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Posts from July 2005

Cisco's PR Nightmare

When a crisis hits large companies usually pull out the crisis manual. Many, written by PR pros with dozens of years of experience at spin control, vetted by attorneys and endorsed by very senior management approve of them, without realizing that the Internet has changed things.

In Cisco's case they did many things wrong. First, instead of taking an approach that software companies take when an exploit is found and seeking to work with the hacker/cracker, they went the other way and through lawyers and court orders against the problem.

All that did was make the problem bigger. Sure Lynn found a hole to exploit, but now Cisco opened the door to every hacker and instead of saying we'll work with you to help make our products better, they took the approach to use their mighty reach to set themselves up for more attacks, and left a bad taste in the mouths of the community that likely has more clout than anyone realizes.

EvDO on the Pacific Surfliner

Helene and I (for those of you who don't know-my fiance who's a doctor by day, girl geek by night, whom I met when I saw her using a Tablet PC in the lobby of the W in San Francisco late last year) took a quick weekend getaway to Santa Barbara to see our friend Doug Margerum (Wine Cask and Margerum Wine Company owner, operator, all around great guy) and David Corey (winemaking superstar). We went up for a few reasons, one of which was to see David and his wife Becky's new six week old son, Fletcher. While we dined @ Doug's new Los Olivos bistro, Intermezzo while the Wine Cask - Los Olivos gets built out Friday night, Saturday was a blast as we wine tasted with Doug Saturday afternoon (what was this tasting number three at his winery in 8 months, plus two or three dinners in San Diego and the Santa Barbara Futures event where my check book got much lighter once again) before heading over to Bryan Babcock's winery west of Bulleton, for the debut of his new Terrior Series of wines.

On the train ride back from Santa Barbara I connected my Verizon Broadband Access EvDO card and lived on 1xRTT before getting into the higher speeds of EvDO once we hit the L.A. County line. I got the feeling of being Joi Ito on Singapore Air of Jeff Pulver waiting for Jet Blue.

While I prefer WiFi when I'm stationary (at a coffee house, inside a winery or in my hotel room--we had Wayport a.k.a. Waypig for free in the hotel which was painfully slow-(Note to Wayport VP pal Dan Lowden to follow by e-mail) this EvDO thing has its use. While we likely could have driven back in about four and a half hours or so (traffic jams not withstanding) the civilized manner of surfing side by side with Helene (she was using my Sprint card) while not having to think about traffic sure is a great way to go up to Sideways land without any hassles and still stay connected.

With Skype Out Toll Free Numbers Can Now Be Dialed-Update

So now if you have Skype Out you can now dial toll free telephone numbers in four countries if you use Skype or SkypeOut

FYI-I read they have made the change from SkypeOut only to all users thanks to a Home Run club reader.

But what I think they should have done, which they didn't was create a directory of "frequently" desired toll free numbers such as UPS, Fed Ex, Airlines, Hotel Chains, Car Rental services, banks, credit card companies and provide all their users with that feature to point and add those numbers to their directory. So without sounding like Stuart @ Skype Journal why isn't there a fast load feature for these numbers depending on country of preference so I can add them without having to look up the numbers.

Skype should be different than the regular phone, but with this move, all they've done is become a substitute, not something different for toll free calling.

Well, there is always next week for those guys @ Skype :-)

Erik on The Great White North's Telcos Views On VoIP

While the USA telcos try and figure out what they want to do with VoIP, how fast they roll it out and what features they want to offer, the Canadian telcos have according to Erik a much more passionate view.

While he's waiting for the other shoe to drop how the Canadian telcos battle the MSO's who have broadband over cable to offer, I'll figure with the bulk of Canadians living in the major metro areas in each Province being targets now, and only Telus and Bell Canada dividing up the POTS business, it won't be hard for them to roll out the FTTP (fiber to the premise) or to be more inventive and offer WiMax. Sure I'm speculating, but that's what makes this all fun.

Get Ready To Say Good Bye To Calling Cards

A few weeks back I talked about marketing wrong versus right. I keep an eye peeled for those that do something right and recognize that as much as doing things wrong. (Remember the One Minute Manager approach?) so looking at David's post, I think that the days of calling cards for some could become a think of the past. Many people buy calling cards as a way of reducing costs or for tracking their calls that they make for certain projects.

David's revelation helps to remind those who have to remember access codes, id's, PIN codes on top of the phone number they are calling that now there is an option.

The pre-paid calling card market is a huge market, and while things like pre-paid cell phones have helped, and now new bypass services like Mint Telecom are on the radar, one has to realize how PhoneGnome keeps it all together for the owner.

Here's how it works. If I have an PhoneGnome and my fiance has a PhoneGnome we call each other using a regular PSTN handset. My PSTN line is connected to the PhoneGnome which is also connected to my Netgear 802.11 a/b/g router. Since her phone number is also registered with PhoneGnome, the call travels over the Internet for FREE. Now, if I call her on her cell and I'm in the Sacramento house the call goes out over PSTN for free, as it's a local call. But if I'm calling her cell from the San Diego house the calls go out over my designated ITSP (Internet Telephony Service Provider) in my case Junction Networks who I found doing some research last week and learned more about from their CEO. It all works in reverse for her.

While the concept of PhoneGnome is not pure VoIP, it's about phone service and it's more about not changing consumer behavior than any of the VoIP products I've seen. It's about simplification, not complications. And, that's what marketing is about--giving the customer what they want and need! My marketing 101 professor (whom I got the only A from in the class) would be proud I never forgot his lesson from the first day of the class.

The Challenges Skype Faces

Lars brings up a great point in his TelcoTrash post about QoS and how it costs company's money to support bad service.

I'm amazed at how much bad is supported in business today, instead of just doing it right. Starbucks in my view is a perfect model of doing everything right. Sadly I don't see that in technology product sales at all. Staples. CompUSA, Frys. Try and see how that experience compares to Starbucks and you will see my point.

New VoIP Video Fones From Fujitsu! Get It

A little alliteration and journalistic license not withstanding in the headline, these two new VideoPhones that use VoIP appear very interesting!

We are clearly seeing the convergence model being applied herewith both devices. With Skype making all kinds of noise that they will roll out video in a big way soon, and likely make an even bigger push possibly at Internet Telephony's fall conference or at VON in Boston, one has to think that some of these devices need to be Skype ready as well as SIP enabled.

Junction Networks Is So Easy

I think I've become more of a geek than I'd like to admit. I was able to figure out how to get my XTEN Eyebeam client to register on two networks, without the help of anyone from any network. That's right. No system admin. No uber geek types to tell me how to do it.

I signed up with Junction Networks this morning. I set up an account, provided them a credit card and loaded up ten dollars worth of calling. I mean, if I can do that with Skype, why not try out a company from my home town (Philadelphia's) suburbs right. Immediately I had my SIP credentials in front of me, and about two minutes later I had figured out how to configure Eyebeam.

So while I already have Broadvoice on the softphone, I was intrigued by Junction Network's recent announcement with Yipes, one of the carriers who have a very, very cool network architecture that's really built for Voice and multimedia. I'll let you know how the calls sound.....and more importantly, how easy it works.

What this means:

First I'll be able to use it obviously on the softphones I get to evaluate.

Second I'm supposed to receive a new Polycom SIPphone from my pal Marcelo Rodriguez, the founder and CEO of client Voxilla.

Third, with PhoneGnome I'm able to pick an ITSP for long distance, so i want to give that a try.

I guess Tom Keating and Aswath aren't alone any more in the area of VoIP experimentation...