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

September 2008

You are browsing the archive for September 2008.

Nintendo's New DS Goes Music, Camera, Wireless

September 29, 2008

An Unlocked iPhone 3G in HK?

September 29, 2008

Cell Phones: More Tapping Than Talking Now

September 29, 2008

For the first time in recorded history, we used our cell phones more for sending text messages than making phone calls! (Knew that day would come ...)

In the fourth quarter of 2007, the average subscriber's volume of text messages shot upward by 64%, while the average number of calls dropped slightly, according to Nielsen Mobile.

Not surprisingly, users with QWERTY-style keypads sent 54% more text messages than those with ordinary keypads. 

Teenagers 13 to 17 are by far the most prolific texters, sending or receiving 1,742 messages a month, according to Nielsen Mobile. By contrast, 18-to-24-year-olds average 790 messages. 

Thanks (as always) to the New York Times for filling my day with news.

Fingers by Anders Bergstrom; check out it here.

How about a 9-Megapixel Camera Phone?

September 26, 2008

Cell Phones Will Take over GPS Market

September 26, 2008

Muxtape Back with Indie Focus

September 26, 2008 has changed its tune.

A month after the NYC-based music site was shut down by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for copyright infringement, founder Justin Ouellette announced that it will re-launch with a new focus.

The six-month-old site had allowed users to create playlists or mixtapes of up to 12 songs and share the lists with friends. According to a message on the Muxtape home page, the site will now become a service for bands to promote their music on the Web.

The revamped Muxtape will join a long list of Web firms like Nabbr, TuneCore and Music Nation, which are trying to cash in on helping aspiring artists disseminate their music online without signing up with a label.

Gizmo5 SIP Trunks available in trixbox CE

September 26, 2008

Gizmo5 SIP trunks have always been available in trixbox CE, but it was a manual process. The Gizmo5 team has built a module to be part of the trixbox package manager that allows you to purchase your trunks, see your account balance, purchase more minutes, and automatically setup your inbound and outbound routes. The module is now available via the trixbox package manager and will be built into all upcoming ISO builds.

Additionally, the calling service for trixbox CE is pre-configured to use the Gizmo5 calling network and includes a new UI for easy administration.

Motorola Femtocell Picture Frame Combines VoIP, Video, Bluetooth, Touchscreen and more

September 26, 2008

Check out this cool new converged prototype device from Motorola that combines a picture frame with touch-screen, video camera, Bluetooth headset, VoIP, femtocell, and video streaming. A femtocell is a small cellular base station, typically designed for use in residential or small business environments that allows you to use your mobile phone in your home connecting to your femtocell access point.

Femtocells essentially are an alternative way to deliver the benefits of Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) without the need for a dual-mode handset. In the Youtube demo video below demoed by Motorola representative Harsha Hegde, you can clearly see they're using the popular Counterpath Xten SIP-based softphone - also shown in the screen grab above. Motorola also demonstrates a femtocell mobile-to-mobile VoIP call, which is pretty cool.

NuTsie Streaming iTunes to Your Phone

September 25, 2008

Regional mobile carrier Alltel has launched NuTsie, a service that allows users of almost a dozen of the company's handsets to stream certain titles from their PC's iTunes collection to their cell phones.

This makes the operator the first U.S. carrier to offer such a service, which will cost $4.99 a month, or $19.99 a year.

To stream the protected and unprotected songs in a user's iTunes library, NuTsie does not actually place-shift songs from a user's PC. Instead, the service matches the songs in a user's library to the licensed songs stored in NuTsie servers, then streams only the songs in its server.

Asus Going 3.75G for Eee

September 25, 2008

Asus has announced that it will be adding 3.75G connectivity to its hugely popular series of Eee PC netbooks, enabling convenient and high-speed access to the Internet anytime, anywhere.

The inclusion of 3.75G is a perfect addition to the Eee PC's existing set of travel-friendly features such as its high portability, shockproof data storage and all-day battery life -- strengthening its reputation as the solution for computing on the go. 

Frequent travelers will particularly welcome the timely addition of 3.75G support, which comes as service providers around the globe are ramping up their adoption of 3.75G High-Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA). This means that they will be assured of a reliable, high-speed mode of Internet access in many destinations around the world.

Read more about it at the Asus web site.

Flash VoIP calls to Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, and Google Talk

September 25, 2008

Flashphone is a web-based SIP softphone, while gtalk2voip lets you make or receive calls to/from all SIP phones and SIP services, including Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger, and Google Talk. Both Flashphone and gtalk2voip are free. Now combine the two and you can make free web-based Flash calls to Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, and Google Talk (gtalk) users.

According to the Flashphone blog, "For example, if someone is online in Gtalk and you want to call him from flashphone you just need to enter SIP URI like and gtalk user will see incoming call. You also can easily call to flashphone from gtalk via gtalk2voip, add contact like [flashphone_login] and call to this contact, flashphone will ring if user online."

Pretty sweet!

image of Flashphone during one of my tests:

Netbooks Yes or Netbooks No?

September 25, 2008

A new report predicts that ultramobile devices will reach 200 million in unit sales by 2013 and will match the market for notebook PCs.

ABI Research said products such as netbooks and mobile Internet devices, or MIDs, will gross $27 billion by then, with MID units growing in popularity to surpass its rival.

All this from ZDNet.

On the other hand, in a wide-ranging interview, Dell CEO Michael Dell (in photo) voiced suspicion that small-screened netbooks will shake up the computer industry or become the primary computer in developed parts of the world.

"I think it's a second machine in developed countries and a first machine in newly developed countries," he said, according to a report in CNET.

So is it yes for netbooks or no for netbooks?

Time will tell ...

More on Skype for Asterisk

September 25, 2008

Continuing the coverage of the big Skype for Asterisk news I covered earlier today... In a nutshell, the Asterisk server acts as a Skype-to-SIP gateway, a very popular requested feature, mapping Asterisk SIP-based phones onto the Skype network via the Asterisk Skype channel driver. Technically, you could call Asterisk a Skype-to-IAX gateway as well.

So how does it work?

Well, on an inbound call to your Skype username, both your Skype desktop client rings (if running) and your Asterisk IP phone rings. You can take the call using either your PC's Skype software or your IP phone.

Skype for Asterisk Launches

September 25, 2008

Skype and Digium have hooked up to bring Skype to Asterisk called Skype For Asterisk. Skype For Asterisk launched minutes ago enables Asterisk users to get access to Skype features coupled with the capabilities of Asterisk. For example, the beta version of Skype For Asterisk will allow customers to make, receive and transfer Skype calls from within Asterisk systems using their existing hardware; enable inbound calling solutions like free click-to-call from company websites or virtual offices; and manage Skype calls using Asterisk applications such as call routing, conferencing, phone menus and voicemail.

Hey, I guess I was right in my (Astricon) prognostications earlier today about it having to do with Skype.

The Skype For Asterisk Beta program begins today. Asterisk users, system administrators and developers are invited to apply to participate at

I'm trying to figure out how you transfer a call to a Skype username (i.e. tkeating) using a traditional (Asterisk) IP phone with no keyboard - just a numeric keypad.

Digium AEX410 Launches

September 25, 2008

Digium announced the immediate availability of the AEX410, a four-port modular analog PCI-Express x1 telephony interface card for use with Asterisk. The AEX410 is a PCI-Express board that compliments Digium's existing PCI-based TDM410 product.

The AEX410 offers analog (FXS) stations and analog trunk (FXO) modules for connecting to the PSTN or analog devices. An optional DSP-based 128ms line echo cancellation for the AEX410 is provided by Digium's VPMADT032 G.168 module. The optional hardware echo cancellation module provides 1024 taps (128 milliseconds) of echo cancellation for superior voice quality on both trunk and station interfaces.

