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



Top 20 VoIP Innovators of All Time

June 13, 2011

VoIP has come a long way since it was first popularized by VocalTec in the mid 1990s. Here is a slideshow of the Top 20 VoIP Innovators of all time with photo captions explaining why they merit this top 20 ranking. Most innovators are companies, but not all. Two important VoIP standards make the list, which cannot be attributed to a single individual or company.

Blue Jeans Network Bridges Skype, SIP, H.323 for Multipoint Telepresence Solution

May 9, 2011

Blue Jeans Network has been quietly developing a new cloud-based video conferencing and collaboration service that 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. This solves a major problem with video conferencing and telepresence since interoperability, while it has improved, still doesn't take into account legacy H.323 end-points or users that only have inexpensive webcams. Blue Jeans Network plans to support Google and Microsoft Lync as well. Their cloud-based service handles the transcoding of audio and video codecs as well as manages the meeting IDs, PINs, etc.

Flash 10.2 Adds Full Screen on Separate Monitors

February 9, 2011

Flash 10.2 finally adds the ability to watch full screen video on a separate monitor while you continue to work on your primary monitor. Guess this makes the popular Flash full screen hack called FlashHacker obsolete. Now everyone can happily watch Hulu, YouTube, Liveleak, and all other Flash video in full screen on a second monitor while simultaneously checking email and surfing the web.  In theory, any Flash-based video conferencing product (i.e.

IRS Closes Online Sellers Income Tax Loophole

December 28, 2010

Starting in 2011, all U.S. payment providers including PayPal will be required by the IRS to report sales information about certain merchants to the IRS. Power sellers on eBay and other online selling websites will be impacted by this new tax requirement. Before PayPal did not report your income to the IRS, so online sellers could 'fudge' their revenue reporting.

Mystic Aquarium Gets Political

September 22, 2010

I just received an email from Mystic Aquarium that is very political. Considering Sea Research Foundation, Inc., the owners of Mystic Aquarium, is a charitable non-political organization and one of my favorite destinations to take my family, I was a bit miffed. (Note: My wife and I have paid Mystic Aquarium memberships and have donated to them as well)

First let me point out that Connecticut currently has a Republican Governor (Jody Rell) and the email takes two direct swipes at the current Governor. The first salvo was, "As many of you know, this past year tourism in Connecticut has taken a major hit, particularly due to the fact we are the only state in the United States who budgeted no money for tourism marketing.

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.

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.

Amazon Should Collect Taxes? Over my Dead Gadget-Loving Body!

December 28, 2009

The NY Times must be smoking the weed again. They have an article posted the day after Christmas arguing that Amazon should charge customers state taxes to help fill the state's tax coffers.

The NY Times writes, "Competitors aren't the only ones hurt by Amazon's stance on sales taxes: it also means the loss of considerable revenue to states and localities that badly need it." So because the states "badly need it", the NY Times argues Amazon should give up some of their capital wealth and spread it around to all 50 states? Last I checked, we still live in a capitalist republic not a socialist state. Let me explain the Constitution to ya NY Times, so you understand why charging intrastate taxes is unconstitutional.

First, let me cite Article IV of the Articles of Confederation, which was the first constitution of the United States and formed the core basis for the adoption of the final Constitution.

The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different States in this Union, the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States; and the people of each State shall free ingress and regress to and from any other State, and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties, impositions, and restrictions as the inhabitants thereof respectively, provided that such restrictions shall not extend so far as to prevent the removal of property imported into any State, to any other State, of which the owner is an inhabitant; provided also that no imposition, duties or restriction shall be laid by any State, on the property of the United States, or either of them.

In order words, it was critical that states not pass legislation which punished other states via taxes or levies, which could be used to try and gain an unfair competitive advantage.

Further, the final Constitution in Article I Section 10 (Powers prohibited of States) states:

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Control of the Congress.

Therefore, the Constitution specifically prohibits interstate taxes and this forms the core heart of American federalism. ConXit Connection Wizard Helps You Find Right Connector for Home Theater, PC, and more

November 19, 2009

Ever get frustrated trying to convert Component to HDMI or convert from one video connector to another because your TV is 10 years only and doesn't support HDMI? Even if you are a home theater guru, the number of converter options and cabling options can be immense and downright confusing.

Well,, a manufacturer of hard-to-find connectivity and technology parts, launched the ConXit Connection Wizard, an online tool that helps users find the right converter, extender, splitter, interface card, cable and more. The search tool will help you find the right connector for Bluetooth, BNC, CameraLink, Coax, Compact Flash, Component, Composite, Digital Coax Audio, DVI, eSATA, ExpressCard, HDMI, RJ-11, RJ-45, and more.

This online tool recommends the best products for connecting IT and/or audio-video peripherals after just two easy steps.

Step One - Select the type of connector for the peripheral or device you wish to connect from a drop down list of options.

Step Two - Select the connection type on the host computer or component.

Facebook Provides Alibi to Man Charged with Robbery

November 12, 2009

Who knew that a Facebook status update simply stating "Where's my pancakes" would provide an alibi for a man charged in a robbery. Rodney Bradford, a 19-year-old resident of the Farragut Houses, was arrested on robbery charges, but was let go when the district attorney subpoenaed Facebook and verified that the status update had actually been typed from a computer located in his dad's house in Harlem at the time of the robbery. When the IP address info and timestamp was confirmed, the charges were dropped.

Of course, now every criminal will simply ask their friends or spouse to logon as them and post stuff to Facebook, Twitter, etc. at the time they commit some crime.

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