Saturday, December 24, 2005

VoIP End of Year Roundup

VoIP Central - has a great "who did what" in 2-0-5.

Worth the read.

Merry X-mas and Happy Holidays to all.

Friday, December 23, 2005

BASIC interpreter in your Browser - cool

From -

Navaho Gunleg has created NG-BASIC,
an implementation of the BASIC programming language in JavaScript that runs in your
web browser. Firefox 1.5, I am pretty sure for now.

It has been fun trying to remember all those old basic commands.

Posted with Performancing. (Great job Jed and crew, amazing extension)


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Skype Conversation with COLDPLAY !

Skype is running a great promotion with a kickass megaband - Coldplay, in conjunction with their new single Talk.

Skype Coldplay or Skype Name: talktocoldplay

To celebrate the launch of Coldplay’s new single Talk we
thought we would give one lucky Skype friend the opportunity to ummm...
talk to the band over Skype.


click on the Skype Coldplay button to leave a message and your Skype
Name. The band will have a listen and whoever leaves them the best or
most interesting message will win a call with Coldplay over Skype.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Google Safe Browsing for Firefox

I love the fact that Google supports Firefox. This is a great beta extension and a great illustration of why Firefox is such a great browser. Say goodbye to all those phishing sites and the bastards that run them. If you inadvertently visit a malicious site, a nice pop up will appear warning you - all brought to you by the magic of Google algorithm's...

Not available outside, the US - but hopefully I can get my hands on a copy.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Mood O Matic - Cool Skype Plugin

Hans Blauw, the creator of Skypeteer, released a very cool plugin for Skype you have to try, called Mood O' Matic.

Mood O Matic, lets you auto fill your display pics and mood messages within Skype via your Flickr Stream or any RSS feed, it is a very simple and fun app.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Official Skype Extension for Firefox - Beta

I have been so busy I have been neglecting my blogging, but this is most worthy, for all you Firefox lovers, and I know there are a lot of you, Skype has released a "toolbar" extension for Firefox. This is still in beta but expect to see 1.0 out pretty soon. I know the developer, he is a really great guy. Ping me with anything you think you would like to see in future versions, other than "where is the Mac version" :)

Powered By Qumana

Wax on Wax Off - From the Skype Integrators at Skylook

From the guys who brought us the kickass Skype Outlook Recording Add-in Skylook, a new plugin for Outlook users has been released called Waxmail.
Essentially Waxmail lets you easily send a MP3 you record on the fly to all your Outlook contacts, it is free and a great utility. Excellent job guys !

Mr. Miyagi would be proud.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Qumana 2.0 ROCKS !!

Wow, this is great - I haven't had the time to blog lately, but my friend Tris Hussey CBO (Chief Blogging Officer) over at Qumana just Skype IM'd me with the news of release 2.0 of Qumana.
I literally had this post up and running from my desktop in a matter of seconds.
This absolutely ROCKS Tris...
Kudo's to the team @ Qumana - for illiterate bloggers like me, this is a "must have" tool.

Powered By Qumana

Sunday, August 07, 2005

It's Official - Skype Coming to a Treo Near you.

I have speculated about this for some time, and it appears the rumours are true. A new version of the Treo - the 670 - will be running Windows Mobile.

This should scare the tar out of wireless telco's. Losing the high value margin of SMS to intelligent edge devices is a big deal.

In the US Verizon's Data/Voice plan is around 80.00 a month, which is not cheap, but probably worth it if you are in a EVDO service area.

Thanks to Gizmodo for the pics.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Never Pay for Software Again

Tom Merrit over @ has a great article about purchasing a new laptop and wanted to see just how far he could go without having to pay for any software.

Tom's top picks were the Mozilla suite for email/browser,, Skype, the GimP, Audacity, Itunes, and iPodder. I would also add NVU to that list for a really good Dreamweaver replacement as well as Filezilla for FTP. Today you can pretty much do anything without paying a dime, with the exception of Accounting and Exchange Mail server type functionality (which is pretty important)

With the impending adoption of the Windows Genuine Advantage program, watch the exodus begin from M$ to opensource and alternative Unix based OS's. It is much the same argument the proponents of online filesharing make, when critiquing the RIAA going after 14 year olds with 500 mp3's on their PC. The kid wasn't going to buy those songs anyway. Microsoft will find the same thing. A ten year old kid isn't going to shell out 700$ for an OS and some email program, if he can't pirate it, then he will just move onto something else, which is a very dangerous option if you rely on hooking people when there young. Hmmm, sounds like big tobacco.. :)

Pirating M$ software has created an entire generation of people that are Windows only, watch that market share collapse when you create an entire generation of computer users that are familiar and embrace opensource.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Skype For Sale Rumours are Hogwash.

