Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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May 2005

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SkyStream's Video Headend Systems Selected by Eagle Broadband and GlobeCast

May 31, 2005

As a huge fan of Triple Play, including IPTV solutions, I thought I'd share this news...

SkyStream's Video Headend Systems Selected by Eagle Broadband and GlobeCast to Power Their IPTVComplete Turnkey Video Solution for Broadband Providers

Companies to Demonstrate IPTVComplete(TM) Video Service Using Advanced SkyStream Headend Technology at SuperComm 2005

SkyStream, the leader in IP video delivery solutions, announced today that Eagle Broadband (AMEX:EAG - News) and GlobeCast have selected the company's Mediaplex-20(TM) and iPlex(TM) headend systems to power their IPTVComplete(TM) turnkey video solution that enables telephone companies, municipalities, real estate developers and other broadband providers to deliver high-quality video and entertainment services to subscribers.
The companies will conduct demonstrations of IPTVComplete by appointment June 7-9 at the SUPERCOMM conference and trade show in Chicago.

IPTVComplete is a turnkey, end-to-end video solution that provides the fastest, most cost-effective way for telephone companies, municipalities, real estate developers and other broadband providers to launch and deliver high quality, IPTV video services to their customers over fiber or DSL broadband networks anywhere in America. IPTVComplete provides a unique combination of video content, headend infrastructure, satellite distribution, set-top boxes and operations support that reduces the time, effort and costs for new and incumbent broadband providers looking to generate new revenue streams from offering more competitive entertainment services.

Ben & Jerry's Euphori-Lock

May 31, 2005

Does your roomie or significant other steal your Ben & Jerry's ice cream? Or perhaps if there is an agreement to "share" a pint of your favorite Ben & Jerry's ice cream over the course of the pint's lifetime, only you feel like you keep getting shortchanged?

Well, look no further than this Euphori-Lock combination lock to keep others in your household from finishing off the last bite of your Chubby Hubby - just when you were looking forward to it too... Of course, thieves could use a knife through the side of the cardboard, but it is hoped that a guilty conscience would "kick in" before that.

Roadcasting or GPScasting?

May 31, 2005

A Wired article titled Watch for Roadcasting Rage reads: "Stuck in traffic and sick of Howard Stern, you may soon be able to tune in to the music collection of the person in the car in front of you. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are developing an ad hoc networking system for cars that would allow any driver to broadcast music to any other vehicle within a 30-mile radius."

By the way, I already use an iPod FM Transmitter which broadcasts my iPod's tunes (mp3, podcast, etc.) but only to a ~25 foot radius. I always wondered if anyone driving along side me might pick up my iPod tunes...

Anyway, this article reminded me of an idea I talked about a long time ago. My idea was that cars with GPS could aid in traffic monitoring to help avoid congested roads by transmitting their speed and location to other cars in say a 30-50 mile radius.

Shunra Virtual Enterprise v3.5

May 31, 2005

Shunra Software Ltd., a leading provider of application and network performance management solutions for distributed enterprises, recently announced version 3.5 of its Shunra Virtual Enterprise solution. TMC Labs has reviewed Shunra's products a few times in the past and we've always been impressed. I actually still have a copy of their software somewhere in the labs. In any event, this new version includes expanded integration with related performance solutions, including Segue Software’s SilkPerformer, and scalability for modeling large distributed enterprises.

Playstation3 Defeats XBox 360

May 27, 2005

Playstation3 defeats XBox 360? C'mon! As if the console wars weren't heated already, I just received an email "claiming" the Playstation3 "has taken a surprising leap over the XBox 360". I don't know what they're smoking, but all the news lately is mostly about the XBox 360.

Homesourcing Trend

May 26, 2005

Homesourcing (call center agents working from home) is a hot trend according to Phil Keating (no relation) on the Fox News Channel just about 5 miniutes ago (7:35pm). Phil Keating reported homesourcing is becoming a growing trend among American call centers In fact, he reported that Office Depot is closing 10 of 12 call centers and replacing nearly 1,000 agents with agents working from home. According to the Fox News Channel, (the most accurate news network by the way - inviting some flaming here ), about 20% of all customer service agents are taking orders from their houses not companies.