According to the Digium blog, the naming convention is as follows:

Where X indicates the number of FXS (station) modules (ports)
Where Y indicates the number of FXO (trunk) modules (ports)
Where Z indicates either B for bundles not containing DSP-based echo cancellation or E for bundles that do contain DSP-based echo cancellation.

So for example, here are some sample models, though not limited to just these:
AEX422E <- 2 FXS, 2 FXO, has DSP echo cancellation
AEX440E <- 4 FXS, 0 FXO, has DSP echo cancellation
AEX404E <- 0 FXS, 4 FXO, has DSP echo cancellation

The AEX410 board product utilizes Digium's wctdm24xxp driver file that is part of the Zaptel (soon-to-be DAHDI) driver package.

Digium Major Announcement - what can it be?

September 25, 2008

Today, Digium, creator and primary developer of Asterisk, the leading open source telephony platform will be making a major announcement at Astricon later today. Digium hinted to me that a major announcement would be made at Astricon when I visited their Huntsville, Alabama headquarters in August.

I tried to find out what the news will be, but alas Digium couldn't tell me. So I thought it would be fun to prognosticate what this deal could be.

1) Digium's Switchvox will be distributed by Dell, which currently carries another Asterisk competitor, Fonality.

2) Digium will be acquired by Adtran, an avid supporter of Digium in the past.

3) HP seeing that competitor Dell is offering IP-PBXs (i.e.

Q2 2008 VoIP Numbers

September 25, 2008

Some interesting 2Q08 VoIP numbers to share put out by iLocus. VoIP shows some slowing in some sectors, but growth in others. Considering the unstable U.S. economy, these numbers are still very impressive.
7.7 million VoIP access lines shipped during the quarter, down from 7.9 million lines in 1Q08.

Landlines Going the Way of the Buggy Whip ...

September 24, 2008

According to a report released last week by Nielsen, nearly one in five American households will not have a home phone line by the end of the year.

To many, I have a feeling that this is a surprising finding, but it shouldn't be.

Landline home telephones are quickly becoming an unnecessary expense. What can one do on a landline phone that they can't do with their cell phone?

It's a little bit like that essential tool of the horse-drawn carriage age -- the buggy whip. It used to be a big business, but don't think you will find too many of them today.

Now what is going to happen to all of those telephone poles and wires some day when everything goes wireless?

Sony's Bluetooth Watch: Calling Dick Tracy!

September 24, 2008

Can't get to the ringing cell phone fast enough ladies because it's hidden inside your briefcase, purse, bag or pocket?

Well, does Sony have a product for you!

The new Bluetooth MBW-200 range of Bluetooth watches is an expansion of the highly successful Bluetooth MBW-150 range, which enables you to control your phone with your watch.

Missed an important call or SMS because you couldn't hear or find your phone at the bottom of your handbag? With the MBW-200 this is now a thing of the past. Using innovative Bluetooth technology, the watch displays the caller ID and vibrates as your phone is ringing or when you receive an SMS.

Reject or mute the call with a button on the watch or use the Bluetooth headset or mobile phone to answer the call and start chatting.

Designed in partnership with watch industry leader Fossil and the knowhow of Sony Ericsson, the MBW-200 series comes in three distinct designs; Sparkling Allure, Contemporary Elegance and Evening Classic.

Android: The Good and Bad with G1

September 24, 2008


The G1, the first Android-powered headset, could be transformed in ways that maker HTC and carrier T-Mobile can't imagine. Google's Android is open to developers, who could write apps to unlock T-Mobile's G1, tether it as a modem or other things, an analyst said. 

Google is calling the announcement of the T-Mobile G1 an important milestone in the young history of Android. The first Android-powered handset to come to market is made by HTC with a touchscreen and a slide-out keyboard.

The combination of Google's open-source Android mobile operating system, T-Mobile service, and HTC manufacturing comes less than a year after the Open Handset Alliance unveiled plans for Android.

Developers will have unfettered access to the G1's hardware and software capabilities to inspire innovation. The possibilities are vast, and more than 1,700 applications were developed during the Android Developer Challenge.

Jazinga IP-PBX Launches

September 23, 2008

Today Jazinga, launched it's IP telephone system solution with a simplified installation and configuration process takes designed to take about 15 minutes to set up.

I've had a Jazinga unit in TMC Labs for several weeks now, but just haven't had the chance to hook it up and test it. But is on my to-do list. It's a pretty inexpensive IP-PBX available directly from Jazinga Inc. and its channel partners for a MSRP of $1,095 USD.

In the meantime, thought I'd share the news after the jump...

Personal news - wife is pregnant

September 23, 2008

Microsoft Office Communication Server R2 ships in December plus Hosted OCS Coming

September 23, 2008

I discovered two Microsoft job postings several weeks ago and have been meaning to blog the discovery that Microsoft Office Communication Server R2 will ship in December of this year. One is for 'Software Development Engineer in Test - MBD - RTC' and the other for 'Lead Software Develpment Engineer in Test - Office Communications Server'. One of the job posting says:
"The Office Communications Server team is starting a new deployment/management/administration team at Beijing. The Office Communications Server product team must deliver both an on-premise version of the Server as well as offering a hosted Service for Small and Medium Businesses.

HUD 3.0 for trixbox CE and any other Asterisk IP-PBX!

September 23, 2008

I spoke with Kerry Garrison last week at ITEXPO and he gave me a news scoop that Fonality would soon offer the HUD 3.0 Unified Communications client for the open source trixbox CE Asterisk-based platform. trixbox CE is one of the most popular Asterisk distributions. I recently commented in my trixbox Pro review (paid version),"The feature-rich HUD Pro client is certainly a competitive advantage Fonality has over many other Asterisk-based solutions." As such, offering HUD 3.0 for trixbox CE is a major move by Fonality.

In fact, Kerry told me that once HUD has been ported to trixbox CE, the new HUD will work not only on trixbox CE but should also work other Asterisk flavors, i.e. Switchvox, PBX in a Flash, Voiceroute, etc.

All Teens Play Video Games

September 22, 2008

Krusell Moves into Camera Cases

September 22, 2008

Do We Need Another Format? Try slotMusic -- Soon

September 22, 2008

In the latest attempt to shore up sales of music on physical media, SanDisk and the four major music companies have announced a new format called slotMusic.

SlotMusic will be introduced in mid-October at such retail outlets as Wal-Mart and Best Buy.

Each of these little babies will contain an album, plus extras, on a compact memory card that can be played on mobile phones, PCs and some portable MP3 players. The cards are inserted into vacant slots on phones and other devices. The slots are increasingly common on newer phones, but the placement of the slot depends on the phone model.

SanDisk is a maker of flash data storage card products.

People close to the record companies and retailers said they view the effort as an experiment.

Laughable Blog Aggregator and Linking to news sources

September 22, 2008

I'm not going to go on another rant blasting blog aggregators or websites that steal other people's content (aka sploggers). However, I came across one website that took my content, re-worded one sentence and tried to claim it as its own. The change is so laughable I busted out laughing!

First, my blog entry titled Court Bans VoIP App on iPhone was one of the first if not the first U.S.-based news outlet to talk about how a German court banned the sipgate VoIP application on the iPhone. In the article, I wrote:
Apparently, the court felt that sipgate would "lure" iPhone users into "jailbreaking" their iPhones.

Pro vs. G.I. Joe using SightSpeed Video/VoIP App

September 22, 2008

This news about American troops using VoIP & video is a few weeks old, but I wanted to share it, since it's pretty interesting. SightSpeed VP of Marketing Eric Quanstrom mentioned the news to me awhile ago when we were on a SightSpeed video call. Using SightSpeed, U.S. troops are able to play PlayStation, XBox and the WII against professional athletes (Philadelphia Eagles) while seeing them (video) and "trash talking" them over the Internet (VoIP).

Polycom KIRK DECT SIP Phones

September 22, 2008

Polycom today announced the launch of its latest KIRK Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) wireless products. Polycom has introduced three new products: the KIRK Wireless Server (KWS) 300, the KWS 6000, and the KIRK 5040 handset. which are all SIP-based.

