Thursday, August 31, 2006

AOL's Exit From VoIP - Good News or Bad News?

I've been out all day, and have seen a lot of buzz around AOL's decision to drop its Total Talk service later this year.

I really liked Andy Abramson's take on the news, and his post has a lot of insight as to why this is actually a positive step along the way for VoIP to mature from a Voice 1.0 to a Voice 2.0 application.

AOL came to market last April, but VoIP has come a long way since then, and it's an uphill battle trying to make money with traditional POTS replacement service - as the pureplays know all too well. As Andy notes, the more recent PhoneLine offering from AIM is more in line with the future of voice, and is probably a better vehicle for AOL to retain its subscriber base and hopefully return to growth.

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Fall VON - If You're Into Asterisk...

Just a very quick post - actually a re-direct to Alec Saunders's blog post this morning. The folks at Iotum have been driving a terrific effort to bring the Asterisk community together at Fall VON. Alec has the full story on his post, and if you're into Asterisk/Open Source telephony - and will be at the show - you'll be quite impressed at all the activity they've lined up.

This mash-up builds on the success of a similar initiative I helped put together at VON Canada back in April, where everyone was pleastantly surprised at the turnout. It's great to see the momentum continuing here, and it looks like this will be a must-do thing to be a part of if you're following the Asterisk community. Great going Iotum!

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Canada's Telecom "Bill of Rights"

Only in Canada, eh.

I just wanted to note that our telecom regulator, the CRTC, has issued a "bill of rights" for consumers regarding telephone service.

The intentions seem consistent with the spirit of Internet Freedoms which proclaim our rights to choose our providers, access applications, have clear access to content, etc. It's a nice message, and am sure will assure consumers that the CRTC is acting in their best interests to ensure they can make fair, informed decisions about telecom services. Certainly for the mass market this is a good thing, as we now have so many ways of getting phone service, and most people don't live in VoIP-land.

How this plays out with the carriers remains to be seen, as clarity and fairness is not always their top priority, especially as the market becomes increasingly crowded with new offerings and bundles.

Fellow blogger Mark Goldberg is much more attuned to our regulatory issues, and I recommend reading his post for further analysis and context. In short, I agree with Mark - "set minimum standards, and let the marketplace decide".

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When Good Bloggers Do Bad Things - Maybe - RIM's Pearl Plans

Today's Globe & Mail ran an interesting story that raises questions about the impact of blogs when used to divulge corporate information before the intended time.

The story in question is about RIM, and how a blogger named Genius Boy has been forwarding information about their upcoming "Pearl" product to the popular tech site, Engadget.

While I don't expect the Globe to be first to market, I haven't seen this story covered before. So, either I'm not reading in the right places, or most people think it's a non-issue. Or maybe it's not being followed at all.

Regardless, wearing my blogger hat, I feel obliged to draw attention to the story. No doubt, it's impossible to control content on the Internet, and in general, the morals and ethics of blogging are open to wide interpretation. It's an unregulated wild west space, and people will do what they want - or can - because it's so easy to do and the downside is usually pretty limited.

Who's to say whether RIM is happy or unhappy about this? As the article points out, RIM's stock is up 30% this month, and Boy Genius is publicly taking pride and credit for this run up. What the stock price will do once the product is launched is anybody's guess.

I think this story is ripe for debate and I'm sure 100 people will have 100 different takes on it. Your comments are welcome - I'm just putting this out there, especially in light of the attention Garrett Smith has been creating for bloggers this week.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Canadian IP Thought Leaders Series - Jim Courtney on VoIP and the Skype/Google News

On this week's podcast on the Pulvermedia Podcast Network, I spoke with Jim Courtney, industry colleague and fellow blogger. Jim wears a few hats, mainly as an industry consultant, and an Associate Editor of the widely-read blog, Skype Journal.

Jim has a long history in tech/telecom, and offered his perspective on the trends he's seeing here in Canada's IP communications market. Also, having posted earlier in the day about the Google/Skype news on Skype Journal, the podcast was a timely opportunity to explore the implications of that development more deeply.

You can download the podcast here, as well as read more about Jim's background.

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VoIP Blogs - I'm Top 10 Material

Well, this sure was nice to see earlier today. I hate being so busy that I'm not able to blog in a more timely manner, but better late than never.

