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

September 2005

You are browsing the archive for September 2005.

Linux softphones reviewed

September 30, 2005

Yankees Red Sox Rivalry continues

September 30, 2005

Tonight, the continuing saga of the greatest rivalry in the history of sports continues between the Yankees and the Red Sox. The Yankees with their history and mystique and the Red Sox with a World Series under their belt and the final breaking of the "Curse of the Bambino". It took an offering of a bloody sock to the baseball gods to finally cleanse Boston of the curse that bedeviled & tortured them for so long. If the Yankees are indeed the Evil Empire, and they lost last year, then doesn't this mean that this year the Empire Strikes Back? No, the baseball universe doesn't revolve around New York and Boston, but it's pretty darn close.

Even without the curse or even "Who's Your Daddy?" Pedro Martinez playing for Boston, this series is what baseball fans dream about.

ENUM ain't gonna happen

September 30, 2005

Mr. Blog
had some interesting thoughts a couple of days ago.

As we near the end of 2005, what is the status of ENUM? The original RFCs were published in 2000 I believe.
Is there a single commercial VoIP provider that supports the official ENUM? If they do, they certainly don't promote it or mention it anywhere on their web sites that I can find. Vonage, AT&T CallVantage, Packet8, Broadvoice, SunRocket?

Disney Mix Stick MP3 player

September 29, 2005

Disney launched their own contender to the Apple iPod MP3 player with an MP3 player of their own called the Disney Mix Stick MP3 Player. Disney Mix Stick MP3 players support both MP3 and WMA and are designed to download music files, copy from CDs, as well as accommodate memory cards, called Mix Clips, that feature pre-recorded music from Walt Disney Records. Disney Mix Sticks have a storage capacity of 128MB (about 60 songs), and use USB 2.0 for connectivity. The Disney MP3 players also feature an SD/MMC card slot for as much as 1GB of storage.

"Digital music is exploding and is ready to take off with kids," Chris Heatherly, Disney Electronics vice president, said in a statement.

Movies from your phone

September 29, 2005

Fandango announced they will be rolling out an online and phone movie ticketing service in October. Fandango, will enable users of Web-enabled mobile phones and PDAs to access movie information and ticketing at Movie-goers can also text Fandango at short-code “FNDGO” (36346) for access to specific movie and theater information.
Future offerings will include location-based services, which will provide additional information (such as restaurant listings) to moviegoers based on their geography.

One other interesting application is that the mobile service will also provide "virtual movie tickets". It will display a barcode on your mobile wireless device which the movie theater employee will then scan to gain entry into the theater.

Skype 1.4 is now out

September 29, 2005

More on FCC VoIP wiretaps

September 28, 2005

It appears that the new FCC rules to allow a backdoor for wiretapping is not going to happen without a fight. Declan McCullagh reports that The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said Wednesday that it plans to file suit against the new federal rule. The only thing that Declan may have gotten slightly wrong is this part in bold where he only refers to SkypeOut:

the Federal Communications Commission said that broadband providers and Internet phone companies that link to the public telephone network (Vonage, Packet 8, SkypeOut) must rewire their networks to readily accommodate police wiretaps. If they don't comply, they must shut down.

As I have recently stated here and here, it appears that not only is SkypeOut applicable to this new FCC wiretapping rules, but plain-ole' Skype (Skype-to-Skype) calls fall under the FCC wiretap guidelines as well.

TomTom supports Mapquest

September 28, 2005

TomTom is launching a GPS routefinder device for cars together with mapping web site Mapquest. TomTom said the Mapquest device would be a repackaged version of the TomTom Go 300 device. TomTom, whose initial public offering in May was the biggest in five years on the Amsterdam stock exchange, said the device, which will sell for $699, would help it expand its presence in the United States.

I should point out that first TomTom used TeleAtlas's map data (which is terrible in my opinion - at least the U.S. map data), then TomTom announced they would be using NAVTECH's map data (more accurate in my opinion), and now Mapquest.

FCC must like Groundhog's Day

September 28, 2005

The FCC once again backed off again on enforcing a deadline for broadband VoIP providers to disconnect all customers who haven't acknowledged the e911 limitations. The decision to delay the enforcement came yesterday, just a day before the deadline would have forced at least 10,000 subscribers to lose phone service. All this repetitive delaying by the FCC reminds me of the movie Groundhog's Day, which happened to be on TV jsut the other night. That movie never gets old even after seeing it 6 times.

Secure WiMAX VPN

September 27, 2005

Wireless security provider Columbitech has announced news on how it helps secure roaming and single log-in capabilities within WiMax and various other networks. Similar to WiFi, WiMAX is a shared network, only with a much larger distance radius. Thus, there are security concerns that are much greater with WiMAX than when sitting in a crowded WiFi hotspot wondering if the guy with the laptop at the other end of the room is sniffing your WiFi traffic.

Columbitech has a solution designed to address these security needs without sacrificing overall end-user convenience. They announced what they claim is the first secure WiMAX-Ready VPN, enabling secure connection and seamless roaming to wireless broadband technology across any network supporting TCP/IP.

New Motorola mobile phones

September 27, 2005

Motorola today unveiled a new line of low-end mobile phones to meet the needs of mass market consumers around the world that can't afford expensive gadgety mobile phones. Motorola's new handsets, include the C118, C139, C168, C257, and C261. I guess they won't be running any VoIP clients such as Skype or have integrated GPS on these low-end, inexpensive mobile phones.

According to Techtree, "The GSMA estimates that despite 80 percent of the world's population having wireless access, only 25 percent are able to use it, with cost identified as the single biggest barrier to mobile communications usage in emerging markets. The partnership with Motorola will aim at extending the reach of mobile telephony and connecting the unconnected in countries such as India, South Africa,
Russia, Egypt, Philippines and Indonesia."

"Motorola is committed to delivering mobile communications to everyone.

Packet8 VoIP service hits the United Kingdom

September 27, 2005

Upgrade your Mac

September 27, 2005

I'm not much of a Mac user myself (I haven't touched a Mac since college), but I do admire the loyal Mac community. As such, I thought this bit of news for easily and cheaply upgrading your legacy Mac might be a benefit to my Mac readers.

New Low-Cost PowerLogix Upgrade Makes Legacy Macs More Than Nine Times Faster

Put some pounce back into a PCI-based Mac with new 900MHz PowerForce 750GX G3 upgrade immediately available for $139

­ PowerLogix and Other World Computing have immediately available a new 900 Megahertz (MHz) PowerForce 750GX G3 upgrade for PCI- based Macs including PowerMac 7300, 7500, 7600, 8500, 8600, 9500 and 9600 models from Apple Computer, as well as select Power Computing and Umax clones.

The 900MHz PowerForce 750GX G3 includes 512K of L2 cache also running at 900MHz and is immediately available for $139. With a clock speed up to nine times faster than original stock 601 or 604 Apple processors, additional performance and software compatibility are possible because of the modern IBM G3 750FX processor gains this upgrade is based upon.

The PowerForce 1 Gigahertz (GHz) PowerForce 750GX G3 featuring 1MB of L2 Cache also is available for $209.99.

The new PowerForce 750GX G3 is the latest in the PowerForce G3 line, previously honored as "Editor's Choice" by MacWorld Magazine.

"Computers people thought were aging beyond the ability to use Apple's latest advances are still viable," said Larry O'Connor, president of Other World Computing, master distributor for PowerLogix. "Even without using software like XPostFacto to use Apple's Tiger OS, this upgrade makes applications running under OS 8.6 to OS 9.2.2 fly like never before.

JiWire WiFi toolbar

September 27, 2005

Cool new WiFi hotspot finder utilizing a software toolbar. I'll have to download and check it out.

