Tuesday, December 26, 2006

On Vacation

Hey... I am on vacation for now, so it is impossible for me to post in the blog for now. I will be back in January.... Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Internet Telephony vs. IP Telephony – Why is Skype not a business tool

People tend to confuse Internet Telephony, Voice-over-IP, and IP Telephony. Even if you search the term on Wikipedia, they are considered the same terms, but in reality they are not.
In a nutshell, Internet Telephony is a service like Skype or Jajah. That is a service where you use a connection to the Internet to generate a call to another Internet connected end-point or legacy land-line telephone termination point. On the other hand, Voice-over-IP (VoIP) is the “action” of using an underlying IP network to carry Voice traffic on top of it. This could be using the Internet or any other IP network (e.g. a corporate IP network). Finally, IP Telephony is the term used for the “technology” of using any IP network as media for telephone calls. Here are some examples:

Cisco CallManager
When combined with the whole suite (e.g. IP Phones, MeetingPlace, Unity) Cisco CallManager is a true IP Telephony System. Every feature that can be done in a legacy PBX or Key System, is done at an IP level (call routing, messaging, conferencing, trunking). But in addition to that, the business benefits are much greater: lower operational expenses with toll bypass, lower total cost of ownership (that is the solution as a whole, in time, is less expensive), and an IP based layered model for building unlimited application services on top (e.g. Music-on-hold and ring tones, XML services, true high-availability with spatial redundancy, clustering, greater scalability, video, etc.)
One of the most common benefits is Toll Bypass. Whenever anyone talks about IPT or even Internet Telephony, Toll Bypass is what you are looking for: inexpensive long distance calls. Well, the key thing to understand here is that IPT is much more than just Toll Bypass. It’s the potential that the IP network brings to the communication system, through applications and design practices.

In summary, if you are considering moving to IPT for your business, look into this kind of solutions instead of Vonage or Skype. IPT systems are enterprise level solutions with lots of business benefits.

It’s a low-cost (free between subscribers) long-distance phone call system using your regular land-line or mobile phone as the termination points. That is, an Internet Telephony service. You tell the service what number you are calling from and what number you would like to call. The service then calls both parties and connects them.
Its target market is consumers who live abroad and call their home countries with relative frequency. It’s not meant for business, because it is an Internet Telephony service, with a stronger value proposition than Skype or Vonage. You need no special software in your computer to make a phone call, or any adapter. You simply create an account, and use your regular phone.

IP PBX or IP Key System
This is just a band-aid to an old technology. Some Key Systems and PBXs have special cards that you can use to connect it to an IP network. It is typically used for administration of the system and for H.323 trunks between key systems for toll bypass. They don’t build on top of a layered model as an IPT system, but instead attempt to offer some of the benefits.

In summary, if you are looking for a voice system for work, then choose an IPT solution like Cisco Unified Communications which brings IPT to the fullest and even expands it to video if you want. On the other hand, if you are looking for a service to lower your phone bill at home, contract an Internet Telephony service provider like Vonage or Jajah.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Professional Social Networking - "Is not who you know, it's who knows you"

LinkedIn is an Online Professional Social Networking tool. You sign-in and connect to professional contacts. You can invite friends and expand your network up to three levels (i.e. someone who knows someone who knows you). It's exclusive for professional contacts, nothing like MySpace.

Some of the benefits for you are: It gives you immediate business exposure to anyone (e.g. recruiters, business opportunities, potential employees, potential employers, consultants, old friends, develop relationships, etc.) As a simple example, if you want to do some market research, you can seek people in your network and use them for your study; all in one place.

A simple web-based networking software backend. The core is the social networking engine, but apart from that it's a web application.

Some features:
You can download a plug-in for Outlook and upload all your contacts to then automatically see who is part of LinkedIn already. You can also send customized messages to invite connections. Online services are great for freelancers, entrepreneurs and people looking for a long list of services.

Best thing is that it is f
ree. You can pay for a fee and have access to the whole network, but that's not really necessary to find this beneficial.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wilderness Survival

As some of you who read CNET or ZDNET frequently know, what happened to James Kim (CNET's Editor) this month sparked concerns about surviving in the wilderness in case of something going wrong. This has become worse with such TV shows on Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel like "Survivorman" (My favorite by far!), "Man vs Wild", and "I Shouldn't be alive".
For those who know me personally, you know I am found of the outdoors since I remember, and this naturally concerns me.... oh yeah, and I love thous shows (except for "Man vs Wild"... the guy is just weird).
Anyway, I found this great video about items that you should always keep in your car. Some are not really a "must have" (e.g. an auto-warmed meal), but others you ought to have (e.g. a First Aid kit). I would add that you have to take a Red Cross certified First Aid course and get a first aids kit (This is a good one). I took my first one this year and even though I haven't used my new skills in practice, the change in mind-set is very good. You learn how to react, and what to do under those circumstances.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Desktop Search Tool: X1 Enterprise Client

OK... another very useful tool that I use and now depend on for my everyday work: X1 Desktop Search <download here>.

It helps you search for those lost documents that you saved about a month ago, but don't know where. You can search your Email Inbox (works with POP3 and IMAP), Sent Items and other Email Folders. You can also search for Files, Pictures, Music, Outlook Calendar Events, Outlook Tasks, Outlook Contacts and your whole HDD.

