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November 2007

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Skype High Quality Video Review

November 30, 2007

Skype launched their latest version of Skype last week featuring what they call "High Quality Video" - not to be confused with HD Video used on HDTVs which features display resolutions of 1280x720 (720p) or 1920x1080 (1080i or 1080p). Skype High Quality Video isn't quite 1280x720 or even 1920x1080, but it is a very respectable 640x480 (VGA) resolution at 30fps. This is probably the perfect resolution size since any higher and you will need a ton of bandwidth. HD Video can get away with higher resolutions since there is plenty of bandwidth space in DVI cables and component cables that travel 6 feet or less from your various home entertainment components.

In any event, Rich and I have been playing around with Skype HQ Video over the past week or so and we've both been very impressed.

Getting Snagged Typing While on the Phone No More!

November 30, 2007

Ok, show of hands - who hasn't been on a conference call or talking with a spouse, family or friends, and they heard you pecking away at the keyboard? [crickets in background...] Ok, even if they didn't say anything, I'm sure there have been occasions where you are on the phone and you were also checking email, surfing the web, etc. and the other party knew you weren't giving your undivided attention. This can be dangerous from a personal perspective (See: Wife's dog house) but also a business one.

Sangoma Wins Frost & Sullivan Award

November 30, 2007

I'm a huge fan of Sangoma and their popular line of Asterisk-compatible analog and T1/E1 boards. They just plain work with no install hassles or IRQ issues. So it came as no surprise that Frost & Sullivan recently selected Sangoma as the recipient of the 2007 North American Frost & Sullivan Growth Excellence Award in the enterprise voice communication market.

According to the release, "Sangoma has amply demonstrated an ability to leverage unique opportunities such as open-source telephony in a mature, yet rapidly evolving market and translate it to accelerated revenue growth."

What amazed me is the continuing phenomenal growth spurt for Sangoma. In Q2 2007, Sangoma declared an amazing increase of 95 percent in revenue over Q2 2006.



USB Fridge

November 29, 2007

This USB Fridge is the ultimate geek gift this holiday season. Nothing like grabbing a cold caffeinated soda to quench your thirst without having to leave your PC. After all, you might be in the middle of something important, like playing World of Warcraft or somethin'.

This USB gadget will keep your drink cold while you're at your computer and it just plain looks cool.

IPEVO PoV Skype Camera

November 29, 2007

IPEVO, makers of some cool Skype products, has a funky new Skype camera out. This telescopic camera looks like it can zoom in on far away objects. Like you know, the planets, the moon, Lana Lang your next door neighbor - that sort of thing.



The IPEVO PoV handheld webcam is being unveiled at the Taipei Computer Show. It's designed to simply aim at what you see to show others what you are seeing.



Christmas Catalogs Waste Trees

November 28, 2007

Ok, we all know that millions of Christmas trees are cut each year to celebrate the Christian holiday, but did you know that millions of trees are also cut down and used in catalogs used to promote products for the Christmas shopping sprees. Now I'm sure the Big J can doesn't mind the cutting down of Christmas trees to commemorate his birth. After all, if he can turn water into wine, and turned a few loaves of bread into hundreds, I'm sure he can turn easily replace those trees with a flick of his hand. Ok, I know it takes years for trees to grow, just go with me here, will ya?

Now, I'm no tree hugger by any stretch of the imagination, however, I love the environment just as much as the next guy and hate to see waste.

Exoskeleton Arrives, Terminators not Far Behind

November 26, 2007

Building Carrier Networks Using Commercial-Off-The-Shelf Technology

November 26, 2007

Anyone want to build a carrier-class network? Show of hands - would you rather use "tried and true" hardware gear from Cisco or Juniper Networks and pay through the nose OR would you rather build your carrier network using commercial off the shelf (COTS) components? Well, just a few short years ago, most of you would raise your hands for the former over the latter. After all, who would trust their carrier network using various COTS components from multiple vendors?

Koenigsegg CCXR Super Car is Green!

November 26, 2007


When I think of biofuel cars, I think slow, imperfect, compromising performance for greenness. Not to mention the lovely smell of french fries and other fried food smells emanating from the exhaust pipe. Cause: your mostly purified cooking oil used as the fuel. I certainly don't think of a "green" car that sports 1018HP and 780/lb/ft of torque at 6100 rpm that puts the Bugatti Veyron to shame.

