Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
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VoIP news, trends, and opinions, VoIP reviews. Covering Asterisk, Cisco, Grandstream, Polycom, Microsoft, Vonage, Packet8, etc.

Number Portability Still Sucking After All these Years...

August 4, 2011

I decided to drop Charter's triple play package because they raised the monthly bill from $166 to $222 per month -- only to find out that the curse of number portability still exists in 2011. Flashback: Back in 2006 I griped that my phone number I owned for 10 years couldn't be ported from Vonage to Charter.

Recently, I decided I would drop Vonage in favor of a triple play offering from Charter, which would give me cable TV, high-speed Internet, and "voice over cable" - all at a very reasonable price. My wife and I encountered too many network or Vonage QoS issues which affected our phone service. It was time to port the number to Charter, which advertised that they could port customer's numbers in a mailer we received.


Vonage Time to Call iPhone App Makes Cheap International Calls

August 3, 2011

Vonage today launched Time to Call for the iPhone, a new mobile VoIP app that aims to deliver low-cost international calling. Vonage claims Time to Call is the first downloadable app that allows pay-per-call international dialing to more than 190 countries.  The app, designed for iPhones, lets consumers make 15-minute international calls and it features payment directly through iTunes, which will no doubt improve the adoption rate.

For a limited time, Vonage will provide a free international call, up to 15 minutes, to 100 countries. 

Panasonic Launches Line of Desktop SIP Phones

August 3, 2011

Today, Panasonic launched a line of new desktop SIP phones pitting them against Aastra, Cisco, Polycom, snom, and other SIP desktop phone vendors. I spoke with Panasonic to learn more about their new offering. First, it's worth pointing out that Panasonic already has a desktop phone called the KX-TGP550, which also supports DECT, allowing up to 6 DECT phones to register to the desktop phone. Panasonic mentioned this particular product is useful in small businesses and gave the example of a salon which needs a desktop phone at the receptionist desk, but the hair stylists and salon owner can have a DECT phone on their belt clip and freely roam, while still taking calls.

Skype for iPad Released then Pulled

August 2, 2011

Skype for iPad was released but then pulled. But not before Rich Tehrani snagged a copy and tested it. Works great! Though the resolution of the iPad 2 camera could be better.

As for the reason it was pulled, according to Skype's Twitter account, "To ensure your best Skype experience, we’ve temporarily removed Skype for iPad which went live prematurely today.” They also tweeted, "We know you’ve been eagerly awaiting Skype for iPad and apologize for the inconvenience."

If you cannot wait for Skype to put it back on the App Store, you can always try my workaround to make Skype iPad video calls.

Update:
It's back on the App Store!






Skype 5.5 Now Available

July 28, 2011


Skype 5.5 for Windows is no longer just a beta and is now available for download. The new version lets Skype users instant message their Facebook friends via Skype, making Skype a nice consolidated app for all your IM needs. You can also comment on friend's Facebook status updates. You also have the ability to use the Facebook News Feed within Skype to "like" a friend's status or comment on it without logging into Facebook.

I have some Facebook friends that I don't know who friended me and constantly IM me via Facebook, but because it's not VoIP-related and is sometimes "spammy" I just ignore these IM windows within the Facebook window.


Microsoft Releases July Cumulative update package for Lync 2010

July 27, 2011

Microsoft released a cumulative update package for Lync 2010 with several bug fixes. Thought I'd share the list of fixes. They include:

