22/12/2008

iPlayer on MacOS X and Linux

The BBC's iPlayer is at last available for MacOS X and Linux users as it has now been released as iPlayer Desktop which runs under Adobe's AIR technology.

Adobe AIR has been available for Windows and MacOS X for some time, but it's just been released for Linux.

This should satisfy some of the critics of the BBC as iPlayer has been available for Windows XP since 2007.

UK Frequency Allocation Table 2008 | Ofcom

UK Frequency Allocation Table 2008 | Ofcom

Ofcom has published the UK Frequency Allocation Table for 2008 covering spectrum from 9 kHz to 275 GHz.

There's also a link to Roke's nice PDF which shows who's using them and what they are for.

Quite a useful resource for any wireless/radio heads.

10/12/2008

Devices for Developers - Android

Devices for Developers - Android

Google has released an unlocked version of the T-Mobile G1 for developers costing $399. Shipping to the UK is expensive at around $170 (but this includes import duty).

The phone is both SIM unlocked and the bootloaded is also unlocked so developers can load any version of Android their want i.e. they can build a custom version of Android and use that (T-Mobile's G1's have a locked bootloader that will only run T-Mobile's signed versions of Android).

Google make most of the source to Android available here. Some parts can not be open sourced as they interact with the hardware and as such could effect the GSM networking itself, which means the phone would never get FCC or other approvals.

Google point out that this is a developers' platform and not and end-user phone. Currently they are limited sales to single device to developers registered on their app platform.

09/12/2008

IWF statement regarding Wikipedia webpage

IWF statement regarding Wikipedia webpage

As expected the IWF has backed down on the blacklisting of the Virgin Killer album cover on Wikipedia.

It is highly likely that the image is in fact illegal according to UK legislation, unfortunately it's also available in lots of other places like Amazon and Google images.

The IWF didn't really have an option but to back down, or blacklist all the other sites too which would have caused the transparent proxies run by the ISPs to fall-over or at least respond incredibly slowly.

The way the blacklisting works is for the site IP address to be checked first and if there's a match, then redirect the web request through a transparent proxy which will then URL match.

If something like Amazon or Google get on to the IP list, then EVERY request made to those sites will go through the proxy and they are designed for that level of traffic.

08/12/2008

Virgin Killer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Virgin Killer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It seems that the album cover (which features a naked "child") has been blocked by the IWF (or Internet Watch Foundation).

The IWF maintains black-lists of URLs which relate to child pornography, terrorism and other "unsuitable" material for the general populace.

If the material is hosted in the UK, the IWF will warn the ISP or hosting company and then report them to the Police, if it's outside the UK, it goes on the blacklist.

ISPs have implemented a system that was based on what was BT's Cleenfeed. When a URL is posted by the IWF, the ISP's system will initially check the IP of EVERY http request and pass see if it matches the site referrenced in the offending URL. If so the request is passed to a transparent proxy where URL checking is performed. If the URL matches the ISP then blocks the content (and the error returned differs from ISP to ISP, Virgin seem to respond with a 404 Content not found, while Demon respond with a 403 saying administrivally blocked).

Wikipedia noticed the block when suddenly a lot of requests from the UK started coming from a few transparent proxies located on various ISP networks (as the initial check is IP based, every Wikipedia request would go through the proxy).

Now Virgin Killer has become one of the most searched requests on Wikipedia !!! Of course the album art is available on several other sites which haven't yet been blocked.

04/12/2008

Shazam Amplifies Music Database by a Third - FierceWireless

Shazam Amplifies Music Database by a Third - FierceWireless

Shazam is a service that identifies music. Initially a user would dial a Shazam number, hold the phone to the radio or other source and the system would then identify the track. Now Shazam have an iPhone and other clients.

Shazam have added an additional 2 million tracks to their database covering more diverse North American, Asian and European music.

Shazam uses very clever algorithms to compare the music playing with segments in their database.

As Shazam have to have all the music in digital format, they're also a very good source for licensing a digital music collection for download sites and on-line digital jukeboxes.

Carsonified sheds jobs

Another company to be hit by the economic downturn is Carsonified who have just made several of their staff redundant. Carsonified run the popular Future of Web Apps/Design, Future of Mobile, etc. They also develop applications and are a design house.

FOWA which took place in October was packed and there was a really positive buzz, FOM (though targeting a different crowd) was less of a wow.

Carsonified follow Trutap and others who've already announced job cuts.

The future of Web 2.0 may now be consolidation so companies can pool technology and resources and concentrate on making sure the business can support itself.

01/12/2008

Digg - Six Apart Welcomes Pownce

Digg - Six Apart Welcomes Pownce

Every one is putting a brave face on this i.e. Six Apart has acquired the technology and technology team of Pownce (including Kevin rose as an advisor), but what it means is that Pownce is closing down. Revision3 (another Kevin Rose venture), though still going lost a lot of staff earlier this year.

The credit crunch is hitting start-ups hard and though there's a lot of enthusiasm and hype showing that the start-up scene is still going strong, reality is slowly surfacing showing that the market is worse than people would like to think.

There still are great opportunities for start-ups and tech companies, but they need to have a business model that holds water and isn't technology for technology's sake or they'll start showing leaks and start sinking.

Companies are still beholden to their shareholders and when it comes down to it, that's what counts.

Trutap - mobile instant messaging, texting and social networking

Trutap - mobile instant messaging, texting and social networking

Trutap is shedding 80% of their staff (from 31 down to 4 or 5) so they can keep the service going while they look for new finance or sell.

Rumours of change we already being whispered at Mobile Geeks of London last week. Like many start-ups Trutap have a great technology, but they hadn't sorted out a clear revenue model (well they had developed an advertising platform, but it hadn't launched yet).

There's still too much great tech out there, with no clear revenue streams and whatever people say, business is all about generating revenue for shareholders and in these economic times shareholders get nervous.

29/11/2008

In Car Entertainment

The very nice guys at Sound Gurus in East Finchley just did a very nice job of replacing a wired car kit with a Bluetooth one.

The place closed for a while and it seems the old owners might have gone into administration, but it's now run by Kookie who is a very nice and helpful person.

Worth a visit if any ICE work is needed.

28/11/2008

SPAM levels

The drop in SPAM was short-lived and daily attempted mail deliveries have once again risen. Yesterday they peaked at over 2.5m, but today it's just over 1m.

Of the 1m attempted messages 2,000 were "clean" and passed through the appliance.

YouTube - wearesocial's Channel

YouTube - wearesocial's Channel

OK it's a PR stunt, but the technology is pretty cool.

You get a 3D bar code and stick it on something, install some software for your Nokia phone and point the phone at the 3D code.

The phone will then show the background, but where the 3D code is a Ford Ka is super-imposed in 3D floating in space.

The system was demo'ed at Mobile Geeks of London (organised by James Whatley which was a loose collection of people with an interest in mobile but mainly an excuse to drink beer.

The PR company is We Are Social

26/11/2008

Britglyph Sign Up

Britglyph Sign Up

A new site has been set-up by Moblog and Shozu to document art.

The site goes live on Dec 1st, but users can register their mobile number and email address now to be notified when things start,

22/11/2008

SPAM volumes drop

It seems McColo were cut-off from their ISP and SPAM levels have dropped since.

GBNET utilises Ironport SPAM appliances and the attempted number of connections/SPAM email has dropped from nearly 4 million per day (Summer peak) to around 900,000 per day (though in recent months it dropped to around 2.5m per day).

It dropped to around a low of around 800K per day but has risen to the 900K per day since.

Around 99.5% of all email through GBNET mail servers is SPAM.

21/11/2008

Dispute between Mapesbury Communications and T-Mobile about mobile termination rates | Ofcom

Dispute between Mapesbury Communications and T-Mobile about mobile termination rates | Ofcom

MCOM won a low power GSM license a couple of years ago and have been slowly rolling out a network since.

They interconnect to the UK operators via a transit network.

It seems they cant reach agreement with T-Mobile on termination fees and so Ofcom are getting involved.

MCOM are what is called "disruptive" in the mobile arena.

18/11/2008

USB 3.0 specified

The USB 3.0 specification has at last been ratified (last Monday).

This promises speeds 10x greater than USB 2.0. Chipsets are likely to be available next year (2009) while consumer devices will follow in 2010.

Microsoft has said that USB 3.0 is unlikely to be in Windows 7 when it's released (and may not be included in Vista at all).

Future of Mobile 2008 | London 17›18 November 2008

Future of Mobile 2008 | London 17›18 November 2008

FOM took place on the 17th and 18th of Nov 2008. The first day was made up of talks and panels and took place at Kensington Town Hall, the 2nd day was detailed workshops at Olympia Hilton.

There were some good speakers and the first day was an interesting one.

Worth putting in your diaries for next year if you do anything with mobile.

03/11/2008

Unstrung - Handhelds - Moto Ditches Symbian for Android & Windows - Wireless News Analysis

Unstrung - Handhelds - Moto Ditches Symbian for Android & Windows - Wireless News Analysis

Motorola is dumping Symbian UIQ and it's own Linux-Java platform. It will now only use Windows Mobile and Android for high end phones.

