Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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October 2006

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Early Xbox 360 Holiday Treats from EA

October 31, 2006

Nintendo Says "Wii" to the Senior Set

October 31, 2006

Coming Soon? A Levi Cell Phone

October 30, 2006

TalkPlus Voice 2.0 app launches

October 30, 2006

TalkPlus, Inc. today is launching their unique mobile phone service that leverages VoIP, identity management, scheduling/contact rules, and other advanced business/personal processes that make your mobile experience more productive while enabling privacy controls. In fact, as I told Jeff Black, Founder and CEO of TalkPlus, Inc, that I consider TalkPlus the Voice 2.0 company within the mobile phone space. He wanted to quote me. So be it.

Is Your

October 27, 2006

Seems like only the other day I blogged about video gamers and how cheaters never prosper.

Well, it's a new day, and Ziff Davis' beta of makes use of the latest in collaborative content, social networking and search technologies to help gamers get the most out of their videogames. users can easily create and edit content themselves and can contribute to each others' content as well so that hundreds of gamers can collectively author a segmented, fully searchable game guide.

Following in the collaborative tradition of Wikipedia, the process is simplified so that no code is involved and anyone can contribute immediately.

Is That a (High-Tech) Wallet in Your Pocket ...

October 27, 2006

... with apologies to W.C. Fields.

(Do I need to tell you the rest of that famous funny line?)

Anyway, I digress.

With new wireless credit cards gaining momentum (SpeedPass anyone?), security has once again become a major issue (as in taking and using someone else's credit card information without them knowing it). 

Rimax Mystic VoIP MP3 player

October 27, 2006

The Rimax Mystic is a new MP3 / MP4 and video player that also doubles as a VoIP phone using it's built-in microphone. You connect it to your PC via USB and the Mystic becomes a VoIP phone. Technically it's just another USB audio device with both speaker and microphone that can be used b yany application - whether it be Skype or listening to iTunes.  In addition to being able to play your PC audio, and use it as a microphone device for VoIP applications, it recharges while connected to the USB port.

Digg outage

October 27, 2006

Google Blogs Alert launches

October 27, 2006

A coworker noticed that his Google Alerts now contained a new "Google Blogs Alert" within his email this morning. Sure enough, I checked my Google Alerts and I saw the new Google Blogs Alert. Sweet! I recall hearing Google was considering adding blogs to Google News and therefore Google Alerts as well, however, this was an unexpected surprise.

How Much Is That Celll Phone in the Window: Yes, $1,275

October 26, 2006

Now cell phones compete on features, on price, on coolness, etc., with price usually meaning the cheaper the better. (And the other ones with more the better as the motto.)

Now for something completely different (apolgies to Mr. Python), Bang & Olufsen and Samsung have teamed up to deliver a really cool looking cell phone called Serene. The price, keeping with B & O high-flying prices for its audio gear, is $1,275.

Chip Switch Goes Both Ways

October 26, 2006

Phones For Life: Senior Cell Phones

October 25, 2006

Cheaters Never Prosper

October 25, 2006

Finally made it through the Washington Post article about a self-described "professional cheater" -- as in video game cheater.

Let's go to the source for a taste of what this article is all about:

Today's video games are anything but easy, the 24-year-old will tell you. And to get through the intricate, challenging, mind-numbing levels of City of Heroes and The Godfather, two games he's currently stuck on, he needs help.

Web sites such as provide gamers with tips, tricks, tutorials and outright cheating strategies for games. 

trixbox 2.0 released

October 25, 2006

trixbox 2.0 beta will be available for download on Wednesday. This release will be Fonality's first big contribution to the trixbox/Asterisk community after the recent Fonality acquisition of trixbox. which certainly caused a stir within the Asterisk community. I spoke with Chris Lyman, CEO of Fonality, to find out more about this major new release of trixbox.

First, I should point out that while previous version of trixbox have always been the easiest way to get Asterisk up and running in just minutes, trixbox 2.0 is much more than that. 

