Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Circumventing SMS - Nokia takes on Blackberry Messenger

Nokia has launched a push email/IM service called OVI. It is a very smart move for Nokia, as they have 200M handsets worldwide and they have just opened the door to low cost or free federated text, media and presence connections between all of them.

One of my absolute favourite features of my Blackberry is the BB Messenger application - it is a great IM/File transfer/Voice Note Sender/presence app., exclusively for BB owners on any network anywhere, you exchange PINS and you're good to go. Until you start using it, it is hard to explain how handy and productive this application is. It provides INSTANT communication with other BB users, it is so handy in the office, a tradeshow or an airport - you can't believe it. The best part of course is it is completely free for anyone who has a Blackberry, no bandwith charges - only a small user fee per month on most carriers worldwide.

Now that Nokia is rolling out this OVI service globally (Australia, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and Venezuela to start) it will take very little time for this to start resonating with there customer base - I expect Apple to follow suit with something for iPhone users as well.

Long live the unfederated IM networks.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gapless Playback is irritating...

My love affair with my new Mac continues, but there are a few things that are a bit irritating. iTunes insists on running a process called "Determining Gapless Playback Information" - this process looks at all the albums in your collection and with some algorithm allows you to play them back with no crossfade gap. Good in theory, but bad if you have a 250 GB music collection on a shared network drive. There is no way to turn this feature off, and it basically renders iTunes completely useless while it runs.

It will probably take 2 days to chug through my collection, and once finished; since I don't rip entire albums for the most part, it probably won't have much effect.

I also have all the album art for my collection, but iTunes seems bent on downloading it again, I can't seem to get it to 'see' that it already exists.

I think there are some ways to tinker with your iTunes folder, but I haven't figured out quite everything.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Transfer your Skype IM history from PC to Mac

Having recently made the jump to Mac (and loving it) the first thing I installed on my new MacBook was Skype. It is fantastic on the Mac by the way - with the built in iSight and screaming fast processor - the HD video and voice sessions on the Mac are incredible. The omni-directional mic is just fantastic. The Mac was built for Skype.

Much like my Outlook .pst file, I wanted to transfer my chat/IM history to my Mac. It is quite simple and here are the steps.

First - on your PC go to: C: > Documents and Settings > "username" > Application Data > Skype >"username"

and copy the entire "username" file that you want to transfer.

Copy this information to a thumbdrive and transfer it to your mac desktop to which you have Skype already installed. Place the folder on your Mac desktop and open Finder.

Navigate to "Username" > Library > Application Support > Skype and then drag your username file from your desktop to the Skype folder and replace the folder with the new one you are dragging.

Presto.. start Skype and you have your IM history.

I did get an odd "password is incorrect" notice on my first boot of Skype, but after I entered it - I had my IM history intact.

I have been Liberated - the Mac switch is done. Microsoft officially sucks.

A quick post to hereby declare my Apple Fanboy status. After much deliberation, thought, and planning - I have made the 100% switch to Mac.

I can't really put into words how much I love this new MacBook - the trackpad is just fantastic. Until you use one and see your productivity skyrocket you can't fully understand.

One hiccup during the switch that I must say was most irritating, and I do apologize to the CSR @ Microsoft I probably made cry last week, was that Microsoft Entourage isn't compatible with Microsoft Outlook. I am not kidding - you cannot import your inbox/sent items .pst file to Microsofts very own product on the Mac. They provide no conversion tool, you are just SOL. There is a complicated and time consuming method of importing to Thunderbird then exporting to a Mac friendly format - but if (like me) you live inside your PST file, I strongly suggest paying the 10$ for O2M - this software from LittleMachines did exactly what it was supposed to do and converted my entire .pst folder to mBox.

Apple isn't perfect, but compared to Microsoft - they are in a league of their own.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Google save the Queen

Google UK, had a regal visit from H.R.M. Queen Elizabeth. In honour of the visit, the Google UK home page paid a little homage to her Majesty.

Tip top!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Canada's Do Not Call - Do Not Work !

Well today Sept. 30th the NDNCL - National Do Not Call List is to go live, and allow people to start entering phone numbers so they stop receiving telemarketing calls.

I won't weigh in on how flawed this legislation is from the start - there is no shortage of information and opinion on that. I will however point out that the site simply is not finished, nor' updated.

