Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
| VoIP & Gadgets blog - Latest news in VoIP & gadgets, wireless, mobile phones, reviews, & opinions

January 2008

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Polycom Kills the Buzz Factor

January 31, 2008

Who hasn’t been on an important conference call and heard the infamous “buzz” sound on the speakerphone caused by cell phone interference. Nextel two-way “push to talk” phones are notorious for causing this “buzz” sound, as well as Blackberries. Still don't know what I'm talking about? Sure you do.

Asterisk-based FreePBX clones Microsoft Response Point's Easy Button

January 31, 2008

In November of 2007, I reviewed the Microsoft Response Point IP-PBX. One of the Response Point's main features is the "Easy button" that you can press and then speak commands to the RP system, such as "transfer to Tom Keating" or "call Bill Gates".

Well yesterday, I received a news tip about an Asterisk solution that duplicates this "Easy button" speech-rec functionality. The blog explains:

... I saw a video on the Response Point "magic button." A voice recognition button for a PBX?

8x8's Packet8 Posts Steady Growth

January 30, 2008

8x8's Packet8 may not be the largest VoIP service provider, but they have nice stable growth. Unlike some VoIP service providers which tried to grow fast but then crashed and burned (See SunRocket posts here, here, and here), Packet8 has had slow steady growth over the years.

So I'm pleased to report that 8x8, Inc. (Nasdaq: EGHT), provider of Packet8 broadband Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), videophone and mobile VoIP communication services, today announced revenues for the third quarter of fiscal 2008 were $15.8 million, compared with $14.8 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2008 and $13.3 million for the same period of the prior year, an increase of 7% over the prior quarter and 19% year over year.

Net income for the quarter was $1.4 million or $0.02 per share, the second highest quarterly earnings in the company's history, compared with a net loss of $2.6 million or ($0.04) per share for the second quarter of fiscal 2008 and a net loss of $2.8 million or ($0.05) per share for the same period last year. Total revenues for the nine-month periods ended December 31, 2007 and 2006, were $45.3 million and $38.7 million, respectively, an increase of 17%.

You can read the full financial results after the jump...

Faxterisk Adds T.38 support to Asterisk

January 30, 2008

Recently I wrote about the challenges of Fax over IP and T.38 real-time faxing and the lack of good T.38 support in Asterisk. Though I did point out a few fax workarounds in Asterisk. I received a flurry of emails and comments. One stated:
There actually is full fledged t.38 support for asterisk:

2 week trial licenses are available.

Also have a look at our zoiper softphone which can receive, and in the next version, somewhere next week also transmit faxes over t.38.

Cool Stuff at ITEXPO

January 30, 2008

Last week TMC held our very successful ITEXPO tradeshow covering various IP communications and contact center technologies. One thing we all need to keep in mind when it comes to voice over IP is that voice over IP is simply a dumb transport. What really gets customers excited and coming to various VoIP tradeshows is to learn about how they can leverage VoIP within their business processes, whether that's screenpop of customer data, remote agents using soft or hard phones, mobile phone capabilities, etc. Customers are looking to integrate all of their various communications - email, voice, CRM, etc.

Gadgets and Water Don't mix

January 30, 2008

I came home last night and learned my 21-month old daughter Megan had decided to take our Canon Powershot G5 digital camera off the kitchen table and plop it into the dogs' water bowl. My wife scrambled to remove it quickly, but the viewfinder is now all fogged up and it won't turn on. Maybe it will dry out, who knows?

I joked with my wife that surely Megan didn't get her "gadget destroying genes" from a gadget lover like me. Then again, my background is in engineering and engineers like to see how things work, and they love to stress test something to the max, etc.

Biggest Loser Update #1

January 30, 2008

Mig33 mobile VoIP app

January 29, 2008

Mig33 is a mobile instant messaging application running on Java, which means it runs on over 250 mobile phones. It has mobile VoIP service, chat, chatrooms, SMS and instant messaging. Mig33 also works with MSN, Yahoo!, ICQ , AOL, and Google Talk. They claim over 9 million users even with their non-descriptive company name. Sounds like a Russian fighter jet to me.

Anyway, today Mig33 announced closing a Series B funding of $13.5 led by DCM with participation from existing Series A firms Accel, Redpoint and TVP.

