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October 2008

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Watch Two TV Programs at Once on Same TV!

October 31, 2008

It sounds like an offer out of the back of a comic book, but Texas Instruments (TI), the maker of the DLP Cinema chip, is developing technology that might make it possible to watch two programs on one TV at the same time.

The company recently outlined some of its early developments that use 3-D technology for home entertainment at the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers Technical Conference and Exhibition in Hollywood, CA.

One development, which TI expects to begin to preview at year's end, is processing technology that if incorporated in a third-party home entertainment system could allow for 2-D, 3-D or "dual view mode" on the same TV. Dual view mode, similar to 3-D, combines two images, but they are two different images.  

Yes, and you can expect to wear special glasses, too ...

More at the Hollywood Reporter.

Multi-Channel Election Night Coverage

October 31, 2008

If one channel just enough during election season, Dish Network is offering a mosiac channel with six simultaneous feeds of news channels.

It started Tuesday, Oct. 28, and will run through Nov. 7.

For those 11 days, you can turn to Channel 100 and catch Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, CNN Headlines News, C-SPAN and C-SPAN 2.

(At least the remote control will get some rest ...)

Since May, Dish has offered Dish Decision 2008, an interactive application with news and information about the presidential candidates, plus state-by-state news, information and polling about congressional and gubernatorial races.

Dish rival DirecTV is also offering an Election Day mosaic channel, in this case an eight-channel offering called Election Mix.

Thanks to TV Technology.


Nintendo Gets New DSi Ready

October 31, 2008

Nintendo is reportedly likely to launch a new model of its top-selling handheld player, the DS, in overseas markets by next summer.

Nintendo will start selling the DSi, which can take pictures, play music and is slimmer than the current model, in Japan tomorrow for 18,900 yen ($192) in a move to revive slowing domestic sales ahead of the critical holiday season.

Nintendo previously said it planned an overseas DSi launch in 2009.

DS sales in the April-September fiscal first half grew 3% from a year earlier to 13.73 million units worldwide, beating Sony's PlayStation Portable by a 2-to-1 margin.

The DS and Wii console, which has outstripped both Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 in global sales, have been Nintendo's twin growth engines in recent years.

Nintendo said it has shipped 200,000 units of the DSi for sales this weekend and plans to ship an additional 100,000 units starting November 4. 

Get more at Reuters.

What's New in Administration and Management with Office Communications Server 2007 R2

October 31, 2008

With Microsoft OCS R2's pending release, I thought you'd be interested in seeing a video interview of Microsoft's Ananad Lakshminarayanan about some of the new features in Office Communications Server R2, which is Microsoft's popular unified communications platform. In the video you'll see some of the IT Admin specific features in OCS R2, which includes an OCS architecture planner to make OCS much easier to deploy. Essentially, it includes a wizard that you provide with your locations, users, and feature requirements and it spits out a detailed Visio style architecture for you, including recommendations for number of servers and locations, as well as bandwidth requirements. The wizard will even list out all the ports & IPs that you need to open.

They've added load balancing for Edge Servers for scalability.

HP's Netbook/Mobile Package Plot

October 30, 2008

Hewlett-Packard wants to employ a new tactic to market netbook computers in the U.S., offering them at a steep discount to customers who sign-up for wireless service contracts.

This bundling of cellular service with PCs isn't done in the U.S., but in Asia and Europe wireless carriers routinely knock hundreds of dollars off the price of a computer if a customer also buys a long-term service contract.

Maybe AT&T and Verizon Wireless are interested?

For example, Taiwanese carrier Far EasTone Communications sells the EEE PC from Asustek Computer for $29 with a two-year contract, rather than the usual price of $429.

Hewlett-Packard says the surging interest in netbooks -- stripped-down computers that offer basic applications and Web browsing -- is driving the move. With the economy fading and lots of high-speed cellphone networks available, the world's largest computer seller by revenue sees bundling as a way to move more of its computers into customers' homes.

Yesterday, H-P introduced three new netbooks, including a $399 HP Mini 1000 and a $699 HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition, with flourishes like a "red with peony flower"-colored case.

More at the Wall Street Journal.

TMC Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary for ITEXPO!

October 30, 2008

Very Handy iPhone & iPod Emergency Charger

October 30, 2008

VON Joins forces with TMC?

October 29, 2008

According to Andy Abramson's post published 20 minutes ago, Carl Ford and Scott Kargman, who were big parts of the VON brain trust has joined forces with TMC. As Andy also commented - Hath hell frozen over?

This is like Mirror! Mirror! where Captain Kirk and Spock meet their opposites.

Wal-mart Lowers Music Download Prices

October 29, 2008

Trickle Trickle Little TrickleStar

October 29, 2008

AT&T's Free Wi-Fi for iPhone

October 29, 2008

In the on again, off again department ...

AT&T knows Wi-Fi is hot, and free Wi-Fi is even hotter. Which is why free AT&T Wi-Fi access is now available for Apple iPhone at thousands of hotspots nationwide, including Starbucks.

Now you can can relax and access music, email and web browsing services with your favorite brew in hand from the comfort of your nearest location. (That's if AT&T has a good signal in your area.)

AT&T provided a number of early hints that the service would be coming and sent a message to iPhone users announcing the plan.

Logitech Acquires SightSpeed

October 29, 2008

I'm a huge fan of SightSpeed and so I was pleasantly surprised this morning to read that Logitech has acquired SightSpeed for approximately $30 million in cash. I'm a fan of both companies actually, and my favorite webcam is the Logitech Quickcam Orbit AF, The acquisition is expected to close in early November. Just check out my favorable review of SightSpeed here and how SightSpeed carried out their patriotic duty in offering SightSpeed videoconferencing for online gameplay between Pros and G.I. Joes.

Designer Sleeves for Your Notebook -- Goin' in Style

October 28, 2008

Designer Sleeve Laptop Cases are a fun and functional way to protect your laptop computer. You ain't seen anything like em!

Composed of thick, durable neoprene rubber that cushions your laptop for maximum protection, it can slide in and out of your backpack, briefcase or luggage with real ease. The natural rubberized feel of the wet suit material is fun and fashionable, while providing natural moisture, shock and scratch protection.

You can't believe what designs they have! Check out the one they call Anime (at left). But they are perfect for life on campus, business travel, everyday work or vacation. 

Going beyond basic print patterns, the company's Subliprene process allows high-quality, full-color graphics to be printed on each one of the three panel sleeves. In addition, they have the capability to take any design and personalize it with your name or company logo. 

Prices start at $34.95.

Anybody Buying Blu-ray?

October 28, 2008

There are ads for them all over the place as everybody seems to be pushing Blu-ray as the better version of DVD -- much like DAT was the new audio cassette (but at least that's digital vs. analog, not better digital vs. digital) and we know what happened to DAT ...

And who can argue with 1080 lines of resolution (BR) vs. 480 (DVD), but we the consuming universe just don't want to shell out $30 for a BR title when we are quite happy to pay less (often much, much less) for a regular, good old DVD.

(And DVD are not really that old, are they?)

In a sign that there is than one of us out there with the same way of thinking, as of last month, only 4% of U.S.

MatchMaster: Beckham's Electronic Soccer Game

October 28, 2008

Well, you may never bend it like David Beckham, but his little MatchMaster electronic soccer game let's you practice, train and eat properly to get you well on your virtual way.

Sort of like an updated and totally sports-obsessed Tamagotchi, it's an interactive handheld game (even down to very small hands) that let's you live the life of a soccer star -- and no, it's not all glamour and glory!

MatchMaster will test your ability to develop your gadget's expertise by managing its daily schedule. Each player can test their gadget's ability by playing matches against other MatchMasters.