Motorola is also cutting down on the chip sets it uses, concentrating on Qualcomm and Texas Instruments.

31/10/2008

Ofcom Website | Update on the progress of the litigation in relation to the 2.6GHz award and the timing implications for the auction

Ofcom Website | Update on the progress of the litigation in relation to the 2.6GHz award and the timing implications for the auction

Due to the continuing legal process, Ofcom is expecting the spectrum award to take place in March 2009 at the latest. Ofcom still believes it is in the public's best interest to award the spectrum as soon as possible.

O2 and T-Mobile have taken Ofcom to court about their decision to award this spectrum which is why the delay is there.

29/10/2008

Future of Mobile 2008 | London 17›18 November 2008

Future of Mobile 2008 | London 17›18 November 2008

The Future of Mobile is being held at Kensington Town Hall. This is another Carsonified event so should be good, the Future of Web Apps (FOWA) was buzzing which took place at Excel in Docklands earlier this month. At least Kensington is easier to get too if you get "stuck" at the party after ...

There's some interesting speakers and should be a good couple of days.

If anyone wants a 20% discount, use the following code "DIGLIFE" when registering (no quotes).

28/10/2008

this is my website | Kevin Rose - blogg

this is my website | Kevin Rose - blogg

It's an interesting paradigm ... last from latest entry is all about "Why to start a new startup in a bad economy" which is all positive and nice.

Unfortunately latest entry is "Changes at Revision3" which is all about laying off people at Reveision3 ... how the world changes between blog posts :(

Though it probably is a good time to start a startup (services are cheap), it's still a difficult market and the economy is going to get worse before it gets better. Technology for technology's sake wont cut it and a sensible business proposition needs to be the basis of any successful company going forward - of course there's some guesswork, but without sound business models which works, there's no point even going there.

27/10/2008

Sun Startup Essentials

Sun Startup Essentials

Sun are a hardware company (and a software company too, but mostly they give that away for "free" [as in beer]), but with Sun Startup Essentials Sun are (almost) giving hardware away too as well as hosting/training and other services.

The program has been introduced into the UK and Ireland so is available this side of the pond.

It's easy to join (web sign-up) and once approved (which can take a couple of days) customers get access to the discounted hardware/etc.

It's probably a very good move for Sun as though they're taking a risk in supplying hardware on the cheap, if the startup succeeds they're likely to continue using Sun hardware and software.

Many people are used to using a LAMP environment which consists of Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP/Perl/Python and Sun are trying to convert people to use SAMP which is the same stack based on Solaris instead of Linux. There are good reason to do this as MySQL is now owned by Sun so there's likely to be some Solaris optimisation on versions that come with Solaris (though MySQL's main development is still on Linux).

If x86 hardware is purchased the customer can still elect to run Linux rather than Solaris and even Windows.

It's a very cool program and Sun should be applauded for making it easy to join and use.

22/10/2008

Thoughts on European Start Ups

Thoughts on European Start Ups

Really nice presentation on "Thoughts on European Start Ups", though the financial world might be in turmoil, there's still hopes for start-ups - easpecially in Europe.

Don't know who wrote it (cape), but worth viewing.

21/10/2008

Sony E-Reader

A quick initial review of Sony PRS-505. It actually works really well. Download a book, sync the library and off you go.

Even on the smallest font it's quite readable and the E-Ink has a very high contrast that's easy on the eye. The black-on-white works, it's just a bit weird when changing pages as the screen seems to invert and then flip to the new page, but it's all relatively smooth and quick.

The reader came with an optional LED light casing (that has a plastic flap that lies over the screen) which makes it usable in dark environments.

Unfortunately it only works on a PC (no Mac support) and it requires downloading of Adobe Digital Editions.

Waterstones in the UK have a limited selection of Ebooks, though that's bound to increase and there's a lot of other stuff out there that will also work (it reads PDF docs).

However don't buy one !!! Sony have announced the next version (PRS-700) which has a slightly bigger screen, LED lighting built in and it's touch screen so no buttons to navigate with. It's out in the US in November (though no UK timescales announced).

17/10/2008

Twitter

Twitter seems to have started out as an SMS service allowing people to send messages to each other. Now it's been linked in to Instant Messaging systems and Twitter apps.

Having a Blackberry led to installing Blackbird which works, though was a bit clunky.

TwitterBerry is a bit more polished, but also slightly more quirky (using it on a Curve on the 4.2 OS which seems to work ok, though people are complaining it's doing odd things on 4.5 which is on the Bold).

It quite fun "following" people (such like Stephen Fry - who seems to be quite taken by his Twitterific client and uses it regularly) though it's also a bit voyeuristic (is that a word?).

Do people really want to know you're enjoying a glass of wine with a friend, or off to the pub? It does seem so...

16/10/2008

EETimes.com - Startup claims Gbit version of Wi-Fi

EETimes.com - Startup claims Gbit version of Wi-Fi:

Quantenna Communications has anounced a chipset capable of delivering 1Gb/s using modified 802.11n protocols. They use up to 8 aerials in a MIMO configuration to steer the beams up to 50m and through walls.

The system used both 2.4 and 5GHz.

The chipset is also small (2.5 x 2 inches) so it can be incorporated into consumer devices.

The chip consumes 10W and should cost around $20 when available next year.

If the technology really works and becomes readily available, it would allow for the distribution of HD video through the home and compete with systems based on 60GHz (which don't penetrate anything - including air for any distances).

New MacBooks

Apple has released a new 13" MacBook and new 15" MacBook Pros. They are all hewn from solid aluminium and use a mini-displayport connection for connection to an external monitor.

They look very pretty.

Apple's also released a new 24" Displayport monitor to go with them (though not available yet).

The Macbook has USB interfaces, while the Pro has USB/Firewire and an ExpressCard/34 slot. Both have DL-DVD writers.

Review of the 070 personal numbering range | Ofcom

Review of the 070 personal numbering range | Ofcom: "07|01|2009"

Ofcom is holding a consultation that closes on 07|01|2009 about 070 personal numbers.

Initially Ofcom wanted to move these to an 06 range, but this has now been dropped as it would not be economic.

There are also issues as alarm system utilise 070 numbers so pre-announcements indicating pricing is also not workable.

Phonepayplus and Ofcom are still receiving complaints about misuse of 070 numbers, but these have significantly reduced since Ofcom initially announced plans to change 070 services.

Ofcom are proposing a number of measures: -

* supporting and monitoring current enforcement action being carried out by PhonepayPlus in relation to scams on the 070 range.

* requiring originating communications providers to publish their tariffs for calls to 070 numbers more prominently and to make them easier to understand for consumers.

* amending guidance on the acceptable use of numbers in relation to compliance with General Condition 17 by ensuring Personal Numbering Service providers who provide 070 numbers to end users to carry out due diligence of sub-allocatees of personal numbers.

The consultation also covers Ofcom's plans to remove the requirements for pre-call announcements.

13/10/2008

Update - October 2008 | Ofcom

Update - October 2008 | Ofcom

Ofcom amended General Condition 18 such that “Telephone number portability for consumers switching suppliers” would be achieved in under 2 hours. This has now been dropped as Ofcom lost a tribunal initiated by Vodafone (and joined in by the other big 3 GSM operators) which ruled Ofcom was acting unfairly.

This is a real shame as UKporting has now ceased too and the mobile operators can maintain their sluggish porting arrangements.

Ofcom statement on Channel 4 and DAB radio | Ofcom

Ofcom statement on Channel 4 and DAB radio | Ofcom

Channel 4 has pulled out of 4 Digital Group the national DAB multiplex that is made up of Bauer Digital Radio Limited, Carphone Warehouse Group plc, Sky News Radio Limited, Global Radio Ltd, UTV Radio (GB) Limited and UBC Media Group plc.

Ofcom recognises that in these economic difficult times companies have to make commercial decisions, but this must be a blow for them.

Ofcom are in discussion with 4 Digital and other multiplexes owners and the BBC to discuss options.

09/10/2008

Innovative uses of spectrum | Ofcom

Innovative uses of spectrum | Ofcom

Ofcom is consulting on a new license for radio spectrum, the Innovative Use Of Spectrum license which will cost £2,000 pa.

This license will be introduced to foster innovative spectrum use (as the name implies) where existing license regimes don't fit or are too cumbersome.

It is expected that spectrum will come from areas managed by public bodies such as the MOD.

The licenses will be issued on a first-come-first-served and a non-interference, non-protected basis.

They will cover the UK or smaller areas within the UK.

The consultation closes on 18/12/08

01/10/2008

Harmonised European Numbers For Services Of Social Value : Proposed allocation and charging arrangements for 116 numbers in the UK | Ofcom

Harmonised European Numbers For Services Of Social Value : Proposed allocation and charging arrangements for 116 numbers in the UK | Ofcom

Ofcom is holding a consultation on the UK's implementation of Numbers for Services of Social Value which will begin with the 116 prefix. 116 number will be followed by another 3 digits i.e. 116xxx. This is a European harmonised number range and the same services will be available in all EU member countries on the same number.