Unsigned Artists Get Their Own Upload Site

October 24, 2006

I used to have a lot of fun looking throught the cut-out bins at record stores for LPs by artists that looked or sounded interesting.

(Does anybody know what I'm talking about?)

And I used to find some good albums and artists that I might not have ever heard about.

Now, in a similar vein but with a modern twist,, a free music promotion site that features MP3 music uploads, and Musicgrams, have entered into an online artist promotion and revenue sharing partnership with

In-car P2P solution streams video in vehicles going 100mph

October 24, 2006

This from the weird & wacky. The Public Safety Broadband Consortium, a group that includes InfiNet Wireless, Lockheed Martin Information Technology, Public Safety Broadband and Wi-Fi Citywide, will be demonstrating the use of live streaming video from law enforcement vehicles traveling in excess of 100 mph during the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Police Vehicle Test Day this Thursday, using a mesh network and peer-to-peer (P2P) technology.

The objective of the Public Safety Broadband Consortium a group that includes InfiNet Wireless, Lockheed Martin Information Technology, Public Safety Broadband and Wi-Fi Citywide is to demonstrate advances in the use of wireless broadband technology for public safety officials. The LASD's Police Vehicle Test Day is an annual event that primarily focuses on vehicles themselves, with a testing process designed to address law enforcement officer's operational requirements.

The live demonstration will feature Lockheed Martin's In-Car Mobile Mesh Digital Video solution, using InfiNet Wireless 4.9 GHz mesh routers in four state of the art police vehicles.

Lenovo Taking Over Printer Market?

October 23, 2006

The computer printer market has been pretty much HP's for such a long time now it's hard to believe there's much competition (but don't tell Lexmark, Epson or Canon that ...)

Now, in what could have seismic implications in this pretty staid market, Lenovo is planning to make an entrance (and we mean major, as in major entrance) into the printer market.

According to Lyra Research, Lenovo has a vision for a Chinese consortium of printer and supplies makers. Such a Chinese consortium, operating under the protection of the Chinese government, could have a major impact on foreign printer makers’ sales in the domestic Chinese market.

Lost: One iPod

October 23, 2006

World PSTN Call Progress Tones Database

October 23, 2006

Telephony developers working in VoIP, PBXs, VoIP gateways, phones, modems and other PSTN technologies that are developing products internationally have to know the varying international call progress tones that differ from country-to-country. Of course, figuring out the disconnect or other progress tones isn't that difficult. Sure you could discover each progress tone's by recording the tones to a .wav file and then use a sound editor program to figure out the exact Hz -- but why go through all that trouble?

You can just head on over to 3am Systems and search their centalized call progress database to get an instant answer. They call their 'World PSTN Tone Database', which will not only tell you the proper Hz and cadence, but it will even display the proper Zaptel/Asterisk string for easy copy/pasting into your Asterisk system.

EQO VoIP / IM client now supports Windows Mobile and Blackberry mobile phones

October 23, 2006

Remember my in-depth overview of EQO Communications and their mobile-to-VoIP (Skype), mobile-to-IM (GoogleTalk, AOL, Skype, etc.) and mobile-to-social communities software?

Well, I had word last week that tomorrow EQO Communications will announce support for RIM Blackberry and Windows Mobile powered devices.  With this latest release, Blackberry and Windows Mobile users will be able to access EQO Mobile, a platform that enables VoIP calling and instant messenger services (including AOL AIM, ICQ, GoogleTalk, Jabber, MSN, Yahoo! and Skype) on mobile devices.

According to EQO, the addition of handsets such as the Blackberry Pearl and Treo 700w brings the number of EQO-supported handsets to more than 400 mobile devices, including Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Palm, LG, Panasonic, Phillips, Siemens, Sanyo, Sharp and Samsung. 

Although I already covered EQO extensively in a prior post, essentially EQO gives you click-to-call mobile VoIP and click-to-chat mobile IM using a patent pending core IP that uses proprietary call signaling that is P2P-based and cross device/network domain.

