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Posts from April 2011

Watch the Royal Wedding? Or talk about XMPP? Join VUC on April 29th for an XMPP-fest

VucSo which would you rather do? Watch the Royal Wedding? Or talk about all things XMPP with a bunch of VoIP and telephony geeks?

If you'd prefer the latter, then join the VUC conf call at 12 noon US Eastern on Friday, April 29, for a lengthy dive into all things XMPP. (XMPP being the "Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol" originally known as the Jabber protocol.)

As noted on the show page the session will feature Emil Ivov of (formerly SIP Communicator) and Thiago Rocha Camargo (of Nimbuzz) and is going to cover a whole range of topics:

  • What is XMPP/Jabber
  • How does one do telephony with XMPP
  • How does XMPP/Jingle compare to SIP and (why) is it better.
  • Who supports it
  • Facebook and their XMPP gateway
  • Google Talk
  • Nimbuzz – one of the biggest VoIP providers using XMPP as their primary protocol
  • NAT traversal
  • How does one do it with XMPP
  • Again, how is this part different from what we have with SIP
  • Media relaying with TURN and Jingle Nodes

I am a big fan of XMPP on the IM/messaging side so I'm very much looking forward to this conversation.

You can join the live call via SIP, Skype or the regular old PSTN. There is also an IRC backchannel that gets heavy usage during the call. It will be recorded so you can always listen later.

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Interested in IPv6 and SIP? I'll be speaking in a free webinar on May 5th...

voxeologohoriz.pngAre you interested in understanding how IPv6 affects SIP and other VoIP protocols? If so, you may be interested in a free webinar I'm giving on Thursday, May 5, 2011. The topic is:
IPv6 and How It Impacts Communication Applications

It's part of Voxeo's "Developer Jam Session" webinar series and is targeted at a technical audience. I'll briefly cover IPv6 basics, talk about how it impacts SIP and then have some demonstrations of SIP-over-IPv6. You can learn more about the session and register on the Jam Session web page.

As I mentioned last week, I'm down outside of Washington, DC, right now at the SIPNOC event... and IPv6 is a topic of discussion tomorrow (Tuesday). Naturally, I'll be in those sessions. (In fact, I'm now moderating that BOF...)

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Where Was I in the Summer of 2010? My iPhone Tells Me! (Courtesy of iPhoneTracker)

Where did I travel with my iPhone? Given all the recent kerfuffle over the logging of location data on an iPhone, I naturally had to try it out. First stop was getting the Mac OS X app at:

The app itself is super simple... simply launch the app and it goes off and finds your iPhone backups, extracts the location data and shows you a map.

In my case, the Mac I ran the app on only had data from my iPhone 3G and only for the period of time from when I updated it to iOS 4 in July 2010 through when I stopped using it in September 2010 (because I replaced it with an iPhone 4). Still, the data is kind of fun to see. Here's what it looked like overall:

IPhoneTracker 3G overall

During that time period, I traveled down to Voxeo's corporate office in Orlando, went to a SIPit test event over on the New Hampshire seacoast, and spent a chunk of time in New York City attending SpeechTEK 2010.

Diving into the data a bit more, here's a close-up of the northeast. It's amusing to see the train trip I took down to NYC (for SpeechTEK) as well as the corridor of travel I take from Keene over to Manchester, NH, to fly out of the airport there:

IPhoneTracker 3G northeast

It's curious to see that it shows me wandering around Vermont. We did make a number of day trips around that area and I do carry my iPhone with me (even though I often don't have coverage in some of those areas). No clue what those icons are out on Long Island as I never traveled out there. Obviously the phone must have picked up some signal from towers out there or something like that.

Zooming in on New York is also interesting because you can see, I guess, where AT&T towers must be:


Zooming in on Orlando also shows where I traveled in that region:

IPhoneTracker 1

Now, it would be great if Apple would get around to telling us WHY they are collecting all this data... but in the meantime it's also quite fascinating to take a look at it and see where my phone thinks I've been. :-)

Another day, I'll have to run this app on my laptop where I sync my iPhone 4. Should have lots more interesting data.

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Speaking at SIPNOC Next Week on SIP Interoperability and Security (and Joining an IPv6 BOF)

Sipnoc2011Next week in the DC area (Herndon, VA) there will be a unique event taking place - SIPNOC: The SIP Network Operators Conference. This event is organized by the SIP Forum and will bring together a great collection of service providers and carriers to share and learn from each other about the realities behind providing SIP-based services today. It will be a great place for those providing real-time communications over IP networks to look at how we can continue to expand and improve the services.

