05/10/2006

Fonality buys Tribox

Fonality sells IP PBX systems based on the open source Asterisk system.

Tribox is an open source effort which puts a GUI on top of Asterisk and also links it in to other open source software such as MySQL and SugarCRM. Tribox was known as AMP and makes configuring Asterisk very simple and painless.

Hopefully the Fonality buyout will give the Tribox resources to make the system easy to use and install and not go in another direction which would limit Tribox as it could be seen as a competitor to Fonalities products.

Wibree, the next generation of PAN

Nokia is trying to introduce a new low power wireless networking standard called Wibree (WiFi, Bluetooth and Zigbee). It will support up to 1Mb/s.

WiFi supports much higher data rates, but is expensive in terms of power consumption, Bluetooth can now support higher rates but is limited and ZigBee supports large networks, but at low data rates (but using extremely low power).

ZigBee actually makes a lot of sense since it's self configuring and allows devices to go to sleep when not used.

The new standard seems to combine the best of all the technologies, which should allow in-home personal networking to be easy to use.

Nokia have set-up a Wibree with more information.

Book this act

Navaku are a "circus" type act who work with ropes and bars.

Sophie Richards is diminutive in size, but don't pick a fight, she has more muscles than you.

Venice Project the next Skype

The founders of Kazaa and Skype have now annouced the Venice Project (named after a film of the same name). This will utilise a secure P2P network to distribute film type content. All content is copy protected. Users will need to download a client that makes the content available in a secure manner, and content suppliers will be provided with tools to upload content.

All content will allow for de-authorisation which means it becomes unavailable for viewing.

As the content is uploaded it is "atomised" like in the BitTorrent protocol and then split across multiple P2P sites.

The client then accesses the small chunks and downloads them, however to the user it appears as if the content is streamed.

They seem to have made agreements with various Hollywood studios and it may actually come to something.

Opinion seems to be that it may conflict with their work at Ebay (who purchased Skype), but it seems a perfect application to marry with PayPal (also owned by Ebay) so users can pay for the content.

Low power FM transmitters legal (soon)

Ofcom is proposing to legalise the use of low power FM transmitters (i.e. the type used to link portable music devices such as MP3 players to in-car stereos). The full document is available from the Ofcom site.

It also covers: -

* Citizens’ Band (CB) radio. There are about 20,000 licensed users, this band will become license excempt.

* “micro” FM transmitters. Ofcom will allow these (the EU has already recommended legalising such devices, so it really fits in with EU policy).

The following will allow a range of new technologies and novel applications of radio and users wont need a license: -

* Inmarsat BGAN and High Density Fixed Satellite Service (HDFSS) satellite terminals.

* narrow band use of 24 GHz for short-range radar (including automotive applications).

* Radar Level Gauges.

* digital PMR 446 (“walkie talkies”).

Ofcom received 69 responses to the consultation and most were positive, especially for the microPower FM devices.

Ofcom actually seem to be taking public demand into consideration, especially since devices like microPower FM transmitters are available for sale, and though illegal many people are using them anyway.

03/10/2006

Nintendo up profits by 20%

Nintendo have increased their expected profit figures by 20% on increased sales of the DS(lite) and games. They are also included forcasts for the Wii which will be in stores by Xmas.

The Wii, though lower spec than either the Xbox360 or PS3, is cheap and there will be a lot of content/games for it. As Sony have revised their figures and expected production numbers, many consumers may jump on to the Wii instead.

Ofcom figures show's BT dominance falling (but not by a huge ammount)

Ofcom's figures show that the number of lines, call minutes etc handled by BT compared to the rest of the industry are falling.

Where BT had (on average) about 71% of all calls, that's now dropped to 68%. So a 3 to 4% drop in most areas (2004/2005/Q1 2006).

This is likely to increase with wholesale line rental and local loop unbundlers making a bigger impact, but it shows BT is still dominant in the retail space.

02/10/2006

Unique from Orange to rival Fusion from BT

It's not quite Unique as Orange are copying BT, but their service will work on WiFi not Bluetooth (like BT's corporate Fusion service).

Orange's service will use dual-mode WiFi/GSM handsets and work over an Orange broadband connection, but it should work over existing ADSL connections.

Up to 6 handsets may be registered with the service and pricing will start at £50 pm.

Services like this reduce the reliance on a land line number, however ADSL is provisioned over a BT line, so they don't get rid of them. If Orange announce sensible pricing so calls cost significantly less than mobile when on the WiFi network there could be a large take-up.

See Orange's site.

Vonage on the go

Vonage will be offering UK customers a USB dongle which has the Vonage software (soft-phone) pre-installed. When first used it asks the user to select a (telephone)number which will be associated with the soft-phone. The dongle has a socket for the provided microphone and headset.

Currently it only works on Windows and will cost around £20.

Toshibe announced slimline laptop HD DVD writer

Toshiba's SD-L902A will fit in a laptop and writes HD DVD. DVD and CD formats.

Samples will ship to manufacturers by the end of this year and real product can be expected early next year.

No pricing has been announced.

Each layer on a HD DVD disk can hold 15GB compared to Blu-Ray's 25GB, but having product may advance one standard over the other.

MacOS 10.4.8 released

Apple have released updates for both the client and server of MacOS X so it's now at 10.4.8. Nothing really major, just bug fixes and a couple of enhancements.

Apple have also released Aperture 1.5 which integrates better with iLife and iWork '06 as well as improved filters and other enhancements.

Aperture is a significant program for photographers who want to have a sensible workflow and process. It's only real competition is Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom which is still in beta.

Telewest TVDrive dies

On Sunday my Telewest TVDrive stopped working with HD. Phone up Telewest and after 30 minutes someone eventually answered (well it answered instantly, but 30 minutes of hold music on an 0845 number).

The person at the other end went through the process of getting me to reboot the box, while setting various output settings (trying to get HDMI working). None to any avail. Luckily SCART output still worked, so the service was not completely unavailable. This took around 45 minutes (the TVDrive box isn't very fast going through its boot sequence).

An engineer isn't available until Thursday, so we'll see what happens then (probably a new box).