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Egypt Bans Mobile VoIP

VoIP Gadgets - Thu, 03/18/2010 - 10:35
Egypt has banned international calls made through mobile VoIP internet connections, including Skype. This is obviously a big win for landline monopoly Telecom Egypt.

According to Reuters:

"The ban will apply to the three mobile operators in Egypt -- Mobinil, Etisalat Egypt and Vodafone Egypt -- who offer internet access for computers via USB and other mobile modems, as well as via mobile phone."

"The ban is on Skype on mobile internet, not on fixed, and this is due to the fact it is against the law since it bypasses the legal gateway," said Amr Badawy, the executive president of the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA).

Under Egyptian law, international calls must pass through a network controlled by majority state-owned Telecom Egypt, which this week reported disappointing earnings.

While only mentioning Skype by name, Badawy did not rule out extending the ban to other services in the future.

"We are targeting any illegal voice traffic on the mobile (internet)," Badawy said, adding that the ban was communicated to the three mobile operators earlier this week. "Any traffic outside the international gateway is against the law."
What's interesting is that according to the article, the NTRA had "tolerated" mobile internet telephony until they recently saw a drop in international call volumes. They then pushed them to tell Egypt's operators to enforce the ban. apparently, the United Arab Emirates said on Monday it would not yet give VoIP licenses to international companies like Skype. Is there any free market competition in the Middle East?

Hmmm...
Free market enterprise (competition) vs. Government controlled (monopoly)

Reminds me of this contentious debate:
Free market enterprise in healthcare vs. Government controlled healthcare

Glad I live in America where the majority of Americans still support free market enterprise. After all, who is it that works at the these enterprises? We do! We the People do. I love it how some 'spin' it as the big evil corporations. So are the people who work there 'evil'? Granted, corporations can be greedy, but at least they're greedy with their own money. They at least try to be the most profitable by keeping costs down and running efficiently. Government on the other hand, which spends "other people's money" via tax dollars, is notoriously bad at keeping costs down and running a tight ship. The Pentagon spent $600 on a toilet seat and $750 for a hammer. You really think government-run healthcare will cut costs?

Truly, I want to believe my government can help the needy and uninsured - who doesn't feel for someone who can't afford health insurance? But I fear they'll screw it up, just like every other major entitlement program, including Social Security going bankrupt, Medicare going bankrupt, and Medicaid going bankrupt.

Heck, just today, Walgreens announced no more Medicaid patients as of April 16th, because "filling their prescriptions is a money-losing proposition." That is the future under ObamaCare!

There is no utopia where everyone gets healthcare... there is no unlimited tax revenue... there is no unlimited printing of American dollars to pay for this.

I say we do healthcare reform, but sensible reform. Start with these 3 things:
1) Allow purchasing of insurance across state lines. This will increase competition and drive costs down.
2) Malpractice Tort reform. Frivolous lawsuits will cause the suing party to pay the defendant's lawyer fees. They'll think twice about trying to make a free buck.
3) Offer up to a $5000 tax credit if you purchase health insurance.

Ok, I'm going to end my rant now. Let's end on a positive note...

Go democracy! Go free market enterprise! Go mobile VoIP. Go Egypt hackers to enable mobile VoIP freedom!

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    Windows Phone 7 Series - No Copy / Paste? WHAT???

    VoIP Gadgets - Wed, 03/17/2010 - 10:48
    Remember how Apple blew a lot of good will with their iPhone fans when Apple didn't include copy & paste and arrogantly claimed it wasn't needed? Other than background app support (still not available unless you jailbreak), copy/paste was the #1 complaint for the iPhone. Apple finally relented, added copy/paste and iPhone users around the world rejoiced!

    Surely, Microsoft would not make the same mistake with their new forthcoming Windows Phone 7 Series mobile phones, right?

    Well, would you believe Windows Phone 7 Series won't have copy/paste functionality? Are you freaking kidding me? Are you serious?

    Having Netflix streaming (using Silverlight) on the Windows Phone 7 Series was making me consider switching from my iPhone to a Windows Phone 7, but my dreams have been dashed once I learned of no copy/paste. You just lost lost a potential customer Microsoft. Great job! Let me add this to my list of things wrong with Windows Phone 7.