Reflexive Celebrates Birthday with a Freebie

October 20, 2006

When the Facts Aren't Necessarily the Facts

October 20, 2006

VoIP Security Podcast

October 20, 2006

Is the Phone of the Future FuturePhone?

October 20, 2006

Is Vonage the new AOL?

October 20, 2006

Smith on VoIP asks "Is 'Vonage' the new AOL?" by putting into context my Vonage promotion with Amazon post where a coworker of mine received a Vonage flyer along with Smith on VoIP receiving a Vonage flyer in his gas bill and his SEAR's bill. He jokes how he can't seem to escape the Vonage marketing onslaught and he is reminded of AOL's marketing onslaught by mailing millions of AOL software CDs to just about every single American household.

In my Vonage Amazon post, I wrote:
Wouldn't Vonage would be better off doing local mailings to target a broader audience? There is a huge demographic of broadband users that only use the Internet for email -- for staying in touch with friends/family and only some occasional surfing. Many parents, or those >45 years old fall into this category.

Skype Journal comments on ITEXPO

October 19, 2006

Phil Wolff over at Skype Journal was at ITEXPO and he has some interesting comments. For one he comments on there not being a lot of Skype-related products at the show when he states:
It was bizarre for me, all VoIP but almost no Skype in the hall, and none in the official program. This conference brings VoIP resellers and enterprise buyers (seen above in masthead photo) to the exhibitors, corporate VoIP toolmakers. Skype, as far as these folks are concerned, is in another industry, consumer VoIP, and not their business.

Google stock continues to impress

October 19, 2006

According to the wires, Google is reporting a 70 percent year-over-year increase in revenue of $2.69 billion in its third quarter 2006 fiscal results, which ended Sept. 30. The Internet search engine also announced a non-GAAP operating income of $1.03 billion, a net income of $812 million and earnings per share of $2.62. While these earnings are not reflective of Google's recent acquisition of YouTube, they do indicate Google's partnerships with eBay, Fox Interactive Media and Intuit. According to Reuters, they also posted a 92% jump in quarterly profit.

Didn't I read Yahoo's 3rd quarter earnings were down ~40%?

How Many Batteries Does a Recall Make? 9.6 Million

October 19, 2006

An Apple a Day Doesn't Keep the Doctor Away: iPods with a Virus

October 19, 2006

Sony Recalls Sony Batteries

October 18, 2006

Orange Messenger by Windows Live: Goin' Mobile Messaging

October 18, 2006

Microsoft and France Telecom have launched mobile messaging into the PC and mobile space with "Orange Messenger by Windows Live" (some name, huh?).

This will provide access to the Windows Live Messenger community and to the Orange portal services, enabling consumers to access an instant messaging service “Orange Messenger by Windows Live” that promises to delivers rich communications services experience on the PC and mobile, including all-the-time access to contacts.

New T@lkster mobile phone client

October 18, 2006

Comparison Shopping Goes Mobile with Slifter

October 17, 2006

It’s easy to go comparison shopping for gadgets when you're at home or work -- you check out various websites that can give you online price comparisons for anything you can dream of.

And for the Sunday couch potatoes, it's easy to check out the weekly circulars from Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA (and even Target) to get guidance on how much the gadget you crave (or need) is going to set you back.

But what about if you happen to be in a store -- yes, that "bricks" thing from the glory days of the Internet when it was "bricks" (physical stores) vs. "clicks" (online retailers)?

'iPhone' Phone Home: Apple Wants You

October 17, 2006

 It's always fun to read AppleInsider for the latest news, buzz and rumors of what's going on inside the core of Apple Computer.

Well, it's not a surprise to many of us (I expect) to read today about Apple seeking the rights to the iPhone trademark. (Love to add this little symbol after the word ...