Three numbers have already been allocated, these being: -

* 116000 hotline for missing children.

* 116111 child helplines.

* 116123 emotional support helplines.

The EU has stated these should be "free" numbers, but the meaning of free is not the same across all EU countries, so pricing needs to be determined.

Also there may be several organisations who offer services and would want to offer the particular 116 service and Ofcom need to decide how the allocation to a particular organisation should be made.

The consultation closes on 10|12|2008.

30/09/2008

Statement on consumer protection test for telephone number allocation | Ofcom

Statement on consumer protection test for telephone number allocation | Ofcom

Ofcom is introducing further consumer protection by potentially restricting companies and individuals from allocations of premium rate numbers by maintaining lists of companies or individuals who have had complaints against them. These lists will be known as the CPT (consumer protection test) lists which will be maintained on Ofcom's website.

Anyone allocating PRS numbers should ensure their customers are not present on these lists and industry will self regulate.

The lists will be available from Jan 01 2009 or shortly after.

Managing the spectrum above 275 GHz | Ofcom

Managing the spectrum above 275 GHz | Ofcom

Ofcom is planning to make spectrum above 275 GHz (to 3000 GHz) licence exempt.

There will be constraints as these bands are used by radio astronomy, but due to atmospheric attenuation (which is severe in these bands) interference should be minimal.

Current power masks for short range devices in 244-246 GHz will be used as a proxy with adjustments made for the greater attenuation.

Ofcom are hoping innovitive applications will come out of these bands (short range comms/collision detection/etc).

The World Radiocommunication Conference 2011 has an agenda item about the 275 - 3000 GHz band and Ofcom may have to modify the Standard Instrument allowing licence exempt use based on the outcome of the conference.

BT withdraws Wi-Fi access to The Cloud • The Register

BT withdraws Wi-Fi access to The Cloud • The Register

BT Openzone has not renewed it's contract with The Cloud so Openzone users will not be able to use their WiFi hotspots.

The Cloud has lost a major user of minutes and must be struggling to compete with Openzone anyway. The Cloud have to maintain a cordial relationship as they buy most of their backhaul services from BT.

This could be a move by Openzone to kill the Cloud and then buy them in a firesale.

26/09/2008

AstriCon : September 22-25, 2008 : Glendale, AZ

AstriCon : September 22-25, 2008 : Glendale, AZ

Skype have announced a channel driver for Asterisk the open source IP PBX from Digium. This will allow an Asterisk server to connect to Skype's network and have access to all of Skype's users and dial-out rates (and also dial-in capability).

The driver is currently in beta and there is a beta program available. The driver will be licensed on a per channel basis.

Very little information about the system has been released except it's a binary install but Astricon visitors seemed to like it. There are worries that it will still become a SuperNode if used on public Internet space which means other Skype users connect through that node - which can mean all your bandwidth been used.

23/09/2008

Delivering super-fast broadband in the UK | Ofcom

Delivering super-fast broadband in the UK | Ofcom

Ofcom is holding a consultation (that finishes on 22 Dec 2008) on the future of super fast broadband in the UK.

Any one can respond and should do via the link above, then follow the "How to Respond".

Super-complaint on the cost of calls made by prisoners | Ofcom

Super-complaint on the cost of calls made by prisoners | Ofcom

The National Consumer Council (“NCC”), The Scottish Consumer Council (“SCC”) and the Welsh Consumer Council (“WCC”), supported by the Prison Reform Trust have complained to Ofcom about the pricing of telephony services (mainly calls) for prisoners.

BT run telephony services for HM Prison Service Trust in England and Wales and Siemens Enterprise Communications Ltd run services for Scottish Prison Service in Scotland. Currently all other providers are locked out from providing any kind of services.

The complaint states the high cost of calls are unrelated to the cost of provision, the charges for the systems are high when the cost of ICT is generally dropping, the T&C's of the existing contract explicitly seek to prevent competition and that the contracts themselves are secretive.

Ofcom will ensure that NCC has presented a reasoned case for further investigation and if so it will further investigate and make a decision as what to do by Sept 22nd 2008.

LloydsTSB offer mobile banking

Lloyds have released a Java app for mobile phones that allows their customers real control over their bank accounts.

Customers can move money between accounts (say a current account and savings account), add credit cards, check balances, statements etc.

Though textual in nature (so it should work on most handsets) it's easy to use and does allow a customer access to basic account functions.

Assuming the customer has set most of their accounts on-line through traditional means (like on-line banking), the mobile client should then be able to access those accounts.

Hopefully all access from the client to the back-end services are secure (though there was no way to tell).

It's a lot easier to use than older WAP propositions.

19/09/2008

Blackberry Bold

Initial thoughts: -

* It's bigger than the Curve (but not much).

* It looks more metallic, but sort of feels 'plastic'.

* Screen slight bigger, but looks much better.

* Keyboard flatter than Curve, but just as easy to type.

As to functionality that will have to wait until Orange do some magic.

SonyEricsson Xperia X1

SonyEricsson are holding a launch event in the Truman Buildings in Brick Lane tonight (19/09/08).

It's been delayed for some time, but the wait is now over. Their first Windows Mobile device - which is meant to be highly customisable.

Second Ofcom own-initiative investigation against various Communications Providers about enforcement of the requirement to implement and comply with a Dispute Resolution Scheme | Ofcom

Second Ofcom own-initiative investigation against various Communications Providers about enforcement of the requirement to implement and comply with a Dispute Resolution Scheme | Ofcom: "General Condition 14.7"

Ofcom has conducted an investigation into whether communications providers comply with General Condition 14.7 which states they must implement a dispute resolution process and belong to an independent dispute resolution scheme. Prior to the investigation Ofcom found that there had been complaints against various providers and they had not joined a relevant scheme. Ofcom are now satisfied that these providers have met their obligations.

Ofcom has approved two independent dispute resolution schemes, the Office of Telecommunications Ombudsman (Otelo) and the Communication and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS).

Any provider of PECS (public electronic communications services) found not to be compliant can be issued a notice by Ofocm (under section 94 of the Communications Act 2003) and failing to act can mean a fine of up to 10% of the relevant turnover of the company.

16/09/2008

Decision to make the Wireless Telegraphy (Exemption) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2008 | Ofcom

Decision to make the Wireless Telegraphy (Exemption) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2008 | Ofcom

Ofcom has published two statements following consultations which will amend the Wireless Telegraphy Act such that short range devices and various satellite services will become license exempt.

Ofcom also also making mobiles used in airplanes license exempt (the airplane operator having licensed the mobile service).

These should allow Ultra Wide Band and other short range services to operate.

FT.com / Home UK / UK - Project Kangaroo fights its corner in online TV battle

FT.com / Home UK / UK - Project Kangaroo fights its corner in online TV battle

Kangaroo is the joint venture by BBC Worldwide, Ch4 and ITV to put their video archives online. It'll be run by Ashley Highfield (who used to run BBC Online). They expect to have 10,000 hours of content, 75% which will be free (with advertising).

VirginMedia, BSkyB have complained to the Competition Commission that they will have an unfair advantage in the UK IPTV space. Time Warner and Disney have also voiced concerns. BT have also now joined in the backlash.

Kangaroo would have a huge competitive advantage as they would control a huge amount of content (especially with Auntie on board), but they would also be able to offer compelling content.

The UK infrastructure just needs to be able to keep up to support IPTV services - and that's probably one of the big issues, Sky/O2/Orange and other broadband network all must be considering high speed broadband services into the home (maybe via fibre) and the only way to justify investment is to kaunch their own IPTV services. Kangaroo has the ability for the services to flop before they even launch unless they can get access to Kangaroo's content.

10/09/2008

Revised statement of policy on the persistent misuse of an electronic communications network or service | Ofcom

Revised statement of policy on the persistent misuse of an electronic communications network or service | Ofcom

Ofcom is required under section 131 of the Communications Act to prepare a statement on the of its general policy with respect to its legal powers to deal with persistent misuse of an electronic communications network or electronic communications services. It last did this in 2006.

Ofcom held a consultation in Dec 2007 and is going to make a new statement later this year.

Since the last statement nuisance calls have dropped significantly, but BT still receives aorund 80,000 complaints a year - which is unacceptable.

08/09/2008

Own-initiative enforcement programme into VoIP providers’ compliance with General Condition 4 (Emergency Call Numbers) | Ofcom

Own-initiative enforcement programme into VoIP providers’ compliance with General Condition 4 (Emergency Call Numbers) | Ofcom

The Communications Act has a set of General Conditions that all communications providers must adhere to. On Sept 8th 2008 General Condition 4 amendments mean that all VoIP providers who provide access to the PSTN (i.e. public phone network) MUST provide 999/112 services.

