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April 2006

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More To Like about Norton NIS

April 28, 2006

Having already stated my long affinity for Symantec's Norton Internet Security (NIS), I wanted to point out the excellent dashboard called Norton Protection Center that comes with NIS 2006.

You can't miss the yellow icon that sits in the System Tray.  If everything is working fine, you see a check mark in a green circle; if not, you get an indication that something needs to be fixed and NIS fixes it. 

I Want My Karaoke Channel!

April 28, 2006

NAB 2006: Seeing the Future Now

April 28, 2006

Having spent the week at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Convention in Las Vegas, it's very clear that the future of the what we see and hear on the airwaves is here -- and that that future keeps evolving ever faster.

The NAB used to be called a "broadcasters'" convention, but now it's called "the world's largest electronic media show." And for good reason -- it used to be all about content, but now it's all about how that content can be delivered to consumers. GToday, it's all; about "screens"; we've now got TV, radio, satellite radio, podcasts, VOD, music and video downloads to MP3 and video players, delivery to mobile phones ...

If you were there, would be interested to see what your pick hits of the show.

Get on the (Memory) Stick: SwissMemory USB

April 27, 2006

The SWISSMEMORY USB cirrusWHITE is a powerful, little, white high-speed USB (2.0) stick that offers a read and write performance class of up to 28MB/s and storage capacities ranging from 128MB to 2GB.

The optically integrated protective cap with a round eyelet allows the stick to be attached to key-rings and lanyards with only minimal weight – only eight grams.

As a bonus, the integrated software provides users with a wide range of additional features. Outlook Express settings, personal Internet favorites and data from My Documents can be synchronized with ease, while the "no trace surfing" function deletes all traces of Internet surfing.

Service providers spending nearly 40% of capex on triple play

April 27, 2006

Interesting survey from Infonetics that I thought I'd share regarding Triple Play expenditures. Service providers are really starting to ramp up their spending. Service providers around the globe see triple play services not merely as a means of increasing top-line revenue, but as a means of self-preservation, says a new study by Infonetics Research. Network operators are redefining and realigning themselves to be the one-stop shop for all things digital for residential and enterprise subscribers, and they believe triple play services will give them the competitive edge they need to succeed.

Take as evidence the fact that North American, European, and Asia Pacific service providers participating in the study ("Service Provider Plans for IP Triple Play") report that on average nearly 40% of their capital expenditures were spent on triple play network equipment in 2005.

Skype cracks 100 million users

April 27, 2006

Skype tomorrow will reach a major milestone when it passes the 100 million registered users mark. Still a long way to go to catch up to McDonalds' "Billions Served", but Skype certainly is the fastest growing VoIP company. The company achieved this milestone in just two-and-a-half year’s time, and has nearly doubled in size from September 2005 when it had 54 million registered users.

"Skype has grown in leaps and bounds by making it simple for anyone across the world with an Internet connection to do something they could not do before – talk for as long as they like, to whoever they like for no cost.

Hacked Megan Lyn Keating's Professional Hospital photo

April 24, 2006

I went to Danbury Hospital's website to look at the "professional" photo taken by the hospital staff and uploaded to a website called GrowingFamily.com. My wife and I haven't yet decided whether or not to use the "professional" photo for the baby announcements, nor have we decided if we are going to order a set of baby pictures from their website. Regardless, I wanted to save a digital copy of this photo to my own PC. When I clicked on the thumbnail image on GrowingFamily.com to enlarge it, I received a popup window with the image.

Gadgets Fest 2006: DigitalLife 2006 Is Coming

April 24, 2006

Megan Lyn Keating

April 23, 2006

Clean Plants = Clean Cars (Gadgets Someday, Too?)

April 21, 2006

Clean cars, now clean factories -- that is a good thing.

I hear that Volvo Trucks’ plant in Tuve, Sweden, will become the world’s first CO2-free automotive plant with five large wind power plants and a new biofuel plant generating electricity and heat that will eliminate the emission of carbon dioxide, the leading contributor to the greenhouse effect.

Volvo has also developed an environmentally friendly hybrid technology that uses electricity and a diesel engine to power its vehicles.

"Da Vinci Code": Google & Sony Want You To Crack the Code

April 20, 2006

This week, Google launched its first movie industry cross-promotion ever, according to Adotas, around the release of The Da Vinci Code: The Movie.

Working with Sony Pictures, they have launched the Da Vinci Code Quest, an online puzzle game that challenges players with a dizzying 12,358 puzzles and no simple solutions. The Da Vinci Code: The Movie is distributed by Sony Pictures and is based, of course, on the mega-selling novel by Dan Brown.

