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July 2008

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More Ways To Watch TV Coming ...

July 31, 2008

Looks Like 1080p is Coming

July 31, 2008

Now it looks like Dish Network will be giving us true 1080p HD!

In its press release, the company says that in addition to a host of 17 new national high-definition channels, it will also offer pay-per-view movies in 1080p. The first, available on Friday, is I Am Legend, the Will Smith sci-fi film.

While the satellite company may be the first to sell 1080p content, they're not the first to announce it. Those honors go to DirecTV; on Monday the company said it would launch an additional 30 national HD channels by the middle of August, bringing its high definition total up to 130.

Meanwhile, the Dish says it will have 100 HD national channels by Friday, and DirecTV announced it will also offer 1080p pay per view programming later this year.

Both companies imply that their 1080p offerings will look as good as Blu-ray discs. DirecTV says its titles are in "the same format used by Blu-Ray HD DVDs." Dish is even more direct, (so to speak), calling its offerings "Blu-ray disc quality."

Read more in the New York Times.











Dynolicious for your Apple iPhone or iPod Touch - Coolest Apple App ever!

July 31, 2008

Dynolicious utilizes the accelerometer built in to your iPhone or iPod Touch to sense the motion of your vehicle to calculate performance statistics including 0-60 acceleration, 1/4 Mile Elapsed Time, Lateral G's, and Horsepower. Is this not the coolest Apple App ever? I would have headed over to the Apple App Store to buy this app pronto, except I no longer drive a high-performance Dodge Viper - I now drive a pokey Volvo.

Here's a photo of my beloved 2001 Dodge Viper at a Cape Cod motel before it was totalled by a 24-year old pharmacist one month after I sold it to him.

Skype 4.0.0.155 Beta 1 for Windows

July 31, 2008

Skype just released a new beta of 4.0.called Skype 4.0.0.155 Beta 1 for Windows. Just remember there are some caveats to using Skype 4.0 beta. Read here for more.

Here's what's new / fixes:

30.07.2008 Skype 4.0.0.155 Beta 1 for Windows
  • change: Firefox Skype plugin updated to version 2.2.0.94
  • bugfix: Video mood and instant messages did not work when user had Flash Player 10 installed
  • Localizations updated
Also, here's what was fixed in the prior version of the Skype beta:

09.07.2008 Skype 4.0.0.150 Beta for Windows

  • bugfix: Renaming a contact did not work correctly
  • bugfix: New audio device notification was sometimes wrongly presented for SoundMax devices

  • bugfix: Incoming chat notification was played when it should not have been
  • bugfix: Changing ringing device also changed speakers
  • bugfix: No sound was played when sending a chat message
  • bugfix: It was not possible to remove echo123 from the contact list
  • bugfix: Skype sometimes crashed when recording voicemail
  • bugfix: Getting Started Wizard sometimes misbehaved after making a test call
Go grab your new copy here.







Level 3 & Packet8 major outage

July 31, 2008

BREAKING!
A source is telling me that Level 3 Communications and Packet 8 are having a system-wide network outage for the last 30 minutes. Level 3 is a huge provider of VoIP termination and I believe Packet8 uses their network for termination. Other VoIP service providers (Vonage?) will also be affected if indeed Level 3 is having an outage. I'm trying to confirm this as I type this.

SimpleSignal hosted VoIP lets Mobile Workers Listen to Emails and Manage Microsoft Outlook Calendar with Voice Commands

July 31, 2008

Today, SimpleSignal is announcing that it has successfully married Microsoft Exchange 2007 with its BroadSoft-based Hosted PBX offering to offer a  new solution called SimplyMobile. SimplyMobile offers some really cool features, such as the ability to listen to emails from any phone -- even a mobile device by leveraging TTS (text-to-speech). Also, it features the ability for users to use voice commands to call the people who emailed them.

They espouse the ability to be driving and listening to your emails and then verbally deleting them. So as you commute to the office, instead of having 200 emails to read when you arrive in the office, you only have 50.

3CX Free SIP Softphone

July 31, 2008

3CX has announced the release of a totally free new VoIP softphone called 3CX VoIP Phone that allows users to make and receive calls from their computer using SIP-based VoIP providers or SIP-based IP-PBXs. This free SIP softphone client isn't the first "free" softphone on the market. That distinction belongs to Counterpath's popular X-lite SIP softphone. However, I'm glad to see more free SIP softphones on the market.



In fact, I'd like to see free SIP softphone clients for Windows Mobile and the iPhone. Counterpath, had one for the PocketPC but they discontinued it.



Dymo DiscPainter Review

July 30, 2008

Printing CD and DVD labels can be a chore. It often requires special labels and only certain printers can accept CD/DVD labels. Certainly burning CDs and DVDs has become more popular so users are looking for quick, easy, and fun ways to label and decorate their CD/DVD collections. I have an Epson printer at home that doesn't print the size labels I need, so I resort to using a black Sharpie pen and hand scribbling on the CD or DVD.

Dell's New Line Makes Like Apple

July 29, 2008

Finally it seems like somebody in the PC business besides Apple has grabbed the idea that style matters -- the message is in the medium, so to speak ...

Dell's smallest, most personalized and most environmentally responsible consumer PC, the Studio Hybrid, launched today; that's it in the photo at left.

Available immediately at www.dell.com/hybrid, the PC's new unique shape and size can be personalized with six optional, external jewel-toned color or bamboo sleeves.

Dell also unveiled two new Inspiron PCs, including the Inspiron 13, a sleek and stylish sub $800 13-inch laptop perfect for students heading back to school, available starting next week at Wal-Mart. (So much for that much ballyhooed direct model.)

The Inspiron 518 desktop, available immediately at www.dell.com, is designed for everyday family multi-media activities, like catching up on favorite TV shows via the Internet, playing online games and storing and accessing music playlists and digital images. 

See what else is new here by checking out the Dell press release.









Early Termination Fees Going Bye-Bye?

July 29, 2008

Hey, hey, hey ... Sprint Nextel was dealt a major blow in its early-termination-fee case when a California judge ruled it would have to pay $73 million. Bad news for Sprint ...

... but good news for us!

VoSKY launches T1/E1 PBX-to-Skype Gateway

July 29, 2008

VoSKY today launched a high-density T1/E1 PBX-to-Skype Gateway. Who needs SIP trunks when you can have 23 or 30 simultaneous Skype trunks?

Though I'd like to see a 100% software-based gateway solution for IP-PBXs, since like Skype, they run on the IP network already. Still for traditional PBXs with T1/E1 interfaces, getting a PBX-to-Skype gateway to migrate away from expensive per minute charges on the traditional PSTN makes a lot of sense.

