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Posts from May 2011

Still No Xoom Upgrade in Sight for Verizon Wireless Customers

Verizon Wireless logoImage via Wikipedia

Android, Motorola and Verizon Wireless are about to have some egg on their face. Unlike Apple which underpromises, heck, they don't even promise, they just deliver, the trio are the force behind Android 3.0 and LTE here in the USA. Earlier this month, I noted how it was looking like the promised May upgrade period for the Xoom was going to pass, and now, with the Memorial Day weekend here, there's still no upgrade date that's fixed.

Speculation ranges from the Verizon LTE network not being ready yet for the onslaught of 250,000 devices which potentially can be upgraded to the chipsets not being ready that Motorola is planning to deploy in the radios. Then there is Android itself, but I think the OS is the least of the problems. Other issues though abound, such as apps that work nicely on Android 2.2 and 2.3 not being allowed to be released in the Market for Honeycomb 3.0. 

When I went into a local Verizon Wireless store I asked if I could return my Xoom, not because I don't like it, but because for $700 or so, it's not doing what I bought it for. To be a 4G tablet. The rep couldn't understand that saying something can be upgraded in May and then not delivering on it, is a reason to take the return.


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Plivo Goes Beyond Twilio

Image representing Twilio as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

A new voice API framework called Plivo is taking a nod from Twilio and going farther and with less restrictions. 

Plivo claims to be totally open, and promises the ability to work with GoogleVoice, Google Talk, SIP, h.323 and to be a simple integration with FreeSwitch

Their announcement is here. The key though resides with this as to how they differ from Twilio:

However, Twilio comes with a catch. App developers are locked in to their cloud and are left with no option when it comes to choosing their own carriers or their own hosting solution. This is prohibitive for some users who have since been scouting for an open source alternative. Therein lay the premise for Plivo – a 100% FOSS alternative to Twilio.

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United Nations Gets a Country Code via Voxbone

Often times I look for innovation and I fail to draw attention to my clients who do just that, preferring to have others "discover" the news first. Take client Voxbone which pulled of a coup of sorts with the United Nations, landing the UN's business where it assigns and manages their new 888 country code.This has human relief efforts and all the good things the UN does the world over written all over it. It's a big deal because when people in times of trouble need help globally, it's the International Red Cross and the United Nations who are the first responders.

As Alec Saunders remarks in his post of yesterday:



+888 is a real country code assigned by the ITU to the UN.  In cases of humanitarian need, where telephone systems may be inoperable because of natural disaster, the first teams on the ground would deploy a local GSM antenna, connected via satellite to the rest of the world.  Then Voxbone would simply forward calls to the +888 country code via satellite to the local GSM station on the ground.  The impact is that UN inter-agency, intra-agency, and external users will be able to dial a +888 number assigned to a relief agency from anywhere in the world, and be immediately connected to that relief agency in the field, in whatever country being served. Not only that, the numbers need never change.  Relief staff will be reachable on the same numbers in whatever location they are currently assigned.



This is the great win for Voxbone, which beyond being the largest DID suppliers in the world, also offers iNum, the global IP area for the entire world as they continue to innovate by just doing the right thing.


Skype For Asterisk-Microsoft Gets The Blame-Skype Takes the Fall-Updated

The VoIP world is buzzing about Skype basically ending Skype for Asterisk. Microsoft gets the blame but are they nothing but the fall guy?

Dave Michels has it pretty well nailed..No, this isn't MSFT. This is pure Skype. All the way. For once, you can blame Microsoft.

Here is Skype’s official comment regarding Skype for Asterisk, according to Jennifer Caukin, the current spokesperson  for Skype.

“Skype made the decision to retire Skype for Asterisk several months ago, as we have prioritized our focus around implementing the IETF SIP standard in our Skype Connect solution. SIP enjoys the broadest support of any of the available signaling alternatives by business communications equipment vendors, including Digium.  By supporting SIP in favor of alternatives, we maximize our resources and continue to reinforce our commitment to delivering Skype on key platforms where we can meet the broadest customer demand.”


AT&T-More Dropped Calls In More Places

Overlook near Del Mar, CaliforniaImage by familiabv via Flickr

One of my clients remarked yesterday, that he doesn't know anyone who travels as much as I do. And he may be right. But lately I've really been trying to stay "home" more here in the San Diego area. But of late I've been noticing more and more dropped calls on my iPhone as I am traveling in a car.

Last week I was in downtown San Diego for a conference, and each day on my rides up and back to Del Mar, CA I was unable to have a complete call without it dropping on my iPhone on AT&T. The same thing happened yesterday in Las Vegas on the way to the airport, and in Milwaukee the day before.

Each time the common denominator was, I was moving in a car and carring a conversation that was clearly switching from one cell tower to another. And each time the call would drop. The funny thing is I've driven or been driven in both San Diego and Las Vegas enough to know that calls don't usually drop on main thoroughfares with the kind of interruption I've witnessed. 

Today, on my FaceBook page, Steve Matt, a boyhood pal from 2&C where we all grew up in Philly, posted this comment:

WTF!!! Is anyone else having problems with AT&T? Within the past three months, I have most calls dropped and poor reception where I never had a problem before. I've called them 3 times to complain and they say there are towers being worked on. I ask EVERYWHERE?? They did give me $39 off one bill, but now I'm gonna ask for 1/2 off EVERY bill for 1/2 service. Your comments please. Is Verizon any better?

