A Readership Milestone: Over 3500 in May

I started writing this blog just over six months ago. It was largely a reaction to the fact that I saw a lot of people in various places asking the same questions over and over again. How do I make the best of VOIP in my home or home office? What is QoS? How do I ensure call quality?

I’ve been involved with VOIP in one fashion or another since 1997. Back then I lived in Toronto and was engaged to my lovely wife, who lived in Texas. Back then dial-up was the primary means of internet access and long distance calling was costly. We used software from Vocaltech to stay in touch over 1800 miles apart.

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New Web Site On Michael Gerzon, Surround Pioneer

This morning on the sursound mailing list I read about a nice new web site detailing the life of the late Michael Gerzon.

Michael Gerzon is a mathematician and pioneer in surround sound theory. He invented the Ambisonic approach to accurately recording an acoustic event. His theories and techniques were a topic of profound interest to me while I was in College.

Now that I’m older, and better funded, I find that I’m revisiting surround sound and specifically Ambisonics as an aspect of planning for my forthcoming home theater installation.

Telecom Junkies On Disaster Planning & Recovery

OK, so maybe I consider myself a Telecom Junky these days. I’ve been listening to these podcasts from The Voice Report for a while. They’re mostly aimed at enterprise concerns beyond SOHO scale but the most recent one on disaster recovery is very interesting.

They include on the call the telecom manager from the New Orleans airport speaking about disaster recovery and planning post hurricane Katrina. This is really interesting stuff. Even home office dwellers can take a lesson from the matters being discussed. Planning in advance is critical.

I feel a particular affinity towards New Orleans. Not only because it’s a great town and I also live in hurricane alley. But because WWL-TV are a customer and good friends of mine. They are the local TV station that stayed on-air through Katrina, even as they relocated to Baton Rouge. They’re a fine example of what local broadcasting is supposed to be about. Service to the public. They were positively heroic.

Siemens S675IP & The Great Randulo

Judging from today’s post-recording VUC call Randy (aka Randulo) seems quite taken by his new Siemens S675IP SIP-DECT system. He’s written about it a couple of places including the VUC Ning site and over on his HUB Pages psuedo-blog.

Between his experience and Alan Lord’s earlier review I’m thinking seriously about acquiring one myself. If it works as well as they say then it would be a good home phone, where we’d like to have several handsets. The ability to remotely provision the contact list is key.

Since it’s G.722 capable it would provide another end-point for testing wideband calling when I finally get a Polycom IP650, IP550 or IP670. Wideband intercom in the house sounds like a nice idea, too.

The trouble is it’s not available in the US. The older C450 is available here, but that looks to be a much less evolved device. Maybe I can source them in the UK and have them shipped to my employer’s head office in Cambridge.

UPDATE: I just ordered the system with three handsets from a vendor in Glasgow, for shipment to Cambridge. It may be a while before it gets to Houston, but we’re definitely giving it a try. I’m such a sucker for new hardware.

Video Phones Revisited With OnSIP

While doing some admin tasks today I stumbled upon a recent post by Mike Oeth at the Junction Networks blog. He says:

As long as the video is using the SIP standard, we at Junction Networks are all for it. Our OnSIP Hosted PBX already supports video codecs using the SIP standards. Today, any customer with a video phone can make video calls.

He further states:

Oddly, however, I have the capability and most of us here at Junction Networks have video cameras, but I do not make it a habit to make video calls for business. My kids call the grandparents on the video phone every now and then, but as a business tool, at least here, it has not caught on. Does anyone have an industry where they use the video phone all the time? If so, I would love to hear about it.

Amen. That about sums up the state of video phones in general.

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