    Via Engadget.

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    Debit Card Fraud - No Wonder They Get Away With It - Banks are Clueless!

    VoIP Gadgets - Tue, 03/16/2010 - 15:05
    I'm a busy guy, so sometimes I don't check my bank statement and debit purchases for a couple of months. Well, today I see a strange debit charge for $146.25 made on 1/12/2010 - over 2 months ago. Here's the strange part - the address for the debit charge was listed as "110 Richards Ave Norwalk, CT." "Boy," I thought to myself, "that address sure sounds familiar. I think it's the Trans-Lux building."

    Sure enough, I Google the address and it's for the Trans-Lux building I used to work in several years ago - so I'm quite familiar with this building and its tenants. TMC moved its editorial staff, art department, and TMC Labs into this additional building for awhile due to fast growth. This building, known as the Trans-Lux building had several corporate tenants, however the property filed for foreclosure, so there are no more tenants there that could possibly charge my debit card.

    Not only would I remember if I used my debit card at my prior office, but again, there are no more tenants there - it's abandoned and even has some graffiti on its walls. Maybe it's backpay for the damage I did in TMC Labs while hammering and testing products at the ole' Trans-Lux offices. I may have chucked a product or two against the wall, floor, etc. - for you know - durability testing. Or that time I nearly burned the building down - or at least took out the building's electrical grid. Ok, so I exaggerate.

    Damn it, has my debit card and PIN been cloned? Surely, the banks wouldn't allow a bogus address to appear on my bank statement.

    I asked my wife if she knew what this charge was for and she had no idea. She would have to drive 32 miles from home to use it at this location, so I was doubtful she was to blame.

    Finally, I decided to call Citibank. Let me just say they were absolutely useless. Let me recite the conversation. [trimmed for brevity]

    Continue reading Debit Card Fraud - No Wonder They Get Away With It - Banks are Clueless!...

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    Comments on this Entry:

    (John on Mar 18, 2010 10:06 AM)

    another bad debit card out there is NEXIS Card. Folks,Stay away from this card. They charge for everything, They decline your credit even if your account is reloaded. The consumers department should be alerted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (Michelle on Mar 24, 2010 4:23 PM)

    I know what you mean. I recently noticed a $15(est.) charge to my debit card that I couldn't account for. With little to go on other than what was under the description section on my online account, which read "www.freec..." and nothing after the "c", I tried Googling, but found nothing of relevance. The next day it dawned on me that a few months ago I had ordered my so-called "free" credit report for something like $30 from www.freecreditreport.com (www.freec). The problem is that somewhere along the way they tricked me into siging up for a $15 per month identity theft/credit protection program, which I've since cancelled. Jerks!

    Cool New Microsoft 720p LifeCams with TrueColor Technology

    VoIP Gadgets - Tue, 03/16/2010 - 12:42

    Microsoft today announced TrueColor Technology which they claim enhances the color and brightness of webcam video in the worst of lighting conditions. True Color Technology is a new image processing technology that automatically adjusts the picture quality to provide more colorful video. It does this through a proprietary combination of software and firmware technology. TrueColor Technology actually leverages face tracking technology developed by Microsoft Research, which can detect a person's face and help ensure it's not overexposed or underexposed, so the video call picture looks great even in the most challenging lighting scenarios.

    Microsoft also announced 3 new LifeCam models that support TrueColor Technology. All of these new LifeCam models support TrueColor Technology, , 720p HD sensors, and Auto Focus technology.

     
    LifeCam HD-5000

     


    LifeCam HD-5001

     


    LifeCam HD-6000 for Notebooks

    Not used to the square 'boxy" look for a USB camera, but if the resolution and quality is as good as they say it is, I might buy one even if isn't as "sleek" looking as i would like. The LifeCam HD-5000 and the LifeCam HD-5001 will be available later this month for the estimated retail price of $49.95 and the LifeCam HD-6000 for Notebooks will be available in May for the estimated retail price of $59.95. The LifeCam HD-5000 and LifeCam HD-6000 for Notebooks will be available for pre-sale on Amazon.com and Buy.com starting today.