JiWire, the leading provider of information and services to help people connect to the Internet without wires, today unveiled its new WiFi toolbar for major Internet browsers. This free utility features immediate access to a worldwide hotspot directory, WiFi security and connection status, so users can easily find, monitor and secure any wireless connection.

The WiFi toolbar, available at:, takes just seconds to download and is currently available for Mozilla Firefox (Windows), with coming releases for Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox (Mac OS X), and Safari (Mac OS X). Key features include:

• WiFi Hotspot Finder: allows users to search from the more than 70,000 verified public Wi-Fi hotspots in 103 countries worldwide.

FCC requires some broadband and VoIP Providers to accommodate wiretaps

September 26, 2005

I must have missed the FCC's announcement 3 days ago that the FCC was going to require certain broadband and VoIP Providers to accommodate wiretaps. The 59-page FCC report is a bit lengthy for me to digest today, so maybe I'll provide a more detailed analysis tomorrow.

A quick speed read seems to indicate the FCC is going to force Internet providers to accomodate wiretaps, but that doesn't include cafes or hotels that use or pay for Internet service. I guess the FCC is targetting the main ISPs and not resellers of Internet service. Here's a very interesting excerpt that sums up who is covered by CALEA wire-tapping rules:

We conclude that CALEA applies to providers of “interconnected VoIP services.” As defined in our recent VoIP E911 Order,107 interconnected VoIP services include those VoIP services that: (1) enable real-time, two-way voice communications; (2) require a broadband connection from the user’s location; (3) require IP-compatible customer premises equipment; and (4) permit users to receive calls from and terminate calls to the PSTN.108 We find that providers of interconnected VoIP services satisfy CALEA’s definition of “telecommunications carrier” under the SRP and that CALEA’s Information Services Exclusion does not apply to interconnected VoIP services.

Skype v1.4 Released (soon)

September 26, 2005

Skype is releasing the new version of Skype for Windows v1.4 later this week, codenamed Aviator. Skype for Windows v1.4 is still in beta, but will be released as official public version later this week. Skype told me, "We have been busy listening to the Skype community, adding new features and polishing existing features and tools." Skype's next version for Windows will have the following features and improvements:

  • Improved Voice Quality
  • Call Forwarding - lets you forward incoming Skype and SkypeIn calls to a landline, mobile number or another Skype Name when you're away from Skype. You can choose to forward your calls to up to 3 numbers or Skype Names simultaneously.

It's official, Microsoft and Palm are friends

September 26, 2005

Terrorist hunting dolphins on the loose

September 26, 2005

Apparently, 36 dolphins trained in anti-terrorism and trained to shoot special toxic darts at divers were carried away into the Gulf of Mexico from Hurricane Katrina. Although I'm sure many disgruntled Americans at the cost of gasoline and oil would love to see the oil companies shot for price gouging, I just hope any damaged off-short oil platforms don't require any divers to go down to repair them.

Maybe the CEOs of Mobile/Exxon, Chevron, or other oil CEOs should volunteer to dive along with the dive repair teams as an act of good faith that they are willing to risk their lives with their employees - as well as a symbolic charitable gesture since they have profited immensely from the hurricanes. That's a much better charitable offering than if the oil companies offer to give billions of dollars to hurricane relief funds, don't you think?

From the Guardian Unlimited:

It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico...

Save money on the next VoIP conference

September 26, 2005

Rich Tehrani quoted in the Economist

September 26, 2005

Rich was quoted in the Economist (premium content) regarding the Skype/eBay deal. Here's an excerpt of the article since it requires a subscription: (Update, found the entire article here)

That is because Skype can add 150,000 users a day (its current rate) without spending anything on new equipment (users “bring” their own computers and internet connections) or marketing (users invite each other). With no marginal cost, Skype can thus afford to maximise the number of its users, knowing that if only some of them start buying its fee-based services—such as SkypeOut, SkypeIn and voicemail—Skype will make money. This adds up to a very unusual business plan.

Nokia 3250 Phone

September 26, 2005

The Nokia 3250 music phone was launched today by Nokia and is based of course on the Symbian OS. The tri-band GSM 900/1800/1900 MHz smartphone supports both GPRS and EDGE. It features dedicated media playback controls and a swivel-mounted 2 Megapixel camera. The Nokia 3250 is a Series 60 mobile phone that features dedicated music keys and storage for up to a whopping 750 songs (take that iTunes phone!).

GN Netcom GN 2000 launches

September 26, 2005

GN Netcom launched their latest headset optimized for VoIP, the GN 2000, which provides full "wideband" frequency response up to 6800 Hz. Many competing “wideband” headsets cut-off around 4000 Hz, thus giving GN Netcom's GN 2000 much better acoustical response and clarity.

The GN 2000 also features their PeakStop technology, which cuts off sudden loud noises above 118 dB SPL to protect your ears from damage. The GN 2000 is available with a USB connector for VoIP applications, as well as a traditional phone/headset jack connector.

The GN 2000 Series is available in monaural and binaural styles and offers two microphone/boom combinations. The flex boom model is paired with a noise-canceling microphone to filter out background sounds in noisy environments, while GN 2000 ST models feature a standard microphone.

"The GN 2000 Series is the most durable line of contact center headsets we've ever built and it truly delivers in every category," says Hans Henrik Lund, president and CEO of GN Netcom. "Its wideband sound quality, all-day comfort and solid reliability will ultimately maximize performance and minimize the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for any contact center."

Other features include:

  • Sturdy, impact-resistant materials and construction
  • Outstanding sound quality due to true 150 – 6800 Hz
  • Wideband frequency response
  • Stereo USB version for VoIP applications
  • Available with either a special noise-canceling microphone mounted on a flex boom arm or SoundTube equipped with a standard microphone.

Interesting Windows Vista features

September 26, 2005

Windows Vista reportedly will boot and shutdown in just 2-3 seconds. I'm not sure how that is possible considering my 3Ghz Pentium 4 takes at least 6 seconds just to load the BIOS, do a memory test, etc. before it even attempts to load the operating system on the hard disk. I don't see how Windows Vista can startup or shutdown in just 2-3 seconds.

But here it is from the horse's mouth, on Microsoft's site:

Fast On and Off: A Windows Vista computer starts and shuts down as quickly and reliably as a television, typically within 2 to 3 seconds.

Is this photo real or fake?

September 26, 2005

As computer graphics imagery (CGI) becomes more advanced it gets harder and harder to tell which images are real and which ones are not. Between movies like the Final Fantasy, Matrix, the Star Wars prequels, and other CGI-heavy laden movies, it seems to me it won't be long before we have virtual actors/actresses. Actually, the mathematical formulas to represent human hair or even water are very complex and as of yet most CGI created images still have a "cartoonish" feel to them and not real-world, but they're getting closer. Who knows what the next 20 years will bring?

Even professional or amateur computer graphics artists can fool the human eye.

Massachusetts turns its back on Hurricane Katrina pets

September 23, 2005

Massachusetts, my friendly neighbor up north, known for its generous and even notorious liberal nature (See Ted Kennedy) has decided to turn its back on any animals from areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, including Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Their excuse? That because there are no vaccine records for the animals (they were destroyed by Katrina, knuckleheads!) they don't want to chance the spread of disease to their beloved Massachusetts animals.

From the Massachusetts Katrina Emergency Animal Order:

NOW THEREFORE, by authority of Massachusetts General Law Chapter 129, Section 2, as of this date, and until further notice, no dogs or cats will be permitted entry into the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that have originated in Alabama, Louisiana, or Mississippi unless through mechanisms and processes approved by the Department of Agricultural Resources.

