Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
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December 2005

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Skibare's VoIP awareness survey

December 31, 2005

A Gadget-Centric New Year's Resolution

December 31, 2005

2006 VoIP Predictions

December 30, 2005


I promised predictions for 2006 and so here they are. Nothing like waiting till the last minute, eh? Let me first start my analyzing my 2005 VoIP predictions. Some I have abbreviated for brevity sake, so if you wish to read my full thoughts on a particular 2005 prediction, go check out the original article. Within my analysis of my 2005 predictions I couldn't help myself but to intertwine some predictions for 2006 -- as opposed to just separating them all out.

Global IP Sound to go IPO on NASDAQ?

December 30, 2005

Palm's Z22 Gets Back to Organizer Basics

December 30, 2005

The Z22 organizer gets back to Palm’s roots when it decided that designing one device (a hand-held electronic organizer) to do a few select things would make everyone forget paper organizers, note pads or small pieces of paper scattered all over the place.  I started what seems ages ago with the original black & white Palm Pilot and then moved up to the V and Vx and then the Treo 600 (which added cell phone capability).  As the products moved from generation to generation, features (and complexity) kept getting added.

Now, the Z22 is designed specifically for people who haven’t seen what a handheld organizer can do (are there still people in the world like that?) and who believe that simple is better.

Infinitely faster and better feeling than its Palm Pilot ancestor (the Z22’s color screen is great!), the Z22 makes everything super simple; a touch of a button or tapping the built-in stylus on the screen brings up your appointments, contacts, tasks and memos.  You can also access the note pad, expense tracker, calculator and world clock functions quickly an easily. 

The note pad function is particularly cool – for super fast memo taking it captures your handwriting on the screen as a new item.  The Z22 can also store photos in its 32MB memory.

Lenovo & ThinkPad Shaking Up Notebook World

December 29, 2005

It used to be that IBM’s ThinkPad was the Cadillac (Mercedes, Lexus – you fill in the blank) of notebook computers.  Prized foremost by road warriors (particularly of the business class), it always was held in high regard in our household.  Starting with the 755CD, moving onto the 560 and later the T20, these survived the wear and tear of heavy business use as well as heavy child use. (They didn’t get the reputation for being built like tanks for nothing.)

However, while time waits for no one, neither does innovation in consumer electronics.  While IBM struggled to make money in personal computers, Toshiba and then later Dell and HP challenged IBM in this slot.  In recent years, IBM seemed to have a solid hold on the third position in notebook computers – solidly behind Dell and HP.  In fact, our most recent notebook purchase was a Dell Inspiron 700M.

With the sale earlier this year to Lenovo, the Chinese computer company, one was left to wonder where the proud ThinkPad name was headed.  Now, it looks like Lenovo is pointed at challenging the leaders with the news last week that it had recruited William Amelio, a senior vice president from Dell as its new chief executive and president.   He had also worked earlier at IBM for nearly a decade.

Sun's Windows Java update servers down

December 28, 2005

Kill a Watt electric usage meter

December 28, 2005

The Kill a Watt electrical usage meter is an amazing piece of gadgetry that can save you hundreds of dollars a year in electricity by measuring the wattage (power) used by all your home electric appliances (TV, computer, dryer, refrigerator, clock, oven, etc.) Ok, maybe not that "amazing", since the science of measuring watts, voltage, etc. has existed for decades, but cool nonetheless.

In fact, I should mention that last month I received an electric bill for $400 and I have oil (not electric) heat! I called the electric company to cry "foul". Surely, even I, Mr. Gadget Lover could not possibly be using $400/month of electricity!

Microsoft partners with Softbank for Business VoIP

December 28, 2005

I'm still trying to digest what this press release from Microsoft, Softbank, and Japan Telecom means - I'm a bit busy trying to catch up after the long holiday. I think Softbank has termination and I believe Softbank is considered the "Vonage" of Japan. In which case, I believe this release is saying that Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005 is not only using MCI for PSTN termination, but Microsoft has now also added Softbank for termination.

Actually, upon some further review it appears that this partnership is enabling Microsoft to have a foot in the door within the "business VoIP" sector. Very interesting.

Audio FX Force Feedback Headphones

December 28, 2005

I don't know about you, but when I'm watching a DVD or playing a video game I want full surround sound with the bass cranked way up so I can "feel" the explosions of a frag grenade or feel the footsteps of the T-Rex as he stomps closer. There's only one problem with enjoying lots of bass and high volume - the people around you; husband, wife, neighbors, etc. might not want to hear it or feel the bass reverberating through the floors, especially late at night which is "prime-time" video gaming time! Sound was meant to be felt, especially when immersed in a video game. So what's an bass addict to do?

Well, no worries, just put on the Audio FX Force Feedback Headphones ($49.95) which will let you "feel" every explosion and every impact due to its unique force feedback characteristics - all without disturbing the neighbors or waking up the kids or "significant other".

Pioneer To Unveil First Blu-ray Disc Drive

December 28, 2005

Much buzz yesterday afternoon about Pioneer’s announcement to unveil a Blu-ray Disc drive at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in early January. According to the announcement, the first Blu-ray Disc format optical disc drive for personal computers will go on sale in Japan at the end of January -- pending licensing issues.

This is the first announcement of a shipping date from any optical disc drive maker.

Xpert VoIP sets $5 per month benchmark for VoIP

December 27, 2005

Xpert VoIP has set a new low in pricing plans with a low $5/month plan that comes with 200 minutes of calling time anywhere in the U.S. and Canada, Additional minutes are billed at 2.8 cents a minute, but the realy nice thing is that they cap it at a maximum of $24 a month, which is still $0.99 less than Vonage's unlimited plan ($24.99) should you be a heavy per-minute user on a particular month.

But for months where you have light usage, you aren't stuck shelling out the full $24.99 like you would with Vonage's unlimited plan. If you only use 200 minutes or less that's just $5/month you pay. Of course, most users will go over 200 minutes per month.

Altec Lansing Goes inMotion for High-Quality iPod Sound

December 27, 2005

While many may think of Bose when it comes to high-quality iPod or MP3 player speakers, I think they’d be making a big mistake if they didn’t take more notice of Altec Lansing’s inMotion products, particularly the iM7 portable audio system.

The roll-shaped unit is the perfect companion for any MP3 player, not only iPod and iPod mini’s with its built-in cradle.  Even better, it will also work with CD players and other audio devices, including older iPods and even laptop computers, and also offers a video output for the iPod photo so images can be viewed on most TVs.

Splogs Go Away Quietly into that Good Night

December 27, 2005

In my post last night titled "Splog Away! Splog away! Splog Away all!" - a pun of "Dash Away! Dash Away! Dash Away all!" - I commented on a recent splogging of several bloggers' content.

Splog away! Splog away! Splog away all!

December 26, 2005


Gee, I can't even take some blogging time off for the Christmas holiday without some major controversy hitting the blogosphere. Apparently, some splogger has been lifting several bloggers full content surrounded by Google Adsense. Andy Abramson, a fellow VoIP blogger included me in an email thread with several other "heavy-hitting" technology-related bloggers, all of which I assume were getting "splogged". Hard to tell if I was splogged since the culprit's website was taken offline after some complaints and strings pulled by someone whose content was stolen.

