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January 2009

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Dual Stack SIP and Skype IP Phone Coming

January 30, 2009

Image is of the IPEVO Solo Desktop Skype phone not the forthcoming product. But picture something like this device that supports SIP, Skype, and has a color LCD

A source has told me about an interesting new VoIP/Skype product that is coming to market in Q3 2009. It's your typical desktop IP phone supporting the standard SIP stack, however it has an interesting twist - it also supports the Skype protocol.

The product is a dual-stack desktop phone supporting both the SIP and Skype protocols. Picture a Cisco, Polycom, or Aastra SIP-based phone that also supports Skype!

Speculation that eBay wants to offload Skype

January 26, 2009

According to The Times of London, rumors are that eBay wants to sell Skype after paying $2.6 billion to acquire Skype back in 2005. I wrote back then a few times that I thought eBay overpaid for Skype.

Let's assume the rumors are true. Who would be a potential buyer?

Ready for ITEXPO?

January 26, 2009

Verizon VoiceWing Exits VoIP Business

January 26, 2009

Verizon VoiceWing customers received letters in the last couple of days saying, "We regret to inform you that effective March 31, 2009, Verizon will no longer offer VoiceWing. At that time, all VoiceWing service will be terminated". Rumors of VoiceWing's demise have been circulating, especially with Verizon FiOS (Voice, Video/TV, data) a much more profitable long-term business than single-play VoIP. I should add that Verizon stopped marking VoiceWing last year.

Verizon VoiceWing uses a locked Linksys PAP2 ATA, but the letter says they don't want the ATA back, once again fullfilling prediction #2 in my 2005 VoIP predictions.

I wrote:
2) VoIP providers will continue to harp that the government shouldn't impose any regulations on VoIP and that the industry should be open & free, while simultaneously VoIP providers will continue to alienate their customers by password-protecting and locking the customer's ATA (analog telephony adaptor), thus preventing customers from easily switching to another VoIP provider and using the same ATA. This is hypocrisy at its worst!

DNS Issue Temporarily Cripples Packet8 VoIP Service

January 23, 2009

A source tipped me off to a Packet8 VoIP service outage last night & today caused by a DNS issue. I contacted 8x8/Packet8 and Joan Citelli, Director, Corporate Communications for 8x8, Inc. to find out what caused the VoIP outage. Joan told me the following:

"We are providing all subscribers who experienced this issue with the following explanation and resolution procedure via email and customer support calls. Let me know if you have any further questions."

At 7 pm last night (January 22, 2008) changed the DNS for and by omitting the DNS and substituting a landing page in its place.  The net result was call failure and inability to find Packet8 website.

Verizon Hub News

January 23, 2009

As I wrote a few days ago, Verizon plans to launch the Verizon Hub. I just learned the Verizon Hub will launch February 1st. As I also was the first to point out, my source told me that the Verizon Hub is essentially the same thing as the Verizon One (created by OpenPeak), which I wrote about in March 2007. In my post from a few days ago, I wrote, "One of my sources told me that the Verizon Hub is the same thing as the Verizon One, but apparently Verizon changed the name to the Verizon Hub deskphone."

The Verizon Hub is the evolution of the Verizon One. As part of that evolution, I hope they no longer restrict you to surfing specific websites. Or if they do have to limit it, I hope the list of allowed websites includes YouTube, Digg, Yahoo!

New HTC Touch Cruise

January 22, 2009

HTC today announced the HTC Touch Cruise, a mobile phone that is optimized to run as a personal navigation handset with its inbuilt GPS and ability to geotag places you go with a photo and audio notes. The new HTC Touch Cruise is an update to last year's popular HTC Touch Cruise model, but it sports a more compact design and several new features.

Of particular note is HTC Footprints, an application that enables you to chronicle places you visit by capturing "digital postcards" on the phone that includes a 3.2MP photo, along with the ability to attach notes and an audio clip to remind you of the location's significance. Footprints will automatically geotag the specific GPS coordinates, and even auto-names each "postcard" with its general location or area.

