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February 2006

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Is Free TiVO On the Horizon?

February 28, 2006

In days of old (actually not that long ago), everybody who had TiVO loved to tell anybody who didn’t have TiVO how great the system was – record TV show, watch them when you want (and skip the commercials!). Ah, those were the days ...

Now, as TiVO faces increasing competition on simultaneous front – cable TV companies, satellite TV companies and consumer electronics manufacturers with their own digital video recorder offerings – TiVO is contemplating the ultimate four-letter word in CE (and any other market, too): free.

Yes, in another version of the “give away the razor, sell the blades,” TiVO is considering pricing options that would include free set-top boxes (with the trade-off being long plans or some such catch.

Steve Jobs unveils new Apple products

February 28, 2006

At today's special Apple Event, Apple made several product announcements that can finally silence the "hype" that has been surrounding this news event for the past several days. As I predicted, Apple did not launch an Apple iPod VoIP device. They did however announce a few products including two updated models of their Mac mini.

From TAUW:
1.5GHz Intel Core Single
1.5GHz Intel Core Solo processor
2MB L2 Cache
667MHz Frontside Bus
512MB memory (667MHz DDR2 SDRAM)
60GB Serial ATA hard drive
Combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
Price: Starts at $599.00

1.67 GHz Intel Core Dual
1.66GHz Intel Core Duo processor
2MB L2 Cache
667MHz Frontside Bus
512MB memory (667MHz DDR2 SDRAM)
80GB Serial ATA hard drive
Double-layer SuperDrive (DVD R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
Price: Starts at $799.00

They also announced a new leather sleeve for the iPod, which no doubt will cause many third-party accessory manufacturers to cry foul. Note the "official" iPod logo.

Weblogs Outage

February 28, 2006

NEUTON Cordless Electric Mower

February 28, 2006

The NEUTON Cordless Electric Mower is an environmentally friendly mower that is also half as loud as their gas-guzzling brethren.You can do yourself and the environment a big favor by swapping your gasoline-powered, fume-spewing lawn mower for the NEUTON Cordless Electric Mower.

Here are some excerpts from their news release...

Not to be confused with electric mowers that run off an extension cord, the NEUTON Cordless Electric Mower is a lightweight, battery-powered lawn mower with the unique added capability of trimming and edging. It will run for about one hour on a single charge and springs to life, quietly, with the simple push of a button, relegating the back straining pull-cord and associated noises to a distant memory. The simple-to-use drop in battery pack can be recharged with less than 10 cents worth of electricity.

The NEUTON Mower is also the quietest mower available - emitting fewer than 80 decibels while under full power, about half as loud as a 90 decibel gasoline-powered mower. [NOTE: the decibel scale is non-linear – a 10 dB increase is perceived by the ear as double].

Weighing only 48 pounds the NEUTON Mower is ideal for people with quarter-acre or smaller lawns who don't want the headache, backache, hassle or noise associated with gasoline-powered mowers.

Apple launches VoIP iPod?

February 28, 2006

Red Herring is creating their own little "herring" by speculating that Apple plans on launching an Apple iPod with VoIP capabilities. Red Herring writes:

When Apple talks, people listen-and chat among themselves—and the computer company’s announcement about products to be unveiled Tuesday had watchers speculating about a VoIP-enabled iPod. <snip...> Talk of Wi-Fi on personal media devices like iPods has generated speculation that the company might roll out VoIP-enabled media players.

My reply? I don't think so. Not yet anyway.

iLoad-c Downloads Wireless Music Directly to iPod Nano using Cell Carrier's music store

February 28, 2006

iLoad-c is able to wirelessly deliver music directly to the iPod Nano using your carrier's network and music store.

The folks at Wingspan claim to be the Evangelists of the “shortest distance between two points” theory. Today Wingspan revealed a video demonstration of its iLoad-c, a gadget that utilizes the music stores
proliferating on cell phone networks, to download music directly to the Apple iPod Nano, without using a computer.

iLoad-c clamps onto a Nano and then connects to your cell carrier’s music store to download the music directly to the Nano.

Wingspan will provide the device that is initially compatible with the Verizon, Sprint/Nextel, Cingular and T-Mobile networks and will shortly begin discussions with Apple and others to enable the WiFi capability within the device.

iLoad-c is planned for release by mid-Summer at a retail price of $199

Wingspan’s other announced devices include iLoad, a device that copies CDs to the iPod without using a computer and iLoad-v, a device that connects to a cable or satellite TV boxes and records video and music onto the iPod without using a computer.

Watch the video on

Worldwide IP PBX Revenue Up 23%, TDM Systems Down 15% in 2005

February 27, 2006

Just wanted to share some recent IP-PBX vs. traditional TDM PBX market share numbers from Infonetics that came out today. Infonetics tracked Cisco and determined they were the market leader with 42% unit market share in 2005. I wonder if Infonetics also tracks Asterisk?

Skype your favorite Hollywood Celebrity

February 27, 2006

Hey, you wanna talk to Penelope Cruz, Matthew McConaughey, Brooke Shields, or some other celebs? Well, according to the Share Skype blog, you can now. You actually have to outbid others for the privilege on eBay and it's for a charitable cause. Now, I know why eBay spent $4 billion on Skype!

