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November 2011

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TMC Heads to Boston for Video Interviews of Industry Companies

November 30, 2011


Some important TMC corporate news I wanted to share. TMC is hosting TMC’s Special Executive Editorial Event in Boston, MA next week. This event takes place at the LIBERTY HOTEL on WEDNESDAY, DEC 7th and THURSDAY, DEC 8th.

The purpose of this event is to have high-level discussions with senior members of TMC’s editorial and management team on your company’s growth and progress and to learn more about any news, announcements or new initiatives you may have as we move into 2012. Definitely a good opportunity to meet TMC's editors and find out what specific topics interest our editorial team for news coverage or to get on their radar for interesting news you have coming soon.


iMainGo XP Portable Stereo Speaker & Case for iPad Review

November 29, 2011


Portable Sound Labs has a cool new product called the iMainGo XP (model: 11BWB04), which is a portable stereo speaker for the iPad but also doubles as a protective case. I wrote about them earlier this month and asked for a review unit to check out, which they promptly sent to me. Here's a photo of the iMainGo XP sitting on a stand on my desk:


As I mentioned in my previous article, "I'd be curious how this product sounds with VoIP applications, such as Skype. With the iPad's decent hardware echo cancellation and many VoIP softphone clients sporting software-based echo cancellation, it might be nice to have beefy speakers with lots of bass and HD audio support to carry the full tonal quality of the remote speaker."

Unfortunately, once you connect the headset jack into the iMainGo XP, the iPad's built-in microphone is disabled and the iMainGoXP doesn't have an embedded microphone.





Localphone Offers Free Calling Thanksgiving Promo for 4 Days

November 23, 2011


For four days (from 5am GMT Thurs 24th to 5am GMT Mon 28th) Localphone, a 4 year old company based in Sheffield, UK, is offering free calls to the U.S., no strings attached. Truphone offered a similar promo in 2009. A Localphone rep told me, "Customers can call for as long as they want and to as many people as they want and we won't charge them a penny. This offer is open to all Localphone customers, new and old.

Samsung Mocks Apple Fanboys in Hilarious Galaxy S II Ad

November 23, 2011


Business Insider's Steve Kovach has an interesting interview with Todd Pendleton, Samsung's Chief Marketing Officer, and Brian Wallace, Samsung's VP of Strategic Marketing, on a new ad campaign that mocks Apple fanboys and promotes Samsung's top-of-the-line Galaxy S II Android phone. Steve writes:
I mostly use Apple gear, including an iPhone, and even I thought the ad was clever. It's an interesting take on a smartphone campaign. Instead of touting specs and features, Samsung is going right for Apple's jugular, mocking the fanboy culture while saying "hey, there are other great smartphones out there too." It's a ballsy move.


Just in Time for Christmas, Xbox Live Gets an Update

November 22, 2011


Just in time for Christmas, Microsoft is releasing a new update for Xbox Live, which surely will only enhance the frenetic ripping of Christmas wrapping paper that mom and dad Santa and his elves lovingly wrapped. According to Major Nelson new features include:

  • New personal and social features including Cloud Storage for Game Saves and LIVE Profile
  • Beacons and Facebook Sharing
  • Enhanced Family Settings
  • Integrated voice and gesture controls across the dashboard and in apps
  • Bing voice search (Available this year in the US, UK and CA)

He also added that starting on December 6th through the holiday months, a treasure trove of new content will be coming to Xbox 360. Also, new, customized applications for television, movies, internet videos, sports and music will begin rolling out from major providers in more than 20 countries.




Skype Offers Direct Facebook Video Calling

November 17, 2011

Skype deepened its partnership with Facebook today by adding Facebook video calling directly within Skype for both its Mac and Windows applications. The just announced Skype 5.4 Beta for Mac and Skype 5.7 Beta for Windows can initiate a Facebook video call without having to fire up your browser, log in to Facebook, and then initiate a Skype video call. While this isn't earth shattering, it is pretty convenient. Previously, you could initiate a Facebook-to-Skype call from within Facebook (With the Skype plugin).