Each MatchMaster will have its own life table. Each life table has six 
lifelines and will need to be developed and maintained on a daily basis.
If you look after your lifelines correctly, the MatchMaster will develop into a stronger gadget.

Sears Wants Your Old Gadgets

October 27, 2008

Sears is offering VenJuvo's Trade4Credit program to shoppers that will allow you to earn Sears store credit in exchange for trading in pre-owned gadgets that have been determined to still hold value.

The program, which offers free recycling and shipping, will accept a variety of gadgets, including iPhones, digital cameras and camcorders, MP3 players, GPS systems and gaming systems.

To use the service, simply have to log onto, select your gadget and then enter the specifics about it so the system can calculate an estimated trade-in value. Once the value is established, the user can print out the prepaid mailing label and send the device to VenJuvo.

After the device is received, VenJuvo will validate the value and within three days you will be able to collect a Sears gift card for that value. 

A quick look at the site tells me the product categories are narrow and the prices low.  Now, wouldn't eBay be a better choice in some cases?

More at TWICE.

Best Buy Blows Guitar Hero WT Launch

October 27, 2008

Too bad, but Best Buy really blew it with the launch of Guitar Hero World Tour.

We were very excited to be notified that we could pre-order the little ditty a few weeks ago, but were not happy that we were not given the option to pick it up in the store.

Instead, we shelled out some more money so they could send it to us directly. And not a bad idea to save a trip to the store with the price of gas ...

Anyway, was in the neighborhood of Best Buy yesterday so decided to pick up The Shining DVD -- one of my all time best movies -- and still scary after all these years.

So what do I see when I'm checking out? Boxes and boxes of Guitar Hero World Tour.  Not happy that I've preordered this when I could have just walked in and bought it, I got really unhappy when the Best Buy email arrived today to say that shipping of my preordered one would be delayed one to two weeks, but I could call about store pickup instead. 

So I called? And guess what, it's sold out in all of my local stores -- what a surprise!

Wow! A Quick Boot PC -- About Time!

October 27, 2008

It is the black hole of the digital age -- the three minutes it can take for your computer to boot up, when there is nothing to do but wait, and wait, and wait some more before you can log on and begin doing anything at all.

Now the computer industry says it wants to give back some of those precious seconds. In coming months, the world's major PC makers plan to introduce a new generation of quick-start computers, spotting a marketing opportunity in society's short attention span.

Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Lenovo are rolling out machines that give people access to basic functions like e-mail and a Web browser in 30 seconds or less.

Now, can you remember back when you'd boot up the PC and then head to make a pot of coffee ... 

Asus, a Taiwanese company that is the world's largest maker of the circuit boards at the center of every PC, has begun building faster-booting software into its entire product line.

Even Microsoft, whose bloated Windows software is often blamed for sluggish start times, has pledged to do its part in the next version of the operating system, saying on a company blog that "a very good system is one that boots in under 15 seconds."

Today only 35% of machines running Windows Vista, boot in 30 seconds or less, the blog notes.

New Blackfin BF51x Processor Launches

October 27, 2008

Analog Devices unveiled the new Blackfin BF51x series, the newest members of their convergent-processor family. Blackfin processors are very popular when building Asterisk-based appliances, including the Digium Asterisk Appliance AA50 and Astfin. The Blackfin convergent-processor architecture offers reduced cost, power consumption, and software complexity. Although the processor is popular in creating Asterisk appliances, it can be used for a variety of low-cost, low-power consumption required applications.

The new Blackfin processors are the BF512, BF514, BF516 and BF518.

HD Radio Increasingly Goin' Mobile

October 24, 2008

Audi of America joined a growing list of car makers that will offer HD Radio as standard equipment in new cars.

Audi will include HD Radio on many of its vehicles starting in calendar 2010 for the 2011 model year, it said. Other companies offering HD Radio as a standard feature in at least one model include Hyundai, Ford and Volvo.

Other luxury car makers who offer HD Radio as an option include Mercedes Benz, BMW and Jaguar.

Currently approximately 1,800 AM/FM stations broadcast in HD Radio and there are now 900 multicast (extra) HD Radio channels on the FM dial.

Now let's make sure we fill all that air time with some really good music or slice the many different genres so thin that we have individual channels for individual groups -- why not?

Why not indeed!

More at TWICE.

HDTVs Sales Single End to STVs

October 24, 2008

Shipments of High-Definition televisions this year surpassed that of standard TVs, according to iSuppli, a leading market researcher.

Significant price reductions and the increasing availability of content over multiple distribution channels are the key drivers behind HDTV sales. 

And don't all sports events look better in HD? 

As a result, HDTV shipments are expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 20% from 97.1 million units last year to 241.2 million by 2012. In 2008, HDTV shipments will reach 124.2 million units, while non-HDTV shipments fall to 86.6 million.

With the technology everywhere these days -- on broadcast television, cable, satellite and the Internet, you can't escape hearing about something being broadcast in HD or getting the most out of your HD receiver or the most HD channels available.

Shipments of standard definition TVs (STVs), on the other hand, are expected to decline at a rate of 27% from 114.8 million units in 2007 to 23.1 million units by 2012, iSuppli said.

More at InformationWeek.

Is Halo the New RuneScape?

October 24, 2008

fring updates Symbian VoIP client

October 24, 2008

Tell me something I don't know - Telefónica & Microsoft team up for Live Messenger VoIP

October 24, 2008

Just saw a news release put out today that Telefonica and Microsoft have teamed up for Live Messenger VoIP. CNet also picked up this news. Only one problem - on October 2nd, I discovered Microsoft had added something called "Voype" (a service by Telefonica) to Live Messenger. The article was title "Windows Live Messenger Back in the VoIP game!".

Rovio Wi-Fi VoIP Robotic Webcam

October 24, 2008

The WowWee Rovio is a cool Wi-Fi enabled robotic webcam. I like to call Rovio a remote-controlled VoIP webcam sentry robot.

The Rovio is pretty futuristic looking. It looks like it belongs on some sci-fi TV show or movie.

Use VoIP to Telecommute for a Merry Christmas!

October 24, 2008

How do save money in this worldwide tight economy so that you can have a Merry Christmas with lots of gift giving? (Not that gift giving is the main point of Christmas) Well, one way is by using VoIP to telecommute. Research done by Aastra found that commuters driving into the UK's largest cities could potentially save enough money by Christmas to buy more than half a kilometer of wrapping paper if they worked from home just one day a week. Based on commuters with 50-mile round trips, the average transit time soars in London to 111 hours - almost fourteen working days a year.

iSkoot for Skype on Google Android

October 23, 2008

iSkoot announced that its mobile application, iSkoot for Skype, is launching in the Android Market, Google's new mobile application store. iSkoot for Skype is the first VoIP solution available in Google's Android Market and of course making it the first VoIP app for the Google Android phone.

I should point out that iSkoot for Skype isn't VoIP over the data 3G connection. It actually uses the GSM voice connection for the voice and uses the 3G data stream for chat, presence, etc.

Analysis of a VoIP Attack

October 23, 2008

VoIP security is often overlooked by IT administrators as well as VARs and resellers that deploy VoIP in the enterprise. They do so at their own peril, however. One of the main factors behind using VoIP is to save money. Well imagine your IP-PBX has been hacked and you don't notice anything wrong until you receive the next phone bill with hundreds or thousands of dollars in phone charges.