The name KIRK certainly evokes Captain Kirk from Star Trek and most likely intentionally, since Captain Kirk and his crew made the wireless communicator famous 40 years ago. No doubt Polycom has some Trekkies in their engineering or marketing teams.

Guitar Hero To Add Hendrix, Metallica -- Like It a Lot!

September 19, 2008

With the much-anticipated Rock Band 2 now on store shelves, rival franchise Guitar Hero is sneaking into the news on several fronts.

Most recently, Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash let it slip to Rolling Stone that Guitar Hero is working on a Jimi Hendrix special edition akin to what it did with Aerosmith.

Metallica is another band previously identified as heading for its own Guitar Hero title. Both are expected after the holiday release of Guitar Hero: World Tour.

(Expect to see an in-game playable Hendrix character in that one!) 

Additionally, Guitar Hero publisher Activision reportedly is mulling a subscription service for adding downloadable songs to the game. 

More at Reuters.

And thanks to for the graphic -- check it out!

Make Mine Memorex: Nice Blu-ray for $269

September 19, 2008

Solar-Powered iPhone Case: What Would Q Think?

September 19, 2008

Now this makes a lot of sense in this day and age of energy efficient and seeking out alternative energy sources -- using solar power to charge your cell phone.

After taking a look at the specs for Solar Cases that can power the Apple iPhone, a few pop out right off of the page, including a charge time of less than three hours and a weight of less than a quarter of a pound (100 g).

And while it looks simple to use, it actually is.

Here's how it works, using the built-in rechargeable battery in the  Solar Case:
1. Insert iPhone into Solar case
2. Turn Power ON, iPhone will be fully charged within < 3 hours

Now, by solar power:
1. Insert iPhone into the Solar case

Fonality Targets Call Centers with Advanced Call Center Features

September 18, 2008

I met with Fonality CEO Chris Lyman at ITEXPO and he gave me a demo of HUD 3.0, which includes some very advanced call center features. HUD 3.0 now not only displays the queues, but it lets you drag-and-drop individual queues off the main HUD client onto your Desktop allowing managers & agents to focus on specific queues of interest. The new version features important statistics such as abandonment rate, ASA (average speed of answer), and more. You can see all of your agents in a particular queue and they are color coded to indicate their status (on internal call, on queue call, etc.)

One critical feature is that if a call is not being answered, it immediately broadcasts a toast popup window to all the agents in the queue and allows an agent to take the call before it is abandoned.

ITEXPO West 2008 Best of Show Winners

September 18, 2008

It's been a great ITEXPO - perhaps the best West Coast show we've had, especially when you consider the economic turmoil. It's worth sharing the companies and their products that were just awarded "Best of Show" at TMC's Internet Telephony Conference & Expo.
Best Service Provider Solution
Ring Carrier
Best Large Enterprise Solution
Instant Solutions
Best SMB Solution
Best Consumer Offering
Best Development Tool
Apex Voice Communications
Touchstone Technologies
Most Innovative Solution
Best Booth
WBS Connect
Best of Call Center 2.0
Best of Open Source
Editors' Choice
SIP Print
KnoahSoft, Inc.
Volt Delta
"These companies are pioneers and their products represent the cream of the crop in VoIP solutions," said Rich Tehrani, president and group editor-in-chief of TMC. "As the event grows, selecting Best of Show winners each year becomes more and more difficult as the solutions displayed on the exhibit floor become more and more impressive."
Tehrani continued: "Every product is worthy of distinction, therefore you can rest assured that the companies and products on the list this year represent truly outstanding achievement in IP telephony."

ITEXPO West 2008 a Resounding Success

September 18, 2008

Some great news from TMC about our IP communications conference & expositions (ITEXPO) taking place this week that I thought I'd share. The show is still going on, with today being the last day. Yesterday's exhibit hall attendance was tremendous as seen by some photos I snapped and posted yesterday. I had some great meetings or saw many important VoIP companies, including Asterisk/Digium, CosmoCom, Fonality, Microsoft, Packet8, PIKA, Skype, and more.

Mickey D Says 'You Deserve a Zune Today'

September 17, 2008

Sarah Palin email hacked, posted to Wikileaks & Wikileaks goes down

September 17, 2008

In case you haven't heard, some hackers hacked into Governor Sarah Palin's Yahoo! email account. Some of the emails were posted to, a site that posts leaked information. Well, apparently the popularity of Sarah Palin must have brought down Wikileaks, since I can't get to their website.

I'm guessing all the media coverage and pointing to the Wikileaks site must have overwhelmed their website with too much traffic.

How About OS X on EEE?

September 17, 2008

Feel like stepping beyond the limits of Apple hardware?

Want a Mac netbook for under $650?

How about an EeePC running Mac OS X?

If you answered "Yes!" to any of these questions, then read on!

At least part of the appeal of the dimunitive EeePC netbook is its hackability -- from Linux to Vista, intrepid hackers have figured out how to run just about everything on the EeePC.

While many would question why you'd want to go to the trouble of installing OS X when there are many Windows and Linux distributions available out of the box?

Maybe you're looking for a challenge. Installing OS X on non-Apple hardware provides plenty of chances to flex those (very metaphorical) geek muscles. 

More at Wired.

ITEXPO photos part 2

September 17, 2008

ITEXPO exhibit hall photos

September 17, 2008

Can't I Tether Up My iPhone ...?

September 17, 2008

Tethering is a feature that allows you to use your mobile smartphone as modem to connect to the Internet or corporate LAN over your carrier's cell phone network.

Unfortunately, Apple has not integrated tethering into the iPhone -- both the original EDGE data network model or the iPhone 3G.

Nor is it (apparently) going to allow anyone else to offer an iPhone tethering app of their own through the AppStore.

Nullriver, which had seen its NetShare iPhone tethering application put up and then taken down from the App Store for no apparent reason, appears to have gotten a definitive answer on where Apple stands on the matter.

A recent posting to the company's blog reads:
Looks like Apple has decided they will not be allowing any tethering applications in the AppStore. As such, NetShare will not be available in the iTunes AppStore.

Wbs Connect cool HD telepresence video

September 17, 2008

Korea uses Skype for English training classes

September 17, 2008

According to Reuters, Skype has become an indispensable tool in teaching South Koreans to speak fluent English. Good English speaking skills are considered the key for success in South Korea.

The article states,"On any given day, students ranging from kids learning their alphabet to adults preparing for job interviews sign in on their Internet messengers, fire up their webcams and wait for English teachers to appear -- from faraway continents."

In fact, according to the article, "South Korea ranks No. 1 in the number of international students in the United States, ahead of more populous India and China, according to U.S. Student and Exchange Visitor Information System."

Skype, the #1 VoIP software in the world, has become one of the main tools in their arsenal to train students to speak English.

ITEXPO Live Video Streaming!

September 17, 2008

This blog entry will show live video streaming (via my Windows Mobile 6.1 phone's camera) of various ITEXPO events, including keynotes, receptions, and of course the exhibit hall. I'm going to broadcast starting at 3:30pm PT (6:30 ET) when Skype's Jonathan Christensen and Microsoft's Xuedong Huang and Sonus Network's Vikram Saksena will be keynoting. So if you couldn't make it to ITEXPO, you'll at least be able to see the keynotes in just a few hours.

I'll also livecast the show floor when it opens. I'm going to "future date" this post so it stays on the very top of my blog's home page.

Zeacom News

September 17, 2008

Zeacom, a provider of Unified Communications (UC) solutions for the small-to-medium sized business market, is showcasing its new Executive Mobile module at ITEXPO, which is part of Zeacom Communications Center (ZCC) 5.1. Claiming more than 2,500 enterprises worldwide, Executive Mobile gives end-users advanced UC functionality on their smart phone or other handheld device with support for Blackberry and Windows Mobile. Zeacom President, Ernie Wallerstein demo'ed the platform in the ITEXPO press room and I was pretty impressed.