I met Garrett Smith earlier this year at a VoIP show, and have been meaning to stay in touch. Well, he's been staying in touch with me by reading my blog - and lots of others who commment about VoIP. I hadn't come across his blog until today, but I'm glad I did!

So, for those of you who don't know by now, Garrett has been reviewing VoIP blogs for some time and has come up with a top 30 ranking, broken up into the 3 tiers. The top tier is the top 10 he considers must-reads for ongoing everday coverage. The next 10 are basically ones you should be reading weekly, and the bottom 10 are for less regular monitoring, but still valuable nonetheless.

Well, I'm a happy guy by virtue of being ranked #4 in the top tier, with Andy Abramson #1, Om Malik #2 and Rich Tehrani #3. I have no idea what Garrett's ultimate criteria were, and he concedes this is an inexact science, but I'm not complaining to be in such good company. I follow pretty much all these blogs regularly and they're all very good.

Bottom line - you won't go wrong following any of these, and I'm just happy to be along for the ride. Thanks Garrett, for putting this together! At minimum you've made the day for 30 other bloggers, and hopefully many others will pick up on this. You can read his posting here, and from there, you'll be able to quickly link to any of the 30 blogs in his rankings.

Coda - there's a good reason why Andy is #1. I cite him regularly, and he, in fact, gets the hat tip for telling me about Garrett's posting before anyone. No doubt this buzz will spill over to the Blogger's Panel at Fall VON, which will be very nice. I can certainly tell you that many of the bloggers cited in Garrett's posting have been emailing amongst ourselves, so the inner circle buzz is quite good.

Anyhow, back to Andy. One of his many activities includes a blogging program he developed for Nokia as a means of creating awareness and momentum for their N Series handsets. I've been blogging about this for some time, and yesterday I posted a review of the N91, written by my son, Max. Today, Andy added that posting to the Nokia blog page, and it was pretty cool to see my son up there. So, I can vouch first hand for the good work Andy does - no doubt about it.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Guest Blog - Max Arnold's Nokia N91 Review

My son Max is rapidly becoming a certified geek, and he's definitely the IT guy in our household. I've been lucky enough to evaluate the Nokia N Series phones, and have been using the N90 for some time, which readers of this blog would well know.

I recently received the N91, which is sleeker and more powerful. Max has basically taken this phone, befriended it, and I have seen very little of it since. So, in return, Max is sharing his view on the N91 in this guest posting.


He may just be a budding teenager, but in terms of a lifestyle demographic, he's an ideal user to evaluate this phone. There are several terrific reviews out there for this phone, but all are from an adult user's perspective. I'll bet this is the only one you're going to find out there written by a teenager. I really try, folks, to bring you content you won't find anywhere else! So here's the story, in Max's own words....

As soon as I opened the Purolator box, I knew it was gonna be one heckuva phone. Seeing that it was part of the Nokia N series, where I had already had a good impression from my Dad's N90 with its 2 megapixel lens, great layout, and features like Bluetooth. Only mine sported a 802.11 wireless network card to access wireless internet networks anywhere in the world, which came in very handy when we were up on vacation, and I needed to check my email, a 4 Gigabyte hard drive (about 170 times the size of the n90's storage space), dedicated MP3 buttons, and a 3.5 mm optical audio port on the top with an mp3 player-style �lock� switch on the top that puts the phone in keypad lock mode.

Another feature that I was particularly impressed with was the sliding keypad cover to make the phone smaller and have the number pad only open when necessary. When the sliding cover is closed, no space is wasted at all � the dedicated MP3 buttons are mounted on that cover, and still remain active and functional when the cover is open, so you could be halfway through dialing a number with your music playing, you could hit the pause button, and then finish dialing, unlike certain other electronic devices like this where you can only use one of those functions at one time.

Only things I disliked about the physical layout were that the mono speaker was placed right beside the volume switch, and when you're adjusting the volume, sometimes your thumb covers the speaker and makes the sound sound warped, I also disliked the placement of the menu button � on the right side, instead of on the keypad � very awkward.

Wireless card allows you to access the internet at no cost from your carrier � whopping 4 gb hard drive allows you to store every video, picture and song you could ever imagine. Phone looks great while charging in the included cradle.

Still full of glitches. Occasionally, the media gallery empties itself, and you have to re-point your files from the file manager, which can be quite a pain. Also, a mono speaker doesn't do much when it comes to playing multimedia.

Bottom line: once this thing is fully edited for bugs, re-places its menu button, and gets stereo speakers, this phone will have reached its full potential as a smartphone.