Yes, because Massachusetts animals welfare is so much more important than the welfare of displaced Gulf State animals. And I guess Massachusetts' animals and pets are more important than the other 46 states that have willingly accepted displaced Gulf State animals.

So, let me ask you, are you going to require any Hurricane Katrina-displaced people entering Massachusetts to have all their shots up to date as well?

One VoIP show down, one more to go!

September 23, 2005

We've got one VoIP show down and another one to go! VON was a great warm up to what is going to be happening at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo in just a few weeks. As the end of the year approaches many VoIP vendors are looking to launch before the year is out - due to budgetary reasons - so I expect a lot of major announcements coming out of this next VoIP tradeshow, which is also the last VoIP show before the end of the year.

Rich Tehrani, who has been at this trade show biz for over 15 years, just blogged about some impressive attendance demographics expected at the next Internet Telephony Expo titled "The UN of VoIP". At first I thought he meant the United Nations was using VoIP, but logic dictated that the bureaucracy of the U.N.

VoIP for Treo

September 23, 2005

Finally, VoIP for the Treo! Treo users have been clamoring for a VoIP client for a long time, but look no further. Talkplus is a service that provides VoIP services over cellular networks, including now the Treo. It enables mobile carriers to provide their subscribers with a wide range of visibility and privacy options. According to TalkPlus, "TalkPlus enables mobile carriers to offer features to their customers without extensive infrastructure updates, and increases revenue by creating a need for data services in order to control the circuit-switched portion of handsets." Features include outbound caller ID masking, multiple voicemail box integration, and 10-way conference calls.

According to Treonauts, in a few weeks a client will be released by TalkPlus that runs on the Treo. According to Treonauts:

With one simple application installation on your Treo combined with IBM’s Java Virtual Machine, Treonauts will soon be able to enjoy such powerful features as multiple phone numbers and caller identities on a single phone...

Microsoft turns 30

September 22, 2005

Vonage's 9-3-3 service

September 22, 2005

Vonage rolled out their 9-3-3 service which is simply a verification of whether or not you've enabled 9-1-1 on your Vonage line. This way you don't have to dial 9-1-1 and see if the police/fire/ambulance show up at your door and then blame your 3-year old kid for dialing 911. Excerpt from the release announcing the news:

TeleCommunication Systems (TCS), a global leader in mission critical communications, today announced that Vonage, a leading provider of broadband phone service, is the first Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider to utilize TCS' recently introduced VoIP Verify™ service. Designed for mobility, VoIP Verify provides Vonage subscribers with a simple tool to determine the availability and extent of the individual's emergency services coverage from the caller's current registered location.

DivX HD Film Festival

September 21, 2005

I'm a huge fan of the DivX video format which is one of the best compression algorithms you will find. DivX has a controversial history and is often the format of choice for transmitting pirated movies and television shows. Admitedly, I've downloaded DivX versions of Smallville episodes that I happened to miss (pre- my Windows MCE 2005 PC which has TiVo-like functionality). DivX users and indeed DivX encoders have an almost cult following, but alas it seems the cult has gone mainstream with a HD Film Festival using DivX.

Upcoming HDFEST New York Event to be First DivX HD Film Festival

HDFEST's New York City event will be taking place September 30th and October 1st at the Goldcrest Post Screening Room and will offer a historic first look into the incorporation of DivX HD technology in filmmaking and HD playback.

Earthlink launches trueVoice a national broadband VoIP service

September 21, 2005

You didn't really think Earthlink was going to sit idly by while AOL launched a national VoIP service did you? I didn't think so. Actually, it's poor timing by Earthlink to launch if you ask me considering their competitor, AOL, just launched the other day. I'm not a marketing guy, but if you ask me, they really should spread out these announcements from their competitors as to not get lost with all the other important news.

Ham radio operators to the rescue

September 20, 2005

Sometimes low-tech is better than fancy-schmancy VoIP as in this case where ham radios apparently came to the rescue in the Gulf States after Hurricane Katrina... Check out this news about a Congressman looking to protect ham radios.


When Disaster Strikes, Ham Networks Spring Into Action; Event Features Demonstration of Amateur Radio Emergency Communication

West Babylon, NY- On Monday, Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington) announced the reintroduction of the "Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act" that will help to protect the vital function of amateur radio as an emergency communications and public safety resource. Amateur radio operators have always filled in the gap when other communications systems failed. Hurricane Katrina was no exception.

In the storm's aftermath, operators of amateur, or "ham," radios have been instrumental in helping residents in the hardest hit areas, including saving stranded flood victims in Louisiana and Mississippi.

SIP AV Software Development Kit (SIP AV SDK)

September 20, 2005

In my AOL TotalTalk blog entry I wondered if AOL was using Pingtel's open-source softphone. I wrote:

I am going to assume that similar to Earthlink's Vling, AOL is using Pingtel's open-source SIP-based softphone client. Let me break out my HEX editor and disassemble the AOL softphone and see if this is the case.
No need to break out a HEX editor or disassemble the AOL softphone - AOL is indeed using Pingtel's open source phone. In fact, it's even better that that.

Is Google becoming the dreaded Skynet?

September 20, 2005

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems and Jabber, Inc. announced a partnership to help solve the information sharing issues inherent in cross-agency collaboration. Combined with General Dynamics' mission awareness capabilities and Jabber, Inc.'s XMPP-based extensible presence architecture, the two companies will work to deliver solutions that solve the interoperability issues associated with information sharing for government customers; from first responders to military commanders to intelligence officers.

Utilzing XMPP? That's just great - this just confirms my fears that Google, which also supports XMPP (via GoogleTalk) will soon be able to take over the Defense Department, CIA, and NSA once Google evolves to becomes the dreaded Skynet depicted on the Terminator movies. (Not only that, but I just learned Google may be adding "search" to their voice Google Talk application)

Anyway, here's the news...

According to Baghdad veteran, national security information specialist and Jabber, Inc. Sr. VP Michael Helfrich:

"Since 9/11, the information technology mission of the U.S. national security infrastructure has been to facilitate horizontal communication across stovepipe architectures and ensure decision makers receive accurate information at the moment of most value."

To achieve this end, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems and Jabber, Inc. announced today a partnership to help solve the information sharing issues inherent in cross-agency collaboration.

Broadband-in-gas (BiG) delivers broadband

September 20, 2005

Hmm, interesting - Broadband-in-gas (BiG) uses natural gas pipelines to deliver broadband Internet access? Guess this means you can serve up some ham & eggs and Web access too, on your gas oven range! Boy, first it was the Internet over the phone wires, then it was Internet over cable, then it was Internet over power lines, what'll they think of next? Broadband-over-sewer lines?

Oh wait, they thought of that too! Apparently, thousands of Scottish homes could soon get high-speed internet access through the sewerage system.

VoIP Ringback Tones

September 20, 2005

Well, it was inevitable - ringback for VoIP. I blogged about my hatred of ringback tones several months ago. Now Broadsoft is offering ringback for VoIP. In case you don't know what ringback tones are, ringback tones are customizable clips of recorded music, video or other personalized audio content that incoming callers hear while they wait for their calls to be answered.

For exampler, if you call someone who is a fan of Eminem and they set an Eminem song as their ringback, you have to listen to one of his songs until the call is or is not answered.

IPdrum launches

September 20, 2005

IPdrum will hold its official product launch of IPdrum Mobile Skype Cable - a product that enables Skype enthusiasts to make and receive Skype calls over the GSM network. The IPdrum Mobile Skype Cable connects Skype to a mobile telephone via the mobile telephone network - allowing Skype users true mobility and free worldwide calling.

