Thursday, December 21, 2006

Presence Management 2.0 - A must read

Thanks to Andy for pointing out Alec's latest writing on the state and future of presence on the desktop/phone/net.. I have no less than 15-20 ways to be reached, and managing all these identities is just a nightmare. Quite frankly I just stop using some really great applications, for the sole reason I can't manage them.

There has been some great debate floating around the blogosphere on this, I am sure it will continue after the holidays.

Alec's Post on Presence.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Skype Worm complete FUD

There are several reports of a firm called Websense reporting on a Skype based worm. This is complete and utter nonsense, and I understand that as I write this they have already pulled the threat from there catalog.

Skype, much like Windows built in firewall, forces users to make a decision on whether or not to allow a program to access the Skype API. If you didn't install an application that is supposed to work with Skype there is no way to 'hijack' the IM channel in Skype.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Venice Project Screenshots

Thanks to Matt @ PeerImpact (very cool btw) for sending me the link to the Venice Project Screenshots.

The more I play with TVP, the more I like it. It appears to stream media across the p2p network, and I was asked what video compression they are using and do content providers have to re-encode to there format. Those are good questions, hopefully someone can point me to the answers.

The Channel list is a GUI overlay on the desktop.

You can chat with other people watching the same content as you, which is just uber cool.

You can skip forward and back through content, just like you are watching from a PVR.

The only bugs I have found thus far, is that it doesn't support my second monitor. I can drag the player to my other monitor, but it doesn't play there. I am sure that is a low priority but would be a nice feature to be enabled.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Pearl Photo of Big Ben

I snapped these last week whilst in London. Not bad for a Pearl Photo..

The Venice Project - An early X-mas Present

Wow, I am impressed. I just installed my first beta of 'the Venice project' (TVP) and I have to admit, as soon as I ran it for the first time I heard the click in my head. The last time I heard that click, was about 3 years ago when I installed this oddly named little VoIP app., called Skype, which essentially led me to quit my job, start a software and distribution company and start traveling the world.

The Venice project is a secure P2P video application, sort of. It is more than video, it is interactive TV, on demand, customizable and dead simple to use. The creators have a pedigree of success and I think this one is going to be as popular as its creators other projects.

What separates the Venice project from the likes of Sightspeed and YouTube? = easy - CONTENT. Within seconds of installing TVP, I was watching an amazing Green Day concert in London and saw a recorded performance of 'American Idiot' which just rocked, followed by (fellow Canuckette) Sarah Mclachlan solo on piano, and then I indulged in a few episodes of the World Poker Tour. Content is king, there is lots more to see and I can't wait to dig around and see the rest.

The application itself appears to use a ton of OpenSource code, lots of familiar libraries in the directory that make a Mozilla Dev. house like us get really excited for the opportunity to create some killer mashups.

I will post up some Screenshots as soon as I find them on the site, they ask you don't post SS's of content as they aren't the owners of most of it, but do have some agreements in place with some content providers.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Advertising now in the Skype Client

I installed the public release version of Skype 3.0 today and I was surprised to see advertising in the client a la' MSN messenger. It is only an ad for the Skype Store, but just having it there opens the door to some pretty sweet marketing space on the desktop of 150 million PC's...

It appears in the notifications pane, and can be disabled in options by un-ticking show promotions , should you not want to receive it in the future, which is a nice option.

Video Answering Machine from Apple, but not with Skype

via Gizmodo -
Apple's latest preview of OS X 10.5 had a little bonus over the usual glitch fix. Inside iChat was a new preference pane, called Answering, a feature that lets you record a video away message with your iSight.

Also is claiming that this will be linked to the rumored iPhone Call Ahead feature. Interesting.

This is a really simple yet innovative feature from Apple - Hopefully Skype will follow suit and provide a badly needed update to its antiquated VM solution soon.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Virtual Cocktail Party, Blog Tag - I am it

Alec, tagged me with reference to Jeff Pulver's experiment in Blog Tag.

So as the game goes, 5 things that aren't widely known about me...

1. I am a sci-fi buff, and one of the few people that actually own a laser disc of Dune.
2. In Grade 12 I had a main chute failure in my first (and last) sky dive.
3. I am an avid angler, and enjoy fishing all over Ontario for all species of fish, both on frozen and unfrozen water.
4. I am a member of the CSIA and teach skiing on my downtime in the winter.
5. I contracted some form of Cholera on a trip to Africa last year.