Fonality Beats Avaya and Boasts 3,000 Call Centers

October 22, 2008

Fonality's CEO Chris Lyman spoke with me earlier today to talk about the strong inroads Fonality has been making in the call center market. Chris said, "Fonality has become a big player in what I like to call the micro call center market. We launched our call center product in 2005 and we have almost 3,000 deployed call centers now."

When asked to define "call center" since many people have a different definition, Chris responded, "Anybody who purchases Call Center Edition plus HUD Agent. We can't imagine someone buying barging, monitoring, recording, and queue reporting if you weren't doing call center activity.

Here Comes the BlackBerry Apps Store ...

October 22, 2008

Apple's rivals are making moves to match the runaway success of its iPhone platform with their own versions of its store for applications and games from outside developers.

Research in Motion (RIM) has announced that it would launch an "application storefront" in March next year. 

TIme to fill up that screen with lots of icons! 

Google is also revamping its Android Market and adding new applications this week to coincide with availability of the first phone built on the new operating system, the HTC G1.

Both are trailing Apple's App Store, which launched on July 10 for the second-generation iPhone. 

The increasing sophistication of smartphones and the growth in size of their screen interfaces is turning them into PC-like platforms. Following the Apple example, handset makers are exploring how consumers can be drawn to phones by the number and variety of applications available on them.

RIM said that developers could set their own prices for applications but, at 20%, it is taking a smaller piece from them than the 30% Apple bites off. 

More from The Financial Times.

How Low Can Blu-ray Go?

October 22, 2008

If you've got any cash, this may be a truly wonderful season to buy all the gadgets you want -- it's list the Xmas shopping season isn't even waiting to Halloween this year (forget about Thanksgiving!).

Try this one on for size -- Best Buy is selling its proprietary Insignia brand Blu-ray Disc player for $199 (after a $30 in-store discount) -- more than 40% off the suggested retail price.

Industry observers have long considered a sub-$200 price point key to bridging the demarcation line separating early adopters from mainstream consumers.

The Profile 1.1 (NS-BRDVD) player, which includes $100 in discount coupons on select Blu-ray movies, has been viewed as a "conversation starter" designed to spark consumer interest in high-definition packaged media.

In addition, the price drop, less than six weeks before Black Friday, when retailers traditionally slash prices on select consumer products heading into the holiday shopping season, follows a move by Target, which last week bowed an Olevia-brand Profile 1.1 player for $229.

Analysts are surprised by the price cut since Blu-ray manufacturers have said it was not economically advantageous to go below $299, much less $200. However, we can now expect to see multiple $199 units with $20 rebates and free discs thrown in. 

But don't expect the $199 to be common; every retailer will want at least one model at that level, if only to seduce you into that section of the store.

More at Home Media Magazine.

How Low Can Storage Go?

October 22, 2008

New storage products usually involve gadgets that are bigger, faster and cheaper as disk drives keep packing in more and more data and prices keep on dropping.

However, EMC's Iomega, well-known for such personal disk storage products as the Zip and Jaz drives, is coming out with new products that are smaller -- yet "bigger" in capacity -- and cheaper.

Iomega recently introduced the StorCenter ix2, a 1TB-capacity network storage drive with a desktop footprint that the company describes as "smaller than a large dictionary." The price: $300.   (Cheap, cheap ...)

The StorCenter ix2 comes in 1TB and 2TB ($479) versions and provides a centralized network storage repository that can be used in the home to share, secure and protect data and files, including databases, photos, MP3 files, videos and financial records.

It's ridiculous how cheap these things are, but it is what it is. It's a great value for the consumer.

The ix2 includes built-in support for Bluetooth, UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) and DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) certified devices; it even sports an integrated iTunes server.

The ix2 includes security software from RSA, also owned by EMC.

More at

2008 World Series Wager: Oranges for Cheesesteaks?

October 22, 2008

I was sent a release about a wager between two hosted VoIP companies over which team will win the World Series - either the Philadelphia Phillies or the Tampa Bay Rays. The bet involves a dirty dozen cheesesteakes by Alteva against Telovations' two bushels of oranges. Ok, I'll bite (pun intended) and blog this since it involves VoIP and our national past time.

Check out the wager:

2008 World Series: Oranges for Cheesesteaks?

The Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays will soon battle it out on the field in the 2008 World Series. In each respective state, thousands of people are already placing bets on who should win this year's title.

Get Your Lala Out for 10 Cent Music

October 21, 2008

The major record labels plan to start selling digital songs for a dime apiece. The catch: You can't carry them with you on an iPod.

Thomas Hesse, Sony BMG's president of digital business and U.S. sales, came up with the new pricing approach for the "Web song" while in discussions with Lala Media, a digital music retail store and service. The Web song is stored online and can be listened to only through a computer's Web browser.

Sony, the three other major record labels and thousands of independent labels plan to sell Web songs via the revamped website Lala has unveiled.

They hope customers will also buy, for an extra 79 or 89 cents, a version of the song they can download and transfer to portable devices or burn to CDs. But the 10-cent Web song demonstrates the willingness of the music industry to seek new revenue models in an era of declining CD sales.

Hesse said he wanted to give consumers a way to discover new artists and buy music in an inexpensive way.

Now he's on to something ... 

Check out what a dime will get you these days at

Get more at the Los Angeles Times.

Wii Takes It to the Music

October 21, 2008

Nintendo has launched Wii Music, letting up to four players mimic the real-life motions of playing instruments with the Wii Remote and Nunchuck controllers.

Players will be able to mimic the motions of more than 60 real-life instruments using the motion-sensitive Wii Remote and Nunchuck controllers to learn to play along with more than 50 songs -- and the game encourages players to improvise, making their own music, mixes and arrangements.

Unlike games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, which are very competitive, the goal of Wii Music apparently is simply to be creative and have fun experimenting with instruments, styles and musical elements.

Songs available in Wii Music include familiar melodies like "Ode to Joy" and pop tunes like "Every Breath You Take" -- along with tunes Nintendo fans know and love. 

Time for more singalongs with Mario! 

More at Digital Trends.

Mac Mini Going Bye-Bye?

October 21, 2008

The Mac Mini may be pronounced dead as soon as today's Apple earnings conference call, as two major retailers in Europe have confirmed that they can't order any more of the little doodad.

While this could signal an updated model coming in, the impression is that -- once again -- the Mac Mini may be dead dead DEAD for real, even while you can still order it at the Apple Store.

It would be weird to see it go in this time of crisis, but being their worst-selling computer, it's not that surprising.

The Mac mini was first introduced in January 2005 at the Macworld Conference & Expo. Labeled by Steve Jobs as the "most affordable Mac ever" it was well received by the critic and public. And check out those tiny dimensions for a desktop machine.

Apple positioned it as a cheap alternative to the Mac Pro for every PC user who wanted to switch to the Mac without having to buy new peripherals. 

But guess a lot of PC users didn't want to take any of that old stuff with them ... 

More at Gizmodo.

Sprint Announces End of Wired Intenet

October 20, 2008

A rapidly growing phenomenon in the telecommunications world is the growth of "cord cutters," people who give up their hardwired landline phones and use only cell phones.

Now one of the leading proponents of that shift, Sprint Nextel, hopes to do for the Internet what it's doing for telephones.

At a recent ceremony in Baltimore, officials from Sprint Nextel celebrated the official launch of the company's XOHM WiMAX service by literally cutting a cord -- they sliced through some Cat-5 wire with pruning shears to mark the end of the wired Internet.

4G has rapidly gone from a mobility vision to service reality with the launch of XOHM service in Baltimore, the company said.

Although XOHM, Sprint's 4G business unit, has aggressive plans for nationwide WiMAX, the actual implementation may take some time. 

Approximately 70 percent of the city has coverage, with 180 base stations operating and the target at end of build out is 300.