Free phone calls to 40 countries using VoIP

October 17, 2006

Two interesting calling promotions being offered by Raketu. First, their "Try Dialout For Free" promotion allows users to try RakOut (Raketu’s dialout service) to call locations in more than 40 countries for free. This mirrors Skype's free SkypeOut promotion until the end of 2006, but Skype's promo is only good for 2 countries - the U.S. and Canada vs.

Creative VoIP pricing plans

October 17, 2006

deltathree, announced that its Consumer Group, iConnectHere, has launched the "World Plan", a new calling service that offers low by-the-minute rates and reduced monthly fees. The World Plan includes a free phone adapter shipped anywhere worldwide, an option to choose a telephone number from 12 different countries combined with low international calling rates, all starting at just $6.99 per month. So let me get this straight -- Free phone adaptor shipped anywhere in the world, for just $6.99/month and you get cheap VoIP minutes? Amazing what a crowded VoIP market will do to force VoIP service providers to come up with creative VoIP pricing plans to entice customers.

Of course, there are other providers offering similarly low-priced plans, but usually they're softphone-based solutions or require you to purchase the phone adaptor/ATA.

DigitalLife 2006 Award Winners

October 16, 2006

The votes have been tallied and the winners are ready to be announced for the DigitalLife 2006 "Best of Show" Awards.

The show wrapped up yesterday at the Javits Center in New York.

And now -- without further ado -- here are the award rwinners:

BEST OF SHOW: Sony PlayStation 3, Sony Electronics

I Can Hear Clearly Now: HD Radio Rebates

October 16, 2006

It would be really great to be able to sit in the car and hear great, high-quality, static-free radio.

Well, those (don't have to be a subscriber) days are coming clsoer and closer.

In a play to make HD radios more affordable, including tabletops and car adapters, iBiquity is discounting models by up to $50, lowering the costs of some receivers to less than $200.

New Treo 680 Smartphone for 'Mobile Accomplishers'

October 13, 2006

Here they are in all of their startling multi-colored glory -- the new Treo 680 from Palm.  The official launch was yesterday at DigitalLife in New York City.

The target audience was very clearly defined during the press conference -- people who are ready to move up to a full-featured mobile phone that includes everything needed to stay organized, aka "mobile accomplishers" rather than "mobile professionals." 

Palm is targeting new users in the rapidly growing smartphone and feature-phone markets, a market that will be 25% of all wireless handsets worldwide will be smartphones by 2011.

Audiocodes Transcoding Resource Blade (TRB) blade products now available

October 13, 2006

AudioCodes (NASDAQ:AUDC), today announced general availability of the Transcoding Resource Blade (TRB) family of blade products. The TRB products support IP to IP conversion of a wide range of standard and low bit-rate (LBR) coders, including:  G.711, G.726, G.727, G.723.1, G.729.a, iLBC, GSM-FR, GSM-EFR, AMR and others. Alan Percy from Audiocodes is here at ITEXPO (he's a keynoter) and I ran into him last night and we talked for a bit. (Audiocodes is also exhibiting at the show.) I'm surprised Alan didn't tell me about this news being announced today.

In any event, the new line of Transcoding Resource Blade products addresses the IMS market's needs for complex wireline and wireless VoIP transcoding.

Pingtel and Voxbone interoperate

October 13, 2006

Pingtel, a provider of open source, Linux-based enterprise VoIP solutions, and Voxbone, a provider of international VoIP origination services will announce on Monday the completion of interoperability testing between their respective offerings. As a result of this certification, customers can select Pingtel's SIPxchange IP-PBX VoIP software solution in combination with Voxbone's call origination services and thereby benefit from cost-effective calls routed to a SIP-based device (IP-phone, IP-PBX, etc.).

When a customer is in need of an international presence the customer interconnects via VoIP to the closest Voxbone POP. Voxbone then allocates the desired amount of numbers and capacity to the customer. When someone calls to one of these numbers Voxbone forwards the call via VoIP to the customer.

