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

March 2010

You are browsing the archive for March 2010.

FaceTime Vantage - The Ultimate Unified Communications Compliance Tool

March 29, 2010

As I have mentioned in the past, controlling and monitoring Skype usage in the enterprise is very difficult. It is Skype's ability to work on any network, regardless of the types of NAT, proxy, firewall, or intrusion prevention systems that have helped make Skype such a popular application. It is this same set of characteristics that has made Skype the bane of many corporate network managers that wish to control what applications run on their network.

FaceTime Communications ( today announced the release of Vantage, a software solution for the security, management and compliance of real time and unified communications, including Skype. Vantage is the successor to FaceTime's IMAuditor, (note the name change) and it expands the support for UC platforms such as Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) and IBM Lotus Sametime and for the first time provides stringent security and compliance controls for Skype in the enterprise.

Most notable among the features integral to Vantage are extensive support for OCS Group Chat, compliance archiving and ethical wall creation for Microsoft Live Meeting and support for Call Admission Control (CAC) to manage resource allocation.  Support is also provided for logging IBM Lotus Sametime announcements, file transfer capture, scanning and controls and a host of compliance features including ethical walls, inline disclaimers and data leak prevention. 

In addition to controlling who can use Skype, the software also records the Skype instant messages, controls whether file transfers are allowed, and can control when VoIP or video can be used.

Egypt Bans Mobile VoIP

March 18, 2010

Egypt has banned international calls made through mobile VoIP internet connections, including Skype. This is obviously a big win for landline monopoly Telecom Egypt.

According to Reuters:

"The ban will apply to the three mobile operators in Egypt -- Mobinil, Etisalat Egypt and Vodafone Egypt -- who offer internet access for computers via USB and other mobile modems, as well as via mobile phone."

"The ban is on Skype on mobile internet, not on fixed, and this is due to the fact it is against the law since it bypasses the legal gateway," said Amr Badawy, the executive president of the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA).

Under Egyptian law, international calls must pass through a network controlled by majority state-owned Telecom Egypt, which this week reported disappointing earnings.

While only mentioning Skype by name, Badawy did not rule out extending the ban to other services in the future.

"We are targeting any illegal voice traffic on the mobile (internet)," Badawy said, adding that the ban was communicated to the three mobile operators earlier this week.

Windows Phone 7 Series - No Copy / Paste? WHAT???

March 17, 2010

Remember how Apple blew a lot of good will with their iPhone fans when Apple didn't include copy & paste and arrogantly claimed it wasn't needed? Other than background app support (still not available unless you jailbreak), copy/paste was the #1 complaint for the iPhone. Apple finally relented, added copy/paste and iPhone users around the world rejoiced!

Surely, Microsoft would not make the same mistake with their new forthcoming Windows Phone 7 Series mobile phones, right?

Well, would you believe Windows Phone 7 Series won't have copy/paste functionality? Are you freaking kidding me?

Debit Card Fraud - No Wonder They Get Away With It - Banks are Clueless!

March 16, 2010

I'm a busy guy, so sometimes I don't check my bank statement and debit purchases for a couple of months. Well, today I see a strange debit charge for $146.25 made on 1/12/2010 - over 2 months ago. Here's the strange part - the address for the debit charge was listed as "110 Richards Ave Norwalk, CT." "Boy," I thought to myself, "that address sure sounds familiar. I think it's the Trans-Lux building."

Sure enough, I Google the address and it's for the Trans-Lux building I used to work in several years ago - so I'm quite familiar with this building and its tenants.

Cool New Microsoft 720p LifeCams with TrueColor Technology

March 16, 2010

Microsoft today announced TrueColor Technology which they claim enhances the color and brightness of webcam video in the worst of lighting conditions. True Color Technology is a new image processing technology that automatically adjusts the picture quality to provide more colorful video. It does this through a proprietary combination of software and firmware technology. TrueColor Technology actually leverages face tracking technology developed by Microsoft Research, which can detect a person's face and help ensure it's not overexposed or underexposed, so the video call picture looks great even in the most challenging lighting scenarios.

AudioCodes SPS Brings Microsoft OCS Features to Legacy SIP Phones

March 16, 2010

Some very interesting news from AudioCodes with the launch of AudioCodes' SIP Phone Support (SPS) for Microsoft Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS). AudioCodes is well known for their VoIP gateway products - well think of SPS as a gateway between SIP IP phones and Microsoft OCS. Essentially, AudioCodes' SPS enables connectivity to Microsoft Office Communications Server using standard SIP IP phones, which then adds OCS's powerful UC functionality, including presence into your existing IP phone infrastructure.

You get even more powerful features if you use AudioCodes phones, including support for Microsoft's wideband RTA codec. SPS enables the connection of the AudioCodes 300HD IP Phone Series with Microsoft Office Communications Server, while providing Office Communications Server features, such as enhanced presence, active directory, and support for Real Time Audio (RTA) - Microsoft's high-definition, wideband coder.

IceWarp Unified Communications Server 10 Review

March 16, 2010

I tested and reviewed IceWarp Unified Communications Server for TMC's Unified Communications Magazine, which will be published very soon. I was very impressed with the product and thought I'd share my test results here. Check it out...

IceWarp Unified Communications Server 10

Pricing: 10 users=$549.54; 50 users=$2041.25; 100 users = $3821.04
30-day fully-functional trial available

Ratings Score Installation Documentation Features Usability Performance Value Overall
The buzzword "unified communications" gets thrown around pretty easily these days. Companies with solutions that cover just two or three model methods of communications often consider their products as part of the "unified communications" spectrum.