    TrueColor Technology will be available via a software download for LifeCam Cinema, which is already broadly available at http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/downloads/default.mspx.So if you're a current LifeCam user you'll be able to get the LifeCam software and a firmware update for the LifeCam Cinema available now that adds the TrueColor Technology. Sweet!

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    AudioCodes SPS Brings Microsoft OCS Features to Legacy SIP Phones

    VoIP Gadgets - Tue, 03/16/2010 - 09:10

    Some very interesting news from AudioCodes with the launch of AudioCodes' SIP Phone Support (SPS) for Microsoft Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS). AudioCodes is well known for their VoIP gateway products - well think of SPS as a gateway between SIP IP phones and Microsoft OCS. Essentially, AudioCodes' SPS enables connectivity to Microsoft Office Communications Server using standard SIP IP phones, which then adds OCS's powerful UC functionality, including presence into your existing IP phone infrastructure.

    You get even more powerful features if you use AudioCodes phones, including support for Microsoft's wideband RTA codec. SPS enables the connection of the AudioCodes 300HD IP Phone Series with Microsoft Office Communications Server, while providing Office Communications Server features, such as enhanced presence, active directory, and support for Real Time Audio (RTA) - Microsoft's high-definition, wideband coder. A direct connection to Office Communications Server is supported both for currently installed phones and newer models, as well as connecting mobile phones using AudioCodes' Mobile Clients, utilizing AudioCodes' gateway technology.

    This isn't the first time a SIP phone has integrated Microsoft OCS functionality. snom has a special firmware load that enables OCS functionality, however it is a special firmware load and it only works on their SIP phones. The AudioCodes SPS product changes the game by allowing any major SIP phone to work with Microsoft OCS.

    "Office Communications Server 2007 R2 has been a game changer for our customers, providing enhanced communications, significant ROI, and short time frames for payback.  The ease by which any telecommunications environment can be UC-enabled with Office Communications Server 2007 is truly unique in the industry", said Hugh Oakes, Managing Director Time2Market.

    "Now with AudioCodes' SPS, it's even easier and more cost-effective to migrate to Office Communications Server 2007 R2.  The requirement of changing out your legacy handsets is mitigated, we can leverage the SIP handsets already in place.  The ability to use the existing handsets makes the migration to Unified Communications even more cost-effective and provides yet another reason why we always recommend that our customers deploy Office Communications Server with AudioCodes' gateways". Time2Market is a Microsoft Gold Certified partner with the coveted voice specialization.

    Enterprises migrating into the Microsoft Unified Communications environment have been showing great interest in enabling cost-effective IP Phones to connect to Office Communications Server. According to Synergy Research, the current installed base of IP Phones in the market is approximately 65 million. By 2014, around 20 million new IP Phones will be sold annually. Most of these phones have not had direct access to Microsoft Office Communications Server. Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications 2009 stated that "Enterprises looking into UC, particularly those with Microsoft applications already in place, should understand the Microsoft portfolio, because it represents a new paradigm for communication by a market leader. Microsoft's solution, while comprehensive, is also the basis for a range of partner offerings". Based on the Microsoft leadership and customers' demand for partner solutions, customers can now protect their existing investment in third-party IP-Phones, while enjoying the full benefits of the Microsoft infrastructure, including unified call control, integration with their Microsoft Office Communicator, presence information and more.

    IP phones connected to Office Communications Server through SPS can be used as a desktop phone for Microsoft Office Communications Server, for locations without PC workstations or for users that prefer the convenience of using a phone handset. Making and receiving calls using the IP Phone updates user presence just like using Office Communicator. The user can change presence status and search for contacts from the phone directly. The user's contacts presence can be displayed on the phone. (requires BLF support from the SIP phone).

    "We believe that this is a very significant announcement since many enterprises are dependent on Microsoft desktop applications and have been forced to live in two separate worlds, one for their phone technology and the other for their desktop software environment", said Elka Popova, North American Program Director, Unified Communications & Collaboration, Frost & Sullivan. "Many enterprises are looking for integrating the two worlds by connecting their existing installed base of IP Phones directly to the Microsoft Unified Communications environment."