Long-term, XOHM hopes to roll out enough of its national network to make WiMAX available to as many as 140 million people by the end of 2010. 

More at NewsFactor Network.

Sony PSP Extends Download Capabilities

October 20, 2008

Palmtop PCs on Their Way Back

October 20, 2008

In the what's old is new again category ...

IMOVIO has launched a smaller alternative to a subnotebook -- much smaller. The new iKIT is about the size of a PDA from 10 years ago, but has a QWERTY keyboard and connects to the Internet at 3G speeds via your cell phone or Wi-Fi.

(Ah the Newton ... Anybody still using that little gadget goodie from Apple?) 

The $175 Linux-based system has a built-in Webcam as well as a range of applications, such as Web browsing, e-mail and IM.

It can connect to the Internet using a standard Wi-Fi connection, or it can use your cell phone's mobile broadband connection via Bluetooth. 

Now are those chicklet keys easy on our big fingers? 

Get more at Computerworld.

Mobile VoIP Challenges

October 20, 2008

Today, Global IP Solutions (GIPS) announced the public availability of a whitepaper that highlights the challenges and opportunities critical for high quality when implementing mobile VoIP, called "Implementing VoIP for iPhones and Smartphones."

The paper can be found at, and addresses how developers can overcome problems inherent in mobile IP communications, such as packet loss and delay, jitter, acoustic echo and OS tuning.

Forget these challenges. You want to know the #1 challenge facing mobile VoIP? It's the wireless carriers or the operating system companies themselves (Apple, Microsoft) forcing cellphone manufacturers to offer "crippled" VoIP. What do I mean by crippled VoIP?

TMC & Digium Announce Registrations open for Digium|Asterisk World

October 20, 2008

Registration to the upcoming Digium|Asterisk World conference is now open, according to an announcement today from Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) and Digium, the open source Asterisk Company. So you early bird types can now register and add it to your Calendar now, lest you forget. TMC and Digium also announced the launch of the new event Web site at
Digium|Asterisk World is collocated with TMC's INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO East 2009 and is a 3-day event commencing on February 2, 2009 in Miami, Florida.
According to TMCnet reporter Michelle Robart: Entering its third year, Digium|Asterisk World is the conference that educates business users, resellers and executive decision-makers on "Everything Asterisk."

Michelle also gives more interesting details about Digium|Asterisk World:
The conference will feature booth exhibition space and a Presentation Theatre on the EXPO floor where attendees can learn more about Digium's open source communications solutions. In addition, TMC and Digium will join forces to create the conference track agenda, which will be revealed in the upcoming weeks.
ITEXPO East 2009 is the world's largest and most significant communications technology event.

Excellent Telecom & Voice over IP Blog

October 20, 2008

If you haven't been reading On Rad's Radar, you should. This TMC blog is written by Peter Radizeski the CEO of Rad-Info, Inc. Let me take an excerpt from his bio.
"Today, I am still an agent for about 20 carriers (all through other master agents), but I spend more time consulting for service providers (ISP, WISP, CLEC, MSO, FTTH, and ITSP) on strategy, marketing, messaging, and sales training. I also spend a good deal of time blogging here at TMC and other places. Thanks for reading!"
Peter also speaks and moderates sessions at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo.

Vonage Lives to Fight Another Day...

October 20, 2008

Vonage today announced an agreement for a $220.3 million financing which is seen by many experts as crucial to its survival. Silver Point Finance LLC, which already holds a $216 million financing stake in Vonage, will lead the financial deal, which consists of $130.3 million in senior secured first-lien credit, $72.0 million in senior secured second-lien credit and the sale of $18.0 million of convertible secured third-lien notes. The proceeds will be used to help refinance $253 million of debt.

Analysts and bloggers such as the VoIPPrincess, have pointed out that the recent financial crisis and credit crunch made Vonage's refinancing efforts very difficult. I too have had my doubts whether Vonage could secure more financing in this tight credit crunch market.

"We are pleased to reach definitive agreement on this refinancing at a time of unprecedented volatility in the credit markets," said John Rego, Vonage's chief financial officer.

Run Mac OS X on a PC

October 20, 2008

Want to run Mac OS X on a PC? Well, Steve Jobs notorious for forcing his loyal fans to run only Apple-approved hardware let the cat outta the bag once he announced Intel support (previous utilized PowerPC processors.). It was only a matter of time before some hacker found a way to run Mac OS X on PCs with Intel processors.

Of course, the version of Leopard sold by Apple only includes drivers for Apple provided hardware and it requires an Apple Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI), which replaces the traditional PC BIOS. So how do you get around these limitations?

Mio Moov's GPS with Built-In Internet

October 17, 2008

Alienware Comes to Best Buy

October 17, 2008

Let the buyers beware!

You might notice a few extra gamers hanging around your local Best Buy -- Dell has announced it will sell the Alienware Aurora exclusively through 200 Besy Buy locations as well as the store's website.

People are defining themselves by the products they choose and the groups they associate with -- Alienware Aurora lovers are saying "I am a serious gamer and user who demands the best in personal computing."

Designed for the serious gaming crowd, the Aurora has an AMD Phenom X4 9550 quad-core CPU, dual ATI Radeon HD 4850 GPUs, a 500GB3 7,200RPM hard drive and 4GB of DDR2 memory.

Other features include a multiformat DVD±RW/CD-RW drive, Alien Ice 3.0 cooling and Windows Vista Home Premium.

Price: $1,699.99 (without monitor, mouse and keyboard).

More at Electronic House.

It's the Modbook Ba-bee!

October 17, 2008

Image a MacBook with the screen already open when you pick it up and without any hinges.

Well, the description doesn't do it justice, but that's what you got with the Axiotron Modbook.

It's the first and only Mac-based tablet computer on the market.

Geared specifically for use by the design community, it seamlessly integrates a state-of-the-art Wacom pen-enabled display and the Apple MacBook computer's legendary ease of use and design sensibility. It gives artists and design-oriented professionals enhanced onscreen drawing and sketching functionality when they need it most.

But while it looks "touch screen," it's not. It does not respond to hand/finger touch for the reason that it is made for artists and design professionals whose work would be inhibited using a touch screen device because their hand rests upon the gadget as they draw or design.

In any case, a cool product, really neat for graphics and design -- and maybe a harbinger of what's to come when there is a touch-screen Mac?

Prices start at $2,199.

Aastra 57i and 57i CT Review

October 17, 2008

The Aastra 57i is one of my favorite VoIP phones. The 57i and its sister, the 57i CT (cordless telephone adjunct), offers some unique features and is undoubtedly one of the most flexible IP phones you will find. The 57i and 57i CT sport a large 144 x 128 pixel graphical backlit LCD display and 6 dynamic context-sensitive softkeys. Although the resolution isn't designed for photos, it's a very large LCD, one of the largest I've seen making it very easy to read the number of voicemail messages, the CallerID of an inbound call, and the one touch feature keys you've programmed.

TringMe Creates Flash VoiceXML Platform

October 17, 2008

TringMe has announced a Flash-enabled VoiceXML platform. TringMe said, "A lot of infrastructure is required to build voice application, because of the complexity involved in building interactive voice applications and the need for optimum performance and carrier grade reliability. Even with the innovation on both voice and RIA (Rich Internet Applications) fronts, something is required to bridge the gap and make voice accessible from RIA in a simple manner effectively."

They added, "With TringMe, we have tried to bridge this gap. With extension of our platform, TringMe opens up VoiceXML accessibility to millions of flash and web developers to easily, yet, tightly integrate voice and telephony without having to know the intricate details of call-signalling, routing, billing etc."