Much Ado at DigitalLife

October 13, 2006

Well it wasn't a disappointed kickoff to DigitalLife 2006 at all yesterday!

(And didn't really expect it to be either; wore outs lots of shoe leather walking the floor of the Javits Center -- but walking is good for you, isn't it?)

We started with the launch of the Treo 680 from Palm (more about that later -- blog, blog, blog) and moved a whole bunch of wideranging topics of interest:

  • eBay University, which presented educational sessions and workshops to teach beginners and experienced eBay users alike how to sell with success
  • Launch of Final Fantasy XII, the latest in the best-selling Final Fantasy franchise from Square Enix (in stores October 31)
  • Gaming, gaming and gaming! Xbox 360, Xbox Live! and the latest games from Microsoft Game Studios, Square Enix, Konami, Namco, Vivendi, Ubisoft and Electronic Arts
  • More gaming!

Packet8 Videophone update

October 12, 2006

I have some more info about the new Packet8 videophone I wrote about earlier today. I met with Packet8 and asked them about this new product. In my previous post, I stated I heard it will support H.263 -- in fact, it will actually support the better H.264 standard. It will indeed be much smaller than the current Packet8 videophone.

Microsoft acquires Colloquis

October 12, 2006

Microsoft's Zig Serafin was one of the keynoters today (Rich has a short video clip of his keynote). He covered Microsoft's Unified Communications plans quite extensively. It was a pretty good overview of Microsoft's plans in the unified communications space. Zig neglected to mention some interesting news announced by Microsoft today that they have acquired Colloquis, a provider of natural language processing technology and online customer interaction solutions. 

The beauty of San Diego

October 12, 2006

Both Rich Tehrani and Jon Arnold have posted some great photos while attending ITEXPO that give you not only a flavor of what's happening at ITEXPO, but also show the beauty of San Diego. I have to say, San Diego is one of my favorite locations to hold a tradeshow due to the nice weather, great restaurants, and just the overall beauty and character of this city. I hope TMC continues to have our West Coast show in this city, though I due miss when we held ITEXPO at the Hotel Del Coronodo hotel - a famous hotel with a rich history - including the location for the Some Like it Hot movie with Marilyn Monroe and is allegedly haunted. Alas, ITEXPO quickly outgrew the Hotel Del, which required we move to a convention center.

DigitalLife Opens Today!

October 12, 2006

New Packet8 videophone coming

October 12, 2006

Sources at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo tell me that a new $150 Packet8 videophone will be launched at CES. I really liked the original Packet8 VideoPhone, which I reviewed here. The original Packet8 Videophone retailed for $299, so Packet8 is certainly bringing the pricepoint of videphones down with their pending $150 videophone. Though my guess is that the videophone is subsidized by requiring customers to sign up for a minimum 1-year contract or more.

Frogger at 25

October 12, 2006

Packet Island debuts VoIP Lifecycle Management Solution for Asterisk

October 11, 2006

Packet Island debuted their VoIP Lifecycle Management Solution for Asterisk at INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO West 2006. For those deploying Asterisk, this seems like a nifty tool to perform performance metrics, VoIP network assesments, and ensure that the Asterisk IP-PBX is performing up to snuff.

Here's the news announced at the show...

Santa Clara, CA — Packet Island today announced that it will debut it’s VoIP Lifecycle Management Solution for Asterisk at TMC's INTERNET TELEPHONY® Conference & EXPO West 2006, October 10-13, 2006 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California (

Packet Island’s ‘PacketSmart for Asterisk’ is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution that has been designed to target the VoIP lifecycle management needs of VARs and SMBs deploying Asterisk. The solution is based on Asterisk software agents and purpose-built micro-appliances that work with the highly scalable PacketSmart SaaS platform, hosted at a Tier-1 data center. The Asterisk software agents are highly optimized applications installed on the Asterisk PBX and collect detailed quality metrics on all VoIP calls terminating at the PBX.

Can't Wait for the Wii?