    The IP phones supported by SPS include AudioCodes' 300HD family of High Definition IP Phones, as well as other third-party IP Phones, such as Cisco, Avaya, Aastra, Polycom and other standards-based SIP phones. The mobile smart phones support is enabled using AudioCodes' Mobile SIP clients, supporting all major smart phones' operating systems, including Windows Mobile, iPhone OS, Symbian and Android.

    AudioCodes' 300HD family of IP Phones offer integrated, DSP-based support of Microsoft Real Time Audio (RTA) codec and the support of Secured Real Time Protocol (STRP) and SIP over TLS, enabling maximum security, high definition calls between IP Phones and Office Communicator clients. In addition, AudioCodes' phones provide enhanced presence and Active Directory support in the phone user interface, offering enhanced user experience for the Microsoft clients.

    Importantly, with SPS you get support for Remote Call Control (RCC). Incoming calls will simultaneously be received at both the IP Phone and Office Communicator, giving the user the ability to pick the call using either.

    "Utilizing AudioCodes' Mediant family of Media Gateways, SPS can enable connectivity of other vendors' SIP phones into the Microsoft environment", stated Lior Aldema, Chief Operating Officer at AudioCodes. "Supporting Secure RTP and enabling a wide variety of narrowband and wideband codecs, AudioCodes' SPS can connect legacy SIP phones into the Microsoft Office Communications Server environment, while maintaining security, providing high quality voice and user presence."

    Existing customers of AudioCodes' Mediant gateways can now upgrade their existing installed base to support SPS. The same gateway can support the SPS functionality while providing a Media Gateway function between Microsoft Office Communications Server and/or Microsoft Exchange Server and the enterprise TDM PBX and/or the PSTN. SPS can scale from small demos of a few users all the way up to supporting enterprise installations of thousands of IP Phones and SIP Mobile Clients. By optionally integrating it with the different AudioCodes' Mediant Media Gateways it can scale from 120 concurrent RTP to SRTP calls on the Mediant 1000 all the way up to 884 calls on the fault-tolerant Mediant 3000.

    For more info on AudioCodes' SIP Phone Support for Microsoft Unified Communications, check out www.audiocodes.com/SPS

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    IceWarp Unified Communications Server 10 Review

    VoIP Gadgets - Mon, 03/15/2010 - 23:00
    I tested and reviewed IceWarp Unified Communications Server for TMC's Unified Communications Magazine, which will be published very soon. I was very impressed with the product and thought I'd share my test results here. Check it out...

    IceWarp Unified Communications Server 10
    www.icewarp.com

    Pricing: 10 users=$549.54; 50 users=$2041.25; 100 users = $3821.04
    30-day fully-functional trial available




    Ratings Score Installation Documentation Features Usability Performance Value Overall
    The buzzword "unified communications" gets thrown around pretty easily these days. Companies with solutions that cover just two or three model methods of communications often consider their products as part of the "unified communications" spectrum. It is true they are unifying at least two disparate communications, so technically they are within the UC realm. However, I have discovered perhaps the one and only "true" unified communications solution that covers just about every communications method you can think of and most people probably never heard of them.  Imagine a product that combines email, instant messaging, VoIP, FTP server, Web server with PHP support, Groupware, SMS, ActiveSync, SyncML, WebDAV, antivirus, and anti-spam along with a feature-rich AJAX-based Web-based UC client. That's exactly what you get with IceWarp Unified Communications Server 10. The feature-set is no slouch either. It's not like they stuck bare-bones functionality into each of the core communication methods. For instance, their mail server features many of the advanced features you see in Microsoft Exchange, including storage quotas, IMAP support, powerful filters, ActiveSync, and more. IceWarp sent TMC Labs their software to check out and review and let's just say we were very impressed.