I have heard, Yahoo, Rupert Murdoch, Microsoft, Google are all interested in ponying up a few hundred million possibly a few billion for Skype.

I hereby go on record as saying that it is speculation and innuendo created by the viral masters themselves. Why prove you're worth a billion when everyone just assumes you are, it makes that sale a hell of a lot easier.

Here is my theory, if I am wrong - oh well.

SLA and QOS are the only two words you have to say to yourself when you hear a Skype takeover or sale rumour.

Skype as amazing as it is, can't guarantee a SLA or QOS for business. They are a fringe provider and add no value or intelligence to an otherwise "dumb network" known as the internet.

The internet, as it sits today, is relatively open - meaning the traffic that travels over it is data nothing more, the backbone providers concentrate on delivering the pipe better and faster. The syntax of the messages that travel over that dumb network; however, represent a massive shift in the way we communicate. Today we can use Skype to communicate for no cost anywhere in the world, as a result of this "dumb network". So what happens when the network isn't dumb anymore?

The same guys that give us our mobile and telco service also run this backbone. Do you think they will sit idly by and watch there profits completely dissapear, after sinking billions into building the global network? 3 word's - NOT BLOODY LIKELY.

Skype the technology is amazing, I live, eat and breathe it everyday. It represents a massive opportunity that I am happy to be involved with, and am looking forward to being involved with for a very long time. But to say that anyone other than a Telco., would purchase Skype just doesn't make sense. It is just too risky, there is no guarantee's the network will be "dumb" forever. Telco's, in the end, control the network and whether we like it or not will start controlling the syntax of the messages that travel over their pipes, ultimately they are responsible for and have the control over who gets what service, and as a result are the only ones to benefit from purchasing Skype. Vonage is no different.

I have to go now and send a 10 cent text message from my cell now. (10 cents for 1 kb.. wow, with margin like that it looks like mobile operators have already figured this out :) ) How long before the regular telco's do?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson - Goes out with a Bang (literally)

The late Hunter S. Thompson will go out in style on Aug. 20th, as his remains will be fired out of a cannon atop a 150ft. tower in his backyard.

Johnny Depp, a close friend of Hunter's and whom played him in one of my favourite movies of all time, 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas', will preside over the ceremony and make Hunter's final wishes come true.

How could you not love this guy, I hope they webcast it.

Today is a Free SkypeOut Day

On the heels of my last post, today is a "free SkypeOut" day..

Log into your account page to claim your free 10 minutes of SkypeOut....

Sharing is good, free is even Better !!!!

Thanks Skype.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Free SkypeOut !

This is a great promotion by Skype, and adds to its viral growth - the neverending press releases will continue with simple low cost marketing ideas like this.

On Free SkypeOut Days you’ll be able to redeem 10 minutes of credit for SkypeOut calls and it won’t cost you a thing.

How do I know when it’s a Free SkypeOut Day?

We wish every day could be a Free SkypeOut Day, but that would make us bankrupt. So our accountant says we can have 4 of them this month.

When one is approaching, we’ll let you know through our website and on We’re planning to have those days every week in July, so keep checking back for details. And when you spot one, spread the word.

How do you claim your SkypeOut credit?

On Free SkypeOut Days you will find a “get a free Skype gift” button on your account page. Click on it before it disappears at the end of the day. Then, ‘hey presto’, you’ll be able to claim your SkypeOut credit. It’s our little gift to you. We hope you like it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Dittybot for Windows

I haven't quite got my head around any potential commercial applications for this, but Henry over at has mashed up a Dittybotlike MP3 to Cell phone app., over Skype using Virtual Audio Cables (which quite honestly scare me) and SMS.

Looks pretty slick.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Gizmodo's Gold medal office Prank.

This is just pant wetting hilarious. Well worth the download.

What to do with a 2000 Superballs? Why - drop them on a co-worker of course.

