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Posts from April 2008

AOL launches OpenView API and gives us half a phone connection...

Does accepting SIP connections at your SIP proxy constitute an "API"? Does providing SIP termination services to the PSTN constitute an "API"?

aollogo.jpgThose were the questions I found myself asking after AOL announced yesterday their "Open Voice API" (also see CNET article). Since I work with voice application platforms, I'm always interested in new voice APIs and naturally had to check it out.

WHAT IT IS

I have to admit it took some time to figure out what the "Open Voice Program" really is, even after reading the program page and the accompanying blog post. Largely I think the issue was that I was looking for something more.

So here's what is going on. As part of their "AOL Voice Services", AOL has a service called "AIM Call Out". This allows a user of AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) to make outbound calls from their AIM client to the regular phone numbers on the PSTN for competitive rates (under 2 cents a minute here in the US).

From a network topology point-of-view, what happens with the call is that the call goes from your AIM client to the SIP gateway on the edge of AOL's network across some SIP trunks provided by some SIP Service Provider (one of the carriers probably) out to the PSTN. Picture it something like this:

aolcalloutnormal-1.jpg

Now what the "Open Voice Program" does is allow you to use an external SIP client to connect to AOL's SIP proxy and make outbound calls. So for example, if you had one of the following:

  • a SIP softphone like X-Lite on your laptop or PC
  • a SIP "hardphone" on your desk or any of the many WiFi SIP handsets
  • a SIP softphone on your dual-mode handset (such as those from Nokia) that would let you make connections over WiFi

you can use the service to make outbound calls using your AIM Call Out connections and minutes. The picture would now look like this:

aolcalloutsipphone.jpg

The SIP phone connects to AOL's SIP gateway, logs in with your username and SIP password and makes the outbound call. You now do not have to be at your PC and can make calls from another device that may be more convenient (like your dual-mode phone or a WiFi SIP handset). In fact, you don't need to be logged into AIM or have the AIM client running anywhere. The SIP device makes calls completely independently.

CONFIGURATION

The process of configuring your SIP phone to work with AIM Call Out is relatively straightforward. (Assuming you have an AOL/AIM "screenname". If you don't, you need one of those first.)

1. Go to the AIM Call Out page and click the Sign Up Now page.

2. Once in the "Dashboard", buy some Call Out credit (I bought $5 for the sake of testing) through a process that is not exactly intuitive but involves:

  1. Choosing Billing->Payment Method and setting up a credit card.
  2. (the non-intuitive part to me) Clicking the "Add Credit" link in the upper right corner of your screen and then going through that process.

3. Still in the Dashboard, assign a "SIP device password" on the Settings->SIP Clients page:

SIP Clients-Dashboard.jpg

4. Switch to your SIP device/phone and configure it with this information (along with the possibly the STUN server found on the config page).

5. Start making calls.

Like I said, it's a relatively straightforward process.

You naturally have to agree to their Terms of Service whose main point (made repeatedly) can be summarized as "This is not a telephone replacement for emergency purposes."

INITIAL USAGE

After configuration it worked fine (once I remembered how to configure X-Lite to use the correct microphone and speaker devices) and I made several calls with no problems. I actually wound up calling into today's Squawk Box podcast (where we discussed this AOL Open Voice Program at some length) using the service. It all worked well.

AOL is to be commended for their support of open industry standards like SIP!

While my initial experience was positive from a user point-of-view, there are to me a few problems.

NO INBOUND OR PC-TO-PC CALLS

First, the service is outbound-only. You can make calls from the SIP device, but you cannot receive them. While AOL is very clear about this on the Open Voice Program page, it still is a disappointment. Now, AOL does not appear to have a "Call In" program like Skype's SkypeIn or Yahoo's PhoneIn that ties a PSTN number to your AIM account, so you can't get inbound calls from the PSTN. (I thought they did at one point but I can find no sign of it on AOL's Voice Services pages.)

But you also can't receive inbound calls from other AIM users! It seems to me that if the idea is to make it more convenient to use AIM's voice services, you ought to be able to receive calls from other AIM users on your SIP device. Perhaps this is a future development. (So from a technical point-of-view, they are currently not operating a SIP registrar. Your SIP device does not register with AOL's server.)

