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May 2006

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eMusic: Downloads Were Meant To Be Free (At Least a Few)

May 31, 2006

Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) nag screen

May 31, 2006

One of my blog posts discussing Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) has a ton of comments, from users apparently running allegedly "pirated" copies of Windows XP. I say "allegedly" since I myself have encountered a situation where I lost a restore CD or had a PC that didn't come with a Windows XP CD - instead the CD image was loaded on a hidden partition which I promptly deleted to recover the disk space. With no disk image or CD to reload Windows (a common occurence), I then "borrowed" someone else's Windows XP CD and product key. Do I feel guilty about doing this?

Microsoft Buying eBay?

May 31, 2006

Webinar on Business Benchmarks and Processes

May 31, 2006

TMC has been at the forefront of customer relationship management (CRM) for over 30 years. TMC started Telemarketing Magazine (now Customer Interaction Solutions), the very first magazine focused on call centers and CRM. In 1996, TMC launched CTI Magazine which focused on the convergence of computers and the telephone. CTI Magazine was the precursor to the ultimate convergence of voice and data, which resulted in TMC launching Internet Telephony Magazine in late 1997.

Canon Says Goodbye to Film

May 30, 2006

Windows Live Meeting 2006 coming?

May 30, 2006

Microsoft is planning to make an announcement for their Unified Communications platform on June 26th. At the Nob Hill Masonic Center in San Francisco, media will be invited to hear Microsft unveil their "strategy for placing people at the center of communications."

Microsoft executives Jeff Raikes, President, Microsoft Business Division, Anoop Gupta, Corporate Vice President, Unified Communications Group, and Gurdeep Singh Pall, Corporate Vice President, RTC Product Group will all be part of this unveiling. Does this unveiling mean that the Microsoft Live beta will no longer be "beta"? Of course I know that this announcement pertains to the convergence of business computing and business communications, so that falls more under the lap of Microsoft's Windows Live Meeting 2005.

IP-PBX market numbers continue to shine

May 30, 2006

Interesting IP-PBX stats within Infonetics's Enterprise Telephony report that shows IP-PBXs continued growth even with a generally slower 1st quarter. They also list the current IP-PBX market leaders (Cisco is listed as #1). This report doesn't list this, but I'd be curious the stats for "hosted IP-PBXs" that use SIP trunking with no customer premise IP-PBX equipment. My bet is that market is growing as well.

Overall PBX/KTS revenue down 2%, IP PBX up 1% in 1Q06

Despite a seasonally down quarter for the overall enterprise telephony market, the slow and steady move from circuit switching technology to packet switching technology remains evident, with worldwide TDM system revenue falling 11% and IP PBX revenue inching up 1% between 4Q05 and 1Q06, says Infonetics Research in its latest Enterprise Telephony report.

Combined, worldwide TDM and IP PBX systems revenue dipped 2% to $2.1 billion in 1Q06, but is 15% higher than a year ago.





RuneScape Boards: Calling All Players!

May 30, 2006

Spirit DSP and Skype - What's the deal?

May 30, 2006

In my previous post, I said "Looks like we can set the speculation to rest, Spirit DSP's technology is going to be embedded into Universal Scientific's desktop Skype IP-phone and not into Skype's software". However, I started to think about this some more and wondered if indeed my speculation about Skype software licensing Spirit DSP's software should be put to rest.

I left a message for the Skype PR representative last week and didn't receive a call back, which is a bit unusual. I emailed Spirit DSP today asking for a photo of this phone and asked if this was the news they alluded to at VON Europe. Their response was to state that they were still under NDA (non-disclosure agreement) with Skype.

Spirit DSP technology in Skype P2P IP-Phone

May 30, 2006

Looks like we can set the speculation to rest, Spirit DSP's technology is going to be embedded into Universal Scientific's desktop Skype IP-phone and not into Skype's software. Skype recently showcased a new P2P desktop IP-phone designed by Universal Scientific Industrial Co., Ltd. (USI). This Skype-protocol-based VoIP desktop phone uses the VeriCall framework from Trinity Convergence and SPIRIT vocoders running on the Intel PXA270 processor. Trinity and SPIRIT have also recently signed a revenue-sharing sublicensing agreement, allowing Trinity to re-sell SPIRIT vocoders.

Memorial Day: Gadget Day

May 29, 2006

Free Wi-FI In NYC's Central Park: Now That's More Like It

May 26, 2006

Which Watch Is Which? Does It Matter Any More?

May 26, 2006

Fark.com links to my story on T-Mobile blocking VoIP and IM

May 25, 2006

Tax my Mobile Phone no more!

May 25, 2006

Come and Get It! Windows Vista (& Other Betas) Available

May 25, 2006

There's sure been plenty of coverage of Microsoft's announcement earlier this week of beta 2 availability of three of the company's flagship products -- Windows Vista, 2007 Microsoft Office and Windows Server (code-named "Longhorn" or "long time").

Speaking at the Microsoft Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2006, Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect (some title?!) Bill Gates said: “The release of these three betas is a significant milestone for Microsoft and a major step toward delivering the platforms that will drive the next decade of computing. The combination of these innovative platform technologies and the new hardware and software being developed by our partners will make PCs and other devices more powerful, more useful and more intelligent for businesses today and into the future.”

Net Neutrality Bill Passes House Judiciary: 20-13

May 25, 2006

Plantronics Voyager 510-USB Bluetooth headset review

May 25, 2006

Plantronics sent me their Voyager 510 Bluetooth headset to review. Unlike any other Bluetooth headsets, the Plantronics Voyager 510 USB Bluetooth headset is the first to simultaneously support both VoIP softphones on your PC and your Bluetooth mobile phone simultaneously -- negating the need to deregister/re-register your Bluetooth connection with the other device. Plantronics is able to do this using their exclusive Multipoint Technology.