Xtremey Gives It Academy Awards Treatment; Get Out and Vote

February 27, 2006

If you're into extreme sports (and who isn't -- from the active to the armchair), then you don't want to miss your chance to vote in the 6th Annual Xtremey Awards. (It's sort of like the Academy Awards, but without all of the gowns and other trappings.)

Just take a look at these categories in which you can cast your vote:

  • Best Freestyle MX
  • Best Freestyle Sportbike
  • Best 50' Freestyle
  • Best Competition Documentary
  • Best Broadcast Competition
  • Best Off-Road Truck
  • Best Quad/Sand
  • Best Rock Crawling
  • Best Snowmobile

We've got Travis, Metzger and a whole bunch of others takin' it to the max. 

My favorite -- FMX Riot 2005 -- another awesome Paul Taublieb DVD!

VoIPCentral interviews Aswath Rao

February 27, 2006

Newer Technology: Solving the iPod Battery Problem

February 27, 2006

The iPod is certainly a lot of fun, but not when the battery dies (come think of it, what product is?). However, battery replacement for the iPod has a shrouded-in-mystery feeling when you have to send or take it somewhere special to have the battery replaced.

Now, Newer Technology has solved that problem with its super-duper, handy-dandy, ultra-awesome NuPower High-Capacity iPod Replacement Battery. Oh, by the way, the NuPower actually increases capacity as compared to the original Apple battery; the iPod mini, for example, gets a 50% boost.

Microsoft Outlook really sucks sometimes

February 24, 2006

Microsoft Outlook 2003 is my primary email client in the office.I've used Outlook for over 12 years, heck before it was even called Microsoft Outlook. I don't even remember its original name. Was it Windows Messenging? I think the server portion was Microsoft Mail (MS Mail?).

Rich's Top 8 things to do if Blackberry gets shut down

February 24, 2006

David Pogue Has Done It Again

February 24, 2006

It's a trifecta for David Pogue, who writes the weekly "Circuits" technology e-newsletter  and a column for The New York Times! (Every Thursday).

This week's column, "How to Survive a Tech Support Call" is a funny (pathetic, but funny) column about dealing with tech support (in this case specifically Dell).

The two previous columns -- "Where Hard Drives Go When They Die" and "The Fight Against Hard-to-Open Packaging" -- are also brilliant, but in different ways.  The first is a look at a company that salvages data off of dead computer drives (with some celebrity clients -- Keith Richards to Gerald Ford), while the second looks a thorny problem we all come to face when dealing with gadgets -- the plastic packaging that entombs them can be next to impossible to open.

His column is always worth a look and a read.

Announcement: We Have a Winner in Apple's iTunes Contest

February 24, 2006

Free VoIP calling to Central America

February 23, 2006

DigiLinea, a Voice over IP service provider to the US Hispanic and Latin American markets, announced today a unique VoIP offering - the availability of new unlimited calling plans to the USA and Latin American for clients residing in Central America. What caught my eye was this part of their news release, "DigiLinea is the only major VoIP provider with local licensing that allows DigiLinea to offer VoIP services legally in Central America." So are they saying that DigiLinea has a monopoly on VoIP in the Central American market that crosses several countries with their own rules, regulations, and political agendas? That's odd... Of, they used a disclaimer "only major VoIP provider".

Free SkypeOut Day

February 23, 2006

Video Gaming Goes Major League

February 23, 2006

Skype Offers More Payment Options and Local Currencies

February 23, 2006

Skype has some new payment options including the ability to pay in US Dollars via PayPal, Moneybookers and Click&Buy. Here's the news..

Skype, the global Internet communications company, today announced new, convenient, global payment methods for customers to buy products from Skype Credit is now available in 14 local currencies including US Dollars, and can be purchased with myriad payment methods such as PayPal, bank transfers and credit cards.

Skype Credit can be used to buy SkypeOut calling minutes, SkypeIn numbers, Skype Voicemail, and personalized ringtones and avatars.

Skype has made it easier for people on most continents – including Europe, the Americas, Asia and Oceania – to buy and keep track of their Skype Credit in 14 local currencies, including Euros, US Dollars, Polish Zloty, Brazilian Real, Canadian Dollar, British Pound, New Taiwanese Dollar, Swedish Krona, Danish Krona, Norvegian Krona, Japanese Yen, Hong Kong Dollar, Australian Dollar and Swiss Francs.

Skype customers can now enjoy a simpler and faster way to buy Skype Credit with PayPal. Once customers pre-approve payments with PayPal on their Skype account, they can pay in just two clicks. With PayPal, Skype customers can fund payments using their stored PayPal balances, their bank accounts, or any major credit card. PayPal has more than 100 million accounts across 55 markets worldwide, and supports seven currencies.

iTunes Marches On To 1 Billion -- And You Can Win

February 23, 2006

I’m sure Apple in its wildest dreams never imagined that iTunes would be the runaway hit that it is.  As the iTunes Music Store heads toward download number 1 billion, Apple has 1 billion reasons to celebrate.  And to mark the way, music fans who download every 100,000th song will receive a prize package featuring a black 4GB iPod nano and a $100 iTunes Music Card.

But that’s not all.  If you feel lucky (you do feel lucky, don’t you?), then the music fan who downloads the 1 billionth song from the iTunes Music Store will receive a 20-inch iMac, not one iPod, but 10 60GB iPods as well as a $10,000 iTunes Music Card to jumpstart your digital music collection. In addition, Apple will create a full-ride scholarship in your name to a world-renowned music school.

