New Gear: The Viewsonic gTablet

viewsonic-gtablet-300Last week offered the 10.1” Viewsonic gTablet for the very attractive price of $279. Being enamored of my Android 2.2 powered G2 phone I found the offer too good to pass up. I ordered one for myself.

I’ve ordered a few things from previously, based upon that experience I didn’t expect the goods to arrive too quickly. However, I was pleasantly surprised when it arrive Saturday afternoon.

From a perspective of pure hardware specifications the gTablet is amongst the first of a new generation of Tegra2-based Android tablets. The 1 GHz dual-core processor certainly feels peppy. The gTablet’s multi-media capabilities seem impressive. It plays movies, even 1080p HD movies, quite well.

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ClearOne Chat 160 Earned Its Keep This Past Week

Clear-One-Chat160-200Last Fall I bought a ClearOne Chat 160 USB attached conference audio device. It was purchased to make it easier for Tim Panton to gather the Asterisk Dev crowd to join the VUC call following Astricon 2010.  In that role it seemed at least adequate, much better than what we used at Astricon 2009.

Since then the ClearOne Chat 160 has loitered about my office seeing only occasional use. This past week I shipped it to Milwaukee with some Pixel Power equipment that I was supposed to demonstrate. This demo was to be a little unusual in that I wasn’t going to Milwaukee myself.

The plans was that I was to give the demo remotely. Our salesman would bring the equipment in to the prospects site, get it setup and online. I would be given access using GotoMeeting. For a portion of the demo I’d drive the gear from my office in Houston. For a second portion I’d show them the desktop of the system that I was using, which gave an example of how the product they were evaluating would be integrated into their facility.

Some of what they saw would be local to them, providing real HD video output to a proper HD monitor. Locally they would be able to assess the output quality and the basic performance of the hardware. The systems that they viewed remotely would serve as an example of the newsroom workflow tools that we provider, giving them a view of the news dept role in preparing graphics for each newscast.

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LADSPA Integrated Into FreeSWITCH

For me one of the great frustrations of conference bridges is that they don’t give you the kind of control of audio properties that is commonly found in even simple audio mixing and editing suites. Wideband conference services, like ZipDX, make the conference experience a lot better, but there’s a lot of room for improvement.

Of course, this comes from the perspective of someone who has spent their working life in audio/video production, and only came to voip & podcasting later in life. Yes, a veritable Michael-come-lately. I bring to projects like the VUC the expectation of control that simply isn’t commonly possible. However, that is changing and we can thank the Freeswitch dev team for taking a leadership role in crossing these worlds.

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Village Telco Explained In Video

Even though I live in a developed place like Houston TX I simply cannot help be be drawn to the principles of The Village Telco. A combination of open source software and open source hardware bringing basic, reliable communication services to an under-served population without interference from incumbent telcos or government bureaucracies. What’s not to like?

Recently some folks have been seeking to sharpen the image and message of the project, to make the idea it presents easier to spread. To aid in getting the word out they developed a new logo, a new website and finally a nice short one-minute video that sums it all up in a really easy-to-understand way.

I’ve worked in video production and broadcasting all of my adult life. IMHO, this is an outstanding piece of work. It communicates the message and potential of the project very effectively. It makes me wish that my college-age niece was still living two doors down just so that I could use a couple of mesh potatoes to graft her onto our phone service.

Great work! Great project. Don’t you need a couple of mesh potatoes?

First Looks: Grandstream GXV-3175 Multi-Media Phone

Announced in December of last year, the GXV-3175 is Grandstream‘s latest entry into the multi-media phone arena. Reading the companies press release I thought the phone to be, in principle, a very ambitious undertaking.

The GXV-3175 is a kind of marriage of a desk phone and touch screen tablet. Perhaps most interestingly, it runs Google’s Android operating system.

On the basis of all this potential I reached out to Grandstream and requested a sample. Happily, after just a little consideration, they responded by sending me a pair of GXV-3175 for evaluation.

While I’ve had the samples a few weeks, and actually been using them, I’m one who likes to take my time forming an opinion about new hardware. A formal review will come eventually, but not for a bit.

In the mean time, the folks over at OnSIP have just posed their own review of the GXV-3175. Leo, who works in their phone lab, told me that they had some samples in-house. We had a short video call last week as he was experimenting with the phone. As we had not met previously, it was nice to see Leo, even if just on the 7″ LCD.


AT&T Bids to Buy T-Mobile

Over this weekend AT&T got hungry. To address it’s desire for a snack it has bid a staggering $39 billion to acquire T-Mobile USA. There’s a ton of analysis and commentary about this appearing online. Anyone who is not working for the two companies seems to think that this deal is bad for customers. That’s my position as well.

I’ve been a T-Mobile customer for the past five years. I’ve been consistently impressed with the companies customer service ethic. They didn’t always have the best handsets, or the best coverage, but they handled me in a manner that made me feel good about doing business with them.

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