Measuring 4.0 x 2.5 x 0.8 inches and weighing 5.6 ounces, the Plantronic Voyager 510 headset is pretty lightweight - after awhile you don't even notice it is there. It is slightly heavier and bulkier than the Motorola HS850 , but I found the Voyager 510-USB much more comfortable on my ear.

Grads Love Gadgets!

May 25, 2006

SightSpeed 5.0 beta released

May 24, 2006

SightSpeed just released their new beta version (5.0) of their video/voice over-IP software. The beta release includes significantly enhanced video quality, as well as PSTN Out calling and new Voice only PC to PC calling. They are also supporting Macs in this beta. I actually tested an older version of SightSpeed which had excellent voice and video quality, so I can't wait to check out the latest version.

SightSpeed's Phone Out, can be used to make low-cost PSTN calls from both PCs or Macs to anywhere in the U.S.

Dell Does (A Little More) Retail; Dell Dude, Where 'R U?

May 24, 2006

Seems like Dell, which defined a new direct sales ("pay for it and we will build it for you") model is now moving away from that a bit with more retail presence.

Apparently, Dell is adding to their kiosk presence in various spots, but will not actually sell products from these larger retail spaces (don't want to copy the failed model of the Gateway stores, I'm sure).

Failing to meet Wall Street expectations is behind this latest move -- retail customers will still have to order online and buy a Dell (sure they want move away from all of those HP and other computers begging to be bought at Circuit City, Best Buy, etc.).

BTW, whatever happened to the Dell Dude?

Wi-Fi Was Meant To Be Free (in NYC)

May 24, 2006

According to a variety of published reports, including Internet Week, Central Park in New York could have wireless access as early as July. 

City leaders are trying to provide public access to wireless networks in parks in all five boroughs, not just Manhattan (yes, there is life outside of Manhattan).

Several open outdoor areas, including Bryant Park and the South Street Seaport, already have public wireless access through private companies and the government is still not funding these public projects.

Vonage IPO Results are In...

May 24, 2006

I won't call the Vonage IPO a miserable failure, but it certainly underwhelmed with a 12.65% drop from the target price of $17 and closing at just $14.85. Still, I'm sure Jeffrey Citron made millions. Good for him, bad for any Vonage IPO investors, including the loyal Vonage customers that invested. Ironic - Vonage customers use Vonage to save a few bucks and those that invested in Vonage probably lost more money that if they stayed with their traditional landline phone carrier.

Vonage IPO Failing - Trading $2 lower so far

May 24, 2006

The Vonage IPO is faltering, trading at $15.10 or $1.90 below the opening $17 price. This is a 11% price drop. I just did a Yahoo! Quote lookup and pasted the chart to the right. Not looking good even though it has ticked up a bit.

666 6666 Phone Number Auctioned

May 24, 2006

The world's most expensive phone number 666 6666 was auctioned for charity yesterday in Qatar.  The phone number 666 6666, sold for 10m Qatari riyals or £1.5m. Who would pay this kind of money for a phone number? Of course, 666 is known as the number of the beast.

ICANN .tel domain names approved for Web calling

May 24, 2006

Vonage IPO price set

May 23, 2006

American Idol Text Votes

May 23, 2006

Tonight's American Idol finale comes down to two final contestants after whittling away all the American Idol wannabes and pretenders. America will be texting their votes or dialing to show they have the "McPheever" for Katharine or that they're members of Taylor Hick's "Soul Patrol". Personally, I think the best two voices already left - Mandisa and Chris Daughtry. While one could argue that Mandisa's weight precluded her from winning it all, she certainly had the best vocal range of any contestant.

AllYouCanUpload.com offers registration free photo upload

May 23, 2006

Webshots launched a new tool being offered by Webshots-- AllYouCanUpload.com.  The site lets users upload an unlimited number of photos of any size for free and without the need to register.  In addition to the hassle-free, no-registration photo hosting space, it also offers time-saving bulk upload of up to 10 photos at a time. Unlimited photo space?

UltraAV HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) 2 to 1 Switch

May 23, 2006


Accell will accounce today their UltraAV High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) 2 to 1 Switch for home theater and presentations that is perfect for video enthusiasts.  Most new HD displays and projectors are equipped with only one HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) connector requiring consumers to manually connect the source devices or purchase an expensive switch, which at $250 to $300, may be out of reach for many consumers.  Common HDMI sources include DVRs, set top boxes, satellite receivers, and DVD players.

The UltraAV HDMI Switch allows concurrent access to two video sources, eliminating the need to get off the sofa to plug and un-plug HDMI devices every time you want to use a different video source. The 2-1 Switch supports 1080p resolutions, is backward compatible and is compliant with HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) devices.


Gizmo supports Asterisk

May 23, 2006

Some great news from SIPPhone, developers of the Gizmo Project announcing support for the open-source Asterisk PBX... The "Asterisk economy" continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

check it out:

SIPPhone today announced the delivery of Gizmo Project 2.0, highlighted by its support for Asterisk PBX software. Giving Gizmo Project users the ability to log into Asterisk means they can now be universally reachable via their Asterisk PBX or directly through the Gizmo Project network. The option to seamlessly receive calls from their office PBX while anywhere in the world leverages Gizmo Project's advanced NAT (“network address translation”), firewall and router traversal features and server infrastructure.