Monster Advice on Gadgets Dos and Don'ts

February 22, 2006

WordPress outage?

February 22, 2006

Is there a major WordPress outage? I was on Scobleizer's blog when all of a sudden his web pages started timing out. Since he is on a hosted WordPress website (didn't he switch a few months ago to Wordpress? ) I tried going to and it too timed out. Hosted Wordpress bloggers are probably not very happy with the outage this Wednesday morning.

Scobleizer flames the full vs. partial RSS feed debate

February 22, 2006

Scobleizer has a great post on why he hates partial RSS feeds. He even explains why RSS advertising currently doesn't work by stating:

The reason RSS advertising doesn’t work today is:
1) The audiences are too small.
2) The audiences are too geeky and too full of smart people. Hint, those people don’t click on advertisements unless they are very targetted!

He then goes on to explain how even with full RSS feeds you can still drive traffic to your website and thus still incur revenue. But then plays the other side of the fence when he says "Now, the fear is that the model will go away tomorrow thanks to RSS being built into IE 7, Safari, Firefox, Opera and other browsers.

Intel Inside; No, Mariah Carey Instead

February 22, 2006

Belgacom IP-TV offers plug and play IP-TV experience

February 22, 2006

Today, SupportSoft announced that Belgacom's 800,000+ broadband subscribers can now enjoy the benefits of speedy and easy self-installation of an IPTV connection with the help of SupportSoft's SmartAccess solution. The SmartAccess tool enables Belgacom customers to verify their systems for firmware, modem and set-top characteristics; configure their PC and wireless gateway; and connect all the key components together -- reducing the need for lengthy and costly truck rolls to their premises and driving adoption of the new service. Basically SupportSoft has enabled a "plug and play IP-TV" experience. Amazing...

Peer-to-Peer phone system for the SMB - No PBX Required

February 21, 2006

I've written about Peerio/Popular Telephony in the past in regards to their P2P VoIP solutions. There have been some criticisms that Popular Telephony is "vaporware" or that it doesn't work. I doubt that is the case since Popular Telephony has offered me to look at and test their software on a few occasions, but alas, I've been too busy to test it. So many VoIP products to test, so little time.

In any event, Popular Telephony today came out with some interesting news I thought I'd share...


(Sophia Antipolis, France) February 21, 2005. Popular Telephony today introduced Peerio ONE+ONE™, a breakthrough peer-to-peer (P2P) IP phone for SMB users offering advanced embedded PBX functionality that eliminates the need for small and medium sized enterprises to own and maintain in-premises IP PBX and related VoIP equipment or outsource their communications to hosted services providers.

miniSolitaire Goes Big Time

February 21, 2006

Everybody loves Solitaire (maybe even as much as poker) and now Red Mercury has released , the first full-featured, gadget-size solitaire card game for Microsoft Windows. Taking a cue from conveniently sized Windows gadgets, these new games are designed to easily integrate into your daily multitasking workflow.

As small as a credit card (and as thin as a photon), miniSolitaire fits nicely among other active desktop applications. Though small, miniSolitaire is densely packed with great game play features.

SkypeIn comes to Japan

February 21, 2006

Vonage offers enhanced 411 directory assistance

February 21, 2006

Vonage has selected Excell Services to provide its customers with Enhanced Directory Assistance Services (411), including movie listings, stock quotes, sports scores and more. This also includes regular number queries as well as address and reverse searches. In additio, Vonage customers now have access to Directory Assistance services for all of North America as well as many international destinations through the Excell Services network.

No word on pricing or if it tells you how much you will pay BEFORE giving you the information. Nothing like opening your monthly bill and noticing you're getting "shafted" by expensive directing listing information.

Carrier VoIP Market Hits New High in 2005 at $2.5B

February 21, 2006

Interesting Infonetics report saying carrier voice equipment purchases are growing very rapidly with VoIP being a primary driver in carriers replacing antiquated equipment. If you didn't realize it already, it looks more and more like VoIP will be the "shot" in the arm for the telecom market. Could the good ole' days (mid-to-late 90's) of double-digit revenue growth for the carriers be far behind? Nah...

Asterikast video podcasts to teach you Asterisk

February 21, 2006

Asterikast is a podcast that teaches and explains about the VoIP-capable Asterisk PBX by Digium. According to Asterikast, "We also plan on having videos that can help step you through the process of setting up your very own Asterisk PBX."

They already have two episodes available for download. Episode I, "the very first episode of Asterikast" they cover how to compile Asterisk and setup one SIP phone. Episode II has much higher quality video, audio and on-screen footage.

OfficeMax to offer Vonage business offering

February 21, 2006

OfficeMax, one of the nation's largest office supply retailers and distributors, is now offering small businesses "starter kits" from Vonage. OfficeMax is offering the Linksys PAP2 Phone Adapter or the WRTP54G Wireless Router, configured with Vonage's $49.99 per month Small Business Unlimited plan.

I wonder just how many businesses actually use Vonage for their phone provider? Although I trust Vonage for my home residential line with some minor quirks here and there (choppy voice, busy tone when dialing), I'm not sure I'd be willing to put up with those "quirks" if I ran a business.

Maybe once Vonage goes IPO they'll open their books and we'll find out exactly how many business customers they have. Actually, they have to open up their books now before the IPO but I don't believe that information is made publicly available.