Digital Photo Christmas Ornament

November 26, 2007

Discovered a cool new gadget this weekend - a digital photo Christmas ornament, which was advertised in a Brookstone catalog. The digital photo Christmas ornament stores over 50 pictures via its 8MB memory and it'll even play them in a slide show mode.

The 3.5" tall ornament has a 1 ½" (diagonal), bright, color LCD screen. Features include photo rotate and crop and auto power off.

Qingbar GP300 Wireless Video Glasses

November 26, 2007


Video glasses haven't exactly taken off, partly because of all the wires involved. Today, I learned about the Qingbar GP300, billed as the "world's first wireless video glasses" featuring a QVGA video image (432x240) that simulates a 50" display from 2M away. It sports a built-in media player that'll play your favorite movies, videos, MP3 music, photos and even e-book text using its built-in SD slot. It's play several video formats including MP4/MPG/AVI/ASF(MPEG1/2/4) and most importantly Divx3.x/4.x/5.x & XviD.

R2-D2 Webcam & VoIP Phone

November 26, 2007

I got my Christmas edition of the Sharper Image catalog over the Black Friday/Thanksgiving weekend and saw some cool gadgets. One of my favorites was a 8" tall Star Wars R2-D2 droid that is a roving webcam transmitting real-time video to your computer with the camera atop R2-D2's dome. The video specs include 62 degree viewing angle, 628x582 resolution, and zoom in/out. Also part of the package is a full-scale light-saber that acts as a USB telephone with its built-in microphone.


It works with Skype and can automatically launch Skype with the 'S' button on the keypad (image right).


Star Trek Season One Boxed Set on HD DVD

November 21, 2007


Star Trek fans will be ecstatic that the first 29 episodes (Season 1) of their favorite TV show are finally available on HD DVD - perfect timing for Christmas, but they might be a little peeved at a few "improvements". Some of the special effects of the original Star Trek episodes have been edited to make them more realistic. For instance, they redid the show's intro, with a CG Enterprise and planet. Personally, I think messing with the original special effects is sacrilege.

Nokia N810 Internet Tablet - woohoo!

November 21, 2007

The multi-faceted Nokia N810 internet tablet has finally arrived on store shelves. This highly anticipated Linux-based gadget has more gadgety features than you can shake a stick at - including a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, built-in GPS, digital audio/video playback, Bluetooth, camera, MP3 player and even Wi-Fi capability for surfing and VoIP calling. Like the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet, its predecessor which runs Skype (with the latest firmware), the N810 will come pre-bundled with Skype, making it one of the most powerful portable VoIP devices out there.

The Nokia N810 gives you a truly portable Internet experience that's actually useful due to its large 4.13" color wide-screen display and touchpad screen navigation. It sports a 400MHz processor, Mozilla-based Web browser, and up to 10GB of memory (which comes as 2GB of internal memory with an optional 8GB memory card combined).

Battery Life:
  • Continuous usage (display on, wireless LAN active): up to 4 hours
  • Music playback: up to 10 hours
  • Always online time: up to 5 days
  • Standby time: up to 14 days
Connectivity:
  • WLAN standard: IEEE 802.11b/g
  • Bluetooth specification v.2.0 .






Volvo to carry Garmin nuvi GPS

November 19, 2007


Garmin and Volvo have inked a deal where Volvos will seamlessly integrate the Garmin nüvi 760 onto the top of the vehicle's dashboard. Perfect, since I just bought a Volvo XC70! Of course, the dealer-fitted accessory which uses a smart mounting bracket is positioned on top of the dashboard, which is just an invitation for it to get stolen.

Voice in my head: Over your stolen GPS in Disney?

No, I'm still not over my stolen Garmin nüvi 350 in Disney World.




HDMI over CAT5 Network Wire Receiver Works up to 50m!

November 19, 2007


HDMI was limited to roughly 6 meters or 20 feet, which limited your home entertainment hookups. Who keeps all their home entertainment equipment just 20 feet away? This is especially true if you have multiple rooms and you want to share HDMI components across multiple rooms or floors.