Phil also interviewed Tim Houlne CEO, the CEO of Working Solutions, an outsourcer of homesourced agents. They provide companies with qualified home working agents.

Covad Business VoIP

May 26, 2005

VoIP is scary! The horror! The horror! This Covad movie titled The Ringing Movie is pretty scary (I included the Covad movie below set to autoplay). Just look at the eyeball in the screenshot to the left taken from Covad's website.

TelTel the new iTunes?

May 26, 2005

Now this is an intriguing use of SIP! TelTel, who claim to have the largest SIP-based Internet telephony user community, today announced the addition of media channels with its service. The new offerings will include both music and audio programming and already has 13 channels of audio in two different languages. This is the first step as TelTel plans to offer more content and services to its nearly 1 million users.

Cisco DNS DOS Vulnerability leads to VoIP Apocalypse?

May 26, 2005

Cisco is warning about a DNS vulnerability which could affect Cisco IP phones, Cisco routers, and Cisco ATAs. Cisco issued a patch for a domain name system vulnerability that could put some of its routers and Voice Over IP products at risk for exploits.

According to National Infrastructure Security Coordination Centre, which reported the flaw, the vulnerability could leave some systems open to a Denial-of-Service attack after receiving a specially crafted DNS packet.

NISCC said the exploit targets hosts which use the DNS protocol to resolve names to IP addresses. It said an attacker could craft a DNS packet containing invalid information in the compressed section, which can result in an error in processing on the receiving host.

Addicted to Email

May 26, 2005

Are you addicted to email? Let me rephrase. R U addicted to email? True email addicts use shortcuts both in IM and email to reach maximum efficiency when typing emails.

Quintum introduces Tenor Call Relay 60 SBC

May 25, 2005

Quintum Technologies, Inc., a leading manufacturer of voice over IP solutions has introduced its Tenor Call Relay 60 Session Border Controller (SBC), which provides VoIP connectivity between enterprise networks or small service provider POPs, and the public network. The new Tenor Call Relay has doubled the capacity of its original Call Relay, and added several new features.

Call Relay 60 architecture has been enhanced. The base unit, which supports 16 simultaneous VoIP calls, can now be upgraded via software to support up to 60 simultaneous VoIP calls, double the capacity of the original Call Relay.

Tenor Call Relay supports both H.323 and SIP signaling protocols. In addition, it offers auto-codec negotiation and signaling translation between H.323 and SIP for transparent inter-networking, allowing it to be used as both a signaling gateway and a media gateway.

Skype says Phone Calls Will Be Free

May 25, 2005

According to Skype CEO Niklas Zennström speaking at a VoIP tradeshow, Voice over IP (VoIP) will force traditional telephone companies to stop charging for voice calls by 2015.

Zennström said the fact telephony has evolved from a network to a software application "is a game changer". He cited the fact that since VoIP applications such as Skype have no customer acquisition costs and no real cost for calls, "we cannot charge for phone calls in the future," Zennström said. Thus, traditional carriers will have to change their business models. "If you fast forward ten years, all revenue will come from internet access and none from voice minutes or line rental."

Zennström also said he doesn't forsee the traditional carriers going away since they own the last mile copper.

PlayStation Portable Is Most Wanted Gaming Gadget in U.S.

May 25, 2005

PlayStation Portable is the most wanted gaming gadget in U.S. according to a Park Associates research report. You don't say? I could have told you that for free! Close to one-half (49%) of U.S.

Spirent & Psytechnics Partner

May 25, 2005

Spirent Communications (NYSE: SPM; LSE: SPT) today announced it is partnering with Psytechnics, the global leader in voice and video quality assessment software, to offer carriers, service providers and equipment vendors the industry's first video quality assessment test system. This Spirent solution responds to the urgent need of determining video quality as well as a broad range of video distortion and degradation parameters under various network configurations and real-world load conditions.

"As Triple Plays gains momentum, the interest of service providers and carriers in testing and monitoring video is rising. If cable companies require the addition of voice to rollout their Triple Play offerings, traditional phone companies will need video," said Jessy Cavazos, program manager of the Communications Test Sector at Frost & Sullivan.