So, all that great taxpayer money we have spent to get it up and running is for not, as the CRTC seems to have dropped the ball on even launching it. You can't enter a number and none of the navigation links work, other than those to sites..

Great Job CRTC, great job.....

UPDATE = the site is up and running now - the CRTC underestimated the demand and the servers crashed.. if we had politicians with any guts at all, it should have been an opt-in to calling.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Apple Developers need to Chill - it will get fixed

I have been watching the fervor over Apples less than ideal NDA and vetting process for the iPhone app. store. All I have to say is CHILL out people.

I am not defending Apple's mismanagement of this issue, but everyone needs to relax. Apple will fix this, what they have accomplished in wireless space in just over a year is astounding. They built an ecosystem, market and handset, redefined carrier handset relationships - while their competition collectively stares in awe with soiled pants trying to figure out how to catch up.

As big as they appear on the outside, the iPhone is just one division of Apple, and it competes for resources internally with the other highly profitable areas of the company. When the cycles are available the app. store will get a face lift and the issues will be addressed. I know for a fact the team is going a million miles an hour in hundreds of directions.

It isn't perfect, but compared to the other options - it is really the only game in town.

Friday, September 19, 2008

iPhone and Talk like a Pirate Day

Whilst searching for me buried treasure, I found a talk like a shipmate application fer th' iphone.

Happy talk like a shipmate tide everyone.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Blackberry: How to get Push IMAP Gmail if you are on BIS.

Today RIM quietly released a fantastic feature - IMAP email for those of us Blackberry addicts whom are NOT on an Enterprise Server. Basically if you don't connect to a work Exchange server chances are you are on BIS (Blackberry Internet Server).

This new feature essentially means that if you use Gmail (or any other email service that supports IMAP) you can now get true IMAP push email to your Blackberry. Previous to today you had to use POP3 which meant delays; sometimes up to 15 minutes before you would get a gmail message to your handheld.

The set up procedure isn't the most intuitive, so I have put together a step by step to get it working. Thanks to Scott and TESZ9 (commenters @ RIMarkable for the help)

~ Click on any of the images to make them bigger.

Step 1 - Enable IMAP support in your Gmail account. You do this by going to Settings, then Forwarding and POP/IMAP.

Step 2 - Log into your Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) account to configure your mailbox. Delete your previous Gmail account and add a new service.

Step 3 - Add a new account BUT don't put the passwords for you gmail account in the utility boxes or it will default to POP3 and you will have to start again. Then just click next and

Step 3b - Additional Information Required -> Click next

Step 3c - Click Personal Account (if configuring for Gmail) then click next.

Step 3d - We were Unable to configure error.. Click I will provide the setting

Step 3E - Internet Service Provider Email (POP/IMAP) Click I will provide the settings then next.

Step 3F - Set Up Exisiting email account - Enter your Gmail information here - along with as your email server. RIM (someone was thinking :) ) will recognize it is a gmail account and autoconfigure your IMAP ports to 993 for you after you click next and save!.

Thats IT! you will now get true push GMail to your Blackberry! This will also work for all IMAP supported mailboxes, you just have to enter your port information manually as I don't think that RIM's BIS web service will recognize all but the big providers.

I have had this working now for a few hours and my Gmail comes to my Blackberry immediately, it used to be about a 15 minute delay.

Congrats to RIM on adding an awesome feature, I just can't understand why it took years to do.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Asterisk' Glass Ceiling

I have been following the Adhearsion project for some time, under the advice of a colleague - and its tech guru Jay Phillips has crafted a masterful essay on the limitations and technological glass ceiling Asterisk it currently has. It is a must read.

I concur 110% with all of Jay's conclusions, and having worked with several IP/PBX vendors and start ups over the past few years, the underlying theme of my suggestions have been as follows. MAKE it easy, and I mean drop dead simple - to develop an ecosystem of applications.

Time and time again - I am met with the same answer - Yes, we have to do that - and then they never do.

Hopefully Adhearsion makes it a reality.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dr. Randy Pausch - RIP

It is with great sadness I learned today that Dr. Randy Pausch, the CMU professor whose famous "Last Lecture" motivated and inspired millions has lost his battle with Pancreatic cancer.

If you haven't seen this lecture I urge you to spend the time and watch it. It is one of the most inspiring things I have ever had the pleasure of watching. Dr. Pausch had appearances on Oprah, and countless other TV shows over the past 6 months to present his most inspirational words.