Asterisk goes Big via Virtual Servers

January 29, 2008

According to NetworkWorld, "Digium, the business founded by Asterisk creator Mark Spencer to capitalize on his PBX, says it plans later this year to release a new version that will support much larger deployments. New Jersey-based service provider VoicePulse plans a hosted PBX service based on Asterisk deployed on virtual servers."

Reminds me of my 2006 VoIP Predictions post where I said:
Asterisk (Digium), the open-source IP-PBX gets deployed by a Fortune 500 company. I should point out that I don't mean a small Fortune 500 branch office that installs a single Asterisk server. I'm talking about a Fortune 500 company that installs Asterisk in at least 5 branch offices OR at their main corporate headquarters.

T.38 Fax Support, Hype or Reality?

January 28, 2008

T.38 is an ITU standard for sending FAX across IP networks in a real-time mode. T.38 faxing has been hyped a lot, while others pondered if T.38 was dead. Regardless of which camp you stand in, we can all agree that T.38 hasn't exactly taken off, including on the Asterisk IP-PBX. Faxing support in general on the Asterisk platform has been sorely lacking and one of Asterisk's weaknesses.

Another Successful ITEXPO

January 25, 2008

Iwatsu Adds SIP-Aware Firewall

January 25, 2008

Today, at Internet Telephony Conference, Iwatsu Voice Networks (Booth #617) announced the expansion of its Valued Integrated Partner program (VIP) with the addition of a new partner, Ingate Systems. Iwatsu's VIP program is designed to offer products and services that provide value-add to the Iwatsu Enterprise Communications Server (ECS), Iwatsu's flagship call processing solution for small- to medium-sized businesses.

Ingate will add its Ingate SIParator line of products to the Iwatsu VIP program. The Ingate SIParator is a device that connects to an existing network firewall to seamlessly enable the traversal of real-time SIP-based communications by solving the Network Address Translation (NAT) traversal issues with the protocol, while maintaining the security and integrity of the enterprise network.

VoIP Pioneer Slams Sprint

January 25, 2008

One of the unsung pioneers in the VoIP industry is Rich Tehrani. Rich started Internet Telephony Magazine in 1997, the first magazine to exclusively cover VoIP. Before Internet Telephony, Rich also launched CTI Magazine in 1994, a magazine focused on Computer Telephony Integration - the precursor to voice over IP. TMC Labs, which Rich co-founded with myself, did the very first VoIP review of the VocalTec software in 1996 - the first VoIP client.

Due to Rich's years of experience in telecom/telephony pre-VoIP and now in VoIP, he has met tons of CEOs and entrepreneurs in the VoIP industry.

SIP Trunking Not so Hot?

January 25, 2008

A couple days ago I wrote an article titled SIP Trunking is Hot! where I wrote about the SIP trunking session sponsored by Ingate, which was very heavily attended (75). A few hours later I noticed SmithonVoIP blogger Garrett Smith write a blog entry called No One Wants SIP Trunking. It was obvious to me he must have seen my blog post which was pro-SIP trunking and he was taking a counterpoint.

Before I even clicked through on my RSS reader to Garrett's article, I pondered why Garrett would take such a counterpoint. I know for a fact that there is a lot of interest in SIP trunking.

Over protective dog while I'm away at ITEXPO?

January 25, 2008

While I'm away at ITEXPO covering all the latest VoIP news and meeting with industry insiders, my wife snapped some interesting photos of our yellow Labrador/Shepherd-mix dog Jessie with her paw on our 21 month old daughter, Megan. The look on Jessie's face says it all, but I'll translate for you just in case...

Jessie: Just stay down kid. It's a dangerous world out there and Dad's not home. Dad's away at ITEXPO learning about dangerous VoIP security exploits, and something about business SIP trunks.

Dell VoIP Products Analysis

January 23, 2008

I neglected to point out in my morning Dell Picks Fonality VoIP System post that I first discovered Dell got into the VoIP game with their late 2007 announcement that they would be offering Microsoft OCS 2007 pre-bundled on Dell servers. Thus, the Fonality/Dell deal marks the 2nd VoIP platform that Dell is offering. I noticed on Dell's VoIP page that they are also carrying Nortel as well. Microsoft OCS is noticeably absent.

BroadSoft and C3IP Debuts First-ever VoIP Mashup with ACT! at ITEXPO

January 23, 2008

BroadSoft and C3IP will debut the first-ever VoIP mashup with ACT! by Sage at INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & Expo.

