What is Skype Doing?

A number of my blogger friends, Phil, Pat and Ken among them, came out strongly against Skype – for telling well known Skype blogger Jan Geirnaert not to use domain names that have the Skype TM in them. Unlike my friends I don’t see anything wrong with that. They did not tell him to stop writing, all they did is tell them not to use the Skype name in his domain name.

Maybe they were a little heavy handed but wouldn’t every big corporation do the same?

Here is the letter that Jan received and you can make up your own mind on the issue!

UPDATE – just received Alec’s comments, good to hear that someone else feels the same!

Who are you? Who am I?

Or - How to get to know your blog readers better!

Like all bloggers, I spend time trying to answer these questions. Who are you, why do come to my site, what do you like to read. At the same time, I want to make it easier for me to know more about you.

Widgets help me answer these questions. There are thousands of widgets out there, so it is not easy finding the right ones… After some trial and error, I think I have added a few to my blog which will be helpful to both of us.

Blidget - My Blidget, lets you add a window with the latest posts from my blog to your site. An easy way to enhance your site with more content. All you need to do is to go to my sidebar and click under the blidget on the get widget!



Mybloglog
Mybloglog shows me who you are and also gives me summaries of where my readers came from and what they read.

Another widget that I have added recently is clustrmaps. With this widget I can see graphically where there are concentrations of readers. This knowledge helps me provide relevant content for the thousands of readers who visit my blog every month
Locations of visitors to this page

This is an addition to the traditional feedburner widget which enables you to receive my content direct to your email!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Do you have widgets that you like and find useful? Please let me know!

How to make expensive calls on your BlackBerry?

blackberry-8830.jpgBe a Verizon customer…

Verizon and Sprint have announced the future availability of the BlackBerry 8830. The main innovation in this new Berry, is the addition of a GSM slot to the CDMA technology phone. As you probably know, while many think that CDMA is a better technology, GSM happens to be the world’s defacto standard. The big advantage in a GSM phone is that by inserting a stamp sized card into the phone you can change the provider and the identity of your phone. You are not married to a specific service or calling plan. For example when traveling you can use a sim from roam4free and save over 60% on your calls.

This is a big announcement for world travelers, who no longer have to buy a separate phone for their travels. Sprint customers do not need to read further, but Verizon customers should….

While Sprint has decided to provide an unlocked phone, allowing third party SIM cards, Verizon will provide a locked phone. Verizon customers will be locked into the high roaming costs of Verizon partners, mainly Vodafone. They will pay only $1.5 – $2.5 per minute :-)

So what can a Verizon customer do? Lucky for you there are two solutions, one is to unlock your phone and the other is to install the new Jajah – iotum joint application (see what I wrote below) and make international calls for a 98% discount from the Verizon rates. Up to you…

Io-jajah or Jaja-tem

Well whatever you call it, the cooperation between two of my favorite voice companies is an exciting announcement. The merged product combining iotum’s Talk-Now for the BlackBerry with Jajah’s web based call service brings IM functionality to the mobile.

I know there are some longer explanations out there, But for me the new service is simple to explain “Just like on your IM program, where you can see who is available and then click to talk to them, you can now do the same on your Blackberry at low Jajah rates”

Sweet & Simple.

Verizon / Vonage Patent Update

In the wake of Daniel Berniger’s remarks which I brought below, Jeff Pulver has some interesting remarks

Verizon’s patent claims (listed below), causing Vonage so much trouble, describe the general process of name translation implemented by FWD during the Autumn of 1995 and every VoIP service through the present….

