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January 2007

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A Dell by Any Other Name?

January 31, 2007

Today's announcement about Michael Dell becoming CEO of his own company through me off guard, especially since the disposed CEO, Kevin Rollins, was at the big Windows Vista launch shindig in NYC just two days ago!

Wonder if anyone in the "C" suite at Dell (the company) knew this was going to happen ... and, if so, why not have Mr. Dell, whose roots in the PC biz go back nearly as far as Mr. Gates and company, at the event to espouse how solidly Dell is behind the Vista bandwagon?

After all, Dell (the company, again) did announce that a whole bunch of hardware with Vista was available even before Microsoft officially launched the product.

A New Big TV for the Big Game?

January 31, 2007

Vringo Video Ringtones

January 31, 2007

Vringo's Jon Medved launched Vringo, a mobile application that brings "video ringtones" to mobile phones. Yeah, that's right. Video ringtones. When you call your buddy, you can send or receive video clips that will appear as your ringtone.

VoIP products on QVC channel

January 31, 2007

I just received word that American Telecom Services, Inc. (AMEX: TES), a provider of converged communications solutions, is scheduled to feature its VoIP phone on the QVC channel tonight at midnight (ET) during the “Your Home Office” broadcast.

The ATS Voice-Over-Internet Protocol Phone (QVC Item #E0381) is a multi-handset, cordless Internet telephone that includes an integrated IP voice platform in the base of the phone to ensure easy and clear connections for the user. The phones come bundled with Internet telephone service from SunRocket.

I believe this is the first VoIP product I've heard of that is being featured on the QVC channel. Of course, I don't watch QVC, so I wouldn't know.

Skype for Mac 2.5 Goes Gold

January 31, 2007

Skype for Mac 2.5, as I previously mentioned back in November, has now gone into public release and can now be downloaded

This from their PR rep...

As you know, the beta version of this beautiful piece of software has been available since mid-November. Since then, Skype has worked hard at ironing out the beta wrinkles and is pleased to release a public version into the wild. Skype has even added a nifty little birthday reminder feature, to help you impress your Skype contacts (and secure an invitation to the party).

Skype for Mac 2.5 features the ability to send SMS messages to any mobile phone in the world, bringing friends, family and colleagues yet another step closer. Also, Mac users can now use Skype to hold conference calls with up to nine other people.

Maybe Vista Is Big at Wal-Mart?

January 30, 2007

I get all kinds of stuff in my e-mail (you can only imagine!), but intrigued with today's Wal-Mart Wire, which featured -- can you believe it! -- Windows Vista! (Wire is the weekly e-flyer from the big bad boy of retailing.)

Well, We Lined Up for Vista ...

January 30, 2007

Funny (for me, not for Microsoft) to see this report about no one lining up to buy the new Windows Vista and 2007 Microsoft Office when it went on sale in SF.

Well, if you attended the big soiree in NYC yesterday (yes, I did), you know what I mean about funny (as in ironic). The line to get into the Nokia Theatre in Times Square was plenty long and plenty slow moving. And it was plenty cold in 20 something degree weather with that great NYC wind whipping up and down Broadway (and across town, too).

Digium podcast of Mark Spencer's new role

January 30, 2007

Mark Spencer, founder of the Asterisk movement, lead off the conference call by saying, "Today is one of the most exciting days in the history of the company." Them's some mighty big words! Mark explained that this came about while searching for a COO and VP of Business Development and they were then approached with something even more exciting.

Mark explained why Digium hired a new CEO and why Mark changed his role within Digium. Mark, "When you start a company and you're just one person, you have to do everything yourself and that is the history of Asterisk got started really - because I needed my own phone system and they were too expensive to go out and buy one. But as you grow, you have to start delegate stuff out. 

Jack Bauer now must contend with GPS and GSM jammers

January 30, 2007

Agent Jack Bauer CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) of FOX's 24 fame relies on his trusty GPS-enabled mobile phone to get him where he needs to go, as well as call in Curis Manning from tactical for backup or even airstrikes to specific GPS coordinates. Jack also relies heavily on GPS tracking devices to monitor the location of the bad guys.

But things just got a bit harrier for Jack.  DetectNu, a Holland-based company has come up with a GPS and GSM jammer that you simply plug into your car's cigarette lighter. It will block any planted GPS tracker in your vehicle from transmitting location data back to CTU (or Jack's phone).

It also shuts down GSM mobile phone devices. Hopefully, Jack has a triband mobile phone so he switch to CDMA or perish the thought - analog.

TomTom Go 910 GPS units infected with viruses

January 30, 2007

News reports from TomTom's own website reveal that some TomTom GO 910 GPS units were infected with a virus. The models affected were produced in one week in the last quarter of 2006 with software version 6.51. They claim the virus is qualified as low risk and does not affect the navigation performance of the TomTom GO 910 in any way. However, reports have surfaced of drivers being re-routed from Lowes to Home Depot, Burger King to McDonalds, and from Target to Walmart.