Executive Mobile gives individuals the ability to manage their presence and availability status from their mobile. All functionality currently available on the desktop (single mailbox, presence profiles and directory) will be available on Blackberry and Windows Mobile devices.

Zeacom President, Ernie Wallerstein, believes that executives in today's hyper-competitive global marketplace must have access to this critical functionality.

HUD3 Launches

September 17, 2008

Apparently, Fonality has decided to launch HUD3 (also called HUD 3.0), the latest version of their latest communications client at ITEXPO. I was aware HUD 3.0 was coming soon, but did not know it was launching at ITEXPO until I saw T-Shirts being worn by fellow TMC team members in the registration area with HUD3 written on them. I used my top secret security clearance badge   to get into the off-limits exhibits area, which was still in the setup phase. I went over to the Fonality booth to see if I could confirm if HUD3 was launching and sure enough their booth display announces HUD3.

I guess Chris Lyman decided ITEXPO was the best place to announce the news.

VoIP is Dead, Long Live VoIP!

September 17, 2008

In case you missed Skype General Manager for Voice & Video Jonathan Christensen's ITEXPO keynote, you can check out my mobile phone video phone recording here. In the keynote, Johnathan made a bold statement - "VoIP is dead". Specifically Jonathan said, "The title of my talk is: 'VoIP Is Dead.' So, maybe a little bit of controversy about that, but as I said, let's work through it." TMCnet's Michael Dinan has a good summary of the keynote here.

Of course, VoIP isn't really dead, as can be demonstrated by the 175 exhibitors at ITEXPO, and the plethora of research reports that shows VoIP is growing very rapidly. What Jonathan is attempting to point out in a somewhat sensational manner is that VoIP - or voice over IP will become less important as video over IP and unified communications grows.

Microsoft Response Point Adds T1 Support and SIP Trunking Service Providers

September 17, 2008

Today at ITEXPO, Microsoft will announce a few more SIP trunking service providers that come pre-configured in the Response Point unit making it virtually plug-and-play when selecting a SIP trunking service provider. At ITEXPO Microsoft will announce they are adding NGT, Cbeyond, and Junction Networks. In addition they are also adding support for broadband VoIP service provider Packet8, as well as, a provider of Internet and managed services, including SIP trunking.

At ITEXPO Microsoft will also announce that they will be supporting the ClearOne IP conference phone (MAX IP Response point), what Microsoft told TMCNet they consider one of the best quality IP conference phones out there.

Video Stream the ITEXPO Keynotes from earlier today

September 16, 2008

Reception at ITEXPO

September 16, 2008


September 16, 2008

A Supercomputer for Everybody?

September 16, 2008

Microsoft and Cray are set to unveil the Cray CX1, a compact supercomputer running Windows HPC Server 2008.

The pair is expected to tout the new offering as "the most affordable supercomputer Cray has ever offered," with pricing starting at $25,000. (That is amazing!)

The CX1 combines compute, storage and visualization in a single integrated system that's designed for non-traditional environments like labs or offices. If space is a problem, not to worry, it's compact enough to fit in a broom closet.  Perfect for home!

How can you get one?!

Time for a Netbook?

September 16, 2008

Junction Networks Confirms Aastra IP Phones Compatible With OnSIP Hosted PBX Service

September 16, 2008

Some more good news coming out of ITEXPO. Junction Networks has confirmed that the popular Aastra phones work with their hosted PBX service called OnSIP. Junction Networks' New York lab tested the Aastra 53i, 57i and the 57iCT model business phones for interoperability with the full range of OnSIP features and applications, including call waiting, call forwarding, auto attendant, caller ID, voice mail, do-not-disturb settings, and more.

Is it me or does it seem like Aastra phones are everywhere? They're supported on SIP-based IP-PBX, Microsoft Response Point, Asterisk-based solutions, and more.

Phonevite API released at ITEXPO

September 16, 2008

At ITEXPO I met with John Nahm, CEO and co-founder of Phonevite, an intriguing VoIP-enabled one-to-many broadcasting service that takes the concept of the popular Evite email-centric invitations service and extends it to the phone world.

Calvin Kim is the other co-founder and he actually founded Dialpad, one of the pioneers of VoIP with their Java-based click-to-call application. Dialpad was later sold to Yahoo. Calvin is now the CTO of Phonevite.

John explained he wants Phonevite to be like Evite but for the phone. Phonevite was incorporated in January of last year and has reached profitability with their premium customers.

Radio Radio

September 16, 2008

Radio beats CD and MP3s when it comes to music listening, according to a recent survey.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans said they listen to music nearly every day, according to the report.

The radio hasn't lost its luster with music listening fans despite the popularity of CD and MP3 players and other sources to tune into sound, a recent poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports has found.

A plurality of adults (42%) said they still prefer to turn on their radios to listen to music. That beat the 25% of respondents that said they most often use a CD player when listening to tunes and 14% that use an MP3 player.

Just under 10% turned to satellite radio, while only 5% listened over their computer and a scant 1% used a tape deck.

Not surprisingly, young adults (45%) were more likely to use an MP3 player than their elders (22%), the survey said.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans said they listen to music everyday or nearly everyday.

While more popular with younger listeners, 69% of respondents said they rarely or never download music, while 18% said they do that occasionally. Of those that download, 71% said they do it legally, while 3% admitted that they pirated tunes.

Microsoft Response Point News

September 16, 2008

I just met with Microsoft to talk about what's new in their Response Point IP-PBX. They demo'ed the Aastra AastraLink RP phone system which works with Aastra IP phones with the Response Point "magic" blue button embedded onto the phones. The magic button allows you to use speech-recognition to perform call transfers, directory lookups, and more. I met with Richard Sprague, Senior Director, Microsoft Response Point and Xuedong Huang, General Manager, Microsoft Response Point to find out what's new and to see a demo of RP SP1.

Microsoft's Richard Sprague & Xuedong Huang (holding a cordless Aastra Response Point phone)

Microsoft gave TMC's Michael Dinan and myself a demo of the Response Point system, which now features a fully-functional click-to-dial software application, and presence integration.

PIKA WARP Appliance adopted by Schmooze

September 16, 2008

Today, as I'm blogging from the ITEXPO press room I learned that the PIKA WARP Appliance has been adopted by Schmooze (aka the Yiddish Asterisk ). If you recall, I reviewed the PIKA WARP Appliance last week. The WARP Appliance can run Asterisk, FreeSWITCH, and now Schmooze.

Schmooze Communications will be using PIKA WARP the Appliance as the hardware component in a new line of its PBXact business telephone systems.

Schmooze president Tony Lewis and his development team are major contributors to FreePBX, one of the top graphical user interface (GUI) applications in use today that provides pre-programmed functionality for users wanting to ease the configuration of the Asterisk open-source platform. While there are a number of GUIs on the market, FreePBX has emerged as one of the industry standards that, when combined with PIKA WARP the Appliance, provides developers with a superior solution for cost-effective, scaleable and customizable business phone systems.

ITEXPO is here!!

September 16, 2008

SightSpeed Now Available on Linux and Dell Netbooks

September 16, 2008

SightSpeed today announced that its video and voice communications software is now available on Linux-based "netbook" (mini-notebook) PCs.  Dell Video Chat powered by SightSpeed will come pre-installed on the Linux build of Dell's newly-launched Inspiron Mini 9 device. Dell Video Chat, Windows version, is also pre-installed on the Windows XP version of the Mini 9. SightSpeed works on Macs, Windows, and now Linux and it is currently the the only multi-party video software to walk on all three major operating systems.

Dell pre-installs Ubuntu, a popular Linux distribution on the Mini 9, as well as Windows. With SightSpeed pre-installed as well on these popular Dell netbooks, Sightspeed will certainly increase the number of subscribers.