Agile Messenger for Windows Mobile 5.0 speaks MSN, AOL,Yahoo,Google Talk

May 23, 2006

AgileMobile.com. has announced the release of Agile Messenger for Windows Mobile 5.0, an instant messaging client for mobile phones and handheld computers which communications with the popular instant messaging networks of MSN, AOL, Yahoo!, ICQ, Google Talk or any other XMPP network. It even has VoIP push-to-talk functionality.

Here's the news...

Agilemobile.com Ltd., a software development company with its primary focus on development of software for mobile phones and handheld computers, has announced the release of Agile Messenger for Windows Mobile 5.0.

Agile Messenger is a multi-protocol instant messaging client for mobile phones and handheld computers and provides a seamless connection to the public instant messaging networks of ICQ, AOL, Yahoo!, MSN, Google Talk and any other XMPP networks.





TMC Labs Innovation Awards (plug)

May 23, 2006

The deadline for the TMC Labs Innovation Awards is this Thursday. I want to be sure everyone is aware of this award opportunity. I consider the TMC Labs Innovation Awards to be TMC’s most prestigious award, though I am bit biased since I am one of the judges.

This award is now in its 6th year and yet there are only 20-25 winners selected per year for the TMC Labs Innovation Awards. The winners are grouped together with other innovative leaders in the VoIP industry which certainly lends credibility to the smaller VoIP players that win this award.

In a nutshell, we are looking for unique and innovative products.



Covad offers Unlimited VoIP minutes plan for businesses

May 23, 2006

Yesterday, Covad unveiled that customers using its PBXi and PBXi Plus business-class Voice over IP (VoIP) offerings will now have unlimited domestic monthly minutes. I wanted to blog about this yesterday, but wanted more information. I asked Covad more specifics about their pricing plan via email and they wanted to schedule a conference call to discuss, but I'm pretty busy this week, so I'll just tell you what I do know.

First, technically it's not truly "unlimited" since it is capped at 101,000 minutes per site per month. That equates to about 56 hours per day of talk time.

VoIPSupply.com named to 2006 Hot 100

May 23, 2006


Congratulations are in order for VoIPSupply.com, resellers of many VoIP products and services. VoIPSupply was named one of the the '2006 Hot 100' - fastest growing companies in America by Entrepreneur and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. VoIPSupply.com is one of the premiere locations online to get your needed VoIP equipment. They also aim to make the decision making process easier with the recent soft launch of www.PBXSelect, which aids users in choosing the right PBX.

Cory Andrews, Executive Vice President told me, "We’re still working on the configuration utilities for the platforms, right now they are very rudimentary, but will eventually have MSRP price benchmarks, leasing calculators, bandwidth testing tools, and will spit out a dynamic network topography map based on a user's configuration choices."


A Gadget for Dad on Father's Day: What a Good Idea

May 23, 2006

Skype Drops Bombshell on GIPS?

May 23, 2006

Skype's CEO announced a partnership with SPIRIT DSP, competitors to Global IP Sound (GIPS) to use Spirit DSP's TeamSpirit core voice technology. Skype is abandoning GIPS? Wow! Or is Skype simply going to support both voice engines, which seems unlikely, but possible.

I have a buttload of questions about this announcement.

Broadband Access at 17%: Where Is Everyone Else?

May 22, 2006

Autotask integrates Web and VoIP

May 22, 2006

Autotask is an interesting company that marries hosted CRM with VoIP service providers to provide Web-based "screen pop" customer information to VoIP subscribers. Autotask supports the growing number of VoIP solution providers through their "ExecuteCommand API" that they use to program into their system. Essentially, Autotask is a hosted application that runs inside of a standard browser accessible by any application or device that can generate an http call, including virtually every VoIP System. It's as simple as constructing a URL that points to Autotask, and embedding a few key variables (including the phone number captured through caller-ID), which then tells Autotask which window to open up, and what record to find.

GreenAppleGames: Easy on the Web

May 22, 2006

Palm rewards loyal Palm Treo owners

May 22, 2006

I just received this email offer from Palm which offers a free 1GB SD card i($99 value) f you are already a current Palm handheld or smartphone (Treo) owner. Wonder if they'll give me the $99 value SD card for an old Palm III? They're even offering for a limited time, $150 by mail when you trade in any Treo 650 smartphone in working condition. Cool!

Microsoft plans to subsidize Nigerian spam?

May 22, 2006

From a Microsoft PR rep:

Microsoft is partnering with telecommunications providers in emerging markets to offer pay-as-you-go and subscription computing to its customers. Today Microsoft announced the industry’s first pay-as-you-go personal computing offerings powered by Microsoft FlexGo technology. The initiative is targeted first at emerging markets around the world, where unpredictable income, inadequate access to consumer credit and high entry costs prevent many customers from owning a PC. Under this model, customers can get a full-featured Windows-enabled PC with low entry costs, and pay for the PC as they use it through the purchase of prepaid cards or tokens.


Much Ado About Dell

May 19, 2006

Palm Treo goes VoIP

May 19, 2006

VoIP for the Treo is now available. With the recent launch of the new Treo 700p, MantraGroup's timing to launch their VoIP client called mobiVoIP for the Palm-based OS couldn't be better. They claim to be the first VoIP solution targeted for Palm OS Devices. “We are the first company to release a VoIP solution for Palm OS.

Time to dump Vonage

May 19, 2006

I never thought I would say this, but "that's it, I've had it with Vonage!" Let me tell you about my woes with Vonage lately. First, let me say that my wife has periodically complained about Vonage having voice quality issues for three years, but it was sporadic enough that it wasn't a major problem for her. I on the other hand very rarely encounted any voice quality issues and was very happy with the price point. I guess that's why this goes back to my theory that Men are from VoIP and Women are from PSTN.