    Installing IceWarp was a snap. Amazingly - no shockingly, the installer for all of this functionality was only 85 MB! To compare, the installer for just Microsoft Exchange 2007 alone with only one piece of the UC puzzle is 840MB! Or compare with Microsoft's UC solution - OCS 2007 R2 and you're looking at 872MB. IceWarp definitely has some very tight code. We should mention that the installer automatically uses SQLite for the back-end, but you can also use MS SQL, MySQL, Oracle, Firebird, Interbase, and MS Access. After installation, we launched the Windows-based admin GUI application (See Screenshot 1).

    Continue reading IceWarp Unified Communications Server 10 Review...

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    Free calls to Ireland for St. Patrick's Day

    VoIP Gadgets - Mon, 03/15/2010 - 15:48
    My Irish brethren, rejoice! For free mugs of beer phone calls are upon us this St. Patrick's Day! Truphone is offering free calls to Ireland, USA, the UK, Canada, and Poland all day. Not sure how or why other countries that don't have a large Irish demographic were included, i.e. Poland. But considering the Polish don't have their own major holiday, we'll include em'!

    Here's the news...

    Put On A Happy Smile With Truphone this St. Patrick's Day

    Free calls all day on 17th March is like finding a 'pot o' gold'

    London, 15th March 2010 - Truphone, the next-generation global mobile operator, is doing its part to spread the lilt of Irish laughter this St. Patrick's Day by offering free calls to Ireland, USA, the UK, Canada, and Poland all day - assuring that those who wish to share good cheer with family, friends and loved ones can talk for free until their Irish eyes are smiling.

    The 24 hour promotion is for free calls to landlines to all five countries, with free calls to mobiles included across the United States and Canada.

    "For those of Irish heritage, like myself, St. Patrick's Day is an occasion for toasting with family members and friends," said Geraldine Wilson, CEO of Truphone. "We want to help friends, families and loved ones stay connected, despite the distance between them. The Truphone App is easy to download to a wide variety of mobile phones and is easy to use, with no hidden or start-up fees."

    Consumers can download the Truphone application onto their Apple iPhone, Apple iPod touch, BlackBerry, Nokia or Android phones from www.truphone.com and respective application stores.

    The free calling will apply from 00.01 GMT 17th March 2010 to 23.59 GMT on the 17th March 2010.  The full list of destinations included within the promotion can be found on the Truphone website at http://www.truphone.com/offers, while the price checker for all destinations, including those not in the promotion, can be found at http://www.truphone.com/applications/pricing/.

    Further savings can be made when customers sign up to one of Truphone's three rate plans. For details on Truphone's everyday low-cost rates for calling international mobiles and landlines, as well as its great rates for other destinations around the world, visit the Truphone website at: www.truphone.com.

    Truphone offers a consistent high quality calling experience through use of innovative handset software and premium voice-routing partners; unlike other operators, Truphone does not charge a set-up fee for customers to make calls on its network.

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    Covad Nationwide Ethernet Service Launches on Tax Day

    VoIP Gadgets - Mon, 03/15/2010 - 09:49
    Covad Communications, which has been testing their Ethernet service, announced today the launch date for nationwide Ethernet services - namely April 15th (aka Tax Day, "Pay the Man Day", etc). I almost went with Covad's solution when TMC moved to our new headquarters, but decided to go with Optimum Lightpath instead ($2500/month for bundled 45Mbps data + voice). In any event, according to Patrick Bennett, President and CEO of Covad, "What will differentiate this product in the market are the integrated QoS and CoS options that give our partners immense flexibility in optimizing network performance based on their application requirements."

    Covad designed these services to run business-class, real-time applications like Voice over IP, video, gaming, VPNs and video conferencing through multiple traffic-handling options via Quality of Service (QoS) and Class of Service (CoS), and are backed by Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

    "Ethernet is an important component of Covad's overall portfolio strategy. What will differentiate this product in the market are the integrated QoS and CoS options that give our partners immense flexibility in optimizing network performance based on their application requirements," said Patrick Bennett, president and chief executive officer at Covad.

    "Covad Ethernet extends the availability of higher-bandwidth products while also offering new, even more cost-effective Ethernet services at the lower end of the broadband speed curve. Our new services have been purpose-built to support revenue-generating, value-added services such as VoIP, video conferencing, VPN and software as a service."

