Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Windows 8 Broke my TAPI Dialing But Problem Solved!

August 17, 2012

I often use TAPI within Outlook to click-to-dial my contacts through our Asterisk-based PBX. This is an under-appreciated feature that more users should take advantage of considering most PBXs support TAPI TSPs.

However, after upgrading my Windows 7 machine to Windows 8 a couple days ago, this functionality stopped working. This feature allows me to simply view/search for an Outlook Contact, right-click the Contact, and then choose the number I want to dial, as seen here:

Instantly, my IP phone rings and I'm connected to the remote phone number. Fortunately, me and TAPI go way back.

Skype for Windows 8 Metro / Modern UI Leaks

August 17, 2012

Microsoft / Skype is hard at work developing a cool Metro "Modern UI" version of Skype, the new Windows 8 tile-based touch-enabled interface. An image of the Skype Metro style app leaked to Twitter  demonstrating how the Microsoft/Skype team has optimized Skype for Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets coming to market.

Cult of Mac likes it, but isn't pleased Apple tablets will be getting the short shaft and not be able to leverage this new UI. It sports the usual voice and video features, but also pinned favorites and a sidebar to display status and message history.

According to Neowin, "The UI is fluid and dare we say fast too.

Microsoft Surface = Threat to IP Phone Market

August 6, 2012

Microsoft has already irked some of their hardware partners with Microsoft getting into the hardware business via their pending Microsoft Surface product launch later this year. Perhaps lost in the battle between Microsoft and their PC/laptop/tablet hardware partners is the pending battle that I predict between Microsoft and their Lync phone hardware partners, such as snom and Polycom.

In 2011, I wrote an article discussing how the Apple iPad (and also Android tablets) will be your next desktop IP phone. More recently, last month I wrote how the Microsoft Surface tablet could also be a game changer in the IP phone market:
This touch support [in Windows 8] will give Microsoft an advantage is fulfilling my prediction that tablets will replace the desktop phone. Windows 8 tablets running Lync will become the ultimate unified communications device, performing everything from your traditional voice (VoIP) to HD video conferencing, as well as collaboration, instant messaging, and all the other typical UC features.

New Hotmail/Outlook Sucks on iOS & Android & Why That's Good for Microsoft

July 31, 2012

So the big news today is the revamped Hotmail, which is a dramatic improvement over the old version in terms of design aesthetics as well as usability. Sporting a Metro-like UI it is quite apparent that Microsoft is dedicating serious resources on a unified user interface that is the same no matter if you're using a laptop/PC, Windows Phone, Xbox 360, or Windows 8 tablet. This investment could pay long dividends for Microsoft. Who wouldn't want a consistent UI across multiple devices?

Lync Server 2013 Adds Skype Federation & Many Other New Features

July 23, 2012

Lync Server 2013 can federate with Skype, which is huge new feature that greatly enhances Microsoft's UC portfolio and may explain the $8.5 billion premium Microsoft paid for Skype. You can now fully integrate Skype contacts into Lync and call or instant message anyone on Skype. Alas, only voice and no video support yet.  In May I discussed how Xbox 360 integration with Skype was slow going, so Skype federation with Microsoft Lync is welcome news.

Microsoft Surface Surfaces With Dual Mic Skype!

June 18, 2012

The verdict is in and alas the new Microsoft Surface does not support PixelSense as I first theorized. The good news there is a lot to like about the new Microsoft Surface. First off, Surface sports a 10.6", 16:9 widescreen HD Display along with Microsoft's ClearType HD Display technology and multitouch. It also has an ultra-wide viewing angle and comes with an integrated Kickstand and what Microsoft calls a "revolutionary, 3mm thin, pressure sensitive cover" that doubles as a fully functioning keyboard and trackpad.

Microsoft XBOX Surface To Feature PixelSense?

June 18, 2012

Today is the big Microsoft "reveal", with everything pointing towards a Microsoft designed tablet. One rumored spec sheet via Shift2U is very fascinating detailing a new device called Xbox Surface:

At first glance I saw the 250GB 2.5" SCSI 10K RPM disk drive, which is way too thick and heavy for a tablet device. But then I read the rumored announcement is actually two devices. The other intriguing spec I saw was the maximum resolution of 1280x720, which seemed to be pretty small for a 7" tablet device.

The VoIP Revolution - from Caveman to VoIP in an Infographic

June 14, 2012

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.

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