The PhoneBoy Blog


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Ten Pieces of Miscellaneous Debris

Comments on various postings from the past week or so.

Virtually Om: Om Malik didn’t get to attend the Blogger Panel at VON last week, but Andy reports he attended via SightSpeed. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that and I’m sure that the folks at SightSpeed appreciate the extra press and exposure at VON. I’d like to try and attend that way next time around.

A $5 WiFi Router: Here’s Web Worker Daily picking up on FON (and Om also posts it on GigaOm), which has been around for a while. I wrote about it a few times. Originally they were shipping Linksys WRT54GS routers with special firmware. They are now using a device called La Fonero that appears to have to separate WiFi networks: a personal one and the public, FON side. It’d be nice if the FON folks could add that functionality into the Linksys firmware they have so I don’t have to run two different WiFi routers. While I am a FONERO and support the folks at FON, I do have some concerms about whether or not FON has a long-term future. Time will tell.

Nothing New At VON: Eric Chamberlin at Voxilla had a different view about what was at VON. He “didn’t really see anything inspiring in the VoIP space.” That may be because everyone seemed to be talking about Video at VON instead of the bread-and-butter VoIP stuff. In fact, our recent VoIP ThinkTank podcast wasn’t really about VoIP, but about video. His final comment in his blog posts bears repeating here, though: “VoIP is at the point in the adoption lifecycle where it needs to transition from early adopters to general consumers. Manufacturers and providers need to transition their offering focus from novelty to simplicity.” Well said.

Raketu Takes on Skype:  This looks like a majorly promising application. In terms of functionality, it reminds me of Pulver Communicator, except that it does peer-to-peer SIP as well. It will be interesting to see if they traverse firewalls as well as Skype does, which is one reason I both like it and hate it, depending on which side of the fence I’m on. I haven’t tried it yet because I primarily use a Mac. It will be interesting to see if their Mac version is any good.

Truphone: These folks are doing something clever: allowing you to make IP calls from your mobile phone. Right now it is restricted to people with Nokia E60 and E61 phones with current firmware. Good thing Nokia released their firmware updater utility to the world recently and, yesterday, announced support for the Nokia E60 and E61. :) Anyway, I don’t have one of the supported phones, but I read Martin Geddes review of it as well as Tom Evslin opinion of it. As he says, there is no special application-specific UI. However, the UI shown in the screenshot is built into the Nokia E Series phones. It has a SIP stack, and if you’re clever, you can configure your Nokia E Series phone to make SIP calls already. My guess is that Truphone has figured out a way to provision the SIP goodness built into these phones already. Unfortunately, I can’t try out the service as of yet, since they don’t support the E70. Hopefully that support won’t be too far coming.

Podcasting Got Easier: Alec Saunders found something called Blog Talk Radio. Basically you can host your own talk radio show complete with live callers (five participants at once). The callers can call in via a dedicated telephone number, VoIP, or whatever. They handle all the hard work, including the podcast feeds, monetizing your content with ads (though I’m not exactly sure what form the ads take), and they even split the proceeds with you. Interesting idea–something I may have to experiment with.

Abbeyphone’s VoIP Plugin for Firefox now has Mac and Linux support: Luca announces the availability of the plugins on his blog. He was also nice enough to supply me with 10 Euros worth of time to try it out. I tried it on the Mac (I’ll eventually try on Linux on x86 as well) and I have to say it works about as well as everything else. The “seek out a number and click to call” function is kind of nice. It is missing a touch-tone pad to dial those pesky IVR systems, or at least I haven’t found it yet.

AT&T Reaches Out And Touches Your Computer:  Andy just posted that CallVantage has announced availability of their softphone service, allowing you to make and receive calls using your computer. If I understand the CallVantage site correctly, it’s either a $5.99 add-on to an existing account or you can sign up for an unlimited account for $20/mo. I wonder if they supply the SIP credentials so you can stuff them into a SIP device of your choosing?

Extreme Makeover, Voxilla Edition: Both Lonnie and Eric announce that the new and improved voxilla.com has launched! I have to agree, the old PostNuke and PNphpBB2 stuff was just too much to work with. It looks really nice! The forums have RSS feeds now, which is very cool.

PhoneCon Closing Hymm: This audio clip on Ken Camp’s blog was amusing.


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