The world is a better place having had Dr. Pausch as part of it.

Donations in memoriam at the request of his family can be sent to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 2141 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 7000, El Segundo, Calif. 90245, or to Carnegie Mellon's Randy Pausch Memorial Fund

Vonage - replaces CEO, continues to screw Canadians

Vonage the deeply troubled VoIP carrier or (PoIP - Plain old Phone over IP) as I like to call them, have replaced Citron as there CEO and by some grace of investment deities has managed to secure another 210M$.

It is truly astounding how anyone can see this as a good place to park money. Even if Vonage stopped all marketing and expenditure for 10 years, they would still not be profitable - considering the massive debt the operate under.

As my grandma used to say - Never throw good money after bad.

In other news, Vonage still screws Canadian customers with an ridiculously priced unlimited plan that is still 50% more expensive than our US counterparts pay. This is exacerbated by the weak US dollar.

Note to anyone in Canada - there are many many alternatives to Vonage, whom offer better prices and better service.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Andy recognized by The Standard

Congrats are in order for pal and uber Blogger Andy Abramson - his blog Voip Watch was just recognized as one of the top B-Z blogs by The Standard. Personally I consider Andy an A blogger of the highest caliber in the Communications field, but these accolades are a bit different as The Standard is an all business encompassing publication - VoIP is crossing over from niche to mainstream and Andy is at the head of the pack.

Andy and I both share a passion for Bleeding Edge communications. Although I can't speak for Andy, I believe he shares the following sentiments. The driving reason we are in this field is simply what the Standard is recognizing here. VoIP and related IP communications can radically change the way you do business, it is so much more than cheap phone calls. It is empowering and exciting to take SMB's and show them inexpensive solutions that can give them an incredible advantage over their competition, thus changing the way they do business forever. It is that aha! moment when the CEO or VP of Sales of a company sees the possibilities of how this stuff can help them, which drives us.

Congrats Andy!

Kudo's from Alec here.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Skype chat with eBay buyers? Not a chance

Being probably the most vocal proponent of Skype in NA (I mean I love this software) - I drive people nuts talking about it, rarely do any of my business conversations not have an exchange about Skype - or a username etc., with a client or partner, or the inevitable 'oh you have to try it, let me send you a headset...

But I found myself in an interesting predicament today: I dabble in eBay, I sell used movies and assorted media, games etc., and replace it with new stuff occasionally. Not having listed an item for sale in probably 6 months - I put a few up to be bid on as I head out for vacation next week. I was presented with an option I had not seen before in eBay Canada - which was to list my Skype username for voice and chat connections with potential buyers. Well in a work, NOT BLOODY LIKELY. The beautiful part about eBay lies in the fact I have to do nothing after I put up the auction - no contact (maybe a question or two) with any buyers and that is fantastic. There are no expectations from either party to provide that level of support, mostly due to the fact the stuff is greatly discounted and quite frankly self explanatory.

This probably doesn't hold true for super high value items like cars, or property - but in those cases I still want that seller to have a storefront and a 1800 number - it gives a sense of legitimacy to the purchase - I am not sure why.

Until I was faced with this question - I didn't fully understand the confusion and skepticism I heard from eBay powersellers back in 2006 at the eBay live devcon and show in Vegas - they didn't understand why eBay wanted them to talk to their buyers - now I get it.

Note to eBay - get out, there is no fit, don't wait a year. Google and Apple can do something grand with Skype. Get out of the way and unload it.

Power of 3? yeah right.

Friday, February 22, 2008

GrandCentral and Google starting to synergize (is that a word?)

via Mashable ~ GrandCentral the 1 number to rule them all voice provider (and just an all around awesome service) has finally started down the path of integration with Google. You will see in the top right of my blog - a button that was auto generated and installed from inside my settings page of my Grandcentral account. By clicking it you can enter a phone number and it will contact me, complete number privacy and find me follow me, is a very compelling solution for web based calling.

A hearty congrats to Craig Walker, the CEO of GrandCentral on not only the sale to Google, but keeping GrandCentral a separate and growing business inside the Google ecosystem.

Craig - we discussed Canadian DID's at CES in 2005, we really need to get that done! GrandCentral needs some Canadian flavour! I will leave you a message on your GC account.