Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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May 2007

You are browsing the archive for May 2007.

Palm Foleo launches

May 30, 2007

The Palm Foleo is a mobile companion for Treos, turns on and off instantly, and runs on Linux. The Foleo has a large screen and full size keyboard to view and edit email and office documents. What's cool about this "mobile companion" device, which Palm claims is the first of its kind, is that edits made on Foleo automatically are reflected on its paired smartphone and vice-versa (via Bluetooth).

It has a battery life of up to 5 hours and accesses the Internet through a built in WiFi radio or through the smartphone’s radio. Palm also says the device is designed for use with Treo’s that have the Palm OS or Windows Mobile, but most Windows Mobile based smartphones should also work.

Microsoft Surface - Cool!

May 30, 2007

Microsoft dropped a bombshell with their new Microsoft Surface touchscreen computer that is a touchscreen coffee table with "eyes" that can see what is placed on it blending the virtual and real worlds together. Microsoft thinks this technology developed under the top-secret codename 'Milan' will change the world and be used as a coffee table replacement in living rooms and family rooms. According to Popular Mechanics, here's how the screen works... A diffuser turns the Surface's acrylic tabletop into a large horizontal "multitouch" screen, capable of processing multiple inputs from multiple users. The Surface can also recognize objects by their shapes or by reading coded "domino" tags (i.e.

VONaLink DialBridge Cell Phone to VoIP Gateway Released

May 29, 2007

Arcosoft Inc., developer of VoIP call recording software, today announced the release of VONaLink DialBridge. . Services exist to enable someone to call a local gateway number, enter the destination number, and then be connected at cheaper rates than dialing directly. DialBridge is similar, except that the DialBridge software runs on your cpmputer so that your VoIP service provider can be leverages for low-cost long distance VoIP.

My first thought was that this solution must be hardware-based, since you need PSTN connectivity for the incoming call to the PC.

Google Blog Search Doesn't Suck?

May 25, 2007

After bashing Google Blog Search (saying it sucks) just 3 days ago, a Google engineer came across my blog article and emailed me. He stated that Google corrected a bug with their back-end and that TMCNet's blogs were back in Google Blog Search. Kudos to Google for not only responding so quickly but for proactively contacting me since I had difficulty reaching Google.

The funny thing is that he emailed my old email address (tkeating @ tmcnet . com) which should have bounced back to him as System Undeliverable.

Skype Worm targets other popular IM clients

May 24, 2007

According to the Spyware Guide, a Skype worm is in the wild that not only targets your Skype contacts, it also checks the registry for programs like AIM, Trillian, Yahoo! Messenger, Miranda and  ICQ and then attempts to send the infection via these other IM/VoIP clients. According to the Spyware Guide, "it uses the tried and tested methods employed by similar infections over the past few months, with the ultimate payload being the Stration Worm." This "cross-breed" worm that goes across multiple popular IM networks is certainly an alarming trend. I should point out that now that Skype features "pay by Skype" (Paypal integration), this gives virus/trojan writers yet another area to target to try and surreptitiously steal funds from their victims.

Here's a screenshot demonstrating the infection being sent to an MSN Messenger client. The Spyware Guide blacked out certain sections for privacy:

TiVo cuts off American Idol Finale

May 24, 2007

American Idol fans that didn't watch the finale live are shocked to learn their TIVos didn't record the last 6 minutes of last night's American Idol finale. The finale ran a bit long - 10 minutes according to my calculation, but some TiVo users do pad in a little extra time at the end which might account for the slight discrepancy (6 min vs. 10 min).

Apparently not enough "padding time", since a few of my fellow co-workers are peeved they didn't get to see Jordin Sparks get the nod over Blake Lewis. Yes TiVo users, you missed out on Jordin Sparks emotional and tearful acceptance and her final song on the show.

VoIP on the Sony PSP Finally!

May 23, 2007

Remember my Google Talk and VoIP on Sony PSP article from January 2006? Well, it would appear that now you can get VoIP on the Sony PSP. Well, according to the BBC, The VoIP software was developed by BT and will enable PSP users to call PCs, fixed lines and mobiles. The new service takes advantage of BT's 21 century network (21CN) designed specifically for IP.

