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Tom Keating
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October 2007

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GIPS REX Softphone

October 31, 2007

Global IP Solutions (GIPS), today announced the release of its new VoIP softphone called REX. REX features multi-party instant messaging, advanced presence capabilities, voicemail and a comprehensible user-interface.

GIPS is well-known as one of the leading codecs that is licensed by third-party softphones, including Google Talk - and I might add Skype formerly utilized the GIPS codec. So it's interesting that GIPS is now building their own softphone client.

Google Phone Mania

October 31, 2007

There is so much hype and hysteria surrounding the Google Phone that I can't keep up with all the various rumors and speculative articles. There's so much to read and so little time. Fortunately, I have a "proxy" to filter through the noise. Rich has a deep interest in the Google Phone so he's been reading up on all the various articles and making brief summaries of what the experts say the Google Phone will and won't be.

Digium launches Switchvox Free Edition

October 31, 2007

TMC's Greg Galitzine has the goods on Digium leveraging their Switchvox acquisition right out of the box by offering it for free. Damn, that was fast! Digium just acquired Switchvox at the end of September. Hmm, how did Greg find out about this and not me?

Skype SIP Gateway (PE) 1.0 Released

October 30, 2007

You recall my SIP to Skype gateway breaks Skype's Great Wall of VoIP, right? You don't? Well, let me refresh your memory. I wrote:
As most techies know, Skype uses a proprietary protocol and does not support inbound SIP calls.

Palringo IM & Push To Talk Mobile Application

October 30, 2007

Palringo is a very cool Instant Messaging program with push-to-talk VoIP functionality that runs on Windows Mobile phones, Symbian phones, and PCs. Palringo allows you to instantly exchange text, photos and vocal IMs with an individual contact or even a group.

The multiple platform support enables you to stay in touch with your contacts whether you are working at your PC or on the go with your mobile phone. Further, Palringo also lets you send photos, vocal messages and exchange text IMs with other IM systems such as AIM, Yahoo!, Google Talk, MSN Messenger, and more. Thus, its excellent IM interoperability ensures you can at least IM other popular IM programs.

The coolest feature in my humble opinion is the push-to-talk (PTT) feature, which lets you instantly VoIP your buddies like a walkie-talkie or a Nextel phone. You can also PTT a group as well, which I can see being very addictive for teenagers -- but also a useful feature for mobile sales teams.

SightSpeed offers High Quality Video Conferencing for the SMB

October 30, 2007

Ironic that I just blogged about Logitech and Skype offering high quality video conferencing and I was skeptical it would work - except in the SMB - and now I just got a release saying SightSpeed can save SMBs thousands of dollars in video conferencing hardware. Well, I'm glad SightSpeed and I are on the same page.

SightSpeed, just like Skype offers high-quality VGA (640x480) resolution @30fps. Although SightSpeed Business is a $19.99 monthly fee and Skype video is free.

Skype and Logitech offer High Quality Video Conferencing

October 30, 2007

Skype and Logitech have teamed up to offer high quality videoconferencing. Skype 3.6 will be required and will increase the resolution from 320 x 240 to 640 x 480 (VGA). High Quality Video will also require Logitech QuickCam software, version 11.5. It will support up to 30 frames per second (fps) to people using a broadband connection.

Astfin announces Asterisk Appliance based on Blackfin

October 30, 2007

We all know the benefits of Asterisk, an open source IP-PBX software solution - so wouldn't open source hardware for the Asterisk platform be a natural extension? Yes, it would and in fact Asterisk fans have been hard at work in various DIY projects to build Asterisk-compatible hardware using standard off-the-shelf components.

One such popular project is uCasterisk (you-see-Asterisk), which is a set of scripts, makefiles and patches to build Asterisk for uClinux and targeting Blackfin hardware. uCasterisk is in the process of being deprecated in favor of Astfin. Astfin is the latest and greatest Blackfin uClinux Asterisk distribution.

3 Skypephone arrives

October 29, 2007

The 3 Skypephone has finally arrived, but only for our friends across the pond - the Brits. Although Australia, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland, Macau and Sweden are planned sometime later in the year. What, no U.S.? Of course, 3 doesn't have a U.S.

