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

December 2008

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Apple Large screen iPod Touch in Future Plus Skype & Apple Partnership?

December 31, 2008

According to Techcrunch, we can soon expect to see a 7" or 9" iPod touch, which would make it more akin to a tablet PC than a portable music & video player with app support. The app support is a key point here. One of the problems with the iPod touch and similarly the iPhone is the relatively small screen. Sure, it's bigger than most portable devices, but it's still not quite large enough for optimal productivity.

Broadsoft Acquires Rival Sylantro

December 29, 2008

In what could portend several acquisitions in the VoIP space, Broadsoft has acquired rival competitor Sylantro Systems, both makers of softswitches and both heavily involved in carrier infrastructure, IMS, and converged services. TMCnet's Greg Galitzine has the full details on the acquisition.

With the global slowing economy, even the VoIP industry which has had exponential growth over the last 13 years, is being affected by the global downturn. No doubt we will see more consolidation within the VoIP space and likely a few bankruptcies as well.

I for one can't believe it's been 13 years since VoIP was first invented. It's amazing to think I've been covering the VoIP industry for over a decade, when most people have only heard of VoIP in the last 5 years or so.

trixbox CE vs. Asterisk Downloads

December 23, 2008

As you may have read, Digium announced a sharp rise in Asterisk downloads for 2008 registering in a whopping 1.5 million downloads for 2008. That got me thinking just how does Asterisk & AsteriskNOW compare with Fonality's trixbox CE distro? Arguably trixbox CE is the either the #1 or the #2 downloaded Asterisk-based distribution. But are they #1 or #2?

Blu-ray Defies Recession with Christmas Sales Exceeding DVD

December 22, 2008

More proof that my prediction of a Blu-ray Christmas is coming true... According to the Blu-ray Disc Association, British consumers bought 462,500 Blu-ray discs in November, an increase of 165% from October. They put out a release with a very positive title that proudly claims, "Blu-ray Beats Recession Blues Sales Soar in Lead Up to Christmas at Even Quicker Rate than DVD".

Like I said in my pro- Blu-ray prediction, "I think consumers are looking to escape today's harsh economic climate. Watching movies is a heck of a lot cheaper than going to the movies.

The State of Nortel

December 22, 2008

Rich has an excellent piece on Nortel where he talks to Nortel's President of Carrier Networks' Richard Lowe and Bruce Gustafson, Director of Marcom, Carrier Networks. With all the bad news surrounding Nortel it's interesting to get a perspective of Nortel from the horse's mouth. Of course, Nortel's job or any company for that matter is to try and spin things in a positive light.

However, reading the article it seems that Nortel was fairly open about their current status and the direction they are taking. For instance, Rich's article states, "He did say a large number of carriers are slowing their spending in CDMA...

Flash Skype Video cards = Flash Skype Client in the Near Future?

December 19, 2008

This morning I was playing with the new video e-card creation tool from Skype, which is just in time for Christmas, Hanukkah and the rest of the holidays. It's called Video cards with Skype (

Facebook fans can easily embed/send the cards to your Facebook friends instantly or use the "Video cards with Skype" Facebook app (

The new is a no-download Flash-based video creation tool that lets you embed videos or email them to friends/family. Sightspeed and others have had this for awhile. What's interesting is that this is the first app by Skype outside of the main Skype client - at least that I'm aware of.

Verizon FiOS Voice+Internet Cheaper than just FiOS Internet?

December 19, 2008

I had to do a double-take when I read the Verizon FiOS pricing plans page that shows Verizon FiOS Internet with Verizon home phone service is less expensive than FiOS Internet without Verizon home phone service. It's $5 cheaper per month to have the voice service than without? I don't think I've ever seen any double or triple play offering that actually is cheaper when you have an additional "leg" offering in the package.

Here, see for yourself from this screenshot from their pricing plans web page:

Why would someone choose the Single Play (broadband Internet only) option over the Double play (broadband Internet + Voice) if it's $5/month cheaper and you get a voice line?