Unfortunately, at least initially, the service will only be available in the UK and will only work on home or BT wireless hotspots.

EQO Launches new Mobile VoIP/IM Client

May 23, 2007

LAPTOPMAG has an actual hands on review of the new EQO software announced today. If you recall, EQO was originally designed to add Skype functionality to mobile phones, however EQO has changed their offering.  Now instead of just enabling Skype (Skype-to-Skype, Skype-In, Skype-Out) on mobile phones, EQO is offering their own mobile VoIP solution with EQO Out "credits" for PSTN termination.

The new client, which still runs on Java compatible phones, lets you make VoIP calls, as well as instant message across networks (MSN, Yahoo, AIM, GoogleTalk, ICQ, Jabber). Both Nimbuzz and Fring offer similar applications.

Google Blog Search Sucks

May 22, 2007

Google Blog Search sucks and here's why. First, it is cluttered with spammy MFA (Made for Adsense) blogs that often aggregate (steal) content from legitimate blogs. I used to use Google Blog Search to see who was linking to my blog and to track any interesting blog conversations. Now, if I want to track any blog conversations I stick with and

Nortel Strong Arms Open Source Vendor

May 22, 2007

What happens when a VoIP blog (yours truly) writes about the fact that a former Nortel subsidiary (Blade Network Technologies) went looking for a new phone system, chose an open-source Asterisk-based solution from Fonality instead of using Nortel's own PBX and then agreed to go on record on the VoIP & Gadgets blog about why they made such a shocking decision?

A) Nothing - it's a VoIP blog - who cares? Nortel is an $11 billion dollar company that certainly doesn't read blogs for their news.
Nortel reads the blog post, is a little peeved, but other than some emails sent internally, no one outside Nortel would ever know they were annoyed.
C) A Nortel Board Member flips out over the article, contacts Blade and then pressures Blade to return the Fonality system and have Fonality print a retraction to the blog article (and the subsequent press release).

If you answered C) congratulations, we have a winner! Yes, it's true - and in true David (Fonality) vs. Goliath (Nortel) fashion it would appear that we have Nortel peeved that one of their former subsidiaries chose an open-source IP-PBX (PBXtra from Fonality) and who had the audacity to speak to the press about why they made such a decision.

David Pogue's Pathetic List of Predictions

May 22, 2007

I was reading SmithOnVoIP and read how David Pogue, a well-known technology writer for the NY Times, recently made 5 what I call "obvious" predictions. One of his predictions is free landline calls. According to the article, "Prediction Number One: Free Land-Line Telephone Service. Land line phone calls will be free, because of VoIP such as Vonage, Skype and others, said Pogue. Today, you can plug an existing phone into a box that plugs into a cable modem, $15 to $20 per month, for unlimited calls, no taxes or fees (he hesitated briefly noting that perhaps he should avoid making that point to a government audience.)"

So after plugging the heavyweights in VoIP, namely Skype and Vonage, he makes this "bold" prediction about free landline calls.

Dialogic supports Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007

May 22, 2007

Dialogic Corporation announced today that it has expanded its support for Microsoft unified communications solutions. The Dialogic Media Gateways will enable unified messaging in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, I've got a testbed with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Exchange 2007 installed (which I still have to write the review on), so perhaps I'll get my hands on this new Dialogic hardware to some more interesting tests with. It's been quite some time since I last tested Dialogic hardware. My first review of Dialogic hardware was way back in 1996 in CTI Magazine.

In any event, Dialogic has expanded its gateway product lines and capabilities to support Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007.

Google Talk to offer PSTN phone calls?

May 19, 2007

A Google Apps multimedia training presentation shows Google Talk with "Show dialpad" in the user interface on Slide 9. It also says "Enter a name or phone number." Currently, Google Talk only lets you dial other Google Talk users, and the Gizmo Project - it doesn't support PSTN dialing, though there are some third-party add-ons that enable PSTN dialing from Google Talk, such as GTalk2VoIP. However, GTalk2VoIP uses their own termination network not one from Google.

