First Coffee for November 17, 2005

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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First Coffee for November 17, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Duke Ellington’s Blues In Orbit:

IPhone2, Inc., currently a publicly-traded company on Pink Sheets, has created proprietary video/voice Internet software called ImagePhone2. Evidently it’s good enough to where today the company’s announcing that they have retained an accounting firm to comply with SEC regulations on becoming a fully reporting company.

IPhone2 is a service provider marketing a broadcast quality (30 frames per second) video/voice (Soft-Phone) using MPEG4 technology. The company’s product, called ImagePhone2, is marketed as a next-generation of Internet Video/Voice communications product. It allows users to place unlimited peer-to-peer video/voice calls, as well as originate or receive video/voice calls from anywhere in the world using their desktop or laptop computer and a broadband connection.

“Unlike other hardware based VoIP models, such as those offered by SBC, Comcast, Vonage, AT&T, CallVantage, Packet 8 and Delta Three [sure that’s all the names you can think of?], ImagePhone2,” company officials say, “is software based and is not constrained by inventory, stocking or delivery issues that plague hardware-based suppliers.”

Chip Greenberg, iPhone2’s President and CEO said the move to become a fully reporting and audited company is “the first step in our plans to a listing on the NASDAQ.”

Happy birthday, Martin Scorsese.

Telco Systems, a provider of carrier-class transport and access products for public and private IP and TDM networks, has introduced the first two models of its new T-Marc product line, a family of compact Ethernet demarcation and service delivery customer located devices.

T-Marc enables both TDM- and packet-based carriers to reduce OPEX and CAPEX for carrier-grade Ethernet and TDM-over-Ethernet services. It’s engineered to provide an Operation, Administration and Maintenance tool kit along with QoS mechanisms, which should let carriers minimize service calls and meet their Service Level Agreements.

This product lets service providers to use Ethernet all-the-way, while mixing and matching legacy and new services on a common infrastructure with the ability to remotely monitor, test and manage their services, “without the need for truck rolls,” according to Dave Lee, VP Marketing and Services of Telco Systems.

Les also claims the system meets service providers’ requirements for multi-service, multi-application, multi-site and multi-carrier SLA enforcement while providing “the lowest latency of any circuit emulation service Pseudowire demarc device available today.”

Saw a piece in the English newspaper The Daily Mail about young Brits who are being recruited to go work in Indian call centers. It’s one of those all-around great ideas where everybody wins: Companies can provide much better customer service with native Brits speaking to other Brits, they can save on costs because the workers are paid in line with Indian salaries, not English; the workers get a fun year as travel and housing is paid for and they can explore India when they’re not working, and the Brit customers who call in appreciate speaking to a Brit, so customer satisfaction goes up.

So naturally labor unions – or “labour unions,” as they’re called in England – are opposed to the idea.

David Fleming, national secretary for financial services at union Amicus, told the Mail “It’s preposterous. All these jobs have been lost in the UK and now they are trying to recruit the same people who have lost their jobs to go to work in India for a quarter of the salary… The call centers are encouraging a brain-drain by saying to young graduates, ‘Why don’t you go to India?’ This is portrayed as a traveling experience. But the truth is they could have spent six months working in a call center in Britain and earned some of the money to travel around the world that way.”

This line of thinking is riddled with so many errors it’s quite easy to see why fewer and fewer people in Britain are taking labor unions seriously anymore. After Margaret Thatcher broke the unions’ stranglehold on the British economy, clearing the way for genuine economic growth, the unions have had to resort to more and more shrill sloganeering.

First CoffeeSM completely understands why young British people would want to skive off to India to live in dorms with other young British people, do some relatively easy work, have someone else pay for your travel and lodging and generally enjoy a year out in an exotic country.

If David Fleming can’t see the clear business advantage to the setup then he doesn’t understand economics. If he can’t see the clear advantage to customer service then he doesn’t understand the importance of customer satisfaction. If he really thinks that young people are too stupid to know where they can make the most money and have the most fun at the same time he’s condescendingly ignorant, and if he really can’t grasp the allure of the Indian call center gig then either Fleming was never young once himself or he’s long since forgotten what it was like.

In other words, he’s a perfect British union man: Do it our way because it benefits us, not you, and to hell with everyone else.

Happy birthday to the late Shelby Foote, the brilliant Mississippian who was the narrative voice of Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary, who wrote a three-volume narrative history of the Civil War of 1.6 million words, as well as numerous other books, all with an antique pen that had to be dipped in ink every three or four words.

Datacard Group, a vendor of secure ID and card personalization products, has announced a strategic alliance with IXLA, a former subsidiary of Laservall S.p.A. Datacard Group and IXLA will jointly bring laser engraving for ID cards and passports to governments and other organizations requiring highly secure documents. The two companies will collaborate in product development, marketing, and sales.

Alliance Semiconductor Corporation has announced that on November 15, 2005 it received a Nasdaq Staff’s Determination stating the company is not in compliance with Nasdaq’s Marketplace Rule 4310(c)(14) because it has yet to file its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for its quarter ended September 24, 2005.

Alliance was informed that, according to Nasdaq regulations, unless a hearing to appeal the determination is requested by the company on or before 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time on November 22, 2005, its common stock will be delisted from The Nasdaq National Market at the opening of business on November 25, 2005.

Alliance intends to request a hearing before a Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel for continued listing on The Nasdaq National Market.

Internet Initiative Japan Inc., a Japanese Internet-access and comprehensive network provider, has announced a new version of its enterprise online storage service, IIJ Document Exchange Service, which will be released on December 1, 2005. The latest version introduces more robust security features, virus checking, and group work administration features.

The IIJ Document Exchange Service gives customers access to an IIJ-managed storage server, where they can upload large files and share them with others over the Internet. These files can be accessed from anywhere on the Internet, making them easy to share with remote locations or people outside the organization, and eliminating the need to share information via removable storage devices such as magnetic optical drives or CDROM.

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