However, over the past month or so both of us have experienced several occasions when Vonage's service wasn't up to par.

'The Da Vinci Code': The Video Game Opens Today, Too

May 19, 2006

Apple To Open New Store in Big Apple

May 18, 2006

With the opening of Apple's new store in New York City just a little over a day away (T minus ... and counting), I wanted to give you all a chance to see a little bit of the the type of public relations work that goes into all of these house-hold brands' marketing efforts.

(And what does the Louvre in Paris -- in the photo to the left -- have to do with all of this? Can you tell me?)

Gadget Makers Go Green

May 18, 2006

eBay Developers Conference Highlights Skype developer track

May 17, 2006

I was invited to the attend the fifth annual eBay Developers Conference at the Mandalay Bay on June 10-12, 2006 in Las Vegas. I'm told that at the event, you can meet Skype engineers/staff, learn about the latest APIs, connect with the community, and check out what Skype's "friends" at eBay, PayPal, Shopping.com, and Prostores are doing together. The idea of the conference is so that developers, business leaders, industry luminaries, and employees of the eBay companies can come together to talk about new ways to improve commerce and communications on the web - both on and off eBay. Skype will have their own full track of 7 technical sessions, and 2 training labs where developers can participate in hands on training.

Mandalay Bay is one of the newest and nicest hotels in Vegas, making this a tempting business trip.

VoIP and Power Protection Webinar

May 17, 2006

TMC's own legendary Greg Galitzine, Editor of Internet Telephony Magazine, and Alex Koudriashov, Senior Applications Engineer, American Power Conversion Corp hosted a webinar on the need to provide adequate power protection for your VoIP deployment to ensure your VoIP phone system doesn't go down. According to the webinar description, "Without the proper physical infrastructure in place, you could wind up reducing the reliability and availability of your phone systems." Power protection isn't simply buying a few UPS systems and sticking them in front of your critical VoIP applications servers. The webinar should give you a good backgrounder on why this is the case.

It's about 60 minutes long and includes both the presentation (screen) and the audio portion, as well as a Q&A session at the end. So if you are a business looking to ensure availability with proper and adequate power protection you may want to check out this webinar.

RTX LAN Cordless DUALphone supports GIPS

May 17, 2006

BASF Goes Near Zero: ("Green") House as One Big Clean Gadget

May 17, 2006

Why can't a house, particularly a "green" house built as a Near-Zero Energy Home, be considered a giant gadget? (Anyone remember when BASF made audio and video tape?)

What makes me think this is BASF's demonstration of a home that is 80 percent more energy efficient, more durable and faster to construct than conventionally built homes in Paterson, NJ.

BASF, along with more than 150 of its customers and strategic allies, built the Near-Zero Energy Home-Paterson, N.J., to exemplify how BASF chemistry helps further energy-saving, durable, sustainable and affordable building practices.

Get the Urge Today!

May 17, 2006

For All of You RuneScape Fans ...

May 16, 2006

RuneScape launched its latest game engine upgrade today! Here's the details from www.runescape.com:

"This is the biggest upgrade to the underlying engine which runs the game since we launched the new 3D engine two years ago, and I've been working on it for literally months.

HD Radio: What Do You Think?

May 16, 2006

The Magic Four-Letter Word for VOD: Free

May 15, 2006

MTV Gives Us the Urge

May 15, 2006

Sometimes you wonder why brands associated with one particular slice of life take so long to figure out how to extend themselves into new (but not foreign) territories.

This is how I see MTV's announcment today that it will enter the online music business with the launch of its new download service called "Urge."  Remember, this is the cable network group that helped popularize music videos two decades ago ("Video Killed the Radio Star").

Making its debut (albeit a public beta) on Wednesday, Urge comes integrated into the newest version of Microsoft's Windows Media Player, which users of Microsoft's Windows will receive in coming weeks as an upgrade.

SkypeOut Calls are now Free

May 15, 2006

Skype's SkypeOut (PC-to-PSTN) calls are now free to any destination in the U.S. and Canada until at least the end of 2006. Why until the end of the year and not permanent is interesting. No doubt competition is biting at the heels of Skype in order for them to take a loss for U.S.

PhoneGnome Supports Skype

May 15, 2006

Breaking news from PhoneGnome - they support calling Skype users. Wow, cool.. I have no idea how this works, I just got the release now and wanted to share it as soon as possible. This really came out of left field.

ShoreTel 6.1 new IP-PBX features

May 15, 2006


ShoreTel announced version 6.1 of their IP-PBX which delivers feature-rich IP key system functionality to branch offices and small businesses. Many competing IP-PBXs, Cisco included have neglected or have limited "key system" functionality in their IP-PBX line, which is why ShoreTel does well in the retail and service industries. Also very unique to the ShoreTel product is that it's a single product that targets small businesses all the way up to large businesses with 10,000 employees. Competing solutions have separate products often with separate development divisions and code that is not easily integrated and a migration path that requires a forklift upgrade.

Palm Treo 700p review

May 14, 2006

Palm's Treo 700p, the heavily anticipated successor to the popular Palm Treo 650, launched on Monday. Speculation and rumors has surrounded the Palm Treo 700p as far as which features it would and would not support. For instance, speculation was running rampant as far as whether Sprint or Verizon would be the exclusive carrier or if both would support it. Let me put one bit of speculation to rest - both Sprint and Verizon will carry the Treo 700p.

Fonality, an Asterisk solution passes 20 million calls

May 14, 2006

Some great news from Fonality, an Asterisk-based IP-PBX that earned a very positive review by TMC Labs in the April issue of Internet Telephony Magazine. Last time I checked, they were at 4 million calls last July. Some nice growth there Fonality! Congratulations!