NO SIP-TO-SIP CONNECTIONS

My second disappointment was that it did not appear to support direct "dialling" of SIP addresses. I tried both Blue Box comment lines, "sip:bluebox@voipuser.org" and "sip:9992002622@sip.voxeo.net" (with and without "sip:") and the result in both cases was a message "Sorry, that number cannot be dialled":

xlitediallingsip.jpg

Now, granted, maybe 0.01% of the public out there actually has an interest in direct SIP-to-SIP dialling, but that is the world in which I move... both with Voxeo's platform and also the work I do with the IETF. If we are to ultimately build the massive interconnect that let's us have an IP-only network, we need to have services and devices that let us do direct SIP connections.

(NOTE: I fully admit that I may not have used the X-Lite client correctly in calling these SIP URIs. I believe I did, but if someone else can get this to work, I certainly am open to my failure being operator error.)

SECURITY?

Given my background, you can't NOT expect me to say something about security, eh?

The good news is that they do have you use a "SIP device password" that can be different from your regular AIM password (assuming you set it to be different). Smart move. Well done. (if people use different passwords)

Per the the Open Voice Program page, AOL supports RFC2617 Basic and Digest Authentication and I confirmed with a packet trace that they are, in fact, using Digest authentication. While that isn't incredibly secure (it basically involves a MD5 hash of a password and a server-supplied nonce), it is pretty much what the industry is using right now.

Also like most of the industry, they are not encrypting the SIP with TLS and they are not encrypting the voice with SRTP. Just plain old unencrypted SIP and unencrypted RTP. Given that almost no one else in the industry is doing this, I can't exactly fault them.

SO WHO IS GOING TO USE THIS?

In the end, though, I still do have to wonder who will use this. (And that was part of the Squawk Box discussion today.)

If you already use AIM as your primary IM service and are an existing AIM Call Out customer - and are a techie enough to own and configure a SIP device - then this may be a great way for you to make cheap calls using another more convenient device. (Although some have pointed out there are cheaper services, but again it's the convenience of already living inside of AIM.)

I do like the fact that you can use any SIP device. This is a stark contrast from, say, Skype, which requires either that the device be connected to an always-running PC, have Skype embedded inside of it, or use another software program like iSkoot that essentially proxies your Skype connection. AOL's program lets you use any device you want - and you don't need to be logged in to AIM. So for folks more comfortable with a "hard phone", they can use any of the SIP hard phones out there.

The detail here, however, is:

How many AIM users are actually using AIM Call Out?
Especially when there are competing services from Skype, Yahoo and Microsoft that offer similar rates as well as inbound calling. How many users will actually be able to make use of this?

Perhaps AOL is hoping that this will attract users...

On a different note, it is not entirely clear to me how developers might use this. The AOL blog post from Mark Blomsma in the AOL Developer Network talks about how developers can use this new "API", but I'm still missing... for what?

Essentially it seems to me that all you could really do is create an application that uses AIM Call Out for SIP termination to the PSTN - with the AIM account providing the authentication and also billing/charging. Perhaps that will be useful. I'm not sure.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I am, though, intrigued by one line of the AOL blog post:

Part of the Open Voice program is AIM Call Out.

So are we just seeing the beginning of this program? If so, that's not at all clear - from what I read - anywhere on the pages.

Overall, it's great to see AOL using SIP and it's great to see them opening up their infrastructure in some small way. I'm not sure I'd call this an "API", exactly, but let's hope that this is just the beginning and that they will do more in the months ahead. We'll see.

Meanwhile, I've still got $3.84 of calling time to use...

What do you think about this service? What's in it for developers? Is there value in having access to the AIM credentials for authentication? Or is this ultimately just yet another SIP termination plan?

P.S. For those curious, my 55-minute call into Squawk Box today cost $0.94 or about 1.7 cents a minute.

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Squawk Box on April 29 discussed Jajah...

squawkbox.jpgAs an update to my previous post, the Squawk Box recording is now available of our call with Jajah co-founder Roman Scharf. It was an interesting discussion of what they are doing. On a programming note, it was one of the larger calls we've done on Squawk Box and we encountered some technical issues that Alec Saunders had to deal with (hence my jumping in as lead interviewer at one point). All in all both a fun and interesting session. Do give it a listen if you are interested in voice platforms!

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Jajah to provide PSTN connectivity for Yahoo!Voice!

jajahlogo.jpg Yahoo! announced today that they are outsourcing all PSTN connectivity services for Yahoo!Messenger over to the startup Jajah. This is a huge win for Jajah who also announced today that it has hit over 10 million users in two years. Congrats to the Jajah team for the win!