Ofcom today have started an enforcement initiative that will collect information from VoIP providers, network operators and call handling agents (who pass calls to the Emergency Services) so they can monitor and if necessary enforce compliance.

This could be a major headache for smaller VoIP providers who may not be aware of their obligations under the Communications Act and this specifically may incur costs.

05/09/2008

Business Radio Reform | Ofcom

Business Radio Reform | Ofcom

Ofcom has published the changes it is making to the Wireless Telegraphy Regulations for Business Radio.

They are simplifying the license regime (from 21 licenses classes to 5), to allow spectrum trading and transfer of licenses and a new license regime to support the new licenses, but based on the existing fee structure.

The new license regime will take some time to implement and old licenses will need to be migrated to the new regime. New licenses will be issued when the new regime comes into force.

03/09/2008

Requests from BT for variation to, and exemption from, its Undertakings under the Enterprise Act 2002 related to IPStream in certain geographic markets and Wavestream National | Ofcom

Requests from BT for variation to, and exemption from, its Undertakings under the Enterprise Act 2002 related to IPStream in certain geographic markets and Wavestream National | Ofcom

Ofcom is holding a consultation on whether BT can vary their IP Stream pricing in areas where they don't have significant market power (SMP). They want to be able to offer variable pricing and variable pricing to different customers.

Ofcom is proposing to allow BT these changes.

This follows Ofcom's market analysis which showed that BT no longer has SMP in broadband for large areas of the UK (covering around 69% of the population) due to local loop unbundling (LLU) operator competition.

The consultation closes on 01/10/2008

Direction under Section 106(3) of the Communications Act 2003 applying the electronic communications code in the case of H2O Networks Ltd | Ofcom

Direction under Section 106(3) of the Communications Act 2003 applying the electronic communications code in the case of H2O Networks Ltd | Ofcom

H20 Networks have been granted the electronics communication code. This gives them the right to dig roads and other areas to install infrastructure (and they can apply to dig across private land without the landowners permission).

Ofcom only issues the code to responsible companies who provide UK infrastructure and have been known to take it away from companies.

18/08/2008

Assessment of the theoretical limits of copper in the last mile | Ofcom

Assessment of the theoretical limits of copper in the last mile | Ofcom

Ofcom has conducted research into the maximum speeds of copper delivery of broadband. This was done to ascertain theoretical rather than practical speeds.

Ofcom conducted the research as the use of bandwidth heavy applications like IPTV are being deployed.

If the DSL modems are hosted in the exchange then around 18% of the population will fall within 2Km of the exchange and achieve bandwidths of 50Mb/s or greater.

If the modems are housed in street cabinets then almost 100% of the population is within 2Km of the street cab and could achieve 50Mb/s or greater.

Now it just needs someone to install fibre to the street cabs or even fibre to the home.

14/08/2008

Low power licence-exemption limits above 10GHz | Ofcom

Low power licence-exemption limits above 10GHz | Ofcom

Ofcom is proposing to increase the power limits of license-exempt systems above 10GHz.

Systems such as UWB (ultra wide band) can operate up to 10.6GHz on a license exempt basis, but they are limited in spectral mask. Power loss over distance increases as the frequency increases, so frequencies over 10GHz were not considered. Thus high power systems at high frequencies will have the same interference as low power system at low frequencies.

This new consultation proposes to increase the limits above 10GHz (on a non-interference non-protected basis) in-line with current spectral masks extrapolated at the higher frequencies.

This should allow new equipment to come on the market and very high transfer rates to be achieved.

The consultation closes on 31/10/08

Ofcom Website | 2.6GHz spectrum award update

Ofcom Website | 2.6GHz spectrum award update

Currently Ofcom are in dispute with T-Mobile and O2 who have taken Ofcom to court concerning the release of spectrum on the 2010MHz and 2.6GHz bands.

Ofcom was hoping to release the spectrum in July or August of 2008, due to the court case this was delayed until September or October. As the court case has not been resolved Ofcom have now postponed these dates too, though they are trying to get the court case expedited as they believe it is in the public interest to release the spectrum for auction as soon as possible.

Initially these bands were reserved for IMT 2000 (3G) use while Ofcom want to release them on a technology neutral basis as many services could operate in these bands such as WiMAX.

11/08/2008

Euro Tech News now Speech enabled

This blog has now been speech enabled using the Talklets accessibility software-as-a-service from Textic Ltd.

Talklets comes in various flavours, the simplest being a toolbar which floats at the bottom of the browser - this involves installing 1 line of Javascript code on every web page.

There are also more complicated versions, from a simple toolbox like the one on this site, to a toolbox which contains all the Talklets features.

Talklets allows sites to meet their Disability Discrimination legislation requirements for website owners as it is the onus of the website owner to make their site compliant without the user having to install any software or tools. Talklets also has other benefits for website owners as users tend to stay around longer while listening to text being read. E-Commerce sites also see revenue increases as users go through to purchase. The are indirect savings as well as users tend to use on-line help rather than go to call centres if the help is read to them.

As the system is SaaS any enhancements made to the server side are automatically made available to the website owner and their users.

There is a free 14 day trial of the software available from Textic's site.

01/08/2008

Ebbsfleet Fibre to the Home Pilot - Consent for non-uniform pricing of retail telephony services under Universal Service Condition 1 | Ofcom

Ebbsfleet Fibre to the Home Pilot - Consent for non-uniform pricing of retail telephony services under Universal Service Condition 1 | Ofcom

BT Retail have asked Ofcom to allow it to vary its pricing for certain retail services in the fibre-to-the-home trial at Ebbsfleet in Surrey to the initial 300 homes (to encourage the take-up of voice and other services delivered over fibre).

Ofcom received 7 responses to the consultation and has decided to allow BT to continue with the trial.

BT should be encouraged to provide fibre to the home and roll fibre out to urban areas as quickly as possible.

31/07/2008

NVIDIA speeds folding proteins

Stanford University has been running the Folding@Home project for a while. This uses a highly complex mathematical system to see how proteins fold, proteins that fold in a different manner are thought to be part of the process that leads to certain diseases.

NVIDIA GPUs are really highly optimised engines that can work on mathematical data in a very parallel manner (that's really what a lot graphics programming is). They have a programming interface into the GPUs and the NVIDIA folding@home client uses that interface. It can speed up mathematical operations by up to about 140x compared to a standard CPU.

A team running the NVIDIA client has moved to the top 0.1% of the folding@home teams in under a month.

Other mathematical solutions may also speed up drastically using this technology, unfortunately NVIDIA have charged for access to their CUDA libraries.

NV

Wireless Telegraphy (Mobile Communication Services on Aircraft) (Exemption) Regulations 2008 | Ofcom

Wireless Telegraphy (Mobile Communication Services on Aircraft) (Exemption) Regulations 2008 | Ofcom

Ofcom are holding a consultation on the use of mobile phones on aircraft.

They are intending to make the use of mobile terminals license exempt when operating on a licensed system on aircraft.

The consultation closes at 5pm on 29th August 2008

25/07/2008

THUS announces extension to SkyTalk contract

Press Releases

That's a nice spin anyway. Sky announces they are using BT for their future CPS SkyTalk service, THUS announces an extension of contract for a year to "ease" the migration, not of course they've lost the contract.

Good thing C&W are taking over?

18/07/2008

3G on 3

The 3 dongle arrived and a working SIM inserted (Powerbook G4 12" running Leopard).

Then the fun started with trying to install software to drive the thing. It wasn't fun and the drivers from the Huawei site (it's a Huawei E220 USB dongle) didn't really seem to work, various others didn't either.

Then the suggestion was given for Launch2Net and after a quick download and install, everything sprung to life and the Internet appeared. Launch2Net has all the settings for various networks built-in, including 3 in the UK. They also support various dongles/PC Cards/etc.

The E220 only supports 3.6Mb/s download speed (didn't seem to quite manage it), but that's good enough for Email and general out of office business use. After playing with it for around 15 minutes, around 8MB of data had been downloaded, so data charges could easily mount up.

Well worth the €79.

16/07/2008

BT to fibre the UK (well bits)

BT has said it will spend £3bn to get fibre to 10m homes (that's about 40% of the homes in the UK) and it will only cover urban areas, rural areas will have to stick with copper.

BT are already spending £10bn on their 21CN, so that's £13bn ... not just a little spend.

The fibre upgrade works out at £300 per home (which doesn't seem that much on a per household basis).

Their reasoning is to deliver IPTV and other services and it is entirely possible that a household could spend more than £300 to get HDTV and VoD services.

1m iPhones sold in 3 days

Apple sold 1m 3G iPhones worldwide in 3 days and 10m apps from the app.store.

Not all could be activated initially as Apple had problems with their activation server, but these problems seem to have been cured, though there's still a lack of iPhones and O2 in the UK are taking orders and phones will be delivered at a later date.

Google having previously denied it is producing a Google branded (G)Phone - is still denying it, but rumours are spreading that they are indeed talking about manufacturing a device to head of the iPhone.