…..The IRC server’s reply of a “numeric Internet Protocol address” to the calling device (i.e. calling party’s PC running Internet Phone) involved a conditional analysis in order to match the request to the appropriate destination FWD server. In other words, the IRC server operated in FWD’s architecture in the manner described in the ‘711 name translation patent two years before Verizon’s application.I could have applied for a patent on the name translation function in October 1995, but I viewed the not inconsequential cost of the FWD project as a contribution to the public domain. I even published a book “The Internet Telephone Toolkit” with a detailed description of FWD written in January 1996, two months before Eric Voit filed the patent application for Verizon. Nothing in the description section of Verizon’s patent would surprise members of the IPhone email discussion list I managed, yet the prior art disclosure does not reference FWD or the IPhone mailing list.

In November 1996, I gave a presentation to the VoIP Forum in Dallas. The meeting included participation from Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, IBM, Nokia, Motorola, and Vocaltec for the purpose of making ITU H.323 the basis for a VoIP open standard. How do these companies feel about the Verizon’s assertion it owns the idea of name translation? How did Verizon accomplish this when the notion of name translation in H.323 traces back to the original ITU working group in 1993?

It seems something must have gone wrong somewhere for an asset of the public domain to end up in a patent. .

Boy, we are lucky no one tried to patent the Internet!

Fon and Time Warner ink deal – Should We Worry?

The cable giant and Spanish startup have inked a deal to distribute FON routers and service. My home equipment is mine – right? Well what happens when it becomes public knowledge? What is done with that database?

There is already one company who has an enormous database of wifi routers – 16 MILLION of them, as detailed in this post by the internet patrol.

Believe it or not – here is the relevant part of the post –

The underlying technology is provided by Skyhook Wireless. According to news sources, Skyhook has spent the past several years “driving a fleet of 200 trucks up and down the streets of 2,500 cities and towns across the United States and Canada,” mapping every single wireless router. Not just commercial hotspot routers. They openly admit that their trucks “scan for the pulse given off at least once a second by every home wireless router or commercial hotspot, recording the unique identifying code for that piece of Wi-Fi equipment.”

Then, that code – of your home wireless router – “is correlated with the exact physical location where it was captured using GPS in the trucks, which cruise the streets at 15 to 50 miles (24 to 80 kilometers) per hour as they collect this information.”

Just in case the picture isn’t clear, let me paint it for you:

Skyhook’s trucks have been cruising your street, have identified your home wireless router by its unique code that only your home wifi has – and is correlating it with your location using GPS.

Who will stop Fon from going in that direction?

Want to be The Most Expensive VoIP Company ???

choco.jpg

Yes, the most expensive!

Until now competition among VoIP services has been based mostly on price. “Make Unlimited Calls for only $24.99 a month”. Sure they offer more functions than your typical landline, but the sale pitch is the price. So if everyone is selling service for $24.99, how do you differentiate? Charge double or triple!!

First there would be a signup fee of $299.99, for that you would get –

  • THREE IP Phones, all on the same account
    • A desktop IP phone for your Home / Office (no ATA here)
    • A Wifi phone for your travels
    • A USB phone for non wifi travel spots

Then you would pay a monthly fee of $74.99 (all taxes included) and get all of this —

  • 24/7 “no questions asked” pampering premium customer service and technical support
  • Unlimited calls USA / Canada / UK / Western Europe / Australia, NZ
  • 5 free incoming local numbers in the USA
  • 1 additional free incoming number in UK or Canada
  • The same account on all 3 phones
  • Overnight replacement for defective devices
  • iotum integrated – receive only relevant calls
  • find me follow me, voicemail, call forwarding redundancy, caller ID and every other digital service you can think of….
  • conference calls
  • IVR or Auto Attendant

Optional services would include – call recording, roam4free GSM Sim integration, International incoming DIDs. Luca has informed me that three Sitofono will be included in the offering, provided by Abbeynet , for only (special price) additional $19.99 / month for all of them.

I am sure there are people who would be happy to pay for premium service. If you like the idea - The Flat Planet Phone Company would be happy to set you up as The Most Expensive VoIP Company today. We are ready and set to go – just give us a call and you can be selling the most expensive VoIP service immediately!

Thanks to Voipuser for giving me the inspiration…