This used to be a paid application... now it is free. Here's a screenshot

How do you use it: The idea is that you type what you want to search for (e.g. Financials) and it automatically searches the hard drive for you. You don't even have to hit Enter, and it will display a preview of the file (exactly where the word was found).

I also tried Yahoo Desktop (They OEM'ed X1, with the difference that Yahoo's crashes all te time), and Google Desktop (which was not as flexible as X1).

Testing Online RSS Feed Reader: Netvibes wins

 Since I got tired of getting hundreds of emails with news, and I simply don't like Opera's embedded RSS Feeds Reader, I went for a quest for the ultimate online RSS Feed Reader.
I tested the following (you can add my feed by clicking on the menu on the right):

  1. My Yahoo! - I don't like the ads and banners embedded. They polute.
  2. CNET's Newsburst - for some reason had broken links all over the place.
  3. Netvibes - So far the best, I am testing it and using it to see how it goes.
The best things about netvibes is that you can embbed your own feeds, search for blogs, and even see your emails (with POP3, IMAP, GMail, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail accounts). You can also search the web directly on the reader. So far I give it an A+.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Cisco TelePresence: Named Best Product by BusinessWeek

Pretty Cool. Check out slide 17 of this BusinessWeek Article


Blogs can change your life and business... Let's see

Yesterday I decided to start this blog based on an article from this month's Business 2.0 magazine. In that article, a famous NYC Venture Capitalist (who, by the way, I've never heard of, but here's his blog: avc.blogs.com) explains how critical it is to have a blog.... So I decided to investigate.
A little history: I put together my first web presence in 1994 with the ULAPO project. It was a static HTML website in CompuServe's servers. To check out the site you had to key-in a 10 character code corresponding to the username... I you couldn't change it!.
Anyway, when the web became mainstream, the fear for identity theft and a job in Network Security made me realize the importance of "Net Anonymity". So I avoided having a personal website, or even signing someone else's "Guest Book". My email was only for family, and I would even have different email accounts for my subscriptions to mailinglists - with fake Full Names, of course.
Now, I read about this guy and he has a very good point about blogs.... why keep that anonymity, when it can actually be productive to "be" in the web. So I had to do some research. My starting point: Google. Of course, I got a gazillion results for "bloging...did you mean blogging?". My next step.... search directly in renown magazines and news sites (e.g. CNET.com, WSJ.com, BusinessWeek.com), and I found the perfect article: believe it or not, this week's BusinessWeek top story is titled "Blogs Will Change your Business". It is great! I Highly recommend it (maybe December is Blog's Month)
The article explains why it is important to have a blog, why care, and some people that have been successful about it. It is not that you need to have a Journalism degree, or a career in the media.... it's anyone.... not even frustrated reporters... it's anyone. Indeed the web is a great tool for reporters, and it has created a new type of freelance reporters out there, but that's not the point. The benefit can be huge for any company in any industry - low cost advertisement, brand exposure, customer education channel, sales channel, you name it...
A little disclaimer though: It's important to say, that employees have got into big trouble with their employers due to a simple blog posting. In the BusinessWeek's article, there is an example of a Google employee who posted complaints about his Health Insurance (compared it with his previous employer, Microsoft) and got fired. Some people tend to disclose company secrets.... the newest feature of the newest product that will come out next year... if you are going to post in blogs, do it with care.
The popular blog search engine, technorati.com, posted the following results for "New Blogs Per Day" for the last year and a half.

Now, do you notice how the number just went down in the last month's data?.... why is that?.... maybe people got tire of creating blogs and blogs, and decided to consolidate them in one, or concentrate they're writing efforts in one... who knows, but I will definitely see if I can keep up with this writing almost everyday... we'll see.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Bloging from Email

This bloging technology is amazing... as I explore it more and more,  I am simply more amazed: apparently you can publish by just sending an email. This opens it up for you to post to the web with a cell phone, laptop, or anywhere you are. Plain amazing!

Let's get started

After years of concerns about Privacy and Identity Theft, I have decided to start MyBlog. I created it to post thoughts and opinions in four differnet categories:

  1. Technology and Innovation - topics of interest in those areas
  2. News - some news that caught my interest and attention
  3. Personal - anything personal (there will be very little of this)
  4. Admin - anything related to the administration of MyBlog
To start with a little description: I am passionate about technology, and not consider myself a geek (contrarie to many people who pride themselves on the term, I think it is plain silly). I simply like it and like adopting it because of how it can solve everyday issues and ease our life.
I'm not talking about that new product that is useless but has millions of  dollars of research and brain power on it just because it seems cool, but rather the simple item that solves a specific problem and saves time or money (e.g. TiVo, Google, or even a laptop, etc.)

You can be part of MyBlog in several ways: First, if you want to subscribe to RSS Feeds and read my posting using your favorite RSS Feed Reader, click here. Second, you can comment on any of my posting by clicking the appropriate link at the bottom of the post. And third, of course, I plan to add advetisement related to what I write; you can click on them if you find them interesting. 

I hope this is useful or interesting to both you and me.... thanks for stoping by.

Oh... by the way... if my writing/grammar is confusing sometimes, it's because I am not a native english speaker :)