According to a post on the Official Google Blog by Google software engineer/for-time world puzzle champion Wei-Hwa Huang, the puzzle game’s many twists and turns are “designed to honor both a fanatical puzzler’s sheer love of a mental challenge and the labyrinthine spirit of The Da Vinci Code itself.”

Mossberg's Buying a Digital Camera Guide: All You Need

April 19, 2006

Asterisk forms Advisory Council

April 19, 2006

Looks like Asterisk's growth has resulted in the formation of the Asterisk Advisory Council. Somehow when I think of open-source I don't think of a "centralized" council. Isn't the whole point of the open-source model to allow for distributed input by your programming peers? Also, when I think of "Council", I think of the United Nations Security Council or a cabal of men and women plotting for worldwide domination.

Life After Mickey: Eisner Goes Veoh

April 19, 2006

The HD-DVD Age Is Officially Upon Us

April 18, 2006

It may not be the second dawning of the Age of Aquarius, but the high-definition DVD era begins today with the official launch in the United States of HD-DVD movie players and discs.

The Contra Costa Times got it right -- don't expect much fanfare; only two players ($499 and $799 Toshiba models) and four movies are available. And the arrival of a competing format known as Blu-ray is a little over a month away. But there are hopeful signs for electronics makers and movie studios that HD-DVD or Blu-ray could eventually be a hit with consumers.

Oracle Service Delivery Platform targets VoIP and telecom

April 18, 2006

Oracle has a conference call to discuss this news about their Service Delivery
Platform (SDP) for the telecom industry in about an hour, which has implications for VoIP. I figured I'd share the news now even though I haven't fully digested it myself. I'm going to be on the conference call to find out more, but for now, enjoy!
 

Oracle Outlines Roadmap for Comprehensive Service Delivery Platform for Telecommunications Industry 

Carrier-Grade Solution to Enable Communication Service Providers, Network Operators, Integrators and Enterprises to Extend Existing IT and Network Investments and Rapidly Deploy Revenue-Generating Services
 


Redwood Shores, Calif., April 18, 2006
- Building on Oracle's leadership in middleware and information management and the company's experience in carrier-grade communications infrastructure, Oracle today outlined its roadmap for a comprehensive, standards-based Service Delivery Platform (SDP) for the telecommunications industry.  The new Oracle SDP is being designed to enable communication service providers, network operators and system integrators to evolve current silo-based network investments into a service-oriented architecture (SOA) and shrink the time and cost to deploy new voice data and integrated multimedia services on existing and next-generation communication Internet Protocol (IP) networks. 



Earthlink's e911 programming snafu?

April 18, 2006

Is Earthlink having an e911 programming issue? A reader wrote me saying:

I'm an Earthlink VoIP customer since December '05 and Earthlink cannot set up an e911 address that is different from the billing address. I've had multiple tickets open with their (so-called) customer service since intitial activation. Is this somehow related to the Packet8 "separate number for e911" I read in a previous blog or just incompetence on Earthlink's part?


HP TVs and Lenovo PCs at Best Buy: Am I Seeing Correctly?

April 18, 2006

Interesting news the past couple of weeks about Best Buy adding flat-panel televisions from HP and Lenovo notebooksand desktop computers.

Seems, on one hand, this would herald the return of TVs from a major U.S. manufacturer to the retail market. In case you haven't noticed, TVs are from predominantly Asian manufacturers now (Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, etc.); retailers shelves used to be packed with U.S.

Men are from VoIP and Women are from PSTN

April 17, 2006

Men are from VoIP and Women are from PSTN - at least according to Preston Gralla over at Networking Pipeline who quotes a recent HarrisInteractive survey about VoIP awareness. (great metaphor Preston!)

Preston writes
that according to the survey, "Men are more aware of VoIP than women by about a two-to-one margin. And, one would assume, from those numbers, they're much more likely to use VoIP as well."

Of course, my theory is that once women find out they can talk more for less using VoIP I'm sure they'll catch up to the men. Though there is one significant hole in my theory. My wife has been using Vonage for the past 3 years with me and she complains at every little Vonage hiccup, every little "fast busy" when dialing, every little Internet outage that brings down the phone line.


Single-Gadget Theory (Update): PDAs to Shrink Back to Their Roots?

April 17, 2006

New Orleans Jazzfest: Streaming on MSN

April 17, 2006

Strreaming media is hot!

Apparently besting other streamers, MSN announced it plans to stream live and on-demand coverage of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on the consecutive weekends of April 28-30 and May 5-7. Scheduled performers include Dave Matthews Band, Jimmy Buffet, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Fats Domino, and Ani DiFranco.