The HTC Touch Cruise can also be used as an advanced in-car navigation system.  Just stick it into its car cradle and the HTC Touch Cruise automatically transforms its user interface into an easy-to-use, one-touch interface with turn-by-turn directions.

It sports a decent 2.8 inch QVGA display along with HTC's TouchFLO technology. Because it's only QVGA, tt's not TouchFLO 3D, but rather TouchFLO 2D.  Still, the TouchFLO 2D UI for Windows Mobile 6.1 is an improvement over the regular UI.

Verizon Hub Web browsing VoIP Phone Gadget Coming

January 20, 2009

Back in March 2007 I wrote about Verizon VoiceWing VoIP FiOS service with a brand new phone called Verizon One, sporting a touch-screen, stylus, Internet access, VoIP, and more. It's pictured here:

Well, according to Boy Genius Report, it appears that a new product called the Verizon Hub deskphone is launching and is even in Verizon stores with a "do not open until further instructions order". I looked at the Verizon Hub pictures and it looked identical to the Verizon One. One of my sources told me that the Verizon Hub is the same thing as the Verizon One, but apparently Verizon changed the name to the Verizon Hub deskphone. It's possible it has additional features.

TechCrunch Touchpad - Needs 3G/4G/EVDO, Skype, and VoIP

January 19, 2009

TechCrunch has a prototype of their tablet PC featuring a touchscreen, Wi-Fi, an accelerometer, a camera and a four cell battery running on a stripped down version of Linux. Well, actually they're running the prototype on full-fledged Linux, but they promise better performance once they strip out all the extra stuff.

According to TechCrunch:
The device has a 12-inch touchscreen with a 4:3 aspect ratio (which is ideal for web browsing in my opinion). It is powered with a Via Nano processor, which has performed at par with the Intel Atom in our testing. 1 GB of ram (its more than we need) and a 4 GB flash drive to store the OS and browser and any cache.

HTTP Error 500 19 when upgrading Office Communicator Phone Edition firmware URLs on Windows 2008

January 19, 2009

Skype and IBM add LotusLive Integration via IBM Cloud Services

January 19, 2009

According to a Skype spokesperson, at Lotusphere 2009 in Orlando, FL, IBM and Skype previewed the planned integration of Skype functionality with LotusLive, IBM's new cloud services which are designed to "help individuals build communities to work smarter, more effectively and more efficiently across and beyond their own companies." To be honsest, I'm not familiar with LotusLive, but effectively this sounds like collaborative cloud computing with Skype capabilities thrown into the mix. Skype's voice & video capabilities will be added to the Borg LotusLive Collective.

Here's the full details:

Skype and IBM collaborate on LotusLive Integration for the Enterprise
Skype voice and video calling to be available for global businesses via IBM Cloud Services

Skype today announced it will integrate Skype™ functionality with LotusLive (, IBM's new cloud services which are designed to help individuals build communities to work smarter, more effectively and more efficiently across and beyond their own companies. Skype's voice and video calling will add rich, real-time communications capabilities to LotusLive, making it even easier for enterprises to collaborate in the cloud.

This planned integration, which was previewed at IBM Lotusphere 2009 in Orlando, FL, will join LotusLive collaborative services with Skype Internet communications to create a seamless communications experience for our mutual customers. Employees of companies using LotusLive will be able to use Skype to initiate voice and video calls, simply by clicking on their contacts' Skype names or phone numbers within LotusLive. Future possibilities include the ability to import Skype contact information into IBM cloud services to enhance online collaboration.

"Our relationship with IBM demonstrates how serious Skype is about bringing the benefits of 'anytime, anywhere, any mode' Internet communications to the enterprise environment," said Scott Durchslag, Skype's Chief Operating Officer.