AIM Call Out Update

October 29, 2007

Just to update my post from on Friday about AOL's new AIM Call Out. I read an email from an AOL representative late on Friday confirming that AOL AIM Call Out is "not yet publicly announced" but that a public announcement would be made in the next couple weeks. According to AOL Technical Manager Gavin Murphy, "This is an outbound-only pay-as-you-go product used through the AIM 6.5 or later client. We provide competitive rates to over 200 countries.

Mundu IM supports Pocket PC and Sony Ericsson Phones

October 29, 2007

Geodesic, makers of comprehensive mobile instant messaging products today announced Mundu IM for Pocket PC and select Sony Ericsson devices that works with AIM, MSN and Yahoo! IM services through a single chat window on Pocket PC, Sony Ericsson J2ME, Palm OS, Windows Mobile Smartphone and iPhone devices. It also supports ICQ, Google Talk and Jabber from a single user interface. People with popular phones such as the Sony Ericsson W300i and K550i, HTC Mogul, Samsung BlackJack, Motorola Q, Palm Treo 750, Palm 700p and the iPhone will find Mundu IM useful.

Mundu IM V4 features include:

• Photo blogging and video sharing - Instant sharing of photos and videos taken from camera phones to contacts across all popular IM services, making collaboration and social networking easier than ever.

• File and music sharing - Ability to send files and music on mobile devices to buddies.

AIM Call Out Launches

October 26, 2007

A reader informed me a few days ago about AOL AIM Call Out asking me for my feedback on the VoIP quality and features of this product. I told him:

I honestly haven't checked it out (AIM Call Out). AOL has had several starts & stops in VoIP (TotalTalk, Phoneline, etc). I'm not familiar with AIM Call Out. When did this launch?

I see no mention of it on Google.

I haven't used AIM in awhile, but doesn't AIM already have VoIP dialing capabilities?

NET Acquires Quintum, VoIP Gateway Manufacturer

October 26, 2007

TMC's Greg Galitzine and Rich Tehrani wrote excellent articles (here & here) on NET (Network Equipment Technologies, Inc) acquiring Quintum, a maker of VoIP gateways. According to Greg's article, NET President and CEO Nicholas Keating, Jr. (no relation) remarked, “The acquisition of Quintum reflects NET’s strategy to broaden our VoIP product solutions. This will add further scale to our growing VoIP business and put us in a better position to address enterprise and government customer requirements. NET and Quintum share a common vision for the converged unified messaging and unified communications markets.

BabelTV integrates VoIP, YouTube, TV, iPod, Video, and more

October 26, 2007

BabelTV is a set-top box that integrates TV and Web access to allow you to tune into and record Freeview TV and radio broadcasts, stream video clips, browse the Web, and even make VoIP calls. BabelTV also features PVR functionality to pause live TV, rewind, fast-forward, etc. BabelTV also lets you browse and view all the content on YouTube and any other non-proprietary video content. You can also copy videos from your digital camera and watch them on your large screen TV.

Microsoft Wows Analysts with Monster Quarter

October 26, 2007

Microsoft just announed a monster quarter, pulling in $13.76 billion in revenue - a 27 percent jump over the same quarter last year. This is a a net income of $4.29 billion, making it "the fastest revenue growth of any first quarter since 1999". On the earnings call they revealed that Microsoft has achieved more than 20 percent growth in Vista sales for three quarters in a row. I guess people aren't necessarily sticking with Windows XP or downgrading from Vista to XP.

Also, they sold 1.8 million XBox 360s this quarter, which is a 90 percent increase over the same quarter last year, much of which is attributed to the August price cut and Halo 3 purchases.

Jajah native SIP client for EM-ONE phone

October 25, 2007

Jajah just announced a very cool pre-installed VoIP client for the EM-ONE α device for the Japanese mobile carrier EMOBILE which was co-developed with Sharp and Microsoft. Their software uses the data channel (HSDPA) to deliver voice services for EMOBILE's mobile broadband customers. As of March of this year, EMOBILE offers flat rate mobile broadband data service which is perfect for VoIP calls without incurring a data charge. "EM Mobile Broadband" adopts 3.5G HSDPA technology offering 3.6Mbps maximum downlink speed and 384kbps maximum uplink speed.