Developers only require Flash and Web technologies to create rich voice and telephony applications.

Android G1: What's the Story?

October 16, 2008

Wireless Free Internet: Thank You FCC!

October 16, 2008

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released an engineering report that opens the door for the FCC to apportion a chunk of wireless spectrum for free Internet services across the nation. 

"We need to reserve some spectrum for free broadband services," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said. "This would be a lifeline broadband service that would be designed for lower-income people who may not otherwise have access to the Internet."

T-Mobile had warned that the FCC's proposed launch of an advanced wireless service (AWS) in the 2155-MHz to 2180-MHz band would interfere with the 3G wireless services it operates in an adjacent slice of the spectrum. However, lab tests conducted last month demonstrated that devices operating at FCC-designated power levels would not present "a significant risk of harmful interference," the commission said.

Several aspects of the FCC's AWS proposal owe their origin to an application submitted two years ago by M2Z Networks, which envisioned earning money primarily by offering a premium wireless Internet service operating at speeds of up to three megabits per second. However, the Arlington, Va.-based startup also proposed to provide a free lower-speed service that would pay for itself by generating advertising revenue.

The FCC now says that the ultimate winner of its AWS spectrum auction must use up to 25 percent of its capacity to provide free, two-way broadband Internet service at data rates of at least 768 kilobits per second in the downstream direction.

HP Says Touch Me Now!

October 16, 2008

Hewlett-Packard (HP), aiming to boost its personal computer sales against arch rival Dell (and Lenovo and Apple, too), is increasingly turning to touch-screen technology.

HP is now developing a consumer notebook with a touch screen that will debut before year end. It will include special software that supports the touch screen, but other details, such as pricing, remains unclear.

The new laptop is the latest in a series of touch-oriented devices, including an upcoming line of cellphones, that will become a priority of HP.

HP began promoting touch screens last year with a big-screen desktop computer called the TouchSmart (see photo above). A revamped TouchSmart debuted this year, with new software and a new external design. The touch-sensitive screen allow PC users to move items around, surf the Web or open files with their fingertips, replacing functions normally performed by a mouse and keyboard.

But tablet PCs, or touch-screen laptops, haven't done that well in the past.

Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) Leads to Workforce Productivity and Customer Service Improvements

October 16, 2008

Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) enables users to use a single phone handset that connects to both cellular and corporate wireless networks thus enabling users to carry a single phone device to communicate with business associates, family, and friends, no matter where they are. The obvious benefit besides the cost savings of using a single phone device is employee productivity. A new study by OnRelay's own live deployment data reveals when FMC technology works, user penetration and hardware cost savings follow along with increased customer responsiveness since the employee is able to take inbound business calls anywhere. FMC also enables advanced PBX functionality such as call transfer, call conferencing, on-hold, etc.

Here's the interesting report info put out by OnRelay:

Great VoIP peering article worth reading

October 16, 2008

TRU Going iPod Crazy!!!

October 15, 2008

Philips Bows Swappable Xbox 360-Like TV Faceplates

October 15, 2008

Philips has announced the launch of a range of swappable faceplates for its televisions. They will work in a similar way to the Xbox 360 and allow you to customize your television to match your décor.

Called "Flavors," the new flat high-gloss white TV will feature removable frames. The removable frames are available in a variety of colors and patterns that can be customized and taken on and off the front of the TV in a matter of seconds.

A matching Flavors home theater system also has interchangeable frames.

OctroTalk adds Video Conferencing and Live Streaming to Windows Mobile

October 15, 2008

A major new version of OctroTalk (see previous write-up), an IM/VoIP/video P2P app just came out. The new version is called OctroTalk 2.0 for Windows Mobile and it now has real time video conferencing with VoIP, File Transfer, Instant Messaging and avatar support. You can even have video calls if you have OctroTalk running at both ends. The OctroTalk desktop version also supports video conferencing.

OctroTalk supports IM/VoIP and can communicate with Jabber, Google Talk, AOL/AIM, MSN Messenger, Yahoo, and ICQ.

AsteriskNOW 1.5 beta released

October 15, 2008

The Best Gadgets of the Year?

October 15, 2008

No <font color="red">♥</font> for High-end Mobile Apps

October 15, 2008

Thought I'd share this interesting report from Accenture about mobile phone app utilization that claims higher-end applications remain vastly under-used by U.S. consumers. Funny, I think Apple iPhone users might disagree. The report found that 88 percent of U.S.

snom 820 VoIP phone

October 15, 2008

snom today launched the snom 820, an elegant and attractive VoIP phone. It features a large high-resolution TFT color display (3.5", 320 x 240 pixels) and can easily display call lists, phone directories, and caller information via the integrated XML browser. I believe this is snom's first "white" VoIP phone, which gives it a nice clean look. Very Apple-esque.

Now Even Elephants Are Sending Text Messages!

October 14, 2008

The text message from the elephant flashed across Richard Lesowapir's screen: Kimani was heading for neighboring farms.

The huge bull elephant had a long history of raiding villagers' crops during the harvest, sometimes wiping out six months of income at a time. But this time a mobile phone card inserted in his collar sent rangers a text message. Lesowapir, an armed guard and a driver arrived in a jeep bristling with spotlights to frighten Kimani back into the Ol Pejeta conservancy.

Kenya is the first country to try elephant texting as a way to protect both a growing human population and the wild animals that now have less room to roam. Elephants are ranked as "near threatened" in the Red List, an index of vulnerable species published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The race to save Kimani began two years ago.

Obama Campaigns on Xbox 360!

October 14, 2008

No, you are not seeing things ...

Last week there were unconfirmed sightings of an "Obama for President" billboard in the Xbox 360 racing game Burnout Paradise.

Today the truth can be told. It is, in fact, an official advertisement placed by the senator's campaign team.

"I can confirm that the Obama campaign has paid for in-game advertising in Burnout," revealed Holly Rockwood, director of corporate communications at Electronic Arts (EA), the game's publisher.

EA regularly allows ad placements in its online games.

"Like most television, radio and print outlets, we accept advertising from credible political candidates," she added. "Like political spots on the television networks, these ads do not reflect the political policies of EA or the opinions of its development teams." 

Now can we expect to see a McCain ad in some video game, too?

More of Us Will Be Living in a 3D Virtual World

October 14, 2008

An increasing number of industry players will help push 3D virtual worlds into a sustainable industry, reaching 33 million registered users by 2013, according to Virtual Worlds: the Internet of Avatars.

This new report from Parks Associates details the evolution of the virtual world value chain, which has added a variety of different companies and providers in its relatively short period of existence.

3D virtual world platform companies, world operators and full-service agencies form the core of the virtual world ecosystem, providing services to consumers, media companies, advertisers and enterprises.

However, content and application developers and service providers are becoming increasingly important.

Parks Associates will distribute a free whitepaper titled "Virtual Worlds and Social Media" at the Virtual Worlds London conference, October 20-21.

So, will Second Life have a second life?

Microsoft OCS 2007 R2 Heralds the Death of the IP-PBX

October 14, 2008

Today, Microsoft debuted Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Release 2 (R2), an update to Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007. Customers will be able to purchase the release, currently in private beta testing, beginning in February 2009.

Office Communications Server 2007 R2 includes several new important  functionality, particularly for remote and mobile workers. It includes on-premise audioconferencing to help reduce operational costs and introduces new developer advances, including the ability to build communications-enabled business processes.

"Office Communications Server 2007 R2, debuting just one year after the Microsoft unified communications launch, highlights the pace of innovation that is possible with software," said Stephen Elop, president of the Microsoft Business Division at Microsoft.