This is just the start of some really cool news coming out of ITEXPO. I expect some more interesting news announcements tomorrow when the exhibit hall opens in the morning. The exhibit hall will be open tonight from 6pm-8pm, but tomorrow is really considered the main exhibit hall opening and when many companies announce their big news.

In any event, here's the announcement about the VoIP mashup...

Integration with Carrier-grade VoIP Adds Calling Feature to Popular Contact And Customer Management Application

MIAMI, Jan. 23, 2008 — BroadSoft, Inc., a leading provider of VoIP application software, and C3IP Communications, LLC, a provider of hosted voice, video and data IP solutions for business, today announced that the two companies will debut the first-ever “VoIP AddOn” for the ACT!

SIP Forum Announces Ratification of Version 1.0 of SIPconnect

January 23, 2008

In my previous post "SIP Trunking is Hot!" I mentioned SIPconnect and how important this standard will be to SIP trunking. Well at ITEXPO, the SIP Forum announced an important ratification of version 1.0 of the SIPconnect Technical Recommendation.

The SIP Forum announced today that it has ratified version 1.0 of the SIPconnect Technical Recommendation with the unanimous approval of the SIP Forum Board of Directors.

The SIPconnect Technical Recommendation v.1.0, an important initiative of the SIP Forum, is a standards-based approach to direct IP peering between SIP-enabled IP PBXs and VoIP service provider networks, and specifies a reference architecture, required protocols and features and implementation rules necessary for seamless interconnection between IP PBXs and VoIP service providers. As SIPconnect was designed to directly tie enterprise customers to VoIP service providers using an end-to-end IP connection, it eliminates the need for a VoIP gateway, improves voice quality and creates a stable foundation for personalized applications and rich media services.

The formal adoption by the SIP Forum Board of the SIPConnect 1.0 Technical Recommendation is based on recognition that the recommendation has been through credible peer review, including broad membership and significant community review, that it is stable and is well-understood, and that it is believed to have resolved known design choices.

"I want to thank all of the participants in the SIPconnect Task Group for their selfless efforts and valuable time necessary to reach consensus and complete the ratification process," said Richard Shockey, Technical Working Group Chair of the SIP Forum. "This was truly an industry-wide effort that we can continue to build on."

Eric Burger, Chairman of the Board of the SIP Forum, commented, "You can expect more work like this from the SIP Forum as we continue to grow our community and revitalize our Technical Working Group to tackle additional interoperability issues."

The SIPconnect Technical Recommendation has recently enjoyed a number of independent implementations, as witnessed by the rapid adoption of the SIPconnect Compliant Program.

SIP Trunking is Hot!

January 23, 2008

I'm sitting in the SIP session at ITEXPO (sponsored by Ingate) and it's one of the most heavily attended sessions at the show. I counted 70 people in the room and people keep filling in. Scratch that, 5 people just walked in - it's now 75!

I had to stand in the back until an Ingate employee was kind enough to bring me a chair. Ingate makes firewalls that are SIP aware.

Dell picks Fonality VoIP Phone System

January 23, 2008

I missed my early meeting today with Fonality CEO Chris Lyman about some blockbuster news he wanted to share being announced at ITEXPO. Fortunately, as administrator of the blog server I happened to be checking out Rich's blog entries to look into a video problem and noticed Rich had a scheduled entry with the subject "Dell Chooses Fonality". I rubbed my eyes in shock. Dell?

PIKA for Asterisk boards now trixbox CE compatible

January 22, 2008

Some great news for PIKA telephony board fans coming out of ITEXPO. PIKA for Asterisk boards are now trixbox CE (Asterisk-based IP-PBX) compatible.

full story after the jump...

Hosted VoIP Packet Sniffing

January 22, 2008

Packet Island, Inc. today announced that they will demonstrate their latest SaaS-based sniffer product, PacketPro at TMC's ITEXPO conference in Miami. This SaaS-based product has the ability to provide managed service providers and IT outsourcing companies remote visibility to troubleshoot problems in their customers' networks. Many companies don't have the internal networking staff to troubleshoot complex networking issues, especially voice over IP, which is time sensitive traffic. I haven't seen their product demo yet, so I'll be sure to stop by their booth.

