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September 2011

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Don't Let Wi-Fi Device Onslaught Bring Enterprise Wi-Fi To Its Knees

September 30, 2011

If you are an IT or network administrator, you already know you've lost the battle against users BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) to work. Now your job is to support everything from the Apple iPad, to Blackberries, to Android devices, to new tablets like the Amazon Kindle Fire. Good times, right? You're probably stressing over whether your WiFi enterprise network can handle all these new devices entering the workplace and you're not sure you have the knowledge or tools to deal with the explosion of personal Wi-Fi devices brought into the office.

Well, I have some good news for ya.

Why Amazon Should Buy HBO from Time Warner

September 30, 2011

I was just thinking about how Amazon’s goal is to subsidize their new Kindle Fire by selling content – in particular video content, which can then be streamed using their Amazon Prime “Netflix-like” service.

In fact, on Monday Amazon said its online streaming service will offer Fox movies and television shows under a new content deal, so Amazon seems to be expanding their content licensing portfolio.

However, Amazon is at the mercy of whatever the content providers charge for TV shows and movies.

Kindle Fire Silk Browser Proxying Stokes Privacy Concerns

September 29, 2011

The new Amazon Kindle Fire will use Amazon's very own completely new Web browser called Silk that leverages Amazon's EC2 architecture to proxy and cache web content for faster performance. You might think of it as something similar to Opera Mini, a former favorite mobile browser of mine, which does something similar. What I liked about Opera Mini on my old Windows Mobile phone was that it compressed images and made pages load faster on slower connections. But as 3G speeds became more prevalent, the need for Opera Mini diminished.

Skype 2.5 for Android Adds More Video Support

September 29, 2011

Amazon Kindle Fire - Hot or Not?

September 28, 2011

The Amazon Kindle Fire 7-inch tablet aims to take on the Apple iPad, but will the Fire catch fire with consumers? Amazon has loyal Kindle e-reader users, but part of its draw is the e-ink screen which works in direct sunlight for beach book reading. It's the one-up Amazon had over the iPad which doesn't do so well in direct sunlight.

The new Kindle Fire is a color screen and not e-ink, so it loses that advantage. Further, the new Kindle Fire doesn't have a camera!

Toshiba Thrive 7 Tablet Impresses

September 28, 2011

Toshiba today announced the Thrive 7, little brother to their big brother the Thrive 10. Both Thrive models are based on Android and the original Thrive 10 has had some modest success, but the 10" tablet space is a bit more crowded. So it's a smart move for Toshiba to go a bit smaller with the Thrive 7. The Thrive 7 sports Toshiba's AutoBrite™ LED Backlit Display and interestingly has the same 1280x800 screen resolution as the Thrive 10.

New Skype for iPhone & iPad Released

September 27, 2011

Today Skype announced a new version of Skype for the iPad and iPhone with the coolest new feature being a anti-shake software algorithm that smooths the video even if you have a shaky hand. It only works with the rear-facing camera however.

I neglected to mention an important new feature in this release. The new version adds support for Bluetooth headsets, a feature that users have been clamoring for. Good timing to add BT support in the same release they're adding mobile ads.

Top 50 Technology Blogs

September 26, 2011

eCollegeFinder just came out with their list of the Top 50 Technology blogs. Esteemed sites such as All Things Digital, Chip Chick, DVICE, Engadget, Macworld, Network World, and yours truly, my VoIP & Gadget blog made the list.

I received an email from an eCollegeFinder representative informing me about this award. Excerpt: "Congratulations!

Apple iPad - Your Next Desktop Phone?

September 22, 2011

I've been thinking about how the Apple iPad could really disrupt the VoIP space and become your next desktop phone. Think about the impact to companies such as Cisco, Polycom, Aastra, snom, Grandstream, and others. While these companies do offer low-end IP desktop phones, they have higher margins on the high-end large color screen IP phones that sport advanced features like RSS feeds (weather, news), collaboration, and video conferencing.

Take for instance the Aastra BluStar media phone, which sports a 13" touch screen that achieves true HD 720p video conferencing at a rate of 30 fps or the Polycom VVX 1500, which sports a a 7" color touch-screen and 2MP camera. Both IP phones are over $650, while the latest iPad 2 can be had for $450 (16GB model).