Polycom RealPresence Connects Non-standard TIP TelePresence Systems

November 16, 2011

I've written about Polycom supporting TIP (Telepresence Interoperability Protocol) and Cisco's response to Polycom supporting it. Well, today Polycom announced a new software update for Polycom RealPresence Platform designed to "free users locked into proprietary telepresence solutions."

This update will allow customers with standards-based video collaboration solutions, like Polycom, to join calls with non-standard based telepresence systems, like Cisco. The solution is made possible by Polycom's support for the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP), developed by Cisco and only implemented on Cisco TelePresence System suites. The latest RealPresence Platform software update, released today, also further extends interoperability across Microsoft and IBM UC environments.

Oh no! VoIP is Going Down. Big Bad Bear Economy Taking its Toll

November 16, 2011

Well, whaddya know, the VoIP industry is not invincible to the Great Recession, which started way back in 2008. For the longest time, VoIP was one of the stellar performers even in this down economy. Back in 2009 I wrote, "An interesting report by IBISWorld, Inc. just named VoIP as the predicted #1 performer In 2009 - it even beat video games. Yet more proof that VoIP isn't dead and indeed VoIP is the one shining bright spot in an otherwise dismal bear economy." But even the mighty VoIP (Chuck Norris?) cannot withstand a bear market going on 3+ years.


Chuck Norris (VoIP) vs.


Scientists boost battery strength by Drilling Holes in Battery. Say what?

November 16, 2011


Now you would think it would be counter-intuitive that poking millions of minuscule holes in a lithium-ion battery would result in more power. Boy, if I knew that were the case I'd take a shotgun to my iPhone 4S battery right now. Poor iPhone 4S battery life solved!

Scientists at Northwestern University figured out a way to stuff more of the ions in and to speed up their movement by altering the materials used to manufacture a battery.


Netflix Brings Revamped Interface to Android Before iPad

November 15, 2011


Apple's iPad may be the tablet market leader right now, but certainly not for long. Today, a report was released by Gartner saying that 50% of all mobile phones sales are Android. That may explain why Netflix gave some love to the Android platform via a slick new user interface before Apple iOS. I can't remember any major app or new version of a major app coming to the Android platform before iOS.

Blue Jeans Networks Makes Skype & Microsoft Lync Interoperate

November 11, 2011


I've written about and reviewed Blue Jeans Network's multipoint telepresence solution, which bridges H.323 and SIP end-points, PSTN — and even Skype, with the goal of allowing users to connect everything from high-end video telepresence systems like Tandberg/Cisco and Lifesize to web cams running Skype to desktop IP videophones from Polycom, Grandstream, Cisco, and others. I mentioned back in May they were working on adding Microsoft Lync support. Well, now they have it.

According to a TMCnet article, it is showcasing “the industry’s first video conferencing interoperability between Skype and Microsoft Lync” at The Enterprise 2.0 Conference held at Santa Clara, California, November 14-17.

The new Blue Jeans individual plans include: $69 per month individual plan for 500 minutes (less than 14 cents per minute), $99 per month individual plan for 1,000 minutes (less than 10 cents per minute), and $199 per month individual plan for unlimited minutes (as little as 1 cent per minute).

I'll have to review it again and test the Microsoft Lync to Skype interoperability. Good stuff!






Control Siri with Your Brainwaves!

November 11, 2011


If you think controlling the iPhone's Siri with your voice is cool, imagine controlling it with your brainwaves. Project Black Mirror has an actual working prototype that controls the iPhone's Siri voice recognition app! Here's how they say it works:

1. ECG pads provide raw skin conductivity / electrical activity as analogue data (0-5v).
2.



Yelp Mocks Rick Perry in App Store

November 11, 2011


Yelp fixed three bugs in its iPhone app yesterday, but the interesting part  was how they got a 'dig in' on Republican candidate for President, Texas Governor Rick Perry. Yelp lists the three bug fixes as:

- Bookmarks-related bugs
- iOS5 styling and layout bugs that are now gone
- And the um… uh, what’s the third one? Let’s see… Bookmarks iOS, layout and the um.. the third one we can’t recall.