Astricon, Win $100, and Party Hardy at ITEXPO

July 29, 2008

Came across DIDx (DIDXchange) CEO Suzanne Bowen's blog today, where she mentions that DIDXchange is sponsoring the Code Zone Reception on Tues PM Sept 23 at Astricon and also "giving a lightning talk with some of you on DIDX and IAX2."

She includes a sign up link to http://www.didx.net/astricon2008/, but the link doesn't work.

Anyway, she's offering an interesting survey with the chance to win a $100 gas card or $100 American Airlines voucher.
"Whether you are using IAX2 or SIP or both, please reply to this survey asap. Just copy the Qs and paste them to me on email or on Facebook message with your name, company, if you have a DIDX account ... include that number, cell phone and email for contacting. Each person who uses IAX2, SIP, or a combination AND also DIDX who answers this survey fully with complete contact information to me on Facebook or my regular email will be entered in a drawing for $100 gas card or a $100 American Airlines voucher."

Considering it's $15 per checked bag, and $100 per piece for the 3rd, 4th and 5th checked bags, this $100 voucher won't get you very far if you're a heavy packer.




The Stuff That Dreams Are Made of ...

July 29, 2008

Buck Rogers and James Bond used jetpacks, and since the 1960s, several real jetpack designs have been built from metal, plastic and propellant. None has flown more than a minute.

Now a New Zealand inventor, Glenn Martin, plans to unveil today what he calls "the world's first practical jetpack" at the EAA AirVenture, the gigantic annual air show in Wisconsin. It's personal flying taken to the very personal level.

Martin, who has spent 27 years developing the devices, said he hoped to begin selling them next year for $100,000 apiece.

"There is nothing that even comes close to the dream that the jetpack allows you to achieve," said Robert J. Thompson, the director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University.





Cool (Cuil) New Search Engine Launches

July 28, 2008

sipgate vs. T-Mobile Round II

July 28, 2008

Thilo Salmon of sipgate, makers of a SIP-based client that works on the Apple iPhone, wrote me today regarding sipgate vs. T-Mobile Round II, which was soundly won today by sipgate after a German court issued a preliminary injunction against T-Mobile Germany. (See Round I - T-Mobile VoIP Shenanigans - AGAIN!)

Thilo told me, "I thought you might like to learn the we did not go down, but fought back. T-Mobile Germany not only bans VoIP, IM and VPN usage, but also caps data on their iPhone plans.

Yahoo Music: The Beauty of the Refund

July 28, 2008

NYC Now with the Most HD via Verizon's FiOS

July 28, 2008

With Verizon launching its FiOS TV service in New York City, our biggest city is now able to receive the most HDTV. With 100 HD channels, it offers customers more HD than Time Warner or Cablevision.

The new channel lineup will also be offered to existing FiOS TV markets in the New York metropolitan area, including parts of Long Island, the suburbs just north of the city and northern New Jersey.

FiOS TV is delivered over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network straight to customers' homes and businesses, providing stunning picture and sound quality, more HD and video-on-demand (VOD) choices, a broad spectrum of content diversity, and interactive features that create the ultimate home entertainment experience. (At least that what they say.)

FiOS TV customers receive HD signals just as Verizon receives them, without the additional compression that some cable companies perform. This means stunning picture-and-sound quality that's noticeably better.

With 100 HD channels and 400 HD VOD titles offered each month, FiOS TV customers in the New York metro area now have more than 500 HD choices available at any time.







CIA Offers VoIP Service?

July 28, 2008

Apparently the CIA wants to get into the VoIP biz. Oh wait, not that CIA, this CIA.

Basically it's cia.gov vs. cia.com. Relatedly, fbi.com (not fbi.gov) is a blank page - cybersquatter?

Win a free iPhone

July 28, 2008

College student could get 5 years for Hacking VoIP system & changing grades

July 28, 2008

We all thought it was pretty cool when Matthew Broderick changed his high school grades in War Games, right? Harmless prank after all and even if he got caught, the worst he'd have to suffer is a few nights of detention - certainly not jail time.

Well, a 19-year-old college student & computer science major, Christopher Fowler was accused of stealing his professor's identity to change his grades and was put behind bars according to FOX 5 Atlanta.

Even more interesting than changing grades & the identity theft, was that investigators said the student also hacked into a VoIP phone system to listen to telephone conversations. The article says Fowler could get five years for an unlawful eavesdropping charge. I'd be interested to know which VoIP phone system he hacked into and if it's a major vulnerability.

"Hacked in their Voice over Internet Protocol system where it uses internet to make telephone phone calls and intercepted telephone conversations," said John Bankhead of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.





VonagePro Launches

July 28, 2008


Vonage today launched their VonagePro service, their premium service offering that features a brand new softphone with single phone number identity, built-in contacts support, custom ringtones, and more.

Mary Grikas, Executive Director of Device Development for Vonage about the launch of Vonage Companion told me, "As far as the VoIP landscape goes, we feel strongly and we believe that the future of VoIP is not going just be based on price and bundling. Price our experience has told us, does not equate to loyal customers. Our customers are loyal if we help them communicate and if we offer them feature-rich offerings that fit into their lifestyles. Our product strategy is that everything we do is customer-centric and customer-focus."

She added, "VonagePro currently has about 1000 beta testers.




FCC to punish Comcast over Internet blocking

July 26, 2008

Skype Backdoor?

July 25, 2008

According to The Register, "Off the cuff remarks by Austrian government officials suggest that Skype conversations might be intercepted" via a backdoor or through the encryption keys. The comments were made at a recent meeting on lawful interception between ISPs and Austrian regulators. The off the cuff comment was from an unnamed "high-ranking" official at Austria's interior ministry who said that listening into a conversation over Skype "presented no particular problems"

Contrast that with German police who recently expressed frustration about their inability to decipher the encryption used by Skype in order to tap into the VoIP calls of suspected terrorists.

According to the article, security experts Philippe Biondi and Fabrice Desclaux voiced concerns that Skype has the keys to decrypt calls or sessions, a claim which Skype denies.

I can definitely answer whether or not Skype phone conversations can be eavesdropped by law enforcement officials. The answer is definitely "yes".





Economy Ticking Upward, Buy a Gadget This Weekend

July 25, 2008

BlackBerry Bold Video Preview

July 25, 2008

UK Bans Adult Video Games from Its Prisons

July 25, 2008

Vonage to replace CEO Jeffrey Citron

July 25, 2008

VoIP Warehouse - contact us by <i>email</i> - the irony

July 25, 2008

Run VoIP in your House - get arrested

July 24, 2008

Apparently, in Bangladesh if you try and resell VoIP services out of your house, you're apt to get raided. Hope what happened to American Eliadah "Lia" McCord (forced to smuggle drugs, caught by Bangladesh airport security, gets 30-year sentence, but eventually pardoned thanks to help from Gov. Bill Richardson) doesn't happen to people who run VoIP services out of their house.