So looking at this screenshot taken from an official Google page, can SIP-to-PSTN calling from Google Talk be far behind? How bout free PSTN calling?

Silent Velcro replacement

May 18, 2007

Ah yes, who doesn't love velcro? With the beauty of velcro, now we don't even have to teach our kids how to tie shoe laces (seems like all kids shoes are velcro now). Yes, velcro makes life so much better and who doesn't love the cool ripping sound? Velcro is the successor to the zipper, but can there be a successor to velcro?

Well, Leonard Duffy managed to come up with “slidingly engaging fasteners” which consists of an interlocking grid of triangular and hexagonal pieces of flexible plastic that not only lasts longer, it can hold up to eight times more.

Digium - The Showstopper!

May 18, 2007

Seems like Digium, makers of the Linux-based open source Asterisk IP-PBX, draws a huge crowd at every tradeshow, every keynote, and every exhibit booth. I remember the last ITEXPO they were demoing their new AsteriskNOW in the booth using a large TV flat-screen monitor and it was like 5 people deep by 12 people wide. So I wasn't surprised when Rich Tehrani shared a video and some photos from Communications Developer showing Digium's well-attended keynote. Once again, Digium proves itself as a real headliner attraction on the tradeshow circuit!

Rich Tehrani said, "Digium/Asterisk's Kevin Fleming is keynoting TMC's Communications Developer Conference and kicked off his presentation by dispelling the myth that Asterisk is only an open-source PBX.

Former Nortel Subsidiary Picks Fonality's PBXtra Over Nortel

May 17, 2007

Today, I spoke with Fonality's CEO Chris Lyman and Amon Prasad, Director of Information Technology for BLADE Network Technologies. BLADE Network Technologies is a former subsidiary of Nortel and get this - they selected Fonality’s Asterisk-based PBXtra over a comparable system from Nortel. Even though Nortel offered their former subsidiary a discounted price, it was still much more than PBXtra. Chris and Amon explained to me that Fonality was able to offer PBXtra at less than 50 percent of the cost of a proposed Nortel system and that included junking the existing Nortel phonesets with all new VoIP phonesets. Ecstatic over this "win" besting a well-known PBX manufacturer, Fonality stated, "BLADE is one example of how Fonality is now regularly beating out incumbents including, Cisco, Nortel and Alcatel in the small to medium business (SMB) market.

Communications Developer Conference Exceeds Expectations

May 17, 2007

Some great photos from the Communications Developer show that I wanted to share. By all accounts the show has been a resounding success. In fact, Dave Rodriguez, TMC's Vice President of Publications and Conferences sent the TMC team an email update saying, "Just wanted to update everyone on the progress of the Communications Developer event. The first three days have been very successful with attendance exceeding our expectations and genuine excitement and enthusiasm among our exhibitors, sponsors and attendees." This just confirms my point two days ago, that developers are going to be the key driver in taking IP communications to the next level -- so the strong interest and attendance at this show certainly bodes well for the industry.

Also, Rich Tehrani just captured some exhibit hall photos using his mobile phone which he instantly published to his blog! Amazing how technology can make you feel as though you're almost there.

Check out these photos which I borrowed from                          

Windows Vista USB Audio Driver Problem Fixed

May 17, 2007

Windows Vista Ultimate Edition is my latest desktop machine at work and some USB audio devices have given me nothing but problems. While most USB audio devices have installed just fine, since they use the standard Microsoft USB audio class, some devices, such as a Jabra Netcom 9350 wouldn't install correctly. Apparently Vista does mandatory DRM checking for USB Audio Devices. I've heard of many users complaining that their Bluetooth headsets no longer work once they upgraded to Vista due to this new DRM protection.