Open-source VoIP softswitch speaks GoogleTalk

April 17, 2006

Freeswitch, an open-source softswitch started earlier this year, leverages open-source software libraries and has recently added support for Google Talk. The codebase now includes Jingle (Jabber XMPP Voice) support with the addition of libDingaLing and mod_dingaling libraries. Jingle is an XMPP based protocol used by GoogleTalk. Using FreeSWITCH you can gateway GoogleTalk to SIP, H.323, or even the Asterisk IAX2 protocol. They also support Sangoma PRI cards and they recently announced support for secure RTP communication.

The libDingaLing library is currently considered to be in Alpha stage, but has been compiled and tested on many computer platforms including Windows XP, Solaris, Linux and MacOS X. The new endpoint module appropriately named "mod_dingaling" couples FreeSWITCH to libDingaLing and allows both inbound and outbound communication thus enabling GoogleTalk to gateway to the PSTN or to other VoIP protocols such as SIP or H.323.

Today's Answer: Disney Shows Now Available Free on the Web

April 14, 2006

Do You Know Where Your Browser Is?

April 14, 2006

EQO Mobile for Skype available for Mac operating system

April 13, 2006

Jajah Hidden Easter Egg worth 100 free minutes

April 13, 2006

Extreme Home Makeover adds VoIP and Video to fire station

April 13, 2006

Nortel, AT&T Texas and TANDBERG teamed up to provide ABC's hit reality show, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" with a state-of-the-art communications system for a fire station in southeast Texas damaged by Hurricane Rita. The Sabine Pass Fire Station No. 4 was severely damaged when the hurricane made landfall east of the town last September and has been out of operation for the past five months, forcing its firefighters to work out of a trailer at a local U.S. Coast Guard station.

AT&T Texas donated the overall coordination and project management time, network planning, design and installation during the weeklong shoot. Nortel also donated a Business Communications Manager 50E platform, which includes a voice mail system, a dozen VoIP phone sets and a 24-port data switch for the fire department's LAN.

TANDBERG provided a video communications solution designed especially for emergency communications and firefighter training, which includes two desktop videphones and two room-based video systems with 50-inch plasma screens.



Sony offers Camcorder Trade-Up Program

April 12, 2006

Sony announced a camcorder trade-up program.  According to Sony, "You can trade in that old camcorder, help the environment, and receive Sony credit. Use the credit for a brand new Sony camcorder purchased online at SonyStyle.com. They have an online estimator to get your estimated trade-up value.

MapQuest Is Coming to a Cell Phone Near You ...

April 12, 2006

Today's Quiz: What Do These Shows Have in Common?

April 11, 2006

Simultaneous WiFi, EVDO, Bluetooth, GSM, VoIP on a cell phone

April 11, 2006

Is simultaneous WiFi, EVDO, Bluetooth, GSM, VoIP on a cell phone just a pipe dream? One of the problems with cellphones today which currently support WiFi, Bluetooth, broadband data (e.g. EVDO), and a cellular wireless voice standard (3G, CDMA, GSM, etc.) is that today's cell phone devices typically only allow either the voice transmission or the data transmission to work, but not both at the same time.

For instance, Sprint's PPC-6700 Windows Mobile 5.0 device allows WiFi and EVDO (data transmission) to be active simultaneously, however if your phone rings (voice transmission), you drop the data transmission. It's one or the other.

XO Communications Total VoIP Minutes Explodes

April 11, 2006

Installing and Upgrading to Movable Type 3.2

April 11, 2006

I've spent the past two weeks installing and upgrading Movable Type on a test server before actual deployment. The pre-upgrade installation was Movable Type v2.661 and it ran on Windows IIS 6.0 with ActivePerl. The plans for the post-upgrade were Movable Type 3.2 running on Linux Fedore Core 4 or 5. I installed Fedora Core 5 beta on a Dell blade server, but had some issues which I believe to be related to the beta. So I went back to Fedora Core 4 and installed that instead.

Disney Goes Streaming Crazy on the Web

April 10, 2006

We ended last week with Disney news, and now we start this week with Disney news. Much chatter today (how about front page of the Wall Street Journal!) about Disney's plans to offer its TV shows free on the web. (More streaming video!)

Seems that top shows from the Disney Channel and ABC Family, like Desperate Housewives and Lost, will now be streaming to all kinds of other screens the day after these shows are broadcast. 