Sotto Wireless Sotto@SOHO cellular PBX

January 22, 2008

Sotto Wireless today launched their "Instant Business Mobility Offering" called Sotto@SOHO, an interesting fixed mobile convergence solution that uses pre-configured Nokia E61i hybrid phones. Using cell phones for business is nothing new, but Sotto@SOHO extends the functionality of the cell phone to have PBX-like functionality. It features unlimited office voice services, a main number with automated attendant, conference calling, wireless email, unified voice messaging, and shared cellular minutes for voice and data.

I just arrived in Miami for ITEXPO, so I don't have time to provide full analysis. Seems pretty interesting, so sharing the news release below:

New Sotto@SOHO bundle gives small business everything needed to get started with Sotto’s integrated wireless and office phone communications service

SEATTLE, January 22, 2008 – Sotto Wireless, a leading provider of all-in-one business communications services, today unveiled the company’s new Sotto@SOHO bundled offering that gives small businesses a groundbreaking fixed mobile convergence solution in one self-installable package. 

Number Portability Redux

January 21, 2008

Back in 2006, I griped about my number portability problems. In that post, I wrote:
I never thought that in 2006 I would have number portability problems. Hasn't number portability regulations evolved to the point where it is no longer an issue? Alas, I found out the hard way that number portability is still very much a political game by the phone carriers and even the VoIP service providers to hold their customers hostage.

This was all related to my plans to dump Vonage and move back to a traditional carrier.

SIP to Skype Calls

January 21, 2008

Ok, so Skype, Inc. won't let you dial into your Skype username using a SIP URI. Yeah, Skype claims their proprietary protocol is better than SIP. I've written about one SIP-to-Skype workaround, but still I hear the cries of VoIP fans everywhere clamoring for SIP access to Skype. So what's a SIP-lovin' VoIPster to do?

Is T.38 Fax Dead?

January 18, 2008

Who says T.38 real-time fax is dead? According to Google quite a few. Well, according to AudioCodes' Alan Percy, you people are wrong! Wrong I say! Not that T.38 doesn't have its share of issues of course.

Battery Breakthrough = 40 hour Laptop Batteries

January 18, 2008

Following up on Toshiba's recent SCiB lithium-ion battery breakthrough, researchers discovered a way to use silicon nanowires to give rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries used in laptops, iPods, mobile phones and just about everything else these days, as much as 10 times more charge. This gives a conventional Li-Ion battery-powered laptop 40 hours of battery charge instead of just four.

According to ZDNet Australia, the new Li-ion batteries based on silicon were developed by assistant professor Yi Cui and colleges at Stanford University's Materials Science and Engineering Department. Traditional batteries use graphite to hold lithium, but their storage capacity is limited.

According to Cui, silicon anodes have the "the highest theoretical charge capacity". Unfortunately, silicon placed in a battery swells as it absorbs positively charged lithium atoms during charging, then shrinks down uring use as the lithium is drawn out of the silicon.

ITExpo Prizes - including a Mustang Convertible!

January 18, 2008

Bye Bye Unlimited Flat-Rate Internet

January 18, 2008

Say buh bye to unlimited Internet access, or at least if Time Warner Cable has its way. In an effort to stop excessive bandwidth usage caused by "bandwidth hogs", mostly caused by P2P networks like Bittorent and video downloading, Time Warner plans on charging Internet users by usage.

After an internal memo was leaked, which said:
The introduction of Consumption Based Billing will enable TWC to charge customer based upon usage, impacting only 5% of subscribers who utilize over half of the total network bandwidth.

The trial in the Beaumont, TX division will apply to new HSD customer only, will provide a destination for customer to track usage for each month and will enable customers to upgrade from one tier to the next to avoid payment of overage charges. Existing and new subscribers will have tracking capability, however only new subscribers will be charged incrementally for bandwidth usage above the cap.

Following the trial, a determination will be made as to whether or not existing subscribers should be charged.

Joined The Biggest Loser

January 17, 2008

Well, I joined The Biggest Loser. No, not that Biggest Loser. It's being run by Body Health & Fitness Club, my local gym. After fellow blogger Om Malik's heart scare, and my weight ballooning from 170lbs to 198lbs over the last 3 years, it was time to do something about it.

Google Ellipsis Bug

January 17, 2008

It's rare to see Google have a strange quirk or bug and even more rare for me to discover it. I was researching Microsoft ICS and was searching on Google for ics host when I noticed the first 2 results looked very odd. Take a look... Notice how the domain has three dots (...) (also known as an ellipsis), instead of the domain name.