You can download the video from here.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Skype is Half of all NA VoIP traffic

According to an analysis done by broadband management company Sandvine Inc. , Skype currently accounts for 46. percent of all VoIP traffic in North America. “So this is not like five guys who figured out they could call Slovenia 24 hours in a row; this is a mass market phenomenon,” says Sandvine’s Steve McGeown.

With this kind of penetration, Skype is established and staying. It will be near impossible to knock Skype off its pedestal now. Carriers better wake up, the writing is on the wall.

Below is listed a graphic detailing the Top VoIP customer acquisition companies. The Skype numbers, some would argue are slightly skewed, as the other provider have ARPU, whereas Skype is a pre-paid service. Regardless, they are dwarfing all others in usage, and the company plans to extend far beyond voice. Something the other PoIP companies have failed to realize.

Table 1: VOIP's Leaders
VOIP Provider Paying Customers
Skype Technologies SA 1,000,000
Vonage Holdings Corp. 500,000
France Telecom SA 330,000
FastWeb SpA 300,000
Cablevision Systems Corp. 189,000
AT&T Corp. 53,000
Source: Sandvine and Point Topic

Friday, June 10, 2005

Introducing the Bangalore Operating System 2007 SP2

I had a great conversation with a colleague Vir Bhanu of Knowledge Systems, located in Bangalore India. Vir is a great guy, and I hope to do business with his firm in the future on a number of projects we are currently working on. Vir shared with me a great article from Thomas Friedman, the author of "The World is Flat" (recommended by another colleague, but I digress) - Freidman shares the perspective that "ideation" and sales and marketing are spawned via the Western companies and the core development is best done no where else in the world other than Bangalore. Vir had an interesting perspective on how the value add of Offshore Development actually increases the GDP of the countries using it as they essentially have all this found margin, that they can invest and spend in their countries of origin, continue to innovate etc., I would imagine some of that goes back to development in India, so it is a pretty good model - depending how you look at it.

This brings me to the original point of my post - which became very apparent to me when I read this article written by Jo Best of The article states that M$ is going to offer amnesty to the Indian government via a licensing deal for the illegal copies of Windows currently being used in the Indian Government for 1$, an install. As long as they agree to in the future purchase valid licenses. My first thought was "wow neat", my second thought was 'Wow, huge opportunity for Linspire or Xandros to possibly move in and score a huge deal", my third thought was "WOW, the Indian government in conjuction with the top software companies in Bangalore, have the opportunity to take an ownership stake in a Unix based OS and get it on par with Tiger and XP". Why woudn't they do this? It isn't like they don't have the knowledge workers, or base to do it. If anyone is going to take a run at M$'s OS domination they might be the only ones that can do it. (Imagine embedding Skype in an OS.... *drool*)

Perhaps it is just a pipe dream, but I firmly believe that the Indian development community needs to think a little more like the American marketing machine and take some ownership stakes in developing technologies like Xandros and other Unix based OS's and distance themselves from M$ a little. With that many uber talented programmers available, Opensource solutions could explode and free us all from M$ like monopolies. This is a good thing, and opens the door for true universal and open IT communication technologies. They need someone to plant the seed, and help with the capitalist side of it... I would gladly volunteer.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

ASUS P505 PDA Smartphone Ships with Skype - (well maybe not)

Tony Dennis of the Inquirer, reportedly stumbled across a Skype Enabled PDA/Smartphone at the ASUS booth at Computex in Taipei.

Surprisingly, pre-installed with Skype. Most people feel that the handset manufacturers are scared to embrace Skype so as not to strain relationships with the wireless carriers that essentially have them by the short and curlys with respect to what they can and cannot do. Sucks to make a product that only a handful of companies can sell.

The chance to free themselves from the oppressive rule of the global wireless barons might be too attractive for handset manufacturers to pass up. Motorola (the Ivanhoe of this movement) has announced plans to work with Skype and rumours abound regarding Nokia. The writing might be on the castle wall for some Wireless Telco's, start delivering high speed reliable data, or "off with your head".

Friday, May 20, 2005

Asterisk VoIP News

A great blog on Asterisk and related opensource telephony.

Asterisk VoIP News - Asterisk VoIP, Asterisk PBX, Asterisk Help, VoIP Tips, VoIP News

The Official Skype Blog

We now have an official insider blog from Skype. I am sure Mr. Pryor (the man responsible for Microsoft bloggers) had his input and kudo's, for opening up the vault and getting more up close and personal with the users. Good work Jaanus.