Andy points out that back in March that Andy, Om, and I were "splogged".


Keynotes at Internet Telephony Expo

December 23, 2005

Rich has some interesting thoughts on the two keynoters that highlight the Internet Telephony Conference & Expo show next month which includes Tom Ridge and Ron Insana - neither of which really need an introduction. Rich also reminds his blogging audience about the speech given by former FCC chairman Michael Powell at the last Internet Telephony Expo, which earned Michael some surprising rave reviews from the blogosphere and the mainstream media.

I saw Michael's speech and I concur with Rich's positive sentiments on Michael Powell's speech which even earned some heartfelt applause. I hope Tom Ridge and Ron Insana can live up to expectations set by Mr. Powell's excellent speech. Regardless, I will certainly enjoy being in warm & sunny Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in January!



What's wrong with Vonage?

December 23, 2005


What's wrong with Vonage? Oh let me count the ways...

First, they've been promising the Viseon video phone for I about a year and it's still hard if not impossible to get. In fact, I checked my trusty email archives and found this email dated December 4, 2004 - "Vonage(R) Announces Partnership with Viseon to Develop Videophone Service". Ok, you announced the partnership in 2004 and it's almost 2006?


A Very Cisco Christmas

December 23, 2005

XBox Live Diamond Card

December 23, 2005

We all know Microsoft is positioning the Xbox 360 as the central hub combining games, home entertainment and lifestyle, but today Microsoft took it to a whole other level by offering their Xbox Live Diamond card "perks card" for all Xbox Live members. I just got the email at 6pm last night. Best of all, it's free to get one if you are an Xbox Live member. Won't be long now before Microsoft offers a credit card I suppose, especially considering their rival Sony already offers a SonyStyle credit card, and in fact I already own one.

Don't Throw Out Those Old TVs Yet

December 22, 2005

The Senate approved legislation yesterday that puts the U.S. one step closer to an all-digital television world. At the same time, the legislation creates a federal program that is designed to help all of us pay for new equipment so that our existing analog television sets can still work after Feb. 17, 2009, the “hard date” for transition.

Included in the legislation is a program that would give each household up to two coupons worth $40 each to pay for converter boxes to keep analog sets working after broadcasters surrender their analog licenses on Feb. 17, 2009.

Kapanga adds open source video codec to SIP softphone

December 22, 2005

Kapanga Softphone, a SIP-based softphone announced by Ecotronics Ventures is integrating Theora (Xiph Foundation's open source video codec) into its SIP-based video capabilities

The latest version of Kapanga Softphone now supports Xiph.org Foundation's Theora, the open source video codec based upon On2 Technologies' VP3 codec. Kapanga Softphone integrates voice, video and fax over IP into one software phone and they claim interoperability with several other softphones along with several codecs supported to ensure proper audio negotiation..

"Since our launch this year, many Kapanga users have used our SIP client to extend their open source PBX deployments", said Martin Cadirola, President and VP of Business Development for Ecotronics. "We believe we can help speed up the development of open source PBX video functionality by providing a Theora-capable VoIP-based software phone", he added Kapanga also features other open source audio codecs, like Global IP Sound's iLBC and Xiph Foundation's Speex.

Kapanga Softphone is free for personal or academic use, with fax and recording features at an additional cost.





Firefox Flicks Ad Contest

December 22, 2005

Interesting news from Mozilla regarding their Firefox browser and trying to build some buzz by having using a grassroots campaign of having users create video flicks. This contest calls upon professional, student and aspiring filmmakers to join the growing community of Firefox contributors to create innovative, broadcast-quality 30-second commercials for Firefox. Might be time to try out Muvee, the easy-to-use video editing software that even works with Windows Media Center so you can use your TV remote control to edit videos from the comfort of your couch.

Here's the news:

Mozilla Corp. today announced the opening of the Firefox Flicks Ad Contest, which calls for submissions of 30-second ads for Firefox from professional, student, and aspiring filmmakers. Building upon the adoption of the award-winning Web browser, Firefox 1.5, by over 10 million Web users worldwide in less than one month since its release, the Ad Contest continues Mozilla's tradition of empowering its community of users to spread the word about Firefox.



NYko's iTop Tops iPod

December 21, 2005

Judging by the long lines at the Apple store last night, plenty of folks still expect to give and/or receive an iPod Nano or Video this holiday season. If you've already got one (or the other), there are oodles of devices to enhance the iPod experience.

Just checked out another one from Nyko Technologies; it's called the iTop. The company calls this clever little device is a "button relocator" and that's exactly what it does.

New rootkit virus installs BitTorrent client to download movies

December 21, 2005

A new rootkit installs the P2P BitTorrent client and downloads movies to your hard drive. One of the initial movies downloaded via this new virus included Mr. Bean, which tops my "All-time Worst Movie ever Created" list. I hate Mr. Bean - with a passion. To this day I have not forgotten that my former roommate Harris Sugarman suggested to me and Vic Batsu that we see this movie.

Pimp your iPod

December 21, 2005

Want to pimp your iPod? Want some Faux Crocodile or Metallic Snakeskin to protect your precious iPod? Well check this out.

Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO), inventors of the DLO HomeDock for iPod and other exciting MP3 accessories, today announced that they are shipping over 20 new styles of their popular Relaxed Leather Cases for iPod and iPod nano and their fling Fashion Cases for iPod nano.

Navizon Transforms Cell Phones, Wi-Fi Devices into A GPS Device

December 21, 2005

Navizon Transforms Cell Phones, Wi-Fi Devices into a GPS device and leverages P2P for locating your buddies. What I'd really like for this technology to do is use my idea of P2P GPScasting to transmit your GPS coordinates to others in your GPS network (opt-in) for more accurate traffic monitoring. I also wrote about GPScasting here in my GPScasting/roadcasting entry.

In any event, Cyril Houri, founder and CEO of Mexens Technology, announced the hard launch of Navizon, "the world's first software based, peer produced, wireless positioning network." Navizon is a software system which can be loaded onto a mobile device to provide its users with geographical positioning information plus many more advanced customized features. Navizon's innovation arises from the fact that its map is both created, and constantly enhanced, by the users themselves.

More Ads in Video Games; Do We Really Need This?

December 21, 2005

Remember when advertising supported free network television? Yes, we watched (or avoided the ads), but we got the programming for free. Now, it's bad enough that we have to pay cable or satellite companies a monthly fee for what used to be free TV and then we have to add on additional monthly fees for premium programming. At least we're used to that model.

AOL & Google deal a nightmare for Microsoft?

December 21, 2005

The ink isn't even dry from Google's 5% $1 billion stake in AOL and yet some are claiming Bill Gates is still wiping his tears from losing the battle for AOL to Microsoft's arch nemesis, namely Google. America Online parent Time Warner and Eric Schmidt's Google announced some intriguing integrations between these two Internet giants late yesterday leaving Microsoft in the lurch.

Rich Tehrani and I were commenting yesterday how AOL's portal generates generates about 10% ($420 million) of Google's overall Adsense/Adwords pay-per-click dollars. This is amazing to me since I never visit AOL.com since I dumped the AOL client browser and its dial-up Internet access so long ago.

