client that is so full of BS, I just had to laugh. See if you can guess whose release it is.

Let's play Jeopardy!
<excerpts from the release>
- "breakthrough 'soft phone'"
- first device of its kind to market, <company's> soft phone will allow road warriors to make and receive phone calls using the Internet at any wireless hot sp location, for example, in airports, aboard planes, at coffee shops etc.
- The <company> "soft phone" is more than just a phone: it is a networking device with a phone-like user interface featuring a microphone, numeric keypad and displays. However, the <company> soft phone also offers more PDA-like features such as direct dialing with address books and the capacity to store contact lists.

(technically Jeopardy is not multiple choice, but just go with me here)

Is the answer:
A) Skype
B) Xten
C) SJLabs
E) some new company I never heard of.

If you answered E), congratulations!

A,B,C,and D all have "PDA-like features such as direct dialing with address books and the capacity to store contact lists." So I don't undertand why E) claims that this is a major breakthrough.

Actually, the release doesn't claim they were first to have these features, but when it followed the statements "breakthrough 'soft phone'" and "first device of its kind to market <company's> soft phone will allow road warriors to make and receive phone calls using the Internet at any wireless hot spot location" I couldn't help but think they were also claiming to be first to have a built-in address book, and the first to work in hotspots.

I also have to wonder if this company, namely Nicer Canada Corporation saw the news release from yesterday where Broadreach and Skype teamed up to offer free VoIP at Wi-Fi hot spots.

VoIP Bloggers

March 4, 2005

Telco Agrees to Stop Blocking VoIP Calls

March 3, 2005

U.S. lawmakers question telecom mergers

March 3, 2005

The three recently announced telecommunications mega-mergers received mixed reviews in a U.S. House of Representatives committee hearing yesterday, with some lawmakers questioning whether the deals will lead to less competition and higher prices.

Representative Heather Wilson, a New Mexico Republican said: "We are almost at this point where we've come full circle over the last two decades.We've had two decades of vigorous competition and technological innovation -- spurred initially by the breakup of a very large monopoly. We're now on the cusp of seeing the emergence of a duopoly."
Which is reminded me of my Telecom Mega-Mergers blog where I made this analogy:
"This reminds me of Terminator 2 where the bad Terminator gets frozen, broken into a billion pieces by Arnold and then a few moment later after melting, the bad Terminator reforms to be just as big and strong as before. This eerily sounds exactly like what’s happening now.

Swearing Can Get You in Trouble with the Boss

March 3, 2005

I just received this story pitch for Customer Interaction Solutions Magazine discussing how their technology has an "emotion detection" capability, so if an agent raises his voice or swears at a customer, a call center supervisor can be notified.

Scary concept considering how monitored the agents already are. I would NOT want to be a call center agent, I'll tell you that. If you have the ability to make personal calls, you'd better not start any arguments with your spouse or else have your conversation flagged for playback by the supervisor. It was an intriguing concept that I thought was worth sharing.

Here was the pitch:
Ever wonder what the person on the other end of the line is doing?

Bubba the Lobster (RIP)

March 3, 2005

Brain of a Blogger

March 3, 2005

Thought I'd share this interesting tidbit which analyzes the "brain of of a blogger"...

Brain of a Blogger

During the past five years, blogging has exploded from virtual non-existence into an important and influential sociocultural force. Recent survey data indicate that there are now nearly 10 million bloggers, 90% of whom are between the ages of 13 and 29 years old. This incredible upsurge in activity has caused us to wonder: What effect is all this blogging having on the brains of bloggers?

Why ask this question? The primary reason can be found in one of the central tenets of modern neuroscience: "The neurons that fire together, wire together." What this basically means is that our mental activities actually cause changes in the structures of our brains--not only what we think, but how we think as well.

Sony standardizes video conferencing to work with Cisco

March 3, 2005

Sony standardizes video conferencing products to work seamlessly with Cisco CallManager.

Here's the news:

Integration with Cisco CallManager makes video call just like placing phone call

Sony of Canada Ltd., Canada's leading electronic and computer products solutions provider for consumers, today announced that two of its most popular video conferencing product lines will integrate tightly with the Cisco CallManager system to enable businesses of all sizes to receive and transmit crisp, clear video and voice signals with hassle-free set-up.

Cisco CallManager 4.0 allows users to make video calls the same way they dial a telephone call. Cisco CallManager is the software-based call-processing component of the Cisco enterprise IP (Internet protocol) telephony solution.

The software extends enterprise telephony features and capabilities to packet telephony network devices such as IP phones, media processing devices, VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) gateways, and multimedia applications. "We have been expanding our presence in the IP communications market since the introduction of the PCS-1 IP-ready videoconference system in 2003," said Geoff McMurdo, Group Marketing Manager, Application Systems Division, Broadcast Communication Solutions Group, Sony of Canada Ltd. "The integration
with Cisco CallManager allows us to enhance the IP communications experience with simple, user-friendly videoconference call set-up for enterprise IP telephones."

The CallManager solution will be integrated with Sony's PCS-1 camera, microphone and speaker combination for group videoconferencing, as well as for the PCS-TL50 desktop unit. The Sony PCS-TL50 is an all-in-one video conference terminal with a 20-inch LCD (liquid crystal display) screen, camera, microphone and speaker, ideal for an executive's office or where meeting space is at a premium.

"We are excited to be working together with Sony to continue our mission of making video telephony as easy as placing a telephone call," said Barry O'Sullivan, Vice President & General Manager, IP Communications Business Unit, Cisco Systems Corporation.

Wireless Power

March 3, 2005

Wow, this is really cool! Take your PDA, cellphone, laptop, or any other device with rechargeable batteries and place it on a mousepad shaped device and it will "wirelessly" charge your devices using an inductive field. No more tripping over your laptop cord or dealing with so many chargers no doubt one will be misplaced.