VoIP Supply Offers VoIP Network Assessment and Evaluation Packages

May 17, 2007

Garrett Smith points me to a new program being offered by VoIP Supply to help SMBs deploy VoIP. One of the problems with VoIP deployment is QoS issues due to poor network design. Many SMBs just don't have the IT staff to properly configure switches to set the TOS (Type of Service) bit for packet prioritization or know how to configure a VLAN that separates the voice from the data packets.Garrett told me,"VoIP network assessment and evaluation packages for businesses 1 to 250 users in size. The packages have been designed by myself, and our Executive Vice President Cory Andrews, for those who do not have the in-house technical expertise to design and purchase their own IP PBX system, create technical drawings with documentation, analyze their current data and voice networks, as well as purchase the required hardware, software and telecommunications service components for their VoIP deployment."

He then explained, "The VoIP Supply VoIP network assessment and evaluation packages offer a complete and comprehensive set of deliverables that gives businesses of all sizes the ability to make informed decisions about a potential migration to VoIP."

VoIP Supply's VoIP network assessment and evaluation packages include the following:

  • Initial telephone consultation with an IP Communications expert.

Skype unveils Game Developer Program

May 16, 2007

DRM-Free MP3 songs - You're joking, right?

May 16, 2007 today announced it will launch a digital music store later this year offering millions of songs in the DRM-free MP3 format from more than 12,000 record labels. According to Amazon, every song and album in the digital music store will be available exclusively in the MP3 format without digital rights management (DRM) software. A major corporation (Amazon) convinced the record labels to offer their music with no digital rights protection? Unbelievable!

GPSMirror Warns of Speed Cameras to Avoid Speeding Tickets

May 16, 2007

NaviGadget reports on the "GPSMirror" from SpeedCheetah, a rear-view mirror with integrated GPS that uses its built-in database to look for "accident black spots, common mobile cameras, and fixed safety camera locations," to help you avoid getting one of those nasty speeding tickets from one of these fixed camera locations. It also shows your heading and speed and warns you if you are above a predetermined speed.

The $400 price tag is definitely a bit steep especially since my Garmin 2720 and my other GPS units allow you to download speed camera waypoints from the Internet for free - and these are fully functional GPS navigation units to boot, where as this GPSMirror is a one-trick pony. Still, if you have a heavy foot, some cash to burn, or just love gadgets, then it can't hurt to get one of these.

Macs get first dibs on new Skype features

May 16, 2007

Skype today released Skype for Mac 2.6, which includes improved quality, stability and more features. But more interesting is that for the first time, Mac users will be able to enjoy a new Skype feature before it's available to Windows users. Pretty soon, us Windows users will be 2nd-class citizens.

Skype added a new call-transfer feature that is exclusive to the Mac platform.

SPIRIT's Mobile Voice Engine on Microsoft Windows Mobile

May 16, 2007

Some interesting news from the Communications Developer show. SPIRIT's TeamSpirit Mobile Voice Engine (similar to Global IP Sound's solutions) is now shipping in Aliantiz soft-phone on Microsoft Windows Mobile devices.  Here's the news...

Santa Clara, CA - Communications Developer Conference - 16 May, 2007 - SPIRIT DSP (, the world's leading provider of embedded voice, video and audio software products, and Aliantiz, a French provider of application software, announced today that TeamSpirit Mobile Voice Engine has been integrated into Aliantiz' BeWip™ soft-phone. Developers of mobile soft-phones can benefit from SPIRIT's low-MHz high-quality mobile voice engine solution.

TeamSpirit Mobile is the world's most reliable and compact voice engine running on mobile devices today.

Banzai Falls Twin Blast Rapids Waterslide

May 15, 2007

Remember the original Slip 'n Slide, a yellow & blue piece of plastic, that when wet becomes very slippery, enabling you to dive head first onto the plastic so you can slide the length of the sheet until you reached the grass in less than 1.5 seconds? It was a very short-lived thrill ride. Funny how in the commercials they make it seem like the slide lasts like 10 seconds. Can't recall if they used slo-motion or if they took several clips and spliced them together to make it appear like a longer ride.