In keeping with good Blog Tag etiquette, I hereby tag - Jaanus Kase, Jim Courtney, Kevin Delaney, Tom Keating, and Hans Blauw.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sunrocket makes no 'sense' - update, fixed!

Alec has been covering his exchange with the Sunrocket 'automatons' aka CSR's in his never ending attempt to cancel his service.

You can follow the thread here.

I find it very interesting how Alec references his VoIP blog and his readership, but it seems to fall on deaf ears. I don't think it is a matter of them ignoring the fact he is a blogger, I think it is related to the fact that the low lever CSR he is talking to and the respective manager, haven't a clue what blogging is, or social media for that matter.

My readership is about 2% of Alec's but I am blogging the story, and others will to. This horrible service that Alec is being subjected to; can and I think will, have a very real impact on Sunrocket, and they haven't a clue.

NB - Literally within 24 hours of I am sure what a deluge of posts (never checked Technorati) the folks at Sunrocket called Alec to allow him to cancel his service without hassel. The PR guy (who must have had a small coronary) made good on their policy of 'hassle free cancellation' - so a happy ending. Social media is an amazing tool for PR, but is a double edged sword, markets are conversations, its not easy for a lot of companies to learn and benefit from it.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Skype used in Nigeria money scam spam..

This was in my gmail account this AM, usually gmail scrubs all this crap out - but this slipped through. It was addressed specifically to me from someone I thought I knew so I scanned it. What I found funny was the con artist/underbelly of a snake that sent it to me; claims to have got my email from

Hello ,
GOD bless you, well my name is sandra jones i have am single and i have faced alots of problems here,though i live in UK,Scotland,i was been invited here in west africa nigeria by someon i believe that he could be the whole world to me without knowing that he is a killer,he got me into an hotel here in nigeria and rubbed be,he took all i have ever worked for in life and all my juelries and money including my credit card i have nobody to count on now i ony have an uncle who brought me up in the UK ,i tried getting to him but there was no responce at all,all he does it to get drunk and he is a drug adict too...he does not care,i heard he has gone to japan and never a contact from him up till now,i am owning some bills for the hotel that i lodged in here in nigeria,and they will never release my passport or my return ticket tilli get the bills paid,i really need a man that will help me out of all this mess and will take me as his loving lady,.....all the money that am owning now is $2,650usd to be paid before i get out of here ot before they can realease my passport to me,i pray that GOD will guide and protect you towards by helping me out in my problems....dont be surprise of where i got your email from,its form the this is the information that you will send the money to and pls include your address and phone number so that i can get to you as soon as i get out of this mess..
the hotel manager's information......
when i was trying to reach out to who is going to get me out of this mess.....the hotel manager will be the one to recieve the money via wetern union money transfer...
recievers name.............Adio olusegun soji
.....Ogun state
>....No 17 onikoko street ibara abeokuta ogun state..
GOD bless you as you are hoping or thinking to help me in my situations that i have been facing in here for soo long.....i will be here waiting and looking out ony mail to read and hare from you now or sooner..till then GOD bess and protect you in all ways of life and livings.......
sandra hopes for help.....

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Lab Rats TV episode - Improving Skype call Quality

The lads over at (a great 'dumb it down' IT related Vlog) have posted a tutorial on basic port forwarding to improve your Skype audio quality, which eliminates some of the hops it has to take to get you connected to your other Skype loving buddy.

It is worth a watch. - via Download Squad

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Classic Youtube Thanksgiving Moment

Thanks to Gary Weir for pointing out this classic clip in his Skype mood message - I near wet myself watching it. It is a classic, and by far my fav. WKRP episode of all time.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our US readers.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Skype added to Google Pack, Gtalk mysteriously missing

VoipNews is reporting that Skype has been included in the Google Pack download. Suspiciously Google Talk is not. This smells like the demise of Google Talk, which is surprising considering Andy is reporting a new Google Talk phone that is in production.

The list of applications included in the pack are: Google Desktop, Picasa, Google Toolbar for IE and FireFox, the Google Pack Screensaver, Ad-Aware Personal, Norton Antivirus 2005, Adobe Reader 7.0, Real Player, Gallery Player, and now Skype.

This is a huge distribution deal for Skype and obviously part of the announced click to call strategy with Google Adsense. Has Skype won the VoIM battle? When you have competitors distributing your product, it would appear it is all over but the crying.

