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March 2008

Posts from February 2008

I'll be down at VoiceCon Orlando in March 2008...

No Jitter |.jpgFYI, I will be down at VoiceCon Orlando on March 17-20, 2008. I'm moderating two panel sessions (see the schedule). First, up, bright and early at 8am on Tuesday, March 18th, I'll be moderating a panel on "Top VoIP Security Threats". This should be a fun one as it has VOIPSA Chair Dave Endler, Mark Collier of SecureLogix and Sachin Joglekar of Sipera Systems. I know all three of the guys, particularly Dave and Mark who have both worked on VOIPSA matters, and this session should be a good bit of fun. I'm planning on making it a rather interactive session. :-)

At the other end of the show, on Thursday, March 20th, at 11:45am, I'll be moderating a panel "Open Source for Enterprise Voice: How Much, How Soon?". This would should be interesting because it has Bill Miller from Digium (makers of Asterisk), who I know well, and M Raza from 3Com... and then Tony Pereira from Nortel! 3Com's presence on the panel isn't particularly surprising given their relationship with Digium, but it will be interesting to see Nortel's view on the matter.

All in all it should be quite an interesting show. Lots of good sessions and, I'm sure, interesting people to meet. If you're going to be down there, please do drop an email as I'm always interesting in meeting readers of the blog.

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Attempt to join a VoiceCon/Mitel presentation on UC foiled by Real Player on Mac

voiceconeventrealplayer.jpgSo today my participation in a VoiceCon webinar was foiled by "fun" with RealPlayer and my MacBook Pro. The VoiceCon team was running a webinar called 'Demystifying Unified Communications' and I was curious to check it out as it was sponsored by my prior employer, Mitel, and the speaker was Mitel's Doug Micheaelides who I know well. I was just curious more than anything else to see if Mitel's marketing had changed in the six months since I left. I'm also one to often listen to analyst presentations - it's part of what I do.

It was not to be. Now, admittedly, this is largely my fault for not checking whether the webinar system would work with my Mac in advance. But attending the webinar was low priority to me and something I would just try to "fit in" if I could do so. Since it looked like I could, I jumped over to the page, registered and clicked the link to launch the presentation...


Turns out that the web presentation system the VoiceCon folks are using needs Real's player and as shown in the image to the right, my browser wasn't very happy with that.

Naturally, I did try to install the plugin. Clicking on the images shown there to "download the plugin" took me to Real's page about Real Player 10 for the Mac OS X, but here was the first problem:

Where's any mention of the "plugin"?

Plugin? What plugin? All that is mentioned here is the "Real Player 10 for Mac OS X" and far more annoying is the fact that I have to "Get it now with SuperPass". This of course takes me to a screen where I have to register to sign up to get my "free 14-day trial"!!!



I don't want to do a 14-day trial. I don't want to do a 1-day trial. All I want to do is download a browser plugin to view a #$%@@#? webinar!

Clicking around the site I eventually did find a page that let me download the unencumbered RealPlayer 10 for Mac. So I did that. This was where I hit the second problem. On the page, it says simply:

4. Drag the RealPlayer icon into your Applications folder.
5. Double-click RealPlayer to begin using it.

But I didn't want to "use" the RealPlayer. I just wanted to use the plugin for my browser. So I didn't double-click it, knowing that many Mac applications do whatever installation they need when you simply drag them to the Applications folder. After I copied it to the Applications folder, I restarted one of my browsers and... nothing. I tried the installation again with the same result.

At this point I gave up on attending the VoiceCon webinar and went off to do other work.

Sometime later I tried just double-clicking the RealPlayer icon and... ta da... there was the installation screen! So here's a note to Real - your page should really read:

5. Double-click RealPlayer to complete the installation.

All in all a brief bit of frustration. I guess the good news is that I now do have it installed for future VoiceCon webinars, but it shouldn't be this hard! The part about the "SuperPass" was particularly annoying to me. (Could you tell?) I realize that Real wants to capture names in return for giving away the player for free and wants to get people to buy more services from them. But I would argue that should be something that users can more easily opt-in to. Real has, perhaps, found that this "in-your-face" method yields better results. But it really turns off some % of people - of which I am obviously one.