Disney Goes Mobile (Phones That Is)

April 7, 2006

Krusell's on the Case

April 7, 2006

Mobile phone cases and PDA cases are big business. After you’ve dropped a few bucks on these gadgets, you need to protect them from scratches, drops and other potential end-of-life occurrences.

You may remember I’ve just moved from a Treo 600 to a Treo 650, but it seems that a lot companies that used to make cases for Palm products have dropped out of this space race.

After a lot research, I opted for a case from Krusell – the Horizontic with Multidap.

Star Wars Kid settles lawsuit

April 7, 2006

In the Globe and Mail today, news that Ghyslain "Star Wars Kid" Raza and parents have settled their lawsuit against school bullies who released the infamous video onto the interwebs. As Ghyslain Raza recalled, whenever he walked by his high school's common areas, other students would jump on tables and chant, "Star Wars Kid! Star Wars Kid!" There would be a commotion as they shouted and poked at him, trying to get a reaction. "It was simply unbearable," he said.

RuneScape Rocks! (Or Is It Rules!)

April 7, 2006

VoIP on Treo 650 and Motorola ROKR, SLVR, and RAZR

April 7, 2006



EQO Communications, developer of presence-enabled calling and instant messaging solutions and services, today announced EQO Mobile for Skype on the popular Palm TREO 650 and Motorola ROKR, SLVR, and RAZR handsets. EQO actually has been calling me for the past week to try and give me the news, but I've been preparing for a major upgrade of Movable Type from 2.661 to 3.2, so I neglected to call them back. Rich Tehrani told me their news this morning, so I figured the news was worth sharing. I was one of the first to discuss EQO back in February in a blog post worth checking out.

The announcement was made at the CTIA Wireless 2006 conference, and it brings the number of EQO-supported handset models to more than 45, including some of the most popular devices from Nokia, Motorola, Palm, and Sony-Ericsson.

EQO uses a combination of a phone-resident J2ME client and a presence-enabled Voice-over-IP (VoIP) signaling network to bridge online identity, VoIP calling, and Instant Messaging services to more than 200 million J2ME-capable mobile phone handsets already in use worldwide.





(Gadgets) Love Is Love (Not Fade Away) ...

April 6, 2006

It’s interesting how the hottest of hot technologies gradually cools and fades away.

I’m thinking about this after visiting Best Buy to buy a cassette player for my elderly uncle who loves to listen to books on tape. Now Best Buy is a big store and after wandering around awhile, I had to ask a salesperson, who carefully directed me to the “Personal Audio” section. This single row of products featured a sparse selection of CD players – mostly Sony – and only one cassette player with headphones (also a Sony); lots of hanging space, not too many products. Just one cassette player!

What Do You Get a Girl Who Has Everything?

April 6, 2006

I remember when I was a kid the big thing was to get a stereo in your room and -- if you were really lucky -- your own phone. Now, by “your own phone,” I mean a telephone that was then called an extension phone – it had the same number as your parents’ number. (Forget about getting your own phone number …)

Today, my kids have enough communications devices that getting their own phone in their rooms doesn’t make any sense – they’ve got cell phones, text messaging, email, instant messaging on multiple devices.

Airplanes as Gadgets? Consider This ...

April 5, 2006

Is it fair to think of an airplane as a giant gadget? Had this thought yesterday as I traveled back on a short (how about overnight) trip to Atlanta to meet with some of the engineers at Turner Entertainment and CNN and see and hear about the future of broadcast, content creation and content delivery firsthand.

Seems we had a little trouble on the Delta flight down – one of the landing gear doors won’t shut – wheels stayed down – so we had to land at JFK after taking off from LaGuardia (some of you know how silly it sounds to take off from one NYC airport and land at another).

Anyway, once on the ground, the maintenance crew swapped out a board (doesn’t that sound like computer hardware to you?) and then the pilot had to wait for his navigation system to be reset (doesn’t that sound like software to you?).

Microsoft sells 500,000 Windows Mobile Phones

April 5, 2006

According to the NY Times, Microsoft has won a huge order for their Windows Mobile software - 500,000 handsets to be precise. Is this another nail in the coffin for Blackberry? Certainly seems that way. According to the NY Times article, "Microsoft expects to increase its mobile unit's sales to $1 billion in one to three years, from $337 million last year, and break the dominance of the Research In Motion BlackBerry wireless e-mail device.

CEO Heavyweights Weigh in on House Broadband Bill and net neutrality

April 5, 2006

Several CEO heavyweights weigh in on the new pending House broadband bill and how it may affect network neutrality with the following letter... We should all call our Congressman and tell them how we feel about this issue - whether you are for or against it. This issue is too important to ignore and I'm afraid mightly lobbying efforts by the broadband providers could affect the competitive landscape of the Internet and give consumers less choice. I guess you know where I stand on this issue.

