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


Jailbreaking and Ripping DVDs Now Legal in One Fell Swoop!

July 26, 2010

The copyright overlords have shined brightly this day upon us jailbreakers, phone unlockers, and DVD rippers. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today won three exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) anti-circumvention provisions, which will bring a smile to those that enjoy the freedom to do with their legally owned iPhones and DVDs/Blurays as they please. In short, you have the right to: jailbreak your phone, install any app you please, use your mobile phone on any network (unlock), and copy DVDs/Blurays. This is huge news to pirates, hackers, and legitimate users simply trying to use their mobile phone on any mobile network.

Citi Launches Citi Text Banking

July 23, 2010

Today, Citibank launched Citi Text Banking, which gives you quick updates on your Citibank and Citi credit card accounts. All you have to do is send a short command to 692484 (MYCITI) and get account information on demand. Pretty cool feature. Now you don't have to logon via a mobile phone or PC browser to get a quick balance.

Kids take photos of Earth's curvature using Balloon and Help from iPad

July 13, 2010

Oh kids these days get all the fun! I wish my science class (back in the day) offered our class a challenge to fly a cellphone with GPS & camera up into the stratosphere to take photos of the Earth's curvature. Alas, the closest I came was an egg drop contest, which was designed to teach about gravity, mass, and seat belt safety (don't ask). A firetruck ladder would drop our eggs in our homemade egg protection cases and see whose eggs survived the fall.

Tandberg Movi Review

July 12, 2010

Multi-party HD videoconferencing is often thought of as an expensive proposition that is restricted to special boardrooms with expensive video equipment and large monitor displays. One of the major driving forces behind videoconferencing is its ability to enable collaborative meetings across distances with multiple participants, so having multiple high-tech videoconferencing boardrooms can be cost prohibitive. Further, many employees work from home all or part of the week or travel, which would make attendance at a fixed videoconferencing boardroom impossible. Tandberg, now part of Cisco, aims to solve this problem by combining Mobility and Video, hence the name Movi, a new offering that enables high-definition 720p, 30fps video when used in conjunction with  the Cisco's Tandberg PrecisionHD USB camera.

Tandberg sent me the PrecisionHD USB camera to test along with Movi for the best experience, though any HD USB camera would work as well.

Business Software Alliance Report Irks Some

July 9, 2010

The Business Software Alliance's (BSA) annual Global PC Software Piracy Study was recently released, which is a comprehensive report on unauthorized software around the world. Paul Berber who wrote an article titled "Lies, damn lies and the BSA" is none to happy about it either. Apparently, South Africa merited a 35% piracy rate, while their World Cup rivals, the Brits scored the 6th lowest piracy rate in the world. The U.S.

Most Excellent (Find) on Google Maps - Wayne & Garth

July 6, 2010

You can find the funniest and coolest things on Google Maps, Google Earth, and especially Google Street View. There was the possible discovery of Atlantis on Google Earth, and the uncovering of an unknown forest containing undiscovered species in Mt. Mabu. And now with Google's mapping vans touring the world to capture every street in 360 degrees, some interesting sites can be beholden. For instance, in Google Map's Street View Horse-boy was discovered, a strange reverse Centaur that sports a human body with a horse head:

Click image above to see it on Google Maps.

Then we have Angry Norwegians in Scuba gear chasing the Google Street View van for a most hilarious photo capture. Or how bout the two guys scrambling to pose for Google Street View? Classic!

But we may now have the "most excellent" Google discovery ever!

Patriotic Video for 4th of July - American Heart

July 1, 2010

Facebook Uses BitTorrent to Upgrade Servers

June 25, 2010

Facebook has thousands of servers to maintain and upgrade scattered across many locations. Imagine you're the IT staff responsible for updating all those servers in a timely manner across the Internet so they're all running the same code. Some of these upgrades are hundreds of megabytes.

Fortunately, BitTorrent is great at distributing large files very fast via its P2P technology. Facebook's Tom Cook (systems engineering group) spoke at the Velocity Conference with a speech titled 'A Day in the Life of Facebook Operations' where he explained how BitTorrent made server deployment much faster.

Cool Octiv Mini - iPod & iPhone Dock

June 22, 2010

Altec Lansing today introduced the Octiv Mini (M102) audio dock for iPhone and iPod users ($59.95). Sporting an angular slant and a large speaker, the Octiv Mini also functions as an alarm clock when combined with the free Altec Lansing custom Alarm Rock app. Unlike most docks, the alarm display is done on the iPhone or iPod display via the free app. So I suppose one drawback is if you take your device off the dock you lose the ability to see the current time.

Altec Lansing said, "Pound for pound, the Octiv Mini holds its own against bulkier speaker systems, and is even more appealing when considering similarly priced stand-alone chargers."

"Because the Octiv Mini functions as a dock, a charger and an alarm clock with the included app, it represents an amazing value that will be appreciated by those who will not compromise on sound quality for a smaller footprint," stated Steve Schlangen, Altec Lansing product manager.

Review of iOS 4

June 21, 2010

Ars has an in-depth review of Apple's iOS 4 that is worth reading. iOS 4, previously known as iPhone OS 4, is a major update to Apple's mobile operating system. The big features include multitasking, categories, opening up of thousands of APIs to third-party developers, and a spell check that doesn't proactively change what you type, but rather underlines your questionable words in red and lets you pick from a list of suggest words.

The biggest feature is the background app support.

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