SkyStone bridges Skype and PBXs using only software

May 15, 2007

Remember my SIP to Skype gateway breaks Skype's Great Wall article, which explained how you could make a SIP-to-Skype call using the PSGW gateway? One of the knocks against Skype was that it uses a proprietary protocol, which makes it difficult to use with SIP-based IP-PBXs used in the enterprise. Thus, if you want to use Skype in the enterprise you either have to use the Skype software or buy a separate Skype-capable handset device from SMC, Linksys, NETGEAR, etc. Well, some exciting news from of STONEVOICE.

Octasic adds Adaptive Noise Reduction (ANR) to Asterisk IP-PBXs

May 15, 2007

Octasic today announced the availability of Adaptive Noise Reduction (ANR), an add-on feature for Asterisk-based IP-PBX systems.  According to Octasic, adding the ANR feature to SoftEcho, an echo cancellation software, makes this "the clearest voice quality in the Asterisk market." That's a mighty big claim, however Sangoma and Digium, leaders of hardware used in Asterisk solutions, BOTH use Octasic in their hardware for echo cancellation. Thus I have no reason to doubt their claim of the cleared voice quality. Now with this news announcement, you can get echo cancellation and Adaptive Noise Reduction using Octasic.

Communications Developer Conference Packed with Developers

May 15, 2007

I wasn't able to attend Communications Developer Conference, so I have to live vicariously though Rich Tehrani and Greg Galitzine. This conference, which was formerly called VoIP Developer Conference is focused on - you guessed it - developers. Since this is a more focused and technical audience than TMC's Internet Telephony Conference and Expo, obviously it's going to be a smaller show. But both Greg and Rich emailed me and stated they were pleasantly surprised at just how packed the show was.

Wal-Mart to carry Skype products including Pre-paid Calling Cards

May 14, 2007

Wal-Mart and Skype inked a deal whereby Wal-Mary will carry Skype Certified hardware in 1,800 of its stores throughout the country, Wal-Mart will also carry pre-paid Skype calling cards. Wal-Mart currently has cellular pre-paid calling cards in the most "prime" position - namely in the checkout lanes along with candy and gift cards since these are excellent "last minute" or "spur of the moment" purchases. I was just in Wal-Mart last week and saw some T-Mobile pre-paid calling cards in the checkout lane along with Apple iTunes gift cards further demonstrating Apple's secret plan to rule the world. (Apple just wanted to give Microsoft a 10 year head-start.)

In any event, if these Skype calling cards are indeed going to be placed in the "prime" checkout aisle location, this could spur some "spur" of the moment purchases from consumers looking to try Skype's service, which will further cement Skype's dominant position.

Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Optimized IP Devices

May 14, 2007

Today, Microsoft is announcing several products that are optimized to work with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007. As part of today's announcement, Microsoft has launched a unified communications qualification program – including 15 phones and devices which are on the path to qualification with Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator (now in public beta). These include Internet protocol (IP) phones, Universal Serial Bus (USB) phones, conferencing phones, wired and wireless headsets, Webcams, monitors, PCs and PC peripherals.

Several of these products were already out in the marketplace, but some are brand new, so let's focus on the "new" phone devices. First, the Polycom CX700 IP Phone is the mystery phone that I discussed previously.

P2P or ENUM Saves Vonage?

May 11, 2007

We've been down this road before with claims of a Vonage workaround to get past the Verizon patent issue, only to have our hopes dashed. But now word comes today late yesterday from Bloomberg that Vonage has a patent workaround that could save its VoIP service from being shutdown over the Verizon patent litigation. Apparently its new technology can be installed through software downloads and shouldn't be costly to deploy, according to Jeffrey Citron, CEO of Vonage.

"We will begin rolling these workarounds out shortly, hopefully in the next few weeks, and we believe they will work," Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Citron said on a conference call today.

I would really like to know how a software download helps bypass the Verizon patents and why didn't Vonage think of this before?

Windows Live Messenger Now works with Xbox LIVE

May 9, 2007

Beginning today, Xbox LIVE, the most popular online gaming network now works with Windows Live Messenger on the Xbox 360. We knew this was coming, but this is exciting news nonetheless. Now you can VoIP or IM your XBox gamer buddies as well as your non-gaming Windows Live Messenger buddies. I wonder if Yahoo! Messenger users will be able to communicate as well, since Microsoft and Yahoo have an IM federation pact.