Two parts of the release explain a bit about what is going on:

The "Phone In" and "Phone Out" service will enable consumers to make high-quality, low-cost PC-to-phone and phone-to-PC voice calls over the JAJAH network to more than 200 countries using Yahoo! Messenger, the leading instant messenger application in the United States with nearly 97 million users worldwide (comScore, February 2008).

and:

Since 2006, Yahoo! Messenger users have been able to use "Phone In" and "Phone Out" to make and receive voice calls on their PC to and from landline and mobile phones. With low rates and premium voice quality, users can talk for hours and save on their phone bill. This deal means JAJAH will take over the provision of the telephony infrastructure, payment processing, and customer care for Yahoo!'s premium voice users who make and receive voice calls through Yahoo! Messenger.

yahoovoice.jpgSo essentially Yahoo is centralizing all the PSTN interconnection for Yahoo!Voice with Jajah. I don't know what their infrastructure was previously. If I had to guess I would say it was probably a series of SIP gateways connected out to various SIP service providers who provided the PSTN connectivity. In today's environment that would seem to be the logical way to set it up. Now, though, Yahoo appears to be simply outsourcing the entire PSTN-interconnect side of operations over to Jajah.

What will be interesting to see is how this might work for existing Jajah customers. Will Yahoo!Voice customers be able to call Jajah customers at no (or low) charge? And vice versa? Will Jajah's various web integrations such as "click-to-call" now be able to work with Yahoo!Voice customers? There are some interesting integration ideas that could happen here. We'll see what emerges.

Given that Jajah just announced today it's managed service offering, having a brand like Yahoo as their first customer is a huge win! On today's Squawk Box podcast (recorded at 11am Eastern US time), we're going to talk to Jajah co-founder Roman Scharf about what this all means. In advance of the call, Alec Saunders has posted these charts from Jajah that show their platform:
jajahplatform.jpg

and their VoiP backend:
jajahvoipnetwork.jpg

Between that and the information in their news release, it sounds like quite an interesting set of services.

The reality is that as much as many of us want to completely bypass the PSTN and have an all-IP network, we're going to have this beast known as the PSTN around for quite a long time and companies will be needed who can provide the best possible interconnection between the two and manage the integration as the evolution toward IP continues. Jajah clearly aims to be a player in bridging those worlds.

If you'd like to discuss this more - or simply listen in to the discussion - please do join us on today's Squawk Box. It's a live call-in conference call recorded at 11am Eastern US time. It's controlled through Iotum's "FREE Conference Calls" Facebook application which the link to the show provides information about how to install. It should be a fun discussion!

[Full disclosure: My employer, Voxeo, does provide hosting (including PSTN connectivity) for voice applications which may or may not compete with pieces of Jajah's vision (I don't know yet).]

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Tracking iSkoot's security issue exposing Skype usernames and passwords

voipsalogo.jpgOver on the Voice of VOIPSA weblog, I have been tracking a security issue in the iSkoot program that was transmitting your Skype username and password in the clear. The post, its comments, and the corresponding links off of it make for some interesting reading.

It also shows the speed at which the blogosphere can react and potentially help sort things out. In the space of about 48 hours, a problem was found, confirmed, identified by the vendor and apparently will be fixed shortly. I'll be writing more about this later today over on the Voice of VOIPSA weblog, but for now I'll just say that it's great to see that the problem is being dealt with.

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Jeff Pulver's resignation and the apparent demise of Pulvermedia and VON

In a short and direct statement yesterday, Jeff Pulver yesterday confirmed the fears many of us have had for some time:
jeffpulverresignation.jpg

A little while later, notes like this were showing up in his Twitter stream:
jeffpulverlife30.jpg (Note: I am not PhoneBoy - that's Dameon Welch-Abernathy.)

jeffpulver.jpgJeff's resignation was not unexpected, given the rumors swirling around since the end of March (chronicled here: Marc Robins blog, GigaOm) when Pulvermedia's primary investor, TICC, apparently shut all operations down. Regardless, it was sad to see the finality of this action. While Jeff had turned most of the Pulvermedia operations over to others and was no longer as directly involved with the company, I know given Jeff's passion for the company and this industry - as well as the fact that the company (Pulvermedia) includes his name - this was obviously a hard personal decision.

So what does this mean for Pulvermedia's various events and conferences, most importantly VON?