Digium's Mark Spencer replaced by ADTRAN's Danny Windham

January 30, 2007

Mark Spencer, the current CEO of Digium has been replaced by Danny J. Windham, President, Chief Operating Officer and director of ADTRAN for the CEO title. I've visited both companies in Huntville, Alabama and learned a lot about the history between Digium and ADTRAN. Mark Spencer actually used to work for ADTRAN (pre-Asterisk) and ADTRAN helped provide Mark & Digium with some "seed" money to get Asterisk/Digium off the ground. Hat tip to Alec Saunders for the tip.

The ironic thing is that I actually just emailed Digium's PR firm (which was forwarded to Mark Spencer and Bill Miller) yesterday to ask about their trademark policy which is up for renewal every January 30th.

V-Global Communications Dialer uses PSTN-to-VoIP-to-PSTN

January 29, 2007

I just came across a VoIP product that is somewhat similar to the PhoneGnome product, called the V-Global Dialer from V-Global Communications. The V-Global Dialer offers a programable, least-cost call router that sends long distance calls over a standard phone line to its 100% VoIP network for termination.  The V-Global call router is offered commercially for $19.99 with $10.00 of talk time as a "Dialer".

Technically, the PhoneGnome analogy is a bit off, since the PhoneGnome can route over your existing PSTN (if local call) or use VoIP termination via it's Ethernet port (true Voice over IP). The V-Global Dialer doesn't sport an Ethernet port.

Wheeling and Dealing: Why iPhone Won't Be at Verizon

January 29, 2007

The art of the deal ...

Now it's not surprising that Apple's iPhone would wind up with Cingular (er, I mean AT&T), but wouldn't you like to know why -- or at least why it didn't end up with a different wireless service provider, like Verizon, for instance.

Well, your dreams have been answered ... (if you were dreaming about this at all.)

Vista Launch: Midnight Madness All Over Again?

January 29, 2007

While I'm getting ready for the launch celebration of Windows Vista and 2007 Microsoft Office in New York City today (Bill Gates will come out of "retirement" for one of the presentations), it's very interesting to see how excited everyone is getting (or is supposed to be getting) about this product launch. (Catch the Bill webcast here.)

(Microsoft itself apparently can't wait -- new Wow home page can be viewed today. Wow, of course, now to be confused with World of Warcraft.)

Windows Vista requires old copy of Windows

January 29, 2007

Microsoft Vista Upgrade requires an earlier version of Windows in order to install. No biggie, right? Just insert the Windows 2000/XP CD during the install process, right? WRONG! In a bonehead move Microsoft has decided that in order to "upgrade" your current version of Windows you have to have the older version of Windows ON YOUR PC already.

Skype Pro launches

January 28, 2007

Toyota FJ Cruiser and Dodge Viper are the Collectibles of Tomorrow

January 26, 2007

I was reading a CNN/ article the other day that listed the "hypothetical" top 10 future collectible cars in the year 2027. The list included the Dodge Viper, of which I'm a proud owner, but also a Toyoya FJ Cruiser, which was won by an attendee at the end of ITEXPO. Yet another great reason to attend ITEXPO - the chance to win a car. Wish I was eligible. The funny thing is that Rich Tehrani ran into the Toyota FJ Cruiser raffle winner while he was driving to the airport.

Arrgh! The Pirate's Life for Me

January 26, 2007

Microsoft: Still Making Money After All These Years

January 26, 2007

PS3 Sales Go Soft: Trouble in Paradise

January 26, 2007

While we all take great interest in Sony's foibles, let's talk PS3 problems at the retail sale level spelling trouble for gaming companies, according to this report.

Let's face it. The game manufacturers love to develop a game and then sell it on different platforms -- PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PSP, etc. (you get the picture).


January 26, 2007

Rich Tehrani - the man who breathes IP Communications

January 26, 2007

Rich is a man who eats, sleeps, breaths IP communications. In fact, he barely slept this week at ITEXPO since he was so busy meeting with VoIP service providers and VoIP vendors, as well as speaking at the show and walking the show floor. I'm at the show myself, but I always keep one eye on Rich's blog to see what he's writing about. This morning, Rich woke up at an ungodly hour of 3:30am and then at 5:29am Rich posted an excellent recap of all the happenings at ITEXPO.

Digium vs. Fonality Round 2

January 25, 2007

Back In October of last year, I figured out that something was up between Asterisk@Home (now Trixbox) and Fonality. Chris Lyman, the CEO of Fonality told me, "I don't know how you figured out on June 6th that we were getting involved with trixbox, but my hat goes off to you." Chris gave me the scoop that Fonality was acquiring Asterisk@Home, which sent shockwaves through the Asterisk community since Asterisk@Home was an open source GPL "free" software product and Fonality is a business looking to make money off of Asterisk.