Fonality, the leader in affordable, enterprise-class IP-PBX phone systems for small and medium businesses and the world’s largest distributed deployment of Asterisk™, today announced that users of PBXtra have placed 20 million calls since the product first became available in October 2004.

Don't Forget a Gadget for Mom on Mother's Day

May 12, 2006

Apple vs. Apple: How About Downloadable Beatles?

May 12, 2006

Windows Live LifeCams HD Cameras

May 12, 2006

Microsoft will soon rollout Windows Live LifeCams, their new High Definition (HD) set of webcams. This series of web cameras will feature high definition still shots on all models and high definition video on some. They will also include software called "LifeCam Dashboard."

There are two models of the LifeCams slated for release this summer, with two more to follow in Fall '06.

VX-3000
- 640x480 resolution video
- WL Messenger integration
- "Exclusive Call Button"
- One touch Spaces blogging
- HD Stills: 1.3 megapixels
- Universal mounting device
- On the fly video effects
- Pan/Zoom/Tilt capabilities
- Automatic face tracking
- Built-in microphone

Estimated cost: $49.95 USD

The VX-3000 is the low-end cam that still offers HD pictures.

VX-6000
- HD Stills: 5.0 MP
- HD Video: 1.3 MP
- Wide angle lens
- 3x Digital Zoom
- Plus all of the features of the VX-3000

Estimated cost: $99.95 USD

The VX-6000 is the high-end desktop webcam featuring 1.3MP HD Video.




























Skype breaks the language barrier

May 11, 2006

Skype, Language Line Services, and Voxeo, announced today a joint solution that makes it easy for businesses and individuals to communicate cost-effectively from English into more than 150 languages (www.languageline.com/skype). It leverages Skype's VoIP for inexpensive calling, Language Line Services for personal interpreter/translation services, and Voxeo for the telephony piece. To interface to the Skype Network, Language Line Services has partnered with Voxeo Corporation using Voxeo's Prophecy voice platform to automate the process of transferring the call from Skype to Language Line Services. The service gives Skype users the ability to talk to anyone, anywhere in the world regardless of language.

Will Ads Fill the Mobile Phone Screen?

May 11, 2006

Expect to see more and more "ad-monetized" mobile games, where advertisers wiil place display or video spots before or after users download popular casual games to their mobile phones.

According to a report in today's MediaPost, a company called Greystripe places pre- or post-roll ads next to casual video games that users can download onto their cell phones. Currently, the network has three major advertisers signed -- Zagat Survey, Modtones, and GPSHopper.

The interface is self-service, and advertisers who have signed up can access the ad-serving system using a Web-based service.

Mio Zone Plus: Making It Easier To Get (and Stay) Fit

May 11, 2006

Sure your cardio workout generates a good healthy sweat, but are you maximizing your heart’s potential? Are you making the most out of your workout -- raising your cardio and elevating your well-being?

Mio's new Zone Plus will tell you if you are. Customizable heart rate target zones help you maximize workouts; you get ECG-accurate heart rate measurement anytime, anywhere -- and without the chest strap typical of so many other heart rate monitors!

IBM @ Home (The Digital Home, That Is)

May 10, 2006

Sangoma announces high-density 8 T1/E1 port card

May 10, 2006

Sangoma announced their A108 card which they claim provides the industry's highest density T1/E1 card for voice and data. Sangoma's cards work well on the Asterisk platform, as seen by my test drive of their hardware.

Here's the news they are announcing:

Sangoma's engineering uses a common printed circuit board to host hardware-based echo cancellation and voice enhancement

TORONTO – May 10, 2006 – Sangoma Technologies Corporation (TSXV: STC) (www.sangoma.com), a leading provider of connectivity hardware and software products for VoIP, TDM voice, WANs and Internet infrastructure, has introduced its new A108 Series PCI cards to support high density voice and data applications. At 8 T1/E1 ports, the A108 has the highest T1/E1 density available on a PCI card.

As with other Sangoma PCI cards, the A108 is available in an A108d version especially built for the soft telephony industry. The A108d supports voice enhancement capabilities including G.168-2002 echo cancellation with 1024 tap/128ms tail per channel on all channel densities, DMF encoding/decoding and tone recognition, voice quality enhancement and adaptive noise reduction.







Enterprise VoIP adoption to double by 2010

May 10, 2006

According to Infonetics, enterprise VoIP adoption in North America will more than double by 2010.

Check out some of the interesting stats:

BOSTON, Massachusetts, May 10, 2006--While voice over IP is still in the early phase of adoption, it's starting to go mainstream, says a new study from Infonetics Research, "User Plans for VoIP, North America 2006."

In the three years Infonetics has conducted VoIP adoption surveys as part of their larger study on VoIP usage, one trend is clear: the number of small, medium, and large organizations that plan to deploy or at least evaluate the technology is rising steadily. At the same time, awareness of available products and services is increasing, and while awareness doesn't necessarily translate into deployments, it is one of the first obstacles any new technology must overcome.

"Our forecasts show a continued steady uptake of VoIP over the next few years, with adoption following a relatively straight line, not the S-shaped curve typically seen in the adoption of emerging technologies," said Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst at Infonetics Research. "That's because VoIP uptake is largely tied to an organization needing a new phone system, and when companies buy a new phone system, they generally invest in the latest technology, which happens to be VoIP-based now. By our estimates, almost half of small and two-thirds of large organizations in North America will be using VoIP products and services by 2010."