“This marriage of technology will change the mobile phone network as we know it today, forcing the mobile carriers to re-think their international calling price strategy,” says Jerry Pettersson, founder of IPdrum. “Just as Skype has changed the land line (PSTN) network landscape, the IPdrum Mobile Cable will further revolutionize the complete communication network.”

The IPdrum Mobile Skype Cable consists of a cable that connects between a mobilephone and a computer, and software. By leveraging the Skype program, the IPdrum enables a user to access the Skype service while using a mobile telephone.

The key to IPdrum is the connection between the mobile telephone and the computer.

Artesyn and MontaVista offer Embedded Linux Carrier-grade solutions

September 20, 2005

Just some quick news to share about Artesyn Communication Products which is partnering with MontaVista to offer Linux Carrier Grade Edition (CGE) for its telecom blades and modules. Embedded Linux is becoming more imporantant in the telecom sector and not just Asterisk enterprise solutions, but in the carrier sector as well.

Artesyn will offer bundled, certified MontaVista CGE solutions for its PICMG 2.16, AdvancedTCA, AdvancedMC, ProcessorPMC blades and modules, preinstalled in flash memory. Artesyn blades and modules equipped with MontaVista CGE provide a modular open architecture platform for building scaleable, high-availability network infrastructure equipment.

“Embedded Linux is emerging as a dominant platform for building high-availability network infrastructure products, and we are committed to offering our telecom equipment OEM customers the finest carrier grade Linux solutions,” said Todd Wynia, vice president of marketing at Artesyn. “Soon, Network Equipment Providers (NEPs) will be able to purchase MontaVista’s carrier grade Linux directly from Artesyn, certified by MontaVista, and pre-installed in flash on our telecom blades and modules.”

MontaVista Linux CGE is an open and flexible development platform designed specifically to address the unique and demanding requirements of carrier grade class applications, with a strong focus on open standards and high availability services.

AOL TotalTalk

September 20, 2005

It would appear that AOL is going after the broadband VoIP market with a product called TotalTalk to be rolled out October 4th- look out Vonage and Skype! I should point out that AOL rolled out TotalTalk in Canada awhile back and now it appears they are bringing their broadband VoIP service to the U.S. Their Unlimited Calling Plan is $29.99 per month (plus taxes and additional fees) and includes unlimited domestic long distance and Canada.

Some highlights:

  • Softphone client for PC-to-PC and PC-to-PSTN (i.e. SkypeOut)
  • ATA (analog telephone adaptor) device for connecting to regular phone for Phone-to-Phone dialing
  • Voicemail
  • Video using On2 video codec for high-quality videoconferencing

  • GIPS codec for Skype-like quality (in theory)
  • IM
  • Local Plan: $18.99 per month (plus taxes and additional fees) for
    unlimited local calling, plus $.039/min for domestic long distance
  • Unlimited Calling Plan: $29.99 per month (plus taxes and additional fees) includes unlimited domestic long distance and Canada
  • Global Calling Plan: $34.99 per month (plus taxes and additional fees) includes unlimited domestic long distance plus low international rates
What the release doesn't say is what sort ATA (analog telephone adaptor) device you can use with TotalTalk, and checking reveals an AOL page "under construction".

Intel and Asterisk

September 20, 2005

As I discussed in my interview with Mark Spencer, I mentioned how Intel was a fan of Asterisk. If you "read between the lines" you would know that I was "hinting" that Intel and Asterisk were going to partner. Shame on you for not noticing my little hint! Part of what I wrote in that previous blog was, "Intel also seems to be a fan of Asterisk." and "It would be cool if Asterisk supported Intel's HMP (Host Media Processing), a specification that leverages the host processor (i.e.Pentium chip) for voice processing as opposed to expensive DSPs."

I also learned about this via a couple of sources, but it was unconfirmed. When I met Asterisk down in Alabama, they too hinted about an Intel deal but they wouldn't give me specifics, though I suspected it had something to do with Intel's HMP (host media processing).

Finally, they agreed to give me the scoop last week after I agreed to an NDA.

Cisco targets SMB

September 19, 2005

Unlimited Free Conference Calls Anywhere In The World Using Any Type Of Calling Device

September 19, 2005

FreeConferenceCall claims to be the "world’s largest free conference provider". Ok, 'largest' may or may not be "hyperbole", but I thought for sure they were joking when they said they were "free", so I checked out their website and they are indeed 'free'. In fact, they leverage our good ole' pal, VoIP. Further, their free conferencing system supports any type of calling device: desktop softphone, traditional phone, broadband phone cellular phone, etc.

Tomorrow,, GizmoProject (a Skype competitor) and Vapps will be announcing what they claim to be the industry’s first deployment where general consumers will have the ability to make unlimited free conference calls to anywhere in the world using VoIP or traditional calling devices.

Hydrogen alternative fuel for existing cars

September 19, 2005

Joe Williams Sr. believes he has a machine that will increase fuel efficiency in all cars by converting distilled water into hydrogen which is then mixed with gasoline vapors (thus existing vehicles can be retro-fitted). The device is called the Hydrogen Generating Module, or H2N-Gen for short and according to's article, it is "smaller than a DVD player - small enough to sit comfortably under the hood of any truck or car - it could be big enough to solve the world's greenhouse gas emission problems... It's a scientific fact that adding hydrogen to a combustion chamber will cause a cleaner burn. The challenge has always been to find a way to get the hydrogen gas into the combustion chamber in a safe, reliable and cost-effective way.

Keep your eye on Eyeball Networks

September 19, 2005

"I sense a shift in the force." As most in the VoIP blogosphere already knew, Eyeball Networks, a developer of VoIP and video telephony software for service providers and device manufacturers, hired Eric Lagerway, as their Chief Operating Officer. Eric runs the popular VoIP blog and was formerly with Xten, another softphone company. TMC Labs did one of the first, if not THE first review of Eyeball Networks product back in 2001, which you can check out here.

Eric has always been a big proponent of open-standards and he promised me that he will push Eyeball Networks in that direction. Admittedly, Eric stated that Eyeball Chat is still proprietary but "before Xmas this year it will be SIP and open standards through and through." Part of my role here is to instill open standards and new product strategies.

Harman Kardon Drive + Play iPod accessory

September 19, 2005

Harman Kardon, unveiled the European version of Harman Kardon Drive + Play, an integrated iPod docking system specifically designed for automotive use, at the Apple Expo in Paris.

According to Harman Kardon, "Unlike other products on the market, Drive + Play provides complete iPod control, including full browsing and playlist handling capability, while minimizing distractions for drivers."

According to the release, the Harman Kardon Drive + Play system includes these integrated components:

1. A backlit LCD screen, large enough to present five lines of iPod menu text, yet small enough to be mounted anywhere it can be easily viewed by the driver. For maximum convenience various display languages are selectable.


UCONN the safest school in America?

September 19, 2005

According to Slate, my alma mater, the University of Connecticut (UCONN) is the safest school in America. I guess Slate didn't know that UCONN was rated one of the best party schools by Playboy - not that I read that magazine or anything, I just heard word of mouth. UCONN has a series of dormitories nicknamed "The Jungle" for it's renowned party animals.

Also, Slate neglected to mention that UCONN is just about the slipperiest (such a word?) campus in America in the wintertime. The sidewalks become sheets of ice and even the grass becomes one massive ice-skating rink. You take your life in your own hands if you walk on campus without a good pair of hiking boots.

Spring time?

Siemens and Genesys integrate and support SIP

September 19, 2005

Boy, all this talk about P2P VoIP, Skype, Google Talk, Vonage, etc., you'd think VoIP were only a consumer play. Well, here's some big news about a VoIP solution for the enterprise, specifically the lucrative call center market from two big boys - namely Siemens and Genesys. The goal of this partnership is to create a complete IP contact center solution. It's always nice to see a traditional PBX player support the SIP standard, but I'm still not over the old proprietary days ("Over Macho Grande? No, I'll never get over Macho Grande!) that deservedly gave PBX manufacturers a bad name.