Going Green with My Gadgets

September 15, 2008

We all love our gadgets -- some more than others -- but all of those TVs, computers, mobile phones and DVD players suck up energy and end up clogging landfills.

How can you stay plugged in while minimizing the effect on the environment?

Take a look at, a website launched last year by the Consumer Electronics Association.

The site offers lists of low-energy-use electronic products, tips on how to limit energy consumption by the electronics you own and advice for making your electronics last longer so they don't have to be thrown out so soon.

If you no longer want an electronic device, the site can help with its list of nonprofit groups that accept them, and an easy-to-use search tool (just enter a ZIP Code) for finding electronics recyclers in your area.

A calculator on the site can help you estimate how much energy is consumed by electronics in your home and what it's costing you.

(Don't know if really want to know all of the gory details, but this is very important -- carbon footprint, you know -- so will have to try it out.)

What's Not Hot in Japan? Try iPhone

September 15, 2008

It may come as surprise to all of us here, but iPhone sales are not cutting it in Japan.

Apple's partnership with Japan's third-largest mobile operator, Softbank Corp., to sell the iPhone 3G certainly created a buzz. Like elsewhere, Japanese consumers lined up at stores in advance of the phone's release on July 11, and many locations sold out almost immediately.

But now analysts estimate that demand in Japan has fallen to a third of what it was initially, and analysts are now expecting fewer iPhone sales.

Who's to blame? There's no supply shortage: The device is readily available in Apple stores and other outlets.

Am I Alone in Not Liking Video Game Ads?

September 15, 2008

Just how effective is that Burger King ad in the game NFL Street?

Considering that more than a third (36%) of gamers actually bought, talked about or sought information about a product after seeing an ad in a videogame, per Nielsen Games, a case can be made that they are very effective.

(And who can forget that the King has his own game!)

Of 534 active videogamers surveyed, 11% said they purchased a brand that was advertised in a game. Some 19% said they talked about it after seeing an ad, and 10% said they recommended the product. 

Coke was most recalled by the Nielsen panel, then Nike, Burger King, Axe, Pepsi and Pontiac. 

Burger King isn't using games to sell Whoppers, but to pursue what it calls "extended brand interaction." The fast feeder has advertised in top sellers like NFL Street, provided players hidden codes to access the "Burger King Challenge" in Need for Speed and inserted the King into Fight Night. The creepy King served as a corner man that players can pick for their fighters.

Activision's Guitar Hero series was the most popular game among gamers who remembered specific advertisers, followed by Need for Speed, the Madden football series, Grand Theft Auto titles, the NCAA Football series and Tony Hawk games. 

Guess I better go back to these and see what ads I missed!

More at BrandWeek.

Make Mine a Mini: Mini-Laptops Driving PC Sales

September 12, 2008

Mini-laptop computers, typified by the popular ASUS Eee PC (in photo at left), have been derided by some analysts as little but low-cost toys. But they are changing the shape of the PC business throughout the world, bringing computing power to many who could never have afforded it.

As small laptop sales increase, their popularity is redefining the nature of the computing experience, taking it off the desk and making it an integral part of peoples' lives, wherever they are.

With the Internet playing an essential role, the devices are well-suited to an increasingly connected mobile population, in many cases supplementing rather than replacing one's computing power.

Notebook PCs in general are experiencing torrid growth, according to the latest quarterly PC sales statistics from IDC, a research firm.

Worldwide, portable computer sales for the second quarter were up 37 percent year over year.

Even the United States saw growth in notebook computer sales, although it was less dramatic: up 17.7 percent, while desktop machines and servers sales declined by 4 percent.

Still, IDC expects the portable computer market in the United States to double, from 30 million units sold in 2007 to 61.1 million in 2012.

All the news that's fit to read in the New York Times.

Microchip Celebrates 50th Today!

September 12, 2008

Notebooks, smart phones, Blu-ray players -- name a gadget, and it probably wouldn't exist today without the tiny little integrated circuit (IC).

Not only did the IC give rise to the modern consumer electronics industry, but it has also kept that industry moving at breakneck speed, allowing for cheaper, smaller and more-powerful chips to be produced year after year with dazzling consistency.

So, it's easy to forget that it's only been five decades since Texas Instruments' Jack Kilby demonstrated the first working IC, a discovery that earned him a Nobel Prize for Physics in 2000. (That's the little baby in the photo above.)

While that device started out as nothing more than a single transistor with a smattering of other components on a thin slice of germanium --  -- its silicon progeny now contain hundreds of transistors in a space the size of a single red blood cell. 

So let's fill that cake with candles and blow them all out -- we have great reason to celebrate! 

More at Wired.

SanDisk Goes 32GB Flash for Photo/Video Pros

September 12, 2008

SanDisk has introduced a 32-GB CompactFlash card, the company's largest CF storage device for professional digital photographers and videographers.

The latest Extreme III CompactFlash is twice the size of SanDisk's previous largest product. The new card has read and write speeds of 30 MBps.

The higher-capacity card is aimed at people who use Hi-Def camcorders, enabling users to store as much as 80 minutes of 100 MBps, 10-bit, 4:2:2 HD video, which is of sufficient quality for today's professional video applications, according to SanDisk.

For photographers, the additional capacity is useful for storing pictures shot in RAW format. The format uses 10 times the storage space as regular JPG images, but provides higher-quality images.

The card can operate under temperatures ranging from minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit to 185 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pricing: 2 GB, $45; 4 GB, $70; 8 GB, $130; and 16 GB, $240; 32 GB, $300.

Availability: October.

Get more at Information Week.

Live Streaming Video via Mobile Phone Camera

September 12, 2008

Om Interviews Skype CEO

September 12, 2008

PIKA WARP Appliance for Asterisk Review

September 12, 2008

There is no doubt that open source Asterisk has taken IP telephony by storm resulting in many vendors offering solutions based on Asterisk. Because the "free" Asterisk software is open source, it has helped drive down the cost of installing an IP-PBX. Only one major cost factor remains - the hardware. If you install Asterisk on a traditional PC, you have several hardware components - the motherboard, the CPU, the memory, the hard drive, the power supply, CD/DVD drive, etc.

Movie Rentals? Try a DVD Kiosk Near You

September 11, 2008

DVD-rental kiosks are popping up everywhere, from grocery stores to gas stations and at just about every McDonald's in between.

The trend is expected to be a lucrative one, too: Adams Media Research predicts that there will be about 24,000 DVD-rental kiosks by 2010 and that they'll bring in approximately $760 million in revenue.

Now you know why Blockbuster stores across the country are shrinking and Netflix is feeling the heat, too.

When you say "I want my DVD," what do you do?

Do you check out your cable system for an on-demand DVD treat -- personally, I'm always amazed at how many movies I've never even heard of ...

Digital TV Transition Already Has Hiccups

September 11, 2008

Earlier this week, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin flipped an oversize, symbolic switch in Wilmington, NC, to celebrate the city's early transition to all-digital TV signals.

The first! 

And guess what, by later that day, the FCC had already fielded several hundred calls from local residents who weren't able to watch TV.

All of which did not seem to surprise Martin: "I'm sure we're still going to hear from people who weren't prepared," he said early in the day. "But the bigger question is: What did we learn here that we can replicate around the country?"


Will shall see ...

Wireless Zune on the Way

September 11, 2008

New iPod touch supports VoIP

September 11, 2008

The Cult of Mac claims that the new iPod touch is VoIP-capable on the hardware side:
With 5 wires connected to the Touch headphone jack (instead of 4 on the previous model), the device now supports the external microphone included with some headsets, according to Kyle Wiens of iFixit, who fully dismantled an iPod Touch on Wednesday.
So who needs an AT&T-restricted iPhone? Course, you'll need to be in range of a Wi-Fi network to use VoIP on the iPod touch.