Well, a solution to this problem just launched today. Tributaries Cable, provider of high-performance cables, accessories, and installation solutions for audio, video, and custom-install systems has come out with the HXC5 HDMI over Cat5 system.


Packet8 MobileTalk Launches

November 19, 2007

8x8, provider of Packet8 broadband VoIP services, today announced the launch of Packet8 MobileTalk - a mobile calling service that utilizes a downloadable software application that can currently reside on any Windows, Palm or Symbian based mobile phone.

It connects the calls from the mobile phone to the Packet8 digital VoIP network to save on costs.

Packet8 MobileTalk users can dial calls directly and natively from their mobile handset, contact list or speed dial directory. Once the destination number is dialed or selected, the Packet8 MobileTalk software application identifies the international prefix being called and redirects the call to a local Packet8 network access number for terminating the last leg.

You might say Packet8 MobileTalk is similar to Truphone, except Truphone routes the call over the data connection, so the QoS is more affected. You might compare Packet8 MobileTalk with JAJAH, which offers the JAJAH Mobile Plugin, a softphone application that like MobileTalk works with Symbian phones. JAJAH Mobile Plugin, like Packet8 MobileTalk routes the call over the voice channel.





Jajah Direct Launches

November 18, 2007

JAJAH Direct is a new service launching tomorrow, which allows you to simply dial a local access number to talk globally - no Internet or data access needed and you can skip having to dial from your PC using VoIP software (i.e. Skype).

With JAJAH Direct, anyone who with a phone can enjoy international calls for free, or at the local rate of the access number. Jajah says callers can expect to see a savings of nearly 90% versus traditional global calling plans.

How JAJAH Direct works:
1.




Unified Convergence and Disaster Recovery Webinar

November 14, 2007

Unified communications - the convergence of various communications medium - presents ever increasing complexity due to the way all the various pieces communicate with one another. In some instances a single failure could be disastrous for your business continuity. In two weeks - on Wednesday, November 28, 2007, 2:00pm ET 11:00am PT, TMCNet will host a webinar on this topic. Disaster preparedness may not be sexy, but IT managers, CIOs/CTOs need to stay up on this stuff.

Oracle, Iwatsu, and SafeHatch are speaking with FaxCore moderating.

Here's the description and agenda:

National disasters like hurricanes, tornados, winter storms and fires have demonstrated repeatedly that too many companies do not have an effective plan in place to ensure business continuity.





Viseon, Vonage Video Phone Manufacturer, Bites the Dust

November 14, 2007

Viseon Media, a video phone manufacturer, has apparently bitten the dust. Vonage was supposed to offer Viseon's VisiFone (image right) to their subscribers to compete with Packet8 which was first to market with a VoIP videophone. Obviously, Vonage decided to OEM from Viseon rather than develop their own video phone.  Now, people that signed up with Vonage  hoping to at some point upgrade to a videphone will have to wait till Vonage signs up another OEM video phone partner.

Spock, Kirk, E911 for VoIP and All that Jazz

November 14, 2007

TMCNet is reporting that the House passed legislation requiring Internet telephone companies to provide customers with emergency 911 calling services. According to the article, the 911 Modernization and Public Safety Act, aims to bring Internet telephony companies in compliance with new Federal Communications Commission rules, will now allow VoIP providers, such as Skype, the ability to obtain direct access to the backbone of the E911 system.

Hmmm, E911 on Skype? That'll be interesting to see how that works. Most Skype users move from location to location since they have the ability to sign-in from any PC or they bring their laptop on the road.

SkyStone releases new version of Skype gateway

November 14, 2007

PBX in a Flash Asterisk Distro Launches

November 13, 2007

Ward Mundy over at Nerd Vittles informs me that tomorrow Nerd Vittles will officially launch PBX in a Flash, a new Asterisk-based distribution that bundles in the best parts of Asterisk along with some cool third-party applications. PBX in a Flash includes Asterisk 1.4.13, FreePBX 2.3.1, Apache, MySQL, PHP, phpMyAdmin, SendMail, Perl, Flite, and more. Ward sent me a preview of the news that he plans to share tomorrow. Ward hinted in a previous post that PBX in a Flash would be coming in November - well starting on Wednesday you'll be able to download and install it.