Skype Affiliate Program

May 24, 2005

Skype aims to generate more business from its VoIP service by rewarding partners (affiliates) who agree to promote and sell it. Currently, Skype has around 39 million users and they claim it is increasing by more than 150,000 new users every day. Now, Skype is looking to bolster that number through their affiliate program.

Skype just announced their affiliate program that will give groups such as bloggers, Web retailers, and online communities commissions of up to 10% of the revenue they generate.. Skype has tested for the past two weeks and has already generated 1,800 affiliates including, aSmallWorld, Firstream, LunarStorm Sweden, LunarStorm United Kingdom,, Passado, Spymac and SuperEva..

eStara's 3 million VoIP users

May 24, 2005

eStara is claiming 3 million users and they've announced a positive Forrester Research report today. I've used the eStara web push-to-talk product a few years ago and it worked quite well (good voice quality) even back then. 3 million users has to make eStara the most "stealth" VoIP player I've ever run across. Compare that with ~400,000 Vonage users and ~39 million Skype users, eStara isn't nearly the household name that either of these two VoIP players are.

SyChip Unveils SyVoice Family of VoIP Solutions for the Mobile Handset Market

May 23, 2005

Some dual mode WiFi/VoIP news to share. SyChip has unveiled theirs SyVoice family of VoIP solutions for the mobile handset market. According to Sychip, this new VoIP module delivers a complete turnkey solution that allows over 5 hours of talk time and 100 hour of stand-by time.

SyChip, the leader in Radio Frequency Chip Scale Modules/System in Package (CSM/SIP), today introduced the VWLAN7100 Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) CSM, the first in its SyVoice family of products for feature phones, smart phones and PDA Phones. The VWLAN7100 CSM is a complete end-to-end Voice over Wireless LAN solution that can be quickly integrated into mobile phones to support the emerging dual-mode cellular and local area networks.

“SyVoice is our family of highly integrated and programmable modules that is targeted to the VoIP market.

Skype & e911

May 23, 2005

Skype is trying to get an exemption from the newly mandated FCC e911 rules. If you think about it, how would Skype provide accurate e911 since it is a nomadic VoIP service? Many Skype users use Skype in their home, their office, on the road in hotels, etc. So how would Skype be able to detect where you are at any given time?

Skype and Peerio

May 23, 2005

Skype continues to take the VoIP market by storm, but until now the business enterprise couldn't leverage the power of Skype for inexpensive Skype-to-Skype calls or more importantly, phone-to-SkypeOut calls. In fact, currently, Skype is predominantly a PC-based software solution with no hardware-based analog telephony adaptor (ATA) gateways or regular business-class VoIP gateways supporting the Skype protocol. Since most businesses still predominantly rely on hardware-based PBXs, adding integrated Skype support has proved to be difficult. The businesses that do add VoIP to the enterprise predominantly due it with business-class VoIP gateways running the H.323 or SIP protocol, which can then terminate with an Internet Telephony Service Provider (ITSP) such as Net2Phone, Level3, and others.

Unfortunately, even with this VoIP setup, you still can not call Skype users or terminate to PSTN numbers using SkypeOut's termination service.

FCC e911 Violation Fines

May 20, 2005

According to Mark Wigfield, Press contact, FCC Wireline Competition Bureau, here are the FCC fines for e911 violations.

For common carriers, the Commission may impose $130,000 per violation or per day of a continuing violation to a maximum of $1.325 million for a continuing violation.

For cable operators, the Commission may impose $32,500 per violation or per day of a continuing violation to a maximum of $325,000 for a continuing violation.

For non-cable operators, non-common carriers, the Commission may impose $11,000 per violation or per day of a continuing violation to a maximum of $97,500 for a continuing violation.

Hmmm, the big boy carriers get the sitffest fine, followed by a smaller fine for their arch-rival cable companies (which are generally smaller). The fines slide a bit further down for non-carrier and non-cable operators, such as Vonage, Packet8, etc. My take - the bigger/larger of a VoIP player you are, the bigger the fine per violation. (Good thing they don't "scale" speeding fines by how big your car engine is.