TMC's Greg Galitzine Interviews Dialogic's Jeff Dworkin

January 16, 2008

Greg has a podcast interview with Jeff Dworkin from Dialogic. I still remember the very first Dialogic telephony card I reviewed in CTI Magazine back in 1996. Ah the memories... I can't believe I've been in telecom for over 12 years!

Internet Telephony Expo Draws More Countries

January 16, 2008

Last year (2007) just about a week before ITEXPO, we had 64 countries represented. This year, also just 1 week away from Internet Telephony Expo we have 74 countries represented, about a 15.6% increase. If the number of countries registered is any indication, then I expect the show down in sunny Miami taking place Jan 23-25th to be even better than last year.

Check out who is represented:
Argentina Australia Bahamas Belgium Belize Bolivia Bosnia-Herzegovina Brazil Burundi Cameroon Canada Chile China Peoples Rep Colombia Costa Rica Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Dominican Republic Dubai Ecuador Egypt (Arab Rep of) El Salvador Finland France Germany Ghana Guadeloupe Guatemala Honduras Hungary India Iran Israel Italy Ivory Coast Jamaica Japan Kazakhstan Liberia Malaysia Mexico Morocco Nepal Netherlands Nicaragua Nigeria Norway Pakistan Panama Peru Philippines Qatar Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saudi Arabia Sierra Leone Singapore Slovenia Spain Sri Lanka St Kitts-Nevis Sweden Switzerland Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom Uruguay USA Venezuela Yugoslavia Zimbabwe

AT&T U-Verse Batteries Exploding

January 16, 2008

AT&T just can't catch a break with their troubled U-Verse service. AT&T has to replace the lithium metal polymer batteries in the VRAD cabinets for U-Verse IPTV because four fires have occurred in various locations. 'Fire' is a bit tame of a word choice since "explosions" have occurred in Houston, Cleveland and Wisconsin. In Wisconsin it was reportedly strong enough to blow the 50-pound cabinet door off its bolts.

Sendio I.C.E. Box anti-spam appliance review

January 16, 2008

The Sendio I.C.E. (Intercept, Confirm or Eliminate) Box anti-spam appliance brings an assortment of weapons to do battle with the evil spammers of the world, including challenge-response (Sender Address Verification (SAV)), silverlisting, SPF, Domain Keys and Sender Policy Framework (SPF) with detailed SMTP protocol checks, and finally blacklisting by domain name or email address on a system-wide or per user basis. Sendio doesn't include spam filters, but don't get Tim Lee Thorpe, VP of Marketing started.

XO Communications Announces Bandwidth Pricing for Phone Calls

January 15, 2008

XO Communications tomorrow will announce bandwidth-based pricing offering for converged IP services. Instead of paying per minute for voice calls like both traditional TDM and even current VoIP offerings do, XO will be completely bandwidth-based pricing. Considering that voice is simply another application riding over IP, it certainly makes sense, but the premium of charging per-minute rates or per line rates even for VoIP calls is a hard habit to break. It's just too lucrative to the service providers to change their billing practices.

XO Communications certainly changes the way voice should be charged.

University of Cambridge claims largest IP telephony system

January 14, 2008

Score one for Cisco. They now claim that the University of Cambridge has become one of the largest if not the largest IP telephony system in the education sector. Cisco and BT announced the deployment in a multi-million pound deal which will see BT, Cisco, and the University’s IT Consultancy partner, PTS Consulting, deliver approximately 20,000 IP telephony handsets to the University over the next 18 months.

"The University’s investment will modernise the student experience, enabling students to collaborate in new and more innovative ways through the deployment of a converged voice, video and data network. Sharing information more easily will improve the quality of education and research, with students and academics using instant messaging, voice emails, streaming video and much more to share ideas in real time, from anywhere in the world."

20,000 handsets is nothing to sneeze at and it's something that I'm waiting to hear comparable news from the Asterisk camp.

Vonage Blocking Ex-customer's Phone Number

January 14, 2008

Add this to the list of number portability problems. I received a tip that Vonage is blocking access to a phone number formerly maintained by Vonage. A disgruntled ex-Vonage customer emailed me to explain his dilemma. The ex-Vonage customer's number was ported to another carrier and now his phone number cannot be reached by any current Vonage customers.

For instance, suppose I am a Vonage customer with phone number 212-555-1234, then decide to leave Vonage and port the number to AT&T.