Belkin Desktop Internet Phone for Skype

December 18, 2008

I was doing some Christmas shopping on Amazon when I was curious what sort of VoIP phones were available on Amazon. I came across the Belkin Desktop Internet Phone for Skype, which I never heard of.

The Belkin Desktop Internet Phone for Skype is a standalone Skype phone with no PC running Skype requirement. All that is required is a wired connection to your LAN with Internet access. Because it's a standalone Skype phone it's much more suitable as a landline phone replacement in your house than some of the USB-based Skype phones.

The Belkin Desktop Internet Phone for Skype sports a 1.8-inch color LCD display and a phonebook that supports over 500 sets of phone numbers.

Toshiba 512GB Solid State Drive

December 18, 2008

Toshiba announced
that it will showcase a 512GB solid-state drive (SSD) at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) next month, with shipments of this large SSD in the second quarter of 2009. These NAND-flash-based solid state drives (SSD) will be the industry's first 2.5-inch 512-gigabyte SSD and features fast read/write times and reliable performance for laptops/notebooks, and other equipment.

In addition to the 2.5-inch, 512GB drive, the 43nm NAND SSD family also includes capacities of 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB, offered in 1.8-inch or 2.5-inch drive enclosures or as SSD Flash Modules. The drives feature a maximum sequential read speed of 240MB per second (MBps) and maximum sequential write speed of 200MBps. This should definitely result in faster boot and application loading times. The drives also offer AES data encryption to prevent unauthorized data access.

512GB soon...

Christmas Blu-ray player + Netflix = A Very Blue Christmas

December 16, 2008

I have a Blu-ray player on my Christmas list that I hope to get. Santa Claus hasn't failed me yet. I also have a subscription to Netflix and planned on upgrading it to the Blu-ray package for an additional $1/month should I stay off Santa's "naughty list" this year.

This would give me access to Netflix's massive Blu-ray library.

CNET - Where's the <font color="red">♥</font> love?

December 16, 2008

I love CNET, it's one of my favorite technology, electronics, and gadgets sites. But I'm just not feeling the love. You see, I wrote a quick review of the just launched GizmoCall Flash-based VoIP service this morning. A few hours later, see in my RSS alerts another article on GizmoCall. Naturally, I want to see other people's opinions on it, so I click through and see that it's a CNET article.

BlackBerry OS Running On Windows Mobile HTC Touch Pro

December 16, 2008

GizmoCall Another Flash VoIP Player

December 16, 2008

GizmoCall, a Flash-based, no download, cross operating system VoIP app launched on Monday. GizmoCall isn't the first to offer a Flash-based VoIP client. I believe the first Flash-based VoIP app was Flashphone, which I discovered last year. I also found a Flash-based app that not only did VoIP, but it did SIP-based video as well.

In any event, I decided to give GizmoCall a go.

The Pirate Bay Offline for Christmas?

December 15, 2008

Interesting message on The Pirate Bay today. At first I thought maybe the FBI, Interpol, or some other law enforcement entity took them offline. Or perhaps the plethora of Christmas downloaders had knocked them offline. Though, I'm not sure giving a gift of pirated music or movies burned to a CD/DVD is exactly the type of Christmas spirit that Jesus would approve of.

TMC & Digium Announce Educational program for Digium|Asterisk World

December 15, 2008

Some good news from my company TMC and Digium, the founder of Asterisk that I thought I'd share. If you're an Asterisk fan, you need to be at Asterisk World, which is co-located with the #1 VoIP tradeshow in the U.S., namely TMC's ITEXPO.

Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) and Digium, the Asterisk Company, today announced the educational program for Digium|Asterisk World, scheduled to take place February 2-4, 2009 in Miami. The event is collocated with TMC's ITEXPO East 2009.