Next steps: If Nokia makes a higher-grade model of the N91, judging by its features, I say it could do even better having a larger screen with touch-screen on board, and maybe even a built-in email client.

Finally, a photo taken at our local diner, showing some nice depth of field from the N91:


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Next Year, Next Year

Last time I commented about the Red Sox I said I wouldn't get into a lengthy post-mortem. The Boston Massacre II had taken place, and well, it was pretty clear that when it matters, the 2006 Red Sox are not in the same league as the Yankees. It's hard to come out and say that, and for much of the season it wasn't true. But it's true now, and the Fenway sweep pretty much says it all.

When the Sox play well, they're solid - not a complete team, but top tier. But looking at where these two teams are at now, and the road ahead, a positional breakdown comes out heavily in NY's favor:

Lowell/Hinske vs. A-Rod - NY
Gonzalez/Cora vs. Jeter - NY
Loretta vs. Cano - NY
Youklis vs. Giambi - NY
Varitek/Mirabelli vs. Posada - BOS (maybe)
Ramirez vs. Sheffield/? - BOS - but not by much
Coco vs. Damon - NY - in spades
Nixon/Pena/Kapler vs. Abreu/Matsui - NY
Ortiz vs. anyone else - BOS - in spades
Top 3 starters - EVEN - slight edge to BOS
Starting rotation - EVEN - both inconsistent
Middle relief - NY
Setup - NY
Papelbon vs. Rivera - NY
Francona vs. Torre - NY
Epstein vs. Cashman - NY - this time around
Heart/soul/desire/will/clutch - NY

Looking at like this, it's really hard to see how the Red Sox can come out ahead, and even though there are 30+ games left, you just know it's over. Ever the optimist, I still held out some hope after the big sweep. After all, the Sox hit the road, regroup and maybe get their mojo back. And yes, the Yankees have faltered, and if things were going right, the Sox could still be in range. But the Yankees have left the Sox on the mat, and they've shown no signs of getting up.

Six games into this road trip, and it's clear, they're not bouncing back, and it just looks to me like they've stopped playing for Tito and conceded the season. Now the injuries are popping up, and all kinds of things will start to go wrong. The Red Sox psyche is fragile by nature, and when it falters, it spirals downward in a hurry. No doubt there will be housecleaning, and Coco is looking a lot like Edgar Renteria. If Vernon Wells chooses not to stay here in Toronto, he would be a huge upgrade for the Sox, and this is one case where they won't lose him to the Yankees.

So, I'll leave it at that, and just wonder a bit if the Babe is still looking over our shoulder...

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Source: Boston Public Library

Finally, the inspiration for this posting came from an email one of my long-time Boston friends sent the other day, and wraps things up nicely...


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Web Apps Developer Wanted

Got another hiring I�m trying to help someone out on. This is for a fast-growing IP operator in Western Canada. They�re building out their developer team to help create cool apps for the enterprise and SMB market. Sounds like a great opportunity and a pretty nice quality of life environment. Drop me a line if you want to know more.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Canadian IP Thought Leaders Series - Jim Van Meggelen on Open Source

If you�re interested in Open Source telephony, this is the podcast for you. Jim Van Meggelen is here in Toronto with me, and is as involved as anybody in this space.

We got to know each other earlier this year while I was helping put together an Open Source event as part of VON Canada. It was a very successful event, as it really helped get the Toronto Asterisk developer community (North America's largest) better exposed to the broader IP communications community.

Jim and I talked about current trends in Open Source telephony, as well as some of the cool things it can bring to add all kinds of innovative functionality. Along those lines we touched on the Asterisk plug-in developed by Iotum, an Ottawa-based vendor that readers of this blog should be familiar with. It's another great example of how Canadian companies are at the forefront of IP.

You can download the podcast here, as well as read more about Jim. He's also the co-author of the best-selling book, Asterisk, The Future of Telephony, published by O'Reilly. It's a great read, both for techies and everybody else who just wants to know where Open Source is coming from and where it's going.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Rebtel - the Next Skype?

Leave it to the Scandinavians to yet again come up with the next best thing. I've been away from the blogs for a few days, and just came across Jeff Pulver's entries from earlier this week about his trip to Sweden. On his Tuesday post, Jeff reveals the reason for his trip - to visit Rebtel, a Stockholm-based startup that is doing for mobile VoIP what Skype has done for the PC.

