So some of the Internet’s leading lights,
are warning us not to support network neutrality because we’d stifle
innovation by local telephone companies.
I am open to such arguments. As soon as the telephone companies
announced their “two-tier Internet” and the network neutrality debate
began, I published an
article that criticized the telcos but showed that the
issue was much too complex to be solved by a simple regulatory “No.”
dissected the various legal approaches that were on the table and
found them all problematic.
But all this is a joke, and you’re laughing by now if you understand
the background: the local telephone companies don’t do
innovation. To be more accurate, they’re good at the incremental
innovation that leads to more robust and efficient voice networks, but
they have few clues how to sprout the disruptive innovation made
famous by Clayton Christensen.
Rather, telephone companies have historically reacted in copy-cat
fashion to competition. Currently they are resurrecting the old
model, shrouded in the raiment of interactivity, of shoving Hollywood
entertainment at passive viewers. The things we associate with
Internet innovation–search, multimedia sites, social networking, Web
2.0–all originated outside the telcos.
I’ve just received spam from AT&T. I have automatic billing on my home telephone number, and they’ve decided to ignore my preferences and send me email to remind me about their “eBill” option. They have my email address because I used it once when I needed my phone repaired; I expect they decided to vacuum their database and start spewing “helpful” reminders.
AT&T rejects complaints to Spamcop, which is simple arrogance.
Clearly, if AT&T can’t be trusted to abide by my explicit preferences about receiving email, they can’t be trusted with automatic payments, so I guess it’s back to manual, paper-based billing for them — until I find a suitable alternate provider, and then it’s good-bye forever to AT&T.
Bob Stumpel has been compiling a list of Telecom 2.0 projects. While no means comprehensive it’s an interesting place to quickly gauge what various companies are doing in the emerging telephony space.
OpenMoko has been getting some good attention lately, with a recent slashdot post pointing out that the release schedule for the open source, Linux-based Neo1973 smart phone had been posted to the community mailing list. Developers will be able to buy an OpenMoko for $350+ shipping on 2/11, and a mass-market release is planned for six months after that, when presumably we’ll be seeing the fruits of their labors and some pretty sexy little phone apps. Check out Sean Moss-Pultz’s Free Your Phone post to get some background and an overview of this potentially revolutionary project.
Surj Patel, program chair for our upcoming Emerging Telephony conference, has a long history and interest in open source phones, and it’s these kind of open and disruptive technologies that really interest us here at O’Reilly. So of course we’ve invited the OpenMoko project to be a part of ETel. They’ll be leading the first ever developer workshop for the OpenMoko. If you’re a developer with an interest in open telephony, you’ll want to get in on this early.
In his radar post Fancy an open iPhone-like device in the meantime?, Surj points out that the OpenMoko has the potential to be the anti-iPhone, as it’s a truly open phone device with a touch screen, and third-party development is being actively encouraged. In fact, I’d go as far as to say the success or failure of the OpenMoko project will depend largely on how interesting and productive the developer community around it becomes. So for everyone who’s been lamenting the lack of openness of the iPhone, here’s a powerful, touch-screen-based phone that’s practically begging you to get your hands dirty hacking on it. I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes of this one.
If you’ve been waiting for a developer-friendly phone, your wait is about over. Don’t miss checking out OpenMoko, along with some of the other most exciting developments in telecom at next month’s Emerging Telephony conference.
Important Reminder: Early Registration ends January 29, for those looking to cash in on the great early registration discounts. We are also offering a special friends and associates discount. Spread the word, share the love, bring along a colleague and you can each save 40% when you register for ETel by using discount code etel07FNF40. Register today.
Alec has the skinny on Digium’s latest announcements which include a new 8-port TDM card, a software-based echo-canceler, automatic purchasing and provisioning capabilities with Polycom in AsteriskNOW, and some new configuration and training options for the Asterisk Appliance Developer Kit. Alec spoke to Digium VP Bill Miller about the announcements, and his interview provides a little more insight into where Digium is going with these. While none of these announcements are particularly revolutionary, clearly Digium is not standing still and it’s great to see some real action happening in the Asterisk landscape.