Microsoft plays nice with Apple iPod - no more corruption

May 9, 2007

The Windows Vista team has been working very closely with Apple to fix a problem whereby iPod's data becomes corrupt when you eject your iPod. Wow, Microsoft working closely with their arch rival to fix a bug? Considering Microsoft Zune's lackluster sales, you'd think Microsoft would not be so quick to fix this problem. Imagine if millions of Apple iPods start becoming corrupted. Precious MP3 music files and video files gone forever (if you don't have them backed up on your PC).

Open-Source Telephony and a Digium/Asterisk Visit

May 8, 2007

Rich Tehrani went down to Huntsville, Alabama to visit with Mr. Asterisk/Digium/Guru/God/Great One himself, Mark Spencer, along with some other folks from Digium. He captured some great photos of his trip, including Mark and Danny Windham, the CEO of Digium holding the "infamous" Linux penguin. These photos are taken from Rich's blog entry posted today.

Of course, I've got one up on Rich, since I got to hold the infamous penguin myself when I visited back in 2005, so nah!

What's this????

SPIT and Spam DDoS - Fact or Fiction?

May 8, 2007

I've written about SPIT or "Spam over Internet Telephony" a few times in the past. Well, now I have a story to share that Dan York shared with me about SPIT leveraging DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks to bring down a competitor.

The story begins...
ZZZ Telemarketing (not a real name) is locked in a heated fight with their bitter rival, YYY Telemarketing (also not a real name), to win a very large lead generation contract with Customer X. Customer X has decided to run a test pitting the two companies against each other for a week to see who can generate the most leads. The ZZZ CEO has said to his staff that it is “do or die” for the company. If they fail to win the contract, they will have to shut down - they need to do “whatever it takes” to win over YYY.

pbxnsip CS 410 IP-PBX review

May 8, 2007

Here's an exclusive sneak peek of a TMC Labs review of the SIP-based pbxnsip CS 410 IP-PBX appliance, which is scheduled for review within Internet Telephony Magazine. As hinted at within the review, the trend towards low-cost IP-PBX appliances <$1000 is quite apparent, which is good news for the SMB market looking for a cost-effective phone system replacement that has advanced VoIP functionality. Enjoy the review! And be sure to check out my full review of the pbxnsip standalone software, which runs on Windows and Linux.

1600 Osgood St
Bldg 20 Suite 223
North Andover
MA 01845
Ph: 978-746-2777
Web site:

Price: $999

Installation: 5
Documentation: 4.5
Features: 4.75
GUI: 4.75
Overall: A
TMC Labs got an exclusive peek at pbxnsip's CS 410 IP-PBX "all-in-one" appliance, which features a “mini” Session Border Controller(SBC) , built-in 4 analog (FXO) PSTN ports, voicemail & auto attendant, as well as support for up to 10 SIP-based IP stations (hardphones, softphones) and supports up to 10 simultaneous calls.

Nextalarm.Com Announces Support For Two-Way Voice Monitoring using VoIP

May 7, 2007 on Tuesday will announce at The Cable Show support for two-way voice monitoring that not only works over the PSTN, it is also compatible with VoIP.  Two-way monitoring means it's possible for two-way voice to/from the dispatcher. Essentially when an alarm system sends a signal, two-way voice enables the system to patch in a dispatcher who can listen in on the home through microphones in the keypads and/or speak through the keypads and pass information on to authorities.  In addition, anyone at the site can easily speak with the dispatcher without having to reach for a telephone, which is certainly beneficial in the event of a medical emergency.

Pew Internet Quiz - How Techie Are you?

May 7, 2007

Greg Galitzine has an interesting post about a Pew report. According to Greg, "The Pew Internet and American Life Project have released the results of a survey entitled A Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users. The survey was designed to classify Americans into different groups of technology users so as to determine which groups were most inclined to take advantage of information technology as might be presented under the umbrella of Web 2.0.