    Covad's Ethernet service will be available beginning April 15 at speeds from 1.5 Mbps to 35 Mbps out of more than 4,000 COs reaching approximately 10 million businesses nationwide.

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    New Nimbuzz Adds VoIP over 3G

    VoIP Gadgets - Thu, 03/11/2010 - 15:09

    My jailbroken iPhone already does VoIP over 3G. But for you fools who refuse to jailbreak your iPhone and wish to remain in Steve Jobs' walled garden, this bit of news might make your day. The latest Nimbuzz now allows you to make VoIP calls over 3G on iPhone.

    Nimbuzz said, "Yes, after months of waiting it's finally happened: the Wi-Fi hunt is over. Now you can call all your friends from Nimbuzz, Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger or Gtalk for free, using just your 3G internet connection and Nimbuzz!"

    Download it here: Nimbuzz for iPhone.

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    Comments on this Entry:

    (Team National on Mar 12, 2010 12:58 PM)

    This is amazing! I really never thought that this kind of situation would come about. Now it will be much cheaper to call people whenever I want. :)
    Team National

    Sprint Nextel Loses VoIP Outsourcing Contact with Time Warner Cable

    VoIP Gadgets - Thu, 03/11/2010 - 14:59

    As if the financial news for Sprint couldn't possible get worse, according to Kansas City Journal, Sprint Nextel Corp. is losing an outsourcing contract with Time Warner Cable Inc. worth as much as $250 million per year.

    A spokesman for Time Warner Cable stated that they are phasing out the agreement with Sprint to handle the VoIP phone traffic for Time Warner Cable's digital phone service and would be bringing VoIP in-house.

    Not paying $250 million per year to outsource VoIP services seems like a smart financial decision by Time Warner Cable. My only question is why did it take them a 4 hour window of waiting for the cable guy to show up year window to do so?

    Read

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    Avaya IP Office 6.0 Released

    VoIP Gadgets - Sun, 03/07/2010 - 23:00

    Today, Avaya IP Office 6.0 was released bringing additional new features to this tried and true SMB phone system. I reviewed Avaya IP Office back in 2004 and it certainly has come a long way since then. Avaya claims that this new version of Avaya IP Office enhances user experiences for greater productivity and that it makes UC up to 40% more affordable for companies with less than 20 employees. One of the biggest reasons how they cut costs down is via Avaya IP Office 6.0's new 'combination card' . This single card does what used to require several cards to support digital, analog and IP devices. The combination card sports 6 digital phone connections, 4 analog, 2 BRI, and 10 voice compression module channels.

    With IP Office 6.0 they've doubled the capacity for a multi-site network from 500 to 1,000 users and up to 32 sites. One of the most interesting features is part of their business continuity feature-set. They've added voice messaging and auto attendant back up so that if Site1 goes down your IP phones will not only register to Site2, but your voice messages will still be retained at Site2. Even the auto-attendant carries over. When I spoke to Avaya about this last week I told them I wasn't aware of anyone offering this capability without requiring additional hardware. This disaster recovery feature comes included.

    Another new piece of the puzzle is better UC capabilities including Enhanced one-X™ portal for IP Office. This Java-based web portal offers IM, presence, voice, call recording, and full featured audio conferencing capabilities (mute, mute all, unmute) all from a browser window as seen here:


    You can turn on telecommute mode and then enter your home landline number, or your cell number and then manage your calls from this web portal. You can also initiate an outbound call remotely and the system will dial you first and then connect dial the remote party. The beauty of working with any phone device is that you don't have to dedicate a $150-$350 IP phone for your home telecommuters or traveling sales people.

    Today, the new release adds fully-integrated instant messaging with embedded voice calling capabilities, as well as presence that shows status icons such as "available", "busy" "do not disturb" and "offline". This boosts both the speed and responsiveness of inter-office communications among co-workers. Additionally, the audio conferencing control feature, which allows up to 64 parties on a single call, now provides the ability to view, add, drop and mute attendees, as well as record conference calls. The total number is 128 total parties within their conferencing system and each user can have their own private conference bridge. The system also supports integrated video conferencing using the IP Office Videophone application.