AT&T TL7610 headset review

January 19, 2009

AT&T sent me their new TL7610 DECT 6.0 headset for review last month and I finally got around to writing up the review. My first impressions were very positive. It sported a nice sleek and ergonomic headset base with well-labeled buttons and LEDs for figuring things out without need for the manual. Like the base, the headset piece was also sleek and ergonomic with a slight curve to the microphone piece.

The 2009 VoIP Surge Theory

January 16, 2009

Don Witt, President of cyLogistics, theorizes that the stock market meltdown and slowing economy will actually spur faster VoIP growth in an article he penned for TMCnet.

He writes, "More and more executives will be under the gun to cut costs. There are a number of ways to cut costs but one way to cut costs tends to jump out at you -- the PHONE BILL. This will force many companies to take the digital/VoIP plunge. As a result, VoIP sales will increase significantly over the next year or two."

He adds, "The stock market crash has effectively pulled in the VoIP growth curve by 6-12 months or more!

President-Elect Barack Obama's $40 billion <strike>Handout</strike> Bailout to Internet Providers

January 15, 2009

President-Elect Barack Obama is planning to send up to $40 billion in grants and loans bailout funds toward improving broadband availability and speeds as part of broader economic stimulus efforts, according to UBS analysts.

According to Telephony Online:
A draft of the proposed $825-billion economic stimulus bill circulating on Capitol Hill today lists $6 billion for expanding broadband "so businesses in rural and other underserved areas can link up to the global economy," adding that this provision could well aid the job-creation goals of the larger economic stimulus effort.

PC World writes: The money will "strengthen the economy and provide business and job opportunities in every section of America with benefits to e-commerce, education and health-care," a House Appropriations Committee document said. "For every dollar invested in broadband the economy sees a ten-fold return on that investment."

10X the return? I'm not buying it. My BS meter just went off the scale.

Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Collocation Server Roles Supported

January 15, 2009

IT Administrators like to consolidate as many server roles & applications as they can on a single server, while maintaining reliability and compatibility. Of course, Office Communications Server 2007 has many components (Edge Server, Media Server, Director, Front-End Server, Web Conferencing Server, etc.), some of which must be installed on separate servers and cannot be collocated on the same computer. Consolidating as many server roles as possible not only reduces hardware costs, but makes administration and maintenance easier as well, thus lowering TCO. Microsoft has released a useful chart identifying which components that explicitly cannot be collocated and those that can.

Nortel Fights On

January 15, 2009

Nortel - will they or won't they file for bankruptcy? Will they be chopped up into pieces and sold off? All the news these past few months leading to a crescendo of news yesterday stating Nortel is planning to file for bankruptcy. Certainly, all the rumors didn't help their stock any.

YouTube Kills Fair Use, Mutes Audio

January 14, 2009

Apparently YouTube has decided to ignore the whole "fair use" thing. You know, the law whereby you are allowed limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as use for scholarship or review. Fair use also allows for copyrighted materials to be used in spoofs, parodies, etc.

Many YouTube users create an original video using their favorite song as the audio in the background. They won't be able to do that any more, since YouTube has started muting any videos that use unauthorized copyrighted music.

Avaya acquires Nortel rumors

January 14, 2009

With today's news of Nortel's potential bankruptcy flying, my fellow TMC team members have been trading emails back-and-forth about Nortel's future. (See also Rich's overview).

Brendan Read had an interesting take that I thought I'd share:
This could cause a political firestorm in Canada: Nortel being a Canadian company, Avaya being American, expected more job losses from consolidation, Stephen Harper's Conservative minority government being propped up by the center-left parties including a resurgent Liberal party under its US-educated new leader Michael Ignatieff, and the bulk of Nortel's jobs being in the battleground province of Ontario.

Parliament resumes later this month with a new budget--and his deal could add enough explosives to the mix to ignite another election. Harper is a superb political gameplayer which is why he stopped the sale of the firm that made the Canadarm to an American outfit.