In other news, the Skype 3.0 beta is a worthwhile upgrade, On-States ACD for Skype and the other apps in the download gallery are worth checking out.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Bangalore Operating System - revisited

Several months ago I posted a 'thought' that the surge in IT related startups and infrastructure improvements in India (specifically Bangalore, but it is growing all over the country) could spawn; given the right capitalistic approach, a new operating system to rival M$. My post was less about the actual idea of a new OS, and more about India based IT companies taking more of a ownership role in the products and companies they develop and develop for. It really only takes the right person to make it happen.

I have been thinking about this idea more and more since a colleague Stuart Henshall has been making the short commute between CA and Gurgaon India. And I am guessing, positioning a tech startup in India to become the next 'big thing'. As I anxiously sit and wait to see what Stuart and his team have cooked up, I have been enjoying his posts on the cultural differences between NA and India with respect to telephony, consumer electronics, and how they are being adopted.

Check out his newly rejuvenated blog - The Unbound Spiral, or as I like to call it, the blog that started it all :)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Keeping Kids Safer with IM

Alec Saunders has brought to light a very important new startups flagship product called IMSafer, the premise behind IMsafer is it allows parents to monitor IM conversations without intruding on childrens privacy. With the recent public outrage over the Foley emails and IM's currently under investigation in the US - the need for a product like IMsafer couldn't be more apparent.

According to Alec

It lurks in the background on any PC, discretely monitoring IM traffic, and uses lexical analysis techniques — the same techniques used by law enforcement – to look for the telltale signs that your child is having an exchange with a sexual predator. If it finds those signs, it alerts you, the adult, so you can intervene before it’s too late.

The IMSafer service also allows parents to leave feedback on people they believe are having inappropriate conversations with their child. This feedback allows IMSafer to be even more proactive in alerting parents about potentially inappropriate online relationships. As more parents get involved, the stronger the service becomes.

Check out the post on Alec's blog, and I would kindly ask you digg the story from there as well, it is important and needs to get out. They are launching tomorrow with support for AOL, MSN, AIM, ICQ and YIM, and plan to add support for Skype and Gtalk soon.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bowling for Asterisk

In the world of mashups this has to be the most unique, allbeit, odd one to date.

If you find yourself in Barcelona Nov. 7th or Dec. 6th, be sure to drop by and bowl a few lanes and talk open source telephony @ Bowlsterisk. I hope this takes off, I will starting looking into starting a Toronto Bowlsterisk event with the help of the guys at Iotum and the TAUG.

"Mark it zero, Smokey"

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Vonage charges you 42% more if you're Canadian.

This has been bugging me for a while, The Vonage Premium Unlimited Plan is 24.99$ USD, or using XE for a quick conversion; approximately $28.18 CDN.

The exact same plan if you are unlucky enough to be in Canada is $39.99 CDN !!!! That is an increase (or penalty) for Canadian customers of 42% !!!!!

I understand why I see so many Vonage commercials in Canada, this division might be the only profitable division of the entire company.

Can anyone explain this to me? or is it as blatant as it appears?


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Hawaiian Shirt Tuesday - Jeff Pulver's Birthday

Andy has started off VON Boston, with a request to all - to say thanks to Jeff Pulver and Happy Birthday - by wearing a Hawaiian Shirt. I don't own one, but how hard can they be to find? Can I borrow one of yours Andy?

Hawaiian Shirt Day.. Office Space.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Iotum just gave me a reason to use AIM Phoneline

For reference, I am a consummate VoIP geek - I test everything, develop, tinker, sell, innovate all kinds of things. What I think is also important to mention; I have never used AIM in my life. Even with their announcement of free incoming lines (although not in Canada yet grr) it wasn't enough to make me want to try it.

With today's announcement of AOL's AIM Phoneline choosing to work with Iotum on developing and integrating the Relevance engine into AOL's Voice 2.0 offering, they not only did AOL get a new user and developer, they are going to generate revenue. AIM Phoneline offering is dirt cheap, 10$ month unlimited NA with a DID. Why wouldn't I buy this? I will gladly pay for advanced VM and relevance functions that Iotum is offering as well. Plain vanilla VM isn't enough, I need VM in my inbox, on the road, and to be able to give my clients and customers options to reach me. This partnership gives SMB's a real level playing field in the world of Voice communications. The big UM switches the proprietary vendors offer, are great - but the millions of SOHO's can now have the same functions for a fraction of the cost.