Rich's 2006 VoIP Predictions

December 21, 2005

Yesterday, Rich, Greg Galitzine and I discussed some of our prognostications for the industry, which Rich planned on publishing in the January 2006 issue of Internet Telephony Magazine. Now it appears Rich posted a sneak peek of his 2006 VoIP predictions in his VoIP blog you should go check out.

I too have been thinking about my own VoIP predictions for 2006. Last year I made my 2005 VoIP Predictions and I hoped to have some time before the New Year to critique my 2005 predictions and also make my 2006 predictions. I still hope to do so, but I've been extremely busy of late and I'm working on a really interesting SMB VoIP product that is coming to market soon.

Taiwan & Korea lead in the Adoption of Consumer Technologies

December 21, 2005


According to a Park Associates report, U.S. consumers lead the world in consumption of television-related products; Asian consumers lead in computer products. Some other interesting insights as well, including the fact that Taiwan and South Korea lead the world in the adoption of consumer technologies, according to Global Digital Living (GDL), a new international study from Parks Associates.

GDL surveyed over 10,000 households in 13 countries and ranked nations according to their proclivity to adopt and use MP3 players, video-on-demand (VOD), home networks, computers, online services, and similar advanced technologies. The United States proved the most receptive to TV-related technologies (such as DVRs and digital cable) but fell behind Taiwan and Korea in the adoption of computer-related technologies.


Block Skype

December 21, 2005

There are two camps when it comes to Skype. The "I love Skype so much I'm going to name my first born child 'Skype'" and the "Blasted 'Skype application' is penetrating my security measures at every turn. Damn you Skype! Damn you to hell!" From the user's perspective, the ease-of-use of Skype and its "just plain works anywhere" capabilities are quite attractive.

Parking meter meet your cousin the red light camera

December 20, 2005

Photo Violation Technologies Corp. ("PVT"), a developer of innovative parking meter solutions, has announced the launch of its patented PhotoViolationMeter ("PVM"). According to PVT, "This self-enforcing parking meter is easy to use, fair, and permits municipalities to keep parking rates low by increasing revenue through compliance." Gee, just when you thought you made it safely past that ominous red light camera staring at you, now you have to worry about cameras where you park.

Anyway, this new meter uses a combination of sensors, photography, and wireless technology to make it the only parking meter that enforces itself while giving municipalities more than five times the revenue of current on-street meters. They've partnered with industry leaders such as IBM, PVT's robust back-end server provides municipalities with secure and reliable implementation. With product trials scheduled for January 2006, the PVM is positioned to forever change the way the world pays for on-street parking.

CommuniGate Pro 5.0 SIP Farm

December 20, 2005

Yesterday, I had a conference call with CommuniGate Systems, a developer of scalable carrier-class IP-based communications solutions, about their impending launch of its new SIP Farm, which was just launched today. SIP Farm runs on their CommuniGate Pro Dynamic Cluster application server platform, which they claim is the only SIP technology that offers "clustering" for not only high-scalability but also fault tolerance. The technology enables large scale deployments of SIP-based VoIP to telco-level capacities. The multi-node, all-active SIP Farm technology makes it possible to host millions of subscribers with either a consolidated cluster or distributed geographic placement of cluster members while also claiming a 99.999 percent uptime.

According to CommuniGate Systems, "CommuniGate Pro 5.0 SIP Farm removes all barriers to adoption of SIP as a standard, making it possible to scale to tens of millions of subscribers with redundant signalling.

Limit your kids video game play time with this gadget

December 19, 2005

Worried if you even get your hands on the impossible-to-get XBox 360 for your kids this Christmas that your kids will spend way too much time playing video games? No worries, mate - just install this puppy. PlayLimit is a new gadget created with the sole purpose of driving kids crazy while giving parents a sick satisfaction at finally being able to control their kid's video game playing time. This is a timer device that connects between a TV and the video game player such as an XBox 360.

New Xbox 360 Guide Hot Off the Presses

December 19, 2005

It didn’t take long, but the first guidebook to the new Xbox 360 -- the must-have gadget of the season -- has rolled off the presses within days of the Microsoft product's launch.

“Xbox 360: A Complete Guide” (www.lulu.com/xbox), complete with helpful tips and tricks, designed to serve as the ideal guide for helping gamers set up the Xbox 360 console, use the accessories and play the latest video games.

Written by technical writer, software engineer and old-school gamer Douglas Thompson, the book is made possible by the latest print-on-demand publishing technology, provided by Lulu (www.lulu.com). Lulu is a website that lets anyone publish and sell their own book, at no up-front cost.

GMail + Google Talk (GTalk) for BlackBerry RIM

December 19, 2005

A friend of mine who runs Computer Collector Newsletter forwarded me a link to a software application that runs on the Blackberry RIM to access GMail. I looked around the rest of the site and came across an even better application that lets you access both Gmail and 'Google Talk' from your Blackberry.

Their brand new software application, called "GMail + GTalk" is a full-featured email and chat application for BlackBerry devices, designed for the popular Google Mail and Google Talk services.

With GMail+ GTalk you can easily review the correspondence in your Google mail box, compose new mail messages and operate with address books currently having an amusing communication with your buddies via Google Talk service. GMai l+ GTalk works on all phones, which are Blackberry RIM allowing you to use the same Google mail accounts which you operate on your desktop PC. Only one caveat though - as far as I can tell it only works with Google Talk's instant messaging capabilities and not Google Talk's VoIP feature. Nevertheless, some will find this application useful. Not sure if the Blackberry really has the processing horsepower to do VoIP anyway.



Mandriva Linux to support Skype

December 19, 2005

Skype and Mandriva (publisher of Mandriva Linux operating system) today announced that Skype will come included with the Mandriva Linux distro. According to Candace Locklear over at SparkPR, "Mandriva's Linux 2006 is the first and only Linux operating system to offer out-of-the-box use of Skype's popular application." I guess it's nice to have Skype embedded with the Linux distro, but most Linux users can just as easily go download and install Skype themselves. Besides, there might be a newer version. Nevertheless, one of the reasons Internet Explorer succeeded was that it was pre-installed with every shipping copy of Windows.

Bye Bye Internet Explorer

December 19, 2005

Mac users still browsing with Internet Explorer will need to consider moving to another browser press soon, as Microsoft plans to discontinue support for Internet Explorer by December 31st. The news is not a surprise to Mac users since Microsoft announced back two years ago that it was ending Mac support for Internet Explorer. In fact, Microsoft has not upgraded the Mac version of the IE browser in three years making IE 5 the most recent version available to Mac users while Windows users are running 6.0 and soon IE 7.0. I guess Opera and Firefox are looking pretty good for Mac users.

Skype for Pocket PC new version released

December 19, 2005

Skype has just released a new beta of Skype for Pocket PC. Click here to go get it. The last version of Skype for Pocket PC with any new features was released in April this year, making the Pocket PC development far behind the main Skype clients for the Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems. They've also added support for the new Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC, though still no support for the Palm-based Treo 650 which I believe has around a million users. With the new Treo 700 for Windows coming out soon, I wonder if Skype will ever support the Palm-based Treo 650. Symbian phone users are also out of luck.