Some early suggestions would be - guest article writers (I'll submit a few anytime) - internal milestones - new hires, offices opening etc., "celebrities on Skype watch", and of course, you absolutely must start Podcasting once a month with synopsis of everything that has happened, I will gladly facilitate guest speakers.

If Niklas, Lenn and others were to interview partners, discuss events etc., through a monthly podcast - it would be very well recieved and really help the medium continue to grow.

The Skype Blog

Crying while Eating

I love the internet, but every so often I have to pause and reflect on exactly what this neverending sharing of 1's and 0's, is all about.

Today was one of those days, "my main man in Amsterdam", sent this to me for review.

The question of "why?" begs to be asked.

Enjoy. (you need quicktime)

Crying While Eating

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Jon's Phone Tool - a must have for Mac Skyper's

I stumbled across a great utility mentioned on Boris Mann's blog, a scriptable dialer for the Mac that supports bluetooth calling through your cell, with Vonage, CallVantage, Skype, Ovolab Phlink,Parliant’s PhoneValet, an Asterisk PBX server, IP-based telephony devices, or SIP softphones by Xten Networks, Inc.

I was also impressed to learn of a robust Mac Asterisk Community, which is very good news as well. You can sign up for a free SIP URI @

Friday, April 29, 2005

Firefox Passes 50 Million Downloads

Firefox Passed the 50 Million Download mark. I am a huge advocate of Firefox - once you use it you will see why. Congrats to the Mozilla team, job well done.

Tom's Hardware Guide to Skype for PPC - Excellent

Tom's Hardware Guide has released a great step by step explanation on how to get your Pocket PC Skype enabled... It covers:

Skype Beta for MS Smartphone Released.

Here are some of the details, GPRS isn't fast enough for Voice and since Smartphones aren't Wifi capable for the most part there isn't really a need for voice yet. But this is encouraging - Symbian will be next I would imagine.

Get it here.


Skype for Smartphone BETA
* participate in Skype network - log in, presence
* instant messaging
* centrally stored contact list support

Things to be aware of
* no voice (yet)
* network traffic usage - depending on your buddy list network usage can be quite large - up to several megabytes per day even without actively chatting, this is important if you pay per megabyte. There is option automatically disconnect then Skype is in idle and it's switched on by default, feel free to switch it off if you have flat-free rate.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Using Skype on a LAN or Corporate Network

Skype released a great document clearly explaining how to optimize Skype perfomance safely on a LAN. It is available here. Skype's Guide for Network Admin.'s

There is other software that I have been working with that allows for much greater control of Skype on a LAN by managing bandwith and packets; allowing for optimization of Skype traffic. The market for this type of Packet and Internet prioritization software will continue to increase, as Network Admin.'s try to remove latency from VoIP sessions on the LAN.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Skype: Brings the Final Frontier to your Classroom.

Skype call to the International Space Station today.

This is by far the biggest endorsement yet. If NASA allows Skype to run on the ISS, surely - it is fine for your terrestial based business. I hope these kids are recording this conversation and will post it on the ARISS site. As I type this, this connection is happening. There isn't a better endorsement of how VoIP technology is fundamentally different than traditional Telco PSTN infrastructure, are you listening CRTC?

Somebody at Skype, please send this class a box of T-shirts.

Fort Ross Elementary School, in Cazadero, California has been scheduled for a contact on Friday, April 15 at 18:07 UTC.

Two ARISS contacts have been scheduled with ESA Italian astronaut Roberto Vittori, as follows: Istituto Tecnico Industriale Liceo scientifico Tecnologico "G. Marconi" in Civitavecchia, Italy and Ist.Tecn.Comm.Einaudi-Mattei & Ist.Statale Istr. Sup. Malignani In in Palmanova, Italy will share a contact with the ISS, as they are linked via Skype (internet telephony). The students from each institute will take turns asking questions. The event is scheduled for April 18 at 08:45 UTC.

The European Space Research Institute (ESRIN), is slated for a contact via telebridge station NN1SS on April 20 at 12:39 UTC.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Skype Crosses the 100 000 000 download mark !

Let me be the first to congratulate Skype on passing a milestone few have reached before.

100 000 000 Downloads. Unbelievable.

May the next 100 000 000 be as exciting as the first...

