Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Logitech ConferenceCam CC3000e Video Conferencing for SMB Review

March 14, 2014

Logitech, a leader in USB-based computer peripherals is targeting their new Logitech ConferenceCam CC3000e towards the SMB, which cannot afford $50,000+ telepresence video systems, but is looking for something a step up from a webcam for conference room based video conferencing.

The Logitech ConferenceCam CC3000e is easy to setup with everything clearly numbered and labeled so you know how to make all the connections. Since it uses USB you can use your favorite UC or Web conferencing application, including Microsoft Lync, Skype, Vidyo, and Cisco. The CC3000e has a remote control for changing the camera angle including left/right and up/down movements. You can do incremental movements with single presses of a certain direction or you can press and hold for faster movement, which was very smooth.

Skype's Social Media Accounts Hacked

January 2, 2014

Skype social media accounts including their Twitter account, Facebook page, and blog were hacked by a group claiming to be the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA). Athough Skype gained control of their accounts and deleted the SEA's posts, the SEA tweeted in their own account this message:
Don't use Microsoft emails(hotmail,outlook),They are monitoring your accounts and selling the data to the governments. …
Apparently, Edward Snowden and his release of NSA secrets, which impacted 2013 like no other story (except maybe ObamaCare) will continue to impact 2014. What I find amazing is that the SEA hacked two different social media accounts plus Skype's blog web server. I'm curious...

Bing Maps Adds 3D imagery and Skype Integration

December 6, 2013

Microsoft has redesigned its Bing Maps experience for Windows 8.1 and just posted Bing Maps Preview to the Windows Store, which includes hi-res 3D imagery, from satellite to street view, of our planet. It also includes nifty details like admission prices, payment methods accepted (Amex, Visa, Mastercard), and hours of operation. Think of it as Bing's version of Google Earth, though it currently has only 70 cities available for view in the preview. It also sports Skype integration (enabled via Snapview) so you can click the phone icon and make a Skype call.

With Skype integrated into Xbox One and now Bing Maps, the Skype acquisition is perhaps making a bit more sense.

Skype on the Xbox One - the Future Has Arrived!

November 20, 2013

Curious to know what features Skype has in the new Xbox One? So am I. With the Xbox One, you get an all-in-one entertainment system that aims to take over your living/family room not just for gaming but for communicating as well. All Xbox Ones come with Skype pre-installed, and since every Xbox One ships with a Kinect, they'll also include 1080p HD cameras and beamforming stereo array microphones, this is the ultimate Skype-on-TV experience. Makes me wonder if near-ubiquitous video conferencing in the home has finally arrived since Microsoft will no doubt sell at least 10 million Xbox One units.

Further, Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers buying Xbox Ones also get Skype Premium for free for six months, which adds group video calls and 100 minutes of telephone calling to 60 countries.

Skype Ends Desktop API. Now What?

November 4, 2013

I launched Skype this morning and was greeted with a warning message that caused me some alarm (screenshot above). It appears a major API used by third-parties to integrate with Skype is ending in just one month. That gives virtually no time for developers to code new software to ensure their headsets, cameras, etc. work properly with Skype.

AT&T TL7910 DECT 6.0 Headset Review

October 30, 2013

The AT&T TL7910 DECT 6.0 headset is one of the best combo PC/phone headsets you can buy with some pretty powerful features. With the AT&T Softphone Call Manager software it supports Skype, and Microsoft Lync, and can even import your Outlook contacts. Back in 2009 I reviewed the AT&T TL7610 DECT headset, which looks almost identical to the TL7910, but looks can be deceiving - the TL7910 hides some pretty cool new features. I decided to take the TL7910 DECT headset for a spin, so enjoy the full review along with a YouTube video demo below...

The first thing of note is the secure magnetic charging cradle, which makes it easy to charge the headset.

How Skype Changed the World!

September 17, 2013

Want to hear the story of how an Estonian startup changed the communications landscape forever? With the 10 year anniversary this year, Microsoft has written an online history book on Skype with the following intro, "In one rather turbulent decade, Skype transformed itself from a rowdy Estonian startup to a multibillion-dollar Microsoft asset. Skype has significantly changed the way the world communicates, obliterating the notion of distance, whether it’s a soldier using Skype to experience the birth of his child, an explorer speaking to a classroom of children from beneath the ocean, or pair of young lovers who leave Skype running as they fall asleep hundreds of miles apart – but still together."

It's a fascinating read complete with pictures, infographics, slideshows, paginated chapters and more. If you are a Skype aficionado, go take a gander.

Hilarious Skype Bombing Interrupts George Zimmerman Trial

July 3, 2013

Cheap Skype calling anywhere in the world...
Free video calling to friends and family...
Using Skype to "Skype Bomb" the George Zimmerman trial on live TV - priceless!

Scott Pleasants, a criminal justice professor at Seminole State College was testifying in the George Zimmerman murder trial via Skype, when pranksters watching the case quickly hammered the witness's account with Skype calls.

“I gotta tell you, there’s now a really good chance that we’re being toyed with,” said Zimmerman lawyer Mark O’Mara.

The judge was not amused... Watch the video...

Oh and in the future, if you don't want to be Skype Bombed, it's pretty simple to disable anonymous calls. Go into Skype options, then Privacy, and then check "Only allow people in my Contact list to contact me".

Unless of course the witness's friends in his Contact list were playing a practical joke. Though interrupting a courtroom could result in a "out of order" or "contempt" ruling and jail time, so I'm betting these were anonymous pranksters not in his Skype Contacts.

Grandstream GXP2200 Review

April 8, 2013

The Grandstream GXP2200 Gigabit IP phone is another Android-based IP phone in a growing line of Android-based IP phones that includes the Panasonic KX-UT670, CloudTC, and the ESI 250. A couple years ago I espoused the benefits of a tablet-based desktop phone running either iOS or Android, so that this "universal" device becomes your portable tablet/computer and your desktop IP phone. We're not quite there yet, since all the Android desktop IP phones are not battery powered and require either a Power over Ethernet (PoE) or AC adapter for power. Further, as with anything, cost will play a role.

Skype for Windows Phone 8 Gets HD First & More Feature Love

March 19, 2013

Today, Skype released an update for the Skype for Windows Phone 8 Preview, version 2.4, which for the first time ever adds HD video calling to a mobile version of Skype. This version leverages the hardware acceleration capability of Windows Phone 8 to enable the HD video experience.

It offers VGA video (640x480) on lower end handsets and 720P HD on higher-end devices including the Nokia Lumia 920, HTC 8X and Samsung Ativ S. Importantly, the app can intelligently determines the best quality available based on the speed of your connection. They also added People Hub integration, landscape mode for calls, and the ability to switch between front and back cameras.

Finally, the Microsoft acquisition of Skype appears to be paying dividends. Get the updated version now from Windows Phone Store.

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