Verizon sells confidential customer data without consent for targeted ads

October 24, 2007

According to Network Observations, Verizon Wireless is going to start targeting ads to its customers based upon the calls you place or receive, call duration, date/time, and other information. Federal law prohibits the sharing of your CPNI, but Verizon has decided to exploit a loophole by forcing you to opt-out instead of opt-in.

According to Network Observations:
Verizon Wireless is mailing a notice advising wireless subscribers that if they fail to Opt Out within 30 days, Verizon will begin SELLING their Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) to “third parties and affiliates”. CPNI information includes all the calls you place or receive on your cell phone (along with date, time and call duration). Verizon intends to allow “targeted ads” created by their affiliates sent to your phone.

Like Network Observations points out, most people throw away all the flyer insert garbage in their monthly bill and don't pay attention to the inserts.

Propel PBM improves QoS for VoIP, Skype, Online Gaming and more

October 24, 2007

Propel Software Corporation today debuted Propel PBM, a "personal QoS software" at DEMOfall 07. The Propel PBM (Personal Bandwidth Manager) application provides personal bandwidth management on your PC by automatically optimizing and prioritizing network access for time-sensitive applications. By prioritizing the packets on your PC you can easily improved the performance of VoIP (including Skype), video calls, online games, and streaming media.

image courtesy of OReilly.

Who hasn't tried to use BitTorrent or some other bandwidth hungry application while on a Vonage or Skype call? When I used to have Vonage, I'd have to quickly shutdown my BitTorrent or eMule client whenever I heard my wife say "Are you hogging the Internet again?

TalkSwitch 5.0 Released

October 24, 2007

TalkSwitch today released TalkSwitch Software 5.0. What's interesting about this news is that this new software actually adds more IP extensions and more voicemail memory to EXISTING TalkSwitch users. Wow, first today I wrote about a free IP-PBX and now a IP-PBX that magically adds additional IP phone scalability and additional voicemail storage FOR FREE - simply using software. They must be doing additional compression to fit more voicemail and perhaps other optimizations to be able to support additional IP phones.

Free IP-PBX!

October 24, 2007

Avaya is offering a free IP-PBX for SMBs that are looking for the latest and greatest in communications technology but can't afford it. Ok, it's not quite "free". It's free for the first 2 years via a 0% lease (no interest) and with no upfront costs. I have to wonder if increased competition in the IP-PBX sector is causing IP-PBX manufacturers to have creating financing strategies.

Vapps offers Wideband Conferencing using Skype or PSTN

October 23, 2007

Today, Vapps will be relaunching their free conferencing service (HighSpeed Conferencing) as a flat-rate monthly service with unlimited usage. When I asked Ben Lilienthal CEO, Vapps "why the change?", Ben explained that they have gone from using a narrowband codec to a a wideband codec, offering premium sound quality conferencing that scales up to 500 PSTN and/or Skype users. He boasted having the only wideband conferencing service in the world that can scale to 500 participants and also pointed out that Skype by itself can only do 3-way conferencing. He feels there is a lot of valuable in offering wideband, high-quality conferencing.

uPhoneBlog enables Email to Blog Posts

October 22, 2007

uPhoneBlog ( is a free project that allow users send photos and videos from their mobile phones to any blog or website in real time. It works with all cell phones and providers simply by using MMS (multimedia message service) to email a uPhoneBlog email account. Apparently you can even submit stories to Digg using email.

Works on many websites and blogs including: It appears this service hosts the multimedia content themselves and then provides an easy method of authenticating onto your own blog to create a new post containing the HTML code to point to this newly uploaded content. They appear to be using the Gigya widgets for performing this authentication task.

Comcast Censors some Internet Applications

October 22, 2007

Last week I ranted about censorship of the word "God" in a promotion of The Ten Commandments movie of all things. Today, I'm going to continue that theme with an unbelievable story of how Comcast is blocking BitTorrent, a popular P2P sharing network.  According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Comcast is performing packet forging which causes the connection between two BitTorrent nodes to reset.