He then pointed to an Industry Week article where the sale was blocked by the Canadian government.

So is an Avaya acquisition of Nortel in the works?

<strike>5</strike>6 Reasons to Attend Digium Asterisk World in Miami

January 13, 2009

Bill Miller over at Digium today blogged 5 reasons why you should attend Digium Asterisk World in Miami taking place just a few short weeks away from February 2nd-4th, which is co-located with TMC's Internet Telephony Conference & Expo (ITEXPO).

Left-to-right clockwise: Steve Sokol, John Todd, Russell Bryant, Dave Rodriguez (TMC), Greg Galitzine (TMC), Jane Brooks, Tom Keating (TMC), Bill Miller

Bill forgot to mention another important reason - all the networking and meeting with industry insiders at ITEXPO, which also includes eating at great restaurants and fun dinner reception parties at the show. Now, the picture above isn't from ITEXPO - it's my visit to Digium's offices - but it may as well have been from ITEXPO since we always go out to fantastic restaurants with major VoIP vendors to discuss the IP communications industry and meet the people who design/engineer or market VoIP products and services.

While there is plenty of important business to be had at ITEXPO, I find that I acquire some of the best information at these dinner parties where I meet industry heavyweights in a more relaxed atmosphere. I've pried some NDA information from some vendors after they've had a few beers.

I'll have to remember to snap a few photos at this upcoming ITEXPO at the various after-show functions & parties.

Nortel uses Unreal Engine and Lands Lenovo as a customer of web.alive

January 8, 2009

Apparently, my skepticism over Nortel web.alive was lost on Lenovo since Nortel and Lenovo today announced the first-ever customer to its web.alive Virtual World Application. Lenovo uses web.alive to let shoppers browse, demo and interact with other shoppers and Lenovo Staff in real-time 3D.

In addition, Nortel has licensed the Unreal gaming Engine for web.alive Engine which they claim will create more realistic, interactive 3D Environment for Web 3.0 Collaboration, Training and Commerce. Wow, I used to play Unreal on my old PC. If Nortel web.alive uses the Unreal Engine and looks anything like the video game I used to play, then maybe I'll retract some of my skepticism.

D2 Technologies Improves its vPort VoIP Software for Development of Next Generation WiMAX, Femtocell and Mobile Handsets/Devices

January 8, 2009

Some interesting news from D2 Technologies worth sharing. It's worth mentioning that D2 offers the mCUE mobile convergence software solution, which combines a communications user interface with the company's vPort MP VoIP software platform targeting OEMs and service providers to help deliver integrated Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) and Unified Communications (UC) functionality.

Their news today involves WiMAX, femtocells, and fixed mobile convergence (FMC). Many predict (myself included) that 2009 will be the year of WiMAX, FMC, and femtocells. Though I think femtocells won't really getting going until late 2009.

At CES D2 Technologies is announcing a significant upgrade to its flagship embedded VoIP software, vPort, supporting processors from market leaders such as Cavium, Freescale, LSI, Ralink, AMCC, Ikanos and TI for OEMs developing the latest in dual mode and IP phones, CPE communications products and other mobile devices.

Here's the news...

D2's vPort optimizes support for video calls, high definition audio, Windows® CE/Mobile applications and remote security management.

D2 Technologies, the market leader in embedded IP communications software platforms, today announced the next generation of its flagship vPort product line, enabling OEMs and service providers to cost-effectively and quickly deliver to market the most advanced mobile and CPE communications products.

SanDisk G3 SSD Memory Blows Away Hard Drives' Performance

January 8, 2009

SanDisk today unveiled its third-generation family of solid-state drives (SSDs). Using multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory technology, SanDisk's G3 Series of SSD memory has incredible performance benchmarks. The G3 SSDs are more than five times faster than the fastest 7,200 RPM hard disk drives and more than twice as fast as SSDs shipping in 2008, clocking in at 40,000 RPM and anticipated sequential performance of 200MB/s read and 140MB/s write. Even the fastest hard drives I've seen to date, which I have installed on serveral servers at TMC, currently max out at 15,000 RPM.

