Blog Vacation

October 3, 2006 11:12 AM | 12 Comments

I have been blogging for years and recently my posts have slowed to a crawl, due in no small part to my responsibilities at Shift. The work I am doing for Shift is very exciting and it requires my full attention. I have decided to take a vacation from blogging until I can get out from under.
The guys at TMC have been awesome in their support and I know they will continue to dominate the VoIP blogosphere and IP Communications space in general. Thanks Rich, for everything!

From time to time you will see me as a feature writer for various blogs and magazines and I will be posting some cool news pertaining to Shift at, but I don't see myself blogging fulltime again for a while. Feel free to read the TMC SIPthat archives and my old blog site archive where you will find many podcasts and posts from the months/years gone by.

Thanks for reading & listening everyone.

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Aswath then Andy via Alec have uncovered what looks to be the first final word from AOL on their TotalTalk service. Aswath mentioned that he thinks it might be an html hi-jack but I doubt it. Of course, this all pure speculation considering AOL has not announced anything regarding the closure of TotalTalk.

In my honest opinion AOL ran screaming into this broadband telephony race with what would seem little or no pre-thought. Andy makes mention of Phone 2.0 being partially represented by AOL AIM Phoneline. I am not sure about Phone 2.0 but I do think they are on the right track and should stick with messaging. Hmm, didn't Google just buy $1B worth of AOL? Yes, I would say the softphone + IM strategy is better for AOL and they should pour more resources at that initiative. Vonage seems to be on the same page who look to be throwing a lot of resources towards their new V-phone product (a launch party for a USB softphone?? <ugh>).

For SMBs email, fax and calendaring are equally as important as Voice something I call SMB 2.0 (tongue firmly planted in cheek). Presence is also gaining some height on the hit list for Small and Medium Businesses, useful for click-to-call address books and alike.




Top 30 VoIP Blogs

August 29, 2006 2:28 PM | 3 Comments
Wow, this is a bit of a surprise. Garrett Smith who writes Smith on VoIP has released his 30 Top VoIP Blogs and somehow I made it onto his list. The blogging has been a bit slow for me recently with everything else that's going on but it sure is nice to be recognized. Thanks Garrett!
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Shift is looking for established VAR partner organizations with a track record of direct sales success to resell Shift’s hosted VoIP business telephone and message services. Currently Shift services the Western Canadian market with offices in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria, expanding into Eastern markets this fall.

We're looking for partners to share our vision for transforming the phone service and customer experience available to small and medium businesses.

To find out more about Shift's hosted VoIP partner program, please contact:

Matthew Campbell

Dan Astete

Kristie Henderson


There are a few job openings within the R&D department here at Shift, click here to see them all. Here is the latest opening...

Job Description:

Shift is the leading provider of Voice over IP (VoIP) phone services to the Canadian small and medium business market. Since inception Shift’s focus has been to combine enterprise-class technology with a uniquely customer-oriented approach to service and support. Shift trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol "SHF". For more information please visit our website at


Engineers the support and maintenance of large-scale production networks and systems, including the design and development of tools and scripts to assist with such maintenance.

Integrates and/or consolidates servers and services between different business units and technologies, including the design and development of the necessary integration tools.

Designs, integrates, and maintains network services such as DNS, DHCP, SMB, SNMP, Radius, Kerberos, electronic mail, LDAP directories, IPSEC virtual private networks and firewalls applications.

Designs and develops high-performance groups of servers for resource-intensive network applications.

Designs archive and backup systems. Works closely with technical staff to insure that backup and archiving designs and procedures are implemented properly.

Plans and implements system security policy, to include firewalls, host and client access, file permissions, and user accounts.

Develops best practices, operational procedures and design documentation

Plans and coordinates system utilization, and performs growth analysis and capacity planning.

Reviews current systems and makes technical/process recommendations for improving efficiency.

Plans and to manages multiple projects.

Provides on-call support advice and technical support to various users/clients regarding operational/applications issues.

Installs and debugs new and/or upgraded software on server and client platforms.

Troubleshoots networks, systems, and applications to identify and correct malfunctions and other operational problems.

Stays up to date with relevant state-of-the-art technology, equipment, and/or systems. Evaluates new hardware and software technologies, and presents analysis and purchase recommendations to the administration team and to management.