Bria VoIP Softphone now available on iTunes

November 11, 2011


CounterPath's Bria 3, a VoIP softphone app is now available for purchase on iTunes. Bria 3 is a softphone that enables you make voice and video calls from your Mac or PC. The ability to make this software purchase directly from iTunes is for Macs only, even though CounterPath offers a PC-version of Bria. PC users will have to purchase directly from CounterPath.

Obviously, CounterPath would prefer to sell direct to users so Apple (via iTunes) doesn't take a 'cut' of the revenue, but they must figure it's worth the extra exposure to be on iTunes and allow for instant purchase. The price for Bria 3 is $49.99.


iOS 5.0.1 for iPhones & iPads Released! Battery life Fixed?

November 10, 2011



Apple appears to be rolling out 5.01, which includes some bug fixes and purportedly a fix for the battery problems.

Here's what you'll see in iTunes if you check for updates:

iOS 5.0.1 Software Update

This update contains improvements and other bug fixes including:

    •    Fixes bugs affecting battery life
    •    Adds Multitasking Gestures for original iPad
    •    Resolves bugs with Documents in the Cloud
    •    Improves voice recognition for Australian users using dictation

Products compatible with this software update:

    •    iPhone 4S
    •    iPhone 4
    •    iPhone 3GS
    •    iPad 2
    •    iPad
    •    iPod touch (4th generation)
    •    iPod touch (3rd generation)

For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website:
    <http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222>

Interestingly, my iPhone didn't seem to do an over-the-air update to this latest firmware, which is one of the cool new features of iOS 5. Maybe the next version will support it? For now, just connect your iPhone or iPad, launch iTunes, check for updates and it'll find it.

Update:
Actually, I had a co-worker go into Software Update on the iPhone 4S and he was able to manually update the firmware directly from the iPhone. It was only a 55MB download.






























iOS 5 hides an Android-like autocorrect keyboard bar - Here is why it sucks

November 10, 2011


There's a cool hidden feature in iOS 5, which hides an Android-like autocorrect keyboard bar. Android fans everywhere are crying foul! You can enable it even without jailbreaking.

Here's the tutorial (via Sony Dickson)

1.




Adobe Surrenders Mobile Flash - Steve Jobs FTW, Users FTL!

November 9, 2011



I had hoped that with Steve Jobs' passing that Flash for the iPhone/iPad might now be possible, but alas with today's news from Adobe that they're killing off mobile Flash, my hopes were bitterly crushed. It's not that I'm a huge fan of Adobe Flash on mobile devices, but it's the best technology that just plain damn works! I can't tell you how many times I've surfed the web on my iPhone 4S and iPad and I can't play an embedded YouTube clip. If you're on an Android device, you have no problems playing any YouTube content.

A commenter to my blog article has a good point when he writes:
There are a number of educational applets that I would like to use in the classrooom but I can't in the iPad because they are in Flash and Java.  See http://phet.colorado.edu/ to see things that real educators have spent a lot time on that have real value in the classroom that are blocked by this stupid obsession. 




Republic Wireless Hybrid WiFi / Cell VoIP Service for $19/month

November 8, 2011

What if you could get a cellular plan for $19/month with unlimited voice? Well, you can (sort of) using republic wireless's hybrid WiFi/cellular network approach. It includes unlimited WiFi VoIP calling, 550 minutes of cellular voice calling, 150 texts, and 300 megabytes of data. republic wireless is a division of Bandwidth.com, whose network and solutions power Google, Pinger, Skype, Groupme, RingCentral, Phonebooth, and others.



The caveats: There is a $199 startup fee, which gives you a LG Optimus phone running Android 2.3.



iMainGo XP Portable Stereo Speaker & Case for iPad

November 7, 2011


Portable Sound Labs has a new product called the iMainGo XP (model: 11BWB04), which is a portable stereo speaker for the iPad but also doubles as a protective case. It works on both the iPad 1 and iPad 2. It sports a rechargeable lithium ion battery, so it doesn't suck the power from the iPad and delivers at least six hours of playtime between charges. What's nice is that you can play audio and view your iPad without removing it form your protective iMainGo case.
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