Sprint Novatel Wireless Ovation U727 Review

January 11, 2008

Using the Sprint Novatel Wireless Ovation U727 makes high speed wireless EVDO Internet access a breeze to use. The U727 is unlike most EVDO cards because it connects to your computer via USB and it has an integrated microSD slot for memory storage, though you'll have to provide your own microSD card. Rich sent me over his review unit to test and put through the paces.

First off, the U727 is compatible with Windows Vista, XP, 2000, as well as Mac and Linux. After installing the software on the CD, I connected it to my computer's USB port and it was ready to go.

Vodafone USB 7.2 Modem Stick

January 11, 2008

Vodafone UK just launched a USB modem for their high-speed mobile broadband data network. The Vodafone USB Modem Stick is Vodafone's smallest wireless high-speed modem supporting HSDPA and HSUPA. It reminds me of the Sprint Novatel Wireless Ovation U727 USB stick, which I plan on writing the review today. Stay tuned!

In any event, the Vodafone USB Modem Stick plugs directly into a laptop and supports both Windows (Vista and XP) and Mac OSX.

Third-party SkypeIn Jetnumbers

January 9, 2008

Skype currently is limited to a few countries for SkypeIn numbers. So what if you want local dial access in a country NOT supported by Skype? Well, claims to have the answer.  They wrote TMC to say, " has just launched a new usage for its call forwarding service.

IPEVO Solo Skype Desktop Phone now with Wi-Fi

January 9, 2008

The IPEVO Solo Skype Desktop Phone now no longer needs a wired Ethernet connection. At CES, IPEVO announced the new Wi-Fi Dongle bringing wireless capability to the IPEVO Solo, enabling users to choose the best spot for their Skype calls, since they don't need a wired connection to a router - just a power connection.

I guess this would make it truly a standalone Skype phone that is not only PC-less, but wireless as well. Just need to snip that handset cord and everything will be fine.

Reminds me of Dr. Emmett from Back to the Future: "Don't worry! As long as you hit that wire with the connecting hook at precisely eighty-eight miles per hour the instant the lightning strikes the tower ...


January 9, 2008

Sony announced GPS functionality for its Sony PSP gaming platform. While the GPS accessory was released in Japan in late 2006, this marks the "demo" launch (at CES) of the product in North America. It was simply a demo at CES, but Sony reps said they expect the product to ship sometime this year.

The GPS device will load map data from an included UMD that's region specific. Updated or additional country maps can be purchased and downloaded to a Memory Stick.

WMWifiRouter adds Wi-Fi Connection Sharing to Windows Mobile

January 9, 2008

Windows Mobile users looking to turn their mobile phone into an Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) device need not rely on ICS any more. WMWifiRouter is a piece of amazing freeware software that turns your Windows Mobile phone into a Wi-Fi router, giving any Wi-Fi device access to your cellphone plan's data network. This is similar in concept to the popular Treo DUN (Dial Up Networking) hackjob application, which lets you share you data connection over Bluetooth. Alas, Sprint decided to disable DUN, which required Treo fans to perform the aforementioned hack job.

Wikipedia Outage?

January 9, 2008

Sony PSP Skype Headset

January 9, 2008

As expected, Sony launched Skype on the PSP at CES. Sony PSP users can now use Skype after installing a software update scheduled for release in late January.

Here's the microphone module:

Although Skype is the leading consumer-based VoIP software, I wonder if other apps will take advantage of the microphone module. Since the firmware is locked, it's difficult to hack in new applications. Unfortunately, this only works on the newer PSP-2000 model (earlier models need not apply) and it doesn't have chat/IM functionality.

Cool Phones for FiOS, Uverse and other VoIP providers

January 9, 2008

Home phone systems haven't kept up with the latest innovations in mobile handsets, such as Internet access, streaming video, camera, etc. Considering many people are now choosing VoIP providers such as Vonage, Packet8, Skype, etc. which already sit on the Internet, wouldn't it make sense to have more advanced home phone systems? Where is Phone 2.0 for the home?

In fact, most VoIP providers simply use an analog telephony adapter (ATA) that lets you use your home analog cordless phone system.

