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


PhoneRanger 2.0 Review

August 11, 2005

Drew Robertson over at PhoneRanger was kind enough to send me a PhoneRanger 2.0 USB wireless headset that works with any VoIP client, including Skype, Xten, SJPhone, etc. Drew actually sent the unit to me back in May, but I was too busy at the time to review their wireless USB-based headset which they are marketing as "a new wireless headset for Voice Over IP, Podcasting and Internet Radio".

The PhoneRanger 2.0 is a pretty nifty device that gives you hands-free access to your PC's sound card, by connecting to the sound card's speaker and the microphone port. In fact, the speaker and microphone plugs from the PhoneRanger were a tad short. I wanted to use the USB port in the front of the PC, but the audio plugs wouldn't reach to the back of the PC, so I had to use one of the rear USB ports.

Phantom Speeding Tickets suck

August 9, 2005

I got pulled over in the Viper today for not speeding. Yep, you read that right, I wasn't speeding or at least it was some "Twilight Zone phantom speeding" since the officer seemed to think I was speeding.

Here's what happened. I was travelling on a dirt gravel road... yes, I know, I know...

Yahoo Messenger Launches Today

August 9, 2005

I just wanted to share this email I received yesterday about Yahoo! Messenger's announcement made today (officially it's called Yahoo! Messenger with Voice). I had made some inquiries to them about how their Dialpad integration was going. I'm under deadline to review some products, so can't provide much analysis on this at the moment, but the email is pretty self-explanatory.

Panda Networks Launches

August 4, 2005

A couple of days ago Pandora Networks unveiled Worksmart, an on-demand IP-
communications solution for small-to-medium sized businesses. Pandora Networks actually applied for the TMC Labs Innovation Awards (and won, publiished in July & August) as well as gave me an exclusive sneak preview of their solution before "officially" launching. I have a recorded interview with Pandora Networks from last week and was planning to transcribe some of the interesting highlights and then blogging it here.

I was thinking I may get permission from Pandora to include the interview as a VoIP Blog Podcast, but there was one section that they told me "off the record". So I either have to edit that part out or just transcribe some of the interesting quotes.

Unfortunately, I've been quite busy with some really major stuff going on (more on that in a few days), so I haven't had time to transcribe the interview.

VoIP Developer Conference Features Impressive Companies

July 27, 2005

TMC's VoIP Developer Conference features some very impressive company names that are attending this very educational VoIP conference, which I will list in a moment. Unlike any other VoIP conference or tradeshow, including VON or even TMC's own Internet Telephony Conference & Expo, the VoIP Developer show is much more technical.

This is a good thing, because developers are looking for technical education on VoIP and they don't want to sit through another set of boring marketing-speak Powerpoint presentations! The presentations are primarily given by the vendor's product developers and engineers, (not marketing or sales folk) so they can handle technical questions. So if you are a VoIP engineer or VoIP product developer, then you need to be at this show.

I myself am a computer engineer and love to learn about the technical aspects of just about anything, including VoIP.

Down Range : Navy SEALs in the War on Terrorism Book

July 21, 2005

Regardless of your political beliefs, whether you support the War on Terror, the war in Iraq, or the war in Afghanistan, I think all Americans can agree to support our men and women who serve in the U.S. military - many of wihch battle each day to stay alive.

First, hat tip to Instapundit for pointing out a new book titled " written by Dick Couch, himself a former Navy SEAL and CIA case officer. This book talks about the secret covert war fought by the Navy SEALS to stop and kill terrorists.

An Amazon review reads, "An intimate account of the deadly work of the U.S. Navy SEALs. We associate the Navy's special forces with maritime operations, but in the war against terrorists they have been almost everywhere--from the high mountains of Afghanistan blowing up Taliban ordnance to the streets of Mosul hunting down former Baathists and al-Qaedists.

Surrender to E911 or lose your VoIP calling Privileges

July 10, 2005

I just received another email from Packet8 that is a bit disturbing and could have MAJOR implications for the VoIP industry. Here's an excerpt:

Please review the content of this email in its entirety and, when you have finished, click on the link below to let us know you have read and understand the features and limitations of Packet8 E911 service. This is a requirement by the FCC and, without your acknowledgement, we will no longer be able to offer you Packet8 internet phone service.

If I am reading this correctly, Packet8 is saying that due to the e911 regulations, you MUST click on the link within the Packet8 email and INDICATE you have read and understood Packet8's email regarding e911.

Fonality Asterisk-based IP-PBX

June 19, 2005

On Monday Fonality will be coming out of "stealth mode" promoting its PBXtra with their first press release even though they've been officially servicing customers since October 2004. "We've kind of been in stealth mode because we wanted a wide deployment before doing our announcement", said Chris Lyman, founder and CEO of Fonality based out of Culver City, California. "We're at hundreds of customers right now and thousands of lines sold on our platform in over 30 states and 3 countries deployed right now."

Fonality Web Interface

PBXtra at its core is an Asterisk-based PBX with over 110,000 lines of Fonality's code added to the Asterisk platform, which makes the system more complete than native Asterisk with a much easier to use Web-based front-end interface. According to FOnality, the total lines of code now supercede the amount of Asterisk code.

Xbox 360 Launches

May 13, 2005

Microsoft Corp. says its next version of Xbox will thrill hard-core gamers with mind-blowing graphics and lure in newcomers with free online games, slide shows, music and video chats with friends.

Xbox 360 looks nothing like its bulky, black predecessor. It's sleek and white, and it can stand on one end like a book or lie flat like a DVD player. Its 20-gigabyte hard drive and three powerful processors will enable high-definition graphics and surround sound, making games seem more like movies.

Mike Sabine, a market analyst with International Development Group, raved about the lifelike look of a war game he saw in a recent preview offered to analysts and reporters.

"I actually expected to be a little underwhelmed," he said. "I expected it to be a leap or two better (than the original Xbox), but I was very impressed."

Another game Microsoft demonstrated featured NBA star LeBron James, his muscles flexing and his shiny tank top rippling in the light of a street lamp as he dribbles and shoots.

"Honest to goodness it was almost as good as video," said Van Baker, vice president and research director for Gartner Inc.

Though Microsoft had planned on giving consumers their first peek at Xbox 360 in a half-hour MTV special Thursday night, some of the 200 people who attended the show's taping a week ago leaked pictures and specs on gaming Web sites and blogs last weekend.

The MTV debut is part of Microsoft's strategy to outshine rival Sony Corp., which is not expected to release the next version of PlayStation until next year.

AOL's new Converged Communications Client

April 28, 2005

AOL is starting from scratch in building their next converged IM/voice/video software client. In reading the AP news it appears it will be easy to add on additional modules. Say goodbye AIM! Perhaps they will follow the Firefox model and allow third-party plug-ins to be easily added to their main client?

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