Take Care of Those Ears! Watch the Volume ...

October 13, 2008

Millions of youngsters across Europe could suffer permanent hearing loss after five years if they listen to MP3 players at too high a volume for more than five hours a week, EU scientists warned Monday.

(Am sure that would track nicely with the North American market would look -- and sound --like ...)

The scientists' study, requested by the European Commission, attacked the concept of "leisure noise," saying children and teenagers should be protected from increasingly high sound levels -- with loud mobile phones also coming in for criticism.

There has been increasing concern about exposure from the new generation of personal music players which can reproduce sounds at very high volumes without loss of quality, noted the study.

Risk for hearing damage depends on sound level and exposure time. More and more young people were exposed to the significant threat that leisure noise posed to hearing.

Commission experts estimate that between 50 and 100 million people listen to portable music players on a daily basis.

If they listened for only five hours a week at more than 89 decibels, they would already exceed EU limits for noise allowed in the workplace, they said. But if they listened for longer periods, they risked permanent hearing loss after five years. 

More at the New York Times.

And thanks to Kid's Health for the ear shot.

AT&T Calls on Wal-Mart, Circuit City for Triple Play

October 13, 2008

Just when you were ready to give up cable altogether and watch TV on your computer, telecommunication companies start aggressively rolling out fast new ways to get TV, Internet and voice services -- do I hear "Triple Play"?

And they really, really want your business. AT&T has announced it would begin selling its AT&T U-verse TV and U-verse High Speed Internet services in Circuit City and Wal-Mart stores across the country.

U-verse uses a hybrid network of fast fiber-optic and conventional copper wires to bring TV, Internet and voice services to your home. Bundles start at $69 a month. It's trying to sweeten the deal by offering $200 cash back to customers who order certain U-verse packages online.

Why the big deals and incentives? AT&T is duking it out with Verizon's FiOS and cable companies like Time Warner Cable to get into new homes as customers frustrated with the relatively slow speeds of DSL look for faster service.

And they're doing it at a tough time.

Less Merry Xmas: Sony Keeping PS3 Pricing As Is

October 13, 2008

Sony has ruled out cutting the price of the PlayStation 3 console before Christmas, insisting that the PS3 is better value than rivals half its price.

(Maybe time to rethink that in today's -- or at least last week's -- economy?)

With up to 50% of video game sales made in the run-up to Christmas, Sony is gambling that despite the weak economy, consumers will not just buy the cheapest machine.

If they do, Sony could lose further ground to Nintendo's Wii and to Microsoft's entry-level Xbox 360, which sells for $199 in the U.S. after a price cut in September - half the $399 cost of the cheapest PS3.

Sony argues that the basic Xbox has no hard disk drive, while the PS3 plays High-Definition Blu-ray movies as standard. 

Sony launched its third PlayStation model in the line in November 2006. The PS3 competes most directly with the Xbox 360. Both are high-powered consoles that have sold well to gaming enthusiasts, but neither has matched the casual appeal and rapid success of the much cheaper Wii. 

More at the Financial Times.

Run Windows Mobile on the iPhone

October 13, 2008

Apparently, a young a Norwegian developer named Erik Kristiansen has developed an application that lets you run Windows Mobile on the iPhone! Now why would someone go and do something like that? How bout actual copy/paste that works, plus the ability to run 3rd party apps in the background? The video is an interview taken at MyPhone 2008 and he explains that he has essentially created bootcamp for the iPhone.

Global IP Solutions Launches Video Calling for Windows Mobile Phones

October 13, 2008

Today, Global IP Solutions launched peer-to-peer video calling and multi-point video conferencing capabilities on Windows Mobile-based phones called GIPS VideoEngine Mobile. As part of this release, it only runs on specific Windows Mobile models, however, future plans for Symbian phones and iPhones as well as other Windows Mobile devices are planned.

Using GIPS VideoEngine Mobile, wireless carriers, application developers and mobile handset manufacturers can provide high-quality video calls, even under adverse network conditions. The company has partnered with Marvell Technology to ensure its media processing software provides the most advanced mobile phone features on the Marvell chipset and to highly optimize it for the XScale PXA310 devices including the Hewlett-Packard iPAQ series, Samsung's SGH-i780 and Gigabyte's GSmart MS808.

The software leverages GIPS expertise in packet loss as well as lip synchronization to ensure a good quality video experience. My only complaint about this launch is there is no beta software available for end users to try it.

Vonage Email Phishing Scam

October 13, 2008

Look at this email phishing scam purportedly coming from Vonage. You know Vonage has hit the big time when scammers starts targeting them. Unfortunately, the scammers, like many scammers, have poor English skills making their poorly written emails a dead giveaway.

Let me give the scammers some tips for the future:
  1. Spell October correctly. It's not Octomber
  2. This is not grammatically correct (wrong tense) - "You did not accessed your account for more than a month."
  3. Sorry, but 'confront' is a poor word choice - 'compare' is what you meant.

Calliflower updates

October 13, 2008

Ultimate Ears -- Very Sweet ...

October 10, 2008

Talk about a sweet sounding and feeling headset!  

Ultimate Ears' Super.Fi 4vi is designed for the iPhone and features voice integration with in-line microphone and control button.

(But it still worked great on other phones -- like the BlackBerry Curve.)

The 4vi incorporates the same speaker technology and sound signatures used in their custom personal monitors, which are used by some of the music industry's top artists.  The phones deliver detailed bass with crisp and clean mids and highs. In addition, the noise isolating design reduces ambient interference and enhances sound quality.

The ultra compact and lightweight housing gives a very comfortable fit, while an inline control button allows you to answer and end phone calls and control music and video playback functions.

Oh, and did I mention you hardly know you have them on?

Price: $149.99

Triple Play Moving to Quintuple Play?

October 10, 2008

If you thought the "triple play" offered by cable and phone service providers was pretty cool, it's time to think again.

Various providers now are looking at ways to bundle not just TV, phone and the Internet, but also a home's security and control systems into a great, big package that is being called the "quintuple play."

For the service providers whose quadruple plays currently include digital television, internet, phone, and wireless, the fifth service in the five-for-one bundle could be home control, remote monitoring and/or safety and security devices and services (sometimes referred to as SMA or security, monitoring and automation).

This new package will bring easy-to-use home control devices and applications into the home, enabling remote monitoring, simple lighting and HVAC control and remotely-accessed home security.

The devices would be available through the service provider in the form of a "starter kit" of some sort, with an up-front cost that may or may not include installation. A monthly fee would cover remote access to the system and -- in the case of the security application -- professional monitoring.

BlackBerry Storm on Its Way! Look Out iPhone 3G!

October 10, 2008

Let the holiday season smart phone wars begin!!!

Research In Motion (RIM) has introduced its BlackBerry Storm -- with its new tactile touch-screen -- that will be exclusively available on Verizon Wireless in a couple of weeks.

Both RIM and Verizon Wireless are expecting the Storm to seriously challenge Apple's 3G iPhone as the hottest gadget under this year's Christmas tree or Hanukkah bush.

With a look similar to Apple's iPhone, the Storm comes with a 3.2-inch screen, preloaded with Facebook, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. The gadget features built-in GPS, a 3.2-megapixel camera, video recording capability, a media player and a removable battery.

Additional applications will be available through a BlackBerry app store. (No surprise there!

Truphone appoints new CEO

October 10, 2008

Truphone today announced Geraldine Wilson as its new chief executive officer. Geraldine was the former Vice President and General Manager of Yahoo!'s European mobile division. Always nice to see a female CEO being appointed... to you know, "break the good ole boy network." Yeah, I know, that phrase has been done to death lately by Sarah Palin.