It is worth pointing out that this is not the first time someone has run VoIP on the iPod touch. Touchmods added a microphone hack to the older iPod touch version. Another group enabled a SIP softphone client for the iPod touch to use with the "hacked-in" microphone.

With the new iPod touch - no hacking required.

OnRelay Chooses open source sipXecs to Power Mobile Telephony

September 11, 2008

OnRelay today announced its support of sipXecs, an open source platform to provide low-cost business telephony with mobile extensions. OnRelay's Hosted MBX with sipXecs allows businesses to deploy a mobile office communication system (mobile PBX) with no additional investment in infrastructure: no desk phones, proprietary PBXs or cabling. With MBX the mobile phone is the only "desk phone" employees require.

Interviewing CEO Ivar Plahte he stated, "The reason why we chose sipXecs over Asterisk is the architecture and the philosophies behind the software was very similar to how we think and how we work here. Because we are pretty fanatic about object-oriented (programming).

Cisco AutoQoS Enables Easy VoIP QoS

September 11, 2008

Saw a good article on Enterprise Networking Planet about AutoQoS, a new Cisco IOS command to make provisioning QoS on your router much simpler -- much more plug-n-play. With time-sensitive (latency, jitter) apps such as VoIP, QoS is critical. How simple is turning on AutoQoS? Well, to turn on QoS on your WAN interface, you just type this:

interface Serial0
bandwidth 256
autoqos voip

AutoQoS is a new IOS feature for Cisco routers that Cisco decided to add when it realized it needed to simplify the complexity of QoS for their customers.

Voice Over IP slot car racing!

September 11, 2008

Voice Over IP slot car racing? Come again? Apparently, this project takes advantage of Asterisk to take in the phone data and spit that out to a Java based softphone. This softphone takes in a SIP stream and then measures the waveform amplitude data (volume).

Court bans VoIP app on iPhone

September 10, 2008

A ruling was just issued by the Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht) of Hamburg, Germany banning VoIP on the Apple iPhone. Specifically, the sipgate VoIP app (image right) has been banned - all part of T-Mobile's ongoing fight to block VoIP on the iPhone.

Apparently, the court felt that sipgate would "lure" iPhone users into "jailbreaking" their iPhones. WTF? Banning software because it might entice customers to do something bad?

Sling Media SlingCatcher and Slingbox PRO-HD Available

September 10, 2008

The new Sling Media SlingCatcher and Slingbox PRO-HD (Sling Media Slingbox PRO-HD SB100-100) are now available for pre-order from Amazon and at $299.99 each. Just in time for the Christmas holiday season! Woot! Ok, Christmas is still 3 months away, so I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

South Korea Allows WiBro VoIP

September 10, 2008

South Korea, who I have criticized several times over their blocking of third-party VoIP providers like Vonage and blocking U.S. military from using VoIP, has announced they plan to allow VoIP on WiBro (wireless broadband). WiBro is essentially the Korean version of mobile WiMax.

So far WiBro has had a slow disappointing uptake. The Korean Communications Commission (KCC), Korea's broadband and telecommunications regulator, decided to allow WiBro to support VoIP, which could give WiBro the shot it needs.

KCC is also considering granting a license to a company to voice calls over WiBro as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), leasing the networks of KT and SK Telecom.

According to the Korean Times, "Delivering quadruple play services that package broadband Internet, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), cable television services and wireless services is something to think about," said Yoo Se-joon, president of the Korean Cable TV Association.


NetIQ AppManager for Microsoft Office Communications Server

September 10, 2008

As a fan of Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 (OCS 2007) and with OCS 2007 R2 just around the corner (later this year/early next year), I'd like to see 3rd party vendors offer utilities to monitor OCS 2007's performance to ensure reliability and uptime. After all, your communications are your lifeblood. Microsoft's OCS 2007 is a unified communications (UC) platform that handles several communications methods, including IM/presence, voice, video, and collaboration, so it's even more critical that OCS 2007 stays up. As such, I came across a new product just launched from NetIQ called NetIQ AppManager for Microsoft Office Communications Server.

NetIQ AppManager for Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) was designed to proactively ensure the performance and availability of Microsoft OCS 2007.

Internet Telephony Expo Preview

September 10, 2008

Rich posted the official ITEXPO Show Guide, which gives you a preview of what's happening at next week's ITEXPO. You can check out the 17MB PDF by clicking the image to the left. In Rich's blog post, he previews what's happening at the show and he writes, "All the top names are in the show... Cisco, Avaya, Time Warner Cable, Mitel, Interactive Intelligence and Dialogic.

Finally Some Good News about Notebook Batteries!

September 9, 2008

Seems like every blog about notebook computers and batteries is bad news -- recalls, fires and the like.

Well, how about some good news for a change!

Hewlett-Packard (HP) will reportedly release a notebook next month that can run for to 24 hours using a high-capacity battery -- but only if it's running Microsoft's Windows XP operating system.

The long-lasting notebook will be a special configuration of the 6930p, part of HP's EliteBook line.

The allure of a battery that can last a day is incontestable, as anyone who has spent time in an airport searching for a power outlet knows. The secret to the 6930p's long battery life is new technology -- and some old technology, too.

To get the best battery performance, the 6930p will have to run Windows XP rather than Windows Vista. Vista has been criticized as being a power hog, although some of its flashy, power-draining features such as the translucent Aero windows can be turned off.

Read more about it at PC World here.

First Blog of the Day on Apple's Announcement

September 9, 2008

New e-Newspaper Reader Heats Up e-Reader Market

September 8, 2008

The electronic newspaper, a large portable screen that is constantly updated with the latest news, has been a prop in science fiction for ages. It also figures in the dreams of newspaper publishers struggling with rising production and delivery costs, lower circulation and decreased ad revenue from their paper product.

While the dream device remains on the drawing board, Plastic Logic is introducing its version of an electronic newspaper reader -- a lightweight plastic screen that mimics the look, but not the feel, of a printed newspaper.

The device, which is unnamed, uses the same technology as the Sony eReader and Amazon's Kindle (photo above).

Both of those devices are intended primarily as book readers, but Plastic Logic's device has a screen that is more than twice as large. The size of a piece of copier paper, it can be continually updated via a wireless link and can store and display hundreds of pages of newspapers, books and documents.

The reader will go on sale in the first half of next year. Plastic Logic will not announce which news organization will display its articles on it until the International Consumer Electronics Show in January, when it will also reveal the price. 

Read more about it at the New York Times.

Buying an iPhone at Best Buy

September 8, 2008

Best Buy began selling the Apple iPhone on Sunday, becoming the first U.S. retailer to do so outside of Apple and AT&T stores. The Apple iPhone will be carrier in 970 Best Buy stores. Rich Tehrani and I decided to take a walk to Best Buy which is just down the street from TMC and take some pictures of their display.

Cops Befuddled by Vonage 911 Crying baby emergency call

September 8, 2008

According to the Seminole Chronicle, police were befuddled when they responded to a 911 call with a crying baby on the open phone line, only to discover they were at the wrong house. Apparently, the owner is a Vonage customer and moved without notifying Vonage of the change of address to update the E911 records.

The article explains:
Kelly informed Sanford police of the situation. Upon arrival at the family's home, officers confronted a rather confused and embarrassed father who admitted his son had been playing with his cell phone.

They had moved, the father said, and had not bothered to update their phone carrier, Vonage, with their new address.

What I don't get is how the baby dialed 911 using a cell phone that is tied to Vonage's service. Since when did Vonage start offering cell phone service?

First Blog of the Day on Apple's Plans

September 8, 2008

Xbox Now Cheaper than Wii (But for How Long?)

September 5, 2008

We Keep Doin' the Gadget Redo ...

September 5, 2008

Samsung's Green Gadget Returns Mean Free for All

September 5, 2008

Samsung has announced free recycling for all Samsung-branded consumer electronics in all 50 states, beginning October 1.