Jeff does a great job explaining what Rebtel is doing and why they could become a real disruptor in the mobile market - he's definitely a fan now. There are an infinite variety of twists for VoIP calling plans, and nobody has found the holy grail yet, and Rebtel is another step along athe way.

In a nutshell, here's how it works. Like Skype, or any IM platform, you first need to be in the club, so to speak. So, once you have your Rebtel buddies, it just costs $1 a week to have free mobile-to-mobile calling. Say I'm here in Toronto, and I have a Rebtel friend in Vancouver. The $1/week fee gives you access to local phone numbers, so in this case, my Vancouver friend gets a Toronto-based phone number, and once that's in place, we talk free, as if it was a local call. There's more to it than that, but I think you get the idea. Currently, Rebtel works in 30 countries, and of course the economics are much more compelling when making calls from country-to-country.

I'm commenting on Jeff's post mainly because it's the first blog piece I've seen about them. I learned about Rebtel recently via a consulting project, but there was nothing I could really post about. They since slid off my radar, and until now, I haven't seen anything out there about them. So it was great to see Jeff's post, especially since he's sharing his first hand impressions. I can't think of too many other people who will pick up and go to Sweden just to check out a new company. Jeff may be pretty focused on video these days, but his heart is still in voice!

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Dark Side of Net Neutrality

I'm not following Net Neutrality that closely right now, but I'm interested enough to draw attention to a very interesting initiative local colleague Mark Goldberg is part of.

He posted about this earlier today, and it's worth sharing in terms of where an unbridled Internet can readily go in places that can't possibly be good. This is a story in progress, and Mark has noted that it's already been picked up in the Canadian press, so this is far from just being a blogosphere issue.

In short, Mark is part of a group that has filed an application to the CRTC, requesting they give carriers the power to block access to websites that are clearly not in the interest of the public good. As it stands, carriers need to get permission from the CRTC to do so, and as such, a mechanism does exist, but one that is not very efficient or practical for the Internet.

The article and Mark's blog go into greater detail about the specific issues, but it's basically about hate groups and how they use websites to spread their message, and in this case, to incite others to undertake acts of violence against people they do not care for.

Ugly stuff for sure, and I'd call it the dark side of Net Neutrality. With freedom come obligations and responsibilities, and someone has to draw the line between the right to individual expression and what is in the best interest of the public good in a free society. The Internet cuts both ways as a communications channel, and has always been rife with excess and abuse. While the basic principles of Net Neturality are worth fighting for, I think it's perfectly reasonable to empower carriers with the right to block content for things that are so clearly on the wrong side of the law.

Sure, this could also make it easier for carriers to block content that is not in their own economic interest, but that's not the issue here. To some extent they have to be expected to demonstrate good corporate citizenship, especially when there are no economic issues involved. Perhaps this is just the Canadian way, but I don't think so. I just see it as doing the right thing. To that end, I wish Mark and his colleagues good luck in their application.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Jazz Ringtones � Who Says Art and Commerce Don�t Mix?

Don�t get me wrong, I love VoIP, and think tech is pretty cool, but if I was stranded on an island with the choice of one inanimate distraction, it would be a piano, hands-down. Jazz and blues are real core passions, and when a jazz buddy shared this with me, I just had to post about it.

If you�re a jazz fan, you know all about Blue Note Records - and if you don�t, but want to, look for me at VON, and we�ll walk over to Berklee and go from there. Anyhow, Blue Note recently launched a series of custom ringtones, drawing from their incredible catalog of modern jazz, mostly from the 50s and 60s. The jazz mind thrills to the thought of having the cell phone ring with classics like Watermelon Man, My Funny Valentine or Straight No Chaser. And my favorite, Horace Silver�s Song For My Father. If you�re a big-time Steely Dan fan like me, you�ll really want that one. In case you don�t know it, this is the tune the catchy riff from Ricky Don�t Lose That Number was lifted from. Check it out if you don�t believe me�..

And to whet your appetite,I can think of no better image to bring this together than the vintage Blue Note album from one of my faves, Dexter Gordon � appropriately titled Dexter Calling, with a cover shot of Dex making a call from a phone booth. How cool is that? Of course if Dex was still with us, he'd be doing it today with a mobile phone.