Siemens Communications, Inc., and Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc., an Alcatel Company (NYSE:ALA, Paris: CGEP.PA), today announced a new integration of technologies - using open next-generation session initiation protocol (SIP) standards - to bring a single, centralized platform of rich contact center and communication solutions to large enterprises.

Avaya buys Nimcat Networks

September 19, 2005

Boot Windows XP via USB key

September 16, 2005

Ever want to boot up into Windows XP via a USB memory key? Well, now you can. According to Tom's Networking you can install a mini-version of Windows XP - just enough to get your up and running so you can restore from backup, access your files, or do whatever you have to do. I wonder what the security implications are?

Egging me on with a Bugatti Veyron? that's not funny

September 16, 2005

Rich is egging me on by pointing out that my Viper is slower than the Bugatti Veyron - a car of which I am quite familiar, then rubs it in by stating my baby expenses with prevent any Viper "upgrades".

Rich writes:
The bad news is that if you drive the (Bugatti Veyron) car daily you’ll likely spend as much money on gas each year as you did for the car. This probably isn’t so important though as the only people that can afford one are oil Sheiks and oil company executives.

Somehow I think Tom is going to come by my desk soon and ask for a raise as his Viper seems to be getting (relatively) slower every year. What he doesn’t realize yet is that his sports car fund is about to be drained as he’ll be making weekly diaper and formula runs soon.

That's it Rich, I'm skipping lunch for the next 6 months, I'm selling the 3000GT, and then I'm buying either a Roe Racing Supercharger or a Hennessey Twin Turbo which has the following specs:

  • 0-60: 2.25 sec.
  • >1000HP
  • 1/4 mile: 9.75 sec. @ 148+ mph

  • A former TMCer told me once "You will never get a Viper, you keep saying you're going to get one but you're just all talk," and as you know I showed him, and now I'll show you!

    Actually, I think I'd have to skip lunch for the next 12 years and sell my 3000GT to pay for the $50,000+ twin-turbo package, plus I'd have to send my Viper down to Hennessey and be Viper-less for several months.

Google Infoglobe

September 16, 2005

Can't get enough Google? I mean between checking your GMail, searching Google for interesting blogs, and talking via Google Talk, pretty much your entire waking world revolves around Google, so why not have Google revolve your "sleeping world" as well? This little device can sit on your bedroom nightstand and remind you just how much you love Google. And don't worry about those subliminal messages hidden in the display that say "Click on more Adsense ads!

Interview with Asterisk guru Mark Spencer

September 16, 2005

Tom Keating & Asterisk-guru & Digum President Mark Spencer

A few weeks ago I went down to Alabama to meet with a few VoIP companies, including Adtran (see blog on Adtran) and Digium, the developers of the open-source Asterisk IP-PBX. I've been meaning to blog about my meeting down there for quite some time. So much to blog so little time.

Anyway, Digium has been up to some very good things. They recently announced Asterisk Business Edition, which essentially is a turn-key version of Asterisk that has gone through a rigorous testing process by Digium.

Microsoft vs. Google the Tit-for-Tat war

September 15, 2005

Two days ago I pondered whether Google would acquire Technorati or finally build their own blog search engine. Just a few hours later from this post, Google announced Google Blog Search. Actually, I planned it that way! Of course, I was not the only one or even the first to wonder why Google hadn't yet offered a blog search engine.

I believe now that Microsoft should acquire Technorati and here's why. First, let's look at the Microsoft vs.

TUNEWALLET nano iPod nano case

September 14, 2005

TUNEWALLET nano iPod nano case:

TUNEWEAR has announced a case designed to protect the iPod nano called the "TUNEWALLET nano." The TUNEWALLET nano is a business card sized genuine leather case for iPod nano. (Unfortunately, it's way too late for my iPod, which is severely scratches)

According to Tunewear, the TUNEWALLET nano is made from smooth ultra high quality genuine leather. With the flip-cover closed the TUNEWALLET nano provides protection for your iPod nano against dirt and scratches. There is also a card slot inside the flip-cover to fit credit cards, business cards and more.

It has a hole for headphone jack and of course features a clear windows to protect the iPod nano's screen as well as allow access to the control wheel.

It will be available in October.

Pickled Dragon

September 14, 2005

This is just freaky considering it was created over 100 years ago - and not in some Hollywood special effects studio. It would be pretty cool if it were real, but alas dragons are no more real than the Lochness Monster, goblins, or witches with super powers.

(Source: Sydney Morning Herald, here's an excerpt:)

A pickled "dragon" that looks as if it might once have flown around Harry Potter's Hogwarts has been found in a garage in Oxfordshire, England.

The baby dragon, in a sealed jar, was discovered with a metal tin containing paperwork in old-fashioned German of the 1890s.

Allistair Mitchell, who was asked to investigate the dragon by a friend, David Hart, who discovered it in his garage, speculates that German scientists may have attempted to use the dragon to hoax their English counterparts at the end of the 19th century, when rivalry between the countries was intense.

"At the time, scientists were the equivalent of today's pop stars. It would have been a great propaganda coup for the Germans if it had come off," Mr Mitchell said. <more...>

Witness Systems SIP VoIP Recording Solution

September 14, 2005

Some news from Witness Systems claiming to be the first to offer a SIP-enabled recording solution. I'm not sure that's accurate. I know Nice Systems has a VoIP recording solution and I'm pretty sure they support SIP and if they don't, I know ASC does for sure, as seen by this TMCnet news article.

So some serious hyperbole on the part of this release, but I know I get a lot of emails from people looking for VoIP call recording solutions, so let me share the news in case you wish to read it.

Witness Systems (NASDAQ: WITS), a leading global provider of workforce optimization software and services, today introduced the industry’s first SIP-enabled recording solution for IP telephony-based contact center environments.

Chril Pirillo on GoogleTalk, eBay/Skype and other IM stuff

September 14, 2005

Verso Technologies blocks Skype

September 14, 2005

Verso Technologies, Inc. today announced the introduction of its new carrier-grade application filter, which enables carriers to restrict peer-to-peer traffic, including Skype calls, P2P messaging, streaming media and instant messaging. Sound familiar?

Packeteer is another company offering the capability to not only identify and classify Skype traffic, but they can also "throttle" Skype packets by assigning them low priority or even block Skype packets. So while Verso Technologies is not the first or even the only company to offer "application-level" filtering and blocking of Skype packets, what really makes this news interesting is that China Telecom is a customer of Verso Technology.

Packet8 still not offering Phoenix Area Codes?

September 14, 2005

An irate Packet8 customer contacted me stating that Packet8 is selling Phoenix customers their VoIP service in which they have no Phoenix area codes. He states, "The sales people are not telling the Phoenix customers before they sign up. Phoenix is the sixth (6th) largest city in the United States. Get with it!"

The customer signed up with Packet8 and was told he would receive a Phoenix area code.

Google Blog Search beta

September 14, 2005

Google Blog Search Beta

Looks like Google has a blog search engine after all - Google Blog Search beta. The screenshot is a search on "voip blog". <click the image above for a larger view of Google Search Beta> I'm listed on the top, woohoo! I guess an acquisition of Technorati is a moot point now.

Olympus E-500 DSLR

September 13, 2005

Furby scares me

September 13, 2005

Sensory sent me an email about their RSC-4128 IC which is the heart of one of the best selling toys of all time, Hasbro's new Furby creature. Their chip controls all of the creature's motor, speech and hearing function and can do things that are really scary. The damn thing can recognize your voice and respond accordingly. It's even speaker independent and male/female agnostic.

eStara's take on the eBay Skype deal

September 13, 2005

eStara has been in the online click-to-call business longer than just about anyone. They have some perspectives on the eBay-Skype deal via their news release that is interesting.