October 11, 2006

Libya & the $100 Laptop

October 11, 2006

While Libya may not be the best place in the world to call home, it certainly looks a lot better to the 1.2 million children that will get $100 laptops courtesy of the Libyan government.

While we here at home are faced with many, many more expensive PC choices, the Libyan kids will join the PC-powered generation.  (John Markoff's fine reporting can be read here.)

Skype v2.6 released and Skype 3.0 beta coming soon

October 11, 2006

Lots of Skype news coming out of Internet Telephony Conference & Expo. First, Skype v2.6 beta was released today. It has the following new features:

- Click to call ordinary phone numbers on any website (optional install)
- Find and join Skypecasts in the Live tab.
- Share your favorite links in mood message. They’re clickable.
- Search the web with the Google Toolbar (optional install)

Looks like Skype is partnering for the two optional pieces.

Rich is a moblogging machine!

October 11, 2006

Rich Tehrani has become a video moblogging machine! I had a script that allowed Rich to upload text posts to the blog simply by emailing a certain email account from his Windows Mobile 5 Verizon phone. I joked with Rich about me adding video support just a couple of weeks ago when I wrote:
How much would it be worth to you for me to add video support to the email-to-blog script?

This way you can capture videos on your Verizon XV6700 mobile phone, email it and then it will publish it onto your blog.

Could be a cool feature to capture a keynote while you are up on stage, or walking the show floor and you want to INSTANTLY show how the traffic is, etc.

Running into fellow VoIP bloggers and some VoIP news

October 10, 2006

I just arrived in sunny San Diego after a very turbulent JetBlue flight from JFK airport. Although it was a bumpy ride, the 37 channels of DirecTV certainly helped pass the 5hrs and 40 minutes away. After arriving at my hotel, I learned my room wasn't ready, so decided to head on over to the convention center to check out what was happening on the first day of Internet Telephony Conference & Expo. Since I couldn't check in and change into business attire (a suit), I headed over wearing a casual short-sleeve polo shirt, jeans, and sneakers. There should be a rule that VoIP bloggers don't have to wear suits anyway.

Mercury On-the-Go Storage

October 10, 2006

Audio, video, backup; I don't know about you, but I've got plenty of data to store and keep track of -- and keep it safe and secure at the same time.

OWC's Mercury On-The-Go bus-powered portable solutions make it safe and easy to transport large amounts of data.

Stylishly engineered in a sleek, impact-resistant acrylic enclosure, the Mercury On-The-Go incorporates shock-isolation technology for maximum protection.

(Nothing worse then backing up and then dropping the drive ...)

How About a 10 Megapixel Camera, er Cell Phone

October 10, 2006

Google buys YouTube

October 9, 2006

Google has acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion, setting to rest all the rumors. I wonder how this will affect Google's stock considering the liability risk Google will inheirit with this acquisition of an entity that is known for ignoring copyright laws - though YouTube has been proactive at removing copyrighted material if requested by the copyright holders. (Google's stock is up 2% so far today.)

Perhaps Google is just the one to be able to solve copyright issues and work with the copyright holders. It's just as possible that Hollywood and their lawyers will see Google and their billions of capital as an irresitable temptation to sue.

According to the newswire:

When the acquisition is complete, YouTube will retain its distinct brand identity, strengthening and complementing Google’s own fast-growing video business. 

Get in Gear with iPod Pouches

October 9, 2006

WaterField Designs has come up with some winning, innovative pouches to hold your iPod -- and all the rest of your gear for that MP3 player or just plenty of your other stuff.

It's very nice that the scrambling around to find all your iPod gear is now a thing of the past.

An assortment of padded compartments keeps your iPod – no matter what size or style –and iPod accessories secure and tangle free.

Tower Records: Bye-Bye

October 9, 2006

Google Blog Hacked, Who's Next?

October 8, 2006

There was a lot of buzz surrounding a Google Blog post stating that the Google's click-to-call program was being cancelled. Apparently, it isn't true, but rather an unauthorized user logged onto Google Blog and made up the post.