Asterisk@Home, a turnkey, bootable CD that easily installs Asterisk in minutes quickly became a popular Asterisk distro and so there was iniitally some concern that Asterisk@Home/Trixbox would no longer be free and under GPL due to the Fonality acquisition. Fortunately, Chris has chosen to keep Trixbox under GPL, but the Asterisk@Home acquisition was the first major salvo fired in the battle between Asterisk/Digium and Trixbox/Fonality. Perhaps the second salvo was when it appeared that Digium was redirecting the old Asterisk@Home domain website to their AsteriskNOW website.

Make no mistake, Digium and Fonality are competitors.

Skype for Business enhanced

January 25, 2007

Skype today announced a new version of Skype for Business that extends its features to make it easier for businesses of all sizes to install and manage Skype across their networks.

This includes new support for the Microsoft Windows Installer package, an enhanced online business control panel, new enterprise controls and new Skype Extras – business productivity plug-ins from third-party developers. Also available for download is Skype’s Guide for Network Administrators, which details how Skype works and how to manage Skype in an enterprise environment.

Here's the news release:

Skype, the global Internet communications company, today announced that it has extended its Skype for Business offering in response to continued demand among businesses around the world that use Skype™ to communicate with customers and colleagues.

Business users have always been part of the Skype family and make up more than 30 percent of Skype’s global community of users. In a recent survey of 250 businesses using Skype, 95 percent claimed to have saved on their telecommunications costs and 80 percent shared that using Skype had increased employee productivity. The survey also revealed that 62 percent of the companies using Skype communicate better with customers and 76 percent said they work more closely with colleagues because Skype is so easy to use.

Skype for Business builds upon Skype’s rich calling features including Skype-to-Skype, Video Calling, SkypeOut™, SkypeIn™, conference calling, file transfer and chat.

ITEXPO opens and Dialogic makes their comeback

January 25, 2007

ITEXPO opened yesterday and there was even a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the Dialogic booth. Seeing Dialogic is a bit nostalgic for me since Dialogic was one of the first products I ever reviewed for TMC. Back in 1996 I reviewed some of Dialogic's telephony boards for CTI Magazine, including the Dialogic VFX/40 and Dialogic D/41D, a four-port analog card.

Dialogic was the leader in the telephony board space, was later acquired by Intel where they languished, then recently sold to Eicon Networks. Dialogic is now poised to make a comeback and they've chosen the premiere IP communications tradeshow, TMC's ITEXPO to make their comeback.

Actiontec VoSKY Skype Gateway adds FXS ports

January 25, 2007

Actiontec announced a new version of their VoSKY Skype gateway at ITEXPO, adding FXS functionality (previous model has FXO support). FXS support allows you to connects directly to PBX's FXS station posts, which enables you to to have global numbering plan. With the new model you can connect multiple PBXs together in various locations and have seemless dialing. Less developed countried where public IP addresses are hard to come by like Skype because of its NAT traversal.

Thus, they can use ActionTec's Skype gateway to bridge multiple PBXs with a single numbering plan.

Celltop Goes Public

January 24, 2007

I keep thinking that Celltop reminds me of Carrot Top, but I will get over that soon.

Anyway, Alltel Wireless would like us to help choose the next “cell” that might be added to Celltop, their exclusive, patent-pending technology that promises to offer an easier way to access, manage and organize a wide range of information already available on our mobile phones.

(To get more on Alltel and Celltop, click here.)

Don't me shy!

More on That Second Life Thing

January 24, 2007

AsteriskNow Now Has 1-Click Features

January 24, 2007

As I reported a few weeks ago when AsteriskNOW was first released, Digium planned on adding auto-provisioning for Polycom IP phones as well as a BuyNOW link for buying Polycom phones directly from the admin interface. Bill Miller, the VP of Product Management of Digium told me they were working on adding VoIP service providers to the admin interface as well, so you can have a 1-click experience. Specifically, I stated:
One of the things you will see that we're in the process of doing is adding a series of service providers that are partners of ours and add it to the GUI. The user can select their own service provider if they already have a VoIP service provider or they can get one directly from our GUI and it will be preconfigured.

XO Communications reaches 100,000 VoIP users benchmark

January 24, 2007

Today, XO Communications marks 100,000 business VoIP Users in over 7,500 small-to-medium businesses in the U.S. that are using their XOptions Flex service. Essentially Xoptions Flex is a SIP trunking service bundled with a broadband connection. Features include more than twenty standard voice features including voice mail, caller ID, call waiting, call forward, three-way calling, and one toll free number.

Juniper Networks and Intelliden deliver Dynamic Networking Automation solution for High Bandwidth Applications

January 24, 2007

Juniper Networks, Inc. and Intelliden, Inc. today announced that they will deliver a Dynamic Networking Automation solution for high bandwidth IP services, which will leverage QoS and policy management controls as well as IMS - IP Multimedia Subsystem. Triple Play, Quad Play, etc. offerings can take advantage of this solution. Anyone looking to educate themselves further on IMS should really check out TMC's IMS Magazine.

In any event, Intelliden has integrated Juniper’s Networks Service Deployment System (SDX) platform with Intelliden’s Dynamic Resource Provisioning solution.

