The PhoneBoy Blog

Simplifying Telecom, Mobile Phones, Gadgets, Health, and More!

Odds and Ends

Going thru all my items tagged followup on my Google Reader and, well, following up. Still have a couple in there…

VoIP on your Nokia Mobile: Marcelo did something I did a while ago, but decided not to keep doing it: using VoIP from my mobile phone. Specifically, what he did was get it working with an Asterisk server he controls. That shouldn’t be too terribly hard as I know there are some things you can do on the Asterisk server to work around the fact the SIP stack built into some current Nokia phone models simply doesn’t do NAT traversal. The fact is: I pretty much stay home and just about everyone and their brother calls me directly on my mobile phone anyway. VoIP isn’t going to help there. Of course, this doesn’t in any way diminish the coolness factor of what Marcelo did, it’s just not that useful in my particular situation.

Video Conferencing: Web Worker Daily asks the musical question: Does Video Conferencing Really Work? I’ve worked from home for the past 8 years and not once have I done a video conference for work. Would have it been useful in a few cases? Oh, sure. When the rubber meets the road, though, sometimes the rubber of your soles has to meet the road and you have to travel. The technology seems to be there with the one-on-one video conferencing, a-la SightSpeed, iChat, and so on, but it seems impractical for large-scale implementations unless you’ve got tons of money and tons of bandwidth–something only the largest of companies have. The cost/benefit ratio isn’t there, even for the larger companies.

Google Mobile Apps: Our friends at Google now have a Google Mobile page, which you can reach on your mobile phone by entering into your phone’s web browser. You will have links to Search, Google Maps (download), Gmail (download), and SMS (which just describes how the SMS service works). Google Maps, Search, and SMS has been available from the mobile phone for a while. I like the new Gmail app. It brings most of the goodness of the web-based Gmail to your mobile phone, complete with conversation tracking, starring, deleting, marking as spam, and the address book for entering email addresses. After a couple of times of not working on my Nokia E70, seems to work fine. My guess is that the delete/reinstall trick worked because Google realized people were having problems with it and fixed it. It also seems to work good on my newly acquired Nokia N73 and Nokia N93–reviews forthcoming. One thing not on this page, which should be, is a mobile version of Google Reader. You can reach it by going to on your mobile device, and it is serviceable interface for a mobile phone.

Speaking of Mobile Email: Web Worker Daily asks the musical question: Push or Pull Email? To me, the difference between Push and Pull is very simple: does the device periodically ask for the email, or is it continually supplied to the device by the server? I realize this is a very fine point of distinction, but apparently it makes a difference. Blackberry and similar solutions are push because they are constantly sending email to the device. When using Nokia’s Intellisync service for push email, I frequently see updates to my inbox as quickly as I see them on Outlook. Using the built-in email client in, for example, a Nokia phone, is a pull solution. Even if the client is set to periodically poll the email from the server, the client side is initiating the connection to the email server. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter too much. I will say that unless I am away from my desk during the workday, I do not run any push email clients, at least regularly. I don’t need instant notification of new email, I just want it to be there when I have a moment to read it.

Progress Tones:  Back when I was knee-deep in trying to make Sipura devices sound like telephone lines in India, this site would have been insanely useful. I don’t care so much now, but maybe it’s useful for someone. Thanks to Tom Keating for bringing it to my attention.

Fonality, Trixbox, etc: I’m with Ken. I don’t think I am going to comment much on the “disagreement” between Marcelo and Garrett on Fonality’s commercial solution, except to say that as an IT person, it is your job to do your “due diligence” to find out exactly how any software you deploy might “phone home” or do anything you don’t like. If you don’t like the “phoning home” that Fonality’s solution does, you can always deploy the open-source Trixbox or a stock Asterisk install. Oh yeah, Trixbox 2.0 is out. Maybe if I get some time, I can upgrade my existing Trixbox installation. Not that I use it that much these days…

#Cybersecurity Evangelist, Podcaster, #noagenda Producer, Frequenter of shiny metal tubes, Expressor of personal opinions, and of course, a coffee achiever.