Asterisk VoIP Blog

May 20, 2005

Recent Packet8 Outages

May 20, 2005

Several sources told me that yesterday Packet8 was experiencing outages. Apparently it was due to server issues. Sounds to me like they need to look into standby systems, clustering, or some sort of better redundancy than they are currently using.

Here is Packet8's response they sent their customers:

On May 12 and May 18, server malfunctions within the 8x8 internal network led to partial network outages which interrupted Packet8 service for many subscribers.
In both cases, 8x8 engineers identified problems with the servers and immediately allocated resources toward resolving the issues as quickly as possible.

Interesting Links

May 19, 2005

VoIP Reviews (interesting forum posting)
Bluetooth technology - great site called Bluetooth Tomorrow about Bluetooth technology, including headsets, Bluetooth VoIP, and more.
TomTom Go Portable GPS systems - one of my favorite portable car GPS navigation systems.
The Mystery Spot - strange gravitational effects in the redwood forests just outside of Santa Cruz, California. I visited here with a fellow engineer and trust me, it's very weird! We couldn't figure it out and supposedly Albert Einstein couldn't figure out the strange effects either. - Relatively new VoIP blogger. Voice Over IP Providers reviewed and summaries of some of the more important news about the proivders and Voice Over IP in general.

BitTorrent Trackerless Now

May 19, 2005

The makers of BitTorrent have developed a trackerless version of the popular P2P software coinciding with the release of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. So now you can download Star Wars using BitTorrent much more easily! ; ) Think that can't happen? Think again - Already a clip of Star Wars is available for download.

Text of the FCC e911 Ruling

May 19, 2005

In case you were curious, here is the FCC e911 ruling followed by a statement by FCC chairman Kevin Martin:

Commission Requires Interconnected VoIP Providers to Provide Enhanced 911 Service

Order Ensures VoIP Customers Have Access to Emergency Services

Washington, D.C. – The Federal Communications Commission today took steps to protect consumers by requiring that certain providers of voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) phone service supply enhanced 911 (E911) emergency calling capabilities to their customers as a mandatory feature of the service.

The IP-enabled services marketplace is the latest new frontier of our nation’s communications landscape, and the Commission is committed to allowing IP-enabled services to evolve without undue regulation. But E911 service is critical to our nation’s ability to respond to a host of crises. The Commission hopes to minimize the likelihood of situations like recent incidents in which users of interconnected VoIP dialed 911 but were not able to reach emergency operators. Today’s Order represents a balanced approach that takes into consideration the expectations of consumers, the need to strengthen Americans’ ability to access public safety in times of crisis, and the needs of entities offering these innovative services.

Are you Cheering or Jeering the e911 Decision?

May 19, 2005

So are you cheering or jeering the FCC's e911 decision? I know a lot of VoIP service providers are not happy about this decision. Although, now they can probably charge customers more money over and beyond what it costs them to provide it.

Still, this will make it harder for the smaller VoIP service providers to compete or even enter the marketplace. Further, this means more cost to the consumer.

FCC Decision on e911 Announced

May 19, 2005

Yahoo Messenger truly has VoIP?

May 19, 2005

I got an interesting comment from Guillaume to my Yahoo Messenger is not VoIP article that reads:

You're the specialist so correct me if i'm wrong but I will reply here what I replied over there:

"Yahoo Inc's will be limited to PC-to-PC calling to contacts on the messenger buddy list."

Well pardon me if i'm wrong but this sentence IS wrong from what I'm observing

so why is it I can place a Net2Phone call from the Actions drop down menu?...I mean isn't that VoIP?

Yahoo Messenger is not VoIP

May 18, 2005

Jeremy blogged about the Yahoo! Messenger announcement and he complained that Ryan Naraine over at eWEEK miscategorized Yahoo Messenger as having VoIP capabilities when Yahoo Messenger can merely do PC-to-PC calling. He preferred the term VoIM (voice over instant message) instead of VoIP. While Yahoo Messenger technically is doing voice over IP (VoIP) packetization it is limted to buddy-to-buddy calling (doesn't do PSTN calling) and that's what stuck in Jeremy's craw. I have to admit, I thought the same thing when reading the Yahoo Messenger news this morning.