Well I'm glad it's not just me, but it clearly is more than a tower problem. Do you think it's the rolling out of 4G and new frequencies such as the 900 mhz range that's causing this?

Tell me what towns your calls are being dropped in....


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Head In the Clouds-Who's Innovating

Om MalikImage by jdlasica via Flickr

The GigaOm crew have come up with their to 50 cloud innovators. The list, that was published this morning gives a nice overview of who the players are. Since I grew up in sports, the line "you can't tell the players without a scorecard" is rather apropos here, because almost weekly some new company pops on the scene with something "new" and like all lists, sometimes we all find somthing missing.

For me it was the abscence of Oxygen Cloud, the Redwood City, California based company with a very slick interface, and a very reliable service.

Having been using Oxygen Cloud the past few weeks, I'm working on weaning my way off of Jungle Disk and over to Oxygen Cloud as it seems to give me the kind of feeling that I first got with DropBox and then with Jungle Disk. My sense seems to think there's a lot more behind what I'm seeing today, so maybe they're just too new to make the GigaOm list, but like Guam or Puerto Rico, the would have to be number 51.


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Nice To See He's Back Too-Alec Saunders

Alec SaundersImage by brycej via Flickr

He's been swamped making Calliflower a rock solid flat rate conferencing platform. And his blogging suffered. And now...HE's BACK. The he is Alec Saunders who for a while was spending more time running his business and a lot less time blogging. Well, he's back. And that's a good thing. Alec is one of the few bloggers out there who has the experience and the chops to back up what he writes about. So I say...(to the theme of Welcome Back, Kotter. Welcome Back!!!

I can relate to blogging suffering while business focus takes over. In my life, blogging went from the first thing I did every day, and I mean every day, to a back seat. My business life, and going through some interesting times, also impacted how often I posted. Well, now, like Alec, I'm back writing, and like they say in the Windy early and often. 

The same can be said for pal Om Malik, who while he served as editor of GigaOm his blogging became less and less the focus of his daily life, but now, as he's turned the reins over to others, his writing, and his reporting has also bounced back to the pre-heart attack days and the punchy, witty, news reporting style that made us all look first in his direction, is back. 

Another reason for the blogging slowdown for me has been the slowdown in what's new and a lot of conflicts of interest. As my business has grown it's become harder and harder to blog about things without either breaking confidence (which I won't do) or not tipping the hand of what's to come. Well thankfully, with a revitalized telecom world, something that Skype's sale to Microsoft will only light up more, I am sensing a revived news climate. And that's good. Because it means more to blog about.

For us readers, not only for creators of content, Alec, Om and yes my return will mean more critial analysis of what's what and why. We each used to push each other to just be better at what we did.

We're not here blogging just to write about the new and shiny. Others do a very good job at that, and Twitter is a great place to read about those things. No, we're all here to provide insight, perspective and opinion (IPO) and that's the bottom line. And I just said so.

So folks..give us all your eyes. Your comments and most of all your stories, because we're all back. And that's great for some of you..and for others, well...take your chances. No embargoes. No Mercy. No.....

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Are BlackBerry Users Skype Orphans, Is Skype A Stepchild to Apple?

Over at Nadeem, who covers VoIP ponders the point that with Microsoft buying Skype we may see a Blackberry client from Skype. Well given the tight-fisted way RIM doles out access to the stack that lets you access WiFi, and the fact that some patents are in place around that, not to mention the security layers, I'm not holding my breath.

Before that happens, please Skype stop making me feel like you're a step-child to Apple, and one that's crippled too. You see, there's on key feature missing on the Skype iOS client that other apps that allow calling over WiFi or 3G offer (like Truphone). It's BlueTooth integration. Nothing would do my heart more joy than the ability to use Skype via my car's BlueTooth system or to a BlueTooth headset or speaker system, so thus the analogy to being a step child. 

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Dean Bubley Goes Over The Top on OTT

The City of LondonImage via Wikipedia

My pal in London, Dean Bubley, is so insightful. Between he and Martin Geddes, when I'm over in London, the two are the master class leaders in delivering insight, perspective and opinion, or what I tend to call IPO in the realm of socialized media (i.e. using a blog, or other online technology to tell a story.) Grabbing tea with Martin or a tasty libation with Dean is always full of some new words of wisdom. Absent of a ten hour flight and some lost sleep, their respective blog posts, and the occasional Skype call, has to fill in the gaps.

Today, Dean-o has a very timely post on OTT (over the top) services and where the money is, and where it's not going and why. It has merit and validates the point that often times the money goes (you know..follow the money) not to the telcos or mobile operators from the players, but to the players from the operators. 

Bubley's post about the two side business model in telecom is spot on. The operators basically wait for disruption to be eating into their revenues and then take things seriously. Case in point was Wayport being gobbled up by AT&T, and AT&T then making WiFi access basically a throw in to their 3G plans. Another was Verizon acquiring TerreMark for cloud services. You see, for the most part, what we're all passionate about --new services, with the emphasis on new, isn't what the operators want. They want sustainable revenue. So, develop a service, cut into their revenues, prove that the market is a lot bigger than it is today, and they'll snap you up the way a gator does. Table stakes are one thing, and that's usually VC capital. But the pot of money is what gets you to the table. Build a business that's based on the pot of gold, not the buy in rate and you'll get the operator's attention.

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