Good question... and one that we perhaps don't know the answers to yet. I'd held off writing about this whole saga in part because I hoped that Jeff and crew would be able to figure things out behind the scenes to continue operations. Perhaps they still will. In a crowded conference space, I always enjoyed going to (and speaking at) VON shows and enjoyed getting to know Jeff, Carl Ford and many of the others in the Pulvermedia circles. Jeff's shows brought many of us in the "VoIP blogging" circles together and through that some truly great friendships have formed. Obviously Jeff can't say much about what is going on... we'll have to stay tuned to see what does develop.

In the meantime, I just have to join Andy Abramson, PhoneBoy and I'm sure many others in thanking Jeff for all this passionate work promoting our industry, bringing people together to see what would happen next and his tireless efforts in evanglelizing his vision of how communication can be. Andy wrote in part:

As a Pulver Media advisory board member, I think I speak for all by saying "thank you" and "your contributions were endless in creating an industry around your beliefs and dreams. We, as a community THANK YOU and hope for your return in whatever form or fashion that may be."

Best wishes, Jeff, as you continue to "explore Life 3.0"... and we look forward to see what that might be!

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Six months with Voxeo...

voxeologo.gifI find it rather astounding to me that it was six months ago today that I announced that I had joined Voxeo. Where did the time go?

It's been a really amazing six months that has so greatly expanded my knowledge into new areas I hadn't played with before. This picture from our "VoIP Platform Overview" page perhaps best shows what I find so interesting about Voxeo's platform:

voxeovoiceplatform.jpg

On the one hand, it's an XML-driven SIP application server... yet it's also a media server... and then there's all the speech stuff - Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), Text-To-Speech, etc.... VoiceXML, CCXML, CallXML... and then it's a conferencing server... all based on SIP and using things like ENUM and so much more.

Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects for me is that on one level we are customer-focused working with individual developers to help them learn to build voice applications. But then on the back-end we have this massively-scalable, redundant hosting infrastructure and we are among the largest consumers of SIP trunks in North America. (And constantly in need of more - a colleague of mine is tasked nearly full-time with working with carriers to find more SIP trunk capacity!)

So it's fun for me to go to an IETF standards meeting because on the one hand I'm interested in SIP as it relates to end users and end user applications, yet on the other hand I'm interested in all the SIP peering standards and other efforts which make it easier for us to connect into the "cloud" of SIP service providers out there. So I get to look at the small end and the massively large end. For a guy interested in SIP, it's pretty wild.

It's also very cool to be part of an organization that has been working with many aspects of what we are now calling "cloud computing" since long before that label came into fashion. Voxeo is all about moving your voice applications into the cloud. Being able to access them from wherever. Whenever. So as there is all this newfound interest in moving computing into "the cloud"... that's where we already are. The challenge now becomes one of learning how to have our "cloud" interact with all the many other "clouds" out there. (And yes, we do have a premise product, too, for customers that for various reasons do not want to push their apps into the cloud - but the hosted version came first by many years.)

Beyond all the technology, it's also been great to get back into a "startup" mindset. Even though Voxeo has been around since 1999, it still retains so much of the passion and drive of a startup. (As well as some of the fun aspects- in Orlando they even have a barista and coffee bar!) There are a great many opportunities to participate in growing the company. The management is incredibly open with employees, too, which is wonderful to be involved with... and there's just some really great people inside the company! (And hey, we're hiring!)

So what are some of the other things I've learned in the past six months?

  • Call Control XML (CCXML) is one of the most under-appreciated standards out there (and something I'll be writing about more). It basically lets you put an XML layer on top of SIP and, well, since all those web application tools speak XML it opens up all kinds of opportunities.

  • WordPress Mu can be used to build a corporate blog portal (blogs.voxeo.com) - that's been both fun and a great learning experience.

  • It absolutely scares me that I now know my way around downtown Orlando and to and from the Orlando airport.

  • There is more to "Orlando" than simply "The Empire of the Mouse" and downtown Orlando is a rather cool place to be.

  • JetBlue's direct flights from Burlington, VT, to Orlando are a truly wonderful addition that I will miss when we move to N.H. (although I understand Southwest has direct flights from Manchester).

  • It is very cool (although sometimes admittedly strange) to have a manager who blogs and twitters and generally "gets" the value of social media.

  • It's nice to be in a company in the telecommunications/VoIP space that is... (gasp)... profitable!

  • I freely admit that ever since getting our corporate laptop, the Apple MacBook Pro, I have become a Mac fanboy!

  • It's wonderful to be in a company with a strong developer focus that gives away free versions of its software for developers to use. I just really happen to like the model... mostly because you get to be surprised by the very cool and sometimes offbeat things that people will do, simply because you give them the tools. Creativity is an amazing thing to nourish.