    With the Nortel acquisition it was pertinent to ask Avaya if legacy Nortel phones (IP & Digital) work with Avaya IP Office 6.0. Avaya responded, "The design of R6.0 was planned well in advance of the announced and subsequent closing of the Nortel Enterprise Solutions acquisition. The next release of IP Office, currently scheduled for 2011, will incorporate our integrated roadmap and include key features and capabilities of Nortel solutions."

    Pricing
    5 user = $2500
    10 user = $4300
    15 user = $6300
    20 user = $7100

    This is for a typical system with trunk lines, voice mail, mix of digital phones, and analog connectivity for fax machines, wireless etc
    The Office Worker productivity suites is $99 per seat - that has the one-X Portal for IP Office capabilities as demonstrated
    Discounts apply for 5+ and 20+ seats

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    LastApp for iPhone = Alt-Tab

    VoIP Gadgets - Wed, 03/03/2010 - 15:55

    A very cool new app in Cydia called LastApp lets you quickly switch between the last two apps running on your iPhone. Think of it as Alt-Tab for the iPhone.  

    It only works with jailbroken iPhones (obviously). Simply go into Cydia and then choose your activation method via the Activator preference pane in Settings. You can set it do double-tapping the Home button activates, short hold of the Home button, or single press of Home button at SpringBoard. However, my double-tab is preset to launch Camera, so I didn't want to change that. Fortunately, LastApp supports "shaking", so you can shake the iPhone to toggle between two apps. Is that not cool or what? It also supports slide gestures (drag onto screen from below, drag onto screen from bottom-left or bottom-right) and a plethora of other methods you should check out.

    Also, with Backgrounder installed, you can optionally set the current application to background upon switching.

    Get LastApp for free in Cydia using the BigBoss repository.

    P.S. Hat Tip to Rich Tehrani for the tip

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    Skype for Symbian

    VoIP Gadgets - Wed, 03/03/2010 - 08:54
    Skype for Symbian is now a downloadable application for Nokia phones and works over both WiFi and 3G.  Over 200 million Symbian users around the world can now use this Skype app to make FREE calls to other Symbian mobile users without chewing up cellular minutes. That's a huge market!

    You can download it from Skype or from the Ovi store.

    Features include:
    • make free Skype-to-Skype calls to other Skype users anywhere in the world
    • save money on calls and texts with Skype's low rates
    • send and receive instant messages to and from individuals or groups
    • share pictures, videos and other files
    • receive calls to your online number
    • see when Skype contacts are online and available to call or IM
    • easily import names and numbers from the phone's address book
    Of course, Fring already runs on Symbian, which includes Skype calling and IM. So is this really big news? I suppose having it as a native app is a big plus. I wonder if this is seamlessly integrated into the Symbian dialer so you can choose how to dial out or if you still have to launch Skype itself to make a Skype call. My guess is the latter. Also, can this app run in the background so you can receive Skype calls when the app isn't in the foreground?

    Via Skype Blogs

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    Comments on this Entry:

    (NookSurfer on Mar 3, 2010 12:17 PM)

    Pretty awesome news for the Nokia team. It's great to see that there are major development initiatives going on for platforms other than focusing on the Apple market.

    Verizon Wireless Outage Nationwide

    VoIP Gadgets - Wed, 03/03/2010 - 08:30
    Verizon Wireless customers are experiencing a 3G outage nationwide. Some have been able to rectify the issue by unplugging their battery and plugging it back in, while others are still having a complete outage - both voice and data. (Verizon) Blackberry users are also offline, so no email access. Ironically, today Verizon Wireless put out a release how they've increased wireless broadband capacity on its Rochester, NY area network. Perhaps whomever did this upgrade took down the entire nationwide network? As an IT and telecom guy, I know I've had my share of mess ups.

    Also in this release it says: "The company's "nation's most reliable wireless network" reputation is based on network studies performed by real-life test men and test women throughout the country". Great timing, Verizon Wireless.