On a related note, Paul Kapustka from GigaOM posted an interesting glimpse today into this landscape and the competition brewing between Digium and Fonality. Paul notes that while it’s the enterprise PBX market that everyone expected to get disrupted by Asterisk, it’s really the SMB market where the competitive action is taking place right now. I completely agree with Paul’s point that about the competition being a good thing for the community overall:
For users, it’s all good since the competition spurs development and makes moving to an IP telephony setup easier and easier.
Reading the recent post about the poor state of voice mail, I realized that this is a perfect example of how bad the carriers are at innovation. This problem can be solved quite easily, without requiring a major overhaul of either voice mail systems or handsets. The solution works, more or less, like this:
1. a caller leaves a voice mail for you
2. voice mail system sends an SMS service message (e.g. “Msg from 4155551234 (John Doe) at 1:36pm”)
3. service message contains callback number to hear that specific message and/or URL for the audio file
4. if handset is smart, it fetches the audio file in background, displays it in a conventional inbox arrangement
5. if handset is dumb, it just displays the SMS message, you do a callback to a DID that plays that specific message when you call that DID from your mobile. With a pool of 100-200 DIDs, the phone company can provide random access to voice mail easily (if someone has more than 100 messages in their inbox, something’s wrong). if something goes wrong, the voice mail system defaults back to the usual sequential playback sequence
NOTE: an even better option is just to use MMS, it’s widely available now, but I use SMS to illustrate how this can be made backward compatible with really old handsets.
I am sure I am not the only person to have thought of this, and that somebody, somewhere has probably done this, but every voice mail system I’ve used in the US is stuck somewhere circa 1985. When you understand how easy it would be to improve something so many people use, it certainly makes you wonder what the carriers are thinking, if they’re doing anything besides cashing checks.
Tellme’s voice response systems power some of the largest information systems out there, like Cingular and Verizon’s 411 services. Now, if you have a Java-enabled cell phone, you can download a beta version of Tellme Mobile and have an enhanced 411 service running directly on your phone. For free.
There’s a semi-public beta going on now for Tellme Mobile, sign up here if you have a qualified phone. Michael Arrington from TechCrunch raves about the service this morning:
If you have a cell phone that supports the new TellMe mobile application, you will never use 411 again to find a business. It launches today at 5 AM PST.
TellMe mobile is a free Java application that you install on your phone. You can then find normal 411 information via a voice activated menu. Just hold the talk button and say the city and state you are searching in. Then say the business name. Phone and address information comes up on the screen. You can then call the business, see a map and/or get driving directions, and send the information to a friend via SMS. I’ve been testing Tell Me for the last two weeks on a Samsung SPH-A900 with Sprint, and I’m hooked. The best part is that the service is completely free.
I couldn’t test the service with my Blackberry, but I look forward to being able to use this. Tellme has always seemed like a very smart company, and this new service looks like a winner.
Given the changes in communication preferences it’s interesting that the Voicemail services that I use at home/work aren’t significantly different from the first microcassete based answering machines my parents had when I was growing up. Good design is good design, and I’m all for not messing with something that works, but I find that the prominent consumer based Voicemail services don’t work for me.
Tired of endless news reports about Super Bowl football? Take a moment
to view some really hot stats! The recent 2006 IPv4 Address
, besides featuring a nice cover of O’Reilly’s BGP book,
details the trend in giving out IP addresses.
The bottom line is that the world has used up about two-thirds of the
available IPv4 addresses, with about 1.3 billion addresses left. This
suggests that we have not hit a crisis yet and are still not impelled
to adopt IPv6. But there are some interesting details.
It’s been really interesting to watch all the discussion around the iPhone in both of the topic areas I cover for O’Reilly (ETel and Mac Development). There was a very pronounced dip in enthusiasm among the blogs I read in both of these spaces, that started just about 24 hours after the announcement, when you could almost tangibly feel the glow starting to fade. I was at the Macworld keynote where Steve Jobs announced the iPhone, and there is certainly no disputing that he is one heck of a charismatic speaker and can do a great demo, but I don’t think we should discount that fact that a big part of the “wow” factor that spread so fast across the Internet was in large part due to the advances it looks like Apple has achieved with this product. And I’m mostly talking about interface advances.