Covad buys NextWeb California's largest fixed-wireless provider

February 21, 2006

This morning, Covad Communications Group announced the closing of its acquisition of NextWeb, California’s largest fixed-wireless broadband provider for business.

This wireless connectivity helps augment Covad’s existing wireline broadband and VoIP capabilities and can also reduce the company’s dependence on the Bell companies. Covad will issue approximately 16 million shares of stock and pay approximately $3.9 million in cash for NextWeb.

I should point out that one WiMAX base station can serve a five-mile radius and the first WiMAX certified equipment is expected will be available later this year. Covad has been trialing “pre-WiMAX” equipment in the Bay Area for some time now.

A Dream Date with NEC's 20WMGX2 Monitor

February 21, 2006

First we all got excited when we could trade-in (meaning get rid of and upgrade) our cathode ray tube monitors – the ones with the big piece sticking out the back – for new slim and trim LCD monitors. Now we get excited when we can move up from those 15-inch LCDs to something that’s got more size, more presence, more of everything.

Well, if you want to take a major step in that direction and skip all of the interim “baby steps,” then go for NEC’s excellent multi-function 20WMGX2 display. Building on the success of its award-winning MultiSync GX LCD monitor line, the GX2 raises the standard for both computing and entertainment.

Voodoo PC Got Game (Serious Game)

February 20, 2006

If you’re a serious gamer – and I mean a really serious gamer, Voodoo PC has the rigs you need to rule the world! 

The company’s flagship model, the Omen Extreme Gamer, is the most advanced liquid cooled PC available today. It features system-wide liquid cooling, including ATi Crossfire and NVIDIA SLI, the motherboard chipset and the CPU.

It’s the quietest high-performance PC and one of the most distinctive looking (no boring putty or black boxes for VD PC).

Radio Shack to close 700 stores

February 17, 2006

Radio Shack plans on closing 400-700 stores after reporting a whopping 62% drop in revenue from the 4th quarter last year. Radio Shack is every electronic hobbyist's and every geek over the age of 30's favorite electronics store - or at least Radio Shack used to be before being surpassed by stores like Circuit City and Best Buy.

But growing up, I enjoyed going to Radio Shack more than checking out the toys at the local Toys R Us. Electronics and computer stuff were my thang' as a kid. In fact, my first computer, a TRS-80 Color Computer (CoCo) was purchased at Radio Shack and it featured a whopping 4K RAM and 8K ROM with Microsoft Color Basic v1.0. I learned my first programming language (BASIC) on the CoCo. It's truly a sad sad day to hear that they have fallen on hard times.

IDT buys Net2Phone for $28.1 million

February 17, 2006

IDT said today it will buy VoIP provider Net2Phone Inc. for approximately $28.1 million and turn it into a privately held, wholly owned subsidiary.

IDT's subsidiary, NTOP Acquisition Inc., will merge with Net2Phone, and keep the Net2Phone name and Net2Phone's stock will be deregistered from Nasdaq.

The companies intend to convert Net2Phone's stock into $2.05 in cash per share. The $2.05 is the same amount IDT paid per share in its tender offer for Net2Phone common stock when it bought 31.6 million shares in late January. Gee, and I thought Net2Phone was holding out for more?

Area775 connects VoIP & Mobile phones

February 17, 2006

Well, I'm late to the Area775 party, Alec Saunders covered Michael Robertson's new venture quite nicely. Michael Robertson was kind enough to give me a heads-up on the Area775 news on Wednesday before the news hit the wires, but I was in Toronto visiting with Sangoma Technologies, makers of WAN cards, and telephony boards that work on Asterisk and other open-source PBX platforms. More on that in another blog post later.

In any event, Michael Robertson told me, that Area775 "is the first consumer service to give you one number that will reach you on your computer or your mobile phone. It can even transfer calls between the two locations (answer on your PC, click a button and you're talking on your mobile or vice versa).

Up, Up & Away: Another Dish for the Network

February 17, 2006

021709: Bye-Bye Analog TV

February 17, 2006

Nokia/Sanyo To Merge CDMA Phones

February 16, 2006

Nintendo DS Adds Web & TV?

February 16, 2006

Microsoft Beta of Office Live Released

February 15, 2006

Microsoft has released the beta of Office Live, which offers small-business owners (and others!) the opportunity to sample (for free) the company’s new Internet-based software services.  If you’re interested in participating in the beta program, register online at

The illustration below is the screen users would see when they sign up for Microsoft Office Live. Makes It Easy to Get Personal

February 15, 2006

Skins, skins, skins – can you ever have enough of them? is an online treasure trove – with vinyl skins featuring leading brands for more than 500 consumer electronic devices. makes it easy way to personalize you favorite devices with vinyl skins, including mobile phones, iPods, PDAs and gaming devices.

Mobile device owners can choose a skin reflecting sports leagues or players (NBA, Wayne Gretzky), college logos, Greek letters, movie or music brands (Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley), comic characters or fashion style. The skin itself is made from a professional-grade vinyl, which is printed via a proprietary process that ensures detailed and premium images. The skin is then coated with a glossy finish and custom cut, which creates a perfect fit for each device.

MovieBeam offers high-definition (HDTV) movie downloads

February 14, 2006

MovieBeam plans on offering high-definition (HDTV) downloads. The video-on-demand movie service spun out of Walt Disney said it plans to offer first-run films from six of the seven film studios in standard digital-video format and high-definition films from Disney and Warner Bros. studios.

