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Posts from October 28, 2012 - November 3, 2012

Is The New Skype 6.0 Buggy?

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase

Are you seeing strangeness since Skype updated it's client to 6.0 on the Mac OS?

Are you seeing messages appear out of order time wise?

Are you finding messages are going through from iPad but showing as pending?

Are your calls via Skype Out not presenting your Skype In Number or designated Caller ID?

Are you seeing the set up time for calls to be taking a lot longer?

I am, and from what I can sense, I'm not alone. It seems as Skype has revamped its' architecture to co-exist with Microsoft Messenger, and eventually Microsoft Lync, that a lot of changes have been made, and for those of us who have been using Skype for a very, very, very long time, these changes are not for the better.

Oh, where are you now GizmoProject. It just worked. It was standards based and it didn't worry about corporate mandates. Oh, Google owns it, closed it and gutted it for pieces and parts. But seriously, the world is ready for something that takes all that was great about Skype and deliveres it today, in a WebRTC way. What company is ready to step up?

Wide Awake In Alentejo Wine Region

Today, I'm in the Alentejo wine region of Portugal, on a business related project that I have started in addition to what my agency is already involved in. One of the things I have been enjoying, not only on this trip, but on all trips to Portugal is how efficient and effective their network infrastructure is, nationwide.

Even here, an hour outside of Lisbon, the mobile service is 3G unless I'm inside a very old stone building, and then, there's Wi-Fi connected to what they call Banda Larga (broadband.)

The mobile networks, which come from PT, under the TMN label, Optimus, under Kanguru and Vodafone, are all easy to access, and picking up SIM cards is not hard at all to do. Which one is best? I'm not sure, as they all just work so well. I've found previously that Optimus was best on the iPad, but using Vodafone this week so far has proven to work just as well.

I only hope the wines and wineries I'm visiting will be as good :-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

T-Mobile is Buying More Than Spectrum and Customers

English: T-Mobile logoEnglish: T-Mobile logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The MetroPCS acquisition by T-Mobile in the USA is going to be about more than just spectrum and customers. It's about technology. 

While AT&T and Verizon diddle about trying to keep the next guy down, T-Mobile is about to leapfrog and be the USA's equivilant to Three in the UK. The mobile operator who does things differently today, for where things are heading tomorrow. This story from the GSMA's Mobile Business Briefing crystalized things more for me around Joyn, RCS and what else will come from the merger.

Let's look at what MetroPCS is bringing to the party:

1. LTE-first deployment in the USA

2. VoLTE-first deployment in the USA

3. RCS-First deployment in the USA

All of this adds up to modernization of communciations, not simply spectrum and customers.

The Networks Broke-Cable and Wireless

Logo of the United States Federal Communicatio...(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hurricane Sandy proved something. Our infrastructure for communications isn't hurricane proof. As the New York Times reports on what the FCC has determeined, it seems the northeastern United States became in spots a country back in the sixties, where the only thing that seemed to work was a wired landline and one of those older telephones where the power comes from the telco.

Yesterday when talking with affected clients along the eastern seacboad a few things became clear:

1. People who do not have multiple ways to connect to the Internet were falling behind on their business. This is called business interruption or business continuity.

2. There's going to be a big demand for MiFis/PocketSpot portable hotpots now and companies like Huawei, Sierra Wireless and Novatel Wireless will likely see increased demand for them.

3. Backhaul, the lack of enough antenna towers and small cells, with water-tight fiber connections are going to be needed and the "not in my back yard" mentality of those now affected will need to change..

4. Our PSAP (Public Service Access Points) were overwhelmed with calls to the point where they couldn't be handled.

5. EMS (Emergency Services like fire, police and ambulance) and utility companies could not easily locate things like manhole covers, hydrants, utilty cabinets due to flooding, debris and water.  While these exist on maps, in many places they are not easily found using newer forms of technology.

6. Cable networks, long the shining example of modernization in the USA of our communications systems, as well as the Internet itself showed that water is it's enemy in places. While demand went up, and those who were able to connect still were able to work, those without connectivity, were in the same place as those without power. In some cases it wasn't the lack of connectivity, instead it was the Head Ends of the cable companies lost power, or their routers along the way did. Either way, the connectivity grid broke.

We as a nation, have the technology to make things different. We need to look at our IT Infrastructure and the Information Service providers have to stop looking like robber barons, and begin to contribute back to the connectivity grid or we won't survive these kinds of attacks from mother nature much longer.

Were You Prepared?

8x8 #latergram8x8 #latergram (Photo credit: qthrul)

I was really impressed with what one of my agency's client's did when it came to communicating with their customer base surround Hurricane Sandy. Cloud communications leader, 8x8 sent out an email pointing to a web page that had a Disaster Planning document, all geared around the concept of maintaining communications using their platform.

Good disaster planning starts before the situation arises, so with a service like 8x8's Virtual Office Online, the ability to work around Hurricane Sandy can occur, with some advance work or the next time someone can log on. 

This type of functionality is not unique to 8x8 as others like, OnSip and RingCentral, to name a few, have the web based portal management to enable customer adminsitration so should disaster strike, business and communications can continue.