Arrived at ITEXPO

January 23, 2007

I arrived at ITEXPO just a few hours ago. This is the first VoIP tradeshow of 2007 and by all accounts it should be a spectacular show. I just glimpsed into the exhibit hall and saw some impressive booths being put together. I'm always amazed how these crews magically turn a large empty room with concret floors into a bustling smorgasbord of lights, signs, carpeting, electrical wiring and network wiring snaked everywhere, cool looking booth displays, large LCD monitors, computers, etc.

Hey, It's Like Second Life for Your Cell Phone

January 23, 2007

Maybe there is something to this Second Life thing after all.

While IBM seems to think this is the next big thing (according to this report, many other companies are going their own way with bits and pieces of the "big idea." (Donny Deutsch may take that one ...)

U-Doo is a new program that lets you build personal ringtones with matching avatar characters. 

MP3s Were Meant To Be Free ...

January 23, 2007

Well, it seems like the dreams and wishes of music fans around the world will soon come true.

According a report in today's New York Times, at least one major record label considering taking the copy restrictions off of its downloadable MP3 files. 

Now this would not make the MP3s free exactly, but would make them able to be copied and copied and copied from device to device to device ...

Telrex Announces CallRex Release 3.5 VoIP Call Recording solution

January 22, 2007

Telrex today announced CallRex Release 3.5, a business-class VoIP call recording and monitoring solution. For a round-up of VoIP call recording solutions, check out my article here.

According to Telrex, the new release features a new distributed-services software architecture which adds more scalability, enhanced multi-site support, streamlined storage and archiving, and additional security.

Telrex claims that CallRex was the first VoIP call recording solution verified to record encrypted VoIP calls for Cisco CallManager 5.0, and CallRex version 3.5 now provides additional security to ensure that call recording files cannot be secretly altered.

The CallRex 3.5 distributed-services software architecture features separate services for status, control, recording and conversion of VoIP phone calls. CallRex 3.5 services operate independently and are deployed on industry-standard Windows servers in single- or multi-server configurations. Together, the CallRex 3.5 services enable the recording, monitoring, retrieval, playback and utilization of call recordings from any location.

Cool-iCam Art Pad photo editing tablet

January 22, 2007

AT&T Unity brings voice minutes closer to free

January 19, 2007

The NY Times is reporting that AT&T customers who subscribe to both its Cingular Wireless and traditional phone services can now make and receive unlimited free calls to and from any other AT&T or Cingular customer. The new AT&T Unity service is yet another competitive advantage AT&T and the other phone companies will have over single-play VoIP providers, including Vonage, and even Skype. Of course, the race to "free" can't be good for the telecom sector.

According to the story, expanded ''free calling'' network will consist of 100 million phone numbers. That's a pretty large "free in-network" calling.

Why Does Apple Have To Charge More for Faster Wi-Fi?

January 19, 2007

Hey, I'm all for companies making a buck on the products ands services they provide us consumers, but why does Apple have to charge $1.99 a month for faster wireless service on some of its MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops?

(Don't they make enough margin on the hardware to begin with?)  More on that here.

Now that news may get me a bit hot under the collar, but how about hotter still when we learn that Apple and Cingular (now AT&T) will make nearly a 50% margin (aka profit) on its first iPhones, according to this report.

Now those numbers set up some aggressive price cutting, according to sources, but I'm personally still waiting for CD prices to drop, like they were supposed to after the investment in the pressing plants was recouped.

Is the Wii the Center of the Media Universe?

January 18, 2007

Beatles on iTunes: Sooner Than You Think?

January 18, 2007

I heard the news today, oh boy ...

Much buzz today about the apparent resolution of when and where (forget about if), the Beatles LPs/CDs will be available for download. More on that here.

Not too surprised that Apple (working with the Beatles' label, Apple Records -- nice coincidence, eh?) will apparently have a short, exclusive window to have the upcoming, newly remastered CDs available on iTunes.

Something New for the Set-Top Box?

January 17, 2007

Interesting article in today's New York Times about the lowly set-top box that brings TV into our homes today (or at least a large part of U.S. homes today) is undergoing a transformation.

(At least by what was shown by companies like Motorola at CES earlier this month.)

Gadget or Girlfriend: Let Me Think About It ...

January 17, 2007

How about this piece of wacky news out of the UK that one in every eight guys would ditch their girlfriend for a hot new gadget?

Yes, indeed-ee, that's what we have here from a recently conducted survey.

The hot gadgets in question -- HDTV, iPod or some other desirable gadget.

On the other side of the coin, one out of every 16 of the ladies would ditch their boyfriends for some of that gadget glory, too.

Install Asterisk Business Edition on Fedora Core 5 or 6

January 16, 2007

Pontiac G5 Internet Launch?

January 16, 2007

Looks like Pontiac is launching the 2007 Pontiac G5 on the Internet. I just saw a Google video ad on my blog stating that Pontiac is launching the G5 exclusively on the Internet. The images you see are snapshots I took of the Pontiac G5 video.