All in all, I'm not entirely sure how six months flew by... but it's been a great block of time and I'm looking forward to the next six months and many more beyond that. (And no, I'm not just writing that because my boss may read my blog!)

P.S. Did I mention that we're hiring?

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Equals' "Party Line" app uses Voxeo's platform to bring voice to Facebook

voxeologo.gifHave you ever wanted to quickly get into a conference call with a group of people? What if you could just call a number and initiate a conference call that automatically dialled out to bring in the other participants? Would you see yourself using this for a group (or groups) of your friends? Could you see this being useful for a group of coworkers? Over on Voxeo's blog today, I wrote about a new Facebook application called "Party Line" that does exactly this.

facebookpartyline.jpgAs I outline in the blog post, Party Line, available (to Facebook users) at www.equals.com/partyline lets you create an unlimited number of "party lines", each of which can have up to five participants. To initiate a group call, you either dial in to 1-877-4-BUZZ-ME or you initiate the call from within the Facebook page. The application calls all the other participants and brings you all into a group conference call. You can talk for as long as you want. No bridge numbers to remember. No passcodes. Very simple to use.

For Equals, the company who developed this Facebook application, this is their first product and platform. They've indicated that in the end they want this app to also work with OpenSocial and be able to connect into the other social networking services out there supporting OpenSocial. I'll be very interested to see how well it is adopted.

From a Voxeo point-of-view, as I mention later in the blog post, this is the first Facebook app (that we know of) that uses our SIP/XML application platform, so it is admittedly exciting for us to see. We know we have a great platform for developing these kind of voice applications, but to see someone else recognize that and actually go off and develop such an application is rather cool to see.

On a technical level, it's great to see an example of what you can do with Call Control XML (CCXML). Before joining Voxeo six months ago, I knew absolutely nothing about CCXML but as I learned about what it could do, I was truly amazed. Essentially, it is an XML layer that lets you drive and control SIP-based applications. There's an amazing number of tasks you can do with CCXML and it's something I'll be writing more about here and over on Voxeo's blogs in the future. (If you'd like to learn a bit more now, you can look at the CCXML documentation, check out some CCXML tutorial videos or look at the recent post about sending telephony presence to Twitter.)

Anyway, for the moment I would encourage you to check out my Voxeo blog post with more details about Party Line, install the Party Line app and try it out! Please do let us know what you think.

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Skype further commoditizes voice with their "unlimited" subscription plans...

skype-unlimitedplans-20080421.jpgToday's buzz in the VoIP space is certainly Skype's announcement of new "unlimited" subscription plans. No contracts. No connection fees. No per-minute fees. Just a single flat, monthly fee.

The Global Difference

Now on the one hand, this isn't really new to those of us here in North America. We had an "unlimited" plan for all of NA that was good up until several months back when Skype dropped the plan and required everyone to move onto "Skype Pro". However, the big difference this time around is simple:

The unlimited plan is global!

Well, at least "global" in the sense that the 34 countries to which the plan pertains are indeed spread out all around the globe:
skype-worldcalling-20080421.jpg

Regardless, it's an impressive list and, as Skype's news release reminds us, means you have "unlimited" calling to about a third of the world's population. (This statistic is, of course, hugely helped by the fact that the plan includes China!) So now with your PC, or 3 Skypephone over in Europe, you can now make an "unlimited" number of calls to regular old PSTN phone numbers in those countries.

Goodbye international calling plans!

Given that here in the USA, we've seen most all of the major mobile carriers move to "unlimited" calling plans that allow you to call anywhere in the US, this is definitely in keeping with those pricing plans. Except, of course, it's global.

Other Goodies

Beyond just the unlimited calling, Skype is also offering other "goodies" in the plan. As with most things related to Skype, the Skype Journal team has the best coverage of the announcements and lists these benefits:

  • Users can upgrade temporarily -- for instance, a Canadian or American traveling for two weeks to Europe can have an Unlimited World plan for the one month during which the travel occurs.
  • All plans include free call transfer (SkypeIn or Skype to SkypeOut) to numbers within the destination countries included in the user's plan.
  • All plans include a 50% discount for a SkypeIn number. (or multiple SkypeIn numbers on some plans)
  • All plans include voice mail
  • All plans include Skype To Go

Jim Courtney's article goes into further detail on all of this and is definitely worth a read.

