Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Callburner - the BEST Skype calling solution.

Recently I installed a copy of Callburner, a Skype recording tool - from Netralia software ltd, based out of Australia. Netralia is famous for there other home run Skype solution called Skylook - a product which completely Skypifies Outlook.

Callburner takes the best of Skylook (the recording feature) and allows it to run as a standalone desktop app., that does one thing - Record all Skype calls perfectly. It is really slick, the GUI looks like a native Office 2007 application and it resides in your system tray with a little hot pepper icon It does everything I want in a windows application - hides itself seamlessly, uses little memory, looks great and functions perfectly and behind the scenes.

This is a must have for Podcasters, you can record in .wav, .mp3 or raw PCM to a separate file & either side of the conversation separately or together - including SkypeIn/Out and conference calls. It even allows for note taking after a call. Great job guys.

Callburner comes with a 14 day free trial, after which you can purchase a license for $49.99. It is a little pricier than the other recording solutions for Skype, but it is worth it.

How to get banned from Google for searching for Fedex

Strangest thing I have ever seen, I have been anxiously awaiting a Fedex parcel, and did a Google search from within Firefox for - Fedex Tracking.

I mistakenly replaced the e in Fedex with a 3 - so I inadvertently searched for 'F3dex'. The search results came up, but when I clicked on one of them I found myself locked out of Google and forced to enter a code to prove I was a real person. No other Google searches would work until I proved my IP/PC (I guess) was a real person. Everything works now, but I was temporarily in panic mode, as I thought I had unleashed the wrath of the big G on myself.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Paul Potts

Just watch it. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Why the iPhone is good for Mobile VoIP

For the record I am not an Apple fanboy (I do however own an iPod, and soon will convert to a MacBook) - but to be blunt, I am really impressed with Apple. Not because they make trendy cool products, but because they seem to be the only company that (solely) has the end use in mind when they design products.

The upcoming release of the over hyped iPhone illustrates my point perfectly. As demoed by Apple; the upcoming iPhone has a unique capability they call Visual Voicemail. In and of itself this isn't really earth shattering, but it represents a clear shift in power for handset manufacturers worldwide.

Visual Voicemail is a usability godsend. Basically you will have a visual representation of the VM's in your box, and will have the ability to send/forward/listen/delete in any order all of your messages via a touch screen GUI. I can't stand VM, on my mobile - I dread having to dial in, enter a PIN and listen to 4 messages to hear the one I want. Visual Voicemail is a killer app., for mobile.

Where this gets interesting is that Apple didn't invent it. Visual Voicemail in many iterations ( Grandcentral Mobile - so very cool) has been around for a decade, but until now - no handset manufacturer has forced a carrier to build the back end to support it. There are some smart cookies at Nokia, Motorola - and I know they have thought of this in the past, but when they approached carriers - the carriers probably oo'd and awe'd then saw the amount of work needed to provide it on there backend and politely asked them to never bring it up again. The current raft of handset providers cower and retreat when their #1 (and only) customers tell them to do something. Whether it be crippling features like bluetooth or wifi to prevent VoIP calls or locking handsets to a specific network - the list of examples of handset vendors sacrificing usability and end users for profit is well documented. Look at Skype's petition of the FCC - imagine Skype on the iPhone?

Then along comes Apple and turns the 'cart' upside down. I imagine the 'negotiations' went something like this..

Hmm AT&T you want to partner with us eh?? ok great, well can you have this new voice mail infrastructure built out in 18 months? - we are going to need you to offer a new data plan as our phone uses data, so change that - and while your at it, we have unfettered access to wifi, so in the future we are going to add a SIP client and steal minutes from you. Kapeesh? Great, sign here - press hard, there are 3 copies...

So Kudo's to Apple for humbling wireless carriers, for your next trick can you come up to Canada and kick the powers that be @ Rogers squarely in the 'nads' - we have the most expensive mobile data in the world by a factor of 1000x, and you won't sell unit 1 of iPhone up here until you do - and I think I kinda' want one.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Safari/IE/FF CPU usage on a PC: Safari Wins

** Update - Safari is gone, getting me to switch from Firefox, will be next to impossible. Like Skype, the provider would have to hit a home run out of the gate in order to make me change.

I fired up all three browser running on a Aspire 1690 Pent M 1.5 with 2G of Ram.

I had 3 tabs open running the exact same sites. My Yahoo, iGoogle, and Techmeme.

IE7 - Memory Usage: 76 44K (no addons installed)
FF 2 - Memory Usage: 64 044K (addons installed Facebook Toolbar, Mouse Gestures, PDF Download)
Safari - Memory Usage: 62 860K

Impressive results for Safari, not only is it noticeably faster, but it uses less memory out of the box as a beta than the other incumbents. I am going to continue to play with it - it isn't perfect, it seems to have some funky ways of dealing with sites that open up frames, but it is a pretty impressive quick browser.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Ticketmaster & Bon Jovi & iTunes do something Brilliant

Bon Jovi, Ticketmaster and iTunes - have done what I consider to be the perfect solution to the problem of illegal distribution of music via the web and the inability to track down (and monetize) file sharer's that have been to this point harder to catch than something Slippery When Wet.

In a promotion that can only be described as red hot, and I mean 7800 Degrees Fahrenheit - iTunes/Ticketmaster have (for the Upcoming New Jersey concert) decided to Keep the Faith with the fans of the band and through American Express, are offering preferred seating and early ticket sales to anyone who purchases a digital copy of the album distributed via iTunes.

I see this as a Cross Road in the delivery of digital media, it is rare to see a forward thinking solution These Days in an industry that is muddled with RIAA extortion and 19th century thinking by record companies. I like this for a few reasons, it gives the fans a chance to Bounce to the front of the line and support the artist monetarily, it has to be great of the artist as it can remove them from the Crush of the record companies as they can easily distribute music and sell more tickets to concerts (where they make the bulk of there profit anyway).

In an industry that looks like a Lost Highway, This Left Feels Right.

Have a Nice Day.