VoIPo3G Will Reach 250M Cell Phone Users by 2012?

November 13, 2007

According to the Disruptive Analysis report there will be over 250m VoIP Users Over 3G Mobile Networks by 2012. Call me a cynic, but this seems overly optimistic for 250 million users to be making VoIP over 3G calls.

6 Reasons why we Won't Reach 250M VoIPo3G users:

1) You need phones with softphone clients such as Skype, Google Talk, MSN Messenger to run on cellphones You can count on 1 hand the number of phones that can run these apps today.
2) You need phones with the processing horsepower to handle the encoding of the voice packets - possible with high-end smart phones yes, but most cellphones use slow processors to save on battery life.
3) Most people aren't going to spend $600 for an iPhone or some other high-end smartphone just to make VoIPo3G calls. Most cell phones purchased are in the $80-$180 range and are "simple" cell phones - no VoIP application support.





MyBlogLog outage - civrf.yahoo.com lookup failed

November 13, 2007

It must be outage week, since I not only discovered Skype had a brief outage but now MyBlogLog is making my blog load unbearably sloooooooooow. My blog uses the MyBlogLog code to display fellow MyBlogLog users thumbnail pictures on my right nav-bar.

This morning I noticed that trying load a page on my blog on Firefox was giving me an hour glass while trying to look up civrf.yahoo.com. The page was only partially loaded while it tried to load civrf.yahoo.com. At first I was like, what the heck is civrf.yahoo.com?

Skype Outage Explained

November 13, 2007

Just received this email from a Skype PR representative explaining the outage I discovered over the weekend. They say it was minor, and I will say it was a short outage. But there were some peeved users. I read a Skype forum post where a user bought 2 new Skype phones, none worked and was about to return them.

Google to Acquire Sprint Nextel?

November 12, 2007

Rich Tehrani reported on Saturday that he's hearing rumors that Google may acquire Sprint Nextel. Techcrunch picked up Rich's story and provided their own analysis. Matthew Ingram also has an interesting take on Rich's rumor with an interesting line - "Google has effectively become the saviour of everything."

Why would an acquisition of a phone service provider (carrier) make sense? Well, for one, carriers sign exclusive deals with phone manufacturers, i.e.

Star Trek Phaser Blue-ray Gun

November 12, 2007

Skype WiFi phones Outage

November 12, 2007

BREAKING! Something has happened with the Skype service that prevents all brands of WiFi and dual-mode (WiFi & PSTN) phones from signing into Skype. This problem seems to have started sometime on Saturday and continued until late Sunday (possibly as late at 1:15am Monday morning). As of today, most users have been able to sign-in but some are still experiencing issues. Models affected include the Netgear SPH200D, Linksys CIT400, Edge-core WM4201, SMC WSKP100, Philips 841, and other WiFi phones.

Microsoft Response Point Review

November 12, 2007

Microsoft Response Point, is Microsoft's foray into the SMB phone system space, offering companies of up to 50 employees to easily set up and maintain an IP-PBX with advanced functionality such as speech recognition dialing and voicemail-to-email - all at an affordable price. Response Point, which was developed under the code name 'Edinburgh', is being sold as embedded software within digital phones manufactured by Microsoft hardware partners D-Link, Quanta Syspine, and Uniden Evolo. Aastra also plans on offering a Response Point system sometime in 2008.

Inevitably, Response Point will be compared by some against its big brother Office Communications Server 2007. You can read my take on that comparison here.

Sat3Play Satellite Triple Play - cool stuff!

November 9, 2007

Apparently, I don't know everything in VoIP , since I never heard of Newtec's Sat3Play until this morning. Sat3Play is a Satellite Triple Play system that offers 2-way communication to enable VoIP, Internet access, and video (IPTV). They categorize it as a "Satellite Multimedia Broadband system".

They announced today that they has won the prestigious Frost and Sullivan European Product Innovation Award, for the company's Satellite Triple Play System (Sat3Play). Hmm, I may have to consider Sat3Play for the TMC Labs Innovation Awards.

