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Posts from February 2010

Brief interview in 101st Telecom Junkies podcast episode to update VoIP Fraud/Hacker case

telecomjunkies.pngEarlier this week I had a fun moment joining a cast of characters to help the Telecom Junkies podcast celebrate crossing over 100 episodes. In the 101st episode, now available for listening, host Jessica Gdowski invited 7 of her previous guests back to give brief updates. So I joined Martha Buyer, Mark Fletcher, Hank Levine, John Lyon, Dave Spofford, and Allan Sulkin for the ~20 minute show.

In my case, I've been a guest on the show three times previously, most notably in August 2007 with "Interview with a VoIP Hacker" where we interviewed Robert Moore shortly before he was heading to prison.

Moore was part of the VoIP fraud case masterminded by Edwin Pena and discussed on another Telecom Junkies episode back in July 2006. I was also on another Junkies episode in November 2007 about VLAN Hopping.

In this 101st episode recorded this week I gave a brief update on the Pena/Moore case (Pena recently pled guilty) and then talked about VoIP and Unified Communication security issues. It was literally just a few minutes, but I was glad to join briefly and help Telecom Junkies celebrate. 100 podcast episodes is indeed a milestone to celebrate! Congrats!

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VoiceOnTheWeb: A video interview with Skype CEO Josh Silverman

skypelogo-shadow.pngOver on his Voice On The Web blog, Jim Courtney posted this morning a two-part video interview with Skype CEO Josh Silverman that is interesting to watch. Jim summarizes the interview indicating that we should expect to see from Skype in 2010 the following:
  • a revitalized developer program built around a more comprehensive platform from which developers can, amongst other features, embed Skype into their applications
  • Skype access on many more mobile platforms as well as taking advantage of wireless carriers’ recognition of Skype as a mainstream telecommunications environment
  • expansion of video calling services, including a strong role in the introduction of Internet services as a feature on a new generation of television sets;
  • launch of a formal comprehensive Skype for Business program targeted at small-to-medium businesses
  • many more Skype video interviews on broadcast media – for example, Skype video (and voice) calling has been used quite extensively by several networks to facilitate communications with Haiti following the earthquake

And while Josh Silverman did cover all of those points, I personally found it interesting just to watch and listen to how he covers the points and where he is focusing his attention (through what he talks about). Skype's at a very interesting point in its history and appears to be poised to do even greater things... so it's definitely worth paying attention to what their CEO is saying. You can click the image below to go over to Jim's post with the embedded videos:


Note: I didn't embed the videos directly here because, quite frankly, I think Jim's context and commentary setting up each video is well worth a read.

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Using voice for security and biometrics - all out in the Voxeo cloud

voxeologohoriz.pngWhy shouldn't we be able to use our "voice" as a way to securely authenticate into systems? After all, it's one of the few "biometrics" that are unique to each of us... along with fingerprints, retina scans, etc. What about accuracy and "replay" attacks? After all, some of us remember "My voice is my password" from back in the movie Sneakers...

"Aren't voice biometrics hard to implement?" ... "Are they really secure?"

Today, over on Voxeo's blogs, we announced a new voice biometrics initiative with four partners designed to answer these questions and show developers exactly how easy it is to add voice biometrics to voice applications. (also called "voice verification" or "voice authentication", although those are both subsets of the larger "voice biometrics")

The idea is simple. Build a VoiceXML application in Voxeo's hosted cloud and then follow the instructions on the "How To" docs linked off of to add voice biometrics to your application. You can use an existing VoiceXML application or you can create a new one. Code samples are available. (and it's free to create an account if you don't already have one.)

The beauty of it is that all of the services are out in the cloud... so it's very easy to simply try it out.

Please check out our announcement page to watch video interviews, read relevant blog posts and learn more about how you can get started today.

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The ubiquity of Skype...

skypelogo-shadow.pngIn preparation for a Voxeo announcement next week, I've been recording video interviews with several different companies participating in the announcement. Since they are scattered around the world, I asked about doing the video recording over Skype. My reason was primarily that I am personally a huge Skype user and so I've got the recording method down well... and perhaps more importantly because we can get wideband audio as part of the video recording. Anyone who has worked with video knows that having high quality audio is actually a large part of having a successful video... so I like Skype for that.

The interesting part to me was... using Skype was perfectly fine for all of the companies.

I had expected some pushback or the need to find some alternatives, but there was none. So far two of the interviews are recorded and two more are being recorded today.

Having been a Skype user for... what? ... maybe 5 or 6 years now... that's an interesting testament to me to the acceptance of Skype. It also speaks to the ubiquity of webcams and the ease with which we can now include video as one of our communication modes.

Cool stuff!

P.S. Now, yes, granted, all of these partner companies are in the tech sector and on the leading edge of what they do... and the individuals involved may be more of the "early adopter" type... but still, I thought it was interesting...

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The many faces of ITEXPO - a photo set of the people at the show

While speaking at ITEXPO and the Cloud Communications Summit two weeks ago, I naturally had to bring along my new Nikon D90 DSLR and take a few photos. Following the lead of what I'd watched RJ Auburn do a few times (notably in this set from the Voxeo kickoff meeting), I wound up focusing on people for a change, and the resulting set of photos is now up in Flickr and previewed below (click the image to go to the larger Flickr set):

Faces of ITEXPO East 2010 - a set on Flickr-1.png

If you've been around our industry for any length of time, or been to any of the many events, many of the faces will be familiar to you. Others may be newer folks you've not yet come to know. I've put their names on the individual Flickr photos and their affiliations in the Flickr tags. Obviously this is just a subset of the many folks who were at the ITEXPO event... just people that I ran into during the course of my time there.

Anyway, the photos are up there... enjoy... and yes, it's probably something I'll do again as it was fun to do - and man, I love how a 50mm prime lens can create great images.

I also posted a set in Voxeo's photostream of Voxeo speakers:

Voxeo Speakers at ITEXPO

And I posted another set of photos of the Miami Beach area:

Miami Beach Places and Landscapes (ITEXPO East 2010) - a set on Flickr-1.png

Fun, fun, fun...

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