Funny, I actually just remembered I theorized along with skibare that eBay would get into the VoIP click-to-call business back in January.

In my January blog post titled 'eBay and VoIP' I wrote:

...what if Xten or Skype landed eBay? Just imagine the ability to sense that the seller is online and you can ask them a quick question about the item they are selling.

The buyer and seller get the benefit of anonymity - you don't have to give your home phone number or cell phone number out - yet they can still talk with the seller to ask questions.

Redesigned blog to Kubrick 3 column style

September 13, 2005

Well, I decided it was time for a blog redesign. The Kubrick two-column layout design seems to be very popular due to it's simplicity and its "easy on the eye" white/blue/grey color scheme. After some hard work editing my MovableType 2.661 templates, with many late nights frustrated with the complexities of .CSS stylesheets, it is finally complete. I really need to pick up a CSS stylesheet book since a lot of my CSS coding is a bit of trial & error editing existing CSS stylesheets as a base template.

Thanks to Kubrick for the initial inspiration, Jose Salaazar who converted the Kubrick WordPress template to MovableType, and Liew Cheon Fong over at who made a three-column version of the original two-column Kubrick template!

Let me know how you like it.

Google buys Technorati

September 13, 2005

Google buys Technorati - sounds plausible doesn't it? Since it seems to be end-of-summer merger mania (ebay buys Skype for example). Tom Raftery thinks it might be Rupert Murdock eyeing Technorati, which after the recent acquisition of would be yet another step towards Rupert Murdock's Fox News, IGN, and all his other properies controlling the world. Oh no!

The BlackBerry 8700?

September 12, 2005

Fix Old Extensions to Work in Firefox 1.5

September 12, 2005

A friend of mine told me he recently installed Firefox 1.5 beta 1. He told me about a problem he was having with one of his favorite Firefox extensions / plugins, namely Paste and Go, which wouldn't work with the new Firefox 1.5 beta 1. It was such an important extension that he actually uninstalled Firefox 1.5 beta 1 and went back to an older version. Thus, many of our "must have" extensions don't yet work on Firefox 1.5 beta 1.

Drooling over the HP iPAQ hw6510 and hw6515

September 12, 2005

Forget the Blackberry, forget the Treo 650, I want one of these babies! The sleek HP iPAQ hw6510 and hw6515 Mobile Messenger is probably the slickest, coolest looking combined PDA/cellphone device today. (wiping my gadget drool as I type this) Everything from surfing the Web, checking email, and yes making calls is just beauteous, eh?

It features an integrated thumbboard, EDGE, Bluetooth and an integrated GPS receiver.

SBE's new PTMC dspPTMC-6415 module

September 12, 2005

SBE is entering the VoIP space, by introducing a VoIP gateway on a single blade. Modular VoIP “blades” based around standard, interoperable modules like PMC, AdvancedTCA, and AdvancedMC reduce costs by limiting the number of unique blades that telecom OEMs and carriers have to purchase and stock. In a VoIP gateway equipped with transcoding modules, the system could be deployed in a minimal configuration and scaled up later without replacing the whole blade and without taking it off line. Due to inherent hot-swappability of AdvanceMC you can also switch blades without any down-time.

Speaking of AdvancedTCA, I actually learned about this specification awhile back when doing some research on Intel.

Jabber SimpleAE and myJabberAE softphones

September 12, 2005

Some news to share confirming TMCnet's scoop on Jabber offering a softphone client and now we have a face to go with the name Actually, we now have a name to go with the product - Jabber's VoIP client is going to be called myJabberAE. In addition, this news release below talks about SimpleAE which is also part of the myJabberAE softphone family with one difference - it's targetted at service providers and third-party content products. Sounds eerily similar to Skype's recently announced Voice Services Program for third party content providers, don't you think?

At least they both companies seem to have their priorities straight - VoIP isn't about cheap minutes - not anymore. If you want to win in the VoIP game you've got to provide enhanced services and content.

Here's the release.

Jabber announces SimpleAE, the latest addition to the myJabberAE(Softphone) product family.

U.S Robotics forays into VoIP

September 12, 2005

U.S. Robotics, announced today that it will enter the $493 million Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) equipment market during the fourth quarter of 2005. Initial roll out of the first products is scheduled for October.


Oracle and Siebel what does it mean?

September 12, 2005

My analysis of the recent Oracle acquiring Siebel deal.

Oracle/Siebel - we want to own your customer data (Oracle) and present that data with the best CRM application front-end (Siebel).

Microsoft - we're trying really hard to own your customer data (Microsoft SQL) running a CRM application (Microsoft CRM) but alas Microsoft CRM still lags behind Siebel. Hey, at least we own the desktop! Besides our so-called competitor, Google doesn't own any industry-leading CRM applications either. Now if Google bought FrontRange Solutions then they'd compete with us in the CRM space.

eBay and Skype a done deal

September 12, 2005

Rumors were laid to rest when eBay announced that it plans to acquire Skype by paying $1.3
billion in cash and $1.3 billion in stock. It also has performance encentives in the deal that would make a later payout of up to $1.5 billion by 2008 or 2009 if financial targets are met, giving the deal a total value of up to $4.1 billion.

I wasn't crazy about the idea last week over eBay paying >$3 billion for Skype and I'm still not crazy about it now. I would not be a happy eBay stock holder right now, my guess is the stock will drop a couple percentage points, so it will be interesting to see what eBay's stock does when the markets open.

Then again with plenty of market hype surrounding VoIP, I'm sure the stock traders and insiders will probably be heavily pushing their clients to buy eBay at the opening bell. "VoIP is hot right now.

Flight 93 heroes, I salute you with my tears

September 11, 2005

Today is the 4th anniversary of 9/11. I just finished watching Discovery Channel's The Flight That Fought Back (Flight 93) and after four years I was not expecting the emotional onslaught that this TV show would bring. No, I didn't personally lose anyone on 9/11 - just my fellow Americans. The scene where the Pennsylvania state troopers lined up in attention and saluted the buses filled with grieving familes visiting the crash site brought streaming tears to my eyes.

I'm not one to be brought to tears easily, but if I am to shed tears, my manly pride gladly accepts these tears for these heroes that fought for their lives and the lives of Americans on the ground.

Thank you to the 40 heroes on that flight that fought the first battle on the war on terror.

My tears are my salute to you.

Telesoft compact SIP protocol stack

September 9, 2005

TeleSoft International announced the latest release of their CompactSIP source code stack available pre-ported to run on the Freescale low cost Coldfire-based VoIP Reference Design. The TeleSoft SIP protocol stack was developed specifically for embedded applications such as the Coldfire MCF5234/5 where small size and high performance are required.

"Finally developers can get the best of both worlds - a very compact SIP source code stack with a small memory footprint plus low overhead for high efficiency. TeleSoft's CompactSIP
SIP stack's small code size and fast execution time will allow the addition of more
functionality or use of a slower processor and less memory" stated Mike Sanders, Software Consultant.

"CompactSIP enables the design of embedded VoIP products where minimum memory size and high efficiency are high priorities. Most SIP stacks and their OS require megabytes of memory whereas the TeleSoft CompactSIP + RTOS is only a fraction of that size." said Christopher Cox, TeleSoft's Vice President, Marketing."The compact size and highly efficient code are very valuable to designers under pressure to develop new low cost products" Cox continued.

CompactSIP is written in C for ease of portability and is independent of the OS and complies with the relevant RFCs for User Agent applications.