What's particularly troublesome about Comcast's packet forging is that customers have no idea what is causing the connection problems. It is believed that Comcast is using Sandvine to generate these reset packets.

Chris Lyman on Unified Communications

October 19, 2007

Greg Galitzine has an excellent interview with Fonality CEO, Chris Lyman about unified communications, Microsoft (OCS 2007), and Cisco. Chris goes into the threat he believes Microsoft and Cisco may pose, as well as some analysis of Microsoft Response Point and Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007. Here is a teaser of one of Chris's comments - "They are the two behemoths that have the greatest chance of unifying communications by dominating vs. integrating.

Disney Censoring God

October 19, 2007

I'm against censorship in all its forms, so I was shocked to learn that Disney, specifically Radio Disney is censoring the word God from its advertising promotions of their soon-to-be-(today) released movie, The Ten Commandments. Disney has always been about good, wholesome, family fun. Heck, their first PG-13 rated movie wasn't until Black Cauldron in 1985. I guess God must not be wholesome enough to qualify as "Disney family-friendly."

 "Our BS&P [Broadcast Standards and Procedures] said Both scripts need to include the studio mention and omit the following line: CHOSEN BY GOD....

TopGear, Speeding, GPS, and Driving Blues in Britain

October 18, 2007

TopGear, a British TV production, is one of the most popular racing vehicle TV shows in the world. We Americans are forced to watch it on YouTube, unless we get the BBC channel. No biggie since the Youtube videos are commercial free (for now), giving us precious minutes back to our busy lives.

The Brits sure do love speed, but with all their road congestion, speed taps, speed cameras, etc. I've always wondered how Brits could possibly enjoy speed.

Office Communications Server 2007 Software Update Service

October 17, 2007

Microsoft released Office Communications Server 2007 Software Update Service, which provides an automated way to update all unified communications devices deployed in an organization.

This includes all the OCS-compatible phones (Polycom Inc., LG-Nortel Co. Ltd. and Thomson Telecom) that run Microsoft Office Communicator Phone Experience.

According to Microsoft, "unified communication (UC) devices, such as Microsoft Office Communicator Phone Experience and Microsoft RoundTable, enable rich communication within an organization. Deploying these devices requires regular maintenance by the IT department, which includes providing available software updates to these unified communications devices. All UC devices rely on an automatic mechanism to obtain software update required on a regular basis."

Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Software Update Service provides an automated way to update all unified communications devices deployed in an organization.

This download is comprised of two files:
  • OCSSoftwareUpdateService.msi – used to configure the Software Update Service component on your Office Communications Server 2007 Web Component Servers or your Standard Edition server.

  • OCSSoftwareUpdateServiceSP.msi – to configure the Update site on the SharePoint Service.

Skype Surpasses 10 million simultaneous users

October 17, 2007

Top Tips for Managing VoIP

October 17, 2007

Stephen Brown over at the Network Instruments blog (called Network Observations) has a good post listing top tips for managing VoIP that is definitely worth checking out.

He also lists some external links to outside resources, including InfoWorld (one of my favs & possibly in trouble) and even a link to little oh me with the caption - "Look at the cooler side of VoIP". Me, cool? Ah heck, I've never been accused of being "cool" before. If you call learning BASIC at the age of 9 cool, or wearing glasses cool, or being a huge Star Trek fan cool, or liking 80s "big hair" era music the best, or even dressing as Xena the Warrior Princess for Halloween as cool, well, then I am guilty as charged.

Minimizing network load when routing to Ported Mobile Phone Numbers

October 17, 2007

Tyntec launched their new Voice Network Query service that enables major carriers to route voice calls to mobile phones directly to destination operator, minimizing network load. Now that regulations force the carriers to allow customers to port their mobile phone numbers, this introduces some network traffic issues. Of course, I should mention that you can port your traditional landline phone number to a VoIP provider such as Vonage or Packet8, but that introduces its own series of number portability problems.

in any case, mobile messaging services provider TynTec, announced Voice Network Query, a service which will allow major telecoms carriers to route voice calls to mobile phones directly to their destination network operator. The new service overcomes the issue of onward routing of voice calls to ported mobile numbers, thus reducing the issue of excess network traffic generated by voice calls misrouted due to mobile number portability.