Splashpower is a wireless power solution that includes the following features/specs:

  • It enables you to power up your mobile phone and other portable devices,
    simply by dropping them on a mouse-mat-sized pad, called a SplashPad

  • No physical connection is required between the SplashPad and the device –
    power is transferred wirelessly

  • Different devices can be charged on a single SplashPad at the same time

  • Splashpower spells an end to hunting for the right charger, finding free
    socket spaces or fiddling with connectors and offers a solution to the charging
    problem of current and next generation portable products

The Splashpower solution comprises two parts: the SplashPad charging base and the SplashModule power receiver.

SplashPad Charging Base

This is a universal wireless charging platform which delivers
power to mobile devices. The SplashPad is a portable flat surface powered from
any electric outlet.

Roaming WiFi VoIP

March 2, 2005

I Want My Triple Play!

March 2, 2005

According to a survey, Britons prefer convenience of one bill to pay for VoIP, IPTV and broadband combined delivery. A 2005 European survey in 6 countries has revealed that 81% of ADSL subscribers are interested in receiving triple play service from one provider, with 34% of Britons claiming the most compelling reason to select one provider for all three services is "one bill to pay for all three services," presuming price and availability aren't an issue. The survey was conducted by InsightExpress, an independent market research firm, on behalf of SupportSoft, Inc.

I wonder what the percentage of Americans that want Triple Play is? All I know is (and to borrow an MTV quote), "I WANT MY TRIPLE PLAY!" - so count me in as survey respondent #1.

Visual Networks VoIP OSS-Like Solution

March 2, 2005

Visual Networks Launches Suite of Voice over IP (VoIP) Assessment and Monitoring Services

New Services Use Real-time Customer Traffic, Optimizing VoIP Deployment and Support

Rockville, MD - Visual Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq: VNWK), a leading provider of network and application performance management solutions, today announced the immediate availability of a suite of on-site Voice over IP (VoIP) readiness and monitoring services. The new offerings utilize the company's flagship offering, Visual UpTime Select, a modular solution that provides in-depth, real-time and historical information that enables enterprises to intelligently manage VoIP and network availability across the entire enterprise.

Visual Networks' VoIP services provide a range of diagnostic network health reports based upon real-time customer traffic which is crucial to the successful deployment and ongoing support of VoIP. The on-site services deliver an analysis of existing performance levels and bandwidth usage, providing enterprises the necessary intelligence to plan and optimize the performance of the wide area network for VoIP success.

VoIP is the Biggest Threat in 2005

March 2, 2005

Toshiba Shipping Strata CIX

March 2, 2005

Toshiba is now shipping its Strata CIX. Check out the release:

Toshiba Ships Award-Winning New Strata CIX

Pure IP Telephony System

Early Users, Dealers, Analysts and Editors Applaud the Industry's Most Adaptable Pure IP Telephony System 

IRVINE, Calif., March 1, 2005 - Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., Digital Solutions Division (TAIS DSD) today announced that it is shipping its award-winning new Toshiba Strata CIX pure IP business communications system. The recipient of Internet Telephony Magazine's 2004 Product of the Year award and Customer Interaction Solutions' Editors' Choice award, Strata CIX is designed for SMB enterprises or larger corporate users with multiple sites, supports up to 192 ports (up to 672 ports coming soon), offers new FeatureFlex capabilities, can be TDM-enabled, and provides a smooth migration path from Toshiba Strata CTX and Strata DK digital business communication systems.

Wicom Anounces new VoIP Software Suite Version

March 1, 2005

Wicom Communications, a European provider of all-IP contact center solutions and VoIP enterprise telephony software for fixed and wireless network environments, today announced the availability of the latest version of the Wicom Communications Server Suite (CSS) software.

Wicom CSS 4.0 is an all-IP telephony software suite that allows a single, integrated system to be used for both customer service and enterprise telephony. Wicom CSS combines voice and data traffic, IT systems and multiple terminals into a centrally managed solution that ¬allows users to switch between telephony services and terminals according to need. For example, the new software includes mobile devices as an integral part of overall corporate IT and telephony infrastructure. Customer service agents and phone users can access all communication services and tools via any type of terminal, including workstation web browser, Symbian Series 60 based mobile devices or traditional fixed-line and mobile phones.

Costa Rica may make VoIP Illegal

March 1, 2005

Worldwide Carrier Voip Equipment Up 36% To $1.7b In 2005

March 1, 2005

Interesting VoIP report to share from a few days ago:

Press Contact:
Kevin Mitchell
Directing Analyst Service Provider Voice & Data
Infonetics Research, Inc.

view data chart

Worldwide Carrier VoIP Equipment Up 36% to $1.7B in 2004
N. American Subscribers Grow 1M to 17M 2004 to 2008

LONDON, February 23, 2005-Worldwide service provider next gen voice product revenue totaled $1.71 billion in 2004, a healthy 36% gain over 2003, setting a new high, according to Infonetics Research's quarterly market share and forecast service, Service Provider Next Gen Voice Equipment.

Infonetics projects revenue to reach $5.9 billion in 2008, a five-year CAGR of 36%.

"We're starting to see strong equipment sales translated into tangible services," said Infonetics Research's Kevin Mitchell, directing analyst and author of the report. "For instance, t here were 1.1 million residential/SOHO voice over IP subscribers in North America in 2004-with almost half coming directly from MSOs-and we expect that number to soar to 17.4 million by 2008."

"North America was a hot spot in 2004 as carrier adoption moved into the big time, and we expect Europe to start taking shape this year," Mitchell continued.

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