Vonage slams Skype for not following emergency rules

October 9, 2008

Vonage lays down the smackdown for Skype's refusal to adhere to Ofcom rules, an independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries. Last month, Ofcom introduced rules mandating access to emergency services (999 in the United Kingdom) for VoIP providers whose customers make calls that connect to the public switched service.  The rules also specify that caller address information is to be made available to emergency services so that, as far as possible, emergency service operators know where a call is originating from. 

Vonage points out that since it started offering services in the UK in 2005 that all Vonage customers have been able to dial 999.  Vonage also makes available caller address information (CallerID) to emergency operators.

According to Vonage, "Skype is choosing to flout the new rules by claiming that they do not apply and that they could be harmful to public safety. Skype In and Skype Out services offer their customers calls that connect to the public switched service and are therefore caught by Ofcom's new rules." Vonage added, "Skype's statement that compliance could be harmful to public safety is in Vonage's view an abdication of social responsibility - especially when you consider that the telephone provided by Skype is designed to resemble a regular telephone.  To deny consumers the ability to dial 999 is socially irresponsible and potentially very harmful."

Vincent Potier, Managing Director of Vonage UK comments: "This is an absurd position.  How can refusing to allow customers to dial 999 in cases of emergency ever be in the interests of public safety?  It is Skype that is causing harm to public safety, not Ofcom."     

So who's right?

T-Mobile Running Out of Androids

October 8, 2008

Much Ado about the Apple 'Brick'

October 8, 2008

Mac enthusiasts have been transfixed lately by the mystery product, code-named "brick," that's due for release later this month.

Some bloggers and pundits have suggested it might be a new iteration of Apple TV or an updated Mac Mini. But according to a report on, "brick" refers not to what it is, but how it's made.

The Web site, which cites an anonymous source, says the code name has to do with a manufacturing process for Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro lines of laptops. Apple will build the notebook out of a single piece of carved-out aluminum -- a brick.

A radically different production method might well boost costs, at least at the outset. But there could also be savings from the change, says market research firm iSuppli.

Best Buy Grabs MSI Wind

October 8, 2008

Cross Platform Mobile Game Playing Now Here

October 7, 2008

Bringing another piece of the mobile future to today, Social Line Connect is a simple iPhone game with a cross-platform backbone.

The free app, which looks similar to Connect Four, was added to the App Store over the weekend.

The real point of the no-frills game is playing it with friends -- even if they don't own an iPhone. To that end, it's a also proof-of-concept title for SocialDeck, a new middleware startup that's created a server architecture for people to play games across several platforms.

Based on the premise that "social interaction is much more important than the actual game play," SocialDeck's games can be played between people using an iPhone and on the web via Facebook, with a Blackberry version said to be on the way as well.

More at GigaOM.


1 Billion Wi-Fi Gadgets by 2012?!

October 7, 2008

Sarah Palin Eyeglasses Best Sellers?

October 7, 2008

I was in Pearle Vision today looking to buy some new glasses with my new prescription, when I overheard two female customers asking about Sarah Palin's trendy eyewear. The lightweight, titanium, rimless rectangular frames were made for her by Home Optics, a retailer in Chugiak, Alaska. Sarah Palin's eyeglasses are custom made, but based on the Kawasaki 704 series and the color is 34 gray, if you're interested in owning your own pair.

I asked the Pearle Vision employee if they get a lot of requests for Sarah Palin glasses and she said, "Yes, quite a bit, but most aren't serious once they hear the sticker shock of $400."

Say what you will about Sarah Palin, but it appears Palinmania is live and well, even here in Connecticut, which is solid Blue Democrat territory.

BlackBerry Mac Media Sync on its Way

October 7, 2008

Verizon Loses VoIP Patent case to Cox Communications

October 7, 2008

Rich Tehrani writes a great story with some historical context on how Verizon lost a VoIP patent case (on all 6 patent counts) to Cox Communications. Unfortunately, a bit too late for Vonage which paid millions to settle their patent case with Verizon.
Really though the large telcos are the winners here and consumers are the losers. The US patent system continues to be a barrier to true innovation and consumers are being hurt -- severely so in some cases -- by large companies who use the patent system to prevent other companies from succeeding. Instead of competing with better technology alone, these large companies use large amounts of patents at once to scare new entrants into submission.

snom m3 review

October 7, 2008

The snom m3 SIP wireless (DECT) phone is one of my favorite VoIP phones. I've been testing and reviewing it for a few months but haven't had time to write up the review until now. First, let me point out that the problem with IP-PBXs is they typically give you a desk phone or a softphone with no real mobility options to walk around, which is critical in some vertical markets, such as retail and manufacturing. Even sales professionals want the flexibility to take calls while roaming the office.

Do We Need a Digital Bill of Rights?

October 6, 2008

TechCrunch, much like the Digital Freedom Campaign, believes we need a Digital Bill of Rights to serve as "a consistent policy governing everything from Internet Protocol regulations to intellectual property on the Web."

The Digital Freedom Campaign focuses on the first three issues laid out in the TechCrunch piece -- "The Right to Use and Reuse Content," "The Right to Control Digital Property On Your Own Device" and "The Right to the Free Flow of Information."

The presidential election gives us a chance to turn the page and move forward, with support and guidance from policymakers, into a bright digital future.

Now let's see if anyone in Washington is listening.

Read more about it at TechCrunch.

And then cast your vote!

Is Home Automation Market Set To Go Boom?

October 6, 2008

Is It Time for 3D TV?

October 6, 2008

With such television makers as Samsung and Panasonic unveiling flat-screen sets that are capable of displaying 3-D content, the format is widely considered the next leap forward in TV technology.

So far, 3-D programming has been about stunts and gimmicks rather than an earnest play to engage viewers on a deeper level. With growing competition from other media, however, it may be time for the television industry to push forward with 3-D.

The technological advances are the necessary foundation that network programmers need before they invest more in 3-D.

As consumers invest in televisions that can handle 3-D content -- either over-the-air or through Blu-ray players -- networks in turn will have an incentive to invest in both producing and broadcasting content in 3-D.

More at  

TMC & Digium Partner for Digium|Asterisk World at ITEXPO

October 6, 2008

I've had some big news I had to keep under wraps until today. My company, Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) and Digium, the Asterisk Company, today announced that they have partnered to host Digium|Asterisk World™ during INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO East 2009 in Miami, Florida. Having ITEXPO host Digium|Asterisk World is a huge win for TMC and further cements TMC's ITEXPO as the most preeminent VoIP and IP communications show. In fact, I recently came across this quote from Phonevite, "With the demise of the VON Show, the Internet Telephony Conference & Expo (aka ITEXPO) is now regarded as the biggest and most eminent show in the VoIP industry."

Digium|Asterisk World at ITEXPO will be the conference that addresses "Everything Asterisk" for business users, resellers and executive decision-makers.

fring Adds VoIP to iPhone

October 4, 2008

fring for iPhone has arrived! I'm a huge fan of fring, which I like to call the Swiss Army knife of VoIP/IM communications since fring works with AOL/AIM, MSN Messenger, Google Talk, Skype, Twitter, Yahoo! Messenger, and SIP registrars/IP-PBXs. I've used fring on my Windows Mobile 6.1 phone to connect to an Asterisk-based IP-PBX using SIP which enabled me to remotely make and receive calls. fring is a currently a free pre-release app free on iTunes.

VoIP using fring is of course restricted to WiFi connections - it won't work over 3G, but still cool nonetheless. Further, according to the apps description in iTunes you can IM over 3G, GPRS, EDGE, or WiFi, so you can use fring as your centralized IM application on your iPhone.