The Mac developer crowd pretty quickly started realizing and anguishing over the closed nature of the device, which Apple has said we should think of more like an iPod than a computer. They have made it clear they want to completely control the interface, and are not particularly interested in third-party development. You’re probably not going to be seeing much iPhone coverage on our Mac DevCenter.
The telecom development folks are also upset that the device will not be open to customization and third-party apps, but they are also pretty upset about the Cingular lock-in and are let down by the apparently completely non-revolutionary aspects on the carrier side of things. Steve talks a big talk and he likes to use words like “revolutionary”, but I have to agree that what we know so far sounds like business as usual from the telecom/network side. And while that is disappointing, I think it was pretty unrealistic to expect Apple to chart new ground there, at least right out of the gate. They’ve got their hands full just getting into this ultra-competitive market, and the tides of telecom carriers are not something easily changed.
But what I remain excited about is the interface. Ted Wallingford sums up many of my opinions well in this post (which is a response to Ken Camp’s less-than-enthusiastic take on the iPhone).
I agree that the iPhone is NOT categorically revolutionary. But it does represent a number of firsts. The UI with multi-touch is obscenely cool, no question. And the graphical feedback on the phone I saw demonstrated by Jobs makes Nokia’s gear look antiquated. These may not be revolutionary, but I’ll take positive steps. The worst part of a cell phone has always, always, always been the UI. So I welcome these evolutions.
We like open things here at O’Reilly, and a big part of ETel is about open platforms and open standards and how they can help transform our traditional telecom landscape, and the iPhone is not likely going to be an interesting factor for us there either. But I’m with Ted in welcoming significant interface improvements, and I couldn’t agree more that the worst part of cell phones is their UI. I’ve never owned a cell phone that had an interface I didn’t hate (I’m right there with you, Nat), and I’m ready for a device that improves upon that. Om Malik agrees that it is the interface improvements here that are important, and has some interesting thoughts on Apple’s use of fluid interfaces in general.
Now here’s a cool event, created for high school students who can’t get enough of txt messaging… the Cingular and West Orange High School TXT Bee Event.
Everyone dreads signing on the dotted line and locking into a carrier for one, two, or even three years. There’s a new solution available that may help you avaiod this hassle. Enter the cell swapper!
Brian McConnell wrote a highly-persuasive article about the merits of Nokia’s N80i cell phone. It’s created a genuine quandry for me: should I purchase the N80i (which has WiFi) or the FIC Neo1973? The Nokia has WiFI, which makes internet telephony possible on the phone itself; but the Neo1973 runs Linux…
Now the decision is slightly harder. Tommi, a developer over at Nokia, posted an note on his blog about a software update that transforms an ordinary N80 into an N80i. Notes in his blog indicate that not all updates are successful quite yet, but it also means that if you want an N80i you might be able to take an N80, readily available everywhere, and transform it into an N80i.
The folks over at EVDOforums were kind enough to spam me today with details about their new EVDOmaps project. The point of EVDOmaps is to allow wireless broadband users to post quality of service details to an interactive map.
In their own words:
We’re using the latest in “Google Mashup” technology to “geocode” the records onto Google maps, allowing everyone to see where EVDO has been spotted, at what speeds, on what network carrier, and using what devices.
We expect to accomplish a few objectives with the new site:
- a cool and easy way to find out if EVDO is in a specific area.
- a way to get the word out about coverage, before official word is out
- a way to see if an area is ‘oversold’, and suffers from too many users
- a way to see how much benefit there is from antennas and amplifiers
While this feels like a rough pass at creating a useful tool for subscribers to submit, and present, their data I like the idea and hope others will consider to improve on the concept and offer some standard tests. Here’s hoping the carriers don’t use this tool to illegitimately boost their image.
I’m a big fan of Techdirt, and Carlo’s latest post on the ineffectiveness of the FCC and the lack of competition in U.S. telecom markets is well worth a read. As usual, no punches are pulled as he compares the U.S. and Japanese broadband markets. And you have to love the title.
We’ll Trade You Hawaii And A Player To Be Named Later For Your Telecom Regulator And Daisuke Matsuzaka
The FCC’s history of intervening in telecom markets is nothing if not consistent. Sadly, though, they’re consistent at being ineffective and unable to create a truly competitive environment that would benefit consumers and the nation’s economy as a whole. The biggest problem is that it doesn’t really seem to understand that real competition means more than having two actors in a given marketplace — a situation that often leads to the appearance of uncompetitive behavior.