In the commerical they list off popular digital items, trying to market the Pontiac G5 as a "digital car". They list: digital watch, digital abacus, digital camera, digital phone, digital video, digital card, digital haircut (i.e.

Google Maps in Search Results

January 16, 2007

ITEXPO just 7 days away

January 16, 2007

I can't believe ITEXPO, the first major VoIP show of 2007, is just 7 days away! For me, the holidays just flew by. I think because we didn't have any snow it feels like it should still be December not the latter half of January.

I'm looking forward to going to sunny Ft. Lauderdale where I'm sure plenty of cool VoIP news will be announced. I'm coming down with a bit of a cold, so hopefully I won't be under the weather when I get there.

Netflix Gets into Movie Downloads (Finally!)

January 16, 2007

Don't know why it took so long, but Netflix is finally offering movies and TV shows via download, rather than by its DVD-by-mail service. 

Guess they finally took their collective eyes off of Blockbuster and now are contending with such other online movie delivery services as CinemaNow, MovieFlix, Movielink and Vongo. Oh, and how about's recently launched Unbox. 

I'll Take My Super Bowl at Home, Thank You

January 16, 2007

I have to admit that I was a bit surprised read this morning that more of us who rather see the Super Bowl at home on a High Def TV than see the game live.

(Can you believe it?)

Course the survey was commissioned by gadgets retailer Circuit City, which has quite a vested interest in selling you those HD TVs to watch the game.

Jack Bauer's Perfect Mobile Phone for 24

January 15, 2007

The season of 24 kicked off last night with a 2-hour special premiere of 24 and continues tonight with yet another two hour kick-off to the 6th season of 24. I thought it would be cool to examine the perfect mobile phone to help Jack Bauer capture, torture, kill, (whatever) the terrorists.

  • Self-destruct with two destruct modes. One mode uses a small charge to simply destroy any classified CTU materials but won't harm anyone in the vicinity. The second mode uses a more powerful charge that can kill.

Inventor creates Halo exo-skeleton armor suit for military use

January 15, 2007

An inventor has created something that closely resembles the armor-protecting suit from Halo. Troy Hurtubise created the 40lb suit called Trojan in hopes of protecting soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. It purportedly can withstand knives, bullets, light explosives, clubs, and even a round  from an elephant gun. (No word weather or not it can handle a round from the Covenant Carbine or Needler.)

It is claimed to be the "first ballistic, full exoskeleton body suit of armor," Trojan is made from high-impact plastic lined with ceramic bullet protection over ballistic foam, and features storage compartments from everything from morphine to gun holsters or emergency lights. There's even a solar-powered fresh-air system and a drinking tube attached to a canteen in the small of the back. He says he can mass-produce them for about $2000.

It Was Some Week, Wasn't It?

January 12, 2007

Cingular To Become AT&T (Say What?)

January 12, 2007

Honestly, who can keep track of all of the Baby Bells, Ma Bell, the wireless services providers -- wasn't it supposed to be easier after the breakup of AT&T that began in 1974 with the U.S. Department of Justice anti-trust suit against the telephone monopoly. (Thanks Wiki! -- and more on that later.)

Apple vs. Cisco over iPhone

January 11, 2007

I was just on the phone with Garvin Thomas, a reporter from NBC11 News who wanted my take on the iPhone lawsuit between Apple and Cisco and to discuss what he learned. First, when you search the US Patent and Trademark Office database for iPhone you will see 4 separate trademark applications for the term "iPhone". One is by Cisco, another by Teledex, another by Xtreme Mobile, and lastly a trademark application owned by "Ocean Telecom Services LLC" based out of Delaware. Apple is noticeably absent from this list, so perhaps one of these companies is a shell company acting on behalf of Apple.

Jon Arnold on bloggers

January 11, 2007

Jon Arnold has some interesting thoughts on how blogging is making in-roads in the large tech companies, including Cisco. This was in response to my blog post about how Apple was able to keep their iPhone secret from both blogger and mainstream journalist alike.
During Cisco's C-Scape analyst conference last month, I posted about how they have set up a corporate blog and that they are embracing new media to be more accessible and reach the online community. They were nice enough to invite me to post there, and I'm definitely one of the early adopters supporting their blog initiative.
Jon Arnold is an interesting thinker with great insights into the VoIP industry. Jon will be headed to TMC's ITEXPO in a couple weeks, so I'll have to try and hook up with Jon and get his thoughts on the industry.

The Straight Skinny on the Cisco/Apple Lawsuit

January 11, 2007

A $100 Laptop for You, Too

January 11, 2007

Cisco sues Apple

January 10, 2007

iPhone: Not All Phone for All People

January 10, 2007

Make no mistake, that Apple iPhone is one great looking product -- would you expect anything less from Apple?

But what's really interested is taking a look past the shiny, attractive exterior and seeing what's inside -- the technology, what it does, what it can do for you. This is sort of the same as getting past how great a car looks to see if it's really the car for you. After all, a car is just four wheels to get you places, and isn't a phone really something to make calls (OK, "communicate") with?