There are two versions to download.

Muvee: Video Editing Is Dead

December 19, 2005

My Favorite Holiday Gift Giving Guide

December 18, 2005

Google releases GoogleTalk API

December 17, 2005


Google has released their API for GoogleTalk. Wow! Just think of the mashups. Now you can mashup Google search with Google Maps and GoogleTalk. So for instance, one guy mashed up the Best Buy XBox 360 inventory with Google Maps which then displays pins on a map displaying the available Best Buy stores. You can then click the icon to see how many Xbox 360s are for sale.

Nyko Gives iPod a Boost

December 17, 2005

Need an iPod Case? Case Closed!

December 16, 2005

Your notebook computer gets banged up, your cell phone gets banged up, your iPod gets banged up – when will we ever learn that we need cases for these things! When I first stumbled across Case Closed Bags at DigitalLife 2004 (and saw them again at DigitalLife 2005), I was immediately impressed how the innovative New York-based company was taking the banal bag and making it into something interesting (and dare I say it, fashionable, too).

They offer a strong line of bags for laptop computers (so much different than what we have come to expect from Targus and the big bag companies) and have also created really interesting lines of iPod and cell phone cases. In fact, when I saw Case Closed’s April Lockhart this fall, they were busy designing and testing cases for the iPod Nano.

DualCor Technologies cPC

December 16, 2005


DualCor Technologies in January will unveil the cPC, a full-fledged handheld Windows XP Tablet computer that also runs Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system for its smart phone functionality. The cPC is 6.5 inches long, 3.3 inches wide, 1.2 inches thick and has a 5-inch diagonal screen. It will be aimed at sales representatives and executives who travel extensively, said CEO Steven Hanley according to a CNet article. The cPc jams two devices into one package, Hanley said.

Mrs. Gingerbread SweetTalks her way to becoming the next Martha Stewart

December 16, 2005

Yesterday, I knocked Kandice Melonakos, a 17-year old singer/songwriter, and made fun of the fact that she put out a press release stating she was launching her own VoIP client called KanTalk. Well, technically, it isn't her VoIP client, but an OEM'ed version of WhitePhone from Voice Commerce Group, as I was pointed out by Peter Grant, Chief Executive for Voice Commerce Group. He also suggested I check out www.jersey-talks.com for another example of a website "branding" his company's VoIP client software. He was catching a plane but he wanted to share some more info on his company and their business model, so I plan on talking to him next week for more details.

In the meantime, this morning I was checking out the newswires and came across something that caught me eye. Before reading the press release, I just happened to notice on webpage some accompanying screenshots.

You Can Argue with Success

December 16, 2005

Kenpo's Jacket for iPod

December 15, 2005

The ScotteVest "technology clothing" apparel has some competition from Kenpo which today launched they are shipping Kenpo's Jacket for iPod. The jacket employs "smart fabric" touch pad technology on the sleeve that includes a 5-button electronic control panel for use with the iPod and iPod mini models. Functions include Play, Pause, Track Forward, Track Back, and change the Volume Levels without ever removing their iPod from the specially designed, padded interior pocket. The discreetly placed 100% fabric interface utilizes touch-sensitive buttons that are identical to those found on the iPod. The jacket is machine washable, completely self-powered, and requires no batteries. Just make sure to remove the iPod from the jacket before you wash. Oh and check out the funky commercial showing the jacket in action by clicking Play below.



FCC taxes VoIP? C'mon!

December 15, 2005

In case you didn't hear, The FCC will likely force VoIP providers to contribute to the Universal Service Fund (USF), a program that helps subsidize telecommunications services in rural, "non-profitable" regions of the country, as well as in schools and libraries.

Specifically, FCC chairman Kevin Martin said "We need to move to collection for the Universal Service Fund that is technology-neutral," at a question-and-answer session hosted by Comptel, a group representing communications service providers.

Many VoIP companies are already contributing to the USF either directly through payment to the USF, or indirectly by payments to the telephone companies, which in turn contribute a portion of that revenue to the fund. Packet8 I know started collecting $1.50 "regulatory recovery fee" in anticipation of having to contribute to the USF. Some users were even a little peeved since they claimed at the time Packet8 was simply collecting the money and not giving it to the USF. Regulators are concerned that as VoIP gains popularity the fund could shrink since the providers aren't mandated to contribute.

Ok, maybe I'll buy that argument.





Pangean's Push-to-Talk VoIP and IM client

December 15, 2005

I've been testing Pangean Technologies' insta-REACT! VoIP/IM software for awhile now and I thought I'd give my blog readers a "sneak peak" at the review which will be published in the January 2006 issue of Internet Telephony Magazine. The software has "push to talk" capabilities (think Nextel), as well as instant messaging, paging groups, and more. The really interesting part is the fact that they are leveraging multicast for the RTP streams which lets it scale to 10,000 users or more with no need for an MCU. Rather than steal the entire glory from my own review, read it for yourself.

NEC Monitors Are a Joy to Behold

December 15, 2005

Desktop flat-panel monitors have been the rage, and if you're thinking it's now time to move up substantially from the standard 15-inch variety to something better, then look no further than NEC's excellent new 19-inch 1940CX MultiSync LCD monitor.

Recently introduced as a new "consumer" model along with the 17-inch 1740CX (previewed at DigitalLife 2005), the black 1940CX had the whole family mesmerized -- from word processing and online shopping to PC gaming and even online gaming (athough NEC has other special new monitors for those freaks!) -- we were all impressed with the crispness, clarity and so fast 8 milliesecond response time of the 1940CX.

Controls are designed to be easy-to-read and use, and the On-Screen Manager (OSM) provides simple to understand menus. Other really useful features include:
• No Touch Auto Adjust reduces setup time and provides optimal image settings upon initial
power-on -- no fooling around with setup CDs or driver installation
• Ambix® dual-input technology for digital/analog compatibility with upgraded video cards
and software
• Low power consumption reduces electrical costs and lowers total cost of ownership
• Built-in power supply allows for easy mounting of the display
• Wall/arm mounting capability adds flexibility and comfort, while freeing up valuable desktop space






NEC calls these "performance displays at value prices," and they are definitely worth the price of admission.  With monitors, like so many other things in the gadget world (and life in general), you get what you pay for.  In this case, seeing is believing and these are a pleasure to behold.

Roxio's Media Creator 8 Does All Things Digital

December 14, 2005


Roxio’s Easy Media Creator 8 now makes it possible to do all things digital within a single software suite -- organize, edit, share, preserve and enjoy digital music, movies, photos and data.

Creator 8 seamlessly merges the capabilities of Roxio’s complete line of well-established, full-featured digital media applications, including Creator Classic, PhotoSuite and VideoWave, with powerful Sonic technologies and applications including the next-generation MyDVD, which has been redesigned to deliver the perfect balance of power and ease. 

The new MyDVD Express guides new users through the quick completion of authoring projects, while the full-featured MyDVD application offers advanced capabilities and controls for creating sophisticated multi-menu projects.