And if you liked that, you won’t want to miss Stephen Colbert on AT&T.
I see that my fellow bloggers here on this page are searching for the correct term to use for highly-restrictive business models built into several pieces of new technology, such as the iPhone and IMS.
People usually borrow the term “walled garden,” which implies that wonderful things grow inside while keeping baneful influences on the outside.
I propose we borrow a different term: “prison farm.” Yes, you can grow things on the inside; and yes, they will work and keep you alive. But guards with legal sanctions keep you locked up inside, and all the good things in life are happening someplace else.
Asterisk VoIP News has posted some good tips for installing Asterisk on Fedora Core 5 from Matt Birkland, a Seattle Asterisk PBX Integrator. Fedora Core 3 and 4 are supported by Digium, but not 5.
The Zaptel drivers compile fine(get your 2.6-dev installed to be safe) the main problem is that ABE looks for specific libraries of older versions found in Fedora Core 3 and 4. Below is the list of failed dependencies and how to install the correct ones without breaking half the programs.
I’ve just been playing around with Geni, a lovely genealogy service that’s just been TechCrunch’d.
Now how about this - a mobile service that populates my handset’s address book with family members drawn from a Geni API, does some kinda magic PeopleRank to construct a social filter that blocks out the relatives I don’t wanna talk to, gives priorityup to those I speak with frequently and reminds me to talk to those in the same place as me, a little more often :)
JupiterWeb, a division of Jupitermedia Corp have announced the winners for the Developer.com Product of the Year Awards for 2007. These 2007 awards mark the fifth year for this competition. The winners were nominated and selected by the users of Developer.com (www.developer.com). Under the category of Web Service Product of the Year the familiar Google Maps API took the award (no huge surprise and definitely a boon for geospatial technologies).
Ever wondered how Navteq keeps all that data up to date so you can make the most of those popular and useful Google Maps? In addition to a number of crews constantly driving the streets, adding POI information, recording attributes, making corrections etc… there’s also a very cool online application that lets YOU report incorrect or missing information - The Navteq Map Reporter
Once in a while something comes up that really startles you and makes you rethink some of your basic tenets of how you do things. One of those things is Utility computing. Also known as Grid computing and Elastic computing.
The general principle in telecoms is to overbuild and over specify their networks. Yes, lets expend way more money and time than we need to just in case something exceptional might happen. A lot of Telco networks are usually running at a utilization rate of about 20 — 60 percent with normal traffic erring at the mid part of that scale. Yep. A lot of that money sits there deprecating away and heating the atmosphere. And guess what? Yes - you get billed for it.
A week or so before Christmas some of the bright sparks on the organizing committee for the Emerging Telephony 2007 conference successfully tried out an experiment. They wanted to see if they could build a virtual, scalable, voip infrastructure without touching any hardware boxes. Yes you heard me right. A voip network in the computing cloud. Kevin Lenzo and Tony Minnesale managed to successfully get an image of free switch to run on the Amazon EC 2 platform as an experiment. Completely independently a week or so later I was chatting to one of our Etel sponsors, who let slip that they had been working on exactly that idea as well, using their communications application server with some bigger and very prominent partners. They weren’t experimenting they were working on it to become a product. Not only will they be able to run their app server for basic telco services off of EC2 but they also have telephony web services that they will be able to run there as well mashing up their services with the other services of Amazon like S3. This should allow any third party to be able to not only run basic telephony service but also be able to mashup applications on the fly. I’m not going to mention the partners for now in case I get shouted at but the company that is working on this insanely cool technology is LignUp whose team will be teaching others how to use Utility computing in telephony deployments in their workshop and plenary slot at Etel this year.
For a long time now people have been talking about grid computing and how it will enable something called utility computing to occur. We will be able to buy computing as we can buy say natural gas and pay for only what we use. The problem unfortunately was that it was a lot of hot gas for a long time with very little to be seen. So I was thrilled when Amazon launched their EC2 (Elastic Computing 2) initiative making what is ostensibly utility computing available to anyone to try out and play with. People created images and launched their own virtual servers. It is exactly this experimentation that creates successful new species of technology applications some of which will flourish and grow wildly.