Madison Cain, Daughter of Journey's Jonathan Cain, uses Skype for Vocal Teaching

September 21, 2011

Madison Cain, 17 year old daughter of legendary Journey keyboardist and song writer Jonathan Cain apparently works with a vocal teacher via Skype to improve her singing skills. Score another useful feature for Skype! I knew Skype was used for teaching others how to speak other languages, but didn't know the "universal" language of music was also taught via Skype. You would think that the acoustics would be different speaking into a microphone which is then transmitted over VoIP to a vocal teacher wouldn't be as accurate as the vocal teacher being there in person.

Then again, sometimes a room's acoustics can "hide" weaknesses in a singer's voice, especially if they are a loud singer with the sound bouncing off the walls.

New! Plantronics MDA200

September 20, 2011

Plantronics is launching a new line of devices designed to help companies migrate from traditional desk phone-only usage to a unified communications (UC) infrastructure, including a new a multi-device adapter, the MDA200, as well as corded and wireless USB adapters.

The goal of these Plantronics "UC Enabler" products is to leverage your existing investment in traditional voice communications, such as desk phones, headsets and audio communication devices.  The MDA200 is a multi device switcher that instantly turns any corded or wireless USB headset into a multipoint headset. The MDA200 lets you answer, end, hold and switch between calls from any connected device with a press of a button. It supports Bluetooth and DECT wireless headsets.

MDA200 Wired USB headset configuration to deskphone & USB to PC

The goal of the MDA200 is so that you can use your existing corporate desktop phones, headsets, and even softphone applications, while also enabling the employee to use their existing personal or corporate-issued) Bluetooth headset paired to their mobile device.

XSS Exploit in Skype Lets Hackers Steal iPhone Address Book

September 20, 2011

If you are using Skype for iPhone or iPod Touch, your Address Book can be compromised and stolen using a simple chat message. It leverages a Cross-Site Scripting vulnerability within the "Chat Message" window in Skype 3.0.1 and earlier versions for iPhone and iPod Touch devices.

How does it work? Skype does not properly encode the incoming users "Full Name", allowing an attacker to encode malicious JavaScript code that runs automatically when the victim views the chat message, thereby giving the attacker access to the user's file system. Apple iOS does offer some protection via a sandbox to prevent access to the core operating system's critical files.

Skype Integrated GroupMe App?

September 20, 2011

So I got this email from Skype saying this:
We’re excited to introduce GroupMe – the newest member of the Skype family.

GroupMe is the easiest way to chat with the people and groups you really know, wherever you are. GroupMe works on almost every cell phone¹ and there’s an app available for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7. Add in SMS chat² as well and you’ll be connecting with all your friends in no time at all.

And best of all, the app is free³.
In no time at all you’ll be wondering how you lived without it. Visit GroupMe to learn more, or get the free app³ today.

Happy chatting,

No smartphone?

Netflix DVD Now Qwikster - I Hate it!

September 19, 2011

Netflix is owning up to their mistake when they raised their price. I received an email from Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO, Netflix which is quite interesting.
I messed up. I owe you an explanation.

It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology.

Daring Fireball Gets It - Windows 8 Will Rival the iPad

September 15, 2011

Daring Fireball's John Gruber is as avid an Apple fan, enthusiast, zealot, freak, etc. as you will find on the Internet. Saying anything complimentary about Microsoft or Windows is akin to a Red Sox fan giving the Yankees a compliment. So it was a bit of a surprise when he amended his initial anti-Windows 8 operating system with the Metro touch UI and later stated he sees Metro / Windows 8 as a potential strong rival to the Apple iPad tablet.

Initially he wrote an article titled 'Windows 8 Fundamentally Flawed' where he wasn't too keen on Windows 8 competing with the iPad:
But I think it’s a fundamentally flawed idea for Microsoft to build their next-generation OS and interface on top of the existing Windows.