Free calls to Ireland for St. Patrick's Day

March 15, 2010

My Irish brethren, rejoice! For free mugs of beer phone calls are upon us this St. Patrick's Day! Truphone is offering free calls to Ireland, USA, the UK, Canada, and Poland all day. Not sure how or why other countries that don't have a large Irish demographic were included, i.e.

Covad Nationwide Ethernet Service Launches on Tax Day

March 15, 2010

Covad Communications, which has been testing their Ethernet service, announced today the launch date for nationwide Ethernet services - namely April 15th (aka Tax Day, "Pay the Man Day", etc). I almost went with Covad's solution when TMC moved to our new headquarters, but decided to go with Optimum Lightpath instead ($2500/month for bundled 45Mbps data + voice). In any event, according to Patrick Bennett, President and CEO of Covad, "What will differentiate this product in the market are the integrated QoS and CoS options that give our partners immense flexibility in optimizing network performance based on their application requirements."

Covad designed these services to run business-class, real-time applications like Voice over IP, video, gaming, VPNs and video conferencing through multiple traffic-handling options via Quality of Service (QoS) and Class of Service (CoS), and are backed by Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

"Ethernet is an important component of Covad's overall portfolio strategy.

New Nimbuzz Adds VoIP over 3G

March 11, 2010

Sprint Nextel Loses VoIP Outsourcing Contact with Time Warner Cable

March 11, 2010

As if the financial news for Sprint couldn't possible get worse, according to Kansas City Journal, Sprint Nextel Corp. is losing an outsourcing contract with Time Warner Cable Inc. worth as much as $250 million per year.

A spokesman for Time Warner Cable stated that they are phasing out the agreement with Sprint to handle the VoIP phone traffic for Time Warner Cable's digital phone service and would be bringing VoIP in-house.

Not paying $250 million per year to outsource VoIP services seems like a smart financial decision by Time Warner Cable. My only question is why did it take them a 4 hour window of waiting for the cable guy to show up year window to do so?


Avaya IP Office 6.0 Released

March 8, 2010

Today, Avaya IP Office 6.0 was released bringing additional new features to this tried and true SMB phone system. I reviewed Avaya IP Office back in 2004 and it certainly has come a long way since then. Avaya claims that this new version of Avaya IP Office enhances user experiences for greater productivity and that it makes UC up to 40% more affordable for companies with less than 20 employees. One of the biggest reasons how they cut costs down is via Avaya IP Office 6.0's new 'combination card' .

LastApp for iPhone = Alt-Tab

March 3, 2010

A very cool new app in Cydia called LastApp lets you quickly switch between the last two apps running on your iPhone. Think of it as Alt-Tab for the iPhone.  

It only works with jailbroken iPhones (obviously). Simply go into Cydia and then choose your activation method via the Activator preference pane in Settings. You can set it do double-tapping the Home button activates, short hold of the Home button, or single press of Home button at SpringBoard.

Skype for Symbian

March 3, 2010

Skype for Symbian is now a downloadable application for Nokia phones and works over both WiFi and 3G.  Over 200 million Symbian users around the world can now use this Skype app to make FREE calls to other Symbian mobile users without chewing up cellular minutes. That's a huge market!

You can download it from Skype or from the Ovi store.

Features include:
  • make free Skype-to-Skype calls to other Skype users anywhere in the world
  • save money on calls and texts with Skype's low rates
  • send and receive instant messages to and from individuals or groups
  • share pictures, videos and other files
  • receive calls to your online number
  • see when Skype contacts are online and available to call or IM
  • easily import names and numbers from the phone's address book
Of course, Fring already runs on Symbian, which includes Skype calling and IM.

Verizon Wireless Outage Nationwide

March 3, 2010

Verizon Wireless customers are experiencing a 3G outage nationwide. Some have been able to rectify the issue by unplugging their battery and plugging it back in, while others are still having a complete outage - both voice and data. (Verizon) Blackberry users are also offline, so no email access. Ironically, today Verizon Wireless put out a release how they've increased wireless broadband capacity on its Rochester, NY area network.

New CKEditor (FCKEditor) on Movable Type

March 1, 2010

CKEditor (formerly FCKEditor) is one of the best WYSIWYG editors. In fact, some of us within TMC have had an affectionate nickname for the old name due to it sounding very close to something X-rated. Dropping the 'F' (bomb?) might explain why they renamed it to CKEditor.

One of my pet peeves when using our old FCKEditor is that the Paste from Word is useless since it doesn't strip out all the extra crap that Microsoft Word puts into the Clipboard. Well, I tried out the new CKEditor on Movable Type and finally this feature works!

My How Far Asterisk has Come!

March 1, 2010

I just wrote about Bill Miller leaving Digium and how Bill was one of the important faces at Digium and the VoIP industry as a whole. What I wrote at the end of the article got me thinking about the VoIP industry:

I hope this [important people leaving VoIP industry] isn't the start of a trend. But if it is, this just goes to show you that the VoIP industry is constantly evolving and perhaps new blood will be a good thing. It's easy to get sentimental when people I've worked with for years leave an industry I love.

Asterisk started in late 2001.

Bill Miller Leaves Digium

March 1, 2010

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

Last week I heard Bill Miller, VP Product Management for Digium had left for another opportunity. Bill has been with Digium for as long as I can remember. He's one of the core faces of Digium and Asterisk, and I've worked with him over the years for various Digium news stories, including but not limited to the Skype for Asterisk announcement, which Bill had promised to give me a scoop on, but alas the eBay folks (public company) wouldn't allow me to have the news before everyone else. You win some, you lose some.

Featured Events