There's a packed agenda at the event that includes many great sessions I'm looking forward to attending. I'll be there speaking about SIP interoperability and some of the lessons we've learned at Voxeo as we've interconnected our SIP cloud to that of so many carriers. I'll also be donning my VOIP Security Alliance (VOIPSA) hat to participate on a panel about security.

And naturally given my intense interest in IPv6 these days (and all my writing about IPv6, I'll of course be joining in to the "IPv6 Readiness" BOF planned for Tuesday, April 26.

I'm very much looking forward to this first SIPNOC event... if you are already planning to be there please do say hello, and if you are interested in attending, you can still register to attend.

We need events like these to help improve the overall IP infrastructure and help move us faster to the time when we can have even more of our connectivity all happen over IP. Great to see!

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Today's VUC Call: InPhonex Talking About Televate

VucToday's VUC conf call at 12 noon US Eastern will feature guests from Inphonex speaking about their new "Televate" system. From the abstract:
InPhonex recently launched Televate, a cloud-based telephony system that combines the business-communications capabilities of a hosted PBX, hosted IVR and hosted CRM. Televate, to be sold through channel partners, is designed to help SMBs appear larger than they actually are and ramp up productivity to compete more effectively. The service works anywhere inside or outside the office, enabling SMBs to support global operations and customer bases.

I am not familiar with the product myself, so I'll be joining in to listen and learn.

You can join the live call via SIP, Skype or the regular old PSTN. There is also an IRC backchannel that gets heavy usage during the call. It will be recorded so you can always listen later.

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Want To Learn Best Practices in Multi-Channel App Creation? (Voice, SMS, IM, Twitter, etc.)

voxeologohoriz.pngWant to know industry best practices in creating apps that work across voice, text messaging/SMS, IM and social channels like Twitter? Would you like to know some of the latest research on what channels customers are using to communicate with companies?

Next Tuesday, April 19, at 11am US Eastern time, I will be joining an industry analyst in a webinar called "Best Practices in Multi-Channel Customer Interaction". We'll be covering topics such as:

  • what communication channels customers are choosing for interacting with businesses
  • best practices you can implement for each channel
  • where customer interaction is heading, with particular focus on social and mobile channels
  • how you can create applications that interact with customers across multiple channels
  • best practices in cross-channel analytics and integration into business intelligence systems

I think you'll find it quite educational if you're wondering how to expand your customer interaction beyond simply voice or web. The session will have some solid quantitative data and will take a look at what's ahead in terms of customer interaction.

Registration is free and simple and is open to anyone. We'll also be recording the session and it will be available for listening after the fact if you can't attend on Tuesday.

Please do join us... and bring your questions... it should be a good time!

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Comparing Skype 5.x For Mac And Windows - Jim Courtney Makes Some Recommendations

SkypelogoWhat did Skype do right in Skype 5.x for Windows that they need to bring across over into Skype 5.x for Mac OS X?

That's essentially the question that Jim Courtney has taken on in two new posts building off his initial post I wrote about last week. He continues the series with:

No longer having any Windows machines in my life, I hadn't ever seen the Skype 5.x client for Windows so it was useful to see Jim's comparison. The "Compact View" he describes in Step 1 would go very far to addressing my greatest issue with Skype 5.x for Mac, namely the ability to have multiple chats open in separate Windows.

I applaud Jim for writing this series of articles and I do hope Skype is listening...

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Video: Walking the EnterpriseConnect show flow in March 2011

Last month down at Enterprise Connect in Orlando, Florida, I wanted to experiment a bit with using the iPhone 4 with Qik for recording videos. As you can see below, I shot a quick video (using Qik :-) ) of about a minute-and-a-half of me walking through the trade show flow. It was purely a test of using Qik on the iPhone... and ironically I actually forgot about creating the video for a bit.

Anyway, here it is... it's certainly not the best produced video I've ever done... in fact that was zero post-production. I just pointed the camera and started shooting (and undoubtedly look a bit silly walking through a trade show floor holding my iPhone in front of me!).

If you've never been on the exhibit hall floor of one of the various industry trade shows and conferences, this is the type of thing you will see...

Next event, I'll try to do a few more of these... perhaps if I can find one with good WiFi I'll even try some live streaming... :-)

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Whoa! Skype releases an update for the Linux version!

penguin group small
I did have to glance out my window a few moments ago and check that there were no pigs flying across the sky... I also checked my calendar to make sure it wasn't April Fools... why?
Skype released an update for Linux!

