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Randy Savicky
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April 2010

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HP Buys Palm

April 28, 2010


Palm, the darling of the mobile phone industry 3+ years ago has fallen on bad times, but their knight in shining armor - HP - may have arrived in the nick of time. HP acquires all of Palm's assets, including some real juicy mobile phone technology patents. What HP will do with those patents remains to be seen. But any way you slice or dice it, this is huge news even if my dreams of a HTC-Palm merger are dashed.

HP and Palm, Inc. announced that HP will purchase Palm, a provider of smartphones powered by the Palm webOS mobile operating system, at a price of $5.70 per share of Palm common stock in cash or an enterprise value of approximately $1.2 billion.


Hacking trixbox Pro to Work with ClearOne Max IP

April 27, 2010


The ClearOne MAX IP SIP-based VoIP conference phones are one of my favorite conference phones. One of the reasons (besides the excellent echo cancellation) is that it you can daisy-chain multiple MAX IP phones together, up to a total of four. This provides multiple speakers, multiple microphones, and multiple dial pads distributed throughout the room. Unfortunately, the ClearOne MAX IP conference phones don't work on the Asterisk-based trixbox Pro - or at least they didn't work until I figured out a "hack" to get around the problem.

First, let me tell you the highlighted features of the Max IP:
  • Full-duplex audio
  • Distributed echo cancellation™
  • Noise cancellation
  • First microphone priority
  • Automatic gain and level controls
  • 3-way calling - allows for ad-hoc conferences without need for a conference bridge
  • VLAN tagging - allows users to manage bandwidth usage on the network
  • TLS & SRTP encryption-ready (with future release of firmware upgrade) - secures voice communications over the network
Ok, now onto my hack workaround.



FREETALK Everyman HD Webcam for Skype Available

April 26, 2010


The FREETALK Everyman HD Webcam (TALK-7140), is available for pre-orders in the Skype Shop, however, I am told that starting tomorrow they will be fully available for purchase. It features a low $49 price, and it sports resolutions up to 1280 x 720 (22.5fps), as well as smaller resolutions like 640x480 (30fps), 320x240 and 160x120. It uses 15fps for low light conditions. Skype automatically uses lower resolutions in case of degraded network or when low-performance hardware is used on either end of the video call.

Alteva's Hosted OCS 2007, Exchange & Sharepoint Offers Comprehensive Hosted UC

April 23, 2010

Alteva, a unified communications hosted solution provider recently announced a partnership with Microsoftand Broadsoft to provide a true hosted Unified Communications (UC) solution to small businesses. Alteva has connected their hosted voice and messaging services with Microsoft Communication Services product suite, including Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and Office Communications Server (OCS). Alteva is essentially offering a hosted unified communications platform that offers hosted Exchange, hosted Sharepoint, and hosted OCS ("The Big 3" Microsoft communications apps) - all from a single service provider. (not to mention hosted VoIP) Obviously, this greatly reduces the complexity of integrating the various popular Microsoft applications in-house, performing maintenance (TCO), and the upfront capital expenditure for purchasing Microsoft licenses.

Alteva claims to be the first one to to offer all three in a single hosted solution when they stated, "Alteva has been selected as one of the only hosted voice service providers to offer the complete suite of Microsoft Communication Services, with integrated voice services.

Ringio Launches Cloud-based 'Rich Calling' Service

April 19, 2010

Today, Ringio launched a new cloud-based service for small and mid-sized businesses which integrates web-based CRM and advanced telephony features. It seems a bit Google Voice-esque, but with some additional advanced CRM functionality. It works with any phone system (mobile, landline, PBX) since it leverages follow-me and call forwarding to reach your phone number. No word on number porting on their website, so I'm not sure if you have to use one of Ringio's phone numbers or if they'll port your existing number to their service.

