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Digium Launches Asterisk Tech Tips Webinars

March 23, 2011

Steve Sokol, Asterisk Marketing Director for Digium informed me that starting this week Digium will be presenting a bi-weekly series of webinars called Asterisk Tech Tips.  Steve explained, "Each episode consists of a tutorial covering an interesting feature of Asterisk, followed by an open Q&A session.  People are welcome to ask questions about the tutorial topic, but it's also an open forum for general Asterisk questions."

This week Malcolm Davenport (Digium employee #4 & Senior Product Manager for Asterisk and Asterisk SCF) will be covering one of the more popular new features of Asterisk 1.8: tying Asterisk into Google.  The tutorial will teach people how to effectively use Google's voice chat (part of Gmail) as a soft-phone with Asterisk, and how to make and receive free calls in the U.S.

Burma (Myanmar) Bans VoIP

March 22, 2011

Burma's military junta ordered all public and private Internet cafés to stop using VoIP. According to the Irrawaddy:

“The increasing use of the VoIP overseas calls via the Internet services such as Skype, G [Google] Talk, Pfingo, VZO, etc. given by PACs [Public Access Centers] and cyber cafés have caused official overseas calls through the [junta's] communication services to decline, affecting state revenue,” says the official instruction issued on March 2 by Tint Lwin, the managing director of the Myanmar Posts and Telecommunication (MPT), which was sent to the chairman of Myanmar Info-Tech Corporation Ltd.

“Currently, this service has not been officially permitted [by the MPT] to be used, it is illegal under existing telecommunication laws and legal action is likely if the PAC and cyber cafés continue to give the service,” he said.

Japan Earthquake Devastates Global Chip Production

March 21, 2011


The Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear reactor problems have had a devastating effect not just on people's live and property, but also the Japanese semiconductor industry which accounts for 25% of the global supply of silicon wafer. This will affect pricing on everything from PCs to smartphones to gadgets. Not good. Check out the news with additional information after the jump...

Facebook VoIP?

March 18, 2011

VoIP on Facebook hasn't gotten much attention, partly because Facebook doesn't natively support it. Sure there are paid third-party apps like the $1.99 Facebook Messenger app for the iPhone (renamed to Fone). However, it's only for the iPhone and doesn't work on PCs. Facebook has become the central place to interact with friends and family, share photos, IM, post comments, so why hasn't Facebook added VoIP support?

Yes Facebook lets you communicate via IM, but why not VoIP? Facebook leverages XMPP (Jingle) for chat, as does Google Talk for both IM and VoIP.

XConnect Has Killer Growth in 2010

March 17, 2011

Back in January 2010 I mentioned how XConnect's peering federation announced at ITEXPO was now offering "High-Definition (HD) Voice Peering Federation". Their federation service for carrier peering let's you carry both HD voice and HD video by passing codecs across carrier networks. I explained one of the stumbling blocks to HD voice when I wrote:
Once you make an outside call then your carrier has to support HD. Further, if your carrier has to hand the call off to another carrier to terminate the call, you need both carriers to have a peering agreement to allow the HD codec to traverse their network.

netTALK vs. magicJack

March 16, 2011


netTALK sent me their netTALK DUO VoIP device to test. Obvious comparisons will be made with magicJack since both offer all you can eat U.S. and Canada calling for a flat yearly rate. In the case of netTALK it is $69.95 $49.95 (the first year); $29.95 (each year after).

Oxford Hair Academy Selects Freetalk Connect

March 16, 2011


Recently, I installed the FREETALK Connect Skype-enabled IP-PBX for my sister Kellie Steeve's salon and hair academy businesses (Body Shoppe & Oxford Hair Academy) located at the renowned and purportedly haunted Carousel Gardens. Carousel Gardens was a mansion that was originally built in the late 1800's by William Wooster and later was converted into a restaurant in the mid 60's. Ruth Wooster was the last surviving Wooster to live in the mansion and is said to haunt the location still to this day. Many harmless paranormal activities are said to happen within this mansion that my sister purchased and renamed.

ViBE Bandwidth Optimization Kicks Traditional QoS to the Curb

March 15, 2011

ADSL is very popular, especially in SMEs/SMBs. It's more difficult to get on the VoIP bandwagon with ADSL bandwidth since it typically has only 256Kbits/s upstream bandwidth. Powernet, the UK's oldest business broadband provider claims the average VoIP call uses 42Kbit/s. In my experience with Vonage, I saw more like 90Kbit/s, but I believe I was using Vonage's "HQ" codec (G.711) for the best sound quality where as Powernet is using G.729a (8Kbit/s plus overhead).

In any event, at 42Kbit/s that gives you 6 VoIP calls with barely any no room left for data/Internet. So you'd have to knock that down to maybe 5 simultaneous VoIP calls.

Skype Video on iPad 2!

March 14, 2011

You can indeed make Skype video calls on Apple's iPad 2. I made a test call from my Windows 7 PC to Larry's iPad 2 that he picked up this past weekend. There is no native Skype app optimized for the iPad just yet, but it does work. No word from Skype on when an iPad-optimized version of Skype is forthcoming.

All you have to do is install the iPhone version.

Microsoft LyncAddContacts Utility to the Rescue!

March 11, 2011



Yesterday, I wrote about a utility that lets you find the versions for all your OCS/Lync clients in the enterprise. Today, I'm going to show you how you can easily add contacts en masse to your Lync clients. This is a great utility for IT administrators looking to deploy Lync without having to go to each workstation to add contacts. It's worth noting that the Office Communications Server 2007 Resource Kit Tools has a utility called LCSAddContacts, but alas this version doesn't work on Microsoft Lync.

Well, have no fear, Jeff Guillet over on the EXPTA {blog} has developed a utility to make your life a bit easier.



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