TMC and Digium also announced that although the conference content and exhibiting opportunities are more than 90 percent complete, additional opportunities remain for interested Digium partners.
Digium|Asterisk World at ITEXPO is the conference that addresses "Everything Asterisk" for business users, resellers and executive decision-makers. The initial conference sessions featured in the program include:


ADTRAN Launches n-Command MSP - Remote VoIP Management Network Tool

December 15, 2008

Interesting new product from from ADTRAN whose aim is to simplify remote management of VoIP networks with their n-Command MSP. It sounds very similar to NetQoS Unified Communications Monitor 2.0 I wrote about last month, except NetQoS UC Monitor 2.0 is designed for Cisco UC and Microsoft OCS environments, while the ADTRAN offering seems targeted exclusively to managing ADTRAN NetVanta or Total Access converged networking solutions.

One of its core features is centralized collection and reporting for Voice Quality Monitoring (VQM) for QoS monitoring. The n-Command MSP system includes an ADTRAN NetVanta Server 450 on a compact, 1U, 19-inch rackmount server, which can support up to 5,000 remotely managed devices.For ADTRAN VoIP shops this network management platform sounds like a no-brainer, but I'd have to check it out in more detail to be sure.

Nortel Web.Alive = Second Life for Business

December 15, 2008

Rich Tehrani has a very interesting post about Nortel's foray into virtualized business meetings. Think Second Life virtual world meets business world...

Rich participated in a virtual world demo with Nortel where they showed him web.alive. This business-oriented virtual world looks eerily similar to Second Life, including the 3D avatars, and 3D world but under the covers it sports something else - namely 3D audio powered by DiamondWare 3D stereoVoIP technology.

Remote Desktop Dual Monitor Support tip

December 12, 2008

You're probably wondering if there is dual monitor support for Remote Desktop Connection. There is indeed, but there are some caveats and issues you should be aware of, as well as some solutions to these issues.

First, as of Microsoft Remote Desktop client version 6.0, support was added for spanning across multiple monitors. Only some configurations are supported by Remote Desktop client in span mode. According to the Remote Desktop help file Remote Desktop Connection supports high-resolution displays that can be spanned across multiple monitors.

Grandstream GXV3005 Video Phone

December 11, 2008

Grandstream just announced the GXV3005 IP video phone is coming this month. The GXV3005 features an additional FXO port and is part of the GXV3000 IP video product line series.

The GXV3005 features the same design and all of the functionality as the GXV3000 model, but it comes with the advanced versatility of an FXO PSTN line port, which enables customers to receive both video telephony service over an IP network and their home land-line. One thing I like about Grandsteam is they follow industry standards, such as SIP, but also H.263 & H.264, so in theory their video phone will work with other H.263/H.264 compliant video phones. We don't need a videophone war, after all.

Scientists develop software that can 'Draw' your Dreams

December 11, 2008

Scientists have developed software that can 'draw' your dreams by reading your mind. Your dreams have now been unlocked with the invention of technology capable of illustrating images taken directly from human brains during sleep.

According to
A team of Japanese scientists have created a device that enables the processing and imaging of thoughts and dreams as experienced in the brain to appear on a computer screen.

While researchers have so far only created technology that can reproduce simple images from the brain, the discovery paves the way for the ability to unlock people's dreams and other brain processes.

We just took one step closer to telepathic communications, which would make this at least one half of this VoIP & Gadgets blog moot. After all, who needs Voice over IP communications when you can just "think" your thoughts and people can hear/see them? May as well ditch the iPhone as well.

Skype 4.0 beta 3 released

December 11, 2008

Skype has been striving to improve the usability of Skype and give more prominence to other features such as video by rearranging Skype's interface in version 4.0. They also have improved conversation management. Today, Skype released Skype 4.0 beta 3 for Windows.

So what's new in Skype 4.0 beta 3?

Free snom Flexor CTI for Outlook Application offers Advanced Telephony Features

December 11, 2008

snom and Camrivox today announced free VoIP telephony integration with Microsoft Outlook with snom Flexor CTI software for Microsoft Outlook. Microsoft Outlook is the most widely used contact manager with a market share of over 60% of email users. A free CTI app for snom's VoIP phones? I remember the days where you had to pay thousands of dollara for a CTI server.

Copy Paste Comes to the iPhone

December 11, 2008

Pastebud is a cool new service launching tomorrow that leverages javascript, web services, and bookmarks in mobile Safari to finally bring copy and paste to the iPhone and iPod touch. Thank the heavens! It's about time. What was Steve Jobs thinking when he didn't put copy/paste into the iPhone?