Function collaboratively as part of a fast-paced, customer oriented team and perform effectively as an independent producer under broad management direction.

Rotational on-call responsibility.


7+ years of network engineering and systems administration experience in a large heterogeneous Windows/UNIX/Linux production environment is required.

Solid understanding of UNIX-based and LINUX operating systems - HP/Solaris and LINUX/Redhat strongly preferred

Experience with service oriented architecture, PHP, J2EE and JSP is essential, e.g., JBOSS, Apache Tomcat, etc.

Significant experience with and understanding of LDAP, TCP/IP, NFS, DHCP, SMB, SNMP, etc.

Superior communication skills in working with technical and non-technical people and the ability to develop and maintain collaborative relationships among all levels of an organization.

Excellent organizational and time/task management skills are required.

Experience with business collaboration tools such as Outlook, Excel, Visio, MS Project essential.

A Bachelor's degree in computer science or equivalent work experience is required

Technical knowledge and experience in any of the following is highly desirable:

- Kernel
- Network services
- Network-attached storage devices such as Network Appliance Filers.

Response Information:

Please send your resume in word or PDF format to [email protected]. Only those applicants who qualify will be contacted.

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Shift Happens to VoIP

August 16, 2006 6:01 PM | 0 Comments
Ok, I have been seriously lacking in posting to this blog but I have excuses! Shift happens, as in The new website just launched and it looks great. We are putting the finishing touches on our latest and greatest network achievements at Shift and I can tell you all honestly, this new offering is going to kick some major ass! It's been a long time since I have been this excited about anything in the VoIP space.

Keep you ear to the ground, Shift is about to happen... again.
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Careers & Quality of Life

July 26, 2006 10:28 AM | 3 Comments

Quality of life is now looking for YOU!

 Do you fit this description?

 Extensive experience developing and supporting medium to large scale web based applications. Past experience should include all aspects of rapid application development in a complex environment.

Responsibilities include:
* Designing scalable web application components
* Leading a team of web developers
* Understanding requirements

o 7+ years for work experience
o 2-3 years experience developing Web Applications for high volume web site
o Strong LAMP experience (Linux, Apache, MySQL & PHP)
o Expert with TCP/IP and related web protocols like HTTP
o Expert with HTML, Javascript, and SQL
o Knowledge of AJAX
o Object oriented application development using MVC (Model View Controller)
o Strong experience with profiling and optimizing PHP using tools (like APC, APD, KCacheGrind)
o Exprienced with development tools like CVS, ANT, etc.
o Knowledge of Design Patterns
o Ruby on Rails knowledge is desired

Shift is the leading provider of Voice over IP (VoIP) phone services to the Canadian small and medium business market. Since inception Shift’s focus has been to combine enterprise-class technology with a uniquely customer-oriented approach to service and support. Shift trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol "SHF". Please visit our website at

We are now building a talented web applications team in beautiful Vancouver British Columbia and our first order of business is to hire a kick-butt Web Apps Team Lead.

Work for an ultra-cool new era communications company and build some of the coolest web apps on the planet in one of the most beautiful settings on earth - Vancouver! Less than 30 minutes from incredible skiing, snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking and more, Vancouver is THE place for the outdoors enthusiast. It also has a great music scene!

Interested? Email me: [email protected]

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Gizmo Calls Home - For Free!

July 21, 2006 10:18 AM | 1 Comment

Michael Robertson is at it again. From the creator of came and most recently Gizmo Project. FREE TELEPHONE CALLS to 60 countries via Gizmo is here.

We all knew this was going to happen, as it has happened in the past (Dial Pad of old for example) when VoIP made it's first commercial appearance.

The closer we get to end to end IP we will see more free services like this, but Michael has delivered service over the last mile. This is historically where the telcos live, Gizmo is sure to get some attention for this move.

In some ways Michael is taking the Skype approach. By this I mean that if a user wants to access this free calling they will need to download and use Gizmo to make the call. A great way to build a user base past what they already have.

Many of us want to make calls from a cell phone but still use the Gizmo / SIPphone network. If they could find a way to do this without me having to dial toll free or local access numbers first I would use it daily.

The Press Release.