According to MovieBeam, some movies will even be made available at the same time as they come out on DVD. But here's my problem with this HDTV service - it requires yet another piece of home entertainment equipment to sit on top of your TV or entertainment system. My entertainment system is already crowded with a Denon 7.1 surround sound receiver, Denon amplifier for the rear surround channels, XBox, Toshiba DVD player, Linksys Media Extender, and VCR - not to mention a Sony Media Center 2005 PC sitting on top of one of my speakers.

A Gadget Makes the Perfect Valentine's Day Gift

February 14, 2006 First Global Virtual Soccer Game Championship

February 14, 2006

If you love to play soccer, then is for you!  The free web site invites soccer players and fans from all corners of the globe, including the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Russia, the U.S., Brazil, Argentina, Japan, China, India, South Korea, Australia, Kenya and South Africa, to lead their teams to the finals of the world cup championship.

The G10L.COM website is a free sports web portal with an innovative and uniquely new concept in the field of online gaming. This next-generation multi-player web game enables players from around the world to unite under one team and play as one community against other communities.

It’s free to play.

Mobile phone to Skype calls

February 14, 2006

Interesting bit of news I thought I'd share from iSkoot that lets you call your buddy list from your mobile phone without needing your PC. They claims it is the "first Mobile-Voice To Skype Network" but I think eqo may have something to say about that "first" claim.

In any event, the iSkoot software is simply a software download to your mobile phone to enable you to make Skype calls. Currently, the following phones are supported - Nokia Series 60 handsets: 6600,
6620, 6630, 6670, 6680, 6682, 7610, N70. They also plan to soon support Motorola
RAZR, Treo, Nokia Series 40 handsets.

Here's the news...

iSkoot's Complimentary Offering is a Peer-to-Peer Network Connecting Cell Phones to PC Calls Without Custom Phones, PCs or Wi-Fi

February 14, 2006 - iSkoot, a mobile Internet phone company, today introduced the iSkoot Mobile Network, a gateway that connects cellular voice and PC-to-PC networks.

Cash Back VoIP calling

February 14, 2006

Ironic, that Rich Tehrani (my boss) wrote in his Get Paid to VoIP entry today about how he is predicting that eventually people will be paid to talk using VoIP. Tsk tsk, Rich. You don't talk to me any more, because if you had, you would have known such a company already exists. Indeed, I am aware of one such company offering "cash back" to use their VoIP system. I've known about them for about a month, but have been too damn busy to give them a decent blog entry.

Microsoft and Skype announce new software for Windows mobile phones

February 14, 2006

Both Microsoft and Skype made announcments at 3GSM demonstrating their commitment to Windows mobile phone devices. First, Microsoft Office Communicator now has a mobile version that extends the reach of Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005's real-time collaboration features to Windows Mobile-based devices. This is a smart move by Microsoft and could help them achieve more market penetration of the Live Communicator client, which has been very slow in my opinion, especially when compared to Skype.

The reason? Well, Live Communications Server is certainly more business-focused than Skype, which has a consumer-focus, giving Skype a distinct advantage.

Global IP Sound (GIPS) is now available on the Sony Ericcson P990 phone

February 13, 2006

Global IP Sound (GIPS), a popular VoIP codec/voice engine used by Skype, Google Talk, and others, is now available on the Sony Ericcson P990 phone using the OptiMobile softclient called WBX UniPhone. I wonder if this is the first non-Windows mobile device that supports the GIPS voice engine? Anyway, check out the news.

February 13, 2006 - Global IP Sound (GIPS), the leading provider of embedded voice-processing solutions for the Voice over IP (VoIP) market, and OptiMobile, a leader in WBX-enabled services, today announced that Sony Ericsson's P990 terminal will integrate support for OptiMobile's WBX UniPhone client in order to provide convergence between WiFi and cellular networks. OptiMobile utilizes Global IP Sound's VoiceEngine Mobile within its WBX UniPhone to achieve superior voice quality for VoIP calls via WLAN.

Sour Taste in Apple's Intel iMacs

February 13, 2006

Skype wants to be my Valentine

February 13, 2006

Nokia 6136 dual mode phone

February 13, 2006

At the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, Nokia unveiled the Nokia 6136 UMA device, which can switch seamlessly between GSM and WLAN networks, thus enabling users to make calls via the Internet. The UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) technology will enable operators to deliver voice and data services to subscribers over WLAN access networks. In other words, find a WiFi hotspot and make Internet calls over the WiFi connection instead of over the GSM network. The news didn't specify what type of VoIP applications are supported on the Nokia 6136, so it is unclear if this phone supports Skype or any other popular VoIP application

The 6136 is a quad-band phone that will connect to GSM networks at 850, 900, 1800, and 1900MHz, which means it will work in the US and Europe.

Microsoft killed the Blackberry Star

February 13, 2006

First there was IBM's OS/2 and then came Microsoft Windows 95/98 and OS/2 was no more. In the battle for the most used wordprocessor, Wordperfect put up a valiant fight but alas, Microsoft Office took over - same with Lotus 123 which was soon replaced with Microsoft Excel as the most popular spreadsheet program. Then came Netscape and Microsoft countered with Internet Explorer and then Netscape was no more (or at least not the same as it once was). Then came Real, a really cool streaming application with a "free" lite version and a "paid" Realplayer Plus version and Microsoft responded with Windows Media Player, a completely "free" version.