Mobile TV via SmartVideo

May 18, 2005

Just yesterday I ranted about how U.S. cell phone service providers seem to be dragging their feet in providing mobile TV to cell phones' color LCD displays. My theory is that they are afraid of rampant piracy and want to be sure to protect their "copyrighted content" while at the same time providing a means of generating revenue. Heck, TV commercials have existed since the beginning of time, so why not just display TV commercials for your revenue stream?

Free Cell Phone TV

May 17, 2005

Ben Charmy over at CNet is reporting "free" advertising supported music videos delivered to cellphones. This is interesting but since I am no longer a teenager, I could care less about music videos and care more about getting my favorite TV shows, such as 24 sent to my mobile phone's LCD display. I realize the teenage demographic is important, but c'mon! There are plenty of adults who will pay to watch their favorite TV show while on the road.

FCC e911 Requirement

May 17, 2005

Analysts are predicting that the Federal Communications Commission will require all VoIP providers doing business in the U.S. to offer e911 service to their customers. They are also predicting that the FCC will force the phone companies to grant full access to their e911 infrastructure to the VoIP providers.

The FCC's decision is expected on Thursday and the VoIP providers would then be required to implement e911 service nationwide within 120 days. This could drastically affect smaller VoIP players since it opens a huge entry barrier to market due to the extra costs involved.

Star Wars in Digital

May 17, 2005

Star Wars "digital" is a viewing experience like no other. George Lucas set the standard in 100% digital movie making with Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menance. It was my first digital movie experience where I didn't see any splices (black spots in upper right corner) along with the often corresponding "pop" sound nor did I see any dust particles on the film causing graininess or any other analog film artifacts caused by wear and tear on the celluloid. (Analog film splices and wear & tear affects the overall video quality and the sound quality.) When a movie is digital, it's digital all the way up to the point that the film is projected onto the screen.

Now, with the impending launch of Star Wars III - Revenge of the Sith, it is interesting to examine the technology used to transmit a digital film to a digital movie projector which is then projected onto the movie screen.

Microsoft Hosting Solution

May 17, 2005

Wow! Microsoft going after the hosting market which has been dominated by UNIX/Linux.. According to the release, they are going to enable remote hosting of blogs, photo galleries, forums, etc. and leveraging hosted apps.

On-demand Broadband via Satellite

May 17, 2005

I just received an interesting email from Segovia about "on demand broadband" (pay as you go broadband). According to the release, you can get up to 18 Mbps of high-speed broadband anywhere in the world. They even promote the fact that you can perform VoIP and videoconferencing on this high speed data connection. My only question about this is the "latency".

NetZero VoIP Update

May 17, 2005

Just one more thought I had regarding my NetZero VoIP blog entry. I wonder if perhaps NetZero will offer VoIP to broadband users and then try and "undercut" Vonage, Packet8, CallVantage, etc.? NetZero built its reputation as having the "cheapest" dial-up data Internet service, so why not expound on that and offer the "cheapest" voice over IP service? Heck, I remember the day when NetZero was "free" (ad supported), so imagine if they subsidize their future VoIP offering and make it "free" as well?

Of course, I also remember when NetZero changed from "zero" cost to a not-so-zero cost.

SNES Emulator for PSP

May 16, 2005

NetZero VoIP Play

May 16, 2005

NetZero next to enter the VoIP race? NetZero is strictly dial-up, so it will be a dial-up VoIP play. Davis Freeberg shared an interesting post he blogged regarding a United Online conference call he had. (United Online owns NetZero).

Vonage Announces Free Calls to Puerto Rico

May 16, 2005

Check Point Unveils NGX

May 16, 2005

Check Point Software
and I held a conference call this past Friday where I learned more about their pending NGX announcement, which essentially is a unified security platform with a single administrative interface for all NGX-compatible Check Point products. According to Check Point's, Sharon Besser, Directory of Security Solutions, this is the first major version upgrade in Check Point's software in two years. This news was under NDA on Friday when I had the conference, so I couldn't blog about Check Point's major upgrade until Monday (today). It was a great conference call and I hope to highlight some of the key points.