CosmoCom and Telesphere Announce Partnership at ITEXPO

September 14, 2011

Contact centers looking for a comprehensive hosted voice, email and chat solution will be happy to learn that Telesphere, a Cloud Communication Service provider today announced a relationship with CosmoCom. CosmoCom is one of the early pioneers of cloud-based contact center solutions and certainly one of the leaders in this space. CosmoCom has won multiple TMC Labs Innovation Awards, including an award way back in 2002.

Telesphere's relationship with CosmoCom provides businesses and contact center operators with a portfolio of hosted contact center applications and advanced tools including:
  • Email, VoIP and chat, all of which can be captured and archived for training and follow up.
  • Skills-based routing so customers are routed immediately to the correct agent group.
  • Cradle-to-grave reporting, enabling businesses and contact centers to track every interaction for every customer.
  • An intuitive, graphical call-flow designer, which eliminates the need for special coding skills to create and modify call flows.
  • A 100 percent Web-based design, eliminating the need for client software.
  • The ability to bolt on third-party reporting tools.
  • Support for whisper and DNIS.
CosmoCom will demonstrate the new interaction management suite at Telesphere's ITEXPO booth, No. 837.

"Powered by CosmoCom, Telesphere's new, completely cloud-based contact center solution enables businesses and contact center operators to implement advanced tools quickly and without the need for a six-figure investment in premises-based hardware and software," said Sanjay Srinivasan, Telesphere CTO.

ITEXPO Austin, Texas - Day 1 Photos Slideshow

September 13, 2011

Hookflash for iPad Launches

September 13, 2011

Hookflash is skipping the iPhone and jumping right to the larger screen iPad to offer their feature-rich peer-to-peer communications and social media app. This goes to the heart of an article I've been thinking about  for months about how the iPad could replace the desktop phone. But that is an article for another day.

Hookflash for iPad is like a softphone application on steroids featuring  group video conferencing, group messaging, and participant profiles automatically created from information derived from business and social networks. You can also think of Hookflash as a "business" version of Skype, which tends to be more "consumer" focused.

Users can set up group video calls with Hookflash from the iPad with a simple swipe of the finger.

magicJack Plus Update

September 12, 2011

Here are some updates for the magicJack Plus, which I recently reviewed.

The magicJack Plus will be officially available this week on and will be available in major retailers before the holidays.

Other important updates:
  • Number porting capability will be included.
  • The magicJack Plus will be sold for $69.95 but all current users of the original magicJack will be able to upgrade for only 50% of that cost for 60 days. This will include the device and first year of service.
  • Renewal will remain at the $29.95 annual rate. This is an increase from what it has been in the past.  It was always 19.95 before, now it will be $29.95.

ITEXPO West 2011 Austin Jeep Giveaway Has Arrived (pic)

September 12, 2011

Artisan Infrastructure Solves the MSP Competition Conundrum

September 12, 2011

At ITEXPO I met with Artisan Infrastructure's CEO Brian Hierholzer to discuss how Artisan offers a compelling cloud-based solution for MSPs and service providers. Brian explained that one problem with existing managed service providers (MSPs) is that they often compete against their service provider customers by building and selling applications. Brian explained that competitors such as Amazon and Rackspace are now offering their own hosted applications, which undercuts service providers trying to offer hosted applications such as BDR (backup & disaster recovery), email, and hosted phone services leveraging VoIP.

Artisan on the other hand is a 100% pure play wholesale infrastructure services provider. They don't do any business direct to end users so they don't compete against service providers that use their service to build applications.

ITEXPO in Austin, Texas - Business & Pleasure

September 9, 2011

Rich Tehrani snapped some more photos in Austin, Texas (including some night life shots) and he writes:
The night life here in Austin is legendary with the huge emphasis on live bands. I had a chance to check some of the bands and crowds out last night. It reminded me a bit of Greenwich Village in New York actually. These bars will be a great place for networking next week at ITEXPO for sure.

ITEXPO in Austin, Texas Just Days Away - Some Photos from Today

September 8, 2011

Daily Skype Stats in An Infographic

September 6, 2011

Would you like to see just how successful Skype is? Well, look no further than this infographic put out by Skype to celebrate their 8th birthday last week:

It's indeed impressive. Skype's Big Blog writes, "700 million minutes of free Skype-to-Skype calls each day. To put it in perspective, 700 million is the equivalent of going around the earth 28,000 times in one day, if each minute represents a mile.