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Impressive Movement up the Alexa Rankings for Skype

Now this is impressive. Skype has just climbed into the top 500 websites in popularity in the world. If you don't have it yet, get it.

According to Rich Tehrani lovely wife, they are now ranked 22 ahead of Victoria's Secret, which begs the question to be asked, is Skype even more popular than the world's sexiest ladies lingerie? And are people Skyping while visting Victoria's Secret? (an entirely different opportunity) My marketing brain is straining for cross(dressing)/marketing campaigns...

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Skype - Windows Mobile Treo 650, Part 3

The rumours around this are just rampant but Treonauts is reporting at a UK conference an Orange executive pulled out his new 650 and showed everyone the Windows Mobile 2005 OS running on it.. more details below.

So it looks like we might be close to a Skype Treo - not with Palm OS, but with Magneto - which I ponificated earlier would be a lot easier to accomplish...

"[Recently at] the Landmark Hotel, London, where a Very Senior Orange Person produced his Treo 650, and switched it on, and carelessly allowed all others at the table to see that it was not running PalmOS, but Windows Mobile 2005

Several people eagerly produced camera-phones to record this, and the phone was hastily tucked away where the sun can't shine."

Monday, April 04, 2005

Disconnect Supervision, POTS tricks and Skype

From my sordid youth, of pitching Nortel and Toshiba key systems and PBX's my favourite sales manager of all time Johnny "Nortel" Williamson always made sure when we were inspecting old PBX's to check to see if they had the software upgrades that allowed for disconnect supervision. Essentially this made sure that when you hung up your handset the loop start circuit was closed and you didn't leave a port open for 24 hours to Kuwait racking up a $700.00 phone call charge from your Telco. Apparently this was an issue on some really old systems, and was a good reason to pitch an "upgrade", which was basically the same thing in a new casing for twice the price.

I was calling someone on Skype today which reminded me of the old POTS anomaly where you would pick up the phone and low and behold there was already someone there. The conversation always started, "oh I was just calling you, your ears must be burning" etc. It was always really JoJo psychic'ish when you were about to call that same person as well. The cosmic duality of twisted copper, playing out in front of you.

This is what jarred my memory of the "old days" - if this cross talk was to happen today on a VoIP service everyone would be flapping about security and terrorist listening in on your calls...

Aside from the grammatical error ("just" isnt' needed), I had a good laugh.

Hitachi announces - 1 Terabyte Drives

This is rather mind boggling when you think of it. Within this year, we will have 1TB internal 3.5 inch hard drives and iPods with 120 Gigs.. For the non-technical 1 Terabyte is 1000 Gigabytes. Which to put it in perspective is

  1. 1000 Divx encoded entire movies. (996 if you have the LOTR trilogy)
  2. 250 000 4 mb mp3's (249 990 if you have Frampton Comes Alive and Rick Wakemen's Jouney to the Centre of the Earth)
  3. An indescribable amount of porn etc..
Hitachi Global Storage Technologies have today demonstrated a new magnetic recording technology that could pave the way for ultra-high hard drive capacities, including 3.5" drives with a terabyte of storage.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Ground-breaking SKYPE technology links UK and Venezuela

I thought I would blog this, it is a rather interesting article on a rather inventive journalist introducing Skype to get two parties talking who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to do so. This is the type of realtime voice enabled collaboration tools that my friends and colleagues at Jyve are working on. Adding to this idea, imagine being able to bring in a translator at the click of a button, to help with the meeting. Now anyone, anywhere in any language can conduct international business without traditional cultural barriers. Follow the link to the rest of Andy's article, I am not too familiar with the issue at hand - but the concept is excellent, use a zero cost tool to achieve open communication between parties. Good job Andy, let us know how it goes.

Edit** - Andy has been in touch with me and is sending a DVD documentary entitled "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" - I look forward to watching it. Thanks Andy.

Venezuela Solidarity UK coordinator Andy Goodall writes:

Using SKYPE technology to span the great distance between the UK and Venezuela, the first international public meeting between the two countries will be held on March 30 at the Light House Media Center in Wolverhampton (West Midlands, UK).

The event is being jointly organized by Venezuela Solidarity UK and VHeadline (Venezuela’s Electronic News).

VHeadline editor/publisher Roy Carson came up with the idea for this international conference via SKYPE, which will enable Venezuelan activists to address and speak directly with people in Britain for the first time 'live' at a public meeting.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

PC'less Skype Router/Handsets Coming...