Nuclear battery

May 15, 2005

I was just reading and read about an intriguing new technology that harnesses nuclear reactions to generate electricity Ok, I know what you're thinking - nuclear plants do that already - big whoop. But imagine if you could have a nuclear-powered battery the size of a pacemaker that just keeps going and going for years - even decades! No more Energizer or Duracell batteries filling our landfills. A nuclear battery opens up some interesting possibilities, which if made powerful enough could perhaps be used in automobiles to reduce our dependence on foeign oil.

That's what this technology promises to do - in fact, pacemakers are one of the possible applications the artcle mentions.

Columbitech Securing WiFi VoIP

May 13, 2005

Since I've been talking about dual mode WiFi cellular quite a bit lately (see this and this for starters) I thought I'd share this news release which claims "seemless" handoff of calls from cellular to WiFi and vice-versa. It also addresses securing wireless VoIP.

Columbitech Adds VPN Support for Securing Wireless VoIP Applications

Users can roam between networks without dropping calls

Wireless security software developer Columbitech today announced wireless VPN support for securing wireless voice applications (wVoIP).

Dual Mode WiFi Cellular Standards

May 13, 2005

Just a few days ago I wrote about dual-mode WiFi cellphone technology enablers in a blog titled SyChip Dual-Mode VoIP Module.A co-worker, Robert Liu wrote an excellent article titled, "Is Dual-Mode WiFi/Cellular Just a Dream?" that also ponders the state of dual-mode WiFi cellular. As a teaser to Robert's article, Robert addresses the 802.21 Working Group, the Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) standard submitted to 3GPP, and more. Robert even stopped by my desk and we debated how "tricky" it will be to get all the cellular players to "play along" considering that.the cellular companies want "closed walls" and are already frightened by the phenomenal growth and success Skype has had. Do they really want to enable the ability for users to seemlessly handover a call from cellular to WiFi?

Circles Implements Envision Telephony Performance Suite

May 13, 2005

Envision Telephony, Inc., a leading provider of business solutions for the contact center and the enterprise, will announce this coming Monday that Circles, a provider of proven loyalty management solutions for top-performing companies, chose to implement the Envision™ Performance Suite in all of its contact centers. Envision’s Performance Suite will allow Circles to optimize performance and mine transaction data to better understand customer needs. The Envision Performance Suite includes full-time recording, business intelligence, agent evaluation and eLearning solutions.

Circles' unique suite of services and experiences engage customers and employees in a personal and memorable way to drive behaviors that positively impact the bottom line.

Canada's CRTC VoIP Decision

May 13, 2005

Canada's telecommunications regulator, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), ruled yesterday that the country's dominant phone companies will not be able to set their own prices for VoIP services, which is part of their goal to create more competition and lower prices in the VoIP market.

The CRTC rejected arguments by the country's largest telephone companies Bell Canada and Telus Corp who had argued that Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) should be left unregulated like other Internet applications.

Instead, the CRTC decided that it would regulate the large phone companies' prices in the VoIP market to prevent the large phone companies from deep rate pricing that would prevent VoIP competitors from entering the Canadian VoIP market. The CRTC's decision implied that their decision was at least until there is legitimate competition in VoIP phone services. Thus, the large phone companies' competitors, such as Vonage, Packet8, or the cable companies, will not have their VoIP prices regulated.

CRTC chairman Charles Dalfen said the market could reach an acceptable level of competition within the next two years. “This is precisely the moment when Canada needs a regulatory framework that will provide the quickest road to competition,” Mr. Dalfen said.

Predictably, Bell and Telus reacted harshly to the ruling, and they plan to appeal the decision and may launch legal challenges.

Mysterious QoS Device

May 13, 2005

A confidential source informed my about an intriguing QoS module, which I will definitely have to do some research on. (As if I didn't have enough of a backload from being on vacation for 9 days. <sigh>)

I think his email explains it quite nicely, so I will share it here:

I just came back from a trade show where I spied this mysterious board. I saw this blinking blue LED and asked the booth guy about it.

Xbox 360 Launches

May 13, 2005

Microsoft Corp. says its next version of Xbox will thrill hard-core gamers with mind-blowing graphics and lure in newcomers with free online games, slide shows, music and video chats with friends.