Jabber to enter the softphone market

September 9, 2005

Remember the new open-source softphone I recently promised would announce its plans very shortly? In my prior blog post I mentioned I didn't want to steal TMCnet's Robert Lui's thunder, since he had the scoop on this story. Well, Robert has just posted the story to TMCnet.

The company I "teased" you about a week or so ago is Jabber - the very same Jabber that had its XMPP protocol embedded into Google's softphone, aptly named Google Talk

Let's just hope this new Jabber softphone client is more like Skype in terms of the GUI and functionality than it is like Google Talk, which I was a bit disappointed with when I took it for a test drive.

Anyway, here's an excerpt from Jabber - Reluctant Voice Player:

Jabber plans to integrate
Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) directly into voice capabilities of its core Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) – occasionally referred to as the “Jabber” protocol – by next spring, TMCnet has learned. more...

Microsoft's Ballmer on the war path again

September 8, 2005

Ericsson provides Global Crossing with advanced IP telephony solution

September 8, 2005

Here's some interesting news that involves IP telephony on trains. Maybe now you can make a VoIP call even in long tunnels which tend to cut out cellphone service? Ericsson was awarded a contract with Global Crossing in the UK to provide an upgraded IP telephony platform for the company's RailNet network. As a result of the supplier contract, the Ericsson solution will enable advanced IP telephony services for Global Crossing's RailNet customers, which comprise 65,000 users from UK train operator Network Rail and rail infrastructure companies.

The upgraded RailNet platform will provide cost-effective, seamless communications for voice, intranet, local-area network, wide-area network and public network traffic using IP-based communications.

Google hires Vint Cerf

September 8, 2005

eBay buys Skype?

September 8, 2005

Greg Galitzine blogs about a WSJ report that claims eBay plans on buying Skype for between $2 and $3 billion.

Quoting Greg who cites the WSJ:

One of the unnamed sources in the Journal story said that “eBay was
keen on adding services that make it easier to buy and sell goods
online, as it did when it acquired the electronic-payment processing
service PayPal in 2002.”

Greg states he doesn't get the potential Skype acquisition. I'm with him.

Sure you could add a little Skype Me button next to each eBay online listing, but how many auctioners want to be bothered to interact via voice? Some might I suppose, especially for large ticket items such as cars, but more auctioners I would bet prefer to interact anonymously using email. There are plenty of web call-me button companies such as eStara that are a heck of a lot cheaper than $2-$3 billion.

Also, eBay has enough critical mass that is they wanted to add a "Call me" button to all the auctions and offer a free softphone download people would do it.

WengoPhone new open-source soft phone

September 7, 2005

Wengo announced WengoPhone, an open source alternative  to Skype.and Google Talk. And no, this is NOT the open-source softphone I predicted last week and asked blog readers to guess the company planning to launch an open-source softphone.

From their website:

Wengo is a European company backed by a major telecom player, totally commited to providing you with the most open platform for IP telephony, video conferencing, and more. Feel the love!

Polycom SoundPoint IP 601 phone

September 7, 2005

An inside source told me that Polycom plans on launching the successor to the popular SoundPoint IP 600 called the SoundPoint IP 601 in a couple of weeks..(photo to the left is the SoundPoint IP 600). The original SoundPoint IP 600 was very reasonable - retailing for just under $300 - and it featured six-line appearances, auto-sensing Power over Ethernet circuitry, 320 x 160 pixel graphical LCD, and both SIP & MGCP protocol support.

No word yet on the specs for the new SoundPoint IP 601 though my source suspects it will have more call appearances. Another source told me it wll have eight call appearances (2 more than the IP 600) - we shall see. Overall, the specs should be very similar to the IP 600 I also wonder if they will embed a high quality color display in the IP-601 as well as a camera so that the phone can interoperate with Polycom's renowned videoconferencing products.

Liquid Metal technology

September 7, 2005

Liquid metal is no longer relegated to science fiction movies such as Terminator 2 with the T-1000 liquid metal terminator..Socket Communications, an innovative provider of mobile productivity products, and Liquidmetal Technologies announced an exclusive three-year agreement to develop and manufacture a line of ruggedized portable data collection products featuring the revolutionary Liquidmetal alloys.

"Liquidmetal alloys are over twice the strength of titanium, have ten-times better fabrication tolerances than standard molded plastic parts, can be designed for environmental sealing, and have a high material hardness rating, which translates to a product line being extremely durable and scratch resistant," said Kevin Mills, president and CEO at Socket Communications. "This exclusive relationship for data collection products enables Socket to create rugged, small, and light devices that not only address existing markets, but new opportunities in the wearable data collection area. We're very excited about the use of Liquidmetal in broadening our data collection products going forward."

Liquidmetal Technologies Chairman & CEO John Kang adds, "We are pleased that Socket Communications has chosen Liquidmetal to develop a line of ruggedized portable data collection devices. We believe the strength and the durability of Liquidmetal alloys truly add value to this line of products and will enhance Socket's customer's productivity in more ruggedized environments."

Ok, so maybe this liquid metal doesn't reform shapes like the T-1000, assume human personas, and have active intelligence, but hey we're one step closer to a war with the machines.

Locking gas caps prevent gas theft

September 7, 2005

According to PhillyBurbs auto parts suppliers are rapidly selling out of locking gas caps, which were originally invented in the 1930s because of gas siphoning thefts during the Great Depression.

According to the article, "I've never seen anything like this before. These things were collecting dust," said Brian Drake, who works at Bridgeville Auto Parts. "We can't even get them from suppliers. We've placed a couple orders.

Unholy Alliance - Radical Islam and the American Left

September 7, 2005

The one thing I enjoy when there is a long holiday weekend is the time I get to spend reading books. Visiting the Blanchard's in Skaneateles, New York further forces you to read books since their lake-side home doesn't have a television. I bought a book several months ago titled Unholy Alliance - Radical Islam and the American Left, that intrigued me when I saw it in the bookstore, but I never seemed to find time to read it.

I don't claim to know all the political answers or who is more right - the Left or the Right. I would venture to say that there is fault both on the Extreme Left and the Extreme Right.

Ken Blanchard a man with wisdom

September 7, 2005

For Labor Day Weekend I spent time with my wife's godfather, Ken Blanchard, on one of the Finger Lakes in Skaneateles, New York. Many people know Ken Blanchard as the NY Times best-selling author/co-author of The One Minute Manager, The Leadership Pill, Whale Done, Lead Like Jesus and many other best-selling books. I know Ken as a great source of inspirational wisdom. Ken Blanchard always has great 'nuggets' of information.

Packet8 unlimited international dialing

September 7, 2005

A new gauntlet had been thrown by Packet8 - unlimited international dialing. This is yet another momentous day for VoIP. Lay your bets now for when Vonage and the others follows suit. (or did I miss one of the others offering unlimited international dialing?)

Check out the release.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept. 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- 8x8, Inc. (Nasdaq: EGHT), the Packet8 broadband Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and videophone communications service provider, announced the availability of a new, lower-priced unlimited international calling plan for Packet8 residential subscribers.

Why TMC is the best news source for VoIP and call center news

September 6, 2005

I was reading Rich Tehrani's blog and came across some interesting insights on Comdial, its recent purchase by Vertical, and some historical perspectives put forth by Rich that really got me thinking about the history of telephony and how TMC has been there since virtually the beginning...

I should point out that Rich Tehrani has been covering the telecom market longer than anyone else - bar none. In 1982 when TMC's Telemarketing Magazine was launched (now called Customer Interaction Solutions Magazine), Rich Tehrani worked for his father Nadji Tehrani. I believe Rich started in the mail room stuffing envelopes and then moved into programming TMC's database, then sales and then finally into the publisher and President roles.