Skype 3GSM news including Skype Mobile on the HP hw6900

February 13, 2006

Some Skype news from the first day of 3GSM in Barcelona that a Skype PR representative shared with me. First, HP is announcing that the new HP iPAQ hw6900 supports Skype Mobile for Pocket PC. The hw6900 looks just like the hw6515 that I drooled over, with a 240x240 TFT screen and integrated keyboard. The hw6900 is a bit heavier(6.33 oz vs.

Uniqall unveils Gridborg HMP 1.2 with SIP support

February 10, 2006

On Monday, Uniqall will unveil a beta version of Gridborg HMP 1.2 (Host Media Processing) with SIP included. Previous versions supported H.323, however this beta will also speak SIP. The Gridborg HMP 1.2 is available for free download and evaluation from the Uniqall web site. Honestly, I'm not too familiar with Uniqall's HMP solution and how it fits in with Intel's HMP solution.

Click: Now That's Total Control

February 10, 2006

You gotta love the premise of the Sony Pictures movie Click that opens in June -- that life can be controlled by a remote control, just like TV.  Adam Sandler (he can be very funny) operates that colorful and surprising simply laid out "Life Menu" remote (so few buttons! two in a row, four rows), pausing, rewinding and fast-forwarding as necessary to improve the quality of his life. Those close to him also apparently benefit too as evidenced by the “baseball catch” clip that aired during the Grammy Awards.

I’d rate this a “must watch” video or PPV choice, meaning don’t know if it’d be worth the multiple prices of admission at the local movie theater – not to mention the cost of the essential “King Kong”-size combo food snack.  (Doesn’t popcorn just taste better at the movie theater?)

Winter Olympics: When & Where You Want It

February 10, 2006

Grammys Go More Political; Sales Go Up?

February 10, 2006

Is it just me or did the Grammy Awards the other night reveal that once again music is becoming more overtly political (a ‘60s/’70s reprise)?  Yes, of course, everyone loves a good beat and a clever hook, but live performances by Jay-Z & Linkin Park and Bruce Springsteen had political messages right out front for everyone to hear. (And how about that Grammy for the JZ/LP “best rap/sung collaboration”? Reminds me of the classic Run-D.M.C./Aerosmith “Walk This Way” just from a collision of two musical genres into something good.)

On the other hand, surprised by Bono’s comment on How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (talk about an in-the-news political theme) that the U2 album title had nothing to do with politics, unless you reduce it right down to the most elemental political form – the relationship between two individuals.

Paigezilla VoIP Point-of-Sale Customer Kiosk

February 10, 2006

Eutectics phones have been integrated in the latest Point-of-Sale (POS) Customer Kiosk made by Micro Industries that is designed to enable customers to reach a company representative while in a store. They claim, "Micro Industries' Touch & Go Paigezilla VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is the newest self-service innovation for retail environments. Paigezilla, a state-of-the-art all-in-one computer allows the consumer to communicate via VoIP handset with your company, while they are in-store."

The Paigezilla with VoIP is designed to help retailers boost their sales while offering their visitors a virtual personal assistant. At first glance it seems a bit overkill to stick a PC with a USB phone in retail outlets when a standard phone works just as well.

FCC says A La Carte TV channels will save customers money

February 9, 2006

Interesting report from the FCC that found cable choice is not only economically feasible, but in most cases could even save consumers money.

"Today's report is exactly what consumers have been waiting for," said Lanier Swann, Director of Government Relations for Concerned Women for America in Washington, DC. "The FCC puts the lie to cable magnates' wild claims that a la carte would cost consumers more money and was not economically feasible. That argument has fallen flat on its face now that the FCC has shown that consumers could save up to 13 percent on their monthly cable bill."

CWA has been fighting the cable industry for years to bring about just such a change in television programming delivery. This fight included submitting testimony to the Senate Commerce Committee for their recent hearing on this subject.

Here's the report findings:

FCC Media Bureau Report Finds Substantial Consumer Benefits in A La Carte Model of Delivering Video Programming

Washington, DC - The Media Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today issued a Further Report on the Packaging and Sale of Video Programming Services to the Public (the “Further Report”) on the issue of an “a la carte” model for delivery of video services.

SkypeWeb integrates Skype with websites

February 9, 2006

Skype has announced SkypeWeb, a feature that shows others your presence status on the Web and is being integrated into many Web sites and blogs enabling site users to talk for free and better manage communications. According to Skype,, the #1 Social Networking site in the UK according to Neilsen/Netratings, is just one of the Web sites using SkypeWeb. It also integrates with SixApart's MovableType. SkypeWeb was in beta for awhile but today it's for general release. After some further thought, I'm a bit ho-hum on this news since if you use the HTML code to share your Skype presence information on your website(s) anyone can see your Skype presence and your Skype username. I get enough Skype spam calls as it is, so do I really want to share my Skype username with the entire Web?

RSS Feeds on Mobile Phones

February 8, 2006

Sure you got your Blackberry/Crackberry which gives you your "fix" of email, and sure you got your mobile phone for voice access and Web surfing, but the truly wired folks want not only email & web access but also access to their favorite RSS feeds. Yep, I for one need my fixin' of my favorite VoIP blog feeds, gadget blog feeds, general technology news feeds, and a dab of some political blog feeds, which I access using a Windows-based RSS reader application.