A number of companies that are moving voice network investments aggressively from TDM to VoIP are actually decommisioning their legacy TDM PBXs, the ultimate show of confidence illustrating that VoIP has become enterprise-grade.

Study Highlights
   -  36% of large, 23% of medium, and 14% of small North American organizations interviewed were already using VoIP products and services in 2005
   -  VoIP adoption will triple by 2010 among small organizations in North America
   -  The top drivers for deploying VoIP are having an integrated phone system across multiple locations, scalability, operational cost savings, and converging voice and data networks
   -  Next to basic voice, money saving long distance/toll bypass is the highest ranked application for VoIP
   -  The percent of users at respondent sites accessing VoIP over wireless LANs grows from 5% in 2006 to 20% in 2008
   -  Among respondents using in-house VoIP, the most commonly used protocols for their IP phone endpoints now and in 2008 are SIP and the 4 versions of H.323
   -  Cisco, Avaya, and Nortel, the top PBX manufacturers in North America, head the list of manufacturers of VoIP products currently in use (IP PBXs, gateways, and IP phones)
   -  Organizations spent an average of $47,667 on hosted VoIP in 2005, growing 34% to $63,799 in 2007; for managed CPE, expenditures grow from $10,865 in 2005 to $28,367 in 2007

Infonetics conducted in-depth interviews with 240 small, medium, and large organizations that use VoIP products and/or services now or will by 2007, as well as 450 shorter interviews to determine VoIP adoption rates, and 150 exit interviews to determine why organizations are not deploying VoIP.





















T-Mobile bans VoIP and text messaging

May 10, 2006

T-Mobile U.K. has banned the use of VoIP over its cellular networks. T-Mobile's web 'n' walk plan expressly prohibits such usage right on their website and even states that the company reserves the right to terminate contracts.

Here's the text from the bottom of their site:

Use of Voice over Internet Protocol and Messaging over Internet Protocol is prohibited by T-Mobile. If use of either or both of these services is detected T-Mobile may terminate all contracts with the customer and disconnect any SIM cards and/or web ‘n’ walk cards from the T-Mobile network.

They're blocking VoIP and messaging over IP? I can't install a simple text messaging client?




Pangean Delivers VoWiFi Push-to-Talk Solution for mobile phones and PDAs

May 10, 2006

Pangean Technologies, a company that makes P2P VoIP software based on the SIP protocol, has announced a new product called Y-Talk. I should mention that I reviewed Pangean's VoIP software in Internet Telephony Magazine as well as in my blog and was impressed with its use of SIP along with multicast technology to broadcast voice over an entire network to multiple endpoints. Y-Talk is based on the same insta-REACT! technology that earned a favorable review from me.

Y-Talk is Pangean's VoIP mobility solution for internal instant communications. It is expected to be officially released at the end of June 2006.

Mitel IPO

May 10, 2006

Mitel Networks Corp., a Canadian VoIP and communications company today filed with U.S. regulators for an initial public offering of common shares in the United States and Canada. Michael Cowpland and Terry Matthews founded Mitel in 1973. Mitel's name is a combination of the founders’ first names and their first product - MIke and TErry's Lawnmowers.

Asterisk Flite text-to-speech program

May 10, 2006

Nerd Vittles has an excellent post on a new text-to-speech add-on for Asterisk called Flite that can read text in a MySQL database to a caller. While there already existed the Festival TTS, there were reports of performance problems when Asterisk 1.2 and Asterisk@Home 2.x were released often resulting in 5-7 second delays between when you hear the TTS engine say something. Not good if you don't want your callers hanging up.

The solution comes from Nerd Vittles:

And today our tip of the hat goes to Francois Aucamp from South Africa who has single-handedly reengineered Carnegie Mellon University's open source speech synthesis engine (Flite) to work with Asterisk@Home and restored voice synthesis to its rightful place as an indispensable component in the Asterisk@Home bundle. We'll show you how to install the necessary components in less than 15 minutes, and your Asterisk system will once again be speaking to callers whenever you need it to.




SanDisk Memory Stick PRO Duo Game card for Sony PSP

May 10, 2006

SanDisk answered the call for the growing demand from power users of the popular Sony PSP (PlayStation Portable) by introducing today a 4-gigabyte (GB) SanDisk Memory Stick PRO Duo Game card that can store up to 64 hours of MP3 music tracks, 20 or more hours of movies/videos/film trailers, 12 hours of game saves, or 4,000 digital still images. The announcement was made at E3 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, where SanDisk is showing its new gaming products in Meeting Rooms 6809 and 6811 in Kentia Hall.

The Sandisk 4GB card, which is expected to ship this month, carries a suggested retail price (SRP) of $219.99. Other capacities in the Memory Stick PRO Duo Gaming Card line include 256 megabytes (MB)*, 512MB, 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB.
Check out the full listing of memory cards available to buy for the Sony PSP.
The PSP uses a proprietary storage medium called Universal Media Disc (UMD) for movies and games, but UMD discs are neither recordable nor writable.

SanDisk co-developed the Memory Stick PRO format with Sony. Last year, SanDisk introduced the new gaming line of Memory Stick PRO Duo cards in semi-transparent neon colors.





EA @ E3

May 10, 2006

Say what you want, Electronic Arts (EA) is still one of the top producers of video games (been so for a long time, too) for every platform.

EA is using E3, which opens today in LA (and runs through May 12) to showcase the following games:

  • The Lord of the Ring, The Battle for Middle-earth II
  • NCAA Football 07
  • SPORE

EA officials say The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II for the Xbox 360 will bring players into the heart of Middle-earth to live the battles seen in the blockbuster New Line Cinema films and classic J.R.R. Tolkien literary fiction.