Dexter Callilng.jpg

Nobody ever thought ring tones would be a big business, and it�s incredible what people will � and will not � spend money on. As frivolous as ring tones are, Blue Note is simply extending the idea in a creative way that totally works for their audience. It�s tasteful and hip at the same time � not crass marketing, and it�s not Warholian pop culture. And if it liberates a few disposable dollars from cell phone users and funnels them back to the jazz community, then we have capitalism that even Castro would like.

That�s what�s so great about IP and a lot of today�s other technologies � they work equally well for a large market as for a niche market. In that regard, IP is a lot like the improvisational nature of jazz � it�s flexible, open, and thrives on user-defined content and highly personalized experiences. Now if we could just make jazz as popular�..

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Back to Work - Fall VON Ramp Up

It's great being on vacation, but there's no way to ease back to work. I've had 4 briefings today, and not much bandwidth left to get back into a working rhythm. I can see it will take a few days to catch up on news and old emails and re-energize for things like blogging. When I'm on vacation, I'm on vacation, so I have no idea what's been happening in the last week. But I'll have to work fast to catch up as back-to-school is around the corner, and when you have kids, there's no escaping what's needed to re-program them.

That said, one thing I do know is that Fall VON is coming up fast. It's certainly worth citing since this is the 10th anniversary, which I think is a pretty big deal in this space, and Jeff will receiving a healthy share of well-deserved kudos over the next while.

You don't have to look far to get a taste for the buzz around this event, which is going to be the biggest VON yet, and one with a fresh focus on video, which Jeff has been keenly focused on all year. Easiest place is to go directly to the source, as in Jeff's blog, where he posted about the show today.

I'll be attending the full conference, so feel free to let me know if you want to connect that week. You can also catch me on the Analyst Roundtable on Monday afternoon, during the FMC pre-conference track.

To close off here, I can't mention being in Boston in September without talking about the Red Sox. Normally, this creates conflicts for me at Fall VON, but not this year, certainly after today. I'm as die-hard as they come, but as of about 1:15am early this morning, I conceded the season. It's not worth talking about, but over a beer in the Back Bay at VON, I'm happy to deconstruct the season and Theo-rize about how to put Humpty Dumpty back together again for 2006. Any takers?

And to bring this back to Jeff, the Yankees are all yours. It's not going to be the 1986 Mets/Sox rematch I was thinking about, but rather another NY subway series.

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Andy Abramson on Mobile VoIP

Well, I haven't quite left for vacation yet. Am catching up on last week's emails before we go, and I just got wind of this clip. So, here's a bonus blog post for your viewing pleasure.

If anyone knows about mobile VoIP it's Andy Abramson, and he does a great job talking about its potential during this TV segment for Oakland-based KTVU TV.

Nicely done interview, and Andy gets to show off all his gadgets, including the fabulous Nokia N90, which is always by my side these days.

As a sidebar, the interview inadvertently picked up on one of the realities of mobile VoIP today - it's not that easy to use. Andy had a dual mode Nokia E61 in his arsenal, but couldn't use it in the hotel where the interview took place. As with most hotspots, you have to pay to use it, which is not something everyone is going to be in a rush to do just to make a WiFi phone call.

The vast majority of hotspot WiFi usage is for data - checking email, surfing the Net, etc. Voice is a relatively new feature, so even though this story was a feel-good feature about mobile VoIP, the infrastructure and business models aren't quite there yet - even though we've got dual mode handset out there now.

The wireless carriers want to keep those calls off-net and on their billable cellular network for as long as possible. I'm afraid all carriers are cut from the same cloth. It's the same rationale that RBOCs have in taking their time bringing VoIP to market - it just cannibalizes their TDM traffic, so they're going to hang on as long as they possibly can.

Hat tip to Alec Saunders as well, who added his thoughts earlier today.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Summer Vacation - Part 2

It's been a light week for blogging as I've been busy fulfilling work after being off the previous week, plus we're away again next week.

So, my blog will be quiet for another week, and hope to resume posting next weekend. Time to recharge and think about other things....

Wall St. Telecom Equity Analyst Seeks New Opportunity

I don't often do this, but I try to help people when I can.

A colleague who works on Wall Street as a telecom and IP communications analyst is currently on the hunt for a new opportunity.

Both sell and buy side research positions are of interest, as are potential opportunities with young companies in the industry. If you would like to explore this further, please email me and we'll get in touch.

No agencies please!