The report breaks down respondents into several major “subspecies,” including Elite Tech Users (31% of adult population); Middle of the Road Tech Users (21%); and those classified as Few Tech Assets (49%)."
You can even take the Pew Internet Quiz.

AT&T U-Verse Chance Encounter - What are the odds?

May 7, 2007

Late last week, I wrote about how I went into Best Buy and ran into an AT&T U-Verse sales rep pitching their U-Verse product. Well, over the weekend, I received an email from this same sales rep that I met at Best Buy when he used the contact form on my blog. During our brief in-person chat, I never told him who I was, so to say I was surprised to hear from him is an understatement. I mean after all, the Internet is a vast place, and as much as my ego hates to admit it, my blog is but a grain of sand in the vastness of the Internet U-verse - I mean Universe .

Well, apparently this AT&T rep does read my blog, since one of his follow-up emails said to me, "I bookmarked your site a while ago, well before I started promoting U-Verse.

T-Mobile plans Wi-Fi calls using dual-mode phones

May 7, 2007

According to the WallStreet Journal, T-Mobile plans on offering cellphones that can roam on Wi-Fi hotspots, with the goal of improving indoor reception and help customers save on monthly cellular minutes. When a user comes in range of a WiFi hotspot, a connected call is automatically transferred onto the Wi-Fi network, with no noticeable change for the user. This of course requires a dual-mode handset. The service, known as Hotspot at Home, has been in trial in Seattle.

Attend TMC's Communications Developer Conference and Win $10 Grand!

May 7, 2007

Rich Tehrani points out a cool $10,000 developer contest being announced at TMC's Communications Developer show. Rich says, "The contest will be formerly announced next week at the Communications Developer Conference and you have until July 31st, 2007 to submit your application. The winner will be announced at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo this September in Los Angeles, CA." The contest is sponsored by Voxbone, but you can read more about it here, on Rich's blog.

Unfortunately, I won't be at the Communications Developer show, since Rich (my boss in case you didn't know) is keeping me busy testing products for TMC Labs. In fact, I just finished up a review of a cool Linux-based VoIP appliance. No, it's not the Digium's Asterisk Appliance and no, it's not Fonality's trixbox appliance either.

Microsoft tells me "Yoohoo. I'll make you famous"

May 7, 2007

Microsoft's PR rep recently emailed me with the following:

Subject: Tom , Didn't Realize You Had 'Gone Hollywood'

I just heard a commercial for a new blockbuster movie coming out this spring called "Breaking VoIP Barriers" — Produced by Microsoft Unified Communications — and it's starring someone named Tom !!

Have you 'gone Hollywood' in your spare time... without telling any of us?!?!

To hear the movie trailer (it's really funny), click:

Yes, it's true - Microsoft and I have been secretly working on a movie production and I have the starring role.

Packet8 Planned Outage Today

May 4, 2007

China knockoff of Disneyland

May 4, 2007

China, not content to copy/rip-off electronics designs, router designs,  and is one of the larger counterfeit purveyors of software, has decided to ripoff Disney with a "clone" of Disneyland. Are you kidding me? Feel free to rip off all the electronics designs you want, but don't be copying an American icon. Some Japanese bloggers posted some photos, which you can check out here:
(site appears down at the moment)

Park officials deny their characters having anything to do with the official characters, claiming everything in the park is an "original design".

AT&T U-Verse offering 1 Year FREE of DISH Network

May 4, 2007

Yesterday, I was in Best Buy (Norwalk, CT store) walking past the TV section when I was approached by a guy standing by a table. He handed me some AT&T U-Verse literature and proceeded to pitch me on signing up for U-Verse. I mentioned that I didn't live in Norwalk, he asked where I did live and then he told me they didn't offer U-Verse in my area yet.

However, he stated that AT&T is offering a nice incentive - 1 year FREE of DISH Network service if I signed up now for AT&T U-Verse.

Correction - 5/7/07: The offer is good provided you are in an area where U-Verse is available but not yet on your street or road yet.