Redefining "Unlimited"

Of course, I had to laugh at Skype joining into the game played by all the major carriers here in NA known as "redefining the word 'unlimited'". Several of the carriers here in the USA and also in Canada have at various times trumpeted their "unlimited" data plans... which of course were "unlimited" only according to the carrier's definition of unlimited... really something more like:

"Unlimited" = "unlimited calling up to a certain point that our finance folks have determined you start to impact our profit"

The linguistic pedant in me cringes every time I see a "unlimited" plan and I had the same knee-jerk reaction when seeing Skype's announcement. You can see it clearly on their Fair Usage page or in this image with the asterisks net to "unlimited calls":
skype-unlimitedredefined.jpg

Now, in fairness to Skype, 10,000 minutes per month is a whopping long time! Basically that nets out to 5 to 5.5 hours on the phone every single day of the month. If you are spending that much time on the phone EVERY day (outside of your work), well... I'd just be amazed. (I suppose there might be long-distance relationships that might come close, but still!) I would expect Skype's major reason for doing this would be to strain out business users that might seek to use Skype for large blocks of calling. I'm sure Skype also does have very real costs that they incur for PSTN termination (although I'm sure they get good rates).

Other Views

Over on VoIP Watch, Andy Abramson notes that an advantage for Skype is that this moves their revenue stream to a more predictable monthly basis (rather than having the cash-flow variability of annual renewals) and also that it allows more flexibility for users to add and delete services.

Mark Evans also had an interesting take today in "The Sexier Story is Growth" noting that the far more interesting point about Skype is their growth:

Consider Skype’s first-quarter results: another 33 million users came on board, boosting the number of registered users to 309 million. Meanwhile, year-over-year revenue climbed 61% to $126-million and Skype-to-Skype minutes rose 30% to 14.2 billion. So, what you’ve got is a high-growth business that will likely have sales of $500-million in 2008.

Indeed that definitely is something to consider. (Jim Courtney also covered the topic here and here.)

Conclusion

In the end, rolling out these new plans is undoubtedly a great move for Skype. With all their Oprah momentum here in the USA and the 3 Skypephone in Europe, they've certainly made some gains. Now they continue disrupting the telecom industry by removing distance from the equation (for the most part). It will be interesting to see over time what this does or does not do to the ranks of subscribers. Regardless, it should be fun to watch as Skype continues to spread.

As for me, the reality is that as more and more friends have moved on to Skype, I honestly have fewer and fewer people outside of family to call on the PSTN. Given that most all the people I call internationally are already on Skype, I may wind up buying the Unlimited US & Canada plan just to be able to call some of those folks out on the PSTN. I mean, at $36/year... or apparently $24/year if you buy before June 1... it's hard to argue against that for "unlimited" calls within the US and Canada. :-)

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Squawk Box: Is the Mobile Web Dead?

squawkbox.jpgYesterday we had a fascinating conversation on Alec Saunders' Squawk Box podcast/conf call about "Is the Mobile Web Dead?" This all came about because of Russell Beattie's piece (and the resulting conversation) about shutting down Mowser and declaring that "the mobile web" is dead in light of new phones like the iPhone that allow users to see the web through a "regular" browser. Mowser was a company that existed to help companies make their websites work better on mobile devices/phones and he ultimately found that the market never really appeared.

The discussion was a good one although I think the truth is that we are all violently in agreement that at the end of the day there is just "the Web" these days and there is no need for a separate "mobile" web as the devices we use continue to evolve. We also spent a chunk of time talking about the iPhone SDK, fring and the long-term prospects for apps that use the Jailbreak installer.

All in all I think you'll find it an enjoyable conversation - give it a listen! And note that you are always welcome to join into the calls that happen most weekday mornings at 11am Eastern US time. Watch Alec's blog for more info. P.S. By the way, Russell is looking for work.

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If you missed eComm 2008, the presentations are now online...

42F19C6B-67C5-433E-91B4-641B9323CD48.jpgIf, like me, you missed out on eComm 2008 last month you can at least now view (or download) almost all of the eComm 2008 presentations via SlideShare. You can view all the different presentations and download them as well.

eComm organizer Lee Dryburgh also said that he's working on getting the audio recordings of the presentations up online as podcasts which will be great to have, too. (As I wrote about on a Voxeo blog, you really need audio to understand many of the slide decks (which I actually view as a good thing!).)

Kudos to Lee for getting all the presentations up there - there's 58 right now and it's good to see the range of presentations given. As a longtime fan of SlideShare, it's also nice to see it being used for a conference like this.

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