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Canadian IP Thought Leaders Series - Barry Fogarty, Diginiche

On this week's podcast, I spoke with Barry Fogarty. He's the President of Toronto-based startup Diginiche. This is a very interesting company I came across at the Canadian Venture Forum back in May, and have been wanting to pod with them ever since.

Their focus is on real time, interactive web-based collaboration. It's one of those Web 2.0-type apps that you really have to see. The best I can do is steer you to a video clip I made of a demo that Barry gave me at the Forum. You can get to the clip via my blog posting about what I saw at the Forum.

On the podcast, Barry spoke at greater length about the opportunities he's seeing in the collaboration space, and how a simple, browser-based application like his really opens up the possibilities for creative forms of online collaboration.

You can download the podcast here, as well as read more about Barry.

I should also note that my podcasts can also be accessed at the Vonosphere, a portal just launched last week for a variety of Pulvermedia content, including the Pulvermedia Podcast Network.

FYI - no podcast next week - am away on the second leg of our summer vacation. Will be back with a new pod the following week.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Vacation Photos - Nokia N90 and N91

Just wanted to share a few vacation photos from our Great White North road trip, along with some brief comments. I used the Nokia N90, Max used the N91, and we both used the family Sony Cybershot. Can you tell the difference?

An unplanned visit - just had to pay homage to Bobby Orr in Parry Sound - view from the front, and looking out the back...


Once you get out of Toronto and into the Near North, you see a lot of rocks. Not too many phones booths though - remember these?

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Manitoulin Island - the largest freshwater island in the world. The plaque may be hard to read, but it tells the story of this historic mill that was totally repurposed over the years as times changed. It went from being a pulp mill to a hydro station, and now it houses artist's wares among other things. Made me think about the PSTN a bit, wondering how it may be repurposed once things become end-to-end IP. That's a ways off, but like the building in this picture, the structure is pretty solid and can still be used for other things.

northern ontario and old pics 060.jpgnorthern ontario and old pics 061.jpg

Dynamic Earth attraction in Sudbury. Went on an underground tour to see how mining has evolved over the years. First photo - a video camera to monitor activity. Just above the camera is a yellow wire running horizontally. That carries the radio wires so the walkie talkies will work. The tour guide said that cell phones will work well in the mines, but neither Max nor I got a signal. Still, a pretty challenging environment for communications, and it's easy to see how valuable wireless can be there. Next photo - Canada's only underground mail box.

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The Big Nickel, also at Dynamic Earth. It's certainly the largest nickel in the world, but I have it on good word that it's actually made of tin! One photo is with the N91 and one is with the Sony. Any guesses?

northern ontario and old pics 160.jpgImage135.jpg

Sauble Beach - late afternoon, and a spectacular sunset


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Monday, August 7, 2006

The Vonosphere is Here

Half the fun of creating something new is coming up with a name for it. Vonosphere is the name of Jeff Pulver's latest initiative, which launched late last week while I was away on vacation. Some of it is old and some is new, and on the whole, it's good. Basically the Vonosphere is a portal for many of Jeff's communications vehicles - blogs, podcasts and VON Magazine. It's a nice form of brand extension for the VON franchise, and I think it's a great one-stop shop for anyone looking to connect with the IP communications community.

To learn more about what the Vonosphere is, editor Paul Kapustka explains. He's the Pulvermedia point man for all this, and is also one of the bloggers in Jeff's stable. My blog falls under this umbrella as well, plus I produce a weekly podcast about the Canadian IP market for the Pulvermedia Podcast Network, so by extension, I'm happy to see this come together.

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Nokia's Blogger Program Getting Kudos

Back from vacation now, and there were some pretty good stories last week, but from what I can see, they've been well covered, and there's nothing to add for now.

I did, however, want to pick up on one item that I have a small connection to. On Saturday, the Washington Post ran a story that had high praise for how the blogger community is being used to help market products. A key focus was on the blog-based marketing program created for Nokia by uberblogger and colleague Andy Abramson, and his agency, Communicano.

The article talked about how a micro-community of 50 bloggers were used to evaluate Nokia's sleek N-Series phones, which I am a part of. I have been commenting about the N90 phone on my blog for some time, and my son has just started using the N91, and we've got some blog posts coming about that. I think this form of Internet-based marketing is very creative and totally valid - which is basically the gist of the story in the Post.

It's really great to see Andy's program get such mainstream coverage and validation, and no doubt Nokia is a happy client. And speaking of Andy, now that I'm back online, I'd just like to pass on best wishes for his birthday!

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