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Posts from April 2012

Today's VUC Call All About The "FreeSWITCH Cookbook" - Noon US Eastern

Today at noon US Eastern on the VoIP Users Conference (VUC) Call for Friday, April 27th, the group will discuss the brand new "FreeSWITCH Cookbook"[1] published by PACKT Publishing. The four authors of the book, who are also leaders of the FreeSWITCH project, will apparently be joining the call.

While Asterisk generally gets most of the "open source VoIP" buzz, the folks at the FreeSWITCH project have been working away on their own solution. As they will say, FreeSWITCH performs a different role than Asterisk and is used in different contexts.

FreeSWITCH has become quite a powerful platform and I'm looking forward to learning more about what is going on with the project right now.

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.

As noted on the VUC page for today's call, the show will also be simulcast in video using Google+ video and YouTube. If you are interested in joining the video side of the call, please follow the instructions on the page.

[1] In full disclosure, this is an affiliate link with Amazon and if you actually purchase the book I receive a tiny amount of money. If you think this influences what I write here, you clearly haven't been reading my site. :-)

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Internet Society Launches "Internet Hall of Fame" Celebrating Early Pioneers

InternetHallofFameOne of the very cool announcements coming out of the Internet Society's Global INET event in Geneva this week was the creation of an "Internet Hall of Fame" that recognizes many of the pioneers who started this amazing journey we've been on. The full site is available at:
Wired also had a great writeup:
The Internet Gets a Hall of Fame (Including Al Gore!)
As is noted in the Wired article:
The inductees fall into three categories: Pioneers who were key to the early design of the internet; Innovators who built on the net’s foundations with technical innovations and policy work; and Global Connectors who have helped expand the net’s growth and use around the world.

Both the site and the Wired article are well worth a read. It's an amazing journey we've been on since those early days of the Internet... and it's great to see folks like those listed here getting the recognition they justly deserve!

If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either: - Mark Headd's new site on Civic Hacking and Open Government

My friend Mark Headd passionately wants to open up government - and to do so through code. I've known him for years as the author of the VoiceInGov / Vox Populi blog where he has been writing about mashups and so many other ways to open up access to government information via telephony. Back in November 2010, Mark joined me and the others on the rocket ship known as Voxeo and did outstanding work for the Voxeo Labs and Tropo teams.

But just as my passions altered my career last fall, as of just a short time ago Mark is now the Director of Government Relations at Code for America and, with that, changing a bit about the way he is writing online.

His new site is, where he will be writing on "civic hacking, civic startups and the future of open government". He's brought over to the site many of his relevant older posts, so he's already got a solid amount of content.

The work he and the others at projects like Code For America are doing is incredibly important to help with keeping our networks open. I'm looking forward to reading more of what Mark is up to in the time ahead - and certainly wish him all the best in this new endeavor.

Oh, and of course you can follow him on Twitter at @civic_io.

Civic io

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WebRTC (real-time VoIP in web browsers) On April 13th VUC Call - Join In!

Want to learn about how voice and video calls will take place right in your web browser? WITHOUT a Flash or Java plugin?

The "WebRTC" initiative is making this a reality through efforts of the major browser vendors, VoIP industry companies and standards working groups within both the IETF and W3C. On the VoIP Users Conference (VUC) Call on Friday, April 13th, the group will have a discussion of what exactly is happening with WebRTC... and then some live demos from the Voxeo Labs and Phono teams who have been working on this topic for some time now.

This is, to me, an incredibly important area of work as we have the opportunity to really bake real-time communications (RTC) into the fabric of the tools we use every day to work with the Internet.

I'm looking forward to the VUC call ("tomorrow" as I write this, but probably "today" when most of you read it) and would encourage you to join in to listen and/or participate in the 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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SegTEL/TVC Stringing Fiber Through Keene, NH - A New Internet Choice?

Segtel fiberWhen I look out my office window and see a bucket truck driving by with a guy up in the bucket attaching what looks like fiber optic cable to the polls, my reaction as a networking geek was naturally:
  • who is stringing new fiber?

Followed, of course, by "that's kind of a cool way to ride around town" (probably literally cool, today).

My initial thought was that it was upgraded wiring from either Fair Point Communications, our local phone company (who bought out Verizon's landline business up "he-ah"), or Time Warner Cable, who owns the cable franchise for Keene, NH.

It turned out to be neither, but rather someone new.

I walked out and met the crew up the street when they happened to be reloading connectors into the bucket. One of them said this was new service for "SegTEL". He said SegTel was a private company who had been recently bought out by someone and was planning to provide high-speed Internet access to businesses.

As I walked back to my house, my immediate reactions were:

  • Cool! Will there be a plan I can afford as an individual?
  • Will they offer IPv6?

To my surprise, SegTEL appears to have no functioning website! I did find that it has been acquired by Tech Valley Communications in New York, whose announcement of the acquisition completion in January included this bit:

segTEL was founded in 1998 and provides fiber optic telecommunication services to carrier, wholesale, and large enterprise customers throughout New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine. segTEL has unique and extensive expertise in providing customized fiber optic loop, backhaul and transport services to Top-25 wireline and wireless carriers. All segTEL staff will continue their current operational activities with the combined company.

SegTEL was/is apparently located in Enfield/Lebanon, NH, about an hour north of me. In reading through TVC's news page it seems TVC received a substantial private equity investment in 2010 that made all of this possible. A Business Review article adds a bit more context to the acquisition. They also have some interesting links on the TVC news page about the growth of fiber.

An NTIA document refers to 10Gbps and 1Gbps Ethernet offerings (I'd take it!) and an FCC document from September confirms the transfer to TVC. It seems, though, that SegTEL and TVC both have been primarily targeting other service providers and large enterprises, not individuals. (Which does make me wonder why they were stringing the fiber through our very residential neighborhood.)

Sooo... given that a big fat fiber cable is connected to a pole that is literally about 25 feet away from my server, will I be able to play with a big pipe? Or will it be priced out of my range? (Probably!) And, important to my role, will it support IPv6?

And SegTEL or TVC folks, should you read this... you've got a willing beta tester for your new service offering! ;-)

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Skype Hits 40 Million Simultaneous Users!

Congrats to the folks at Skype for hitting over 40 million concurrent users! Today at 2pm US Eastern when I typed "/users" in any Skype chat on my Mac, I got this great message (Windows users should see the count in the lower left corner of the Skype client):

Skype 40million

That's a pretty amazing milestone, given that some of us can remember back to when the concurrent user count was in the upper 20s (early 2011) or even way back to the earlier days when it was down in the low millions (2007). This time of day has historically been one of the highest times, so I expect that we'll see the count drop off for the remainder of the day and then hit this number again tomorrow around early afternoon US Eastern time.

Hudson Barton has an interesting trend chart showing the growth of Skype users over time:

SkypeStatistics Aaytch

The jump in the last quarter has been particularly dramatic - and probably has much to do with the expanded availability of Skype on smartphones and other devices.

Regardless of the reason, it's a rather amazing milestone. Congrats to the folks at Skype!

P.S. Skype now has a blog post up about this milestone as well.

UPDATE #1 - A couple of folks have asked about how Skype can have 40 million people online concurrently. The answer is that Skype uses a peer-to-peer (P2P) network architecture. I explained a bit of this back in November 2010 in "A Brief Primer on the Tech Behind Skype, P2PSIP and P2P Networks". Those of you seeking more info may find that post - and the related links - useful.

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