Here's an update from Google Blog:
A bug in Blogger enabled an unauthorized user to make a fake post on the Google Blog last night, claiming that we've discontinued our AdWords click-to-call test. The bug was fixed quickly and the post removed. As for the click-to-call test, it is progressing on schedule, and we're pleased with the results thus far.

A bug?

VoIP Hacks

October 7, 2006

VoIP in Second Life

October 6, 2006

On Wednesday, Vivox announced their "one million free minutes" promotion which enables the 3D virtual world "Second Life" users to speak to each other via their phones using PC VoIP to landline termination (PC-to-PSTN). Natively Second Life doesn't support PC-to-PSTN, however users have been able to use other third-party workarounds, like TeamSpeak, which I have written about previously. Vivox has an interesting concept whereby they are building "phone booths" into the Second Life virtual world that allow residents to call out to any telephones from them. They are also building microphones into the virual world that will allow users access to voice chat of up to five people at a time.

Top Selling Cell Phones: Updated

October 6, 2006

The ballots are in for the best selling cell phone (on a global basis), according to Krusell, the Swedish manufacturer of carrying cases for portable gadgets.

The Krusell list is based upon the number of pieces of model-specific mobile and smart phone cases that have been ordered from Krusell during September 2006.

According to the company, this list is unique due to the fact that it reflects the sales of phones on six continents and in more than 50 countries around the globe.

Sonic at 15

October 6, 2006

Mercator Capital likes TMC's ITEXPO and Internet Telephony Magazine

October 6, 2006

Rich wrote an interesting blog entry today about Mercator Capital talking about TMC's upcoming (next week) Internet Telephony Conference & Expo, as well as some major kudos for TMC's Internet Telephony Magazine. I head out to ITEXPO in just a few days and I have some good meetings lined up with several vendors in the IP communications space. I'll be sure to post here any interesting news.

In the meantime, I'm going to steal Rich's blog entry about Mercator Capital and paste it below. I don't think he'll fire me for my blatant plagiarism.

Take the Fifth -- Beethoven's Fifth ...

October 5, 2006

Free classical music downloads of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony launch The Philadelphia Orchestra’s online music store.

(I like it!)

The Philadelphia Orchestra is the first major American orchestra to offer consumers the opportunity to download recent and archival music directly through its own website.

Also available for purchase in the store are the other Beethoven symphonies recorded under Christoph Eschenbach during the 2005-06 season, selections from the Orchestra’s highly acclaimed Centennial Collection with works conducted by the great maestros of Philadelphia – Stokowski, Ormandy, Muti and Sawallisch -– and pieces recorded during the past six years.

Free 60 second phone calls

October 5, 2006

Remember Jahjah's free phone service offer. Well, James Bowman over at has started a service with a different angle.They offer free calling to US48 phone numbers (all U.S. except Hawaii and Alaska), but records (with consent!) the calls and publishes them on their website. James said, "We hope to pay for the phone service with the ad revenue from people listening to the calls.It's as simple as that." To use the service, you simply dial their toll-free 866-460SECS number and then enter the number you wish to dial.

He explained that they envision a few different kinds of user for the phone service, such as people who are very price-conscious or shameless self-promoters who view it like reality TV - you give up privacy in exchange for fame.

The original plan was to limit calls to 60 seconds - hence the name, but during the beta period the limit is actually 6 minutes.

Here's a quick Q&A via email I had with James:

1) How are you terminating the calls?

One Week (and Counting) to DigitalLife!

October 5, 2006

Ergo Keys: Any Way You Want Them -- It's Your Keyboard!

October 4, 2006

It seems like a pretty wacky idea, but having a keyboard that you can customize (I mean really customize) can make a lot of sense.

Ergodex's DX1 Input System is the first in a new category of input device that features movable programmable keys  -- and exceptional performance, especially for gamers, engineering professionals and artists (quite the grouping!).