More importantly what utility computing more generally will permit is much more agile working practices for business ]great and small. Small startups and entrepreneurs will be able to realize their ideas and can be assured that they can scale up and down as needed, paying for only what they need. Its ludicrous having to worry about having redundant capacity just in case they get slash dotted. Similarly the larger corporations will be able to pursue more agile practices in their corporate deployments by removing the need to justify large capital expenditures (time and money) for computation infrastructure that can now be bought on demand. Going back to the second paragraph it may be prudent for telco networks to offer on demand wholesaling of their spare capacity to offset their fixed costs. Perhaps not.
The next 12 months will be interesting. I think we can safely expect to see a rise in the number of successful applications of elastic computing/utility computing as hackers can now play with the platform and see what the parameters are. Their cost? A few dollars and a few hours of time. It will be interesting to see in which unexpected areas utility computing makes a big impact and in which areas it doesn’t. If some cool hacks using utility computing has appeared on your radar please share them below or email them to Etel.
(P.S And as soon as I can mention the partners for Lignup, I will do. Its validation all round.)
O’Reilly Media is in the process of building the Asterisk Cookbook, and we’d like to invite the Asterisk community to contribute. We’re looking for two kinds of contributions. First,
we’re looking for problems you’d like to see solved in the book. If you need to make Asterisk do something and just can’t figure out how, let us know. We’ll try to solve the problem for you. Second, we’re looking for more advanced Asterisk users to contribute solutions to problems that they’ve faced.
We’ve created a wiki for this project, and we’d like to invite any interested parties from the ETel community to participate. The more feedback, problem requests, and recipes we can provide, the better this book will be. If you’re interested in participating, please see the details at
http://etel.wiki.oreilly.com/.. We will require people to have an account to edit this wiki, but there are no particular hurdles or restrictions in place — just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get you set up with edit access. Mainly we want to be able to acknowledge the people who help out.
Almost as soon as last week’s Stevenote was over, the iPhone backlash began - and with full justification. Its becoming ever more apparent that, what was to be the Apple of our ‘i’, is as locked down and closed as any other part of the mobile industry.
(Marc Hedlund, over at O’Reilly Radar, has contextualised many of the negative vibes and there are a couple good analyses by the NYT and Boing Boing.)
Today I was mulling over writing an article comparing the FIC Neo1973 with the iPhone, but someone’s beaten me to it…they square up pretty good, so here’s a challenge for the ETel community:
- Can we clone an open iPhone using something like the Neo1973?
- Can we create a handful of applications and a developer community to compete with iPhone?
- Can we beat Apple and Cingular to market in six months?
- Can such a challenge really demonstrate the strengths of open source telephony?
- Can open source telephony piggyback off the iPhone buzz?
Behold the T-Prize! A race between Apple-Cingular and OpenMoko-ETel, counting down to the biggest mobile event of 2007!
Anyone up for it?
In our latest ETel article, The IMS Debate
Lee Dryburgh explores some of the concerns surrounding the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) which will be used in next-generation operator networks and which lies at the core of their future strategies, and sets the stage for a live debate on the topic he will lead at next month’s Emerging Telephony conference
. Whether you’re a believer or a skeptic about IMS, you should read this article. Lee has been a consulting engineer for a number of telcos and equipment vendors and is the author of the best-selling book on SS7, so while his opinions on the topic may be controversial, they are also well-informed. Lets get the conversation started now in the comments section of The IMS Debate
. (Note: I’ve turned off comments on this posting to encourage readers to leave their comments after the actual article instead.)
Yesterday I received yet another phone call from Chase Bank’s collections department. The call wasn’t for me; it was for a relative who experienced fraud on their card. But the collections department continues to call me instead of calling the overseas direct contact number I gave them, and since apparently the fraud department and the collections department aren’t on speaking terms these harassing phone calls continue. I remain caught in the cross-fire of interdeparmental warfare.
I spoke to Matt, a supervisor in the collections department, and I explained at length and with some vehemence that this harassment had to stop or I’d file with the FCC. Matt explained that his department, as a matter of policy, only makes calls to the numbers pre-programmed into their autodialing system at the pre-programmed intervals, and even though I’d given them the correct contact number they’d continue to call me. He offered to further explain bank policy, but I wasn’t interested: I don’t care about their policies. I care about the effect of those policies, which is harassment.