• VoIP (Voice) Calls over WiFi
• Instant Messaging
• Integrated dynamic contact list 
with real-time contact availability
• SIP integration
• Multiple Connection types

Download fring (free app) for iPhone here.

See, Video Games Are Good for You

October 3, 2008

Games and virtual reality simulators are becoming increasingly popular tools for training by the army, various police forces and even in medical applications. If a new pilot program called "InSight" pans out for Allstate, though, the next place you could be seeing video games is at the local DMV.

Allstate is currently piloting a new program which seeks to find out if playing driving video games could make better drivers out of those over age 50.

If the study shows that it can, the insurance company plans to offer discounts to mature drivers who pass the online tests and the current, single-state pilot would be spread across other states next year.

The initial run at the program is taking place in Pennsylvania, where select drivers aged 50 to 75 will be brought in to test out the special games as part of a free option in the customers' current insurance plan. The total number of hours played by this experimental group will be tracked and then accident rates will be compared to a control group that had no contact with the games.

Posit Science, a software developer from San Francisco, is behind the games in question.

Best Buy Selling Musical Instruments -- Making Real Guitar Heroes!

October 3, 2008

Look out Guitar Center and Sam Ash!

Maybe you don't think of them as gadgets, but Best Buy is adding musical instruments to its entertainment repertoire at roughly 85 stores nationwide.

(Didn't I just see you at Best Buy?)

The stores will cater to novice and professional musicians and carry brands such as Fender, Gibson, Roland and Drum Workshop.

The Best Buy in Pembroke Pines, FL, for example, features a 2,500-square-foot store-within-a store with more than 1,000 guitars, bass drums, keyboards, recording equipment and other instruments and accessories.

The Best Buy in Pembroke Pines will have five to seven trained musical instrument specialists and will offer guitar lessons (for all of those Guitar Hero dudes who want to play for real).

There also will be drum and amplifier rooms to test equipment.

Best Buy had offered a smattering of beginner guitars and home-recording equipment, but now it wants a bigger slice of the $7.5 billion U.S. musical instrument market.

More here.

Nokia Unveils Its First Music Phone -- 5800 XpressMusic

October 3, 2008

Turning up the volume on what could be a music phone war, Nokia has unveiled the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, a mobile device for music that brings innovative new features to the mass market.

Delivering on Nokia's vision to provide the best total music experience possible, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic will be among the first devices to support Comes With Music, Nokia's service that offers one year of unlimited access to the entire Nokia Music Store catalog.

When it comes to music phones, people all over the world want a device that is a great music experience -- with more memory, loud and powerful speakers, easy synchronization -- and must still work well as a mobile phone with direct access to important contacts and content. That's what the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic is supposed to do.

Taking advantage of touch screen technology, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic introduces the "Media Bar," a handy drop-down menu that provides direct access to music and entertainment, including favorite tracks, videos and photos. The Media Bar also offers a direct link to the web and to online sharing.

Windows Live Messenger Back in the VoIP game!

October 3, 2008

Ok, now my head is getting dizzy from the number of times Microsoft Windows Live Messenger/MSN Messenger has had outbound VoIP-to-PSTN calling (2006), then pulling outbound VoIP calling (early 2008), and then putting it back in. Also, I believe it was 2004 when the Messenger client used Net2Phone before they pulled the plug. Well, apparently outbound PSTN dialing using VoIP is back in!

Windows Live Messenger has now teamed up with Telefónica to offer VoIP services. Previously Net2Phone and Verizon have had exclusive deals with Microsoft's Messenger client.

When you click on Make a Phone Call you see the dialpad window and it explains you can sign up with Telefonica's Voype service to call directly from within Windows Live Messenger.

Telefónica's rates seem decent as compared to SkypeOut. For instance,Telefónica charges $0.014 per minute for the U.S.

Lenovo Celebrates 16 Years of ThinkPad

October 2, 2008

Now the iPhone Is a Political Tool ...

October 2, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign launched an iPhone application today that turns the gadget into a political recruiting tool.

The most notable feature "organizes and prioritizes your contacts by key battleground states, making it easy to reach out and make an impact quickly," according to the software.

For example, if you have contacts in Colorado, Michigan, and New Mexico, they would be ranked at the top; at the bottom would be someone with a cell phone in Texas.

The application anonymously reports back the number of calls made this way: "Your privacy is important: no personal data or contacts will be uploaded or stored. Only the total number of calls you make is uploaded anonymously." 

More at Cnet.

Ronco's Baaack!!!

October 2, 2008

Remember the Veg-O-Matic, the Pocket Fisherman and the Inside-the-Shell Egg Scrambler? To many baby boomers, those names recall the days when Jimmy Carter was in the White House and Farrah Fawcett starred in Charlie's Angels.

And who can forget the Bass-O-Matic skit on Saturday Night Live (when it really mattered!)?

Now a new generation will be able to form its own memories. The Ronco Acquisition Corporation, the company behind these products, is reviving its in-your-face infomercials, even weaving in historical footage of Ron Popeil, the original pitchman.

(Now if only Crazy Eddie came back, too ...)

Now, under a new owner, Ronco is using old film of Popeil to peddle a new product, the Grillwave, and one that has not seen the studio lights in years, the Veg-O-Matic. Also coming back are some of Popeil's signature lines, like, "But wait, there's more!" "Set it and forget it!" and "Isn't that amazing?" 

The Times has more.

Is Your City One of the Most Connected?

October 1, 2008

Among the top designated marketing areas (DMAs), San Francisco, Miami and Los Angeles are the most connected cities based on home networking adoption.

What does connected mean: A wired or wireless home network allows consumers to connect multiple PCs and printers, and to share Internet access among computers.

MultiMedia Intelligence's research identifies significant variations among major metropolitan areas. San Francisco has the highest household home networking adoption rate of 28% among the top DMAs. In contrast, the San Antonio, Chicago and Cleveland DMAs have among the lowest home networking adoption. This reflects, in part, the varying regional demographics. 

Home networking adoption correlates directly with household income.

Smelly MacBook Pros Not Good for You

October 1, 2008

Strong-smelling MacBook Pros have been discussed on Apple forums, but an anonymous French molecular biologist/researcher went to Greenpeace to check out why his smelled. Greenpeace got Analytica involved, and then Inéris, France's national institute covering the industrial environment.

Apparently benzene is a component of the smell, and this could be risky -- over time, sensitive people could develop leukemia.

Unconfirmed stories suggest the problem Mac Pros have been built in China, not at Apple's European factory.

Note, we're not talking about an ordinary "new equipment" aroma. The original poster at MacRumours said his new 3.0 Mac Pro Octo:
"Stinks to high heaven.

How about Being Your Favorite Gadget for Halloween?

October 1, 2008

Adtran IP 706 Review

October 1, 2008

Adtran recently launched their IP 700 series of IP phones in late April. Adtran sent TMC Labs the IP 706 model, which supports up to 6 lines, but the 700 series also includes the IP 712 which is identical feature-wise but supports up to 12 lines. Each line can be configured to register with unique SIP proxy/registrar servers. This allows a different line for every line key on the phone.

2009 Microsoft MVP Award

October 1, 2008

Amazon EC2 running Windows Server and SQL Server

October 1, 2008

Amazon just announced that Amazon EC2 will soon run Windows Server and SQL Server. The announcement was made to Amazon Web Services developers this morning. This announcement may be partly in response to Microsoft who has been building a hosted development platform of their own. In fact, Microsoft is expected to announce the hosted platform officially at its Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles.
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