Apple iPhone - more secret than a covert CIA operation

January 10, 2007

Steve Jobs has outdone himself with the successful launch of the Apple iPhone at CES yesterday that continues to cause reverberations and major buzz today. What I would like to know is how Steve Jobs kept the iPhone so secret. In today's day and age where information leaks out faster than the NY Times reveals top secret anti-terrorism government programs -- how was Steve Jobs able to keep the iPhone under wraps?

Apple has been known to sue bloggers that have divulged past Apple secrets, so how did we not see this coming? Sure there were rumors about the iPhone coming out at CES, but there were just as many rumors saying it wasn't going to happen.

Hybrid: Is This the Future of Storage?

January 10, 2007

While everybody hears about CES and MacWorld, another tech focused show is happening in Las Vegas -- StorageVisions 2007.

Not to be outdone by those two shows, we have some news from this one, too.

In a move to give the growing number of notebook PC users faster, more durable systems that run longer on a battery charge, Hitachi, Samsung, Seagate and Toshiba have formed a new organization called the Hybrid Storage Alliance.

With market research firm IDC predicting that hybrid hard disk drives will constitute 35% of all hard disk drives shipped with portable PCs by 2010, this technology is seen as the industry's answer to the growing demand for notebook PCs that deliver the speed and durability of desktop PCs.

The goals of the industry group are actually very simple:

  • Illustrate how flash memory/hard drive hybrid technology can extend the capabilities of today's notebook computers
  • Accelerate market adoption of the technology

According to the organization, hybrid technology combines the unmatched capacity and cost-effectiveness of hard drives with the responsiveness, power-efficiency and durability of flash memory.

Apple Computer Is No More

January 9, 2007

Sharp's 108" LCD: Now That's Big!

January 9, 2007

From sharp minds come sharp products -- and how about big, really big products.

Making its debut at CES, Sharp's Aquos 108-inch High-Definition LCD TV is the world’s largest HD set -- larger than even its plasma rivals.

The 1080p LCD TV measures 93.9 inches wide by 52.9-inches high -- that's almost 8 feet by 4.5 feet; SuperBowl ba-bee! (A "baby" Sharp 65-inch set is pictured; this one is currently available.)

HD DVDs & Vista: Problems Coming?

January 9, 2007

It's always amazing to me to hear about new products that are expected to do certain wonderful things and then simply fail to deliver.

Now I don't what to knock Microsoft's new Vista operating system (which isn't even here yet), but just checked a report that notes that certain next generation DVDs (you know, those HD ones) might not play on Vista!

(So much for the Microsoft Media Center experience -- the heart of the home!

Apple iPhone launches

January 9, 2007

The Apple iPhone is a rumor no more - and Apple is even using the name "iPhone" - Cisco's trademark on the term 'iPhone' be damned!

The Apple iPhone measures just 11.6 millimeters thin and includes a 3.5-inch wide touchscreen display with an interesting proximity sensor that turns off the touch screen when it's close to your face so you don't accidentally start clicking on programs, icons, etc. The iPhone is essentially a widescreen iPod and a phone all-in-one.

It comes with 8 GB of storage, Bluetooth, a 2 megapixel camera, and WiFi. It also supports quadband GSM radio with EDGE for high-speed Internet access. Damn, another player in the already crowded smartphone space - there goes my PALM stock!

It actually runs OS X with support iTunes, Google Maps, and Safari browser.

Find a pet-friendly hotel with

January 8, 2007

Download of the Day: Ophcrack Live CD

January 8, 2007

The free, open source Ophcrack Live CD is a Windows account password cracking tool designed to help you recover lost Windows passwords.

After you download the 462mb .iso and burn it to a CD, just restart your computer and boot up the Live CD. Once the CD boots, Ophcrack automatically loads and is on its way to cracking your password. So how well does it work?

BitTyrant: Selfishness Comes To BitTorrent

January 8, 2007

Interesting Bittorrent news I came across on O'Reilly. Here's an excerpt:

One of the key tenants of BitTorrent is that you have to contribute (upload) to receive (download). BitTyrant is a new client that finds a way to be selfish within the BT protocols by selectively uploading to peers based on their upload capacity. It was created by researchers to test the robustness of BT's incentives.

Vonage partners with Earthlink and becomes an ISP

January 8, 2007

Vonage has decided to move from their low-margin, high turnover business (VoIP) to another low-margin, high turnover business (ISPs) when they announced today that they are partnering with EarthLink's municipal wireless Internet networks. Essentially, with this partnership, Vonage is now an ISP or an OEM ISP I suppose. Isn't that grand? Talk about watering your brand, though at this point, Vonage has nothing to lose, especially considering their stock/IPO has tanked and their stock is still way down from the IPO.

According to TMCnet, Vonage, plans to sell Vonage-branded Wi-Fi Internet access through a three-year contract with EarthLink. Vonage will buy Internet access on a wholesale basis from EarthLink, one of the pioneers within the emerging municipal Wi-Fi market.