John Blau, a reporter for the IDG news service, caught up with Niklas Zennstrom at CEBIT and probably without realizing got this little tidbit of info.

IDGNS: But your computer must be running all the time. Some people don't want to have their machines running all day. Are you looking at a product for these users?

Zennström: Many people like to keep their computers on most of the time, so connectivity isn't an issue with them. But, yes, some people don't like to have their machines running all day. So we are working together with a partner on a router-based product to reach out to a larger group. We will integrate our software either into the cordless handset or the base station, which users can then connect directly to their router. We can't say today when we will launch this new product.

So for all the people waiting and wanting a PC'less Skype solution is appears it is in the works. This is bad news for any PoIP service that uses an ATA as a connectivity device to mimic the PSTN. The poor sound resources of POTS limit the rich wideband voice experience you can have with VoIP. Cheap USB phones and wireless options, will create always on network devices needing no PC whatsoever. If your router just happens to have VoIP in it and can connect to anyone elses that also happens to have it, it becomes increasingly more difficult to sell Voice as a service.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Skype for Treo, but scrap Palm OS.

Skype for Palm OS is often talked about, mostly for supporting the truly amazing Treo Handheld, it really would be the killer mobile app., the Treo has a huge community of users that just love the thing. I started thinking that it might actually be easier to port the Treo to Windows Mobile rather than trying to port Skype to the (rather uncertain future) of the Palm OS.

Gizmodo has some interesting screenshots up of what could be the Treo 670, and yup - you guessed it, Treo "Windows Mobile Version". Skype would be a killer app. for this device, and create a huge developer community movement to port the thousands of Treo specific apps. that have been created for Palm OS to Windows Mobile.

Thanks to Gizmodo (the best gadget blog on the net) for the Pics.

Prototype Treo 650 pictures, or a new Windows Mobile-powered ‘Treo 670?’ The guy who took these pictures said it ran Windows Mobile. PalmOne should be able to tell us for sure: if they say it’s a mock-up, it doesn’t run Windows Mobile. If they don’t say anything at all, it has to be true.

HTC, has been very vocal about getting Skype on there phones and this might be the solution that is quickest.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

SkypeIn, Skype Voicemail Part 2... How to make a good thing better

Ok, so the day has finally arrived, after much posturing and speculation by everyone (including me, a long time beta tester) in the internet community Skype 1.2 is released in beta.

Key Features :
  1. Skype In - assign a phone number to your PC.
  2. Skype Voicemail - if your not online or if you're speaking it takes a message.
  3. Video isn't here yet, but stayed tuned, they have said it is coming...
  4. And some really great API enhancements that I have been waiting for.

The pricing is available on the main Skype account page - it is dirt cheap. Adding these features puts Skype on pretty much a level playing field for the basic features that Vonage and the other PoIP providers offer, and a one fell swoop, can turn a little internet company into a major revenue generating business overnight. The cost of the voicemail infrastructure will be insignificant compared to the potential revenue that it will generate for Skype. If 10 million users pay 30 Euro's !! a year, no other word to describe it other than WOW.

Is this realistic? Yeah, 100 %. Currently all the PoIP services charge a minimum of $14.99 US a month, plus LD above 500 minutes of PSTN a month, plus the sign up and cost of your ATA, and extra $ if you want to use a softphone. For $40.00 USD a year with Skype, you get a phone number, and voicemail service. This doesn't include your Skype Out minutes (calls to regular phones), they are about 2.5 cents pretty much anywhere in the world, and naturally Skype to Skype is free. Lets say you use the $14.99 Vonage plan. It would cost you $180.00 a year, pretty cheap actually. Skype would be $40.00 a year, plus however much PSTN calling you want to use. $140.00 of SkypeOut PSTN calling would be about 5600 anytime minutes you want to use. Use 1000 one month and 0 the next, it wouldn't matter.

Time for a Skype IPO?? Damn straight, I am in for sure, the difference between Skype and the dot com companies of the great bubble era and todays PoIP providers , is pretty obvious. They haven't spent 200 million on advertising this year - they haven't spent any, cost of a new customer isn't $150-$200.oo it is pennies, and; they have more users than all the other VoIP sevices combined and they are going to make money, a lot of money, all the time saving me a fortune in telecom costs. Go Skype.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Skype Ubiquity - Will Set Standards

Skype, announced today a really cool partnership with Broadreach in the UK. Broadreach is a Wifi access provider with what appears to be a lot of AP's and sites that include Virgin Megastores, Eurostar, Travelodge, Moto, Little Chef, Virgin Trains, EAT , Choice Hotels and Quality Inn and major railway stations including all the London terminals.

