Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
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Peter's View: The Channel Ecosystem

I read CRAIG'S VIEW: THE NEW CHANNEL ECOSYSTEM by Craig Schlagbaum, channel chief at Comcast. My response was too long for...

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2 Ways to Maximize Your Vendor Relationship

As channel partners, we get hammered all the time to sell vendor's stuff - even if it is unreasonable or doesn't...

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The Changing Definition of the Diameter Signaling Controller and Diameter Routing Agent (DRA)

Next week, I will be speaking at the Signaling Focus Day of LTE Asia.  The signaling focus day obviously will have...

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The Cat Video Index: A Simple View of Data Costs

By: Andy Porter, Product Manager in the Payment, Policy and Charging department at Alcatel-Lucent

The Economist has its famous Big Mac index for comparing buying power across countries. But I wanted an index that focuses on the cost of mobile data usage. That meant I had to find a data-charging equivalent of the Big Mac. I needed an item that crosses cultural boundaries, is universally understood and is available worldwide.

I considered many possibilities. But the answer arrived when I saw my daughter laughing at a video of a cat playing a piano. Obviously, the mobile data equivalent of the Big Mac is the YouTube video. It’s a universally available service that is easily measured in quantitative terms, making it ideal for comparing mobile data costs.

In honor of my daughter, I chose the classic “piano-playing cat” as the baseline video. And by the way, this cat video has been viewed over 34 million times, proving its suitability as a baseline.

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THE SECRET VALUE OF VoLTE - WHAT'S IN IT FOR CONSUMERS

By: Ed Elkin, Director, IP Platforms Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent 

Today’s consumers want faster mobile broadband, and lots of it. That’s the dominant fact shaping Mobile Service Providers’ competitive strategies. So let’s look at what you can offer these valuable subscribers with voice over LTE (VoLTE).

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California Lawmakers Plunge Some Transactions into 3rd World

California has come up with a law that hurts the very people it says it is protecting by making it difficult to...

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Globys Uses the Power of Social to Boost Carrier Sales

You may recall a commercial for Faberge Organic shampoo from decades back where the person using the shampoo said when you...

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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.

Update:
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,
Skype

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.


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