When a mobile user switches network but retains their current phone number, calls have traditionally been routed via the user's former operator's infrastructure, which then routes calls to the operator which now provides service to the customer.

EnThinnai the un-social networking application

October 17, 2007

Aswath Rao, one of the brightest minds in VoIP points me to a new web application called EnThinnai that offers many of the features of social networks. Aswath was kind enough to invite me to be one of the beta users back in March, but alas, it's one of the many things I'm asked to check out and alas it fell through the cracks. So many things to test, so little time.

In any event, as part of the EnThinnai team, Aswath emailed me recently to tell me that they are allowing the general public to register for the service and it will undergo public testing for a limited period.

Probably the best explanation of EnThinnai comes from here, which also explains the veranda/porch graphic above:
EnThinnai is your front porch on the web where you can store and display information that you can share with your designated buddies.

Myspace goes VoIP

October 16, 2007

TMC co-worker, Greg Galitzine, is reporting that Reuters stated Myspace will announce a partnership with Skype tomorrow. This is great news for Skype/eBay, but like I said before, I still think Skype itself could be a Facebook and MySpace social networking killer. I'm still waiting Skype...

MySpace users will be able to make Skype calls using MySpaceIM without having to download or install Skype. They don't even have to sign up for a Skype account.

Aculab launches ApplianX Gateway for Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007

October 16, 2007

For my last post today on Microsoft OCS 2007 (hope you enjoyed the comprehensive coverage), I wanted to let everyone know that Aculab launched their ApplianX Gateway for Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007. ApplianX Gateway incorporates the Mediation Server function of Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007. Dialogic, a competitor, also has a series of gateways that acts as the Mediation Server saving on the TCO. Nice to see several players offering OCS 2007-compatible gateways that include the Mediation Server.

InfoWorld in trouble?

October 16, 2007

InfoWorld may be in trouble. According to Folio Magazine, "The top editor of IDG’s InfoWorld, Steve Fox, resigned yesterday, becoming the latest in a string of high-profile InfoWorld departures in recent weeks including CEO Bob Ostrow and vice president of online sales Kate Hobbie last month."

Say it ain't so! I love infoWorld. It's one of my favorite tech magazines and I love reading the insightful columns.

Drag-and-drop Conference Calls = OCS 2007 Success?

October 16, 2007

I was just checking out Rich's impressions of the Microsoft UC launch since he was actually there in the audience to gauge the audience's reactions. Rich writes, "Perhaps the most memorable moment about the event so far other than the dry ice smoke and blaring guitar at the start of the day is the fact the audience actually clapped when they saw how a conference call can be initiated with a simple mouse click."

I too picked up on this strong audience reaction to the simple mouse-click and drag-and-drop conferencing ability. (I was streaming the video of the UC launch.)  As CTO and as a former IT Manager, I also speak from experience that no matter how many times I trained a sales person how to make a conference call, they would simply forget the next day because it's too complicated to remember. (no offense my fellow sales co-workers!)

It's surprising that TMC has covered this conferencing usability issue since 1996 when TMC launched CTI Magazine, a magazine dedicated to covering the integration of the computer and the telephone (hence CTI - Computer Telephony Integration) and how CTI would make using the phone much easier to use by leveraging the computer's user interface (UI).

In fact, all of TMC's publications, including Internet Telephony Magazine and Customer Interaction Solutions have been espousing the need for a "better phone" that leverages the computer with its more powerful and flexible UI.