WordPress 2.7 released

December 10, 2008

WordPress 2.7 "Coltrane" was just released featuring some pretty cool upgrades in features. First, it sports a drag-and-drop interface for redesigning the layout of your WordPress blog/website. Second, it automatically updates core WordPress files and your plugins (if you so choose). Heck, you can even have it set to download beta nightlies.

Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard

December 10, 2008

Logitech today introduced what they deem a "Game-Changing Gameboard" called the Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard. Hyperbole aside, the Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard is an interesting concept. It sports a naturally contoured design, on-board memory, customizable backlighting, and programmable keys. A keyboard with memory?

Truphone brings low-cost calling to iPhone over Wi-Fi & now 3G

December 10, 2008

Truphone is now bringing low-priced international calls to the iPhone even when not connected to Wi-Fi. In case you don't recall, Steve Jobs will only allow VoIP over Wi-Fi and not over a 3G data connection. So has Truphone enabled VoIP over a 3G connection for the Apple iPhone? Not quite. It's a callback system similar to Jajah that uses the 3G voice bearer channel not the data channel.

Ditch Desktop IP phone to Save Money?

December 9, 2008

With a slowing global economy, one of the cost-cutting measures desired by IT personnel appears to be the desktop phone, including desktop IP phones. That at least according to an OnRelay survey that shows 88% of cost-conscious IT Professionals would ditch the desktop phone. Apparently, the desire for for mobile working makes desktop tools a low priority expense. I should point out that OnRelay offers a hosted PBX solution with mobile phone only extensions, so you might think this survey has a conflict of interest.

Skype for Windows Mobile 2.5 Beta Released

December 9, 2008

Fonality Launches PBXtra Unified Agent on's AppExchange

December 9, 2008

Back in September I wrote about Fonality's trixbox Unified Agent Edition (UAE) and how it can automatically match all inbound and outbound calls with the corresponding record in's AppExchange, and call data is captured and logged. Apparently, this was still a yet-to-be-announced product I wrote about that resulted in a call from Fonality's CEO Chris Lyman asking how I found out about it. Woops, my bad, Chris.

Well, today, Fonality has officially launched UAE.

Digium Responds to FBI Vhishing Security Warning about Asterisk

December 9, 2008

A few days ago the FBI's Internet Crimes Complaint Center (IC3) issued an unclear warning that says versions of Asterisk software are vulnerable to vhishing (voice phishing) attacks, but didn't say which versions, but causing a flurry of news activity on VoIP news sites, tech sites, and blogs.

It all started with this warning from the IC3:
New Technique Utilizing Private Branch Exchange (PBX) Systems To Conduct Vishing Attacks

The FBI has received information concerning a new technique used to conduct vishing attacks. The recent attacks were conducted by hackers exploiting a security vulnerability in Asterisk software.

My esteemed colleagues Rich Tehrani and Greg Galitzine did some research to find out what the story was, including contacting Digium's John Todd.

Here's Rich's take:

Before commenting I waited to hear back from Digium's John Todd who explained that there were some methodology and editorial process issues in this alert - basically no one checked with Digium before going public. As it turns out, after checking with Digium, the FBI quickly revised their statement and everything is fine.

The details are that there was a bug which Digium found in March of 2008 and subsequently patched in version 1.2 and 1.4.

More Than Half of U.S. Adults Got Game

December 8, 2008

More than half of U.S. adults play video games, according to a survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, and 20% do so daily.

The survey of 2,054 U.S. adults was conducted late last year, with a margin of error of 25.

People from all walks of life play, although younger adults are far more likely to play than seniors, proof that video games are mainstream entertainment for the generations that grew up with them.

Gadget Prices Falling This Holiday Season!

December 8, 2008

Ho ho ho!