The Iotum Integration is just the tip of the Iceberg, AOL really seems to get it - platforms bring customers....

Let the development of Long Tail Voice Apps. commence.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Andy Say's - Gizmo Goes All Calls Free...Mostly

Wow, according to Andy Abramson of VoipWatch, Gizmo project (the asterisk friendly Skype competitor) is going to best the Skype marketing machine by offering all calls free...  Period.  

It will be apparently launched tomorrow, more info. here.

How Gizmo Works - Gizmo to Gizmo

Bounty for tethering a Blackberry 8700 to a Mac...

Alex King has set up a bounty for anyone who can successfully tether a Blackberry 8700 to a Mac (running Mac OS X) to use it as a modem. The bounty is currently at $435.00 and rising!! The terms are listed on his website.

read more | digg story

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Skype Code cracked? Not a chance.

It is being reported that VoipWiki took a Skype call, from a reversed engineered client - produced by a Chinese company. This opens some interesting discussion points to say the least...

I just don't see how this is possible. The Skype guys (and left over KaZaA core) learned the lesson fron KaZaA lite. They aren't going to make that mistake again.

The Blogosphere is ripe with this story, if one thing is perfectly clear - Skype should be listening to the interest in this and recognize the opportunity to create a standard for VoIP communications on the web. Being closed is dangerous, everyone wants the protocol - why not work towards giving it to them?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

"Go Big or Phonegnome"

Phonegnome, (quickly becoming my favourite VoIP appliance) just got a little better. They added Virtual Numbers, or DID's. Not to toy around with one locality at a time, they added with the help of a partner, DID's pretty much throughout the entire world.

Very impressive, and for the SOHO set - Phonegnome is a must have now. Phonegnome is like Skype in a viral way - Once you have one, you just want to tell people about it.

Two features that are must haves and I hope are on the roadmap are: Distinctive Ring for Inbound DID's (SOHO and Teen phone line use) as well as seperate VM for DID's calls and customized prompts.

Great job.

Iotum and Versature - A match made in... Ottawa?

The red hot startup Iotum announced earlier this week, a strategic partnership with Versature (a kickass hosted VoIP business PBX solution)

There are three things I love, FroYO, Intellingent UM and Call Routing and Hosted PBX's, and this deal has all but the first. By integrating the Iotum Relevance engine into Versature's Hosted PBX (the best I have ever seen btw) Iotum gets a national parnter and access to many bleeding edge customers, and Versature adds to its already uber impressive feature set; the most intelligent presence based call management engine ever conceived to date. Clearly a win-win.

I look forward to trying this solution out and will report back testing I hope to complete in the next couple of weeks.

Monday, May 22, 2006

TechCrunch says Bebo Closes $15M in Financing - was Skype a factor?

Michael Arrington just reported that Bebo, a popular European social networking site has just closed 15M in financing. This is big news, but not for the obvious reasons.

Bebo, if you are not aware is essentially a EU version of Myspace/Facebook and is gaining in popularity very quickly by concentrating on a market not saturated by Social networks like NA. But what is most interesting is Bebo (along with Jyve - disclaimer I work with the Jyve guys) was one of the first social networks to fully and completely support Skype for instant messaging and voice chat rather than developing there own proprietary VoIP/Chat piece.

Skype & Bebo
Bebo and Skype have joined forces to offer an integrated IM client and free calls for all Bebo users.

  • Beboers can Call (voice) or Chat (text) directly with other Beboers

  • See when other Beboers are online and available

  • Skype integrates directly into Bebo, for free

I am pretty confident saying that Skype support was a major (allbeit not the only one) factor in their success. Skype is wildly popular in the EU/UK/EMEA due to high telephony costs. This is great news for the Skype ecosystem, funding is available for innovative and leading edge web applications such as Bebo, and EQO. The lesson learned here is a clear shot across the bow of other major Social networking sites - Skype support = users = traffic.

Jyve will be presenting at eBay Live, June 9-14th, drop me a line if attending and I will gladly set up a meeting time with the team.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The BBC gets the wrong 'Guy' literally.. :)

This really floats my boat, for two reasons.

1. I have spoken to Guy Kewney in the past, he is a very good reporter and excellent writer.

2. Guy is a white English male, who had met with the folks at the BBC on numerous occasions in the past to provide commentary.

Linked is the video on where the BBC in studio reporter asked Guy for a comment on music downloading during an on air morning newshow. You will see that the black French speaking taxicab driver whom they mistakenly grabbed out of the waiting room was very 'surprised' to find out he was no on the air in front of millions of people. I can barely type this I am laughing so hard.