SAP Duet to leverage Microsoft OCS 2007

October 16, 2007

Rich Liveblogging Microsoft UC Launch

October 16, 2007

Dell Gets into VoIP Game with OCS 2007

October 16, 2007

Dell is now in the VoIP game! I was talking with Microsoft's Clint Patterson, Director of PR for Unified Communications, this morning and I asked him about Dell, since I noticed they were listed as one of Microsoft's OCS 2007 partners being announced today. I was curious if Dell's plans were to pre-install Microsoft OCS 2007 and leverage their huge professional services division to help businesses deploy Office Communications Server 2007. As you know, I've expressed some skepticism about Microsoft deploying OCS in the SMB space without channel partner help.

Well, Clint confirmed that Dell was indeed going to pre-install OCS on Dell servers and offer professional services.

Microsoft OCS 2007 Review

October 16, 2007

Today is the big launch of Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 (OCS 2007), the core of the Microsoft Unified Communications Strategy. OCS 2007 is a unified communications server that delivers enterprise instant messaging, audio, video- and web-conferencing, and enhanced voice over IP. Today, Bill Gates and Jeff Raikes will announce the worldwide Unified Communications Launch 2007 in San Francisco, with smaller launch parties taking place across the country. I've been testing OCS 2007 beta for a few months now and also the OCS 2007 RTM (release to market) version more recently.

XML VoIP API by Microsoft Live Meeting and Lypp

October 15, 2007

Erik Lagerway, a former TMC blogger, is excited about his REST-based VoIP API and wholesale VoIP termination service, which he claims decreases the time to market for developers when integrating VoIP into any application. Erik emailed  me, "We have built a REST-based VoIP API that will fast track VoIP Integration for any developer that understands XML," said Lypp CEO Erik Lagerway.

Here is a sample VoIP API call, which as you will notice uses XML:


GET /users/{user_id}/conferences
Accept: application/xml Response:

200 OK
Content-Type: application/xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<conferences type="array">
<id type="integer">{conference_id}</id>
<created-at type="datetime">{created_at}</created-at>
<updated-at type="datetime">{updated_at}</updated-at>
<scheduled-to-start-at type="datetime">{scheduled_to_start_at}</scheduled-to-start-at>
<started-at type="datetime">{started_at}</started-at>
<ended-at type="datetime">{ended_at}</ended-at>
This use of XML as the VoIP API reminds me that Microsoft Live Meeting 2007, Microsoft's collaborative online meeting application featuring VoIP and videoconferencing also leverages XML to allow you to schedule meetings, manager users, and perform reporting functionality. The APIs actually look quite similar come to think of it. They use similar XML calls to create a conference.

Disney World Vacation Photos

October 12, 2007

Thought I'd share a few photos from my Disney World vacation that I took with the rest of the Keating clan. Actually, my mother-in-law came as well, so part of the Monegan clan came as well. I must be on my Braveheart kick again using "clan" instead of "family". It is the greatest movie of all time after all.

Microsoft Unified Communications Client API SDK released + UC 2007 Launch

October 12, 2007

I've been extremely busy since returning from vacation, but wanted to let everyone know that a few days ago Microsoft released their Microsoft Unified Communications Client API (UCCA) SDK, which enables you to build client applications for Office Communications Server 2007. Essentially you can use this API to integrate Office Communications Server 2007's VoIP, Video, Instant Messaging, Conferencing, Telephony, Contact Management and Presence functionality into your applications. Pretty much anything you can do with Communicator you can do using UCCA. Very cool!

Ordered new Garmin Nuvi to replace stolen unit

October 11, 2007

Well I ordered a used Garmin 350 on eBay since I won the auction yesterday. It was the only used Garmin Nuvi for sale in Florida. As you know, my Garmin Nuvi was stolen in Disney World, which is also in Florida. I figured, what the heck, may as well and try and see if I can buy my own unit back by searching eBay for all Florida Nuvi's being sold.

There's a chance, right?

VoIP Test Set for Office Communications Server 2007

October 11, 2007

Microsoft just released a tool to assist in OCS 2007 deployment called VoIP Test Set for Office Communications Server 2007. VoIP Test Set for Office Communications Server 2007 supports emulation of a SIP endpoint to test connectivity. It can also simulate a Mediation Server or a gateway. This is great news for enterprises that want to play with OCS 2007 before they go out and spend money on a hardware gateway.

