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Telepresence In The Home: Who’s On First?

Cisco today introduced umi, it’s effort to bring telepresence from the board room into the living rooms of the world. Umi (pronounced like “you me”) attaches to an existing HDTV via an HDMI connection and is said to support HD video calling.

Depending upon your available bandwidth umi can provide 720p or 1080i video streams. They quote 720p as requiring 1.5 mbps in each direction, while 1080 requires 3.5 mbps. Those numbers suggest the umi is not supporting the H.264 High Profile compression profile that Polycom has used on their systems. H.264 High Profile makes more efficient use of bandwidth, according to Polycom it’s bandwidth requirements are as little as half that of competitive systems.

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A Blackberry User Considers Android

I’ve been a loyal Blackberry user  for about four years. RIM not long ago released the Blackberry Torch to modest fanfare in the US. While Jim Courtney tells me that it’s worth a look, it’s only offered by AT&T, which makes it a non-starter for me.

In contrast, today marks the official launch of the G2 on T-Mobile. With it’s landscape mode keyboard the G2 just might be the handset that entices me to make the leap to Android. I’m going to try and lay hands on one this evening. Further, my wife wants a new handset as well. We might be in the market for a pair of handsets.

This comes at an interesting time as Counterpath just this week announced the pending release of Bria For Android. Todd Carothers’ blog has something to say about this release. The availability of a solid SIP client on Android is a welcome thing, although I’ve heard good things about SIPDroid. It’s nice to have options.

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This Week: Pittsburgh, Mifi vs Wifi, Radio Shack, Make Magazine & Halloween

<RAMBLE> This week was just chock full of unexpected stuff. Whereas I had thought I was going to be at home learning about virtualisation in support of an upcoming project I got word that some kind of software sorcery was required at the site of troubled project in Pittsburgh. By the end of the day Wednesday, and with very little notice, I was ensconced in the Omni William Penn hotel in down town Steel Town.

The William Penn is Pittsburgh’s oldest hotel. It’s beautiful inside the lobby and common areas. It’s an Omni so the rooms are well appointed with great beds & flat screen TVs. Being older the rooms aren’t all that large, but they are nice.

Internet access is by way of wifi which costs $9.95/day. Normally I wouldn’t care about such matters as I’d have my trusty Sprint Mifi along in my bag. Part of the argument in getting my employer to pay for the Mifi every month is that I don’t pay for broadband by the night in hotels anymore.

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Myth-busting: Audio Bandwidth vs Data Bandwidth


Few things get me as agitated as the flagrant spreading of disinformation on the part of the plainly ignorant or apathetic. How’s that as an opening line for an argument? Well, it’s a fact.

As mentioned previously, recent weeks have seen some developments in the war against low-def voice. HDVoice service in the UK is getting easier to find, even in the mobile space.

This is very encouraging. Like the adoption of color TV, or music on CD, or video on DVD, the publics exposure to the new technology will create demand where once the established industry players thought there would be none.

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VoIP At Large: Taking Lessons From The World Around Us

My wife tells me I’m obsessed. In the course of going about our daily lives I notice things that most other people don’t. Given my proclivities, I usually notice interesting telecom equipment in action. Sometimes it’s simply product placement on television and in movies, other times it’s telecom tools in action at real-world installations.

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