  • 2571523  A Lync Server 2010 Standard CAL user cannot use certain functionality of a HID device in Lync Server 2010.
  • 2571525  A user receives an "Audio Join” notification message unexpectedly when opening a conversation window in Lync 2010.
  • 2571527  A user cannot enable video in a conference after you assign a conference policy to the user in a Lync Server 2010 environment.
  • 2571529  A PSTN or a PBX call is disconnected without a notification on a Polycom CX600 or Polycom CX700 telephone that is running Lync 2010 Phone Edition
  • 2571530  A Lync 2010 client cannot download the address book file by using a UNC path
  • 2560097  A Lync 2010 conference organizer cannot invite other users to the Lync 2010 conference
  • 2571531  The voice mail LED on a Polycom CX300 telephone does not turn on when you receive a new voice mail in a Lync 2010 environment
  • 2560100  The Enter key is not recognized correctly when you enable Input Method Extension and then perform a search in a Lync 2010 client
  • 2560101   The Presence calendar data does not publish in Lync 2010 after users install update 2496325
  • 2577950  Error message when you try to open a modified Live Meeting item in the calendar in a Lync Server 2010 environment
  • 2577955  A user cannot sign in to Lync 2010 when the primary Front-end server is unavailable in a Lync Server 2010 environment
This update package also fixes the issues that are previously documented in the following Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) articles:
  • 2517766  A warning message is cut off in a localized version of Lync 2010
  • 2517757  The “Start Recording” command is still available after you transfer audio to a PSTN telephone during a conference call in Lync 2010
  • 2517754  The Outlook.exe process is still running after you close Outlook on a computer that has Lync 2010 installed and that is running Windows Vista
  • 2517747  The Lync 2010 Recording Player window displays incorrect localized language in Lync 2010
  • 2517739  A short audio delay occurs after a RGS agent accepts a call in a Lync Server 2010 environment
  • 2517736  You take over a presentation when you double-click the “Return to Presenter’s View” button in Lync 2010
  • 2517735  "Your online meeting invitation needs to be updated due to changed server policies." message on a computer that has Lync 2010 installed
  • 2517721  Lync 2010 cannot publish the "Presence" calendar data of a user
  • 2517691  A user cannot retrieve a parked call from a paired Lync 2010 client when the orbit number contains "#" or "*"
  • 2517673  Texts in an office application are cut off or the office application does not respond when you copy the texts from a Lync 2010 instant message input window
  • 2503538  Lync 2010 prompts you for credentials when it is retrieving availability data through Exchange Web Services
  • 2500416  The AVModalityPropertyChanged event is not triggered in Lync 2010 SDK
  • 2499613  A Lync 2010 client crashes with an access violation when you click the "A" icon of an emoticon in a conversation
  • 2498410  A user name is still in Lync 2010 after you remove the user account in AD
  • 2497779  "Connection is not established" error message in a Lync 2010 client when an attendee is disconnected from an application-sharing session in a large conference
  • 2464823  The Lync 2010 client crashes during a conference video call that includes ACP users
  • 2520139  Lync 2010 does not prompt you for credentials when the credentials are deleted in Windows Credential Manager
  • 2464821  An Exchange error notification displays in Lync 2010 when an authentication proxy is deployed in a Lync Online environment
  • 2520142  Lync 2010 cannot connect to Lync Online service through a proxy firewall while in automatic configuration mode
  • 2520144  Your instant message is not delivered if your URI is the same as the email address
  • 2464810  A credential dialog box appears or an error message is received when you log on to Lync Online
  • 2464811  The icon of the speakerphone in Lync 2010 is not generic
  • 2464817  You have to press the TAB key two times to select the “Save my password” check box after you type your password in the Lync 2010 logon screen
  • 2464828  The “Learn More” link does not indicate as a selection when you press the TAB key to select it in the “Edit Location” dialog box in Lync 2010
  • 2464840  You are directed to the MSN website when you try to download software that is required to log on to Lync online by using Lync 2010
  • 2464841  Lync 2010 does not populate your location information automatically
  • 2464842  “Cannot sign in to Lync because this sign-in address was not found” error message during the Lync 2010 logon process when the default user is Lync-disabled
  • 2464845  A Silverlight application for Lync 2010 does not start from a URL address that does not contain the page name
  • 2464850  The conference disclaimer is missing from the “Disclaimer” window when you try to join a Lync 2010 conference by using an Office Communicator Object Model
  • 2464872  Certain text in an invitation email message for an online meeting are displayed incorrectly when you create the invitation email message by using a Hindi or a Kazakh version of Lync 2010
  • 2464873  Your audio and video is enabled automatically when you click “Retry” to rejoin a Lync 2010 Audio/Video conference
  • 2464874  A Lync Online disabled user is not handled correctly during the logon process in Lync 2010
  • 2483227  Your Live Meeting Service presenter password is included in the INVITE message when you start a meeting by using Live Meeting Service in Lync 2010
Download the Lync.msp x86 package.

Download the Lync.msp X64 package.



Twilio, the Cloud-based VoIP/Skype App Enabler

July 26, 2011


Today, Twillio is launching their cloud-based VoIP offering that enables developers to add VoIP capabilities to any website with just three lines of code. Twilio's VoIP developer toolkit called “Twilio Client” enables realtime two-ray audio to voice-enable browsers, iOS, and Android Apps. Twilio's product uses the Flash plugin to access the microphone. But since Apple's iOS doesn't support Flash I'm told for mobile they are integrating with iOS and Android through custom mobile SDKs. The mobile SDKs will allow the Android and iPhone mobile platforms to offer Twilio-powered VoIP to their applications.

Twillio explained that "with Twilio Client, web developers worldwide can now build Skype-like voice capabilities with Twilio’s scalable, reliable communications infrastructure-as-a-service. With just a few lines of code, web and mobile applications can host voice conversations, conference calls, and other forms of rich communication." Essentially, you can think of Twilio as a hosted Skype service that lets anyone into the VoIP game.


Gmail Now Allows Multiple Calls - Just Watch that multitasking!

July 21, 2011


The Gmail Blog today announced a cool new multiple call capability within Gmail which will let you put callers on hold and pick up another call at the same time. Handling multiple VoIP calls in your browser. Doesn't get better than this!

The Gmail blog explains:
Today we're excited to relax that restriction and allow you to make or receive multiple calls in Gmail. If you’re in a call and make a second one, your first call will be put on hold while you talk on your new call.



Viber for Android Available!

July 20, 2011


Viber, a popular mobile VoIP app which enables users to make free phone calls and text messaging to other Viber users over 3G and Wi-Fi, is announcing today the official launch of the Android version of the app. Previously, it was a limited beta. Viber also stated that it has over 12 million active users (last 30 days) and has achieved an important benchmark - call traffic volume of over one billion minutes of calls per quarter.

Here are some exclusive Android Features not seen on other mobile versions (i.e. iPhone):
  • Full call screen whenever a Viber call is received;
  • Popup text message notification, which lets users respond to text messages without having to open Viber;
  • Tighter integration with the phone, which allows users to see their regular call logs and messages within Viber;
  • A default dialer setting that enables users to use the Viber dialer for all their phone calls, not just for Viber calls.
Check out the video demo:





Kerio Technologies Launches New Asterisk-based IP-PBX

July 19, 2011

Kerio Technologies, a company established in 1997, is launching a new Asterisk-based PBX today. They are announcing Kerio Operator 1.1, an IP-PBX that is designed to be easy-to-use and targeting the SMB space. Kerio Technologies has 180 employees and is best known as a Microsoft Exchange Server alternative. I spoke with Kerio Technologies last week to find out more about this Asterisk-based offering.

They explained that Kerio Operator 1.1 features integrated security, including protection against SIP password guessing and can block IP addresses that fail SIP authentication automatically based on criteria you specify.

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