The PhoneBoy Blog


Simplifying Telecom, Mobile Phones, Gadgets, and More!

A Little About A Lot

I haven’t been keeping up with what’s going on, so I’ve picked out a bunch of interesting stuff to comment on.

Vonage V-Phone: So let me get this straight. You get the basic Vonage experience of $14.99 for 500 minutes or $24.99 for unlimited US/Canada minutes, but instead of an ATA, you have a SoftPhone? And it’s on a USB key? And you don’t get the credentials? This is new? And this is something people would pay for? Maybe if only to ifgure out a way to hack the SIP credentials :)

Jajah doesn’t suck after all, at least according to Alec Saunders. Well it’s interesting they are essentially making click-to-call free for registered Jajah phone numbers. Basically get your friends to register to Jajah and you can “click to call” them for free. Oh yeah, and they have an API. APIs are good. They also have the ability for Scheduled Calls which are basically a way to set up a conference call at a fixed time. Instead of everyone calling into the bridge, the bridge calls everyone at the appointed time. Interesting idea…

Verizon Wireless prorating early termination fees: About time some major carrier decided to be fair(er) to ex-customers. I distinctly remember the Early Termination Fee for the old AT&T Wireless Digital OneRate plan circa 1999 was basically $10 per month remaining on your contract, which was quite fair. Of course, you paid $60/month at minimum for the plan, so they were already getting your money.

Skype 1.3 beta for Linux: Holy crap, it took the folks at Skype a long time to release a new version. They do get props for solving the single biggest problem Skype on Linux had: an utter lack of ALSA sound support. I usually run Skype on the Mac these days, so I haven’t really had a chance to play with it extensively, but it does seem to work better with the limited testing I’ve done.

The Great Firewall of China has been cracked: Basically a clever guy figured out that China’s firewall was basically resetting connections containing offending material. If a connection receives a reset, then naturally it closes on it’s own. If you ignore the reset packets, apparently you can go on communicating whatever you’d like through the the Great Firewall of China without it stopping you. I sense we’ll see some, um, “patches” to your favorite OSes shortly to combat this problem, that or a number of HOWTOs that exolain all this.

The Better Business Bureau says Cingular really does have more (signal) bars in more places: So my question is: how was this information verified? It’s not like Cingular is giving the basis for their claim out. Did they manage to get the data? Did Cingular buy them off? Who knows.

Are you Bill, Linus, or an Alien?: FON has an interesting proposition: buy a heavily subsidzied router (Either 5 Euros or 5 USD) and share your broadband at home for free, then you can share someone else’s broadband for free. That’s being a “Linus” (as in Torvalds, the guy who created Linux). Or you can buy a router, charge for access to your access point and split the proceeds with FON. That’s called being a “Bill” (as in Gates). Or if you don’t have broadband at home (or don’t want to share), then you can be an “Alien” and pay 3 Euros or 3 USD a day to access a network of access points (or less if you buy in larger access packs). It’s an interesting idea–interesting enough that I’m willing to fork over $13 ($5 for the router, $8 for the shipping) to be a part of it. Tom Evslin (whose blog post I linked above) convinced me that it’s worth trying. Will I ever use someone else’s FON router? Not sure. Will anyone use my router? Doubt it as there isn’t too many people around me. Some already have WiFi as my laptops often pick up access points from multiple neighbors. But hey, anything for cheap, good quality Linksys gear. :)

Performancing To Offer an Ad Network for Blogging: Hm, this might be interesting. I’m anxiously awaiting more details. Hopefully the payouts will be better than I get from Google, or they can at least supplement.

PhoneGnome releases their Partner application integration API overview: Based on the conversations I had with both Iotum’s Alec Saunders and PhoneGnome founder David Beckemeyer, this is quite likely the mechanism that is being used to integrate Iotum’s Relevance Engine into the PhoneGnome service. Not only does it handle call direction, which is basically what Iotum’s service is doing, but it also allows for other applications to get into the media path. Some of the examples in the over include third-party voicemail services and live call screening. David and his team are building quite a platform over there.

That enough for one night? I hope so, because I’m tired. :)

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