The real Web site editor, Guy Kewney, who watched with
astonishment at reception, said the mix-up was hard to explain
because BBC staff had seen his picture in advance. Kewney is
white and the mystery guest was black.

"He seemed as baffled as I felt," Kewney wrote on his Web
site, which has a link to the interview,
broadcast live on Friday.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Free SkypeOut, in US and Canada

Hmm, looks like the cost per call for domestic PSTN calls on Skype is now zero in the US and Canada until the end of this year.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

"E.T. PhoneGnome" ~ he should have called Iotum.

Remember E.T. that beloved alien, that wanted to do nothing more than 'phone home'. Well that tearjerking little movie from the 80's would have had a quick finish if E.T. had the PhoneGnome - enabled with Iotum's Relevance Engine. He wouldn't have missed the call to get back on the damn ship, as that call was very 'relevant' to his situation - and the Engine wouldn't have given up trying to find him.

So what is a PhoneGnome? - simply put it is a next generation voice platform solution, it requires no LNP, new hardware or complicated installation and opens real "VoIP" applications to anyone with a broadband internet connection, and now Phonegnome and Iotum have bumped uglies and resulting offspring is a true Voice 2.0 solution that really can't be matched for features by any of the big boys; Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL and even my beloved Skype :) ...

However all is not lost in the world of VoIP communications, the seas need not boil, and locusts need not fly - as both PhoneGnome and Iotum are platforms; which means they are designed to enable other solutions - just as a PhoneGnome is provider agnostic, Iotum is network agnostic - it works with VoIP, celluar, PSTN etc., any SIP friendly gateway. Skype, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL have an opportunity to embrace this now before they are looking over there shoulder saying "I wish we had that".

Just talking about next generation voice services isn't enough, listen up kids, I don't want to wait 10 years for my phone to know whether or not I want to take a call, I want it today and there is no reason why I can't have it, the tools exist right now.

Nortel, Cisco, Mitel, Avaya, Panasonic, NEC all have a need to offer this - interoperate with Outlook; and secure a place on the business desk, Iotum provides a tool to do it. Eventually (I think) they will all do this, it just makes too much sense - but the fun part is the first one to take advantage of this technology wins BIG.

"it's not the big that beats the small; it's the fast that beats the slow"~ Niklas Zennstrom

Monday, May 01, 2006

Firefox Contest winners

The video entitled Daredevil, won the Fireflicks contest as announced last week. Of all the submissions it was hands down the most artistic, and told the message the best.

The tagline at the end, really nailed the Firefox community. "My other browser is a surfboard"

Click to see the winning video.

powered by performancing firefox

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Naked, barefoot and invisible Skype

An interesting post today on the Skype Dev Blog, has generated a fair bit of discussion in the blogosphere. Essentially it broaches the concept of a naked, headless, Skype client. Skype announced last August, the SkypeNet API, (Vaporware to this point btw) which was along these lines, but the concept of a 'Naked Skype' as discussed today goes much much further.

Alec weighs in with his Voice 2.0 manifesto musings, and they are bang on. Jim has a follow up post on SkypeJounal. This idea; creates and solidifies Skype as a platform for voice communication. Developers would flock to have access to the Skype communication network. I could see "Skype Inside" stickers popping up like Intel Inside, or "powered by Skype" etc., all driving a healthy and expanding developer community and enlarging the userbase for Skype paid services.

It seems pretty apparent that these are the tools the dev. community wants - and on the heels of a Techdirt analysis that Skype is far from reaching its earn out clause numbers, I would think they would jump at the chance to start offering robust, enterprise tools for the loyal community to start driving real numbers to the bottom line.

Ringtones are so last Tuesday.

Developer, Developers, Developers....

powered by performancing firefox

Thursday, April 13, 2006

FireFlicks Contest - First Entrants are posted

The first entrants in the Firefox promotion for a Video Commercial are out, this is my fave so far.

You can see the rest and vote here.

Monday, April 10, 2006

$218 Trillion Phone Bill - Someone needs Skype!

Telecom Trends: Data Entry Error - ya think?

Mark Goldberg, caught this Fox News Story of a Malaysian man who received a 218 Trillion Dollar phone bill.

That is a lot of SkypeOut...

From the Associated Press Article.