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SMB 2.0 & VoIP

July 4, 2006 2:14 PM | 7 Comments

The latest edition of SIP Magazine is out along with my article on SMB desktop communications, here is an excerpt....

While building Xten (now Counterpath), I was exposed to many business plans and product strategies that were years in the making. Many of the carriers’ softphone plans were focused on the Enterprise. Near the end of my time there I saw a shift towards the SMB. Now some of the largest operators on the planet are integrating softphones, Outlook plug-ins, browser toolbars, and SDKs that enable rich IP Communications on SMB and Enterprise user’s desktops. We have come a long way since NetMeeting although it took a while before we actually saw the same features in SIP that H.323 applications could offer. If you think about it, NetMeeting was a pretty good app for its time, offering a fairly complete SDK and let’s not forget the “callto:” html tags which Skype, and others, have since used as their own.

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Robert Scoble got started in vlogging or video blogging when he began filming his co-workers at Microsoft (with their permission of course) and uploading that to his website which turned blog. He has just joined, makes sense. Have fun Robert, do cool stuff!
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Om points to the outfield

June 14, 2006 4:49 PM | 1 Comment
Om Mailik, now formerly of Business 2.0 has busted out on his own. Good for you Om, and all the best!
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Shift Networks - Smart Business Communications

Shift Announces Closing of $5.2 Million Equity Financing

Calgary, Canada, June 14, 2006 – Shift Networks Inc. (TSX-V:SHF), announced today that the Corporation closed a brokered private placement (“Private Placement”) of units (“Units”), subject to regulatory approval, which raised $5,200,000, an increase from the $5,000,000 previously announced.  The Corporation issued 34,666,667 Units at $0.15 per Unit.  Each Unit consisted of one common share and one-half of one common share purchase warrant.  Each common share purchase warrant is exercisable into one common share at a price of $0.18 until June 14, 2008.

Loewen, Ondaatje, McCutcheon Limited acted as lead agent for this Private Placement, and received a cash commission and Agent’s Warrants.  Each Agent’s Warrant is exercisable until June 14, 2006 into one Unit at a price of $0.15 per Unit.  Each Unit consists of one common share and one-half of one common share purchase warrant exercisable into one common share at a price of $0.18 until June 14, 2008.

The Units issued pursuant to the private placement are subject to a four month hold period.  Shift intends to use the proceeds of the Private Placement as follows:

-    accelerate expansion into Eastern Canada, specifically Toronto, and continue to fund growth in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver;
-    deploy new network technology to increase margins, features and services; and
-    reduce demand barriers with lower priced telephone handsets bundled with monthly service.

Shift Networks is the leader in next generation Voice over IP services for small to medium-sized businesses. Shift Networks trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol "SHF". Please visit our website at

For information please contact:

Press & Media            Shift Networks Inc.                       
Christian Darbyshire        Trent Johnsen
(416) 419-9953            President and CEO   
[email protected]        (403) 355-2703   
                                     [email protected]   

The TSX Venture Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy and accuracy of this release.

On the heels of announcing a $5m private placement Shift announces our numbers for the Q.

Shift Announces Strong Revenue and Margin Growth in First Quarter 2006

CALGARY, May 30, 2006; Shift Networks Inc. (TSX-V:SHF, Shift, or the Company) a leading
provider of hosted IP communications services for small to medium sized businesses today
reported strong revenue growth in its first quarter, 2006 financial results.

Revenues for the three-month period ended March 31, 2006 grew over 300% to C$495,460, compared to revenues of $158,371 in the first quarter of 2005. Contracted quarterly recurring revenue for ShiftVoice service grew over 1000% to $154,552 Q1 2006 from $15,104 Q1 2005. Operating margin on contracted recurring VoIP revenue increased to 54% versus previous quarters at 47%. The Company anticipates continued margin improvement as the Shift customer base continues to scale. Sales continued to increase over the last 3 months as a result of Shift’s continued investment into distribution and sales capacity and growing customer interest and adoption. Management expects growth to continue to accelerate as additional direct sales personnel, indirect distribution partners, and new markets such as Vancouver continue to gain traction.

"Shift’s growth is a function of investment in our sales channels, number of markets, and strength of service offering,” stated Shift President and CEO, Trent Johnsen. "Shift is seeing increasing client opportunities with the addition of Vancouver as the third major market from companies with multiple locations. We are also experiencing pent-up demand for service in Toronto and have work in progress to offer service there.”