But what to do when you're not on your own PC? Sure you could use or some other web-based RSS reader, but what if you don't have access to ANY PC? What if all you have is your mobile phone?

Vonage IPO to raise $250 million

February 8, 2006

Yesterday, I wrote about a source informing me that Vonage plans on opening their SIP credentials. The source also mentioned that Vonage planned on waiting to drop the $9.99/month requirement to get SIP credentials until AFTER their IPO offering since they wanted the softphone users on the "balance sheets" for a better IPO. (Many Vonage users sign up for the softphone just to get access to the SIP credentials to use with SIP hardphones) He even said the IPO would be coming "very soon", but with so many rumors about a Vonage IPO, I decided not to mention it in my blog yesterday. If only I knew HOW soon.

Intel dual-core + Skype = 10 person conference

February 8, 2006

Intel is working with Skype to add features to the Skype software with features exclusive to Intel's dual core processors. The collaboration has resulted in support for a 10-way conference calling optimized for the Intel dual core processors (Intel Centrino Duo or an Intel Pentium D processor). The conferencing feature takes advantage of the multi-tasking capabilities of Intel dual-core processors, Intel said at a Skype page within its website. Currently, 5-way conferencing is the max on non dual-core and AMD chips.

Vonage opens SIP credentials?

February 7, 2006

A source informed VoIP & Gadgets Blog that Vonage plans to open up their SIP credentials to enable users to configure their own SIP softphones and SIP hardphones to work with the Vonage service at no additional charge. Today Vonage still has kept the SIP credentials "closed" preventing users from using their own SIP devices with the Vonage service. One of the main reasons why Vonage has kept the SIP credentials "closed" is that they charge $9.99/month for their SIP softphone client, which then gives you access to your "personal SIP credentials". It comes with 500 minutes along with a different SIP URI and PSTN number than your main Vonage phone number.

eMusic Makes It Free (For 30 Days)

February 7, 2006

USF tax and long-distance

February 7, 2006

A controversial proposal by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin plans to hike the Universal Service Fund (USF) charges for phone users who make few or no long-distance calls. But what is long-distance any more? If you're a broadband VoIP user using Vonage, Packet8, etc. technically nothing is long-distance in the traditional sense of the word.

Swiss Army Meets the MP3 Generation: Make Sense?

February 7, 2006

MobileEdge Makes Presentations Slick -- Just Like They Always Should Be

February 6, 2006

PowerPoint presentations are usually a two-person show -- one person to stand and talk and the other person to sit and press the necessary laptop button to advance the show to the next slide. It's a bit tedious -- and can get out of sync -- but that's the way it goes..

Well, mercifully, MobileEdge has put those days behind us. With its Slim-Line Wireless Presentation Remote, it's now possible for one person to do the whole show by simply pressing a button -- it's a TV remote streamlined into a credit card size and weight computer remote.

AOL and Yahoo to tax email

February 6, 2006

According to the AP, Yahoo! Inc. and America Online, plan to introduce a service that would charge senders a fee to route their e-mail directly to a user's mailbox without first passing through junk mail filters.

The AP states, "The fees, which would range from 1/4 cent to one cent per e-mail, are the latest attempts by the companies to weed out unsolicited ads, commonly called spam, and identity-theft scams. In exchange for paying, e-mail senders will be guaranteed their messages won't be filtered and will bear a seal alerting recipients they're legitimate."

So in other words, Yahoo and American Online, two publicly traded companies will charge for email? Sure, Yahoo and AOL will only charge "so-called" marketers to ensure their emails get through, but my guess is that Yahoo & AOL will "loosen" their spam rules which will catch more legitimate emails, thus forcing legitimate users to pay Yahoo and AOL money to ensure their emails go through thus raising their stock revenue/performance. It's the end of Internet email as we know it.

Even if this only does hit "marketers" do I really want marketers bypassing my hosted email provider's spam rules and thus delivering crap DIRECTLY to my main Inbox?

iFilm's Got SuperBowl Ads for the iPod & Download

February 6, 2006

JahJah Web a web-based VoIP software?

February 6, 2006

Jah Jah has a countdown "teaser" on their website that ends in 1 Day, 2 Hrs, 0 minutes and 40s (as I type this). Curious, I went to to see if their blog talked more about their countdown and what it means. The first thing I noticed on the blog was this "pixelated" graphic that obfuscated a cartoon female and obfuscated some text. The cartoon chick looks pretty smokin' too - what a tease!

SIP to Skype gateway breaks Skype's Great Wall of VoIP

February 6, 2006

Dal over at Asterisk VoIP News forwarded me an interesting link last week on a project he's been working on that creates a gateway between Skype and Asterisk or any SIP-based client. As most techies know, Skype uses a proprietary protocol and does not support inbound SIP calls. If you ask Skype CEO, Niklas Zennstrom why Skype chose their own proprietary protocol, (which many reporters have asked him), he always gives the same canned reply - that they chose their own proprietary protocol because SIP doesn't do everything they need, SIP has issues traversing firewalls, our proprietary protocol is more flexible, blah blah blah. Even though there are now NAT traversal solutions for SIP that perhaps didn't exist a couple of years ago, Skype still hasn't moved to SIP and it doesn't look like they will.

eqo's Mobile-to-Skype buddy list solution

February 5, 2006

eqo (pronounced same as 'echo') came to TMC to pre-brief me on their mobile-to-Skype buddy list peer-to-peer (P2P) solution. Essentially, eqo acts as the "glue" betwen online communities such as LinkedIn, MySpaces, orkut, or Skype with mobile carriers such as T-Mobile, Cingular, Vodaphone, etc. Their architecture is a patent pending core IP that uses proprietary call signaling, that is P2P-based and cross device/network domain. It leverages mobile data (SMS) to control the signalling and the mobile voice network for the media stream to the mobile phone, so you don't need the Skype client running on your cell phone.