Yahaya Wahab said he disconnected his late father's phone line in January after he died and settled the 84 ringgit ($23) bill, the New Straits Times reported.

But Telekom Malaysia later sent him a 806,400,000,000,000.01 ringgit ($218 trillion) bill for recent telephone calls along with orders to settle within 10 days or face legal proceedings, the newspaper reported.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Iotum builds - Asterisk Integration Kit

This morning, without having the opportunity to peruse my usual blog postings, I asked Alec Saunders CEO of Iotum - at the VON Toronto show, how one would integrate to Asterisk, PBX. (I swear I wasn't a plant) - co-incidentally - Iotum (earlier this morning) released a MAJOR intiative to support Asterisk Worldwide with an integration kit to Asterisk. Well DONE, smart and I look forward to seeing it work.

Embracing open standards Telephony for a startup is a risky but brilliant idea. Marketing to a niche like Asterisk, is very forward thinking and this will really showcase the power of new Voice 2.0 apps. Telco's will constantly be pushed by moves like this to embrace new apps.

Alec's excellent keynote (best so far) pointed out one thing that is ringing in my ears, Niche's can be very profitable, I am glad telco's are not thinking in this space as it opens the doors for quicker, faster and (hmm smarter) companies like Iotum to make some big gains.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

China Blocks Skype and other VoIP licenses until 2008

The financial times is reporting that China; in a move to protect fixed line telecom operators, has banned free internet telephone services for at least two years.

TOM online chief Wang Leilei is downplaying this by stating "our strategy is to grow our user base. With a big user base, there is a
lot you can do. Revenue (from SkypeOut) is not important to us because
we have not put in a lot of cost," Still this is a set back for Skype in China, as the attractiveness of reselling Skype paid services for there largest partner is no longer an option. This of course applies to all VoIP services (QQ, Yahoo, MSN etc) not just Skype, but it was reported earlier this month that Skype was adding 950 Thousand Skypers monthly in mainland China.

The question that remains after this mess is whether Skype compatible hardware sales is a big enough carrot for portals to continue promoting Skype at great length given they aren't going to have access to the revenue from paid services?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Moore's Law for razor blades

via Gizmodo, The Economist has predicted the future of razor blades numbers are exponential and according to there clever graph, we will be shaving with 100 blades by the year 2010.

Personally I think we will see the advent of engineered duo blades, an architecture which will allow for one blade to have two seperate cutting edges, thus doubling the efficiency of a single stroke. This new technology will only work with certain razor manufacturers, causing antitrust litigation by the smaller blade companies.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

US Robotics Uses Skype for Client Support

US Robotics has embraced Skype on a few levels, it is refreshing to see leaders in Consumer Electronic manufacturing embracing the Skype phenomena. Earlier this week they released the USR9620 @ Cebit in Hanover Germany - an ATA device that allows analog telephones to use Skype like a regular phone, following others such as VoSky, VoIPVoice and Multi-link whom have competing products, USRobitics has shown an commitment to developing Skype hardware for the growing userbase internationally.

In addtion to the release of the 9620, USRobotics is now accepting calls via Skype to there main support line - as shown on their main support page - link - . I would be very interested in the numbers of people they receive calls from via Skype, it really represents how pervasive SKype is becoming in business, anyone can simply click to call from a web page, to receive support on Skype solutions and all of there other product lines as well.

Kudo's to USR, very forward thinking.

Friday, March 03, 2006

BlackBerry maker, NTP ink $612 million settlement

Well it looks like it is finally over, but it ends up costing RIM 612$ to fend of the trolls over at NTP. A group with no product, no staff, no office and up until today no money.

The sheer insanity of this ruling befuddle's me, I admit I am not an expert by any stretch in patent law, but this ruling was forced upon RIM by a US judge, with whom based his ruling on certain patents that NTP alledgedly had - ALL of which have sinced been negated.

Regardless of whether or not it makes sense, it is over - RIM shares are doing well, so the investment community see's this as a good end result.

Now, Skype please write a J2ME version so I can run it on my new 8700, that I am about to order....

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Axosoft and Social Marketing experiment saves you 500$..

A company called Axosoft is running a very interesting promotion in social marketing. Axosoft makes what appears to be the most robust bug tracking and client managment software I have seen, and since I happen to be in the market for this type of solution, it just saved me 500.00 and the headache of installing and running an opensource alternative.

