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


VoIP news, trends, and opinions, VoIP reviews. Covering Asterisk, Cisco, Grandstream, Polycom, Microsoft, Vonage, Packet8, etc.

Skype Integration with Microsoft Xbox 360 & Lync is Slow Going

May 29, 2012

Microsoft's purchase of Skype for $8.5 billion was considered a risky move considering the failure of eBay's acquisition of Skype, which did not result in any synergies between these two companies. The New York Times gives some interesting insights into the inner workings of Skype within the Microsoft juggernaut. For one, the article states, "Microsoft gave Skype a longer leash than it grants most of its divisions, even allowing Mr. Bates to work in Silicon Valley." Apparently, Skype is the only Microsoft division located almost entirely outside Microsoft's Seattle-based headquarters.

The article goes on to explain that Tony Bates, the head of the Skype division, uses a Apple MacBook Air and not a Microsoft operating system.

Say it With Skype Facebook app Wants to Be American Idol

May 22, 2012

Skype announced a new contest to find the next great music band using their Say it With Skype Facebook app, an engaging-group video greeting app that lives on both Facebook and  Simply use Say it With Skype to record your music band on video and you could be the next American IdolSkype Music Super Hero! Hey, it worked for Justin Bieber, who was discovered via a YouTube video.

Similar to American Idol, there will be some relatively well-known judges in the music industry to judge the entries, including Pete Wentz of Black Cards, Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, and MTV music personality and host of "120 Minutes" and Matt Pinfield. As an added bonus to joining the app as the 'house band,' the winning band is to receive one-on-one mentoring time with the celebrity judges and paid studio time to not only record the song which will be featured on the Say it with Skype app, but also the chance to record their own song to use however they please.

Here's me rocking out to the #1 downloaded iTunes song of all time - Journey's Don't Stop Believin' using the Say it With Skype Facebook app.

Ok, maybe not.

Plixer Scrutinizer Network Traffic Analyzer Preview

May 14, 2012

I've been testing Plixer Scrutinizer, a network traffic analyzer product for several weeks now. It's a great product that supports NetFlow used by popular routers and switches, including the popular Cisco ASA series of firewall/security routers, Checkpoint, Adtran, Riverbed, and more. It also supports Juniper Jflow and Juniper IPFIX, SonicWALL NetFlow and SonicWALL IPFIX and Citrix AppFlow. It also supports sFlow.

Having insights into your network is critical as time-sensitive network applications such as VoIP, video conferencing, and unified communications are deployed. Scrutinizer is an excellent tool to monitor your network infrastructure and pinpoint problems.

Telefonica Launches Skype Competitor Tu Me

May 9, 2012

Telefónica today launched a new mobile app called Tu Me, which essentially takes the approach if you can't beat Skype, join em'. Tu Me features texts, voice calls, messages, and location and photo sharing - all free of charge, with the caveat that it uses your data plan more, so it isn't technically "free" unless you are on an unlimited data plan or you use free Wi-Fi hotspots most of the time.

The app is currently only available on iOS however Android is coming. Tu Me enables communication and sharing between mobile phones, recording every interaction through a searchable timeline, obviously borrowing some elements from the Facebook social network and others.

There are some major caveats with this app.

Viber Announces BlackBerry Beta and Windows Phone 7 Beta

May 8, 2012

Viber today announced the availability of Viber for BlackBerry Beta and Windows Phone 7 Beta.

Both Viber for BlackBerry Beta and Viber for Windows Phone 7 Beta initially offer Viber Messaging, allowing users to exchange text and high-quality photo messages and share locations with other Viber users. The beta does not yet include their HD VoIP calling. Some may call this a bit premature beta since Viber is a known as a mobile VoIP app not a standalone IM app, but I'll give them a pass to bringing some early love to these two platforms.

Viber seamlessly integrates with the devices' interface, with no registration required, instantly identifying existing contacts who already have Viber installed so users do not need to go through a “friend request” process. According to Viber, "the full release for both platforms, including Viber’s signature HD-quality free voice calling, will be released as soon as it meets Viber’s quality standards."

Ooma Telo Review

May 4, 2012

Back in 2007 I wrote an article "Ooma goes Booma" because Ooma's claim-to-fame feature was that it worked by 'sharing' your PSTN analog phone line with other Ooma users. I was right that this PSTN sharing feature and business model wouldn't work, so certainly that did go "Booma". However, 5 years later after dropping the PSTN sharing and moving to a VoIP-centric business model Ooma has redeemed themselves with some really cool features. Ooma is a low-cost phone service provider similar to magicJack, netTALK, and Vonage in many ways, but with some key differentiating features.

The first big difference of note is that unlike the other three aforementioned phone providers, rather than charge a monthly flat rate for service and per-minute costs for calls, Ooma only charges for the initial hardware - $199 Ooma Telo, +$50.99 for Wireless adapter, +$29.99 for Bluetooth adapter and then they only charge you the taxes and local fees for calls in the United States.

Skype Aware of IP Security Flaw Back in 2010

May 3, 2012

Some more interesting information has come to light regarding the IP revealing security flaw in Skype. Researchers from Inria, a research institute in France, and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University discovered the flaw. Stevens Le Blond, one of the team's researchers who discovered the exploit told the Wall Street Journal that the team first discovered the flaw in November 2010. They were actually able to track the city-level location of more than 10,000 Skype users over a period of two weeks simply by making short calls to users that don't cause a Skype notification popup and the calls don't appear in the call histories.

Skype Responds to IP Address Privacy Vulnerability

May 1, 2012

Yesterday it was reported that a simple script could expose any Skype user's IP address. A Microsoft representative saw my article and gave me this official response, which they also provided to other media outlets:
“We are investigating reports of a new tool that captures a Skype user’s last known IP address. This is an ongoing, industry-wide issue faced by all peer-to-peer software companies. We are committed to the safety and security of our customers and we are takings measures to help protect them.”

Adrian Asher, director of product Security, Skype

It's a bit of a non-answer if you ask me.

Does HTML5 Rock Your Mobile World?

May 1, 2012

We've heard the hype surrounding HTML5, but does it live up to its promise? If TMC's recently completed DevCon5 show in Santa Clara, California is any indication, HTML5 will soon rock your mobile world!

At DevCon5, an international community of HTML5 developers and designers gathered to focus on Mobile Apps, Consistent UI Development, and more. Gaming was a huge draw featuring a large, enthusiastic group.

With breakout sessions led by experts from Adobe, Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Joyent and Qualcomm, DevCon5 has quickly established its position as a “must attend” event for developers and designers looking to take advantage of business opportunities presented by the advent of HTML5.

DevCon5 – created for Web developers, software architects, graphic artists and business executives – helps developers, designers and engineers learn how they can use HTML5 to create engaging mobile applications and create consistent, positive Web user experiences across any device. The DevCon5 conference program encompasses a multi-track program covering important topics related to HTML5 adoption, including browser compatibility, user experience design and Web 3.0.

Ooma Telo installed - Ooo Look, Shiny Bright Blue LEDs!

April 26, 2012

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