'Tis the season for steep discounts on gadgets goods on the Internet. According to this article in Electonista, online shopping sites such as,,,, and all are offering big savings. has cut prices on everything from MP3 players and digital photo frames to GPS units and notebook computers. Prices are slashed on everything from wireless routers and printers to wireless mice and Bluetooth stereo headphones at is offering deals on notebooks, iPod docks, game consoles, digital cameras, HDTVs and more as well as gift cards this holiday season.

Until December 31st is offering specials on their HDTV collection and until December 11th enter to win a $5,000 Newegg gift certificate in the Holiday Wishlist Sweepstakes.

Football Drives HDTV Sales

December 8, 2008

Never Charge your gadget again - Free Electricity!

December 8, 2008

Intel said it is researching technology to harvest free energy from the environment, which could lead to devices such as mobile phones running for indefinite periods without recharging. Intel is working on tiny sensors that can capture energy from sources such as sunlight and body heat to power personal electronic devices such as MP3 players, cell phones, portable handheld gaming devices, etc.

Intel is also looking at powering a mobile phone by converting the energy the user creating simply by moving the phone's trackball. Additionally, the radiation of cell phone or TV signals might also be used to power devices. One example given is an accelerometer buried in the wall of a building that could automatically recharge itself by harvesting the energy of radiation from a cell phone tower.

That's very comforting to know that Intel plans to scavenge radiation that is beamed all around us from cell towers, TV towers, etc.

Asterisk-based VPN in a Flash Mobile Telephony Appliance

December 8, 2008

Nerd Vittles (Ward Mundy) is the man! He just combined the popular Acer Aspire One NetBook featuring the powerful Intel Atom N270(1.60GHz) processor along with Fedora 10 and his Asterisk-based distro. Nerd just may have cooked up the perfect low-cost, powerful, GUI-rich (low overhead KDE), and portable Asterisk-based appliance! Now you can take your phone system on the road while driving, on the plane, etc.

CounterPath Launches Bria for Microsoft Outlook integrating VoIP with Outlook Contacts

December 5, 2008

CounterPath Corporation announced the launch of Bria for Microsoft Outlook, which integrates CounterPath's softphone technology directly into Microsoft Outlook. CounterPath also makes the popular (& free) SIP client called X-Lite.

The toolbar gives users easy access to VoIP call control aling with personal information manager (PIM) info stored within Outlook Contacts. On an inbound or outbound call, it will automatically perform a lookup of your Contacts to find a match so you can see exactly who you are calling or who is calling you. With a minimally invasive GUI that fits right into Outlook, an application that many users "live in" as party of their daily work, Bria for Microsoft Outlook will certainly have some interest.

According to Counterpath, "Appearing as part of Outlook's toolbar, the Bria plug-in provides a non-intrusive VoIP interface that does not infringe on the PIM's traditional three-pane design or workspace real estate - preserving the productivity benefits of Outlook while integrating value-added VoIP services."

"CounterPath is committed to enabling unified communications in a way that employs a user's favored application tools, preferred operating systems and devices, and existing telephone infrastructures," said Donovan Jones, President and CEO for CounterPath. "As Microsoft Outlook is one of the most utilized PC applications in the business market today, integrating our softphone into Outlook was a logical move and positions us to fulfill the strong demand that we are seeing from our existing channel partners as well as the overall market for this type of solution.

Facebook Connect for Movable Type plugin

December 5, 2008

Facebook Connect is appearing in more and more websites, including Techcrunch, SFGate, and more, allowing you to use your Facebook credentials to post comments on third-party websites. TechCrunch announced Facebook Connect support for their comments just a few days ago. Yesterday, perhaps in response to Google Friend Connect opening up their service to everyone, Facebook announced just yesterday that their Facebook Connect service was now open to everyone (previously invitation only). Any website can now pull personal data about visitors from Facebook and send back activity reports to their news feeds.

Home Entertainment Is Counter-Cyclical

December 5, 2008

A national survey, commissioned by Verizon, of 1,026 American adults has found that a majority (57%) plan to spend more time at home turning to their televisions instead of events outside the home during the economic crisis.

And while this would seem to indicate that American families are stinting on entertainment, in fact, the opposite may be true. Very curious indeed!