Skype will be free for anyone using it in a Broadreach hotspot. This is a very powerful statement by a broadband provider that really gets it. By focusing on their key product - delivering pipe - and not the services that run over it, they will cement themselves (and Skype) as a ubiquitous communication service in the UK. I would imagine a series of poster and advertisements popping up in all rail stations, trams, roadside hotspots in the UK praising the free communication, watch Skype penetration and usage in the UK explode, this will be the first mainstream media campaign for Skype and cleverly costing them zilch! Mobile workers will gladly pay the extra 3 pounds or so an hour to access the internet at a Broadreach hotspot, and travelers will subscribe to Skype-In, voicemail and SkypeOut - can you say win-win...

Monday, February 28, 2005

Teleo, Damaka, Peerio - if this is the best anyone can do Skype has already won.

I make time to try new VoIP services, particularily softphones or IM like products when they are released, and I have to say I really don't get what goes through someones head when they try to get into this market.

Neither of the aformentioned - Teleo, Damaka, Peerio (vaporware until the release something that actually does something), or Voiceglo have the feature list that Skype offers or will offer soon. Presence is an afterthought if even thought of at all, NAT firewall issues, install problems, the list goes on and on. Here are some words of advice to any other VoIP provider that wishes to enter the P2P telephony space. Skype has 150 000 downloads a day, if you want to compete with them then take your time and release a product that actually is as good if not better. Concentrate on your feature set, make the GUI a high priority and don't crash my PC. You only get 1 chance to knock Skype off my PC, cause' it works and everyone I do business with uses it. I am not changing unless you give me a killer app. that forces the change.

Skype is only vulnerable in the following areas and they won't be for long, concentrate here and you might actually disrupt the apple cart. Your app. would have to be standards based (SIP), P2P to keep your costs of new users at zero, firewalls have to be irrelevant, access to the media stream to people can build IVR's and use your network, offer a non-gui service versions for integration to other apps., have presence as one of your key selling features, non-proprietarty voicemail format, offer all platforms of OS both mobile and fixed as well as hardware enabled devices - and lastly whiteboard and video. Unless you hit the market with all of those features in release 1.0, you haven't a chance at this market, Skype has too big of a lead you have no time to "get better" you have to "be better". To give Peerio credit, they claim to be able to do this, so in my mind they have the only chance of upsetting Skype today by concentrating on the business market opposed to residential, but as I mentioned they haven't released anything other than promises and I have never spoken to anyone that has actually witnessed first hand seeing the product. I am supposed to meet with a biz dev. person in March from Peerio, I hope to have more info. about them at that point.

That is the word according to me, take it for what its worth.. :)

SKYPE: The Programme That Will Eat the Lunch Of African Telcos

I take a lot of thing for granted, cheap LD and Broadband internet service for starters - stories such as this one, about how the incumbent telco's in Africa (Telekom Kenya- in particular) are reacting to VoIP services encroaching on, what I can only describe as extortion like rates for international communication, really "boil the blood" so to speak. 1 dollar US a minute??? for international LD.. you have to be kidding me.

I don't profess to be an expert in African politics, but to me it seems pretty clear that this is an example of a network of government run telco's controlling media and communication only allowing the rich to get richer and ensuring their continued prosperity. It is a good way to keep yourself in the corrupt power you have become accustomed to. Heaven forbid actually encouraging people to organize and freely speak, you might actually drag your country into shared prosperity. Once again, these luddite telco's should be concentrating on providing ubiquitous broadband, not screwing people on voice costs.

In the lack of real competition, the enduser gets screwed, it happens everytime. Skype or (VoIP in general) levels the playing field, communication is a fundamental part of the matrix needed to change thinking, and VoIP services provide an excellent platform to speed development, aid and education.

I would hope, and now thinking I will look into it, that my government would be quite vocal about this type of corruption in developing third world countries that we provide aid to. Encouraging open and free communication, you would think, would make it a lot easier to bring a society into its own.

EDIT** - April 26th. Looks like Uganda is actually blocking Skype, adding to the UAE - this is hopefully a trend that can be stopped somehow. Perhaps a randomly changing proxy etc.