Motorola announces MOTORIZR Z6

January 8, 2007

ViewSonic Takes on Vizio and Westinghouse with Low-priced 1080p LCDs

January 8, 2007

Yahoo Messenger revamps for Windows Vista

January 8, 2007

Yahoo! Messenger today announced its plans to deliver a next generation version of its real time communications service designed specifically for the Windows Vista operating system. I spoke with a Yahoo! representative and he told me that this will be a completely new version of the software specifically designed for Windows Vista.

From the newswires:

This upcoming beta software of Yahoo! Messenger will bring together the fun, personal and interactive communications features offered by Yahoo!

CES Opens Big in LV: Gadgets Galore!

January 8, 2007

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) clambake in the hot Las Vegas sun opened today after the obligatory Bill Gates keynote -- I'll point you to this spot here for what Microsoft is offering up at this year's show.

What I found particulary interesting instead was the CES Innovations Awards, which takes all of the gadgets at CES and breaks them down into 29 categories -- from Audio Accessories to Wireless Peripherals.

Amid all the excitement about big screen TVs, new cellphones and the like, here's a look at some of the winners in the Personal Electronics category:

Microsoft Carbon IPTV for the XBox 360 is real!

January 8, 2007

CNBC Squawk Box says no Apple iPhone

January 8, 2007

SlingCatcher brings YouTube videos to your TV

January 8, 2007

Sling Media launched SlingCatcher, a device similiar to the original Slingbox that let you rebroadcast TV video to the Internet, except now in the reverse - the SlingCatcher lets you broadcast Internet video to your TV! Sling Media Inc. just unveiled its upcoming SlingCatcher product at Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

In addition, Sling Media's Slingbox product line and its client software, SlingPlayer, will include multiple new features enabled by Windows Vista. These new features include a full screen viewing mode that takes advantage of Vista's Aero Glass by allowing SlingPlayer controls and customized TV remote controls to transparently overlay on top of the video stream from the Slingbox. The Windows Vista gadgets feature will also allow multiple versions of the SlingPlayer, each attached to a separate Slingbox, to run in the Windows Sidebar.

MapQuest Navigator for Sprint and Nextel BlackBerry devices

January 5, 2007

MapQuest Navigator is now Available on Sprint and Nextel BlackBerry devices. In addition, MapQuest Mobile v2.5 now enables Finding Places, Customized and Multi-Point Routing Options, Canadian Coverage and more.

MapQuest yesterday announced MapQuest Mobile v2.5, offering a range of new features, including access to MapQuest's 15 million points of interest, multipoint routing, walking directions, customized routing options, and coverage in Canada. MapQuest Mobile, the #1 revenue generating downloadable application in the US1, is available in the US through 12 wireless carriers, and on 250 mobile phones.

In addition, MapQuest Navigator -- the GPS-enabled application featuring text and audio turn-by-turn directions -- is now available from Sprint (NYSE:S) on Sprint and Nextel BlackBerry devices. The downloadable application features an in-car navigation-like system with a moving, full color map display while letting consumers receive phone calls.

SunTec enables unified billing for Triple and Quad Play

January 5, 2007

SunTec is an interesting company that has been working with telcos to help these companies understand the importance of a singular customer view in the face of increased competition and disparate legacy billing systems. With triple play, quad play, etc. service providers often have legacy billing systems that don't offer a unified view of the customer. These disparate billing systems make it more difficult to offer discounts for loyalty since they often do not know what customers have already.

SunTec stated, "On the customer side, having one bill or being able to speak to a person that knows the entirety of what they're paying for versus talk to three different departments due to siloed systems is of tremendous value." Certainly, with cable companies and phone companies now stepping onto each other's turf, this added competition will only drives price down and margins, which will force them to look for ways to increase efficiency and improve customer loyalty.

SunTec's TBMS-T system accomplishes a unified billing platform and integrates well with existing systems, is able to take on services as they're added.

Is That a 1TB Drive in Your Pocket?

January 5, 2007

Love the battle of the firsts and why should computer storage not leverage key features when one company has them and no one else does.

Well, today we have two separate reports -- one about Seagate and the other about Hitachi -- hitting the magical 1TB milestone for storing data on a hard disk drive for consumer use.

You can check out the speeds and feeds on both drives, but no matter how you slice it, 1TB of data is a heck of a lot of data to store.

Remember when 1GB seemed like more storage than anyone could possibly use?

Iotum looking for Blackberry users to test their app

January 5, 2007

How Much Is That Song in the Window?

January 5, 2007

Everybody (including me) wonders why music downloads all cost 99 cents (or so).

(OK, Wal-mart is 88 cents per song).

Well, now we have an interesting article today about wholesale music download pricing -- a fancy term for how much music download sites, like iTunes, etc., pay record labels for songs. 