HTC Unveils HTC TITAN 4.7" and 3.8" Radar Smartphones

September 6, 2011

HTC has unveiled HTC TITAN (image above), its largest screen smartphone featuring a 4.7 inch WVGA 480x800 pixel display and the smaller 3.8 inch HTC Radar, both of which run on Windows Phone 7.5 Mango operating system. The HTC TITAN sports a slim 9.9 mm (0.39 inch) aluminum shell and a whopping 8 megapixel camera with a f/2.2 aperture lens, dual LED flash, BSI sensor (for better low-light captures) and 720p video recording.

The HTC TITAN, previously codenamed HTC Eternity, is powered by a 1.5GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 205 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8255 chipset  with 512MB of RAM and integrated GPS. The internal storage memory of the device is only 16GB. I'm really surprised such a high-end smartphone sporting a large screen and a high-end 8MP camera doesn't sport 32GB of internal storage for storing lots of photos and other media (music, videos).

PowerView Offers Powerful Microsoft Lync Reporting

September 2, 2011

Unify2 PowerView is a reporting and billing solution for Microsoft Lync Server 2010 and Office Communications Server 2007 R2. It comes with pre-canned reports including a report to track ROI so you see exactly how Lync's unified communications feature-set is saving your business money.

PowerView 3.0 aggregates data collected from Call Detail Records, Active Directory, carrier billing rate tables and other data sources. According to Unify2, "PowerView effectively complements the raw transactional data contained in the Lync CDR databases and provides a rich view of the data that's correlated with the enterprise's organizational and geographical topologies, enabling enterprises to leverage a comprehensive set of PowerView reports or easily develop custom views of business data related to Lync."

NextUC Offering Limited-time free beta trial of hosted Microsoft Lync

September 1, 2011

I spoke with NextUC back in June to learn about their hosted Microsoft Lync offering but got swamped with other projects, so never wrote about them. However, I wanted to share the news that they are now offering a limited-time (2-month) free beta trial of hosted Microsoft Lync so you can try it out with no obligation.

Customers can sign up by accessing the NextUC self-provisioning trial portal and you can be provisioned within an hour after signing up. The  2-month free trial includes NextUC Enterprise and NextUC Messenger. According to NextUC, NextUC Enterprise is a cloud-based, all-inclusive voice, collaboration and conferencing platform designed for companies that want to streamline their enterprise-class telephony, instant messaging, Presence, audio, video and web conferencing and collaboration tools into one interface.

Cisco Senior Vice President Ian Pennell Keynoting ITEXPO

September 1, 2011

In addition to magicJack Vocaltec keynoting and Internet legend Bob Metcalfe at ITEXPO in two weeks, we also have Cisco Senior Vice President Ian Pennell keynoting as well. TMC has really lined up some major IP communications players at this next ITEXPO, which will be out biggest show ever!

Check out the news:

Cisco's Ian Pennell to Deliver An Opening Keynote Address at ITEXPO West in Austin

Senior Vice President of Cisco’s Small Business Technology Group to Kick-Off ‘The Communications and Technology Conference’

Michael Tribolet magicJack VocalTec CBO to Keynote ITEXPO

September 1, 2011

Rich Tehrani wrote about some important ITEXPO news worth sharing:
Two months back I told you that IP communications veteran Michael Tribolet, someone involved in the founding and growth of the VoIP space joined magicJack Vocaltec and would be at ITEXPO West in Austin Texas, September 13-15, 2011.I have great news to share and that is that Michael will be keynoting at the show at 8:45 am on Sept 13. He kicks off what is perhaps the best keynote line-up ITEXPO has ever seen - he will be followed up by representatives from Cisco, IBM, DHL, Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe and many more.
magicJack is one of my Top 20 VoIP Innovators of All Time. I recently reviewed the magicJack Plus, which still isn't officially launched (still beta). I wonder if magicJack will be launching this product at TMC's ITEXPO?

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