Archive for January, 2008

Another mobile IM/VoIP client

January 31, 2008

Raketu has a Windows Mobile client that combines (among other things) instant messaging, video on demand and VoIP calling. Here’s a review from 2006 and here’s another review that’s from a few weeks ago. Both are similar in that they don’t particularly like the user interface but the PC World article is a bit more harsh, which indicates to me that it was done by someone who’s not a phone geek 🙂
Personal preference for my mobile use? I’ve got a couple of AIM accounts, some Yahoo! IM accounts, a couple of MSN Mobile accounts, several Google Chat accounts and a few others that are pretty obscure. On each service, I maintain separate IM accounts for work and personal use, I prefer Palringo for instant messaging because I can sign in to all of these services and also be simultaneously signed in to the same IM service with multiple ids and send and receive both work and personal instant messages at the same time. I read RSS feeds in my web browser with Bloglines. Their mobile version looks great on my phone’s browser. Since it’s web-based, it can be a little slow but I don’t have to worry about keeping my RSS feed in sync. Long distance is included in my mobile calling plan, I don’t really make too many international calls and I use GrandCentral to aggregate inbound calls (including my VoIP lines) and ring all my phones so I don’t have much reason (yet) to use a VoIP client on my mobile phone.
Still, it’s an interesting client and no doubt helps advance the industry as a whole so it’s worth noting.


Turn your (rental) car into a rolling WiFi hot spot

January 30, 2008

This nice, short article from Wired reviews AutoNet Mobile. They have a wireless router that talk on both the Sprint and Verizon networks, plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter or into an AC adapter (in your hotel room, for instance) and gives you relatively high-speed Internet access (600kbps-800kbps, typically). WEP encryption but it’s better than nothing. No pricing on the site but you can get it for about $11/day when you rent a car from Avis in their Avis Connect program.

Say whaaaa????

January 30, 2008

Abbreviations, you gotta love ’em if you’re in this business. And yet we all fall behind. Txt msgs, IMs, heck, they’ve even crept into email and F2F conversations. Here’s a handy list of abbreviations from Instant Messaging Planet.

Sync your Windows (Vista/XP) computer’s clock via command-line

January 29, 2008

This article from the How-To Geek explains how to sync your Windows clock to your time servers from the command-line. w32tm has other parameters, however, which include the ability to compare your clock to that of another computer (/stripchart) and to manually set the time servers (/config). w32tm /? for a complete list.

New, free mobile browser – Skyfire

January 29, 2008

Everybody else is talking about it so I might as well, too. Skyfire has a new, free mobile browser in beta. It’s server-based, meaning that all your requests go through their servers but the experience is supposed to be very much like desktop browsing including Youtube and Glash support. Engadget has a blurb here which includes links to a video demo, which is good for me because I still haven’t received my beta invitation.

Spicebird : A Thunderbird/Outlook replacement?

January 15, 2008

Version 0.4 of Spicebird has been released. Billed as a Thunderbird follow-on, it’s still very much in beta but it brings together contacts, calendar, RSS and email into one open source package.

VoicePulse update

January 10, 2008

I fixed MY mistake in my Sipura’s configuration last night and made a couple of calls using VoicePulse Connect. The quality is amazingly good – better than my PSTN line! Some local calls, calls to places within a mile of me, cost $0.019/minute but the rest of them were $0.005/minute. Of course, I can download their complete rate sheet to find out what my cost will be, and when I finally put up a PBX that talks IAX, I’ll query their rates on each call and adjust my provider dynamically, but, for now,
I’m quite pleased!

The experiment continues …

Man, that’s what I call “connected”

January 9, 2008

Was chatting by email with one of my friends and I was reminded of one of my most satisfying “converged”, “connected” experiences. A friend and I were driving to her parents’ house a few hours away. On the way, we lost our favorite radio station. So, I pulled out my trusty Windows Mobile phone with 3G access, connected it to her car’s radio/CD player and I streamed radio via my phone. We listened to the Internet broadcast of the terrestrial station for a while and, when we got bored with that, switched over to one of the Internet-only stations and flopped between them and one or two others. Eventually, we found nothing we were interested in so I fired up Radio365 Mobile and listened to some Live365 stations, all with nary a hiccup or dropout. Coming back, we didn’t even bother with the car’s radio but started right off with my phone. I was in geek heaven!

Fancast from Comcast: watch

January 9, 2008

Fancast, a relatively new website courtesy of Comcast, gives you access to a lot of full episodes of current TV shows (e.g. Monk, House, The Simpsons, Nip Tuck) as well as movie trailers and even some movies (e.g. “The Jerk”, “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World”). And, if you sign up and tell them what kind of service you have for your TV viewing (I have Comcast) and tell them what kinds of TV shows and movies you like, they’ll tell you what on your TV tonight as well as what’s On Demand (for Comcast subscribers). Eventually you’re supposed to be able to control your DVR.

Trying VoicePulse

January 9, 2008

VoicePulse Connect has always interested me. It’s an incredibly low-cost VoIP service (gegnerally less than $0.01/minute from US to US destinations) that offers no frills. It’s really targeted at Asterisk, FreePBX and the like in that it’s all about IAX but will work with SIP. It’s one of those pay-as-you-go operations where you deposit some money into an account you create with them and they deduct your charges from your account. The thing that’s stopped me is that the minimum investment is $50. Well, that changed over the holidays — they offer a free trial account preloaded with a $2 credit. So I signed up on Sunday. And I still can’t get my ATA to work with it. Don’t get me wrong, the support is great, so much so that I actually got a phone call from a tech yesterday to walk me through some configuration steps. So, I tried it when I had a chance last night and … it still doesn’t work.
That’s the problem with roll-your-own solutions – you’ve got to work at them. So, I’m considering going back to Vonage, especially in light of Vonage Alpha which brings voice activated call-by-name (Vonage ContactBook), FAX by uploading a document (Vonage FAX) and a free softphone (Vonage Talk). $25/month is starting to seem like a good deal even though I’m pretty sure I’d be able to save between $10 and $15 each month. We’ll see how much more work it is to get VoicePulse to work and what their call quality is like.