    More:
    TMCnet

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    Comments on this Entry:

    (Deadcellzones.com on Mar 3, 2010 11:09 AM)

    Not surprising as they have hundreds of cities across the US where they claim service available and it is not. See this map and blog article at Deadzones.com

    http://deadcellzones.com/verizon.html

    http://www.deadzones.com/2010/03/false-advertising-of-service.html

    New CKEditor (FCKEditor) on Movable Type

    VoIP Gadgets - Mon, 03/01/2010 - 14:24
    CKEditor (formerly FCKEditor) is one of the best WYSIWYG editors. In fact, some of us within TMC have had an affectionate nickname for the old name due to it sounding very close to something X-rated. Dropping the 'F' (bomb?) might explain why they renamed it to CKEditor.

    One of my pet peeves when using our old FCKEditor is that the Paste from Word is useless since it doesn't strip out all the extra crap that Microsoft Word puts into the Clipboard. Well, I tried out the new CKEditor on Movable Type and finally this feature works! I'm a straight HTML-kinda guy, so I never paste from Word into the (F)CKEditor, but my boss Rich Tehrani swears by it. I've seen him paste into FCKEditor then have to click View Source button and clean up all the gobbledygook by hand. It ain't pretty. Not very efficient either. All that work just to retain some hyperlinks and formatting? I tried telling Rich "Notepad and handcoding HTML tags FTW! (For the Win!)", but he wasn't buying it. Part of my job as CTO is making sure TMC team members are productive. It pains me to see Rich being so inefficient and he ain't learning straight HTML code anytime soon.

    So anywho, it's been awhile since I've upgraded Movable Type's GUI editor (FCKEditor), so I thought I'd check the new version out. I got it working for MT4.x simply by using the old FCKEditor plugin that David Davis wrote along with some minor code tweaks.

    First, I simply downloaded the latest CKEditor from ckeditor.com. Next, I extracted it into the exact same folder as my old FCKEditor plugin folder since I could see the filenames were different by 1 letter (old filenames had 'f' and the new files had no 'f' as the first letter). Thus, I could easily revert to the old version if I wanted with no concern over overwriting the current FCKEditor.

    Then I had to rename fck_editor.js to ckeditor.js in mt-static/plugins/FCKeditor/fckeditor/fckeditor.tmpl.

    Next, I added a snippet of code below just above this line:

            <img src="<$mt:var name="static_uri"$>images/spacer.gif" width="100%" height="10"/>

    Code to add:

                            <script type="text/javascript">
                            //<![CDATA[

                                    // This call can be placed at any point after the
                                    // <textarea>, or inside a <head><script> in a
                                    // window.onload event handler.

                                    // Replace the <textarea id="editor"> with an CKEditor
                                    // instance, using default configurations.
                                    CKEDITOR.replace( 'editor-content-textarea' );

                            //]]>
                            </script>
     
    All this code does is look for the textarea with id=editor-content-textarea and overlay the CKEditor on top. Pretty simple...

    Here's the editor in action:

    While this works, the only issue I have is that I can't override the Insert Image button that the CKEditor uses. Thus, I lose the awesome MT Asset Manager, which takes care of uploading and managing images.

    It should be an easy fix. In the old FCKEditor MT plugin the code to override FCKEditor's InsertImage button was this code inside the fck_editor.js file:

        insertImage: function() {
            var div = DOM.getElement( "editor-content-enclosure" );
            app.openDialog( "__mode=list_assets&amp;_type=asset&amp;edit_field=" + div.getAttribute( "edit-field" )
                + "&amp;blog_id=" + div.getAttribute( "mt:blog-id" ) + "&amp;dialog_view=1&amp;filter=class&amp;filter_val=image" );

    Basically, this code launches the MT Asset insert image dialog window. But I'm not sure how to make these changes to the new ckeditor.js, which seems fairly different from fck_editor.js. Alas, Javascript isn't my expertise. If any of you Movable Type fans out there figure it out let me know. I should mention that if you're running Movable Type 5, there is a new CKEditor MT plugin that seamlessly integrates with the new CKEditor (download). Alas, we're still running Movable Type 4 since there are plugin incompatibilities with MT5. So I'd really like to get the new CKEditor running on our MT4.25 install.

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