Monday, February 21, 2005

"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."

Few writers have made any real impact on me, Hunter S. Thompson did. He was good. What came from Hunter's ether induced musings was always great, regardless of your personal feelings towards the subject matter, it induced controversy & thought moreso then any of the followers that taken up his pioneering work in Gonzo Journalism.

Hunter S. Thompson - 1938-2005

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Skype on Microsoft Smartphones

This is a big deal in the world of Skypeland. First; this week they announce a Partnership with a Japanese landline and infrastructure provider called HGC - to offer a cobranded Skype client and voice communication service to its user base. I applaud HGC as they "get it" delivering the pipe is much more important than the services that run on it, or I should say delivering the pipe is a much more compelling (and profitable) business to be in. Other telco's should heed this trend, the more prolific broadband becomes the less profitable voice service is. It is pretty basic reasoning.

Now it is rumored that Skype is going to be developed on a Windows Smartphone device. I wrote about an interview with Niklas Zennstrom, CEO of Skype, speaking of the plans to develop Symbian and Palm OS versions of Skype for mobile users, so it looks like it is moving forward quickly.

3GSM World Congress coverage: i-mate to announce partnership with Skype at 3GSM
February 08, 2005 [Pocket PC phone]
Jim Morrison, Founder & CEO of i-mate will announce partnership with Skype, thanks to which Skype will be integrated into i-mate branded Windows Mobile devices. i-mate devices are the first in the world to be integrated with Skype technology.

This announcement will take place on i-mate's yacht, the Bellissima at 06.00 PM on Monday Feb 14th. Aboard the Bellisima yacht Elec Cookie - a rising Korean electric violin band will play music for the enjoyment of press:

So in any wireless broadband coverage area, Wifi, 3G - you will have full voice and IM functionality on your handheld with no cost other than your data. This is very powerful and very disruptive at the same time.

The imate looks like a great unit as well.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Archibald (Archie) Bennitz 1921-2005

My hats off to you Archie, I couldn't have said it better myself, Godspeed to you. I know the NHL legends have a special spot for you at their table in the big rink in the sky.

Here is Archie's Obituary from the Ottawa Citizen, Archie was a true Canadian and hockey fan.

BENNITZ, Archibald (Archie) Wednesday, January 19, 2005, at the age of 84. Predeceased by his wife Vicky, Archie was the beloved father of son David and daughter-in-law Wendy and a wonderful grandfather to Joshua, Michael and Adam. He leaves behind his brother Doug in B.C. and many nephews and nieces. Archie was born in Amherst, Nova Scotia and served overseas with the 422nd Squadron RCAF, in WWII. A long-time resident of Niagara Falls, Archie was an avid fan of watching hockey. He asked that Mr. Bettman and Goodenow know that they are "skunks" for denying him the pleasure of watching the NHL on TV this year. He also asked that Mr. Bettman steps aside and gives Wayne Gretzky the job that rightfully belongs to him. Special thanks to Dr. Yahyavi, Ellen, and the nurses on the 4th floor of the Queensway Carleton Hospital for their caring and compassion. At Archie's request he is being cremated and a private family gathering will be held. In memoriam donations to the Canadian Cancer Society would be appreciated.

Archie's Guest Book, is available for signing here, please drop a note to the family.

Bettman and Goodenow, step aside and let someone else fix the mess you have created, the bucks stops at the top here gentlemen, as The Donald would say "you're fired"...

I am from the Interdependent Planet Called Skype

John Barlow writes a great piece on Skype and its ability to empower and inspire. Here is a tidbit..

Anyway, I feel as if the Global Village became real to me that night, and, indeed, it has become the Global Dinner Party. All at once. The small world has become the intimate world.
I'm beginning to think this Internet thing may turn out to be emotionally important after all.

It is a great story... I get calls all the time from others wanting to chat or practice English. Unfortunately I haven't had the time lately to indulge as I am too busy working with my partners getting others to experience it. Check out the Languages section at Jyve, we are trying to create a user managed portal to bring some organization to people wanting to do just this. If you have any suggestions, comments please feel free to make them.


Friday, January 21, 2005

Darth Tater

This is simply too cool, and I will be pre-ordering ASAP... I remember being carried on my big brother shoulders going to see Star Wars IV like it was yesterday, that was a great day.