14/07/2008

iPhone App Store Downloads Top 10 Million in First Weekend

iPhone App Store Downloads Top 10 Million in First Weekend

Apple have sold over 10 million iPhone/iPod touch applications in the first weekend (3 days since Fri).

iPod touch users will have had to pay $9.95 (in the US) for the software upgrade to the v2 software.

As the weeks progress the number of applications will also increase (currently around 500) and the number of sales are also likely to increase as more people actually get their phones and the variety of applications also increase.

Play.com 3 dongle

It's Pay As You Go (i.e. no contract) and only £40 - which seems quite a good price. Just insert a 3 SIM and away you go. It can probably be unlocked too with the relevant software,

Get it at Play

10/07/2008

iTunes 7.7 released - now with app.store

As expected Apple have released an update to iTunes to take it to v7.7 and the new feature is the App Store.

There are around 100 free apps and quite a few commercial ones too.

Existing iPhone users will have to wait for the version 2 software update and the 3G iPhone should be available tomorrow [11/07/08] (depending on stock - which in the UK is meant to be severely limited).

Customers can select software by category, whether it's "free" or not and for the iPhone or iTouch.

Though there's quite a bit of software for the launch, it's somewhat surprising there isn't more, though developers may not be too pleased with the current system as the app is tied to the dowloading version of iTunes which means it can be saved on any iPhone/iTouch which has a relationship with that system.

09/07/2008

Touchscreen BlackBerry Thunder Keyboard To Utilize Haptic Technology... AMAZING Implementation! | CrackBerry.com

Touchscreen BlackBerry Thunder Keyboard To Utilize Haptic Technology... AMAZING Implementation! | CrackBerry.com

The Crackberry rumour site are reporting that the Blackberry Thunder will contain haptic technology that will give positive feedback on the virtual keyboard i.e. so when a user touches the screen on a certain letter, the screen will "push back" or slightly raise against the touch.

The screen is 360 by 480 and made of glass or a glass like substance. The web browser in the Blackberry is also based on the same engine that the iPhone uses.

If true it will certainly be a blow to Apple as the Thunder may well be the iPhone killer.

Inside Microsoft’s Internet Infrastructure & Its Plans For The Future - GigaOM

Inside Microsoft’s Internet Infrastructure & Its Plans For The Future - GigaOM

Microsoft is building it's own CDN (content delivery network), they currently have a 100Gb/s backbone which they'll increase to 500Gb/s. They seem to be using Level 3 for the network (who already provide CDN services themselves).

They are linking 99 datacentres and adding 10,000 servers a month.

It looks like MS are gunning for Google/Amazon in the cloud-computing/data storage markets.

O2 sites crashes with 3G iPhone demand

O2's site went down this week due to the massive demand for iPhones.

When the initial iPhone was announced O2 has 35,000 initial web inquiries, with the 3G variant they had 200,000 inquiries.

O2 say that Apple is restricting supplies and they may have difficulties satisfying demand.

The iPhone is still considered a consumer phone even with its push email and VPN capabilities, though O2 has announced business tariffs.

RIM's new Blackberry Bold (which seems to be delayed until August) has missed a trick as it could have caused a dent to Apple's launch, especially as it now has the iTunes (iPod) client software built-in.

08/07/2008

telecoms.com

telecoms.com

The EU has backed plans to allow both TDD (Time Division Duplex) and FDD (Frequency Devision Duplex) in the upcoming 2.6GHz spectrum auctions. It will be up to the market to decide what should be used.

WiMAX advocates are happy about this as WiMAX is based on TDD.

The EU decision is supported by CEPT.

Ofocm have been a major supporter of allocating spectrum on a technology neutral basis and allowing the market to decide its use (though ensuring interference issues don't occur).

Market Impact Assessment: new Local Video proposals - Terms of Reference | Ofcom

Market Impact Assessment: new Local Video proposals - Terms of Reference | Ofcom

The BBC is proposing to launch an on demand Local Video Service available over fixed and wireless broadband services. As a public service they are required to undertake a Public Value Test (PVT) before launching such services. The BBC has conducted a Public Value Assessment while Ofcom is conducting a Market Impact Assessment - and as such Ofcom are continuing the consultation until 5pm on August 4th 2008.

innovation | Digium® - The Asterisk Company

innovation | Digium® - The Asterisk Company:

Digium the company that produces Asterisk have announced their 2nd innovation awards.

The catagories are: -

* Pioneer Award: Most innovative implementation
* Big Biz Asterisk: Largest enterprise class installation
* ROI: Best measurable ROI from implementing Asterisk based solution
* Inside Out Award: Best use of Asterisk in a business outside of telecommunications

Awards will be presented for each category on a global basis.

Asterisk is dual licensed in an open source version and commercial version (Asterisk Business Edition being an example of the closed source version), but enhancements tend to be cross developed. Asterisk is an IP PBX supporting both telephony interfaces (POTS, ISDN, etc) and VoIP protocols (SIP, H.323, etc), however it is much more than that and can be used as an IVR (interactive voice response), there are even speech-to-text engines available for integration.

Digium is also now starting to support SS7 (the protocols telecoms carriers use) natively within the telephony interfaces so Asterisk can be used as a "real" telephony switch.

» iCall App Enables GSM to WiFi / VoIP Switching On The iPhone iPhone Hacks: Downloads, Cracks, Mods, Homebrew, Utilities - Hack & Unlock Apple iPhone

» iCall App Enables GSM to WiFi / VoIP Switching On The iPhone iPhone Hacks: Downloads, Cracks, Mods, Homebrew, Utilities - Hack & Unlock Apple iPhone

iCall are releasing an application that will switch calls between a regular line and VoIP when in range of a WiFi connection. It meets Apple's guidelines as it only uses VoIP when in range of the WiFi network and they only uses Apple's standard SDK (i.e. no hacks involved).

Since iCall are a telephony provider too, they must somehow bounce the call through their network and then switch it to WiFi when a network is detected.

The application will be available through Apples app store.

02/07/2008

Computer Weekly Blog Awards

Seems that Euro Tech News has been short listed in the Wireless/Mobile category at Blog Awards.

Unfortunately I'm not really around in the next week, but do vote for me if you can.

Thanks

Steve

30/06/2008

iTunes / Audible

It's holiday time so it was time to buy an audio book (both for being lazy and traveling around a lot, so reading a real book wont always be possible).

The book was part of a trilogy, so go to iTunes and they have it. Look at the comments and there are several in the vain of "Go to Audible, it's much cheaper".

So off to Audible and lo and behold the trilogy is there for the same price as one book on iTunes.

This is iTunes and Audible in the UK, but that's a huge difference (about 3 times the price on iTunes).

Download from Audible and it all pops into the right locations in iTunes anyway (on a Mac anyway).

Apple are going to have to start pricing things sensibly!!!!

25/06/2008

Symbian to go open source

Nokia is purchasing Symbian (well the bits it doesn't own) for $410. It already owns 48% but other stakeholders include Sony Ericsson, Ericsson, Siemens and Panasonic.

Nokia will set-up the Symbian Foundation which will control the code. Nokia will donate their S60 interface, SonyEricsson UIQ and nttDoCoMo LOAM.

With the threat of other open source Linux variants (Android and LiMo), this is probably a sensible move. How they make money out of this move is another matter, though they may still have a licensing arrangement for support and development services.

Microsoft is the only other major OS vendor with the Windows Mobile OS - will they follow suit?

10/06/2008

Ebbsfleet Fibre to the Home Pilot | Ofcom

Ebbsfleet Fibre to the Home Pilot | Ofcom

Ebbsfleet is a new housing development in Kent, where BT are planning to implement Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) which will be part of their 21CN Next Generation Network.

Normally BT provides telephony services over copper, but here voice services will be provided over the FTTP system.

BT are regulated as they have significant market power (SMP) - apart from Hull where Kingston have SMP and they have universal service obligations (USO) and basic telephony service pricing is fixed by Ofcom.

For the Ebbsfleet trial BT wish to discount telephony services to 300 homes from August 2008 to December 2009 and have asked Ofcom to allow this.

Ofcom think that this would be a good idea as they wish to encourage FTTP roll-out and services and are therefore holding a consultation which closes on 7 July 2008.

2.6GHz spectrum award update | Ofcom

2.6GHz spectrum award update | Ofcom

Ofcom were planning to offer spectrum in 2.6GHz and 2010MHz in July (2008), but T-Mobile and O2 have legally challenged the validity of the auction (the 2.6GHz spectrum was originally reserved for 3G use).

Ofcom are trying to get the legal challenge expedited as they believe it's in the consumer's and citizen's best belief to make the spectrum available as soon as possible.

Ofcom will make a further statement when they are in a position to do so.

05/06/2008

Clarity for consumers on broadband speeds | Ofcom

Clarity for consumers on broadband speeds | Ofcom:

Ofcom has published a code of practice for ISPs which they undertake not to mis-sell broadband products based on speed.