Xbox 360 looks nothing like its bulky, black predecessor. It's sleek and white, and it can stand on one end like a book or lie flat like a DVD player. Its 20-gigabyte hard drive and three powerful processors will enable high-definition graphics and surround sound, making games seem more like movies.

Mike Sabine, a market analyst with International Development Group, raved about the lifelike look of a war game he saw in a recent preview offered to analysts and reporters.

"I actually expected to be a little underwhelmed," he said. "I expected it to be a leap or two better (than the original Xbox), but I was very impressed."

Another game Microsoft demonstrated featured NBA star LeBron James, his muscles flexing and his shiny tank top rippling in the light of a street lamp as he dribbles and shoots.

"Honest to goodness it was almost as good as video," said Van Baker, vice president and research director for Gartner Inc.

Though Microsoft had planned on giving consumers their first peek at Xbox 360 in a half-hour MTV special Thursday night, some of the 200 people who attended the show's taping a week ago leaked pictures and specs on gaming Web sites and blogs last weekend.

The MTV debut is part of Microsoft's strategy to outshine rival Sony Corp., which is not expected to release the next version of PlayStation until next year.

Packet8 E911 Real Emergency Phone Service for VoIP

May 12, 2005

Some E911 news from 8x8/Packet8. 8x8, Inc. (Nasdaq: EGHT) the Packet8 voice over internet protocol (VoIP) and videophone communications service provider, announced that the Enhanced 911 (E911) service it offers Packet8 subscribers, which mirrors that of legacy landline phone service providers, is now available in 2,024 rate centers covering 43 U.S. states.

Launched nearly one year ago with support from NENA, the National Emergency Number Association, 8x8's E911 service, the VoIP industry's most established and extensive offering available today, automatically routes calls and computer-based "screen pops" of caller information to emergency personnel at local Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).

Lucky the Dinosaur, Animal Kingdom

May 12, 2005

Lucky the Dinosaur is one of the latest attractions at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The video of Lucky below doesn't do Lucky justice. It is an engineering marvel to see him (I mean "it") in person. On this video you will hear "bass" sounds that are in sync with his feet as they touch the ground.

Keating the Rebel

May 12, 2005

No More Serial Numbers?

May 12, 2005

No more serial numbers for activating and registering software? Say it ain't so...

According to the release below, this software from Kagi negates the need to copy/paste serial numbers from email or the web browser to the software when installing. It's so simple you don't need an IT guru to install software anymore. There goes another 2 million IT jobs!

SyChip Dual-Mode VoIP Module

May 12, 2005

Inside Scoop - SyChip will announce in about 11 days its Dual-Mode VoIP module for the mobile handset market. The new SyVoice VoWLAN device is a complete turnkey hardware solution with full software support.
It's basically a VoIP processor combined with 802.11g WLAN modem that allows for quick integration into cell phones/PDA phones allowing users to roam between cellular and VoIP networks while maintaining the most cost-effective connection.

I interpret this "while maintaining the most cost-effective connection" to mean it will have some sort of Least Cost Routing (LCR) capabilities built-in. Though you would think WiFi (802.11g) would always be cheaper than cellular, so it wouldn't require much LCR intelligence.

Interoute launches commission-free Voice Trading

May 12, 2005

Recently, Interoute launched what they claim is the first commission-free voice trading arena. In their release they announced that carriers VSNL and Czech Telecom have adopted Interoute’s VVN.

Interoute, owner and operator of what they claim is Europe’s most densely connected voice and data network, announced the launch of Arena, a commission-free voice trading exchange for the telecommunications industry.

Designed to make voice trading easier and erode the traditional barriers to market entry, Arena is the latest extension to Interoute’s Virtual Voice Network (VVN), a managed softswitch partitioning and interconnection service that enables operators to enter the voice market quickly without the infrastructure investment.

By logging-on to the Arena web portal, a community of global and national carriers, resellers and ISPs connected to Interoute’s VVN can seamlessly open routes to each other, regardless of their location or the protocol they are using.

While traditional providers of voice exchanges charge a commission on traffic passing through the exchange, VVN customers are only charged for utilising ports on softswitches deployed across Interoute’s pan-European network.