Recent advances in television technology have made "home enterstayment" a way for many families to stretch their entertainment dollars while increasing their entertainment options and time together.

"Staying at home no longer means your entertainment options are limited," said Shruti Joshi, director of marketing for Verizon. "As families continue to look for ways to manage their budgets, they're realizing that by staying home they actually have more choices, more control and more time together.

Colorful Laptop Desks Reduce Heat, Add Comfort

December 5, 2008

Activision Announces 'Guitar Hero 5,' New 'Tony Hawk'

December 4, 2008

We know Activision Blizzard loves sequels.

A little while ago, it revealed a slate of follow-ups coming this year at an Massive Inc. upfront. An upfront is where publishers showcase their upcoming lineup to advertisers and are a new practice for games. Upfronts occur every year for TV and movies.

The idea is quite simple really -- to get advertisers pumped to buy more ads in games. Massive is a Microsoft-owned firm that did the Barack Obama ad in Burnout Paradise.

At the meeting, Activision Blizzard showcased new games that would make sense for in-game ads, including the vaguely titled "Guitar Hero 5," which included a screen shot of gameplay with a Burger King ad to the right of the note highway.

The publisher confirmed rumors that Tony Hawk will be different this year. "You're not going to be playing this game with a controller in your hands," said the company. 

More at MTV Multiplayer.

A Final Tweet for Tweeter?

December 4, 2008

Blockbuster Goes All-in-One in Nevada

December 4, 2008

Sangoma Launches B600 Series of Analog Voice Cards

December 4, 2008

Rich has a great interview with Sangoma's VP Sales and Marketing, Doug Vilim about their new B600 Series of Analog voice cards, which can be used in Asterisk-based systems. Apparently, Sangoma's über customizable & modular cards can be a slight cost detriment for those that don't need such modularity.

                        B600D PCI model.

Here's a teaser from Rich's blog:

What is the reason for these new cards to be introduced?

Some of our OEM customers;  those who are building IP PBX appliances Empowered by Sangoma, often do not require the modularity, port customization and single slot expandability that our A-Series analog cards provide.  Also, four PSTN lines and one fax connection is a common configuration that creates economies of scale, which can lead to a substantial cost savings for these customers when purchasing in larger volumes.

Read full story

Also, here are the specs:
  • 4 ports of FXO and 1 Port of FXS.
  • Support for Asterisk®, FreeSWITCH™, Yate™, trixbox™, and PBX/IVR projects, as well as other Open Source and proprietary PBX, Switch, IVR, and VoIP gateway applications.
  • Single synchronous PCI interface for all ports.
  • Dimensions: 2U Form factor: 140 mm x 55 mm for use in restricted chassis.
  • Includes both standard and short half-height compatible mounting clips for installation in 2U rack-mount servers.
  • 32 bit bus master DMA data exchanges across PCI interface at 132 Mbytes/sec for minimum host processor intervention.
  • Autosense compatibility with 5 V and 3.3 V PCI busses.
  • Fully PCI 2.2 compliant, compatible with all commercially available motherboards, and shares PCI interrupts.
  • Power: 3.6 W (0.3A @ 12 V) and 1.65 W (0.5A @ 3.3 V).
  • Temperature range: 0 - 50°C.
  • Cables are included.
  • Suports Fax: Single FXS Port designed for optimum fax support.
  • Sangoma B600 cards synchronize perfectly with Sangoma's T1/E1 cards and the PSTN clock for error-free fax and modem passthrough over T1 lines.
  • Optional: DSP Echo Canceller
  • G.168-2002 echo cancellation in the hardware.
  • 1024 taps/128 ms tail per channel on all channel densities.
  • DTMF decoding and tone recognition.
  • Voice quality enhancement: music protection, acoustic echo control and adaptive noise reduction.
  • No CPU load as a result of echo cancellation.
  • No additional slot is required.