Logitech Squeezebox Duet

January 7, 2008

Improving upon their line of Squeezebox (& Transporter) music network devices, Logitech recently introduced the Squeezebox Duet.
The Squeezebox Duet sports a cool new remote controller with a full-color 2.4 inch LCD screen and a receiver that utilizes 802.11g WiFi. the Duet allows users to stream music from any computer to any room with an audio receiver, browse your music collection with full color album art, and even stream Internet radio stations. In addition to playing songs stored on your computer, you can also connect to online services such as Pandora and Rhapsody. Rich Tehrani came to me a couple of weeks ago looking for a device that streams Internet radio, and Pandora so he can work out and listen to music. At the time I couldn't think of anything, but the Squeezebox Duet sounds like it might fit the bill.

Trade your Bluetooth Headset for a Jawbone

January 7, 2008

Just got an email that Jawbone is offering their Jawbone Bluetooth headset in exchange for your current Bluetooth headset. The deal is you visit their booth at CES, give up your old BT headset, Jawbone will smash the competing BT headset into tiny little pieces (for recycling purposes of course) and they'll hand you a brand spankin' new Jawbone. A brand new Jawbone in exchange for my current old Bluetooth headset? Wow!

D2 Technologies mCUE mobile convergence softphone launches

January 7, 2008

D2 Technologies today released at CES what they claim is the industry’s first embedded mobile convergence software solution for dual-mode phones.  D2’s mCUE mobile convergence software solution combines a communications user interface with the company’s vPort MP VoIP software platform and is targeted towards OEMs and service providers to help deliver integrated Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) and Unified Communications (UC) functionality.

mCUE provides a complete embedded software framework for multi-mode mobile handsets for enterprise and consumer use, such as dual-mode cellular plus Wi-Fi phones. Its completely Java-based user interface framework for Linux can be ported to other GUI platforms.

“mCUE revolutionizes mobile communications by tying together the best aspects of PC-based communications, such as VoIP, instant messaging and presence support, with the roaming benefits of mobile cellular and connection speed and quality of in-building wireless,” said Doug Makishima, vice president of marketing at D2 Technologies. “It is a complete turnkey solution for multi-mode mobile communication devices.”

mCUE is interoperable with enterprise IP-PBXs and UC systems as well as service provider networks.

SightSpeed Light Flash Video Conferencing & Chat

January 7, 2008

There has been a lot of hype behind Flash VoIP, including Adobe's formerly top-secret Flash VoIP project, which Om Malik (get well soon) and I broke the story back in 2006. Other players have come along in that time, including Ribbit (covered here), Flashphone (covered here), PushCall, and Wengo. I've been very pro-Flash VoIP apps since the vast majority of PCs, Macs, PockePCs, Windows Mobile, and other operating systems all have Flash installed. This enables easy cross-platform VoIP calls simply by visiting a website with a Flash VoIP applet embedded.

CopperGate Communications CG3210 HomePNA 3.1

January 7, 2008

Today at CES, CopperGate Communications, a provider of home networking technology for triple play IPTV and MDU access over existing wiring, announced its CopperStream CG3210, the highest speed solution for networking entertainment data over existing coax and telephone wires. The CG3210 is the latest of CopperGate's HomePNA 3.1 compatible solutions and supports data rates of 320 Megabits per second enabling distribution of digital content in buildings and homes driven by emerging applications from satellite and telco service providers such as multi-room IPTV PVRs. Wow, with 320 Megabits per second, who needs fiber-to-the-home (FTTH)? Scratch that, since this is an in-home networking solution. You still need a fat pipe to the home.

8 Simultaneous Videos only Data Could Love

January 7, 2008

You think you're a good multitasker? You've got 20 Firefox tabs open (or IE) and you're watching a YouTube video while reading email. Bet you're proud of yourself huh? Well, have a cool piece of software for you!

SyncTV Streaming HDTV

January 7, 2008

SyncTV will demonstrate a proof-of-concept device that will play downloads, including 1080p HD video content on a television set at CES. The device will also work on Windows PCs, Macs and Linux PCs.  SyncTV claims to use an open-standards approach which facilitates third-party hardware manufacturers developing compatible devices. Other devices that SyncTV could be integrated into include television sets, in-car video systems and other portable players.

SyncTV is an unlimited TV download service that launched in private beta in November 2007.

Email Subscribe to Blog posts

January 4, 2008

I've had the ability to offer email subscriptions to my blog posts for a few years now. I took it out of my blog templates since I figured most people use RSS these days. However, I've come to the conclusion that some not everyone is a fan of RSS, and do visit my site directly. And so, I have added the email subscribe capability back in.

trixbox CE 2.4 Released

January 4, 2008

trixbox CE 2.4 was recently released and features some major improvements. trixbox CE 2.4 features CentOS 5.1 as the base operating system and Asterisk 1.4 as the engine. These are two major improvements over prior releases.