More than 100 customers, ranging from large national carriers such as Indian telecommunications operator VSNL and Czech Telecom through to ISPs and VoIP operators such as Streamdoor, have been using Interoute’s VVN since it launched in May last year.

Cayman Islands VoIP

May 11, 2005

The Cayman Islands now has broadband VoIP. Guess that means criminals can not only offshore their money to the Cayman Islands, they can simultaneously make it harder for law enforcement to eavesdrop on their phone conversations. If you want anonymity, especially with the U.S. National ID card in the works, then the Cayman Islands is for you!

Solor Powered Backback

May 11, 2005

Evan shared this interesting gadget tip with me. Are you "ecologically conscious" or a gadget freak who is tired of carrying a gazillion chargers and batteries in your backpack? Well, then this Juice Bag solar powered backback/gadget might just be for you! In fact, according to their website, everything from "mobile phones to iPods, GPS units to your PSP, Juice Bags charge almost any 12 Volt electronic device anywhere in the world - using only a car charger adapter and the power of the sun." Whoah, now that's cool!

Telecom Slump Ends?

May 11, 2005

Recently, I received an interesting email regarding the telecom industry and claiming a $400 million increase in yearly revenue in the next 5 years or basically a 36% increase from 2005. That averages out to just over 7% annual growth for the telecom sector year over year for the next 5 years. Seems a bit optimistic to me, even with VoIP putting a "shot" in the telecom sector's arm. Here's a snippet of the email I received:

While the past few years were harsh for the telecom industry, Insight Research forecasts that worldwide telecom industry services revenue will grow from $1.1 trillion in 2005 to $1.5 trillion in 2010, bringing an end to the industry slump.

HDTV Repeater

May 11, 2005

HDTV fans rejoice - for a HDTV repeater & amplifier is now available! It's a new component for extending high-definition video signals in offices and other commercial environments. Liberty Wire & Cable's new DigitaLinx™ is a new digital solution for AV professionals. Both a device and an interconnection system, DigitaLinx is designed to route and extend Digital Video Interface (DVI) and High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) signals in commercial installations.

Traditional Telephony Dying at Hands of VoIP

May 11, 2005

Still swamped with emails to go through, so no commentary on this, but thought this was worth sharing...

Traditional Telephony Dying at Hands of VoIP, According to Research Group
London, ON – May 4, 2005 – The rapid adoption of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology is the death knell for traditional telephony, says a study from leading information technology research firm Info-Tech Research Group ( 23% of small- to mid-sized enterprises have already implemented VoIP technology and that number will grow to 50% within the next three years.

VoIP is displacing traditional telephony services a lot faster than anyone expected,” says
George Goodall, Research Analyst at Info-Tech Research Group. “It means a whole change to the look and feel of an organization’s IT infrastructure.”

While one network that handles applications and telephone calls is an IT manager’s dream, the speed with which VoIP is coming to the market might be an IT manager’s nightmare,” Goodall says.

Back from Disney World

May 11, 2005

Well, I made it back from Disney World late last night and made the mistake of checking my email and my blog before going to bed. Over 500 Trackback spam to my blog, 3502 unread messages in my Inbox (some legit, some spam), and 1330 unread email in my Junk email folder. Yes, it is good to be back in the sea of spam. Oh how I missed you dearly on my vacation!

iPodResQ LCD Replacement

May 1, 2005

A bit pricey if you ask me to replace the iPod's LCD (starts at $114), but I suppose it's still cheaper than throwing away your broken iPod for a new one just because of a damaged LCD.

iPodResQ Announces Flat Rate iPod LCD Replacement Program

Olathe, KS (PRWEB) May 1, 2005 -- The price for the flat-rate LCD replacement starts at $114.00, and includes a custom iBox sent to the customer’s location in the continental U.S. via overnight courier to pickup the iPod for overnight delivery back to the iPodResQ service center. iPodResQ will receive the unit, install an LCD the same day, and return the iPod back to the customer overnight. Additionally, the LCD is installed by an Apple Certified Technician and there are no core charges or other charges even for broken or damaged LCD's.

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