Let’s take a look at some of the features that I found particularly useful.  DVD Music Disc is a revolutionary way for users to access and enjoy up to 50 hours of Dolby Digital quality music in the comfort of their home.  DVD Music Disc allows users to put as many as 65 albums onto a single DVD for playback via a set-top DVD player.  The resulting DVD Music Disc can include original album artwork, DVD menus and easy navigation that is automatically organized by track, artist, genre, album and even year.

Smash my Viper to earn a million dollars?

December 14, 2005

Everyone knows about the Million Dollar Homepage and the dozens of imitators that let you buy pixel ad space on a web page. It was a clever idea that just about everyone scoffed at, though he claims to have raised almost $850,000 in just a matter of months. Now there are all sorts of copycats out there offering pixels for sale.

However, none of these copycats from the original Million Dollar Homepage have been nearly as successful or drawn nearly the same amount of publicity - until now. Jason Gunther, a 23 year old College Grad is selling pixel ad space on his website in exchange for letting people mangle, scratch, dent, bat, break, and just plain destroy his most prized possession - a Dodge Viper.

Kandice Melonakos a popstar wannabe releases KanTalk VoIP client

December 14, 2005


Can you say "riding the coattails of VoIP"? Knowing how hot "VoIP" is, this little 17-year old teeny-bopper decided to create her own VoIP software to coincide with her debut single. Coincidence? Stupid marketing ploy!

Structured and standardized blogging software

December 14, 2005

Although I use Movable Type blogging software, I've been tempted to check out the popular open source Wordpress blogging software. One of the main reasons I've been hesitant to switch is the migration nightmare that would ensure - incompatible templates, incompatible plugins, etc. I use a lot of MovableType plugins that aren't currently available in Wordpress so I'm holding off at the moment.

Well, It would appear that the major blogging companies aim to standardize blogging software to ease many of these issues. Between the Lines has an interesting blog post today about this.

Bob Dylan as XM DJ?

December 14, 2005

Skype commercializes Christmas

December 14, 2005

I don't usually gripe when VoIP vendors use Christmas as a means to promote and commercialize their products, as long as it is in "taste". For instance, Packet8 for the past fews years has promoted (via press releases) the fact that you can use the Packet8 videophone to call and SEE Santa Claus. Now that is cool and certainly newsworthy. Some parents might even buy the Packet8 videophone just so their kids can call Santa Claus.

But what annoyed me this morning was a press release by Skype that starts by saying, "Skype, the global Internet communications company, today announced the latest Skype certified products available in retail stores and online in time for the holidays.

Convergin fixed mobile convergence solution

December 13, 2005

Convergin, a provider of core wireless convergence servers (WCS) today announced that Unefon, Mexico's leading CDMA operator, has chosen Convergin to enable its 2.7 million subscribers to make and receive calls with a single number on virtually any phone: wireless, wireline or VoIP softphone. Ah, yes, the beauty of IP!

IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) will certainly aid in this type of convergence (Convergin supports IMS). IMS allows the service provider to combine wireline and wireless applications in the same session, and allows sessions to be dynamically modified on the fly, for instance add video to a voice call, or transfer a cell phone call to your landline seemlessly. This makes possible "blended" services such as video telephony, push-to-talk, chat, broadcast TV using multicast IP video streams, video-on-demand, video surveillance, and other applications.

No HD DVD for Christmas This Year ...

December 13, 2005

If anyone was thinking about getting the truly latest innovation in home entertainment technology – a High-Definition DVD player – in time for the holidays, you needn't worry.

Toshiba has just announced that the planned year-end launch of its next-generation HD DVD players in Japan will be postponed because of copy protection issues.  The products are being delayed because all of the details for its copy protection management system -- called Advanced Access Content System (AACS) -- have not yet been finalized.

However, Toshiba is still planning a keep to its U.S. launch timetable – either February or March next year.  This coincides nicely with its rival -- Sony and the Blu-ray group -- which is planning to launch its competing format next spring.

Asterisk on a Nokia 770

December 13, 2005

New eBay scam

December 13, 2005


Just received an email spam purporting to be from eBay. It's obviously not from eBay or I wouldn't be blogging about it! Anyway, the email looks exactly like your typical "Question from eBay Member" emails. In fact, it sports the same exact subject line. The body of the message looks nearly identical to the legitimate eBay question from member email. The body of the message says, "eBay sent this message on behalf of an eBay member via My Messages.

Global IP Sound for Symbian 9 and Windows Mobile 5.0

December 13, 2005

Some news to share from one of my favorite VoIP companies - Global IP Sound.

Global IP Sound (GIPS), the leading provider of embedded speech-processing solutions for the Voice over IP (VoIP) market, today announced that it is shipping two new versions of its VoiceEngine Mobile product, including VoiceEngine Mobile for Symbian 9 and VoiceEngine Mobile for Pocket PC with support for Windows Mobile 5.0. This latest product update also includes GIPS Voice Quality Enhancement (VQE) and encryption features, to give applications developers the tools they need to integrate high quality VoIP into their mobile solutions.

"Global IP Sound is aware of the challenges that developers of VoIP applications for smartphones and PDAs face," said Roar Hagen, Founder and CTO of Global IP Sound. "Our new releases focus on these challenges by handling the most common problems found in mobile devices such as background noise and echo.We are also constantly striving to provide our customers with the most up to date products by offering VoiceEngine Mobile on the broadest array of platforms possible."

The success of VoIP in the business and consumer marketplace will largely be driven by the availability of VoIP wireless handsets, analysts say.





Standalone Skype phone

December 13, 2005


Came across this supposedly "standalone Skype" phone which everyone has been clamoring for. I must get at least one request every other week asking me if I know of any standalone Skype phone that doesn't require a PC in order to work. In any event, this Skype "standalone phone" inventor writes, "I only make this standalone phone for my family." Too bad, because you'd probably be a millionaire if you decided to build this thing. You might even make a few hundred dollars on eBay if you don't want to sell your plans to a manufacturer.

Vonage finally lauches the UTStarcom F1000 WiFi phone

December 13, 2005

Vonage and UTStarcom Inc. today finally launched the F1000, a portable Wi-Fi phone handset manufactured by UTStarcom and configured with Vonage's VoIP phone service. This product, which will offer mobility across 802.11b networks, is now available at http://www.vonage.com for $129.99 with a $50 instant rebate for a total of $79.99.

The F1000 Wi-Fi handset will be configured with Vonage's standard call features: three-way calling, call waiting, repeat dial on busy, call forwarding to user assigned number, call hold/resume, voicemail, call rejecting/redial/mute and Caller ID based on phone book entries. It will also include phone book favorites with distinctive ring options including: silent, vibrate and selectable ring tones. Users will be able to configure and save Wi-Fi profiles for ease of connectivity.

The Dish on DISH, Texas

December 12, 2005

Verizon Inflight Wireless Broadband

December 12, 2005

According to PRNewswire, "Verizon Airfone has made significant progress toward providing wireless broadband services for U.S. air travel. The announcement follows the FCC's establishment of rules for auctioning spectrum in the 800 MHz band dedicated to commercial air-to-ground telecommunication services. The FCC's action will enable the agency to auction spectrum licenses early in 2006 and puts Verizon Airfone one step closer to providing its customers with broadband services.