They are giving away there OnTime Bug Tracker/Project Management solution (normal retail $500.00) for a 5$ donation to the Red Cross, it is a great idea and a real innovative way of getting the word out on its solution.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Stickam - Video/Clientless VoIP - FREE

For the past few days I have been testing Stickam, you can see it 1/2 way down my blog under my profile. This service is really quite amazing. It is using the latest and greatest flash tricks to provide a few very compelling and usefull features. Among the most interesting is a live webcam feed with sound ! to my blog. It also allows me to store 500MB of content; pictures, video, music in my Stickam player that can be accessed from my site with a few simple clicks - and if that isn't enought, it is also a Clientless VoIP solution, and although not as good as Skype's wideband codec, it isn't too shabby, I was very impressed.

The viral potential of this tool is huge. By targeting MySpace, Xanga, Blogger etc., it will become a standard to enhance your profile and stream webcasts to the internet. I can see no reason why you wouldn't want to use it.

If I am online, you should be able to see me working away at my PC - and most likely hear me as well (haven't figured out how to mute my mic yet) Log in as a guest and send me an IM, would love to hear you thoughts.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Some Aerial Shots of Niagara Falls

I was flying this morning and captured these shots of Niagara Fall's. You can tell it was cold by the icy mist cloud that is rising from the basin. It is a pretty amazing thing to see if you have never stood and listened to the thuderous roar the falls make.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Will Microsoft make Unified Messaging Mainstream in 2006?

I have long been a proponent of Unified Messaging (UM), the idea of having one central repository for fax, email and voicemail just makes sense. I actually deployed one of the first systems in Canada for a major Fortune 5 Tech company back in 95 - then the system was based on Rhetorex cards from then Octel (sinced purchased by Lucent/Avaya), and was integrated to many PBX and KSU's available. It was pretty robust even by todays standards, but carried a massive pricetag and only the geekiest of Telco VAR's were able to figure out how to install and maintain it. UM in general, never really took off in mainstream business due to the cost and the 'forklift' needed equip most modern offices. The CPE was just too high for the benefit, even though 90% of the people you would present the idea to, thought it was the 'bee's knee's".

The rise of the IP/PBX and Intel's purchase of Dialogic and the resulting IVR toolkits that were spawned by CTI's growth brought forth a genesis of products both ASP and CPE. This allowed a more financially palatable solution for some business and UM has gained some momentum in the last 6 years but still, it isn't mainstream, even though most new PBX sold today are IP based, the manufacturers are still hoping to bank on features and apply the same pricing models that they have been "bending over" businesses with for years. ie 15K for 20 hours of VM guys? it is just a hard drive....

The Opensource Asterisk PBX has supported Unified messaging basically since its inception and has been undergoing rapid growth, Tom Keating predicts that this is the year for Asterisk as he thinks all it needs is one major Fortune 5 to deploy Asterisk company wide and the green curtain will be pulled back revealing the 'puppetry' that PBX vendors have been displaying to the corporate world for so long.

But what about Microsoft? Where the hell have they been in this UM movement for say the past decade? every UM solutions provider today supports Exchange message integration, (some exclusively and only now M$ is adding UM features to Exchange 12. According to Exchange 12 (due out this year) has the following UM capability.

Essentially, users will be able to send and receive messages with a
fax or voice mail attachment that can be played or opened from any
client, be it Outlook, Outlook Web access or a mobile device, Ressler

"In addition, they will be able to use any regular telephone
to call into the Exchange environment and check their messages, which
will be read to them.

"They will also be able to respond with a voice mail
attachment, look at their calendar, speak to the system, as it includes
speech recognition capabilities, and have it transcribe a message
telling, for example, all those attending a meeting that you will be
late," Ressler said.

So can Microsoft force businesses to adopt UM? I guess it depends on how they are going to handle their fax and voice resources, that stuff is pretty expensive and last I checked they don't sell fax servers so they will have to integrate to one or many as well as a voice platform (most likely Dialogic) as they are pretty cozy with Intel. Where does this leave there channel? The same problem still exists, data guys don't get voice and voice guys don't get data, although this line is blurring quickly, who deploys this solution to the end user? it could get messy PBX integrations are not for the newbie.

When you throw in revolutions like Skype to the mix and an open API, you have to ask the question - Is server based communication solutions that M$ pushes really the future? Exchange could be replicated using P2P principles, a la' Microsoft and Groove... and result in practically free business communication and messaging solution, Skype? Peerio? regardless this should be a good year for VoIP, UM and result in even better value for the end user.