After hanging up on Chase Bank, I realized how much the bank and other clueless companies depend on dumb phone systems. My home number is dumb; I don’t even have caller ID, because it rankles to pay for a service that ought to be free. My cell phone is smarter, with caller ID built in. My office number is on the brink of brilliance: I’m part way through the process of switching to VoIP. As a matter of course — it’s built into ViaTalk’s basic VoIP service — if I were to convert my home number to VoIP, I could automatically route all calls from Chase Bank’s collection department to a busy signal. No muss, no fuss, and no harassment.
What this means is that VoIP implies challenges not only to classical telephone companies and telemarketing scum but to established companies as well. Chase Bank’s dimwitted policies and inefficient, ineffective procedures may work when their victims have no choice; but once everyone has a smart phone system, how can a dumb company alienate its customers and still survive? If Chase Bank can’t figure out how to place or even how to receive an overseas telephone call, how can they expect to cope when telecommunications become truly borderless?
There was a lot of talk when Linksys released some new IP phone models recently with the iPhone name about how this might impact the long-rumored Apple phone. (I reviewed one of the those iPhones last month). When Steve announced the iPhone yesterday, pretty much everyone assumed a deal had been made with Cisco (who owns Linksys) for the name. Then we saw a non-committal press release from Cisco, which made it sound like a deal was in the works but not yet signed, sealed and delivered.
Now news is hitting the wires that Cisco has filed a trademark infringement suit against Apple over the iPhone name. This could get interesting. I suspect the price Apple is surely going to have to pay for those six letters just got a lot higher.
When I reviewed the Linksys iPhone back in December I asked my contact at Cisco about the name and was told that Cisco acquired Infogear Technology Corporation in 2000, and Infogear had trademarked “iPhone” all the way back in 1996. I was also told that the CIT200 was the first Linksys-branded product in the iPhone family, which has been shipping since October of 2005.
Here’s some more great news about our upcoming Emerging Telephony conference. I just got the OK to offer readers of this site our 40% Friends and Family discount if you register before January 29. That’s right, 40%
today with the code etel07fnf40
to get this great discount.
is looking excellent for this conference, which will be held February 27 to March 1, 2007 in San Francisco, California. Some of the speakers I’m most looking forward to hearing are Om Malik, Alec Saunders, Martin Geddes, Brian Capouch, Lee Dryburgh, David Beckemeyer, Dan York, John Todd, Brian Aker, Mark Spencer…well, as I peruse the conference schedule
I’m having a hard time ending this list. Surj and Brady have really lined up an excellent group of presenters for this year’s conference. For another interesting take on the sessions and speakers we have planned, check out Nat Torkington’s latest Radar post From Walled Gardens to Green Fields
Things are really heating up with our ETel conference next month! In addition to an outstanding line-up of keynotes and sessions, next month’s Emerging Telephony conference will also include a new Launch Pad event hosted by Om Malik that will highlight some of the most promising startups in this space.
We started doing this kind of event at the Web 2.0 conference, and it’s been a real crowd-pleaser. It makes perfect sense to extend the idea to ETel, where the startup landscape is rich and varied. They’re still accepting submissions, so if you’d like your company or project to be considered for the Launch Pad, fill out the form here. The deadline is Monday, January 22.
I’m really getting excited about this conference. Register now if you do want to miss the show that everyone will be talking about this year.
As a Muslim, the most sacred days in my calendar are Eid-ul-Adha and Eid-ul-Fitr, but a Macworld Stevenote is right there in bronze position.
So it doesn’t have a matter transportation pad, captive singularity fuel cell or time travel UI, but the mythical iPhone is finally with us…so significant, it gets its own tab on the Apple site.
So what can this baby do?