Sales and marketing expenses for the quarter increased in line with sales growth. The Company estimates an approximate six month cycle from addition of sales personnel to consistent subscriber revenue loading, comprised of 60 to 90 days training and lead development for new sales reps and dealers, followed by an average 60 to 90 day sales cycle.

As a result of Shift’s increased investments in sales and distribution personnel through the fall of 2005, new subscriber loads increased from 365 in the fourth quarter, 2005, to over one thousand new subscribers in the first quarter of 2006. Over 40% of subscriber line activations were the result of independent Shift dealer activity. During the first quarter the Company completed a fully subscribed $2,000,000 brokered private placement ("Private Placement").

The Corporation issued 20,000,000 Units at $0.10 per Unit. Each Unit consisted of one common share and one share purchase warrant. Each share purchase warrant is exercisable into one common share at a price of $0.14 until January 12, 2008. Proceeds are being utilized to fund acceleration of the Company's sales and marketing initiatives in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver as well as for inventory, provisioning, installation and general working capital. Additional information relating to the Company, as well as the complete First Quarter, 2006,
Financial Statements can also be found on SEDAR at

Shift Networks is a leader in next generation IP communications services for small to mediumsized businesses. Shift Networks trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol "SHF". Please visit our website at

For information please contact:
Press & Media             Shift Networks Inc.
Christian Darbyshire   Trent Johnsen
(416) 419-9953          President and CEO
[email protected]   (403) 355-2703

Free VoIP is back, for now.

May 16, 2006 10:23 AM | 22 Comments

Hot on the heels of the AOL Phone Line news Skype announced free calling for the and until the end of 2006. Dialpad built their business on this in the late nineties and early part of the new millennium and recently were bought by Yahoo! to complete their Phone In and Phone Out capabilities. Free is good, maybe the telcos will follow along, yeah rightwink

Tom has all the info this.

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VoIP and Canadian Business

May 11, 2006 8:32 AM | 0 Comments
Having lived in Canada since birth it’s seems a bit weird that I have not worked more closely with some of the telcos and larger telecom vendors here. Although if you take a look at the market and how Canada usually trails behind the US and Europe in the implementation of new telecommunication technology it may not seem weird at all. Most of my business in previous projects came from the US and Europe, they are the first to jump on new technology. Strangely this country builds some of the best technology in SIP today. It’s true, Canada is slow to deploy but we can build it like there is no tomorrow. Well, I have found one company that is going to change all of that. Shift Networks is a company that is delivering on-demand IP communication services for business leading in Canada.

Now, as the CTO for Shift my job is to deliver SMB 2.0 (tongue now planted firmly in side of cheek) , which can be summed up as Simple, Powerful, Affordable and Reliable on-demand business communications services.  Basically, I get to build the best on-demand SMB communications infrastructure in Canada.  It’s a dream really! I get to surround myself with really smart people whose new mission in life is to build a network using SIP and deploy those cool features I spent so many years designing.  Now we’re talking!

So what if anything stands in my way? Hmm, not much it would seem. Even this recent CRTC burp will not hold us up.  By now most of you have heard that the CRTC has been told, by our new government no less, that they need to review the recent VoIP ruling, this is the first time this has happened in over 10 years. Fellow blogger, Jon Arnold made some great points and references a submission made by Jeff Pulver.  I for one believe that the telcos who own nearly 95% of the market share will certainly try to crush innovation if they are allowed to compete on a level playing field. If we are going to review the ruling that allowed non-regulated VoIP operators to compete directly with the incumbents then let’s make sure we protect the innovators so they are not gobbled up in price wars with the incumbents who are hell bent on owning the entire market. Monopolies suck, the consumer gets the shaft and innovation takes a back seat. Let’s hope the CRTC doesn’t ignore this in their review. Something similar is happening the US, Alec Saunders has more on that.

On a sidebar, some of you misht be asking yoiurselves why I have not been as active as I once was on this blog and the simple answer is, I am super busy with my new job. In addition, my analyst podcast has been shelved due in part to Angelo Liberatore moving into a new department at Credit Suisse, congrats on the new gig Angelo!
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