Steps that fixed-line ISPs are required to take under the voluntary Code include:

* providing customers at the point of sale with an accurate estimate of the maximum speed that the line can support, whether it is in the shop, over the internet or on the phone

* resolving technical issues to improve speed and offering customers the choice to move onto a lower speed package when estimates given are inaccurate

* ensuring all sales and promotion staff have a proper understanding of the products they are selling so they can explain to their customers the meaning of the estimates provided at the point of sale

* providing consumers with information on usage limits and alerting customers when they have breached them.

The following is a list of ISPs that have already signed-up to the code of practice

The ISPs that have already signed up to the code are:

* AOL Broadband
* Be Broadband
* BT Total Broadband
* Dark Group Ltd
* Eclipse Internet
* Exa Networks
* Fast.co.uk
* Firefly Internet
* Freedom2Surf
* Gravity Internet
* Greenbee Broadband
* Karoo
* MacAce.net
* Madasafish
* Netplan Internet Solutions Ltd
* Nildram
* O2 Business Broadband
* O2 Home Broadband
* Orange Home
* Pipex Homecall
* Pipex Internet
* Playlouder.com
* PlusNet Broadband
* Polestar Interactive Ltd
* Pro-Net Internet Services Ltd
* Sky
* Solutios
* Surf Anytime
* TalkTalk
* TalkTalk Business
* Tiscali
* Toucan
* UK Online
* Virgin Media
* Waitrose Broadband
* YSH
* Zen Internet

This covers 90% of all broadband users.

30/05/2008

Android gets ready to take on iPhone

Google showed off it's new Android mobile operating system at their developers do in San Fran.

They showed it running on two phones, one a basic version and one with a touch screen that supported 3G.

It seems to operate in a similar fashion to the iPhone with its "home' button and applications accessible via icons. It can utilise systems like accelerometers to measure the devices position, GPS, etc.

Google demo'ed Google Maps which panes in sections as the users moves from location to location.

Though Android is similar to MacOS X on the iPhone, it's different as Apple does not release any of the iPhone's core OS and applications can only be officially distributed through iTunes. Android in theory is completely open and based on Linux (the OS is officially distributed through the Open Handset Alliance) and the development environment is available to anyone (though winners of the Google applications prize are gaining early access to pre-release betas of the new dev systems).

Android could be a real threat to traditional mobile operating systems (WindowsMobile, Symbian, etc) as there are no license fees to pay. Google will leverage Android to move into the hosted app market (which they want to own) as the mobile apps generally are front-ends on to hosted systems.

There are other threats such as LIMO and OpenMoko but currently these are niche players.

Silverjet down the tubes

The business class airline Silverjet that flies from Luton to New York and Dubai has shut its doors, stating it couldn't find further financing.

Other airlines that fly those routes have said they'll try and help out, but it's likel to cost passengers something.

Silverjet is the latest cut-price business airline to go under.

A New Pricing Framework for Openreach | Ofcom

A New Pricing Framework for Openreach | Ofcom

BT Openreach is a part of BT Group that offers network level services to other companies.

These include WLR (wholesale line rental), LLU services and Ethernet services.

BT (Openreach) wants to increase the price of various services as they say the cost of providing these services has increased.

BT (and Ofcom) reason that there are now more than 4m unbundled LLU lines and they no longer have SMP (significant market power) in various areas of the country.

Ofcom is holding a consultation about this and will make a final statement later in the year.

21/05/2008

Deregulating the UK’s wholesale broadband markets: 70% of the country to be liberalised | Ofcom

Deregulating the UK’s wholesale broadband markets: 70% of the country to be liberalised | Ofcom

Ofcom is going to lift the obligations on the encumbent operators where there are 4 or broadband operators offering service. In the areas where there isn't sufficient competition, Ofcom will maintain the SMP (significant market power) rules.

This will mean that in 70% of the UK SMP conditions will be lifted, which really means BT.

BT could now increase (wholesale) pricing for broadband in those areas.

19/05/2008

Ofcom Website | Notices

Ofcom Website | Notices:

Ofcom announced the winners of the 1452-1492 MHz band (or L-Band).

Though various lots were available (lots LA to LQ) Qualcomm UK Spectrum Ltd won all the lots, so were awarded a single high power licence.

Qualcomm paid £8,334,000 for the license.

Ofcom have released the spectrum as technology neutral and so it's likely Qualcomm will persue their MediaFLO broadcast TV system in the UK (even though the EU has adopted DVB-H).

If Qualcomm can build a broadcast network (which is likely to cost considerably more than the £8m paid for the license) and persuade manufacturers to include MediaFLO in UK handsets and if they can provide content, then they are likely to recoup the investment with IP licensing and content licenses.

Vodafone acquires ZYB « ZYB blog

Vodafone acquires ZYB « ZYB blog

Zyb the Danish company that allows users to remotely sync their contacts and calendars has been bought by Vodafone.

They will operate under their Internet Business devision.

If Vodafone integrate Zyb into their standard packages, then Zyb are likely to be the mobile social networking tool of choice.

29/04/2008

Decision to modify the National Telephone Numbering Plan to accommodate geographic number demand in the Ebbsfleet region | Ofcom

Decision to modify the National Telephone Numbering Plan to accommodate geographic number demand in the Ebbsfleet region | Ofcom

Ofcom held a consultation on allocating a new number range (01987) to the Ebbsfleet region (there is a large housing development being built).

Ofcom had eight responses and is making the range available immediately.

Ebbsfleet is also of interest as it will be connected to BT's 21CN and have fibre to the home.

Asterisk Based Visual Call Flow Editor and Server - SafiSystems

Asterisk Based Visual Call Flow Editor and Server - SafiSystems

This is quite a clever concept. Asterisk (the open source PBX) has the capability to run AGI programs (Asterisk Gateway Interface, similar in concept to CGI's in the web world). AGIs are run through a server which can be locally hosted on the Asterisk server or on a completely separate system. There are AGI systems written in Perl/PHP and other languages.

Safi Systems have developed a server and a tool called Safi Workshop which allows AGI programming through visual building blocks, so the first block may be to 'Answer the call' (which equates to Answer in Asterisk terms). Other functions are then pulled from the toolbox and linked together.

The project is then saved and then inserted into the Asterisk dialplan as an AGI statement to the Safi Server.

It's currently in Alpha (it runs on Windows - though it's Java based, so will probably eventually be ported to other platforms) and can be downloaded for free for non-commercial use.

It is really kinda neat as they say.

22/04/2008

ZYB | Help | Press Releases

ZYB | Help | Press Releases

ZYB the company that allows mobile users to upload their phone-books and store them centrally on Zyb's servers today acquired Imity the Danish social networking company.

Zyb has 250,000 users worldwide and has over 15 millions contacts stored for those users.

Imity has 70,000 users but has logged over 430,000 interactions between them, the technology allows Bluetooth enabled phones to discover other Imity users and links back to existing social networking sites like MySpace or blogs.

Imity is not accepting new users, but existing users can continue using the service. When Zyb and Imity are integrated, further users will be able to join. The combination of the two services could make an impact on the social networking scene as everyone has a mobile (pretty much every one of those mobiles will have Bluetooth) and by linking contacts and Bluetooth interaction, there could be some interesting results.

Ofcom Website | Notices

Ofcom Website | Notices

Ofcom today published the companies that have met the criteria to bid the the L-Band (or 1452-1492MHz) spectrum.

The original PDF is here.

The bidders are: -

Adolphus Limited
Arqiva Limited
ePortal Holding K.S.C.
MLL Telecom Ltd
Qualcomm UK Spectrum Ltd
The Joint Radio Company Limited
Vectone Network Limited
WorldSpace UK Limited

Bids start at £50,000

21/04/2008

Truphone press office: Truphone raises £16.5m [$32.7M] in Series B round

Truphone press office: Truphone raises £16.5m [$32.7M] in Series B round: "£16.5m ($32.7m) of Series B venture capital funding.


Truphone who have some software on a mobile phone that can switch calls between GSM/3G and WiFi have raised £16.5m ($32.7m) of Series B venture capital funding, the round was led by private investors, with all of Truphone’s existing backers – Burda Digital Ventures, Eden Ventures, Independent News; Media, Straub Ventures and Wellington Partners – also participating;

They have already raised $25m so this makes it over $50m, nice if yiu can get it.

Recently Truphone purchased SIM4travel for cash and stock (about $5m in total) which gives them a GSM core and MVNO assets and may give them better termination rates (in the past Truphone took T-Mobile to court in the UK as they wouldn't route Truphone number blocks, the court decided that T-Mobile must route their calls, but awarded Truphone sub penny termination).

17/04/2008

UK Enum Consortium

UK Enum Consortium

ENUM is a way for people to route calls to telephone numbers. The telephone number owner specifies how they want the calls delivered.

This is a relatively complex system and stores the information in DNS using NAPTR records.

UKEC owns the +44 zone (which it was allocated by the DTI as was).

There will be two main uses for ENUM (as per UKEC) for routing telephone calls and for carriers routing calls.