In my earlier post, I said I would prefer to see Apple put together a mobile version of MacOS rather than a slick new mobile phone device. Well, the iPhone seems to be both. It “runs MacOS X”, but what that actually means remains to be seen. The keynote demo and screen shots I’ve seen indicate that the UI is more like Dashboard than OS X, but if the OS X kernel is back there - very interesting possibilities indeed. And that Safari mobile browser looks very good indeed. But to my (pleasant) surprise, Apple seems to have provided some key device innovations as well. The primary one being, of course, the drastic move to a full touchscreen interface, with a single button, and no stylus. If this smart touchscreen interface works as well as Steve Jobs says, it will be quite a feat.
There are still a number of questions to be answered with the iPhone, such as:
- What does “3G” mean - EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA? It had better be one of those last two, or else they’re starting behind the curve.
- Will the WiFi allow you to automatically switch to a Skype phone when WiFi is present?
- Is it unlocked so I can use it on other GSM carriers, in the US or elsewhere?
But if this lives up to even 80% of the hype that Steve J is trying to kick up at the moment, it’ll be a big success.
If you can make it to Washington, D.C. in March, check out the Freedom to Connect
conference. It was started by David S. Isenberg, most famous for a 1997 paper that many think set the whole environment for understanding developments on the Internet up to and including Web 2.0–David introduced the term “stupid network” into the conversation.
I’ve been trying not to get too sucked into all of the latest hype about an Apple phone, I’ve been there before. But nothing can get the rumor vines really cranking like a highly-anticipated Steve Jobs Macworld keynote, and now on the eve of Steve’s big show we’ve even got the Wall St. Journal reporting an imminent Apple/Cingular phone announcement.
Russell Shaw wonders if the new device will cannibalize iPod sales, which I think it could if it’s good. As CNN Money rightly points out, if this new phone device is a real iPod, people will love it, but if it’s not, well we’ve been there before too. I’m pretty sure Apple isn’t going to throw another ROKR at us this time, so I’m betting that they get it right. I know I like the interface on my iPod far better than the interface on any cell phone I’ve ever owned, so I must confess that I’m secretly hoping all that hype does pan out and we see a new take on a portable music player and phone device tomorrow that has me reaching for my credit card.
So much for not getting sucked in.
Looks like DigitWireless’ Fastap-enabled handets (covered here in a prior post) are about to find distribution with US and Mexican carriers.
We’re hoping to hear from DigitWireless’ David Levy at next month’s ETel, but it’ll be interesting to see how well the technology fares with larger deployments in key markets such as the US. Trials to date have resulted in an uptick of mobile services usages, so indications are that it’ll be well recieved.
This just out today from the consumer electronics Assoc. (CEA)… Factory-to-dealer sales of consumer electronics are projected to exceed $155 billion in 2007, or seven percent growth. CEA projects that display technologies will continue to be the star category in the industry and account for $22 billion in revenues for 2007
I love this time of year… the year is ending and everyone and their dogs are coming out with their year in review best of and TOP picks and predictions for 2007.
Besides blogging (I know I’ve been away from this blog for some time now) I’m also an online technology news editor and writer (ie. at symbianone.com, gisuser.com, and lbszone.com). This time of year I like to remind marketing folks on some of the netiquette that I appreciate and I’m sure others will as well. Thus, here’s my 10 things to consider list… enjoy.
here’s some more useful information I’d like to share with anyone who’s having issues with Comcast Internet or who may have trouble down the road. One of the issues I had was a Notebook connection (via wireless) that kept dropping off every 2 or 3 minutes (quite frustrating). Turns out its an issue with Comcast requirements and a Windows XP setting. Here’s the solution: (Source: Comcast FAQ)
OK, I’m a bit confused… now that I’m up and running on an all you can eat data plan via T-Mobile using my spanky Nokia N80 smartphone (no its not a T-Mobile device.. sorry!) I decided that I have to have Google Maps mobile running on it.
I recently made a move and as a result, decided to change my ISP as well. I’m now up and running at home with a bundled service from Comcast. Getting the wireless network up and running though was not exactly pug-and-play. Here’s a few comments and notes from my experience that might help you if you ever decide to add a wireless router to your home system… maybe Santa will put a spanky, new Wireless N router under your tree ;0)
Apparently we were all thinking about Asterisk around here today. Besides the major AsteriskNOW announcement I covered earlier, Tim O’Reilly wrote an interesting post over on the O’Reilly Radar discussing our own Asterisk implementation, the real benefits we’re seeing from it, and his feelings that Asterisk is an under-appreciated open source success story.