Skype, Google, Microsoft and Cisco all in one panel

February 3, 2006

The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland assembled quite the star-studded team of technology gurus and CEOs from Skype, Google, Microsoft, and Cisco to discuss IP communications. This included Microsoft's Bill Gates, Cisco's John Chambers, Google's Eric Schmidt and Skype/Ebay's Niklas Zennstrom. Now that is some technology panel! I wonder if they were all cordial to one another considering how competitive they are.

I also wonder if Niklas Zennstrom actually flew to Switzerland to participate or if he is concerned about being arrested there as well for his ole' Kazaa P2P file-sharing gig.

Asterisk@Home 2.5 released

February 3, 2006

Looks like a new version of Asterisk@Home is out - version 2.5. I checked Asterisk @Home on SourceForge and they're still listing v2.1, so I'll take Nerd Vittles word for it. Regardless of whether v2.4 is ready for immediate download, Nerd Vittles put Asterisk@Home in great perspective when he said in a post today:

Want a rock-solid PBX at a rock-bottom price: free! Well, it's been two days since our tutorial on AAH 2.4 but here we go again!

Belkin TuneBase FM for iPod

February 3, 2006

Belkin has released their new Tunebase for iPod, an iPod FM transmitter for your vehicle. Previoulsly, Belkin had released TuneBase FM for iPod Mini, iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano, but neglected the original plain ole' iPod.

The latest TuneBase FM plays your iPod tunes through your car stereo while simultaneously powering and charges your iPod. The holder secures your iPod and features a flexible-steel neck for repositioning. This package includes tray adapters to fit various iPod models - including the iPod, iPod video, 4G, photo, nano, and mini.

TuneBase FM has improved FM transmission and operates on multiple FM channels from 88.1MHz-107.9MHz. Four programmable memory slots let you easily find the clearest frequency, and toggle among them for best performance. Retails for $79.99.

Connecticut bans hand-held cellphones while driving

February 2, 2006

Connecticut is the latest U.S. state to pass legislation banning the use of hand-held devices while driving (headset required) - more than 30 other states have or plan to follow suit. This can certainly boost Bluetooth headset purchases and other wireless headsets for a hands-free cellular experience. Connecticut is also working on legislation to ban driving with handheld coffee mugs, eyeliner pencils, McDonald's paper cups, lipstick, lollipops, or even chewing gum while driving.

Packet8 new features

February 2, 2006

Today Packet8 announced their rollout of some new features, as well as the Packet8 BPG510, a new terminal adapter with an integrated router.

The new Packet8 features include::

• Voicemail to Email Notification – Packet8 subscribers can now receive an email notification each time a voicemail message is left. The email can include an attached audio file of the actual message which can be forwarded to another email address or saved for future reference.

• Find Me, Follow Me – This combined hunting/multi-ringing feature allows subscribers to enter up to five phone numbers to ring in sequence.

We Want Our HD & DTV

February 2, 2006

Just wanted to thank all of you who helped pump High Def (HD) and digital television (DTV) sales over the holidays.

According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), sales hit 2.3 million, marking a 35% increase over the same two-month time frame in 2004. We can only expect a similar increase in January and February this year due to the upcoming Super Bowl XL and Winter Olympics -- sports fans do love their HDTV. (Do you think the Winter X Games will have anything to due with increased HD/DTV sales this year?)

For numbers junkies, total 2005 DTV sales were more than 12 million units and $17 billion; HD products represented 85% or $14.5 billion of those sales.

Epson StoryTeller: Picture Perfect Photo Books

February 1, 2006

So many photos!  In shoe boxes, cigar boxes, you name it. What to do?

Now, Epson (better known for its fine printers) has come out with its StoryTeller Photo Book Creator, everything you need to make your own photo book! (And I’m talking hard cover, bound 8” x 10” book with up to 20 glossy pages.)

V CAST: Early Reviews See a Winner

February 1, 2006

ZyXEL dual-mode GSM/WiFi phone

February 1, 2006

ZyXEL has a dual-mode GSM/WiFi handset phone coming out soon running Windows Mobile 5.0 and will feature a removable SIM card for use with any carrier that supports GSM. The real kicker is that it will also have Skype pre-installed on the ZyXEL dual-mode phone, which will enable this phone to bypass expensive cellphone minutes in favor of an inexpensive (or even free) Skype VoIP connection using WiFi.

I wonder if there is a specialized version of Skype or even a specialized dialer on the ZyXEL that will detect if you are in a WiFi zone and routes the call over Skype instead of over the cellular GSM connection. I actually learned about this phone at ITEXPO last week (another great reason to attend by the way) and have been trying to acquire photos of this new product. Stay tuned.

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