Skype cuts SMS prices

May 3, 2007

Yahoo Messenger for the Web launches

May 2, 2007

Yahoo just launched Yahoo! Messenger for the Web, an IM client that has no downloading - zilch - nada. Launch any browser (PC, mobile phone, etc.), and sign in using your Yahoo account and voila - instant access to over 350 million users (when combining Yahoo Messenger users + Windows Live Messenger users due to their federation deal). Apparently, they worked extra hard to make sure it works on all the most popular browsers, including IE, Firefox, Netscape, Safari, and Opera.

Jeff Bonforte, Yahoo's VP of Product Management, writes on his blog:
That’s right, today we launched the all-new Web-based Yahoo! Instant Messenger.

Da Vinci Code Solved! 09-F9-11-02-9D-74-E3-5B-D8-41-56-C5-63-56-88-C0

May 2, 2007

The Da Vinci code has been solved. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is 09-F9-11-02-9D-74-E3-5B-D8-41-56-C5-63-56-88-C0 - the HD-DVD decryption key that Hollywood doesn't want you to know about. This number will let you copy your HD-DVDs as well as play them on Linux.

AT&T Finally Bundles VoIP & Wireless Cell Phone Service

May 1, 2007

According to USA Today, AT&T is promoting their CallVantage VoIP service by bundling their cellphone service along with AT&T CallVantage, a broadband VoIP landline replacement service. AT&T Wireless users can add CallVantage for $19.99 monthly, a $5 discount.   I've written about "pure VoIP players" vs. carriers & cable MSOs in the past, including my Death Knell for Vonage, Net2Phone, Packet8, Broadvoice, Lingo? article which I wrote about back in 2004. In that article I argued that Tier 1 carriers could offer advanced features that single-play service providers Vonage, Packet8, Lingo, etc.

TalkSwitch Challenge

May 1, 2007

Remember the Pepsi Challenge? Well, TalkSwitch has initiated the TalkSwitch Challenge, a checklist of several items to look for when comparing VoIP phone systems. TalkSwitch writes, "Ready to rumble? We are.

PIKA Connect for Skype now platform agnostic

May 1, 2007

PIKA Technologies emailed me to let me know about the new version of PIKA Connect for Skype that is now "platform agnostic." Before their PIKA Connect for Skype only ran on Asterisk. The latest version lets application developers integrate Skype into PBX, IVR and other business communications system solutions.

Here's the news...
PIKA Technologies Inc., a designer and manufacturer of plug-in media-processing hardware and software building blocks that enable advanced voice and fax services, today announced an expansion to its PIKA Connect for Skype portfolio with the introduction of a version that is not Asterisk dependent.

The first release of PIKA Connect for Skype was targeted at the popular open-source Asterisk platform. Using this new technology, end users can now place outgoing and receive incoming calls via Skype in the same way they can with traditional PSTN ISDN, analog or IP calls.

PIKA has enhanced its PIKA Connect for Skype portfolio by now also facilitating connections between non-Asterisk environments and Skype, as well as making it easier for developers to program by adding it to PIKA's high-level programming interface (API) called MonteCarlo Grand Prix.

"This new version of PIKA Connect for Skype provides significant benefits to enterprise customers by supporting Skype virtual trunks in PBX, call center and IVR environments, alongside traditional analog and digital TDM trunks," says Petr Spacil, sales manager for PIKA distributor CTI Pro. "It also allows for an easy design of a gateway between any PBX or call-center system and the Skype network."

PIKA offers both server- and client-side components in PIKA Connect for Skype. On the server side, PIKA's patent-pending AllOnHost technology provides a PC processor-based, or host-based, engine that can handle real-time audio switching, call transfer, and media-processing functions.

Ringback Videos, Twitter - Bah!

May 1, 2007

Brough Turner, one of the best thought leaders in IP Communications, has an interesting post on IMS and its future implications. He mentions that IMS is still in its infancy, but adds "IMS enables multimedia ringback, i.e. video! So there is significant new functionality, versus today’s audio-only ringback."

Similarly, Erik Linask, fellow co-worker and Associate Editor for Internet Telephony Magazine, wrote an excellent article on ringback videos back in March.

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