Truphone Transforms iPod touch into iPhone

December 3, 2008

We all know the iPod touch is basically an iPhone minus a microphone and the wireless (3G) phone capability. Well, behold Truphone for iPod touch, which adds phone capabilities using VoIP over WiFi. This isn't the first time someone has enabled VoIP for the iPod touch. Some hackers were able to add a microphone to the iPod touch last December. Later, another group enabled a SIP softphone client for the iPod touch to use with the "hacked-in" microphone.

Well, now Truphone for the iPod touch gets in the game allowing you to make free calls to other iPod touch users without a SIM card and no AT&T contract.

What Shall I Blog About Tomorrow?

December 2, 2008

The Top Holiday Gift Choices? Is It Blu-ray? Or Not?

December 2, 2008

You've seen the recent blogs about how nine of the top 10 best-selling items so far this holiday shopping season are gadgets -- but how about them Ugg boots!

Seriously, we've seen how this is the season of Blu-ray and this isn't the season for Blu-ray. Honestly, what do you think?

For me personally, I'm still busy with DVDs, some PayPerView and even some old video cassettes if the movie is good enough -- but granted, those DVDs do look better!

So I'm not too close to plunking down greenbacks for Blu-ray, but if the hardware prices keep drop, drop, dropping and the software prices keep drop, drop, dropping, then perhaps I will take the plunge.

But how many gadgets can I stack up in an AV home theater system anyway?

And time for some new cables, too!

Green Becoming the Color of Gadgets

December 2, 2008

Nokia N97 Sweet!

December 2, 2008

The Nokia N97 sports a 3.5-inch, 640 x 360 pixel (16:9 aspect ratio) resistive touchscreen display with tactile feedback and slide-out QWERTY keyboard. It's heavily focused on social sites like Facebook with its "always open" window to favorite Internet or social networking sites. The N97 also features HSDPA, WiFi, Bluetooth, A-GPS, 3.5-mm head jack, and 32GB of on-board memory. With a microSD expansion you can go up to 48GB total memory.

Raketu Adds VoIP Support for Google G1 Android Mobile

December 2, 2008

Office Communicator clients cannot communicate with AOL Contacts Problem Solved

December 2, 2008

I told you it was going to be a Blu-ray Christmas!

December 2, 2008

I hate to say I told you so, but today's gadget report on Black Friday sales, once again proves my opinion that this Christmas will be a "black" Blu-ray Christmas! My opinion goes against conventional wisdom that Blu-ray won't succeed, and that streaming HD using Roku/Netflix, and cable providers offering HD content is now closing the window of opportunity for Blu-ray. I'm not buying that theory. Additionally, several other articles, including CRN's Consumers Not Planning a Blu-Ray Christmas article and Register Hardware's 'A Blu-ray Christmas?

Momentum Building for Fuel-Cell Development

December 1, 2008

Not Even Half of Old PCs Get Reused ... Sad

December 1, 2008

Worldwide demand for used PCs is greater than supply, yet less than half of PCs entering the secondary market get reused.

Only one in five PCs targeted for reuse find their way from a mature to a developing economy, tech consulting firm Gartner said in a report.

Of those machines that actually make it, only 44% get used. Major hindrances include export tariffs and high transportation costs.

"The secondary PC market offers great opportunity to specialized intermediaries, resellers, or vendors, but it is a highly fragmented and competitive market," Gartner analyst Meike Escherich said in a statement.

Refurbished PCs typically offer equal or better profit margins than new PCs, ranging from $10 to $50 for a 3-year-old machine. 

More at InformationWeek.

(And thanks to for the photo.)

Gadgets Help Drive Black Friday Sales

December 1, 2008

Despite one of the worst economic climates in decades, consumer spending on Black Friday hit $10.6 billion, 3% higher than the day after Thanksgiving in 2007, according to researcher ShopperTrak.

Gadgets accounted for nine of the top 10 most popular Black Friday products, PriceGrabber said.

Data from shows that online consumers are taking advantage of promotions on popular electronics, including LCD and plasma TVs, Blu-ray disc players, digital SLR cameras, laptops and video game consoles.