Mitel Simplifies VoIP with LLDP-MED-Ready Open Standard

December 12, 2005

Some interesting news to share from Mitel claiming to be the first to use the LLDP-MED standard. This standard aims to improve deployment and ongoing management of VoIP endpoints as well as provide a standardized way of locating VoIP endpoints in an emergency, i.e. what building, what floor, what area, etc. each VoIP phone is located.

Yahoo offers Movable type

December 12, 2005

Yahoo is now offering the popular Movable Type blogging software. This follows this weekend's news of Yahoo's acquisition of Del.icio.us, a popular online bookmarking tool used by bloggers, as well as their recent acquisition of Flickr, which offers a way to annotate and share photos, another popular site amongst bloggers. Yahoo! said it will offer commercial blogs based on Movable Type as part of its existing small business Web-site management service. So now that many of the major blogging tools have been acquired, who's next?

LG VX9800 available to Verizon customers

December 12, 2005

Sony No Baloney? Indeed!

December 9, 2005

Satellite Radio a Threat to Music Biz?

December 9, 2005

Funny how the music business can't get out of its own way when it comes to making music affordable and accessible to the millions of fans that keep record companies alive.  First we waited and waited for CD prices to come down once the production volume increased and manufacturing kinks were worked out -- that never happened over the 20+ history of the CD.

Then, they worried and worried that these digital CDs would be copied endlessly (perfect clones every time!) so that rather than sell a million copies of an album, one fan would buy one CD and then a million copies would be made. (See Sony's latest woes and damage to its brand as only the latest example of where this copy protection idea has led.)  

Next, when the Internet took off, Napster and other sites made it possible to download music for free while the record companies scratched their heads about how to fashion a business model that included the Internet.  (Is this Nero fiddling while Rome burned?)

Now with satellite radio from companies like XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio still trying to gain traction, these same labels (although now consolidated into a few conglomerates) are concerned that satellite radio receivers will enable listeners to record music off of the airwaves, further reducing the labels' sales and profits. 

Volvo On Call tracks your car

December 9, 2005

The World Is Becoming Flat

December 8, 2005

It’s no surprise that TV sales continue to rise, with sales of flat panel TVs (including both LCD and plasma) more than doubling from last year as prices inexorably drop over time.  At the same time, sales of CRT TVs (what the CE industry is now calling “older model” TVs) dropped by 8%.  All of these figures are from DisplaySearch (www.displaysearch.com), a leader in display market research, which tracks nearly 50 manufacturers in this product category.

What is a bit surprising are the top brands worldwide (by revenue):

  1. Samsung
  2. Panasonic
  3. Philips
  4. Sony
  5. LGE

The order gets juggled a bit when companies are ranked by number of units sold:

  1. Samsung
  2. LGE
  3. Philips
  4. TTE
  5. Sony

What’s notable here is the rise of Samsung to the top spot in both categories – a dramatic acknowledgement of how far that brand has come in just a couple of years.  Can they sustain it?  Quality vs. Price = Value = Sales (QvP=V=S); is that the success formula?
  


Ludicrous speed! 150 gigabits per second!

December 8, 2005

Motorola gold RAZR V3i phones

December 8, 2005

NENA Interim/Migratory I2 Standard Published

December 8, 2005

Some important news to share regarding e911 and VoIP. While this is a step in the right direction, the FCC still needs to clarify its position on e911 and give the VoIP service providers time to be in compliance with the FCC e911 mandate. Nevertheless, Vonage is continuing to market to new customers in spite of the FCC order not to and I've yet to hear of the FCC cracking down on Vonage with any sort of fine. Looks like the FCC's bark is worse than its bite.

Yahoo undercuts Skype pricing

December 8, 2005


Yahoo said yesterday that a new version of its Yahoo! Messenger software (http://voice.yahoo.com/) to be launched in the next few days will include "Phone Out," (eerily similar to SkypeOut) with low per-minute charges for PC-to-phone calls, and "Phone In," a low-cost monthly subscription service for phone callers to call computer users via a traditional PSTN phone number.

What makes this news really interesting is that Yahoo said it plans to charge one cent per minute to Yahoo Messenger users calling the United States from, say, Russia, or anywhere else in the world and 2 cents a minute to call 30 other countries including Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Korea. This pricing seriously undercuts Skype and with this new VoIP competition from a major player this will further push phone call pricing to the inevitable "free" pricepoint.

My only question now is when will Google launched Google Out and Google In (via Google Talk) in response to their arch rival Yahoo? Google has even more cash in the bank if they wish to subsidize their VoIP offering with low-call pricing that undercuts both Yahoo and Skype.






Hard To Find Products? How About Impossible To Find!

December 7, 2005

Intel new ultra-fast low power transistor

December 7, 2005

According to TMCnet, Intel Corporation today announced development of a new, ultra-fast, yet very low power prototype transistor using new materials "that could form the basis of its microprocessors and other logic products beginning in the second half of the next decade."

Intel and QinetiQ researchers have jointly demonstrated an enhancement-mode transistor using indium antimonide (chemical symbol: InSb) to conduct electrical current. Transistors control the flow of information/electrical current inside a chip. The prototype transistor is much faster and consumes less power than previously announced transistors. Intel anticipates using this new material to complement silicon, further extending Moore's Law.

Skype 2.0 video enables porn

December 7, 2005

This blog states that with video capabilities added to Skype 2.0 that he thinks this could be an enabler for the porn industry. Specifically he states, "But, let us be realistic - with the integration of video with Skype, and Skype-Out, the real business is going to be porn."

I'm not sure I necessarily agree with that statement. While Skype 2.0 still has the renowned audio quality and I was quite impressed with the video quality in my Skype 2.0 review, I don't think the API is flexible enough at the moment to enable live porn video feeds while simultaneously giving the entire billing control to the pornographers. You have to consider that the pornographers need an easy way to charge a per minute rate for the video feed while still maintaining control of the billing.

TalkSwitch and BroadVoice target the SMB with a VoIP solution

December 7, 2005

I'm a huge fan of TalkSwitch's VoIP products designed for the SMB and have tested a few of their products. For instance, TMC Labs (of which I am a part of) reviewed the Talkswitch 48-LS about three years ago and it fared quite well in our tests. One of my main gripes was that their earlier models, which didn't have VoIP, were limited to just 2 PSTN lines. With the advent of VoIP, obviously this limitation is no longer the case.

Microsoft and MCI team up on VoIP

December 7, 2005

According to TheVoIPWeblog which received a tip regarding Overdo's Land of Nothingness blog entry, Microsoft is planning on using MCI for VoIP termination.

TheVoIPWeblog writes, "According to a tipster, Microsoft will soon be announcing that it has contracted MCI to provide outbound PSTN calling for click-to-call applications and for Live Messenger. This would provide outbound dialing capability a la SkypeOut. Hit the link for the tip-off."

You can read more about Microsoft offering PSTN termination here on the Microsoft Live site.

It still remains to be seen how successful Microsoft will be at convincing users to make VoIP to PSTN calls. After all, they failed with Microsoft NetMeeting and they failed with Windows/MSN Messenger to attain a critical mass of users terminating to the PSTN.