I’ve been puzzled why there isn’t more focus on asterisk in the open source world, as it seems to me to be one of the really big new open source success stories.
It seems a bit like the early days of things like Perl and Linux, when they were happening under the radar, known to all the hands-on practitioners in the industry, but not covered much by the mainstream press.
I’m completely with Tim on this one. Asterisk is disruptive on many levels, not just to the old-school PBX industry. And it’s successes seem to be getting bigger every day. If you read this site regularly you know that.
We’ve done a lot of great Asterisk coverage here on ETel and at our previous ETel conference, and as Tim points out this year’s ETel conference will continue that tradition with Asterisk’s creator Mark Spencer giving one of the keynotes. But you can expect to learn about a lot more than just what Digium is up to at ETel, you’ll see how others are pushing the envelope with Asterisk.
The one thing I can offer up that Tim didn’t is a special discount code for ETel readers. Sign up using the code etel07blogd before January 8 and save an additional 10% off of the Early Registration price.
It’s great to see that Phil Wolff, Jim Courtney and the other good folks at Skype Journal are back online after more than a month-long hiatus. It sounds like it was a combination of holidays, technical, and personal hurdles that took them off the air, and I know I’m not the only one that is glad to see them back in my RSS feed. The blogosphere was worried, which is a real sign that Skype Journal has been publishing important and useful information and commentary. They’re obvioulsy still working on the new site, I notice some of the archive links aren’t working correctly and the layout is pretty minimalist at the moment, but no doubt those things will get ironed out in short order. Phil mentions that 2007 is the year they plan to move Skype Journal from a full-time hobby to a thriving business, and I look forward to seeing how the site and business develop.
Digium has released their AsteriskNOW software appliance today, which promises to drastically reduce the complexities involved in installing and running the popular open source PBX Asterisk. True to their word, Digium has released the entire package, including their new GUI front end to the complex Asterisk application, under the GPL open source license. We’re big believers in open source at O’Reilly, and it’s great to see a company like Digium walking the walk here, as there was some speculation that the GUI front end they have developed would be a proprietary product.
I don’t have any personal experience or feedback on Digium’s new front end to Asterisk yet, but it clearly addresses a large need that many have had with Asterisk, to simplify the installation and set up process. Asterisk is known for being a tricky and finicky beast to install correctly and tame, with set up and administration tasks normally requiring a seasoned Linux command-line guru. It sounds as if Digium has made real strides in this area with this new release.
AsteriskNOW is being labeled as a “software appliance”, meaning that it comes with a version of the underlying OS (Linux) and everything else you should need to run the Asterisk application. Probably one of the biggest advantages in going this route is that Asterisk admins no longer need to worry about things like kernel versions and package dependencies. Digium also makes a point of claiming that unlike other Linux distributions used to deploy Asterisk, there are no unnecessary components that might compromise security or performance included in the AsteriskNOW distribution.
There’s also a newly designed web site to support the AsteriskNOW release, which includes documentation, developer blogs, forums, and other developer resources.
This space is getting very interesting. Clearly there’s some competition brewing between Digium, the creators of Asterisk, and Fonality, who sell a hosted Asterisk-based product for SMBs and recently bought Trixbox (formerly Asterisk@Home) and added a GUI front end to that more user-friendy version of Asterisk. We’ll be evaluating and producing some hands-on comparisons of the various Asterisk distributions and products here on ETel in the coming year, so stay tuned!
BoingBoing found a fun gallery of vintage cell phones today. Do you remember your first cell phone? Mine wasn’t one of these suitcase models, but it was a whole lot bigger and clunkier than today’s offerings.
I’ve just purchased a new car, and since this happened while I was deeply immersed in all things telephony the car-buying process came as quite a cultural shock. Automobile purchases remain profoundly different than the purchase of a cellular phone; as a public service to our readers who might encounter this amazing process, here’s a brief guide.
I just started playing with a new mobile application called Fring that lets you IM and make VoIP calls to Skype and gTalk contacts. For now the software appears to be limited to a few Nokia devices. While I don’t think this is a super new project it’s the first I had heard of it. Here’s hoping 2007 ushers in a range of new mobile voice options. Get Fring here.