The most popular products on Black Friday:
  1. Nintendo Wii Console
  2. Ugg Australia 'Classic Short' Boot (how about that!)
  3. Sony BDP-S350 1080p Blu-Ray Disc Player
  4. Samsung LN52A650 52" LCD TV
  5. Nintendo Wii Fit
  6. Panasonic TH-42PX80U 42" Plasma TV
  7. Sennheiser HD 555 Headphones
  8. Canon EOS Rebel XSi Black SLR Digital Camera Kit
  9. Acer Aspire One AOA110-1295 Notebook
  10. Canon PowerShot A590 IS Black Digital Camera
And while we are at it, here are the Top 10 categories and percent growth over Black Friday 2007:
  1. Women's Boots - 203%
  2. Watches - 202%
  3. Blu-ray/HD-DVD Players - 147%
  4. Women's Sleep & Lounge Wear - 415%
  5. Games & Puzzles - 151%
  6. Women's Jackets - 110%
  7. Music - 96%
  8. Headphones - 103%
  9. Women's Dresses - 107%
  10. Women's Casual Shoes - 143%
More at and The Washington Post.

Disney World Deal - Buy 4 Nights, Get 3 Free

December 1, 2008

Knowing I'm a Disney fanatic, Rich just sent me this amazing Disney World deal that gives you 3 nights free and includes Disney World theme park tickets. This deal is via a partnership with American Airlines. You'll also receive a $200 gift card when you travel January 4 - March 29, 2009.I have a Disney World timeshare that requires I use my points towards my vacation, so this doesn't help me any, but it might help you, so enjoy!

Here's the details:

This Deal Will Have You Floating On Air Buy 4 Nights, Get 3 Free Includes Disney Theme Park Tickets

Offer: Buy 4 Nights, Get 3 Free Book By: December 20, 2008 Travel By: January 4 - June 27, 2009


Bittorrent Kills VoIP - Game Over Man!

December 1, 2008

An interesting article at the Register claims that a recent uTorrent decision to use UDP for P2P file transfers (instead of TCP) to get around ISP "traffic management" restrictions will cause a meltdown of the Internet. Poppycock you say?

It's worth pointing out that traditionally P2P sharing apps such as Bittorrent,  use TCP not UDP. So why would UDP cause VoIP apps to fail? Well for one huge reason, TCP allows for congestion control.

Black Friday Results are in!

December 1, 2008

It appears it just might be a Merry Christmas even with the doom & gloom surrounding the economy. I guess President-elect Barack Obama must be the Messiah, since he's already creating miracles and he hasn't even been sworn in yet. Or it could just be that credit card loving Americans just don't know when to quit spending & charging.

Check this out:

NRF Survey Finds Black Friday Gets Holiday Season Off to Energetic Start
-- Great Bargains, Pent-Up Demand Drove Shoppers to Stores, Web

Though the holiday season is far from over, retailers across the country are breathing a collective sigh of relief after shoppers headed to stores and websites in droves over the weekend. According to the National Retail Federation's 2008 Black Friday Weekend survey, conducted by BIGresearch, more than 172 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend, up from 147 million shoppers last year.*

Shoppers spent an average of $372.57 this weekend*, up 7.2 percent over last year's $347.55.

Cyber Monday Amazon Deals

December 1, 2008

Amazon has a special landing page listing all their Cyber Monday deals. Amazon doesn't call it "Cyber Monday" but rather the "Black-Friday-After-Thanksgiving-Sale", so this landing page should be good until Christmas. Maybe they were afraid Cyber Monday was patented, kinda like their one-click ordering patent.

Anyway, here's the current category breakdown on the Amazon holiday specials landing page:

There are some Blu-ray DVD players for sale, including a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray Player for $199.

It's Going to be a Blu-ray Christmas

December 1, 2008

Some experts are skeptical about whether consumers will buy Blu-ray DVD players this Christmas - I am not one of them. Many are saying it's going to be a "blue" Blu-ray Christmas. I disagree. I went shopping for a cheap Blu-ray DVD player on Black Friday, with one bargain special at Wal-Mart offering a $128 Blu-ray player.

Force Skype HQ Video Mode with any webcam

December 1, 2008

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