I happened to see the Eliadah "Lia" McCord story a few nights ago on TV. It was a tragic story that ended up well, but not before spending 4 years in prison. In Bangladesh drug smugglers are typically executed (hung) and they don't have the lengthy appeals (death row) process that happens in the U.S.

Voodoo PCs Undergo HP Mumbo-Jumbo

July 24, 2008

Is Now the Time for e-Book Readers?

July 24, 2008

With Sony announcing today that its Reader Digital Book will be able to read electronic books published using the .epub format -- the same that many of the largest book publishers are using -- ring in a new age for e-books?

Until now, Sony's e-book reader could only read books available from the Sony e-book store, PDF documents and digital rights management (DRM)-free text.

Starting next month, the new PRS-505 Sony Reader will be able to access secure DRM- and non-DRM-protected content in the .epub format, formerly called the Open eBook format.

The Sony Reader Digital Book is the first e-book reading device to support the .epub format, which is the XML-based standard format proposed by the International Digital Publishing Forum. It allows publishers to convert books to different formats, protect the copy using DRM and adds the ability to resize PDF e-books and other text to better fit the reader's screen size.

Such publishers as Harper Collins, Random House, Simon & Schuster and Penguin are offering texts in the .epub format.

CNet has more on this development here.















Vonage UK launches new low cost V-Plan calling plans

July 24, 2008

Vonage today announced two new low cost call plans for their Vonage UK subsidiary. According to Vonage UK, "Following customer research and reacting directly to consumer concern about increasing household costs and spiraling business overheads, Vonage has created two new fixed rate call plans."

They added, "Vonage subscribers report enormous savings on their monthly bills and comment on the speed and ease of swapping providers as well as installing Vonage. The new call plans fly in the face of increasing utility prices and the new £6.99 plan has been designed for the high percentage of Vonage consumers requesting more cost efficient plans for North America."

Vonage's £7.99, £14.99 and £18.99 plans incorporating up to 45 countries remain unchanged. The two new call plans offer Vonage's lowest ever rates and are called V-Plan UK and V-Plan US.

• £5.99 per month - unlimited calls to the UK (V-Plan UK)
- Premium features such as call waiting, caller ID, call diversion, voicemail, three way calling (normally billed as extras with other providers), are included as standard.






Packet8 675xi VoIP for the SMB

July 24, 2008

I missed the 8x8/Packet8 news on July 16th about its new hosted small office "key" system and plug-and-play IP phones. Joan Citelli, Director of Corporate Communications emailed me asking for a briefing, but apparently I never replied since her email was still marked as unread and nothing in my Sent Items. Email overload I guess. The news was about 8x8, working with handset maker Aastra Telecom to provide a key system to the SMB market,which is part of the new Packet8 675xi series.

I happened to come across Carolyn Schuk's article while surfing the web and came across her post about some 8x8 news that I missed.

Malware & Hackers Heading to Mac Land

July 23, 2008

Can We Do Anything about iPod Audio Quality?

July 23, 2008

Calling All Spies!

July 23, 2008

See All the IP Devices at Home?

July 22, 2008

Can you believe that shipments of Internet-Protocol (IP)-enabled consumer electronics reached 64 million units in 2007 -- a growth of more than 70%?

However, the market continues to be dominated by Internet-enabled video game consoles.

While many of these game console IP interfaces remain unconnected, the enormous developing installed base represents a "Trojan horse" with enormous potential for online gaming, music and video downloads as well as for a variety of Internet-based value-added services.

Already, in late 2007 Activision announced that more than 2 million songs associated with Guitar Hero were accessed through Xbox Live over the previous five months.  

All this comes from MultiMedia Intelligence. And there's much more to delve into to see where this is all going. 

(Thanks to Wired.com for the image.)









Objectworld Offers Unified Communications for 7 Cents a Day

July 22, 2008

Today, Objectworld introduced Unified Communications for just 7 cents per day per user. Their platform can work with your existing non-VoIP PBX via gateways or you can go the 100% VoIP route as well since their server can communicate with any SIP-based IP-PBX.

It's a pretty feature-rich solution offering VoIP, personal call control, text-to-speech, conference server, unified messaging, integrated fax server, Active Directory-based administration, ODBC-enabled service creation environment, presence-based operator console and more. Often unified communications solutions are priced out of the range for the SMB. Essentially, Objectworld's solution helps being UC to the SMB at an affordable price.

Check out the news...

Existing PBX systems become UC-enabled delivering improved workforce productivity and efficiency

Objectworld Communications Corp., a leading provider of unified communications (UC) and communications-enabled business process (CEBP) software solutions for small- and medium-sized businesses with Microsoft Windows platforms, announced today the most cost-effective UC solution for businesses.







A Crapware-Free PC? Now, You're Talking!

July 21, 2008

Inside, Really Inside the Lego Factory

July 21, 2008

Anybody want to guess how many Lego bricks are made every year?

How about a clue? Let's say more than 50 million a day?  

Sounds like a lot. And yes it is!



ITEXPO 90% Sold Out - IP Communications industry looks strong

July 21, 2008

ITEXPO is still two months away (September 16-18, 2008 -- Los Angeles, CA) yet Rich reports that the exhibit booth space is already 90% sold out.

Rich is pretty excited when he writes, "There has been more interest in ITEXPO Fall 2008, Los Angeles, CA September 16-18 than any other Internet Telephony Conference & Expo I can remember in recent years."

At first I thought perhaps Rich is being a bit too exuberant. After all, one well-known communications show (VON) faltered this year, so surely ITEXPO might not have its strongest show - at least if VON is any indication. But ITEXPO has been growing steadily and hasn't truly had a bad show (yet).

Also, the economy is certainly slowing, so many companies are holding back on their advertising and marketing budgets.





CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X4 -- Gettin' Better All the Time ...

July 21, 2008

We get all excited about Adobe PhotoShop and the suite of related products that make it such a great graphics program, but there are other solid choices out there for you to take into consideration.

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X4 is at the top of that list!

Drawing on its years of expertise, CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X4 delivers all the essential tools for today's busy designer.

You can do whatever you need to do -- create illustrations, logos, brochures, newsletters, flyers, signs, Web images and more, more, more!

You can create powerful designs using intuitive vector illustration and page layout tools or retouch and enhance photos with professional photo editing software.

How about easily converting bitmap images to editable and scalable vector files?