As much as I may occasionally whine about how Skype doesn't give the Mac OS X client enough attention (or when they do, they don't get it right), I've got nothing to complain about compared to the folks living in Linux-land. If the Mac client gets "little" attention, the Linux client has appeared to receive almost "no" attention.

So it's good news that a "Skype 2.2 Beta for Linux" is now out. From the blog post it appears that the Linux client now has:

  • Skype Access (ability to connect to WiFi hotspots using Skype credit)
  • Support for call waiting and holding
  • Improved audio/video quality in calls
  • Support for easy conference call creation (also in the Windows and Mac 5.x clients)
  • A whack of "improvements" to the user interface and functionality that sound individually like minor tweaks but together undoubtedly make it a more solid experience
  • Over 50 various bugs (big enough to be mentioned)
  • Updated support for about 20 languages

All in all it sounds like good bit of content and it's great to see Skype giving the Linux community some love with an update. If you run Skype on Linux, you may want to head over and check it out.

P.S. Of course, looking at the comments to the post, I can see that some in the Linux community are naturally looking for more... particularly a native-64-bit build. Hopefully with Skype's new emphasis on trying to get out more regular releases we'll see more Linux releases (versus the "1-beta-release-a-year" schedule they have seemed to be on).

Image credit: Antarctica Bound on Flickr

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My 3 Main Issues With Skype 5.x For The Mac - And Jim Courtney Summarizes The Skype for Mac 5 Saga

SkypelogoI had planned to write a longer blog post today summarizing so much of the recent discussion happening online about the "Skype for Mac 5" client, particularly after the recent release of "Skype for Mac 5.1". I was planning to link to the various posts, provide context, etc., etc.

However, in one of those moments of synchronicity that happen from time to time, I woke up this morning to find that Jim Courtney published a post very much along the lines of what I was going to write:

Skype for Mac 5 – From Ecstasy to Agony

Sooooo.... read his post! :-)

Seriously, though, do read Jim's post because he's done a great job bringing together the various posts in the last couple of weeks related to the Skype for Mac 5.x issues.

For my part, I use BOTH Skype 2.8 and Skype 5.1 on a daily basis... just on two different Macs. I switch back and forth between them, although Skype 2.8 running on my Voxeo laptop continues to be my primary user interface for Skype. I just run 5.1 on an iMac in my home office so that I can try to get used to it.

My biggest issues with Skype 5.x on the Mac continue to be:

  1. LACK OF MULTIPLE WINDOWS - Right now on my 2.8 client, I show about 100 chats being open in two different main windows, each with a drawer showing those chats... and then a third window showing my contacts. It's an extremely efficient way to work... and I have found it personally incredibly difficult to move to the "one window" paradigm of Skype 5.x.

    I frequently find myself working simultaneously in two different chats... or I will be on a call with someone and simultaneously talking about what is happening in another chat right then. I need the ability to have multiple chat windows open simultaneously before I can seriously move to using Skype 5.x.

  2. CHAT SORTING - As Jaanus Kase relates, the sorting of chats in Skype 5.x is markedly different than in Skype 2.8. I mentioned this back in November in my post, "3 Interesting Omissions From the Skype 5.0 Beta for Mac OS X". We used to have the ability to sort like this:

    Now in 5.x, as Jaanus notes, we have the time-sorted chats and the alpha-sorted "Favorites". It's really a huge step backwards from the flexibility we have in 2.8.

    I like manual sorting... I loved being able to prioritize chats. Particularly when I have multiple windows open, each with a separate list of chats. In one of my windows, I have the chats manually sorted so that I can just look over and see which chats have new messages. In my other window, they are sorted by date so that the most recent chats always show up on the top. It all works very well.

  3. BIZARRE DIALPAD - Again, like Jaanus, I often use Skype to call into traditional conference call systems and getting to the dialpad in Skype 5.x is just, well, strange. You have to click the button on the top... but then you can't control the call from that window... you have to hang up the call back in the main window... and the dialpad sometimes goes away.

    It seems a very strange departure from the "one window" paradigm Skype is promoting for 5.x overall... and it's just bizarre.

I also have issues with the window size... but that gets at least better if you use one of the various minimalist "chat styles" that are out there. There are a number of other minor UI details that bug me from time to time... but it's mostly again this multiple window issue. If I had the ability to "undock" chats and put them into separate windows, Skype 5.x would be a whole lot more useful to me. I might even consider switching full-time. But not right now. My efficiency with Skype would be too severely impacted.

Skype has a 5.2 for the Mac apparently in the works... someone pointed out that some documents indicated it would bring ads to the Mac version (Oh, joy!). We'll have to see what else it brings...

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