Samsung has just announced its Recycling Direct, a program that will enable consumers in all 50 states to recycle Samsung-branded consumer electronics devices like televisions, monitors, DVD players, home theater systems, cameras, camcorders, printers, peripherals -- essentially, all Samsung-branded consumer electronics.

(Look for the one in the photo above at a recycling center sometime this century ...0

The exception will be home appliances (too bad about my washer and dryer when that day comes), which can't be accepted at the drop-off points, although a growing number will be accepting them.

Recycling for Samsung-branded electronics will be free; consumers can also drop off non-Samsung electronics for recycling and safe disposal for a nominal fee. The program will include a number of collection sites, including permanent drop-off centers in all 50 U.S. states.

Samsung is working directly with recycling companies rather than intermediaries and claims it is only working with operations that meet Samsung's criteria and are a good match with its environmental philosophy: Samsung says it is utilizing recyclers that do not incinerate, landfill or export toxic waste to developing economies, and that it will be tracking and monitoring all the recycled electronics to ensure they're disposed of properly.

Interviews with Top 60 VoIP Movers and Shakers...

September 5, 2008

Rich Tehrani has a nice roundup of 60 interviews he's done with many of the major "movers and shakers" in the VoIP / IP communications industry.

Rich writes:

Whenever I go to a conference, I learn a tremendous amount from the people I meet at the show. I really enjoy the impromptu networking which takes place at events as it allows me to learn so much about what is happening in the market....{snip}

In less than two weeks the world with gather at ITEXPO -- The World's Communications Conference to help select products for purchase, learn about the latest events in the telecom market and network with peers.

It is this last area where this blog entry should be of maximal benefit. You see, over the past month or so I have been interviewing the telecom movers and shakers who will be coming to ITEXPO. I certainly didn't interview every mover and shaker (exactly what is a telecom shaker anyway   ) but this list should give you a good idea who some of the speakers and exhibitors will be at this year's show.

Some of the movers & shakers Rich interviewed include Digium, Skype, AT&T, Fonality, Mitel, Aspect, and more.

Fonality's trixbox Pro Unified Agent Edition integrates with

September 5, 2008

Fonality's trixbox Unified Agent Edition (UAE) can automatically match all inbound and outbound calls with the corresponding record in's AppExchange, and call data is captured and logged eliminating manual entry. This is a big step for Fonality in taking their Asterisk-based IP-PBX from simply an enterprise phone system to a "true" call center platform that can compete with Avaya, Nortel, Interactive Intelligence, and other major call center platforms.

Fonality, today announced the collaboration of the trixbox Pro Unified Agent Edition and's AppExchange.

Fonality's trixbox Pro, Unified Agent Edition (UAE) is immediately available for test drive and deployment from Fonality Australia. It's unclear whether trixbox UAE is available in the U.S. or elsewhere as well.

Sony Laptops Heading Back to Sony -- Oy VAIO!

September 4, 2008

Sony has issued a recall for thousands of its VAIO laptops because of possible overheating or short-circuits.

(Didn't we blog about another similar Sony problem not all that long ago?) 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said that the recall is voluntary, and it recommended that Vaio owners stop using the products unless otherwise instructed.

The recall affects 73,000 VAIO TZ-series computers in the U.S. and apparently 440,000 units worldwide.

The safety commission said the reason for the recall is because "irregularly positioned wires near the computer's hinge and/or a dislodged screw inside the hinge can cause a short-circuit and overheating."

It added that this hazard could result in burns to consumers. In fact, the commission reported that Sony has received 15 reports of overheating, including one person who received a minor burn.

The affected models are the VAIO VGN-TZ100 series, VGN-TZ200 series, VGN-TZ300 series, and VGN-TZ2000 series.

Dell Goes to Europe with Vodafone

September 4, 2008

Vodafone and Dell have announced that Dell's Inspiron Mini 9 ultra-mobile notebook will be sold with built-in mobile broadband, exclusively through Vodafone stores and online, and directly from Dell, in key European markets.

Available in late September, the Inspiron Mini 9 is designed to deliver the utmost flexibility, reliability and speed for email and Internet browsing on-the-go without the need for an additional modem. (Or so they say.)

Digital nomads and avid web surfers alike (that's their wording, not mine) will be able to connect anytime, anywhere, whether on the road, or on-the-go, while surfing the Web, chatting with friends or enjoying their favorite online videos and music.

Wonder how long it will take for this to make its way to the U.S.?

And yes, there is a U.S. version that sounds pretty sweet -- reminds me of my old Compaq Contura Aero -- now there was a subnotebook (remember that category?)

There's lots more at Gizmodo.

Pantech Breeze -- Well, Almost So Simple ...

September 4, 2008

If life could be simple again -- really simple? -- wouldn't we all be better off?

And in one of the area where simple could be good -- even great (Palm Pilot drum roll, please), Pantech has introduced its Breeze cell phone.

It's key benefits can be summed in with just two letters -- E and Z:
  • EZ to use: simplified, easy-to-read user interface
  • EZ to connect: back-lit one-touch quick call keys
  • EZ to access: one-touch speakerphone and camera
  • EZ to handle: oversized keypad with separated buttons
The Breeze is a slim, good-looking flip phone (4 x 2 x 0.7 inches) that weighs less than four ounces and includes an external 1-inch (diagonal) screen.

Nothing so special yet, but flip it open, and you find three quick-dial buttons labeled 1, 2, and 3. They sit below a nice size (2.2 inch) LCD.

The main keypad buttons are comfortable and sizable, and the handset includes a slender volume button and a nonstandard headphone jack on the side.

Using it is a relative breeze, but how can we get this even simpler?

Remember how easy rotary dial and push button phones were?

Lost TV Satellite Signal, Couldn't watch Rudy Giuliani or Sarah Palin, Streaming TV to the rescue!

September 4, 2008

I was watching the Republican National Convention (RNC) speeches last night, toggling between CNN and FOX News, when a major rain storm hit Connecticut causing a lengthly loss of satellite signal. It was the middle of Rudy Giuliani's hard-hitting speech when I lost all of my TV channels. I have to get my nightly politics "fix" or I'm a grumpy blogger in the morning.

The highly-anticipated speech from Governor Sarah Palin was still to come and it looked like I wasn't going to be able to watch it live.

Qik Live Streaming Mobile Video Now on HTC Phones

September 4, 2008

Qik, the popular live streaming mobile phone video app, is now available on a variety of new Windows Mobile enabled phones including select HTC devices.

New support includes:
• HTC Touch Dual
• HTC Touch Diamond
• AT&T Tilt
• Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

Qik added mobile video blogging to the Apple iPhone just last week. I was actually going to use Qik on my Verizon XV6700 HTC Apache Windows Mobile 6.1 device to live video blog Internet Telephony Expo in 2 weeks - but it isn't supported. While the HTC Apache isn't specifically listed, I'm going to try again in a few minutes to see if it works.

trixbox Pro 2.0 review

September 4, 2008

Fonality is one of the premiere providers of Asterisk-based IP-PBX solutions. Fonality offers three products: PBXtra, trixbox CE (community edition), and trixbox Pro (commercial/reseller edition). trixbox Pro. which is their commercial edition runs on Fonality's "hardened" PBXtra technology, which Fonality claims has 5 thousand installations and over 325 million calls to date. trixbox Pro is a hybrid-hosted solution, which means you get 24/7 monitoring, phone mobility with no NAT traversal issues, and automatic software updates.

Fonality Lands $12M Financing Round from Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ)

September 4, 2008

Fonality, a provider of IP-PBX systems based on Asterisk, has just secured a $12 million financing round led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) Growth Fund with participation from existing investor Intel Capital. Draper Fisher Jurvetson is a well known venture capital firm backing more than 600 companies including industry-changing companies such as Hotmail, Overture, Four11, Baidu, and fellow VoIP company, Skype.