Controlling Asterisk based on Microsoft OCS 2007 user's presence

July 21, 2008

Paul Adams contacted me recently since he's been reading my posts about Asterisk and 'Microsoft OCS 2007' integration.

Paul wrote an interesting application that enables call queuing that 'respects' OCS presence. That is, if the agent's OCS status is "Busy", "Away" or "Do not Disturb", don't send them a call from the call queue. Leveraging Asterisk.NET & the Microsoft OCS development tools - in C# (Visual Studio 2005) - he was successfully able to control calls in Asterisk 1.4 based on any user's presence in OCS.

He wrote a simple test app that register's with OCS 2007 for a single or multiple users presence. Whenever a users presence changes - OCS 2007 informs his app directly.

Using an agi entry in the Asterisk dial plan, Asterisk asks his app what to do next.





Plumble Ad Sponsored "Free" Calls

July 21, 2008

You remember Pudding Media, right? They offered ad sponsored phone calls in exchange for "listening" in on your phone conversations so it could target audio ads. Pudding Media essentially leverages keyword wordspotting using speech recognition. Well, today, I learned about Plumble from Telecom Monthly.

Can't Anybody Make Up Their Mind (AT&T)!!!

July 18, 2008

iPhone 3G Now a Week Old! And What a Week!

July 18, 2008

T-Mobile VoIP Shenanigans - AGAIN!

July 18, 2008

I've written about T-Mobile's VoIP blocking shenanigan's here, here, and here.  Not to mention their blocking of MinuteWatcher for tracking cellphone minute usage. I also wrote how Truphone won an injunction against T-mobile ordering T-Mobile UK to stop blocking calls to Truphone. T-Mobile's heavy-handed blocking tactics is getting a bit old.

Well, according to TUAW, T-mobile is at it again.

The Downside of Livin' in a Virtual World

July 17, 2008

What's Your Favorite iPhone 3G App?

July 17, 2008

We Already Said Goodbye to the Computer Mouse

July 17, 2008

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Free Tech Support

July 17, 2008

BroadSoft, Fonality, and ITEXPO news all rolled in one

July 16, 2008



Some BroadSoft, Fonality, and ITEXPO news all rolled in one. First, TMC put out a release about BroadSoft keynoting the next ITEXPO, the leading VoIP conference:

The energy behind the upcoming ITEXPO West 2008 (www.ITEXPO.com), the industry's only Major Communications event taking place this Fall, continues to grow everyday. The most recent news - Broadsoft CEO, Michael Tessler, has committed to delivering a keynote speech, which will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008, at 3 p.m. at the Los Angeles Convention Center.




"Why Blu?" Sweepstakes could land you a Sony PS3

July 16, 2008

HyperOffice for the Apple iPhone

July 16, 2008


Steve Leon, HyperOffice's PR rep emailed me last night to tell me about the latest version of HyperOffice which works with the new Apple iPhone. HyperOffice gives business users of iPhone the ability to share documents with and without Microsoft Exchange, Sharepoint. HyperOffice today launched a new public beta of business collaboration tools that do more than connect the first and second-generation Apple iPhones to secure corporate email, contacts, calendars, tasks and notes.

This second beta of HyperOffice for the iPhone includes usability enhancements and, more significantly, access to shared documents, using built-in tools that connect to corporate messaging systems and operate as an alternative to Microsoft Exchange and Sharepoint. "This is what the new iPhone 3G does not have," said Farzin Arsanjani, president of HyperOffice.

"MobileMe and support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync begin to finally give business users of the iPhone the ability to sync and share calendars, contacts, email and tasks.




Texting 911 for Help & Targeting Terrorists who SMS with Hellfire Missiles

July 16, 2008

Forget all the E911 issues, VoIP 911 problems, etc. Just imagine texting 911 and having emergency personnel locate you. According to NWCN, King County believes the technology will be "available sooner than you think." King County is testing this new concept in Western Washington and four other municipalities by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

It can handle text messages, OnStar vehicles that crash, and even VoIP emergency calls.

Want To Know What the iPhone 3G Really Cost?

July 16, 2008

How about $174.33 ...

And while the bill of materials doesn't include the price of shipping the phone, selling it or creating the software that runs it, the inexpensive design is said to be a deliberate move by Apple to fulfill its short-term goal of establishing as much marketshare as possible in the iPhone's history.

In addition to keeping many of the same parts, including the Samsung processor, Apple saves money by redesigning the internal layout.

Rather than two tightly connected circuit boards, for example, the iPhone 3G uses a single but more durable board. The battery is also no longer soldered to the device, making it easier for technicians to replace the battery. 

(Or for those in the know ...)

Read more about how Apple makes this all possible by visiting AppleInsider.

(Thanks to Macworld for the money shot.)











Pope Gets into Texting (Yes, That's Right)

July 16, 2008

XO's IP VPN services

July 16, 2008

XO Communications is one of the largest Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) in the country. XO provides voice, data and IP services to businesses and other telecommunications companies in 75 metropolitan markets across the United States. XO Communications offers businesses advanced IP and networking solutions to maximize performance and simplify management of their networks. They also offer SIP services, hosted IP-PBX functionality (the XO One iPBX 50 powered by Avaya IP Office), VoIP origination/termination, SIP trunking, and more.

One of their flagship products, the XO IP VPN is a network-based Wide Area Network (WAN) solution delivered over the XO nationwide IP network.

Shaun White for Nintendo Wii (Wee!!!!)

July 16, 2008

While much has been made about how little excitement Sony and Nintendo have generated at the E3 game show (click here), there's actually some pretty cool stuff coming out.

Take this for example: Nintendo had Shaun White, the gold medalist at the Olympics, demonstrating his upcoming snowboarding game, Shaun White Snowboarding, where you can stand on the sensitive balance board that Nintendo has shipped with its Wii Fit fitness system.

Got to give you a pretty good feeling of what it's really like (of course without the wind, snow, etc.) -- and the feeling of big air!

Game will be available for Xbox 360 and PS3, but what about the board?

Now you too can shred like the greatest!

(Thanks to EXPN.com for the photo.)













Animal Crossing: City Folk adds VoIP & SMS

July 15, 2008

According to BetaNews, in Nintendo's E3 keynote this morning came not only the official announcement of Animal Crossing: City Folk for the Wii, but also something unexpected - VoIP functionality (voice chat) and native SMS/e-mail interactivity.

Animal Crossing: City Folk is the third in the Nintendo Animal Crossing series - a life simulator game. Sounds like Second Life to me. This follows-up the lauch of Animal Crossing in 2001 and Animal Crossing: Wild World in 2005. You assume a anthropomorphic character (resembling both human and animal) and in the open-ended life simulation game you live in a village but there is little preset plot or mandatory tasks.