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Heading to Orlando for Voxeo customer meetings...

weather1.jpgIn a few minutes I'll be boarding a plane heading down to Orlando for several days of presentations to a number of our (Voxeo) customers. For a change, I'm not presenting, but rather capturing presentations! I'm bringing down all my recording gear and will be capturing both audio and video for posting on Voxeo's blog site. It should be a lot of fun... as well as work. The temperature will, of course, be rather different! They are predicting a major storm here over the next few days, so it will be rather messy. Thankfully today I'm on a direct flight via Jet Blue from Burlington down to Orlando. No layovers... VERY nice!

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Congrats to Skype on hitting 100 BILLION minutes!

skype_logo.pngA huge congrats to Skype for hitting the milestone of over 100 BILLION minutes of Skype-to-Skype calls! As Skype's Villu Aruk notes in his amusing post, it's rather hard to wrap your head around numbers of this size. Congrats to all the folks involved with Skype... it is a milestone to celebrate.

See also Jim Courtney and Jon Arnold with their views of this announcement.

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ietflogo.jpgAs I wrote over on Voxeo's "Speaking of Standards" weblog, one of the ironies of the language we use in this space is that we all have been talking about "SIP trunks" for a few years now, but nowhere has there actually been a formal definition of what exactly a SIP trunk really is!

Jonathan Rosenberg has now offered a definition in a new Internet-Draft titled "What is a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Trunk Anyway?" Here is the abstract:

The term "Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Trunk" has become almost commonplace amongst vendors and SIP providers. Even though the notion of a 'trunk' has a well defined meaning in circuit switched systems, it has never been defined for SIP. This document provides a formal definition for a SIP trunk, discusses its scope and applications, and establishes best practices for identification and security of SIP trunks.

The document makes for good reading even if you are not overly familiar with the concepts behind SIP trunks. Jonathan is looking for feedback and there will I'm sure be continued discussion on this topic.

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Join us tomorrow (2/15) morning for a discussion of eComm 2008 on the Squawk Box conf call / podcast

42F19C6B-67C5-433E-91B4-641B9323CD48.jpgWhat are you doing at 10am Eastern time tomorrow morning? (Friday, February 15th) How about joining us for a "Squawk Box" conference call to discuss the upcoming eComm 2008 conference?

The call will take place using Iotums Facebook app called "FREE Conference Calls". You can just visit the show web page and RSVP (and add the Facebook app if you need to). I'll be hosting the show tomorrow while Alec Saunders is flying back from Barcelona and Thomas Howe and I will be interviewing Lee Dryburgh about the upcoming eComm 2008 conference... what it is, who is speaking and why people should attend. It should be a lively conversation with a great group of folks.

Bring your questions and join us!

P.S. The show will be posted later in Alec's blog and I'll provide a link here.

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The EComm 2008 Interview with Skype's Jonathan Christensen should be required reading...

42F19C6B-67C5-433E-91B4-641B9323CD48.jpgAs we enter into the final month before eComm 2008, I would suggest that the interview with Jonathan Christensen, Skype's general manager of audio and video, should be required reading for anyone seriously interested in this space. Why? Well, in part because Jonathan Christensen does provide some good information about what Skype has done and is doing but also because it provides some good insight into what one of the people driving Skype's agenda is thinking about this space. Take one of the final paragraphs where he answered Lee Dryburgh's question about what he saw as the the future of communications (bold emphasis added by me):
Well, a big question I guess and, having worked on the space for quite a while, I think that it's only going to get more interesting over the coming years since, well, like this open spectrum for example. You know, I just have to reiterate, I think that anybody who has not figured out that the Internet is the platform and that there isn't any such thing as walled gardens that will survive, or sub-networks [such as AOL tried] that are going to survive, those people are doomed. The intersection of these worlds is going to be chaotic. It's going to be violent. It's going to be messy for a while but it is going to happen, and the Internet will survive as the one open platform. You are going to see a trend towards extreme innovation at the edges - on the devices, in the PC platform, in software, all around the edge of the Internet.