I spoke with Fonality CFO Dan Rosenthal who explained that Fonality has had  16 successive quarters of growth, and that the main goal of this funding was to grow the distribution channel and accelerate growth. As part of the financing deal, DFJ will become part of Fonality's board. Dan said, "We're growing at a pretty good clip.

Only Apple and RIM Can Make Good Smart Phones?

September 3, 2008

The U.S. market for smart phones continues to be a tough nut to crack for the established handset makers.

Top-tier players such as Nokia, Motorola and Samsung control 80% of the market for cell phones but have struggled in the U.S. to sell smart phones -- phones that allow users to surf the Internet, send email and download music, among other advanced functions.

Often caught up satisfying carrier demands, handset makers have been slow to bring out products in this segment, opening the door for the likes of Research in Motion and Apple.  And let's not forget Palm.

(What's in your pocket? Bet it's one of those ...)

Want to find out more about the trials and tribulations of this market? Check out the Wall Street Journal here.

Only Another 5 Years for Blu-ray?

September 3, 2008

Talk about putting the kiss of death on a format that has just ever so barely just arrived, Samsung has said that it sees the Blu-ray format only lasting a further five years before it is replaced by another format or technology.

"I think it [Blu-ray] has five years left, I certainly wouldn't give it 10," said Andy Griffiths, director of consumer electronics at Samsung UK in a Pocket-lint interview.

Hoping to capitalize before it's too late, Griffiths believes that 2008 is the format's year.

Citing online rental sites like LoveFilm's adoption of Blu-ray titles, the move to offer cheaper players and a now clear path to adoption following the Blu-ray HD-DVD battle, Griffith says the format will be a winner, although not for long.

Economy Down, HDTV Sales To Pick Up?

September 3, 2008

Economy down, oil prices up ... Hey, time to buy a new HDTV!

With the February 2009 digital TV transition looming, HDTV suppliers are expecting a good fourth quarter and hoping for a minimum of price cuts along the way.

That is what executives with LG Electronics, Sharp, Toshiba, Mitsubishi and JVC had to say at a recent meeting reported in TWICE.

Scott Ramirez, Toshiba's TV marketing VP, indicated that his company will be rolling out a major introduction of HDTVs with increased features.

While that will be good for Toshiba, he said that overall demand of HDTVs will be strong in the fourth quarter. And he does not see much in the way of traumatic price cuts. 

Steve McNally, consumer electronics sales VP, LG Electronics, reported that HDTV sales "have been good for us" recently and that LG "is meeting [its] sales goals, which means we are outpacing some with our growth." 

(But I bet he would see a lot more!) 

Read more about it here.

Digital TV Transition about To Begin; Fish Tanks on Tap

September 2, 2008

Next Monday, a group of public officials and broadcasters will gather in Wilmington, N.C., with little more to do than wait for the phones to ring.

At noon that day, Wilmington stations will shut off their old television signals and broadcast only in digital, potentially leaving thousands of older televisions unusable.

Wilmington is the first U.S. city to switch to digital-only television broadcasts and is doing it five months early as a test of the strategy the government and broadcasters have adopted for helping people who still rely on over-the-air, analog television move to the digital TV future.

Read more about it at the Wall Street Journal.

And while we are on it: How to Convert an Old TV Into a Fish Tank

Have you discovered a dinosaur of a TV set in your attic or now in your living room?

It sure can't compete with today's flat-panel units, but it doesn't have to head straight for the junk pile -- if you're creative. Here's how to make it do something those plasmas will never pull off: turn it into a fish tank!

DYI here.


Ultrasound Makes Virtual Objects Real

September 2, 2008

The power of ultrasonic waves has been harnessed to produce "virtual" objects in mid-air.

The field of haptics -- integrating computing and the sense of touch -- has been around for some time, but has required gloves or mechanical devices to impart a sense of feeling.

Now, a team of Japanese researchers has developed a system that uses focused ultrasound to do the job, and its inventors may soon commercialize the approach.

With the expansion in multimedia on the web, our eyes and ears are flooded with sensory information, but the sense of touch has been largely left behind.
The popularity of vibrating gaming handsets has proven that it is a rich but untapped way to increase interaction. 

Read more about the future of gaming -- and beyond -- at the BBC here.

Apple Looks to Rock with New Prods Next Week

September 2, 2008

Apple has sent out invitations for a music-related event next week, and the smart money is on new iPods.

The invitation, titled "Let's Rock," went out this morning inviting media to the Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts in San Francisco next Tuesday at 10 a.m. PDT.

Rumors have been building for weeks that Apple is set to introduce new iPods at what will be its fourth September iPod event in as many years.

Many have been expecting Apple to hold a September iPod-related event since March, when audio chipmaker Wolfson informed its shareholders that it had been shut out of the design of next-generation media players from "a major Tier 1 customer" who planned a third-quarter launch.

Launching in September gives Apple plenty of time to build distribution and marketing for new iPods ahead of the , when the company sells the bulk of its iPods for the year. 

Read a lot more on CNet here.

Flashphone adds Adobe AIR VoIP app

September 2, 2008

Regular readers of the VoIP & Gadgets blog will recall I've written about Flashphone several times. In theory, Flashphone, like Phweet (a Flash-based VoIP app) should work on Aircell's airline Internet service. Until of course, Aircell blocks it of course. (See Andy's post about doing VoIP over Aircell)

The most recent Flashphone news was the addition of flash-SIP/VoIP-to-video calling.

VoIP Supply Named to CRN's Fastest Growing Retailers - Proof VoIP a Fast Growing industry

September 2, 2008

Garrett Smith from VoIP Supply emailed me this morning expressing his excitement that "A VoIP pure play keeping up with a who's who of America's top retailers." Specifically, the company Garrett works for was named to CRN Magazine's Fastest Growing retailers listing VoIP Supply's retail business amongst the big boys like Best Buy, New Egg and PC Connection.

Out of the 15 companies listed, only one company posted better growth numbers then VoIP Supply.

A hearty congrats to VoIP Supply team! I'm sure I'll see some of you at Internet Telephony Expo (ITEXPO) in a couple weeks. I'm sure Garrett, who blogs for SmithonVoIP will be at Andy Abramson's Bloggers' Dinner that Andy puts together each show. I'll have to raise a toast to VoIP Supply's success.

Office Communications Server 2007 R2 beta released

September 2, 2008

Well if the cat wasn't out of the bag already over the naming convention (OCS 2007 R2 vs. OCS 2009) for the next release of Office Communications Server 2007, we can put that to rest. It will be indeed be called Office Communications Server 2007 R2. In fact, just a few days ago, Microsoft shipped the beta for Office Communications Server 2007 R2, "in record time after shipping OCS 2007 last year."

Kintan Brahmbhatt, a Program Manager at Microsoft writes, "It is a great achievement for the team.

friends of fring

September 2, 2008

fring is offering a limited number of "friends of fring" with exclusive access to news, and features before general release. I like to call fring the "Swiss Army knife of mobile VoIP" supporting SIP, Skype, MSN Messenger, Yahoo, ICQ, Google Talk, Twitter, and AIM. I have it installed on my Windows Mobile 6.1 phone. As a "friend of fring" you can also provide feedback.

New 3CX VoIP Phone SIP Softphone

September 2, 2008

In late July, 3CX launched a new SIP-based VoIP client called 3CX VoIP Phone, with a fully-featured dialpad, and it allows for easy call transfers. It also features history of calls, the ability to put calls on hold, and the ability to accept, reject or ignore calls. Best of all 3CX VoIP phone is completely free and works with most popular IP PBXs and VoIP providers. It even sports multiple SIP profiles support for registering with multiple SIP accounts.

As I wrote back in July, 3CX VoIP Phone features strong Microsoft Outlook integration. Users can launch calls directly from their contacts' list within Outlook by just right-clicking on the name of the person they wish to call.

Featured Events