The core app actually leverages Adobe Air. Here's a screenshot:


Features include:
- Greets contacts by name
- Treats callers according to your priorities (Normal, VIP, Blacklist)
- Remembers who the caller last spoke to
- Knows your office hours and team member availability
- With Ringio Mobile, you have the power of a high end call-center in your pocket
- Hold, transfer, redirect, deflect calls visually while on the road
- Your phone extension travels with you
- Redirect calls to another phone with one click
- All calls, your voicemails, contacts, notes, and team members at your fingertips
- Synchronized in real time with Ringio Desktop and all your team members
- Shared Corporate Address Book - One-click sharing of contacts
- Shared Customer Information -- big prospect, frequent caller, current client?
- Shared Call History - shows who the caller talked to within the company
- Team Presence - lets users know availability of team members
- Shared call-handling responsibilities


Here's the news release:

Ringio Launches New Cloud-Based 'Rich Calling' Service for SMBs


Integrates CRM, Intelligent Routing So Users See History of Interactions With Callers

SAN FRANCISCO - April 19, 2010 --Ringio, a new company founded by a group of long-time SaaS and Telephony Executives, today launched a new service for small and mid-sized businesses that brings them a combination of CRM and telephony functionality that until now has been available only through call centers and enterprise-level telephony systems.
 
Introduced at the Emerging Communications Conference & Awards (eComm 2010) here, Ringio's Rich Calling service presents calls together with their contextual details, either through the service's desktop client or through its mobile version, which also debuted today for Android-based smart phones.
 
In studying the needs of SMBs closely, the Ringio team developed Rich Calling as a software as a service (SaaS) with an emphasis on affordability, ease of setup and elegance of presentation on users' screens - whether desktop or mobile devices.




























CounterPath Launches NomadicPBX, a Mobile Enterprise Convergence Application

April 19, 2010

Today, CounterPath launched its Nomadic PBX application, which seamlessly connects all employees' mobile phones via a mobile network-based service. The NomadicPBX application is a presence-based, fixed and mobile voice, and instant messaging/short message service (IM/SMS) technology mashup with enterprise-ready features. NomadicPBX enables wireless carriers and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) the ability to offer enterprise fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) services.

Based on CounterPath's Network Convergence Gateway (NCG) platform, NomadicPBX enables wireless operators and other service providers to extend their feature sets into small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Here's the key features:

•      Pairs the mobile number to one or more SIP devices (plus the mobile phone).
•      Leverages the mobile network services and platforms that carriers already have deployed.
•      Manages the call control based on presence or end-user direction.  For example, a user may select to move the call between the mobile and soft phone (any direction).
•      Mashes up the mobile and SIP presence in one solution.

Here's the full release:

CounterPath Releases Network-Based Mobile Enterprise Convergence Mashup Application
 
The NomadicPBX application enables wireless carriers and VoIP providers to escape voice commoditization with fixed-mobile convergence services across any desk phone, softphone or mobile phone













Adobe Flash 10.1 Adds P2P VoIP, Social Networking, IM

April 16, 2010

The latest version of Adobe Flash Player 10.1 (still in beta) adds support for RTMFP Groups. This is huge because it enables clients to easily communicate with other clients in a network in order to share the transport of media and communications without maintaining a connection to every peer in the group. Groups can be defined by their functionality and access can be controlled by the client application, whether it's a VoIP app, chat app or a social networking app.

They also added support for Directed Routing, which enables a developer to create communication applications and send data messages to a specific peer in the group. Critical features of RTMFP include low latency (critical for VoIP), end-to-end peering capability, security and scalability.

Truth in Caller ID Act of 2010 Passes House - VoIP Covered Too

April 15, 2010

The House passed the "Truth in Caller ID Act of 2010", which under the bill, it makes it illegal "to cause any caller ID service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID information, with the intent to defraud and deceive." According to the bill, "To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit manipulation of caller identification information, and for other purposes". That's funny, I didn't think they had Caller ID way back in 1934?