Verizon encrypts your email

December 7, 2005

Verizon announced today that it selected the Echoworx e-mail encryption solution and has launched the email encryption service. According to their release, "This new service is a complement to Verizon Online's Internet access, e-mail and security product portfolios. According to market research, 82 percent of business owners and managers who send e-mail over the Internet are aware business and customer data is potentially at risk of interception."

The software is a downloadable plug-in that currently works with Outlook and Outlook Express. If the recipient is another registered Verizon Secure Mail user, the user can open the message after entering a password.

GotVoice consolidates all your voicemail accounts

December 7, 2005

Someone passed a tip on a company called GotVoice that allow users to retrieve their voicemail from any source, residential, office or mobile phone, consolidate them to a single voicemail account, and then access it within their email or on our web page. According to GotVoice, "Multiple accounts - corporate voicemail, cellular voicemail, residential voicemail, even home answering machines - can all be consolidated into a single voicemail box, forwarded from one voice mailbox to another, or forwarded into an email account." It's an interesting concept. It is a bit tedious to have to have to check your cellphone voicemail, your work voicemail, and even your home voicemail/answering machine periodically.

I'm not sure exactly how this product works, but a quote from their website states, "GotVoice's patent pending technology is based on the concept of software agents called "voice recognition robots." These software robots can be trained to interact in real-time with any voice-response system to provide web-based management of existing voicemail accounts."

I read this to mean their software will traverse any IVR/auto-attendant by passing along the appropriate DTMF/touch-tones to get to your voicemail box, including the DTMF digits for your voicemail password. Thus, I would assume you would need to give GotVoice your voicemail password(s) to your various voicemail accounts (cell phone, work, etc.) There are definitely many that will be unwilling to "trust" a third-party with knowing their voicemail password.





Listen to email on your iPod or mobile phone

December 7, 2005

MagneticTime announced their MT1 software that lets you listen to your emails and Word docs on iPods, Cellphones, PDAs & PCs in MP3 format. MagneticTime’s MT1 allows you to listen to your Outlook, Outlook Express & Word documents like 'songs,' since they are automatically converted to MP3 files on your iPod, cellphone, PDA or PC. I couldn't determine whose Text-To-Speech (TTS) algorithm they use when I checked out their website.

How it Works
MT1 automatically creates a new Outlook folder. Once a new email arrives in your inbox, it’s automatically selected & copied to that folder, where it awaits processing and translation to audio.


GLOOTIX offers encrypted VoIP

December 6, 2005

I came across a new VoIP company, called GLOOTIX, that is offering VoIP encryption and they are utilizing the SIP standard. According to their blog, "Today, we're celebrating the birth of the first encrypted VoIP provider in Europe! GLOOTIX arrives, and with it, VoIP becomes finally safe while remaining economic. Take the time to discover details of this offer, check the GLOOTIX Blog!"

More info from their GLOOTIX's website:

For the first time ever you can have access to a real secured and unlimited VoIP calls package :
Secured: Encrypted communications under SIP protocol ""
Unlimited :" You can call anywhere in Europe* at anytime"
No tricks, no commitment, no other fees
Just for 19,90 EUR

This offer ends on March 1st 2006.

I actually found the website's blog through Technorati when I was trying to determine who was linking to me.









Converged Mobile VoIP solution

December 6, 2005

Imagine being able to have a converged VoIP & data solution that services your mobile phone, your (mobile) laptop, and your (mobile) PDA with a single VoIP number. Well, today Tatara Systems, a leader in mobile services convergence, announced availability of its Converged Mobile VoIP solution to enable nomadic VoIP services using a subscriber's mobile phone number across any IP network, with the first application as an integrated laptop solution for mobile operators. (Bridgeport Networks does something very similar)

Tatara has entered market trials with major carrier customers marking an industry first where an end-user subscriber is able to maintain their mobile phone number identity to both make and receive VoIP calls across a variety of access networks using converged mobile devices such as laptops. This offering gives mobile operators, both traditional and MVNOs, the opportunity to participate in the growing VoIP market by providing a significantly better, integrated end-user solution than you can get today via a standalone softphone service.

Zultsys Bluetooth conference phone

December 6, 2005


Zultys Technologies today announced the BTC phone, a Bluetooth wireless conference phone that is compatible with its range of SIP IP phones as well as mobile phones. It works with both SIP IP phones and mobile phones? Very cool! According to Zultys's release, "The BTC (Bluetooth Conference Phone) provides unparalleled speech quality and removes clutter from the conference room table."

They claims that the BTC phone is incredibly easy to use, having just three buttons. The phone is paired with any Bluetooth phone such as the Zultys ZIP 4x5 IP phone.


Skype Me! book

December 6, 2005

Looking for some good reading material with the time off for the holidays? Well, Syngress Publishing, Inc., today announced the publication of "Skype Me! From Single User to Small Enterprise and Beyond" by Michael Gough of SkypeTips.com - the first book written on Skype. The book shows readers how to install, configure, deploy, and secure Skype VoIP solutions.

Retailing for $34.95, the Skype paperback covers the following:
-Get through the Basics Painlessly
Step-by-step instructions get you up and running on Windows, Mac, Pocket PC, and Linux devices.

-Create Skype Accounts and Begin Chatting Sign up, become listed in the Skype directory, and begin searching for contacts.

-Transition Existing Services to Skype
Plan a process that gradually replaces those services you currently pay for with Skype.

-Expand Skype's Capabilities with Add-ons See how to add voice mail, SMS text messaging, Outlook integration, Web toolbars, and call forwarding.

-Extend Skype via Its API
The API itself is divided into two main sections, the Skype Phone API and the Skype Access API.

-Use Skype Away from Your Computer
No, you don't need to be at your computer to use Skype.
















Cingular BroadbandConnect 3G network

December 6, 2005

Cingular has just launched BroadbandConnect, a 3G wireless network that Cingular claims is the largest national high-speed wireless data network. The broadband service will be available to around 35 million people. Cingular, plans to expand the high-speed wireless network throughout 2006. Cingular's 3G network uses HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access), which is a combination of GSM and EDGE (Enhanced Data for GSM Environment).

Microsoft sued over XBox 360 crashing

December 6, 2005

A Chicago man who bought Microsoft Corp.'s new Xbox 360 has sued Microsoft claiming the new video game console has a design flaw that causes it to overheat and freeze up. According to the MSNBC/Reuters article, "The proposed class action claims that in Microsoft's bid to gain share in the $25 billion global video game market, the company was so intent on releasing the Xbox 360 before competing next-generation machines from Sony Corp. and Nintendo Co Ltd. that it sold a "defectively designed" product".

Ok, first off, every company in the world launch products to market as fast as they can to get the jump on competitors. Just about every new car design has at least one recall on a particular part. Should we force car manufacturers to do 10 years of research to ensure that any new car designs are completely 100% flawless?

SunRocket offers low-priced limited VoIP service plan

December 6, 2005

SunRocket, today announced that it will offer a limited VoIP service plan for $9.95 per month that includes enhanced 911 service, free calling features such as call waiting, caller ID and three-way calling, 200 minutes of global calling and unlimited inbound and SunRocket to SunRocket Internet phone calling. Unlimited inbound but only 200 minutes of global calling? Interesting... So what you can do as a workaround is simply call someone and say "Quick!