They were designed as drop-in replacements for hard-disk drives (HDDs) in notebook PCs, the initial members in the SanDisk G3 family are SSD C25-G3 and SSD C18-G3 in the standard 2.5" and 1.8" form factors, respectively, each available with a SATA-II interface.

Skype Lite Java client

January 8, 2009

Skype announced Skype Lite for Java-enabled phones, including the Google Android, but it should also work on Windows Mobile with Java installed.

Skype Lite is the first native VoIP client using Java. I guess my prediction of a Flash-based Skype client was a little off. From a technical standpoint Java is better suited to an application than Flash, which is better at multimedia stuff.

In any event, Skype is submitting the app to Google's Android Market today according to Techchuck.

Since Skype Lite is Java-based, it should work on several mobile phone brands, including Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Motorola, and others. Don't expect the full-fledged features of the regular client though. Even the native Windows Mobile Skype client will have more features than the Java version.

CNAM (CallerID with Name) on Asterisk using Reverse Phone number lookup

January 7, 2009

CallerID is cool, but CallerID with Name (CNAM), -- also known as Calling NAMe -- is where it's at. When you go with a traditional phone provider (non-VoIP) they'll often offer you CallerID with Name for an additional fee. But penny-pinching Asterisk & VoIP fans want CallerID with Name too. Unfortunately, too often the SIP trunks or traditional PSTN trunks (analog, T1/E1) connected to your Asterisk IP-PBX don't provide CallerID with Name - just regular CallerID (number only).

Microsoft Unified Communications Tips and Tricks

January 6, 2009

Now that OCS 2007 R2 has RTM (released to manufacturing), I thought I'd share Microsoft's brand new Unified Communications Tips and Tricks Flashcards for End-Users which includes some cool tips for their Office Communications Server 2007 platform. The image above is a sample. The slide deck is specific to OCS 2007 and not OCS 2007 R2. However, there is lots of feature overlap, so I'm sure they're still useful for the early birds using OCS 2007 R2 and those still using OCS 2007 of course.

Truphone Adds Skype Features, Twitter, MSN Messenger, and more

January 5, 2009

Truphone has added a new Skype feature that will allow iPhone and iPod Touch users to make calls and instant message other Skype users.  This new feature is scheduled to go live to consumers the week of Jan. 12, but it's available for a select few media that inquire. I'm going to try it very shortly.

You now will have the ability to make and receive Skype calls and instant message Skype users from your iPhone or iPod touch. Truphone customers on both Apple devices can contact their Skype friends via their Skype IDs.

Related Entries with Images & Recent Assets Linked to Entries

January 2, 2009

Movable Type bloggers ♥ related entries template recipes and I've come up with what I think is one of the best ones out here. Further, Movable Type bloggers using version MT 4+ with its built-in Asset Management have also been clamoring for the ability to display not just Recent Assets (images in this case) but Recent Assets hyperlinked to the actual Entry where the image was used. I've come up with such a method, so read on...

By default, Movable Type's Recent Assets widget simply links to the image location and not the context of where the image was used. Of course, an image asset can be used multiple times in multiple blog entries, so my template recipe limits it to the most recent entry.

Hard Drives Slow Down With Loud Background Noise

January 2, 2009

Apparently, disk drives are more sensitive to minor vibrations than previously thought. A blog post by Sun Microsystems engineer Brendan Gregg called "Unusual disk latency" discovered unusually high disk I/O latency during a streaming write test. He explains how disk drives latency can shoot up dramatically when someone shouts at them making them perform more slowly.

Yes, that's right, he can make his hard drives slow down simply by screaming at them. We've all been there, screaming at our PCs or Macs, i.e.

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