The bill states, "It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States, in connection with any real time voice communications service, regardless of the technology or network utilized, to cause any caller ID service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID information, with the intent to defraud or deceive." So as shown in bold, VoIP is covered as well.

Fortunately, you can block your CallerID still, as the bill reads, "PROTECTION FOR BLOCKING CALLER ID IN FORMATION.--Nothing in this subsection may be construed to prevent or restrict any person from blocking the capability of any caller ID service to transmit caller ID information."

I guess no more spoofing the White House number or other famous people's phone number.

The bill gives an exemption for law enforcement, intelligence, and "political subdivision of a State".







Panoramic 360° Video Controllable Via Mouse

April 14, 2010

We've all seen cool panoramic photos. Also, many of us may have been to amusement parks where they have white domes projecting 360° video on the dome. Though there is a lot of distortion when using curved walls. Not exactly a "true" life-like 360° experience.

Twitter Statistics - Bull?

April 14, 2010

According to Techcrunch:

Twitter's Biz Stone just reeled off some key, and very long awaited stats at Chirp. The stats:
  • Twitter has 105,779,710 registered users.
  • It gets 300,000 new users a day.
  • It receives 180 Million Unique visitors a month.
  • And 75% of traffic comes from outside of Twitter.com

Can I call major BS? I'm a fan of Twitter, but there's no way there are 300,000 legitimate new users each day.

Let me fix it for ya:

It gets 300,000 new users a day, including 120,000 spammers/gamers/bots, 100,000 real users, and 80,000 real users who will use Twitter for a day and then abandon it wondering "What's the big deal with Twitter? I don't get it." So really 80,000 legit long-term Twitter users per day.






Opera Mini iPhone Review

April 13, 2010


Opera Mini has just been approved and is available in the Apple App Store. I have to admit Opera Mini was my favorite browser on my old clunky Apache 6700 Windows Mobile 6.5 phone. It was lightning fast. Opera Mini uses caching servers to compress images and text before sending the content down to your mobile device, which is what makes it so fast.

I downloaded and tested Opera Mini on my iPhone 3GS this morning and here are my thoughts.


Slideshow Test

April 11, 2010

Blackra1n on iPad Jailbreak!

April 10, 2010


George Hotz, aka Geohot has done it again - an iPad jailbreak! Geohot released an image (above) showing his jailbreak tool blackra1n on the home screen of his iPad. I'm a huge fan of Geohot since I used his blackra1n tool to jailbreak my iPhone to get glorious Categories, background apps/multi-tasking, theming, and all the other joys that come with jailbreaking. Interestingly, he's a fan of VoIP since I see Skype on his home screen. Even more reason for me to like this guy.

Skype 1.3.1 for iPhone released

April 8, 2010

Netflix on iPhone Tease

April 5, 2010

The big news last week was Netflix's announcement of a Netflix app for the new Apple iPad. Meanwhile, iPhone fans groaned that Netflix still hasn't released a streaming app for the popular and much more prevalent iPhone mobile phone. Fortunately Netflix has heard your cries and responded with the following:

Steve Swasey, VP of Corporate Communications, here. Terrific response to our news today about Netflix on the iPad. For those of you asking whether Netflix will be on the iPhone and iPod Touch: We wouldn't invite you to dinner without planning to serve dessert. In other words, we're working on it so stay tuned.

Netflix is one of my favorite methods for streaming movies and catching up on TV series I hadn't watched before, like Heroes, which I just started watching.


Unified Communications and VoIP Research Report for 2009/2010

April 1, 2010



New reports from Infonetics that I thought I'd share. They discuss how hosted VoIP services and unified communications will increase and they talk about capital expenditures on enterprise VoIP equipment. One point I'd like to highlight is they stated "Service provider revenue from residential/SOHO and business VoIP services increased 20% between 2008 and 2009, to $41.6 billion". Even in this prolonged recession, VoIP is still growing strong with no signs of slowing down!

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