Dave Michels Asks: The Desk Phone – Friend or Foe?

panasonics_ucmNow that Enterprise Connect 2012 has concluded Dave Michels poses a recurring question; The DeskPhone – Friend or Foe? Dave adds his observations of who makes the argument for the demise of the desk phone, noting quite correctly that each has their own horse in that race.

I find that the future of the desk phone should be considered in an application context. Soft phones are more appropriate in some roles than others. For example, in a call center soft phones are a compelling solution, saving money and adding flexibility in integration with call handling systems. Not that such integration is beyond the scope of hard phones, but it costs more in where hard phones are involved.

Every company will bring different sensibilities to such considerations. In the case of what I consider to be my beat, the home office, it may come down to personal preference. Myself I still generally prefer to use a desk phone, and being that I only need one or two, I don’t see any merit in buying cheap hardware.

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Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson Airport Delivers Power to The People

Back in January I made a trip to Fresno where I found that the newly renovated airport took a decidedly 1980’s approach to publicly available AC power. That is, they basically didn’t provide any beyond the occasional outlet to allow someone to polish the floors.

A recent trip to Knoxville TN presents a splendid contrast. Arriving at Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson airport I found a new-ish facility that had taken a more enlightened approach to providing travelers with power for their gadgetry…they had built it into otherwise normal seating.

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Inflexibility: TelyHD, Biscotti & Microphones

This is a semi-rant on a somewhat common theme for me, getting the best audio quality. In pondering these two new video calling devices from Tely Labs and Biscotti one thing stands out as unfortunate…they both rely exclusively upon an array of microphones built into their respective device. I find this to be short-sighted and unnecessarily inflexible.

Consider of you will the sample video that Jim Courtney recorded speaking with a gentleman from Tely Labs. The video quality is good. The audio quality is good…but it could be a lot better.

At both ends of the call there’s considerable room tone. In particular you can clearly hear that the conference room at Tely Labs is a simple drywall box. It sounds boomy and reverberant.

As I have described elsewhere, I find that the use of a speakerphone is always a last resort. It’s really only appropriate when you have a group of people collected for a call. To use a speakerphone when the call is just on-to-one is to permit the ambient noise and nature of the room to have undue influence in the audio quality.

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HP Thin Clients Still Excellent Bargain Hosts….

HP T5565 Thin Client Every day I get an email from the HP SMB Outlet sales team. Attached to this email is a spreadsheet listing all of the overstock and refurbished products that they have available. Beyond discounted pricing, I’ve had a good experience buying laptops and desktops from this group over the past few years.

Today’s list includes all the usual suspects, with one notable exception; a better than average selection of thin clients. As I’ve written previously, these little thin clients make great platforms for small embedded systems projects, including; Asterisk, Freeswitch, SqueezeServer, etc.

Consider the HP T5565 pictured to the right. Here’s the current offer:

  • HP t5565 ThinPro (Linux)
  • VIA Nano u3500 @ 1.5GHz
  • VIA ChromotionHD 2.0 video
  • 1GB Flash
  • 1GB DDR3 1333
  • 1 Gigabit Ethernet port
  • 6 USB 2.0 ports
  • 2 DVI ports
  • Analog audio I/O
  • $135

If the VIA Nano processor doesn’t rock your world the T5745 model has an Intel N280 Atom processor for $159, with a full warranty.

I have no connection to the HP SMB Outlet. I just think that these are great little, affordable, techno-playthings.

Digium’s New Phones: Are They Truly Open For Business?

A few days ago on Digium’s blog Malcolm Davenport posted some initial details about the companies new line of SIP phones. Malcolm’s post presents our first formal glimpse into the relationship between the phones and a new module for Asterisk called the Digium Phone Module For Asterisk (aka DPMA.)

You may recall that various folks from Digium were on a VUC call back on Feb 3rd, not long after the phones were announced and shown at IT Expo.

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