Windows Mobile gets 3G VoIP - WiFi not Required!

July 15, 2008


 Last year Jajah launched the Windows Mobile 6 native SIP client for the the EM-ONE. Frederik Hermann, Director Global Marketing for Jajah emailed me to say, "Today we launched phase 2 of this project, EMOBILE users can now get their own local DID (Direct Inward Dialing number) and can be called at this number from any regular phone, which turns their device into a fully functioning mobile phone, without a cellular connection." Importantly, it features HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access), also known as 3G. So in other words, the SIP-based EM-ONE becomes a fully-functional inbound & outbound calling device that only needs a 3G data connection. 100% VoIP for inbound & outbound calling.

ACN IRIS 3000 Videophone & The State of the Videophone

July 15, 2008

I've come across the new ACN IRIS 3000 videophone a few times recently and thought I'd write about them. I'm a big fan of videophones even if there doesn't seem to be any true adoption of industry standards that lets one videophone talk/video to another. Not to mention I reported first how Vonage's OEM'ed videophone, VisiFone, from Viseon hit the scrap heap due to Viseon's implosion. I was hoping to see Vonage's VisiFone interoperate with Packet8's Videophone, which I reviewed back in 2004.

Logitech Wireless Keyboard for Nintendo Wii

July 15, 2008

iPhone Microsoft Exchange Email Problems

July 15, 2008

Paul Robichaux, is a Microsoft MVP, a Mac user since 1984, an iPhone user since July 8th of last year, and an Exchange admin since 1995. So he's got the technical credentials to know what he's talking about when he blasts the new iPhone's issues with Microsoft Exchange integration.

Here's a teaser:

I should point out that Exchange ActiveSync is a protocol that supports lots of different content types and protocol option. Apple, like most other EAS licensees, has implemented a subset of EAS.




Blu-ray Buy 2 DVDs, Get 1 Free Promotion

July 15, 2008

Cool Blue-ray promotion from Amazon I thought I'd share. Buy 2 Blu-ray DVDs get 1 DVD free. Sweet! I keep threatening to buy a Blu-ray player, specifically a Sony PS3, but I just can't seem to pull the trigger.

Palm 800w -- Life Beyond Apple, BlackBerry

July 14, 2008

Palm keeps turning out really solid products, but never seems to be able to recapture the magic of the introduction of the first Palm Pilot.

Now, here's a smart fruit phone (Apple, BlackBerry -- get it?) alternative for you -- the Palm 800w for Sprint.

Here's what CNet had to say about it:

The good: The Palm Treo 800w brings the addition of Wi-Fi and GPS. The Windows Mobile 6.1 smartphone also offers EV-DO Rev. A support; a higher resolution touch screen; a slimmer design; and a 2-megapixel camera.

The bad: The Treo 800w can be sluggish at times and call quality could be better. The QWERTY keyboard may also give users some problems.

Check it out at Palm.com.

















Guns N' Roses Back on Rock Band

July 14, 2008

Not to be outdone by the earlier American incarnation of the Stones, now Guns N' Roses is getting their game on with a new song on Rock Band 2.

Now isn't it a bit ironic that Slash's "old band" is taking on Guitar Hero, which features the top hatted guitar slasher on its cool video game?

But it also shows us how much the music business has changed when a video game will debut a song -- can ya believe it?

Would GNR been a better choice than Aerosmith for Guitar Hero: Aerosmith?

I have my own opinion, but let's hear yours.

BTW, you can get all of the details of the exciting Rock Band development here.









1 Million iPhones and Counting ...

July 14, 2008

snom KlarVOICE Wideband VoIP Handset

July 14, 2008

Snom, the German VoIP handset manufacturer today announced that their wideband enabling technology called KlarVOICE is now available in the North American market.

KlarVOICE, which can be adapted to all snom VoIP telephones, allows the capture of more than twice the spectrum of voice frequencies captured by standard phones for a high-fidelity VoIP experience. Key features of snom KlarVOICE powered handsets include full support for the G.722 codec and the doubling of the sample rate, providing an effective pass-band of 50 to 7,000 Hz as opposed to the 200-3300 Hz. The snom klarVOICE handset works with the codec G.722.2 which is able to shrink the bit rate of the voice channel down to 12.65 kbps.

snom's SIP-based phones are often used in Asterisk and other SIP-compatible phone systems.

Pricing and Availability
The snom klarVOICE handset, which can be adapted to any existing snom 3xx series VoIP phone (snom 300, 320, 360, 370) using snom's latest firmware release (Version7.1.33), is available for an MSRP of US$32.50.








In Today's News - the XBox 360 pwns the Sony PS3

July 14, 2008

According to Yahoo News, Microsoft Corp said today that its Xbox 360 console will sell better than the Sony PlayStation 3 over the lifetime of the machines.

"Xbox 360 will sell more consoles worldwide this generation than PlayStation 3," Don Mattrick, a senior vice president at Microsoft's Xbox division, said at Microsoft's news conference before the start of the E3 video game industry trade show. Microsoft said the Xbox 360 has outsold the PS3 in the United States by 5 million.

Yeah, well you wouldn't be forgetting the Wii now would Wii? The Nintendo Wii might just kick both your butts in worldwide units sold. Still, the PS3 is a more applicable comparison to the Xbox 360.



Tom writes 'iHate My iPhone Because its iDead'

July 12, 2008

Did You Buy a Mouse Today? Much Cheaper Now!

July 11, 2008

You're probably using a mouse today, but you may never buy one again.

All the planets are aligning against this humble pointing device.

The computer mouse has long been associated with the PC, but in fact it was invented during the John F. Kennedy administration (in 1963) by Silicon Valley engineers Douglas Engelbart and Bill English. 

The mouse was nothing but a lab rat until the Xerox Star shipped in 1981. Though it was the first time anyone could buy a mouse, few did. The Star was overpriced ($16,000 -- wow!) and poorly marketed. (As if marketing would have made much of a difference ...)

The IBM PC came out that year, too -- without a mouse.







Packet8 MobileTalk on iPhone Adds VoIP Calling

July 11, 2008


8x8, Inc. the provider of the Packet8 VoIP broadband service today announed it has added the Apple iPhone to the list of over 450 mobile handset devices now supported by the Packet8 MobileTalk international calling service. Launched back in November 2007, MobileTalk adds inexpensive calling to the iPhone 2.0 which launched today.