Microsoft Speech Server 2007 preview

April 5, 2006

BridgePort Networks shows off Dual-mode capability

April 5, 2006


BridgePort Networks
is making some interesting announcments at the CTIA Wireless show. Most importantly they are demonstrating how they leverages SIP and IMS to demonstrate seamless handover based on 'VCC' technical requirements. If you're not familiar with IMS or even if you are, you should subscribe to TMC's newest publication, IMS Magazine which covers IMS exclusively. IMS is going to be a huge driver of VoIP and mobile applications in the next couple of years.

Also at the CTIA show they are introducting a USB MobileSTICK product that turns a laptop into a mobile phone.

Pama Diamante Bluetooth Headset has the Bling Bling

April 5, 2006

Dual boot Mac and Windows

April 5, 2006

Apple fans can now dual-boot into either Microsft Windows XP or the Macintosh operating system (Mac OS X). Today, Apple announced the beta release of Bootcamp, a boot-time utility that lets you create a 2nd partition to hold the Windows operating system. Then at bootup you simply hold the option key which will then give you a choice of which operating system to load into. Now that Apple is using Intel processors, there is no need to use virtual emulators which use software to emulate Windows programs.

Vonage Hangup problem and the Uniden 5.8GHz TRU8885-2 phone system

April 5, 2006

I splurged on a Uniden 5.8GHz TRU8885-2 phone system with digital answering machine, support up to 10 handsets, Caller ID, handset-to-handset calling, baby monitor feature, and more. "Splurged" probably isn't the appropriate word, since it was a $119 necessary purchase I had to make - wife's orders and all . She was sick and tired of the old Sony cordless phone/answering machine which was incompatible with Vonage causing the answering machine to play a fast-busy tone for up to 3 minutes (maximum record time) the majority of the time the remote caller hung-up. The damn Sony answering machine had a problem detecting the remote hangup or the fast busy so it wouldn't drop the line and would play an irritating fast busy over the Sony answering machine speakerphone for 3 minutes.

NAB: Broadcasters Get Together To See the Future

April 4, 2006

Later this month, I'll be heading to the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Convention in (where else?) Las Vegas.

The NAB is the annual convention where all of the world's top broadcasters get together to see the latest gear in production and post-production gear (cameras, monitors software, storage, etc) to create all of the shows we see on TV, cable, via satellite (and now on much smaller screens, too, like cell phones). It's a huge show.

File-based workflow is big as facilities look to optimize their work with video -- so many new formats, channels and of course an ever greater demand for High-Def (HD) content.

Download DVD quality movies

April 3, 2006

Is Hollywood embracing digital downloads of digital high-quality movies in the popular DVD format? Can this be? I just received an email from Movelink, which states, in part: As a reader of VoIP & Gadgets, I wanted to make sure you've heard Movielink's latest news. For the first time in the U.S., consumers can legally download to own movies from major Hollywood studios, such as King Kong, Good Night, and Good Luck, Hustle & Flow, East of Eden, The Sting and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Google Buys into AOL

April 3, 2006

Iotum integrates with Asterisk

April 3, 2006

Iotum, winner of Internet Telephony’s Product of the Year Award and DEMOgod at DEMO 2006 has announced today the beta availability of the iotum relevance engine integration with the popular open-source Asterisk IP-PBX.

iotum's Asterisk integration module connects its call management applications to Asterisk IP-PBX's to assist users in prioritizing which calls are more important, and which can wait, based on who’s calling, and what the user is currently doing. This non-commercial beta will allow Asterisk users to filter, rank, and prioritize incoming calls using iotum as well as offer users the ability to easily schedule conference calls from within Microsoft Outlook using iotum's Pronto Conference Calling feature.

iotum's unique "Web 2.0" relevance engine which helps to prioritize calls has certainly garnered attention and awards from several media outlets. Certainly by integrating with Asterisk, iotum will garner plenty more attention, especially from the Asterisk community.



More On Apple's 30th Anniversary: The First Apple Ad

April 3, 2006

Earthlink MindSpring launches new VoIP client

April 1, 2006

On Monday, EarthLink will lean on a brand from the past, namely MindSpring to launch yet another VoIP softphone client. Seems like a new VoIP client is laaunched each week. I remember when TMC had a few dial-up MindSpring accounts before Earthlink merged with MindSpring. Apparently, they're now planning on using the MindSpring brand name to leverage VoIP.

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