Emulation options include the following:

- Client emulation - To emulate a Microsoft Office Communicator client, you specify a SIP-enabled user account to register with Office Communications Server.

iBasis Pingo Business gives SMBs freedom of choice

October 10, 2007

iBasis today introduced Pingo Business, an on-demand VoIP service targeting SMBs to offer low cost calling for up to 999 employees. The most interesting aspects are that employees can use their own fixed-line and mobile phones and administrators can set individual spending limits, easily monitor usage and manage billing through a single, centralized account.

In addition, you can also choose the amount of funds you wish to place in your master account, with no additional commitment required. No more single or even multi-year lock-in contracts! Boy I remember years ago being one of the decision makers in a 4-year lock-in corporate phone contract. Thankfully, those days are gone.

Commodore legend Chuck Peddle, Skype, New Jersey, Sri Lanka, WiFi, VoIP...

October 10, 2007

What do Commodore legend Chuck Peddle, New Jersey, Sri Lanka, WiFi, voice & video over IP via Skype have to do with each other? Well, friend and fellow reporter Evan Koblentz has a cool article about Chuck Peddle using Skype to save the day for a speaking engagement he was going to miss in New Jersey since he was stuck in Sri Lanka on business.

With no Internet access in the event's auditorium, they leveraged WiFi and a connection to a neighbor's cable modem to enable Internet access. Evan points out that they had permission from the neighbor, but he just might want to check the cable provider's Terms of Service (ToS) on sharing Internet access with an adjoining building.

In any event, they held an hour videoconference using Skype which was beamed over the Internet from Sri Lanka to New Jersey to a cable modem to a WiFi router and finally projected to a 8 foot screen. They recorded the videoconference, which is hosted on Youtube, and which has some pretty cool computer history, including discussion of a 6 foot x 4 foot hard drive, Boolean logic, AND / OR gates, birth of microprocessors, and more.

News Flash! eBay overpaid for Skype

October 10, 2007

Well, I am a huge fan of Skype, but I didn't need to be financial analyst to see that eBay overpaid for Skype when they acquired them for nearly $3 billion. Two years ago when the acquisition happened, I wrote, "Sure you could add a little Skype Me button next to each eBay online listing, but how many auctioners want to be bothered to interact via voice? Some might I suppose, especially for large ticket items such as cars, but more auctioners I would bet prefer to interact anonymously using email. There are plenty of web call-me button companies such as eStara that are a heck of a lot cheaper than $2-$3 billion." In a follow-up article, I wrote:
I'm sure the stock traders and insiders will probably be heavily pushing their clients to buy eBay at the opening bell.

I'm now a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional)!

October 9, 2007

I'm proud to announce that I was selected a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional)! According to Microsoft's MVP Awards FAQs, "Over 100 million people participate in technical communities but there are only about 3,500 MVPs worldwide."

Wow, one of only 3,500 select Microsoft MVPs. I am truly honored! I was only vaguely familiar with Microsoft MVPs. I knew you had to be nominated in order to win and that only a select few get to be an MVP. Sure enough, according to the FAQs, "Outstanding technical community members are nominated by their peers, Microsoft employees, and MVPs. Each year a panel of Microsoft employees reviews the contributions of each nominee for quality, quantity, and level of impact on the technical community.

Garmin Nuvi 350 stolen in Disney World

October 6, 2007

I'm down in Disney World with my wife, daughter, and mother-in-law and a Garmin Nuvi 350 GPS was stolen at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon. Although the road signage is great around Disney, I was using a Garmin Nuvi 350 portable GPS to get around.

I wasn't using the suction cup since it leaves a ring on the window which indicates to thieves you either have a radar detector or GPS. Either can fetch a pretty penny on eBay. Anyway, normally I carry the Nuvi with me into the parks since I don't trust leaving it in the vehicle. It's also handy for mapping where you left your vehicle for a quick getaway.

However, since we were going to a water park and would be leaving our stuff basically on a lounge chair out in the open, I figured leaving the GPS in the vehicle was safer.

I was smart enough not to leave the GPS unit on the dashboard, which is basically saying "come steal me".

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