I think that you are only going to see further disruption of the telecom industry and the emergence of totally new businesses that we can't imagine today. I think that [the] net result, that drives me every day, is that we're going to have this very rich, open, cheap and accessible communications. This is going to be not just a game changer for the telecom industry, but will be a change agent for all of humanity. So, a platform that allows us all to see each other and hear each other more clearly maybe makes us a little bit less crazy, less polarized and more open as a world society.

Good stuff... and the whole interview is worth a read. Given my recent criticism of Skype, I'm particularly pleased to read the comments I emphasized in bold. Jonathan Christensen will be giving one of the keynotes at eComm 2008, March 12-14 in Silicon Valley and if you haven't considered going, I would encourage you to do so. It should be a great event!

P.S. I also wrote about this interview in relation to SIP over on Voxeo's "Speaking of Standards" blog.

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Mobile World - Alec Saunders previews the new Nokia handsets

mobileworldcongress.jpgOver on his Saunderslog site, Alec Saunders previews the new phones announced by Nokia today over at the Mobile World Congress (formerly "3GSM") in Barcelona:
When you think of companies who really understand mobility and mobility use cases, there's only one contender, and it's Nokia. Even Apple's iPhone, as pretty as it is, is a sophisticated expression of ideas that others pioneered first. If you want to know where mobile is going, the company to watch is Nokia.

So it was with a great deal of anticipation that I accepted the invitation to sit down with a few of Nokia's product managers to preview their announcements for today - the Nokia 6210 Navigator, 6220 Classic, and the newest members of their multimedia computer line, the N78 and N96. These products are at the confluence of the two major mobile trends today - social networking and multimedia. They represent, in my opinion, both the future of mobility and the next logical expression of many trends that have been emerging for the last several years.

Alec goes on at some length explaining the new features of the various handsets and the new applications that are coming out along with the handsets.

Alec also discussed the new phones in his daily "Squawk Box" podcast that should be up on his website soon (and I'll provide a link here when it does). It all sounds quite interesting and I'd suggest giving Alec's post a read.

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TAUG - "Asterisk and Open Telephony Conference" - Toronto, April 7-9

asteriskopentelephonyconf.jpgThose of you interested in Asterisk and open source telephony may be interested in the "Asterisk & Open Telephony Conference" in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on April 7-9, 2008. Part of the larger IT360 conference, this Asterisk conference is being organized by members of the Toronto Asterisk User Group which is one of the largest Asterisk user groups in the world. Because of the TAUG influence, I expect it to be a solid show from a technical point of view with lots of practical information. I'm not currently planning to be there, but it looks to be a good one if you can get there.

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Joining ooVoo for video... are you an ooVoo user?

oovoodisplay.jpgI gave in today and installed ooVoo on my Mac. I'd resisted because I'm a wee bit swamped right now, but with friends talking about "My ooVoo Day" starting on Monday I finally succumbed and installed it. I admit to being a skeptic... but I'm also open to being surprised. My skepticism is mainly because I already have a zillion ways for people to contact me and I already run several IM/voice/video clients... so it's really NOT clear to me that I need another one. Still, the interface looks interesting and they've incorporated many of the features you would see in Skype and other clients... presence, status messages, etc. Many of the features are intriguing, such as the ability to do video conferencing with up to six people.

So as the admitted chaser of bright shiny objects that I am, and since they do have a Mac version - and my Mac has a webcam, I've installed it. Of course, given that sites like this don't yet support what is aiming to do, I have no contacts, so it's rather useless to me right now. Yes, I can use the "Find Friends" feature to import contacts from email programs... but... maybe it's just that I'm a "security guy", but I'm still leery of letting programs I don't really know have access to my email directory.

So if you are a reader of this blog and an ooVoo user (or install it now), feel free to add me as a contact. I'm using the incredibly creative username of "danyork".

Then we can see what this ooVoo thing is all about. :-)

P.S. Kudos to CRAYON for their blogger outreach program and their "My ooVoo Day" initiative... well done!

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