Unlike the truphone iPhone application I blogged earlier today, the Packet8 MobileTalk is web-based interface, so unlike truphone there is no dialer application to download. Instead, it uses a customized web-based dialer, accessible via a standard data plan or WiFi connection, to route calls to a unique local Packet8 access number and then on to the Packet8 digital VoIP network. Once the call has been initiated, the data connection is no longer engaged and the call is carried to completion over the cellular provider's network with only Packet8's low international calling rates applied.


Leslie Conway Joins Digium

July 11, 2008

What's Your Favorite Widget?

July 11, 2008

Truphone on iPhone Apple Store enables VoIP

July 11, 2008

Apple Web service outages during iPhone launch

July 11, 2008

As the Apple iPhone ver 2 launches today, Apple had some outage issues with their website.

Late yesterday/last night, Apple users could not access their accounts. Additionally, the TUAW reported today (6:20am Friday) that The Apple Store US is down, though it's up now. The outage last night was a planned outage that was part of the Apple's transition to MobileMe. Essentially, their .Mac accounts' data was being moved to MobileMe, a $99/year service lets people view, update and sync e-mails, calendar appointments & contacts, as well as share files across iPhones, Macs and Windows PCs.

As iPhone mania continues to run rampant today, just take a breather. If you can't access Apple's iPhone web services to download new apps or the Exchange email integration isn't working, just put the iPhone down, go outside, scream at the top of your lungs, "Curses you Steve Jobs for not planning better!", then go back inside look at your precious new newfandangled iPhone and just be glad you own one.



Let the iPhone Sales Begin!

July 11, 2008

The Dead Zone: AT&T's iPhone 3G Coverage Woes

July 10, 2008

Excited about buying Apple's new iPhone 3G, which goes on sale tomorrow?

Pumped about those blazing-fast 3G Internet speeds?

Hope you don't live in beautiful Bozeman, Montana; Burlington, Vermont; or Des Moines, Iowa...

Those are just a few places where your new iPhone will download Web pages just as slow as the old one did -- because AT&T hasn't set up its 3G network there yet.

And how about just getting decent phone service in Fairfield County, CT?

Take a look at how little blue there is (broadband coverage) in one of the most densely populated urban areas in the U.S. Need I say more?

Silicon Valley Insider has more (much more) on this woeful state, including the full AT&T coverage map, which paints a dreary picture ...

... But enjoy your new phone!

















Storage? You Want Storage? How 'Bout 1.5TB?

July 10, 2008

Look Ma, No HDTV Wires!

July 10, 2008

No wires!  

Love that concept no matter how you mean it!

Belkin's FlyWire now makes it possible to place your HDTV where you want--without cables. Featuring an intuitive and simple setup, FlyWire wirelessly connects devices such as Blu-ray players, receivers, video game consoles and set-top boxes to HDTVs and projectors, transmitting 1080p HD.

As the first offering in the FlyWire family, this solution provides a whole-home range with the capability of penetrating walls and AV cabinets. AV components can now be hidden away in a cabinet or a closet, creating an uncluttered living and home entertainment environment.





Comcast - We won't block Vonage or any other VoIP provider

July 10, 2008

According to eFluxMedia, Comcast is "working on rehabilitating its name and implementing reasonable management techniques through a new partnership with VoIP service provider Vonage." Vonage and Comcast said they will work on ensuring adequate management techniques to avoid network congestion to ensure high quality VoIP services.

I should point out that Comcast tarnished their own reputation when they intentionally degraded P2P traffic, particularly Bittorrent, a heavy bandwidth application. According to a 36 page thread on the Vonage Forums that dates back to 2006, Comcast was accused of degrading Vonage's voice over IP quality intentionally. Comcat has denied these charges, but many Comcast users that have Vonage have had issues.

Whether conspiracy or not, now Vonage and Comcast stated they will have a "direct line of communications" between their network operations centers to resolve customer issues.



Cisco Manager Meets Jurassic Park

July 10, 2008

Asian Lines Already Formed for iPhone Launch

July 9, 2008



Want to be the first on your block to have the new iPhone?

How about the first in your country? 

How about first in the world?

Well, over in Asia, fans (is that right word? how about rabid consumers) are already in line to pick up the hot little gadget.

Yes, indeed! According to the New York Times, the July 11 launch will be the first chance for Asian consumers to own an iPhone, and related websites have been swamped with inquiries and early orders.

In Japan, one of the world's most advanced mobile markets, 20 people were lined up outside Softbank's flagship mobile store in Tokyo on Wednesday morning, with a sign at the head of the queue reading "We Love iPhone."

Four New Zealanders with deck chairs, sleeping bags and a small tent started queuing on a chilly Tuesday night outside the Auckland shop of Vodafone, which will launch the iPhone at 12:01 a.m. Friday (1201 GMT Thursday), the first in the world.

Step right up!















Let's get Naked (DSL) Cowboy!

July 9, 2008


Image of the famous Times Square Naked Cowboy.

An interesting new IDC Insight report reveals that although residential VoIP services have been available in Australia for the past four years, the uptake in naked DSL has been slow compared with Europe and the U.S.

The Insight report titled Residential VoIP: Let's Get Naked, attributes the slower uptake to several factors including lack of, and high cost of broadband, poor quality of service (QoS), number portability and high complexity. However, over the past 6-12 months, IDC notes there has been an upswing in consumers moving to residential VoIP services due to many of these inhibitors being overcome.

The biggest factor is the regulatory rules regarding Naked DSL, which enables service providers to offer VoIP over DSL copper lines without the unwanted bundled PSTN telephone line.




What's Really New in iPhone 3G?

July 9, 2008

40GB PS3 Going Bye-Bye?

July 9, 2008

Three Screens Are Part of Our Lives Now -- 'Fer Sure

July 8, 2008

The first in a series of new "three-screen" reports by Nielsen shows an emerging shift toward a more video-centric use of the Internet, but not at the expense of television viewing. The report is an effort by Nielsen to "follow the video" as consumer viewing habits shift.

The average American spent 127 hours of time with TV in May, up from 121 hours in May 2007; and 26 hours on the Internet, up from 24 hours last year.

More than 282 million people watch television in a given month and nearly 162 million use the Internet. Two-thirds of Internet users in the United States, 119 million people, watched video in May.

The amount of online video viewing is low compared with TV -- 2 hours and 19 minutes a month on average -- and Nielsen does not have a comparable estimate for last year. But given its popularity, it has attracted much interest from media companies and advertisers.





Freebox France offers VoIP, HD TV, and Internet for just 29.99 €/month

July 8, 2008

I just happened to be checking out our firewall logs and noticed traffic coming from 88.160.222.185. Curious, I did a whois and figured out it was coming from http://www.proxad.net/ which redirects to http://www.free.fr/adsl/.