Nominet are what's called the Tier 1 registry for the +44 zone and will maintain the DNS for it. In future there will be Registrars who actually register numbers into the registry. There will also be Number Authorities who verify that numbers are owned by who they say they are. Much of how this all works still needs to be decided.

Recently elections for the board of directors took place and the following people were elected: -

James Blessing
Peter Gradwell
Steve Kennedy (me)
Denesh Bhabuta

ENUM will play a significant part in the future of telephony, especially as BT role-out their 21CN.

DNS will also be significantly impacted as in future every telephone call will require an ENUM look-up (though companies/telcos will be able to purchase local caches).

UKEC is looking for members and shortly a PAB (policy advisory board).

fring auto-roaming delivers mobile internet convergence

fring auto-roaming delivers mobile internet convergence

Fring is an application that supports VoIP (SIP) and various instant messaging protocols (Skype®, MSN® Messenger, Google Talk™, ICQ, SIP, Twitter, Yahoo!™ and AIM®).

It can then put all your voice traffic over a data connection (or WiFi if available).

They've now made an iPhone application that works on the iPhone - the only trouble is it needs to be a "hacked" version i.e. one that has the 'Install' application on it which can download other applications (so going out and buying a vanilla iPhone wont work).

When Apple officially launch firmware v2 (June), it's expected Fring will launch an official application as Apple say they will support VoIP as long as it's over WiFi.

ZYB | Bring mobile data to life

ZYB | Bring mobile data to life

Well they had to call it something ...

Zyb is a service that allows you to remotely save your contacts/diary/notes/other data from your mobile phone. Of course it's more than that and is also a social networking site as it will look for contacts from your phone and compare them to other users on the site and make guess on who you should connect to.

There are other services with some of functionality (O2 have recently launched Bluebook), but Zyb is operator independent and though allows centralised back-up features, the social networking side is probably what's going to attract users.

They are licensing the technology to operators (who can bundle it with their service, probably white-labeled), but you can expect targeted advertising to appear soon.

You can post "shouts" either through the website or by texting shout plus the message to a Zyb number and it goes to all your connections.

There's so many social networking sites around, Zyb will have to fight hard to get in the game, but even just using the back-up features are useful enough.

Availability of Telephone Numbers | Ofcom

Availability of Telephone Numbers | Ofcom:

Ofcom are seeing increased demand for geographic numbers and in accordance with the numbering plan need to conserve numbers in certain areas.

Therefore Ofcom are proposing to add 96 geographic area codes, in addition to the 169 areas that already have conservation status.

In these areas numbers are allocated in blocks of 1,000 rather than the traditional 10,000 number blocks.

The consultations closes at 5pm on 19 May 2008.

Ofcom Website | Notices

Ofcom Website | Notices

The following will be allowed to bid for licenses in 1452-1492 MHz (L Band).

Adolphus Limited

Arqiva Limited

ePortal Holding K.S.C.

MLL Telecom Ltd

O2 (UK) Limited

Qualcomm UK Spectrum Ltd

The Joint Radio Company Limited

Vectone Network Limited

WorldSpace UK Limited


Some usual suspects and some notably unusual ones. Bidding starts at £50,000.00

Tap into experiences with the Nokia 6212 classic - FierceWireless - Wireless Industry, Wireless Technology News, Wireless Security News

Tap into experiences with the Nokia 6212 classic - FierceWireless - Wireless Industry, Wireless Technology News, Wireless Security News

Nokia yesterday introduced the Nokia 6212 3G phone which incorporates Near Field Communications (NFC).

This is expected to be available in EU and Asian markets later in the summer for around Euros 200.

NFC allows payments and other transactions to be carried out (something like a mobile Oyster card) by tapping the phone on to an NFC reader. It can also link to credit card information on the phone for NFC credit card payment systems.

Photos, weblinks, etc can also be transferred between devices and Nokia have a NFC headset.

In the UK Oyster is becoming widespread and Barclaycard have a combined Oyster/CreditCard, integration with phones is the next step.

General Information | Ofcom

General Information | Ofcom

Ofcom have released an information update on Band III. PDF file.

Ofcom unilaterally allocated some of the band for private mobile radio use and made agreements with neigbouring countries where interference may occur (the band was the old 405 black and white TV band).

Now there has been an RCC conference - which has kept the band for TV use, some users will have to move to other bands or cease operations.

This document clarifies those moves etc.

04/04/2008

Notice of Ofcom’s proposal to make regulations in connection with the award of 2500-2690 MHz and 2010-2025 MHz | Ofcom

Notice of Ofcom’s proposal to make regulations in connection with the award of 2500-2690 MHz and 2010-2025 MHz | Ofcom

Ofcom has published its proposals for the licensing of the 2.5/2.6GHz and 2GHz bands. It is now holding a consultation for interested parties to respond by 06/05/08.

These bands represent a huge chunk of spectrum (over 190MHz) which is more than all the 3G operators attained in the 3G auctions. Though big players are expected to get involved (existing 3G operators, new entrants, BT etc) and pricing may well reach high millions, they're not expected to reach the highs of the 3G auction (£21bn).

02/04/2008

Are you an 'Alpha Socialiser'' or an 'Attention Seeker'? ... Ofcom research identifies social networking profiles | Ofcom

Are you an 'Alpha Socialiser'' or an 'Attention Seeker'? ... Ofcom research identifies social networking profiles | Ofcom

Ofcom has published a report into social networking in the UK.

49% of 8-17 year olds have a social networking site presence but 22% of adults also have a presence.

Ofcom have put users into 5 groups

* Alpha Socialisers – mostly male, under 25s, who use sites in intense short bursts to flirt, meet new people and be entertained.

* Attention Seekers – mostly female, who crave attention and comments from others, often by posting photos and customising their profiles.

* Followers – males and females of all ages who join sites to keep up with what their peers are doing.

* Faithfuls – older males and females generally aged over 20, who typically use social networking sites to rekindle old friendships, often from school or university.

* Functionals – mostly older males who tend to be single-minded in using sites for a particular purpose.

There are also 3 groups of people who don't use social networking

* Concerned about safety – often older people and parents concerned about safety online, in particular making personal details available online.

* Technically inexperienced – often people over 30 years old who lack confidence in using the internet and computers.

* Intellectual rejecters – often older teens and young adults who have no interest in social networking sites and see them as a waste of time.

Also

* 41 per cent of children and 44 per cent of adults leave their privacy settings as default 'open' which means that their profiles are visible to anyone;

* 34 per cent of 16-24 year olds are willing to give out sensitive personal information such as their phone number or email address (Get Safe Online Research); and

* 17 per cent of adult users said that they talked to people on social networking sites that they didn't know and 35 per cent spoke to people who were 'friends of friends'.

Facebook is th emost popular site followed by MySpace then Bebo, but Bebo was most popular for users between 8-17.

There seems to have been a lot of media hype following the report.

Ofcom's Tariff Table 2008/9 | Ofcom

Ofcom's Tariff Table 2008/9 | Ofcom

Ofcom has published its funding plans for FY 2008. Ofcom’s budget will be £133.7m, which on a like for like basis for FY 2007/2008 is a decrease of 1.5%.

There will be an average decrease of (6.3%) for the radio sector, an average decrease of (2.4%) for the television sector and an average increase of 4.1% for network and services operators.

Ofcom paid off their original government set-up loan last year.

26/03/2008

LONAP

LONAP: Fees

LONAP celebrated their 10th birthday in the Old Bank of England pub last night.

LONAP or the London Access Point are an Internet Exchange where members pay £500 per quarter for up to 2Gb Ethernet connections. As a neutral exchange each member can peer with other members at the exchange (arranged individually).

Members can purchase further (dual) Ethernet connections for £500 per quarter.


Current members are: -

AboveNet
aeXiomus
Akamai International B.V.
APM Internet Ltd.
Associated Networks / ANLX
Avensys Networks Ltd
BBC (Siemens Business Services)
BBC R+D Multicast
Belgacom ICS
Bogons
Bytemark Hosting
Catalyst2 Services Ltd.
clanserver4u GmbH
ClearIP
Community Internet / CI-Net
Comtec Enterprises Ltd.
CSI Ltd
Eaton Kaye Ltd.
Ebuyer UK Ltd.
Entanet
Europacom.net Ltd.
FastNet International
Fidonet
Gamma Telecom Ltd.
Global-MIX Ltd
Goscomb Technologies
Gradwell dot com Ltd
Griffin Internet
Hotchilli Internet Solutions
Hurricane Electric
IDnet
Internet Technology Products Ltd.
ISC - f.root-servers.net
Jump Networks Ltd
Ke-Connect Systems Ltd.
Kewlio.net Ltd.
Kingston Communications
KPN International
Limelight Networks
Localphone Limited
Loud-n-clear
Mailbox Internet
Merula Ltd
Mistral Internet
murphx Innovative Solutions Limited
Namesco Limited
Neotelecoms
Netcetera
NetConnex
Nominet
Onyx Internet
Opal Business Solutions Ltd. (Centrica/ Rednet)
Open Hosting
OpenPeers Ltd.
OrbitalNet
Pipex
PlusNet
Powernet
PRT Systems
Public Internet Ltd.
RapidSwitch Ltd
Reactive Networks
Redstone Communications
Simwood eSMS Limited
Stripe 21 Ltd.
Switch IP Ltd.
System Online Ltd
TelecityGroup UK Ltd
Thus / Business Serve Plc
UK Grid
Viatel
Virgin Radio
Wave Rider / OpenSense Ltd
Web Tapestry
Zen Internet

Starting off small, LONAP have grown to almost 80 members, some of whom are big players - most of the other smaller Internet exchanges are no longer in existence. They're not quite LINX (London INternet eXchnage), but are still growing and there's around 4.5Gb/s of traffic transferred.