Qflix copy protection aims to enable DVD movie downloads

January 4, 2007

Hollywood studios have approved a new DVD copy-protection technology called Qflix that they claim will remove a major obstacle consumers now face with burning movies they buy digitally over the Internet and burn onto a DVD that will play everywhere. If you recall, I wrote about this here and here

If you recall, I stated back in April - "If Hollywood makes it easy for users to download and play movies on their television, they could make a killing. Just look at what Apple iTunes did after everybody said that no one would pay for music in the "Napster age". Apple proved them wrong.

At the Core of the Apple: Jobs Up Close

January 4, 2007

Do We See a White Flag in the DVD Format Wars?

January 4, 2007

Hey, how about this news about a forwarding looking company making a play to end the next-gen HD DVD format wars and also making everybody happy at the same time?

Our report today comes from the New York Times about how Warner Bros. apparently plans to announce at the CES slugfest next week a single disc that would be able to play both rival next-gen DVD formats -- Blu-ray and HD-DVD.  The new disc is reported to be called "Total HD."

(How about somebody implementing the obvious solution so we the consumer don't have to make a decision about which format to back with our wallets?)

King of All VoIP Sites?

January 4, 2007

Garrett Smith of SmithOnVoIP fame has high praise for and our redesign when he says, ", the King of all VoIP sites, has been given a face lift".  Well, aw shucks.   That is some mighty high praise considering how many great VoIP sites are out there. It is much appreciated.

Garrett adds: I have to say, as a daily visitor I am extremely happy to see this re-design.

trixbox 2.0 webinar

January 4, 2007

Boy, I'm on a tear writing about Asterisk-based solutions the past couple days. In any event, wanted to point out that SmithOnVoIP mentioned to me that Fonality is offering a free webinar on trixbox 2.0, which covers "the basic aspects and features of trixbox." Installation and troubleshooting are two of the more interesting topics. I should ping Chris Lyman, CEO of Fonality and tell him to work with some of our TMC sales staff in marketing Fonality's trixbox webinar. TMC has the best list rentals in the VoIP industry since we have the most qualified readers due to ITExpo, Internet Telephony Magazine, Customer Interaction Solutions Magazine, etc.

TMC actually partners with vendors to offer webinars hosted by TMC. Not sure how much TMC charges, but I do know we often bring >100 people to some pretty obscure webinars.

Of course, the free publicity I just gave this trixbox webinar will probably give Chris a "bump" in his webinar attendees.

trixbox 2.0 available for download

January 3, 2007

Digium releases AsteriskNOW

January 3, 2007

Digium today released AsteriskNOW, a turnkey easy-to-use version of Asterisk with a web-based GUI that they claim can get a working version of Asterisk up-and-running in 30 minutes. AsteriskNOW is Digium's answer to the

Is DLP Going the Way of the Dodo?

January 3, 2007

Everybody loves thin, especially in TVs, so it's really not a surprise that HP is apparently getting out of the DLP TV business.

BTW, does anyone out there know what DLP stands for?

(I'll make it easy -- see below.)

According to reports, these rear projection TVs will be going the way of the dodo into oblivion.

BlueWave Telecom Hosted Asterisk solution

January 3, 2007

I recently met with BlueWave Telecom, a company just coming out of "stealth marketing" to learn about VoIPFlow 2.0, a software platform that enables service providers to provision and manage hundreds of virtual PBXs leveraging a 64-bit version of Asterisk. Basically, VoIPFlow 2.0 enables 100% hosted Asterisk IP-PBXs. It actually runs virtual instances of Asterisk for each customer using open-source virtualization software. Since each Asterisk instance is "virtualized" if one instance crashes or fails, it doesn't bring down all the other Asterisk instances. VoiceFlow also has clustering for redundancy.

One of their key advantages is that they've developed an interface to manage hundreds of virtual Asterisk PBXs making it easy for service providers to manage their customers.

RuneScape Bye-Bye

January 3, 2007

Apple's Macworld 2007: What in the World?

January 2, 2007

January is always a fun month -- first with the superlarge, large, large CES shindig in Las Vegas for all things electronic (and more) and Macworld 2007 in San Francisco for all things Apple.

There's so much "new tech" and "updated tech" and "variations on a theme tech" coming to both shows that space won't allow any long crystal ball-gazing for either show.

But for those who want to get an idea of what might be there at Macworld (and the odds of it actually being at the show), there is only one place to go -- go here.

And one of the long shots is the iPhone ...

Is This a Surprise? Xbox 360 Tops the Xmas Charts

January 2, 2007

Is anybody really surprised that the Xbox 360 outsold every other gaming console out there this holiday season?

That's the report, and I'm not surprised.

What is surprising is how well the Wii did -- nearly matching the Xbox 360 sales totals.

Actually, when you talk to the gaming demo (local version), they love the Nintendo box because it offers a lot at at small (comparably) price, but they all have (or crave) the Xbox 360 for the power it offers.

What also seems to be working is that the Xbox 360 is backwards compatible the the plain vanilla Xbox so all of those Xbox games that cost lots of bucks when they came out can now be bought used for less than $10 -- and they look pretty snappy when upsized to Xbox 360 style.

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