NCAA Football 07 on the Xbox 360™ features detailed graphics relaying the authenticity of the stadiums, mascots and marching bands of college football.

Speakables for Windows now available

May 9, 2006

A Windows shareware version of the Speakables software application that ets users "Skype" by voice command has been released. Speakables, offers several voice control solutions for many popular applications such as iPhoto and iTunes. Ironically, they announced the release of the Windows version of Speakables for Skype after their recent release for Mac OS X.  Isn't it usually the other way around?

PlayStation 3 at $499 & Up?

May 9, 2006

Ericsson IMS developer program

May 9, 2006

Ericsson today announced the launch of an IMS applications initiative for its Mobility World developers program.  Through the initiative, Ericsson is expanding its support for the development of IMS based applications. IMS is a nascent technology that will surely need trained and experienced VoIP developers to take convergence to the next level. Speaking of VoIP developers, TMC's VoIP Developer show focused exclusively on VoIP developers, engineers and the like, is great place to hone your skills and it is just a few months away.

Sony VAIO VN-CX1/B Mouse and Skype Gadget

May 9, 2006

The Sony VAIO VN-CX1 is a strange convergence gadget - it's a mouse that doubles as a Skype phone. You simply press a button on the side and the mouse flips open to become a clamshell-style phone.

I guess the idea is to combine two peripherals into one, but really this device seems pointless. For one, I read that when it is operating as a Skype phone, the mouse functions are disabled. It's a fine novelty device, but I wouldn't use it regularly and at £59.99 it's quite pricey when you can get a good quality USB headset/handset for less and there are plenty of USB ports available for connectivity.

Features
  • Can be used as conventional handset or hands-free (speakerphone) operation
  • LED on top of the mouse lights up when there's an incoming call
  • USB powered

  • 800 dpi resolution
  • Lightweight: 67 g





E3 Opens Tomorrow: Gamers Unite

May 9, 2006

Handhelds a dying breed?

May 8, 2006

IDC put out a report two weeks ago about handheld shipments continuing their decline, which is something that I've been predicting for quite some time. Handheld PDAs such as PocketPCs and Palm Pilots are superceded by Windows Mobile and Palm Treo mobile devices. Why carry two devices when you can have one that does the functionality of both?

An interesting summary of the IDC report's findings:

Following a holiday quarter in which worldwide shipments of handheld devices topped two million units, the worldwide market for handheld devices began 2006 with its ninth consecutive quarter of year-over-year decline. According to IDC's Worldwide Handheld QView, worldwide shipments of handheld devices totaled 1.5 million units, down 22.3% from the same quarter a year ago.

Despite the incorporation of features like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, expandable memory, and integrated GPS solutions, the handheld market continues to shrink.





Get Mom a Gadget for Gadget (I Mean Mother's) Day

May 8, 2006

What better gift for the mom who has everything on Mother's Day than a gadget?  (Bet she doesn't have too many of those ...) BTW, it's this coming Sunday in case you didn't know the date ...

Sure she has a cell phone, but how about a pink Motorola phone? (Don't like pink or think it's too stereotyped?

Uniden UIP1869V Vonage phone review

May 8, 2006

Ratings Score Installation Documentation Features Usability Performance Overall

Uniden UIP1869V Box shot

Uniden Firewall Web interface

Uniden came across my rant on my Vonage hang-up fast-busy problem and they noticed I was using a Uniden 5.8GHz TRU8885-2 phone system. They offered to send me a Uniden UIP1869V which is nearly identical in functionality to the TRU8885-2 with the added bonus that it comes preloaded with support for Vonage. They also sent me a Uniden UIP160P Packet8 Compatible 5.8GHz phone system which I will review at a later date.

I actually almost purchased the Vonage-enabled UIP1869V but the base station on the UIP1869V is corded - not cordless and I prefer cordless phones for all of my phones. Of course, both the TRU8885-2 and the UIP1869V both support up to 10 handsets, so I could have chosen the UIP1869V and simply purchased an extra handset.

In any event, let me tell ya, the Uniden UIP1869V isn't your momma's home phone system!



A Dell Mac?

May 8, 2006

McDonald's Extreme McMakeover stupidity

May 5, 2006

McDonald's has decided that a redesign of their fast-food franchise restaurants was needed for the 21st century because the existing McDonalds look is "too dated". Dated? Try an American Icon! Don't mess with an American icon.

Case Closed for Nano Cases

May 5, 2006

eBay Global Strategy with Paypal and Skype

May 5, 2006

Yesterday eBay detailed what was talked about at their annual financial analyst conference in San Jose. A lot of what was detailed is stuff we already know. Skype passed 100 million users, Paypal is integrated with eBay, blah blah blah. They talk about the synergies between the three (eBay, Paypal, Skype), but to me Skype is still the odd man out right now. I still can't go to eBay, look up an auction listing and see the seller's Skype status to initiate a call to the seller.

Sure, eBay is in the early stages of this.

The Search Behemoths Square Off

May 5, 2006

APC's Universal Notebook Battery: Goin' Mobile!

May 4, 2006

You know from an earlier blog that I’m a big fan of American Power Conversion’s (APC) power availability and protection solutions.

Wanted to update you on its new Universal Notebook Battery 65 Wh (UPB60), which was introduced earlier this year along with its Universal Power Adapter and Power Port Accessory.

The Universal Notebook Battery is a thin, lightweight, portable notebook battery that provides up to six hours of runtime, depending on a computer’s size and configurations.

Robot Dog: New Fido on Its Way!