Proposals to apply the Electronic Communications Code | Ofcom

Proposals to apply the Electronic Communications Code | Ofcom

Mapesbury Communications have been awarded powers under the Electronics Communications Code from Ofcom today.

This allows them to lay infrastructure without the permission of landowners etc.

As one of the winners of a low power GSM Guard band license this should enable them to build infrastructure which would otherwise have proven difficult or impossible.

MCOM (UK01) could prove to be a disruptive player in the mobile space.

Mobile Communications on board Aircraft (MCA) | Ofcom

Mobile Communications on board Aircraft (MCA) | Ofcom

Ofcom are allowing airline operators to offer mobile communications on aeroplanes (known as Mobile Communications on Aircraft or MCA).

MCA will fall under a licensed regime (under the Wireless Telegraphy Act), though licenses will be issued on request under existing license variations - with no fees payable.

This will fall under a common European regime for European registered aircraft, it is hoped that this can be extended worldwide.

03/03/2008

'Sitefinder' Mobile Phone Base Station Database

'Sitefinder' Mobile Phone Base Station Database

Ofcom has confirmed today that the Sitefinder database has updated information in the database.

Sitefinder is provided by Ofcom and holds information on cell sites, who operates them, what power they transmit at (and the max allowable) and what frequencies.

The operators refresh the data on a quarterly basis.

Currently updates are occuring from O2, Orange, Vodafone, 3, but not T-Mobile. There is also data from Tetra (Police radio).

Sitefinder is a useful resource but the operators have complained that making too much information available is giving away competitive info.

'Sitefinder' Mobile Phone Base Station Database

'Sitefinder' Mobile Phone Base Station Database

Ofcom has confirmed today that the Sitefinder database has updated information in the database.

Sitefinder is provided by Ofcom and holds information on cell sites, who operates them, what power they transmit at (and the max allowable) and what frequencies.

The operators refresh the data on a quarterly basis.

Currently updates are occuring from O2, Orange, Vodafone, 3, but not T-Mobile. There is also data from Tetra (Police radio).

Sitefinder is a useful resource but the operators have complained that making too much information available is giving away competitive info.

25/02/2008

Prosecution Statistics 2006/07 | Ofcom

Prosecution Statistics 2006/07 | Ofcom

Ofcom published details on the number of prosecutions and warning letters issued in the Financial Year 2006/7


There were 61 illegal broadcaster (i.e. pirate radio) prosecutions (and convictions), also 31 warning letters sent.

Citizen Band (CB) 1 prosecution (and conviction).

EMC (electromagnetic interference 1 prosecution/conviction and 1 warning.

RTTE (CE equipment - non compliance) 5 prosecutions/convictions and 22 warnings.

Others (Costal Radio) - 1 conviction/prosecution for a hoax call and 7 warnings.

So really a small part of Ofcom's work.

07/02/2008

Mobile Sector Assessment | Ofcom

Mobile Sector Assessment | Ofcom

Ofcom are holding an assessment on the mobile sector, this covers both mobile telephony and general wireless services.

Ofcom's have stated what they plan to assess, but welcome comments on their approach, preferrably by 31st March 2008.

Television Transmitter Location Maps | Ofcom

Television Transmitter Location Maps | Ofcom

Ofcom have published maps of the transmitters and coverage areas sand when they are going to be switched over to digitial. The maps are for guidance so that industry and viewers will know when switch-over will occur in their area.


The maps are available for: -

Anglia
Border
Central
Channel Islands
Granada
London
Meridian
South Wales
STV Central
STV North
Tyne Tees
Northern Ireland
Wales
West
Westcountry
Yorkshire

31/01/2008

Notification under Section 107(6) of the Communications Act 2003 - Mapesbury Communications Limited | Ofcom

Notification under Section 107(6) of the Communications Act 2003 - Mapesbury Communications Limited | Ofcom

Mapesbury Communications or MCOM have applied for "Code Powers". If granted this will give them the rights to digs roads, erect masts etc.

MCOM were awarded a low power GSM license ("Guard Band") and are launching services under the UK01 brand.

Code powers should allow them to construct a GSM network and offer competing services with the current big 5 MNOs.

28/01/2008

10, 28, 32 and 40 GHz award

The following applications have met the requirements to bid for spectrum in the 10, 28, 32 and 40 GHz bands: -

Arqiva Limited;

British Telecommunications Plc;

Digiweb Ltd;

Faultbasic Ltd;

MLL Telecom Ltd;

Orange Personal Communications Services Limited;

Red-M Services Limited;

T-Mobile (UK) Ltd;

Transfinite Systems Ltd and

UK Broadband Ltd


They still have until January 30th 2008 to pull out if they wish.

More details at Ofcom

15/01/2008

bit-tech.net | Homebrew WiFi-to-3G router

bit-tech.net | Homebrew WiFi-to-3G router

If you need to connect your laptop to the Interweb and only have a Windows Mobile 6 device (it may work with WM5) with 3G you can use Bluetooth or serial (in some circumstances).

Now there's a program that uses WiFi on the WM device that turns it into a router i.e. WiFi to 3G and devices can then connect to the WiFi and access the Internet.

Ensure that the 3G services is on a unlimited data plan or else the bills may be quite large.

The software is available from here.

10/01/2008

What's new at MacExpo Jan 15th

What are Apple going to announce at MacExpo?

* New Cinema displays? Probably in-line with the new iMacs with glass screeens.

* MacBookUltra? Seems on the cards, an ultra portable MacBookPro which touch sensitive screen, gesture/handwriting support/etc. Probably solid-state disk for fast boot-up. MacOS X has already been ported to small devices, this could extend that so as well as using technologies such as Quickview to read documents on the go, they can be edited too.

* UltraDock? A docking system for the MacBookUltra that turns it into an iMac for use in the office etc.

* 3G iPhone? It's been on the cards ever since Apple launched the original version. Supporting HSPA it will also have push-email allowing corporate users to ween off their Blackberries.

* iTunes 7.6? Well it turns out that some DVDs have already been released that have versions of the film in WMV (Windows Media Video) and H.264 (the format the iPod uses). Insert this into a Mac and a dialog pops up saying "iTunes 7.6 required". iTunes is also likely to support downloading/renting videos from the iTunes store.

It's all rumour of curse, but the keynote is on Jan 15th about 5pm UK time.

BT bets its future on broadband 20 times faster than now | Technology | The Guardian

BT bets its future on broadband 20 times faster than now | Technology | The Guardian

BT is to fibre 10,000 homes as part of a trial in Ebbsfleet next August. The system will support speeds of 100Mb/s (though this could probably be increased). It's a new build area so fibre will be part of the build-process and used instead of traditional copper telephony, presumably directly into BT's 21CN.

The service will be put in by BT Openreach meaning it will be available to other ISPs and media players as well as BT.

Though copper is currently the norm, fibre for all new-builds should be thought about. Unfortunately this doesn't cover existing infrastructure so current homes will be stuck with DSL services for a while. It's been estimated to replace the current copper would cost around £10bn and if BT did it, it would lead them into a regulatory nightmare.

Apple released new Quad Core MacPros

Ahead of next week's MacExpo in SanFran Apple have updated their MacPros with new Quad Core CPUs. Each machine can take 2 processors (so that's 8 cores), 4 hard disks (SATA or SAS), 1 or 2 16x SuperDrives, an Airport (WiFi 802.11n) and a SAS RAID controller.

The stock video card is an NVIDIA 8800, but this can be downgraded to an ATI card. However the system can now hold 4 of the ATI cards allowing a MacPro to drive 4 cinema displays simultaneously. The top of the range card is an NVidia FX4600.

If buying one, wait until Apple announces their new Cinema displays which should be at MacExpo.

telecoms.com

telecoms.com

It had to happen and now T-Mobile is offering unlimited WiFi with it's Web'n'Walk Plus and Max for £12.50 per month. Users can use any of T-Mobile's HotSpots at Starbucks, Texaco service stations and other locations.

O2 have already bundled free WiFi into their iPhone plans using The Cloud's WiFi network and BT bundle WiFi with their Internet access products.

WiFi isn't particularly good for large widescale networks, but is cheap for high speed data access compared to 3G, so it should save T-Mobile money in the long run.