Through his humble beginnings working within TMC, Rich has garnered years of experience and hundreds of contacts and relationships throughout the call center and VoIP industries. Rich's motto has always been "Never burn any bridges and always have friendly competition since you never know when your competition will leave and then become your friend." This motto has served Rich well over the years as he has indeed made friends with former competitors, many of which later joined companies that paid TMC for advertising or exhibits.

Socket’s CF RFID Reader-Scan Card Series 6

September 6, 2005

Socket Communications today announced the release of the CompactFlash (CF) RFID Reader-Scan Card Series 6. An industry first, the scanner combines RFID and barcode scanning technology in a single device to provide for data collection implementations requiring both technologies. Of course, there are those conspirists that claim RFIDs are the "mark of the beast".

In any event, St. Clair Hospital implemented a pilot of the dual function scanner which they claim has further improved the effectiveness of its 5-Rights Medication Verification solution, helping the organization increase staff productivity and save lives.

The 5-Rights Medication Verification solution at St.Clair uses Wi-Fi enabled wireless Pocket PCs along with the CF RFID Reader-Scan Card Series 6, ensuring the right patient is receiving the right medication and dose via the right route of administration at the right time. The nursing staff at St.Clair are scanning the patients quickly and easily via RFID while continuing to use the more cost effective barcode scanning for medication verification.

Planets align tonight

September 6, 2005

I saw an article with a cool astrological chart displaying a few heavenly bodies in close proximity (conjunction) with one another. Specifically, Jupiter, Venus, and the moon will align.

Now for a brief astronomy lesson culled from Google searches and my prophetic analysis:

Jupiter - symbolizes power, expansion, kings, increase, preservation.

Venus - symbolizes the feminine - the power of love, relating and consensus; the principles of diplomacy.

Moon - symbolizes the changing of tides and our emotions. Actually, the #1 Google search result for "moon symbolizes" talks about how Islam is "symbolized by the moon".

So I will be on my astrologer cap now and interpret these "signs" to mean one of the following possibile prophecies:

1) Islamic terrorists (Moon) in Iraq will put on their peace caps (Venus) and see that the only true way to gain power (Jupiter) is to participate in the Iraqi democracy and stop blowing up innocent Iraqi civilians.

Analysis: Not likely, but it would be great if this were indeed true.

2) Anti-war peace activists (Venus), including Cindy Sheehan, will have a change of heart (Moon) and see that their leader (Jupiter), President Bush was absolutely right to deal with Islamic (Moon) terrorists in Iraq instead of here at home.

Analysis: Not in this lifetime. I won't debate the merits of the Iraq war, intelligence failures by several intelligence agencies that said Saddam had WMDs, etc.

Logitech G5 Laser Mouse

September 6, 2005

Vonage one million lines, huh?

September 6, 2005

Vonage has reached the "1 million line" landmark. This is a vague choice of words. When I link of "lines" I think of trunk lines or at least physical lines and not customers. It's doubtful Vonage truly has 1 million physical "lines" into their facility.

Duchess, what have thou doneth to thy French Fries?

September 1, 2005

Strong Hybrid and IP PBX Sales Drive PBX Market Up 12%

September 1, 2005

Interesting PBX/IP-PBX report to share... The bolded part is pretty amazing to me.

Worldwide PBX/KTS revenue grew 12% to $1.6 billion between the first and second quarters of 2005, and is forecast to total close to $7 billion in 2005, according to Infonetics Research's new Enterprise Telephony report.

TDM equipment revenue is expected to plummet, from $2.8 billion in 2003 to $759 million in 2008, but the overall market is growing due to strong IP PBX sales, which jumped 17% to $1.2 billion in 2Q05. Worldwide hybrid PBX revenue will nearly triple and pure IP PBX more than quadruple between 2003 and 2008.

"This was a very solid quarter for the PBX market," said Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst at Infonetics Research. "All vendors had a positive quarter, and most of them grew in the solid double-digits.

Global IP Sound to announce video product

September 1, 2005

In a few weeks Global IP Sound (GIPS) will unveil a new product to complement the GIPS VoiceEngine Suite called VoiceEngine Multimedia. This will add high-quality video capabilities to the VoiceEngine product line. It's a natural extension to GIPS' renowned voice engine that is used in Skype, Google Talk, and other VoIP products. Global IP Sound's engine is the reason why Skype sounds so damn good - ditto for Google Talk, due to GIPS's ability to handle packet loss, latency, etc.

The initial release will incorporate On2’s VP7 codec, which is a high quality video codec.

The Mystery of why Internet Telephony has the most diverse attendees

September 1, 2005

Why does Internet Telephony Conference and Expo draw such a wide spectrum of attendee types, including service providers, resllers, carriers, enterprise buyers, and more?

Well, that's an interesting mystery. Reminds me of the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz, California where strange gravitational forces are at work. I visted there with a fellow computer engineer, Vic Batsu, and it is pretty wacky (see photo to left). Our engineering minds couldn't figure it out, nor could Albert Einstein and several other scientists who visited this place.

Early Audience for Mobile TV Small But Enthusiastic

September 1, 2005

Just thought I'd share this interesting Park Associates report below, which claims that although their is a small early audience for Mobile TV that it is very enthusiastic. I couldn't agree more. With popular gadgets such as the Slingbox Personal Broadcaster, which lets you stream TV over a broadband connection, TiVo, and the under-rated Windows Media Center Edition 2005 operating system, TV as we know it is going to drastically change.

There are controversial copyright issues with streaming content from your home TV, but unless you're streaming it to hundreds of users and not using it for "fair personal use", I don't think the TV broadcasters will have much of a case if and when this goes to the Supreme Court. Of course, when you stream live TV to your hotel room, you've still watching the paid commercials, so I don't see why they're complaining.

Mazda Sassou USB key

September 1, 2005

According to ZDnet, USB (universal serial bus) will be part of its Sassou concept
car, a small hatchback aimed at the youth market. Sassou uses a USB "key" and interface port that will let drivers program and load files onto the car's hard drive.

Why not use WiMAX, 3G or WiFi for downloading/uploading files? Also, it's unclear from the article if this USB key is just for downloading files to the car's hard drive or if this USB key is also used to unlock your doors and for the ignition lock. If so, I suppose that's one less thing you have to attach to your keychain.

New open source SIP softphone coming

September 1, 2005

Robert Liu, yet another esteemed TMC news-hound has discovered a new open-source SIP softphone that is going to be released very soon. Robert has an interview with the company developing this new open-source VoIP softphone next week, so I am not going to steal his thunder - just provide the "teaser" here.

I'll give you a clue - it's a company I've mentioned within the last 25 blog posts. --- and no it's not Pingtel.

As I mentioned this past Friday, Earthlink's Vling softphone client uses a customized version of Pingtel's open-source SIP-based softphone. BTW, you can check out Pingtel's open-source SIP softphone here.

Let the guessing game begin!

VoIP spells doom for calling card business?

September 1, 2005

I haven't used a calling card since my parents gave me one for college (to avoid my college's exorbitant per/minute fees), and I would have figured with unlimited cell phone plans, unlimited broadband VoIP plans (Vonage, Lingo, etc.), as well as software applications such as Skype, Gizmo, and now Google Talk that calling cards were so passe. Who needs calling cards, (including both post-paid and pre-paid calling cards) when you have so many competitive options that offer inexpensive calling, right? I mean really, who wants to dial a an 11-digit access number then remember their calling card account number (or pull it out of their wallet/purse) and then enter the destination number as well as their PIN?

Well apparently, even with so many phone options these days, each vying for the same "limited" phone minute pie, there is still a huge market for calling cards.

Featured Events