The first thing I noticed other than the fact that website is in French,-- which I can't read -- is that they offer Internet + Telephone + Television for 29.99 €/month. I was able to figure that out since apparently Internet, Telephone, and Television don't translate at all in French. They're the same words except for some accent letters, as seen here from a website screen grab I did:

What I can gather is that they offer 250 channels, ADSL (ADSL2+?), Freebox HD receiver, unlimited phone calls to 70 destinations, and even a WiFi-MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) router.



Xbox 360 Price Drop Coming

July 8, 2008

BroadSoft announces Xtended Voice/VoIP Mashup Contest for Cash

July 8, 2008

Sheesh, what is this, VoIP Contest Day? I just blogged this morning about a SIP/IMS contest sponsored by mobilkom austria and now BroadSoft is launching a voice/VoIP mashup contest. They wrote me to say, "We're looking for mashups that will revolutionize telephony services from today's one-size-fits-all offerings to the Long Tail internet approach where users decide what services are valuable. Winners will receive cash, plus the opportunity to demo their mashup live in front of hundreds of service provider executives at BroadSoft Connections."

Full news after the jump...





iPhone 3G Ready at 8 on Friday -- Will You Be?

July 8, 2008

Awesome Adtran & Digium article

July 8, 2008

Just came across a great article in The Huntsville Times titled "Twin visions for telecom Digium, ADTRAN follow opposite tracks", which discusses and compares ADTRAN and Digium. Both companies are based in Huntsville, Alabama, a best-kept-secret when it comes to technical talent and often referred to as "the "Silicon Valley of the South". In the article, Digium CEO Danny Windham calls the Huntsville/Madison County area "a hidden secret." Traditionally rooted in the defense and government work, Huntsville, Alabama has moved into technical commercial businesses due to its strong intellectual capital.

ADTRAN's Gorgeous Campus & Buildings

The article explains the connections between Digium and ADTRAN beyond geography when it tells how Danny Windham left ADTRAN to become Digium's CEO.

A1 InnovationDays Contest looking for Creative SIP & IMS Apps

July 8, 2008

Received a tip about an interesting VoIP/SIP/IMS developer's challenge. Relatedly, I would be remiss if I didn't mention TMC's Communications Developer show in L.A. California September 16-18th, which is co-located with ITEXPO - one of, if not the best attended communications/telecom show. The Communications Developer show targets developers and focuses on VoIP development, IMS, open source, security, and more.

Aastralink RP Debut Coincides with Microsoft Response Point SP1 release

July 8, 2008



As I wrote back in March, the Microsoft Response Point Service Pack 1 (SP1) release would coincide with Aastra's Response Point phone system debut, which is interesting when you consider Aastra got into the IP-PBX game with a Microsoft IP-PBX competitor - the AastraLink Pro 160 appliance, an Asterisk IP-PBX derivative. Well, today marks the launch of Microsoft Response Point SP1 and the Aastra Response Point system aptly named the AastraLink RP.

Before I go into the AastraLink RP, let me first mention that the Microsoft Response Point Service Pack 1 is available as a free download to current Response Point users. Secondly, the announcement is being made at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2008. I'm told, "a very special senior Microsoft executive will make an appearance to help announce." I would have guessed it will be Bill Gates's but he retired recently on June 27th.



'Look Ma, No Hands': Bluetooth Converts?

July 7, 2008

Just read a CNET blog about Bluetooth converts in Cali, due of course to their "no cell phones when driving" law (at least meaning that it can't be in your hand).

That blog discusses an ingenious way to use Bluetooth and your cell phone in the car.

Was wondering if anyone has become a Bluetooth convert in CT now that we have the cell phone law here, too.  Or how about in other states, too, like New York?

I'm pretty attached to the wired headset feeling, but have had serious thoughts about using Bluetooth -- although now there is even more discussion about cell phone radiation and the like for close to head or in-ear use.

What's a boy to do? Although "look ma, no hands" is pretty cool ...







Sangoma Acquires Paraxip Technologies

July 7, 2008

Sangoma has acquired Paraxip Technologies giving Sangama a broader communications play than just offering telephony boards for Asterisk-based solutions.  Sangoma is positioning the news as a new foothold in the Windows Unified Communications and IP Contact Center markets.

This kind of reminds me of Aastra which first started offering IP-phones used in Asterisk, trixbox, FreePBX, etc. but then launched the Aastra Aastralink Pro 160 Appliance, making Aastra a 'competitor' to IP-PBX platforms such as Digium's Asterisk, trixbox, etc. Similarly, by Sangoma acquiring Paraxip Technologies, they get their entire NetBorder product line, which enables IP telephony applications such as IP-PBXs, IVRs, call center routing, outbound dialers, and more. Obviously, the IP-PBX and call center functionality is a direct shot across the bow of some of their IP-PBX partners that use Sangoma hardware.

Guitar Hero III on BlackBerry

July 7, 2008

South Korea VoIP Number Portability Shenanigans

July 7, 2008

We all recall how South Korea banned the U.S. military from using VoIP, right? The South Korean government, with the backing of major South Korean ISPs pushed for the ban because of the unlimited flat-rate calling plans offered by American competitors.

Now, according to the Korean Times in a recent article, it states VoIP service providers were put on hold as South Korea delayed its decision on whether to allow number portability to VoIP users.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Smart Cards ...

July 7, 2008

How about Your Own Invisibility Cloak

July 3, 2008

Apologies to Harry Potter, but we seem to be on the verge (I mean, just barely at the verge) of developing an invisibility gadget.

Yes, that's right -- invisibility. Like a Klingon Bird of Prey, the effect is the same: to hide the user from sight. While one mostly sees such technology being used for military purposes in books and movies, there are some applications that are grounded in reality. (Really?)

One approach to creating a cloaking device is using something called a superlens, which has what's called a negative refraction index.



Apple Lets a Little Air Out ...

July 3, 2008

Apple has quietly dropped the price of the high-end MacBook Air by $500.

The Air, which comes with a 1.8GHz upgrade (from 1.6GHz) and a 64GB Solid State Drive (SSD), is now $2,598. Compare this to the original price of the 1.8GHz/SSD MacBook Air at $3,098 just last week.

The difference in price appears to be a combination of price drops in both the processor upgrade ($200 vs. $300) and SSD ($599 vs.



AT&T Dropping CallVantage?

July 3, 2008

Just got this email stating that as of July 7th, AT&T will no longer offer CallVantage through their affiliate channel. To me, this is "codeword" for "we're no longer promoting CallVantage and expect AT&T to end CallVantage entirely in the near future." I've read about many affiliate programs that when they're ended, it's the end of the road for that product. Further, the emails explains, "We ask that you remove all of your promotion of the CallVantage product on/before July 7th and we recommend that you swap out your creative to another of our product offerings such as High Speed DSL or our latest flagship product, UVerse."