The DX1 consists of a Pad on which you place individual Keys anywhere you want, and then you tell the computer what you want the Keys to do.

The DX1 Keys are assigned to match a single keyboard key, such as the letter "a" or to perform a more complex macro containing a series of keystrokes.

TuneFlow: Your Choice

October 4, 2006

Sites were you can download music for free is far from a new idea, but at least TuneFlow is taking a novel approach with its support of indie music.

TuneFlow's "Music to the Ears: Tune Tournament" lets us (we the people) decide the best new songs on its web site.

Better yet (mostly), all tournament songs are available for free downloading. The songs are already in iPod-ready MP3 format, and there's no DRM.

Fonality acquires trixbox

October 3, 2006

Fonality will announce tomorrow that they have acquired trixbox, formerly known as Asterisk@Home, and the the world's largest Asterisk-based community. Trixbox is a turn-key, bootable .iso CD image that can turn a PC with no OS into an Asterisk server with a variety of open source tools in just a few minutes. The trixbox application lets someone download a bootable .iso image that then automatically installs Linux, Asterisk, SugarCRM, MySQL, FreePBX, and a whole variety of other applications. Trixbox fully supports the Linux yum command and RPM ecosystem for performing updates and bug fixes.

Essentially, trixbox uses the latest and greatest version of Asterisk.

Answer to Quickie Quiz: More TVs or People

October 3, 2006

Nokia's Been Busy in the Lab

October 3, 2006

A Bluetooth killer or an enhancer? Seems Nokia's announcement today about its Wibree technology may be either one.

A unique radio technology extending local connectivity to small devices, Wibree is an open industry initiative developed by Nokia Research Center.

Internet Telephony Magazine Celebrates 100th issue

October 3, 2006

Internet Telephony Magazine 100th issue
(the phones are the RTX LAN DUALphone if curious)

I just got my copy of the October issue of Internet Telephony Magazine which celebrates the 100th issue and 9th birthday of the foremost IP communications magazine. (the 100th issue is a whopping 172 pages!) In 1996, within CTI Magazine, the precuror to Internet Telephony Magazine, I wrote the first product review of one of the true pioneers of VoIP - Vocaltec - who invented the 1st VoIP softphone. Soon after, in 1997 Internet Telephony was launched and we were told by experts in telecom that we were crazy to launch a magazine focused on voice over IP. It's amazing to see how far VoIP and other types of IP communications has come in just 9 years.

I would be remiss if I didn't quote Rich Tehrani's Publisher's Outlook in this 100th issue where he talks about the 9 year ride.

Skype combo devices - what's the point?

October 3, 2006

Seems like every day there's some newfandangled Skype device that combines Skype along with some combination of a speakerphone, a mouse, a keypad, an LCD, a toaster, a blender, etc. etc.

Remember the Sony Skype device I wrote about? Let me refresh your memory with 2 pictures...

Sony VAIO VNCX1-B Mouse

Now word comes about a new combo Skype device called the Skype USB Phone ASG-142 SkyGenie MouseFone.

It features an 800 DPI optical sensor, Skype speakerphone, an a 1.3-inch LCD for caller ID display. Although it is USB, it only works on Windows.

VoIP leads to electric bill scare tactics

October 2, 2006

I was listening to Curtis and Kuby on WABC 770 this morning and they stated that an electric company was sending out bogus $500 or even $5,000 electric bills to customers in order to force their customers to call their billing department. The reason? With many homes no longer having a phone landline, due to VoIP, wireless phones, etc., the electric meters can no longer automatically dial in the electricity usage.

After the customer does call in to complain, the billing department then tells the customer the true charges. I just hope an 80 year old grandma doesn't open her electric bill to see a $5,000 charge and have a heart attack.

Dell Does Recycling Right! F-R-E-E

October 2, 2006

Now we really have something good here with Dell’s announcement of its no-charge recycling program for U.S. customers. Let's just call it was it is -- free! The magic URL is

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