May 4, 2006

Siemens, Time Warner Cable Successfully Demo IMS

May 3, 2006

According to my ABI Research Daily newsletter, Siemens and Time Warner Cable have successfully demo'ed IMS which will certainly usher in the promise of a converged blend of personalized wireless and fixed consumer services, bringing entertainment, telephones, Internet applications and wireless together. IMS is going to be huge due to it's ability to go beyond Triple Play's "simple" offering of three services to instead offer customers a customized and personalized experience that integrates all three disparate services. I say "three" but really it could be four, five, or even more applications, but "triple play" is still the catch-phrase of the day.

Anyway, here's the news:

Siemens Communications Inc. and Time Warner Cable announced the successful demonstrations of fully integrated fixed line, mobile and WiFi broadband technologies via Internet protocol multimedia subsystem (IMS) standards to deliver fixed mobile convergence (FMC). The demonstrations highlight the operational value of adopting Siemens' IMS solutions and show how consumers can now enjoy shared multimedia applications, entertainment features and communication sessions - including converged wired and wireless solutions.



Konica Minolta Magicolor 2450: A Magical Color Laser Printer

May 3, 2006

Everybody may talk about how great their HP printers are, but there are some very good choices out there if you want to break away from the crowd. I’ve been testing the Konica Minolta Magicolor 2450 for some time now, and this one color laser printer that provides “workhouse” capabilities at 5 pages-per-minute (PPM) color and 20 PPM black & white.

A true desktop printer that fits easily into any environment, the Magicolor 2450 is designed for easy use. The pre-installed 4,500-page toner cartridges mean the machine is up and running in just a few minutes.

SafetyMate Is the PHIZ Winner

May 3, 2006

Skype 2.5 launches

May 3, 2006

Today Skype released Skype 2.5 beta. This new version will also preview a new product called Skypecasts – live, moderated conversations (e.g. a town hall or live broadcast) allowing groups of up to 100 people from anywhere in the world to talk to one another for free. Skypecasts enable people to discuss shared interests such as cars, reality TV, sports, etc.

A Snapfish Mother’s Day Card

May 2, 2006

RTX Dualphone Skype phone review

May 2, 2006

Ratings Score Installation Documentation Features Usability Performance Overall [[Ring]] Honey, can you get that? You reach for the nearest cordless phone only to realize it isn't ringing. [[2nd Ring]]Maybe it's the cell phone? You walk out to the kitchen where the cell phone is charging and it's not ringing either.

Vonage adds France, Ireleand, Italy, Spain, and UK to unlimited plan

May 2, 2006

VoIP mentioned on 24

May 2, 2006

Anybody catch the VoIP reference on 24 last night? VoIP was mentioned by the drunk guy at the hotel bar who was hitting on Chloe while she was working on her laptop. He tried a few lines on Chloe before bragging about his VoIP prowess to try and impress Chloe. Chloe eventually zapped him with a stun gun.

MediaFLO: Let's Get It On

May 2, 2006

Amid all of the large broadcast equipment at last week's NAB Convention, Qualcomm had a large booth, but small equipment, to demonstrate its new MediaFLO System.

Called a comprehensive, end-to-end solution designed specifically to address the inherent challenges of efficiently and cost-effectively distributing mass volumes of high-quality mobile multimedia to wireless subscribers, the NAB demo has surprisingly simple. Touch an icon on your mobile phone to launch the application, view the 20-channel guide (much like the one provided by your cable TV company) and then select a channel. We watched ABC News live on the small phone screen just like we would have watched it on any larger screen.

Revenge of the Electric Company

May 1, 2006

The phone companies have high-speed DSL, the cable companies have high-speed broadband cable, and both offer Triple Play solutions, but what about the electric company? Just about every home in any industrialized nation has three copper wires services coming into their home - electric, phone, and cable, yet for the most part only the phone and cable wires are being utilized, leaving the electric companies in the "dark" (there's a joke in there somewhere).

Sure, you can build a home Local Area Network (LAN) that transmits packets using your home electrical wiring (HomePlug Powerline Alliance) but the packets can only travel a short distance. What good is a LAN without access to the Wide Area Network (WAN) - specifically the Internet.

Well, electric companies aren't going to stand idly by while the phone and cable companies make money hand over fist with these new Triple Play packages. There are now technology solutions that can transmit IP packets over electrical wiring over long-distances.



RIM (Blackberry) out of the frying pan and into the...

May 1, 2006

We all know that RIM, makers of the popular Blackberry has settled with NTP. Betcha thought the war was over, right?  Nothing is over! Nothing! You just don't turn it off!

Siemens targets the SMB VoIP market with P2P HiPath BizIP solution

May 1, 2006

Siemens Communications Inc. today announced its HiPath BizIP offering, a new peer-to-peer SIP VoIP phone system that negated the need for a complex enterprise network telephone system. Conceptually, this is similar to Popular Telephony or Nimcat Networks (now part of Avaya) , but the real news here is the fact that Siemens, a traditional "big iron PBX company" is now offering a P2P phone system that doesn't require a centralized PBX - instead the intelligence is located on the "peers", i.e. the phones. Now that's Avaya and Siemens that have embraced P2P phone systems.

Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo battle over undecided gamers

May 1, 2006

According to an IGN survey, 14% are unsure about their next next-gen videogame console purchase. Microsoft has a headstart over both Sony and Nintendo, however the Sony Playstation 3 sports a 36% allegiance versus Microsoft XBox 360's 28%. Having trouble deciding - I say just buy one of each. Here's the IGN survey synopsis...

Free Napster!

May 1, 2006

Planet Funk's Debut Single: Only on Mobile Phones

May 1, 2006

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