Now tell me that doesn't hint towards the end of the road for CallVantage. So current CallVantage affiliates are supposed to promote High Speed DSL which has little to do with VoIP phone service?

Sony PS3 Boo-Boo ...

July 3, 2008

First Frameless Plasma Is Coming!

July 2, 2008

Is There More to Netflix/Roku Than Meets the Eye?

July 2, 2008

Blogged about the intriguing Netflix/Roku deal back on May 20, but now an interesting piece on VentureBeat makes it even more (and more!) interesting.

The new Roku box (doesn't look like much, does it?) lets you stream any of Netflix's 10,000+ "Watch Now" movies (movies that can be watched immediately over the internet for free with your subscription) to your TV set instantly. However, a new wrinkle may make the device even more attractive -- with a simple software download, other services beyond Netflix will soon be able to use it, according to Forbes.

This changes the device from a nice little purchase (it's only $99), into a potential Trojan horse for digital content in your living room. Of course, it entirely depends on what other services reach agreements to use the device. Roku would only say that other "big name" providers could bring their services to the device with a simple update.

At the same time, Netflix plans to release another box featuring its "Watch Now" service in conjunction with LG later this year.





AOL BigDownload Indeed!

July 2, 2008

AOL has introduced its newest online gaming site, BigDownload.com, moving to expand its niche audience and boost targeted ad revenue. The addition to AOL's smaller GameDaily.com is a joint venture with Weblogs, an information-based Internet company.

WIth 700 downloadable files, the site includes 100 full games and 600 teasers, along with game-related news. An additional 50 to 100 new files will be added to the site each month, according to sources

Unlike its main competitor, Yahoo! Games, BigDownload will not require customers go through a registration process before they start downloading gaming content.



8x8, Inc. Awarded New VoIP Patent

July 2, 2008

8x8, Inc. the provider of the Packet8 broadband Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), videophone and mobile VoIP communication services, today announced that it has been granted U.S. Patent No. 7,394,803 entitled "Distributed Local Telephony Gateway." The patent was issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office yesteday on July 1, 2008.

Interestingly, the patent relates to Internet Protocol (IP) communication systems and, more particularly, to broadband telephony services having "distributed local gateways". Don't all broadband telephony services use "distributed local gateways"?

Microsoft Equipt includes Office, OneCare for $69.99/Year

July 2, 2008

Microsoft will start selling its Office programs to consumers on a subscription basis starting in mid-July. According to the news, it's a a bid to reach "thrifty PC buyers" who would otherwise pass on the software.

The software bundle, formerly code-named "Albany" , includes Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, giving them the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Additionally it comes with Microsoft's Live OneCare computer security software, Windows Live tools, such as Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Photo Gallery, and will be sold at Circuit City stores for $69.99 per year.
Bryson Gordon, a group product manager for the Office group, said in an interview that the agreement with Circuit City Stores Inc. is not exclusive, and that the bundle will be available at other retailers and on PCs sold by the likes of Dell Inc. in the future.
The Microsoft Equipt bundle includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, plus OneCare and a handful of existing free Windows Live applications.

Buying those programs the traditional way would cost about $200. Further the news says consumers who want to replace Office 2007 with "Office 14," rumored to be set for a 2009 release, would have to pay full price and not an upgrade price. That should rankle a few feathers if indeed true. Contrast that with the subscription model, where upgrading to a new version is included in the annual cost.

Obviously, with security & anti-virus features built into OneCare, this also puts Equipts squarely in the sights of popular subscription-based security programs such as McAfee and Symantec.





Starbucks closes 600 stores

July 1, 2008

Starbucks, the gourmet coffee retailer said today that it had drastically increased the number of stores it plans to close, citing in part continued weakness in the U.S. economy. Starbucks now plans to close 600 stores in the United States, up from its previous plans to close 100 stores. Additionally, StarBucks said it now plans to open fewer than 200 stores in its coming fiscal year.

Apparently, with high prices for oil, gas, and food, something had to give -- luxury items like $4 cups of coffee were apparently the first to go.

Where does one get a caffeine fix now?



PlayStation 3 helps discover oil

July 1, 2008

The technology used in the PlayStation 3 is being used to help explore and find oil much faster than before. Woohoo!

Using IBM technology, specifically the IBM PowerXCell 8i, which was originally developed for the Sony Playstation, a Spanish Oil company reports that specialized "Cell" microprocessors are speeding the search for oil and natural gas reserves located 30,000 feet below the Gulf of Mexico up to 6 times faster than current technology. Repsol and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center are using a process known as Reverse Time Migration (RTM), a sophisticated subsurface imaging tool accepted by the oil industry.

It has proven essential for imaging areas of complex subsurface geological structure, such as the rich hydrocarbon provinces of the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, offshore Brazil and West Africa.



Dog Photo of the Day

July 1, 2008

truphone summer credit giveaway

July 1, 2008

Andy Abramson tipped me off to a new summer promotion by Truphone which now gives you 4X the inititial credit in your new account. Andy told me, "With the summer holiday season upon us, Truphone is giving away more credit to new users - meaning more free minutes and free SMS messages. New customers signing up for Truphone from Tuesday, July 1 to Monday, July 14 will get $8 credit in their account (instead of $2). This is a great gift just in time for the 4th of July holiday weekend just days away.

Fringe on FOX

July 1, 2008


Speaking of fring (blogged earlier today), there is a cool new TV series called Fringe which comes out this Fall created by American Emmy Award-winning film and television producer, writer, actor, composer, and director J.J. Abrams. J.J. Abrams also wrote and produced for the popular TV show Lost, including the opening sequence in the first episode of Lost where the plane breaks apart in mid-air.

Apparently Abrams hates planes since in the opening sequence in Fringe involves a plane that lands "intact" but all of its occupants are dead and the inside of the plane is bloody, dark, and eerie.


fring Enhances Mobile IM Client with fringAdd-ons

July 1, 2008




fring claims that since they opened their API last Monday that hundreds of apps were submitted "proving that there's an insatiable appetite in the U.S. for new mobile widgets and add-ons."  In the past week, fring has approved four of these submitted apps/widgets which will be announced tomorrow.

Today, fring announces new fringAdd-on applications for social networking, video streaming and email notification specifically for Facebook, Google's social networking site Orkut, VTap and Gmail. Essentially any web developer can develop a fringAdd-on just by heading on over to developers.fring.com. Only basic knowledge of PHP & XML is required.




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