Fonality's Kerry Garrison writes, "One problem with trixbox CE 2.x is the lack of hardware support for current systems, especially newer Dell platforms. The vast majority of this has been solved because trixbox CE 2.4 is now based on top of the latest CentOS 5.1 kernel.

MOGO Wireless Boosts Cell Phone Signal

January 3, 2008

MOGO Wireless launched a series of cellphone signal boosting products at CES, the coolest of which simply plugs into your car accessory adapter to end those dropped calls while driving. (using your Bluetooth hands-free handset of course)

MOGO's plug-and-talk products includes a business/home office product that works in conjunction with a laptop (USB port), as well as a mobile product that works from an automotive 12 volt power supply to amplify signal strength up to 10 times. Considering USB is only 5V, I'm surprised the USB model can amplify signals up to 10x.

Anyway, the MOGO is compatible with all service providers operating on 800 and 1900 MHZ including AT&T, Inc., Sprint, T-Mobile, Alltel and Verizon Wireless, and is also compatible with Bluetooth devices. The MOGO Personal Mobile Cell Tower is installed by plugging the adapter into a car power supply or by plugging the USB adapter into a laptop, depending on the product purchased.

Asterisk Security Vulnerability in SIP Channel Driver

January 3, 2008

On December 26th, Grey VoIP reported a security hole in Asterisk - an Asterisk SIP Channel Driver BYE Message Denial of Service (DoS) vulnerability. The vulnerability could allow a remote user to send a specially crafted BYE message using the 'BYE with Also' transfer method to trigger a NULL pointer error cause the target service to crash. In just a week, Digium, the founders of the open source Asterisk platform, released an update to fix the problem.

Every IP-PBX will have its share of bugs and security holes, I get Cisco advisories all the time, so I wasn't too concerned when I heard about this security vulnerability in Asterisk. But what amazes me is the fast turnaround to fix it - and over the major holidays no less!

Kudos to the Digium team and/or the open source community which were quick to react to this security issue!

GIPS Lands

January 2, 2008

After some recent bad news, including their competitor Spirit DSP landing China's Huawei Technologies, GIPS has landed a heavyweight to license their technology. Today, Global IP Solutions (GIPS), was been selected by '' to power its instant messaging with voice application for its 90 million users in China., a Chinese-based blog community with social networking features, is using GIPS VoiceEngine PC advanced to drive its voice over IP application. launched the new IM service called "51 guagua" on January 1, 2008. GIPS helped reduce its time-to-market.

Skype on Sony PSP

January 2, 2008

Rejoice! Skype on the Sony PSP may be unveiled this week at CES. Sony's CES page seemed to "leak" the details (click the PSP controller graphic on their site). The Sony PSP doesn't have cellular data connectivity so you'll need a WiFi hotspot to use this.

GPS + Google Android = Wi-Fi Army

January 2, 2008

Wi2P Entertainment is developing a gaming application called Wi-Fi Army that combines GPS tracking, WiFi, cellphone, and a cellphone camera that allows you to play a game of "GPS laser tag" against other players. They claim to have used Android's ability to control a phone's GPS receiver to create the Augmented Reality game called Wi-Fi Army. You use your phone's GPS, WiFi, and Google Maps to track your opponent and shoot him. Though instead of using a laser to nail your opponent you use your camera's phone to take a picture of him.

The game figures out whether you've hit your opponent or not by recognizing the picture of him when you upload it to the Wi-Fi Army web server. Facial recognition obviously.

Amazing Rubber Band Planes

January 2, 2008

Streaming TV with Skype

January 2, 2008

How would you like to use your Slingbox with Skype or is it Skype with Slingbox? Anyway... For a few months now I've been playing with using Skype along with a Slingbox, a popular gadget that lets you stream your home TV content, enabling remote viewing of live and pre­-recorded television over the Internet. I've been a huge advocate of streaming live TV across the Internet for years, so figured I'd post my tips on streaming TV utilizing Skype, Slingbox, and TV tuner cards.

Slingbox includes a software player for remote playback of your TV/video content, so you're probably wondering why anyone would want to use Skype instead.

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