In addition to the web page, 8x8 smartly posted tips for staying connected on Facebook and Twitter before the storm hit. Equally smart thinking was sending out a special email ONLY to all of their east coast customers with the same information. This elevliated telling unaffected customers what was needed to be done with the primary information being the tips on how to easily route business calls to other locations or cell phones.

This happens because cloud communications companies can more easily be redundant and shift their network services from one place to another when disaster strikes. That's called being PREPARED.

Turn iPod touch Into a Mobile Phone

freedompopfreedompop (Photo credit: sam_churchill)

Data MVNO FreedomPop, the carrier that rides on top of Clearwire's mobile WiMax network has released their $99 sleeve that works the iPod touch 4th Generation. 

Basically, the sleeve lets you turn the iPod touch into an iPhone, so calls can be made over the FreedomPop network using softphones like CounterPath's Bria or Skype. Of course, with Bria you'll need an ITSP (Internet Telephony Service Provider) like or OnSip. You can also use the client from 8x8 that lets customers talk and connect to their Virtual Office Mobile  which is found in the App Store.

Having used the Clearwire network extensively in the past, the speeds are fast, but what's really impressive is the low latency which means not only VoIP will work, but so will video, making neutral carriers like Vidtel an awesome bridge service for those using just the iPod touch.

Getting Data in Spain for Your iPad

Vodafone LogoVodafone Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

YoigoYoigo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



I've been coming to Spain for the last half dozen or so years, and have long been a fan of Yoigo, the Telia - Sonera backed mobile operator, who is fourth behind Movistar, Orange and Vodafone, and feels heat from upstart MVNO MasMovil. Given the competitive market here, I've tried them all and find Vodafone's 29 Euro for 1 GB over three months to be the best plan available.

Yoigo though is best for your smartphone, with Movistar having the best coverage if you leave the major cities.

Mas Movil takes USA credit cards, but you need to go through some hoops to set up that, but once you do, you're golden. As an MVNO they use both Voda and Orange networks at last peek, and their service is rock solid.

All of this said, using services like Skype and VoIP are not usually allowed on Yoigo, and they have a daily cap on your consumption.

TokBox Acquired by Telefonica Digital

TokBox was acquired by Telefonica Digital. TokBox, which offered a Flash based video platform, has been toiling around the social video space for half a dozen years. Without going into their history, the move is a very interesting one for Telefonica as it puts them at odds long term with Microsoft, which counts on the telcos to help push services like Microsoft Lync to the enterprise, and Skype to the consumers.

Think of this as an over the top video play, much like Skype is an OTT voice and video play. Given some of the other activities Telefonica Digital is taking on, and initiating, while the rest of their business is slowing down, means they have out of market aspirations by going over the top.

GPS, Location Information and Map Wars

I'm an Apple iPhone,iPad user, who also carries a BlackBerry and Android devices. Honestly, being outside of the USA for a month, and I'm going through directional withdrawl, having become addicetd to Google Maps on all my devices until Apple turned the tables on arch rival Google with their own maps.

Everyone admits that Apple's current maps are not really that great, and being outside the USA the last two weeks or so, it really shows. Sure you can go to Google Maps as a web app, but they're not as good.

For GPS work my Android Galaxy Note 1 and Google Nexus will serve as wonderful GPS devices, with their big screens, and CoPilot Live's maps and directions, but where I'm feeling a bit lost is the local information that Google gave me. Sure I can find it in the web browser, but it's not a natural behavior, hence the withdrawl feeling.

What should happen? Charge me Google. Create an app, put it in the Apple App store and give Apple their 30 percent of the sales and be done with it. Oh, and when they want Pages, Numbers and Keynote on Android devices, do the same thing to them. Let's not get into whose hardware what software runs on, lets really think about the customers for a change.

Let's stop the fighting, and do what's really best for the customers. 

Craig Walker Hits The Blogosphere

Image representing Craig Walker as depicted in...Image via CrunchBase

Uber-startup, turnaround artist and good friend, Craig Walker who now has UberConference launched --with more greatstuff to come, and likely best known for being the co-founder of Grand Central, a former client company and one of our 26+ exits which I actually made real money on, has finally joined the blogosphere. And, in Craig's humble style, as well as demonstrating his legal background--yes, he's a reformed attorney or lapsed lawyer-take you pick-  he's laid out his first post like a legal brief, setting the stage for what's to come. And come it shall.........

So I'm glad he's here. My first exposure to Craig came on a panel I moderated at some TMCnet IT Expo conference many years ago. Craig was witty, outspoken and made his points eloquently. We became friends, he and Vincent Paquet sold Dialpad to Yahoo, then he started GrandCentral, which is now Google Voice, we helped make it big and the rest is history. Along the way I have been suggesting he blog. Well, many years later he is all part of what he's doing with his own VC fund, Firespotter Labs and his latest venture, UberConference. So Nosh on, it like I will be, because Mr. Walker will likely do more than just fiddling about technology, all on ..spottingfire.