Altec Lansing Says Goodbye to Cheesy Headphones

December 6, 2005

Leveraging the company’s well-earned expertise in professional audio reproduction, Altec Lansing has entered the consumer earphone market with its inMotion™ iM616 and iM716.  Both models utilize patented Etymotic Research technology to provide a market-leading 35db of noise isolation. 

The inMotion earphones feature a special earplug-like design that blocks virtually all ambient noise when used with MP3 players and other portable audio devices.  The company claims this passive noise isolation technology outperforms active noise-cancelling earphones by a wide margin — in some cases multiples of 10 — to ensure that traffic and other external sources of noise have minimal impact on the listening experience.

Each earpiece contains a specially engineered speaker that is designed to provide maximum sound fidelity at all frequencies.  This combination of the speaker design and noise isolation technology not only enables you to hear more tone and detail than ever before, but also helps prevent hearing damage and sound distortion.

The inMotion iM616 features enhanced bass, an 84% sound accuracy rating as well as a black earplug and cord with a shirt clip for optimal positioning.  The inMotion iM716 features both enhanced bass and high-definition audio modes and you can choose either one with an in-line controller located on the cable.  This controller also doubles as a shirt clip and includes a switch permitting volume control directly from the earphones.  The iM716 has a sound accuracy rating of 90% and a white form factor that matches the Apple’s standard issue iPod.

Advertisements in video games

December 5, 2005

Activision, Inc. and Nielsen Entertainment today released the results of a study on the effectiveness of in-game advertising that incorporates different levels of product integration. According to some video interviews I watched, the two companies feel that advertisements and product placements within video games will become more prevalent. I'm still trying to get used to commercials when I'm in a movie theater - just give me the movie previews damn it! And damn E.T.

Holiday Gift Shortages: Xbox 360 & iPods Top This Year's Model

December 5, 2005

Google Calendar launches

December 5, 2005

Rumor has it that Google Calendar will launch tomorrow. Kudos to Russell Shaw for noticing the Google domain simply by playing a word guessing game. Jeremy has some insightful thoughts and a feature "wish list" for Google Calendar. Personally, I'm not too crazy about online calendars.

boynq Notone USB VoIP phone

December 5, 2005

Bellsouth the Grinch Who Stole Christmas

December 5, 2005

According to the Washington Post, "hours after New Orleans officials announced Tuesday that they would deploy a city-owned, wireless Internet network in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, regional phone giant BellSouth Corp. withdrew an offer to donate one of its damaged buildings that would have housed new police headquarters, city officials said yesterday."

Well isn't that nice? You donate something and then take it back? Who does that?

Apparently, BellSouth was upset about the plan to bring high-speed Internet access for "free" to homes and businesses.



Now I’ve Heard Everything! An 'iPod Tax'?

December 2, 2005

Google integrates Web Search with Google Groups

December 2, 2005

I was searching Google on "Perl for ISAPI rather than perl.exe" and noticed at the bottom of the search results was some strange icons (question mark and exclamation mark in a white ballon) and a different set of search results offset from the regular web search results. I hovered my mouse of the results and realized they were links to Google Groups (newsgroups) related to my keyword search. Ok, that's interesting. Does that mean Google is now integrating all Web searches with Google Groups?

This seemed a bit odd since the average user doesn't use newsgroups, but I suppose since it's at the bottom it's not obtrusive.

Eyeball Messenger 1.0 sneak peak

December 2, 2005

Windows Vista - no reboot after installing or updating software

December 2, 2005

One of the most annoying aspects of Windows is that when you update the software, drivers or parts of the operating system, you need to reboot. After you update something you get a message that says the system needs to restart in order to complete the update. Sometimes it will offer you the option of restarting now with a Yes/No option. The worst is the ones that don't even give you an option.

Google Gtalkr for Google Talk

December 1, 2005


Gtalkr is a Flash-based website-enabling access to Google Talk and was launched yesterday as a beta. It allows you to access your Google Talk (Gtalk) instant messaging account without the software client installed, from any computer that has Flash installed. Comparisons will no doubt be made with Meebo, however Gtalkr is only for Google Talk and uses Flash instead of Ajax. The screenshot above is the upper-left hand portion after I logged onto Gtalkr. Check out this site which has screenshots and some further analysis, as well as this site.

Chitika cheaters?

December 1, 2005

I came across this blog post on Jensense talking about Chitika ads, which claimed that the unaudited Chitika revenue numbers didn't line up with the "audited revenue" Chitika numbers. All bloggers knew that there might be some click fraud which would reduce the audited revenue number, however, many bloggers are seeing 25-90% drops in revenue! Yikes! I haven't really been checking the audited statistics for my Chitika ads since I haven't had them on for very long and all the revenue goes to TMC anyway.

MMS Podcast to your mobile phone

December 1, 2005

Recently, Tea Vui Huang told me about his new application for Multimedia Messaging (MMS) that creates "bite-size" podcasts for your mobile phone. An MMS message is a multimedia presentation that encompasses images and audio clips. This innovative new telco software converts Enhanced Podcasts into chapters of MMS messages. The MMS podcasts can then be fetched on demand by the user, or pushed to the user on a subscription basis.

It's Better To Give Than To Receive

December 1, 2005

The old holiday adage that “it’s better to give than to receive” really rings true at the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to recycling old cell phones and used rechargeable batteries (www.call2recycle.org). Since its inception in 1996, it has collected 13,000 tons of materials in the U.S. and Canada.

RBRC collects the Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion), and Small Sealed Lead (Pb) rechargeable batteries that power a variety of portable electronic products such as cellular and cordless phones, power tools, laptop computers, camcorders, two-way radios, and remote control toys.

Google Talk has a blog

December 1, 2005

Packet8 e911 Coverage Map

December 1, 2005

Someone posted a comment to a recent blog post of mine regarding what I considered the FCC's "impossible e911 mandate" and said, "Quit your whining about poor old Vonage. If Packet8 can meet the FCC mandate, then every other VoIP company should be required to do so - or accept their punishment."

He got suckered into believing the "spin" that Packet8 has put out in their press releases, making it "seem" like Packet8 is completely e911-compliant. But as I replied in the comments to that blog post, the truth is another story. Packet8 used some carefully crafted words in their press release to make it seem like they were 100% e-911 compliant.

Skype 2.0 review

December 1, 2005

With the launch of Skype 2.0 beta today, I thought I'd take the new version of Skype for a quick whirl. The Skype interface looks much the same as before - the same clean look, but they definitely did some polishing. The main new feature in Skype 2.0 is the video feature which I will examine in in a minute. First I want to point out some interesting new features.

Skype 2.0 beta

December 1, 2005

Skype 2.0 beta is released and it now includes video capabilities. Skype also announced its collaboration with Logitech, Creative, and with weblog software and services company Six Apart (creators of TypePad and MovableType). The new edition features a new search box to type in names or numbers which will then match entries in the user's address book. It also features an installable toolbar within Outlook to search from there as well.

Another interesting feature is that through Skype's partnership with Six Apart, it let users of its TypePad blogging service integrate Skype presence into their weblogs.

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