Discount on Internet Telephony Conference & Expo

November 7, 2007

TMCnet Kicks Butt in IP Communications

November 7, 2007

Rich blogged late yesterday about TMC's Quantcast statistics which showed TMC's domination in the IP communications space. We already knew from our Alexa stats that we dominated the space, but Alexa isn't very accurate. So we recently added Quantcast to all our web servers, including our blogs. As Rich points out, Quantcast is considered a respected third-party in measuring web traffic in an accurate manner.

He writes:
I am proud to say that Quantcast says the US reach for TMCnet is 711,127 people – this roughly translates to just under 2 million visitors in total as TMCnet has about 60% of its visitors from outside the US.



flashphone Beta Running on Adobe Flash launches

November 6, 2007

As you know, I've discussed Adobe getting into VoIP in the past where you can use a 100% Flash softphone application. Since the vast majority of PCs, Macs, PockePCs, Windows Mobile, and other operating systems all have Flash installed, in theory you can have easy cross-platform VoIP calls simply by visiting a website with a Flash VoIP applet embedded. Flash applets automatically download in the background without requiring a separate installer or administrator rights. Alas, Adobe still hasn't yet launched their 100% Flash VoIP application.

While we wait for Adobe to offer their VoIP solution, I just learned about a VoIP softphone that runs in 100% Flash using Adobe Flash 9 or later.

AT&T U-verse DVR Throughout the Home

November 5, 2007

AT&T U-verse customers have been complaining about lack of DVR (Digital Video Recorder) support that works throughput the home. Sure, you can get a single DVR box, but you can't view the recorded (or paused) content in the rest of the house. Part of AT&T's promise with U-verse was that you could watch digitally recorded content stored on a single DVR on any TV in the home. Sadly, this hasn't been the case, but from what I hear they're working on it.

Every Day Heroes

November 5, 2007

There are many kinds of heroes in this world. There are the police and firefighters that save lives every day at their own personal peril. Of course, there are the brave men and women service serving in the U.S. military.

ADSL to reach 100Mbps speed!

November 5, 2007

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, a 29-year old Australian wiz kid, Dr.Papandriopoulos, has found a way to squeeze more broadband juice out of your phone line, which will improve DSL speeds. Apparently, the technology eliminates a lot of the cross-talk interference and is easier to deploy than competing solutions. I'm amazed that our simple single-pair copper phone lines can carry 100Mbps of data across far distances from the CO (central office) to the home. I remember the days (1970s) when I was lucky to get 300 baud speed connecting to a local BBS (Bulletin Board System).

FonalityCRM Launches

November 5, 2007

Chris Lyman over at Fonality spoke with me last week about FonalityCRM, a new offering that came about with the acquisition of Insightful Solutions Pty Ltd., a SugarCRM Gold Partner based out of Australia. Insightful has created enhancements to the popular open source SugarCRM application. What Fonality has done is to integrate SugarmCRM's Sugar Professional with Fonality’s PBXtra and trixbox Pro IP-PBX applications, hence the name FonalityCRM. By doing so it gives you the ability to perform click-to-call dialing, agent screen pops, and telephone campaign management.

The acquisition is interesting from the perspective that now Fonality is no longer simply an IP-PBX vendor.

VoIP Blogger Steals TMC Articles

November 2, 2007

Normally, I wouldn't spend my time complaining about someone plagiarizing my blog or any of TMC's other blogs. I've written about sploggers in the past, that take word-for-word the exact copy of your blog posts. But, I figured if I just ignore them, they'll go away or be a nuisance at worst. Wishful thinking, I know - but what can you do?

Will the Real Google gPhone Please Stand up!

November 1, 2007


Will the real Google Phone, gPhone, or whatever the heck it's going to be called please stand up? Enough of the hype and enough of the teasing. I can't take it any more. The latest tease comes from The India Street, which writes, "we've just confirmed a tip from an industry insider that China's e28 is going to be Google's Gphone software and handset manufacturer.

Free Calls on Facebook

November 1, 2007

Looking for free phone calls on Facebook? Well, IVR Technologies has what you're looking for. First let me point out that Rich has an excellent overview of IVR Technologies that is worth reading just to give you some background on their technology. Rich spoke with Barry Sher last year and "discussed how they develop SIP applications and one of their products is called Talking SIP which is a software only service that calls anywhere -- any time via SIP.
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