Sonus Networks On Session Border Controllers

dummies_book_cover OK, I’ll admit that this is a little beyond the scope of concern for a SOHO dweller. However, if you are inclined to learn more about the gear that makes VoIP service providers tick you might want to take advantage of a nice offer from Sonus Networks. The company is giving away downloadable copies of a book called Session Border Controllers For Dummies.

Session borders controllers are increasingly a factor in how VoIP works. Their role is expanding beyond the traditional security role to include things like media transcoding.

Sonus Networks is definitely a player in the SBC space. The book has some very good info, presented in an approachable style.

I may never need an SBC around the home office, but it can’t hurt to have a better understanding of what they do, and how they do it.

A big thank you to Dave Michels of TalkingPointz for bringing this to my attention.

Incidentally, one of the best VUC podcasts I can recall was recorded when we had Acme Packet as a guest in June 2010.

Deal Alert: Plantronics Voyager Pro UC for $52.99

Plantronics Voyager Pro UC BUA200 This mornings email deluge reveals that BUY.COM is offering the Plantronics Voyager Pro UC Bluetooth headset for a rather modest $52.99. The variant that they offer is the v1 version that started my review about a year ago.

This version comes with the BUA200 USB BT dongle. It’s capable of HDVoice when used with the built-in BT radio on a similarly capable host. I was not able to get it to pass HDVoice to the BUA200 connected to a desktop. It also lacks A2DP, which means it’s great for voice calls but you cannot use it to listen to music or podcasts via your cell phone.

Even so, this is good price on a high-quality, HDVoice-capable BT headset that commanded $120+ not so long ago.

Vidtel’s Scott Wharton: What’s wrong with the video conferencing industry?

About a week ago Scott Wharton, CEO of Vidtel, penned a blog post asking, “What’s wrong with the video conferencing industry?” Scott goes on to cite the high-cost of video conference end-points devices, considering both older models and some new product introductions.

Scott expresses frustration with the incumbent players “lack of aggressiveness” in driving down the cost of video as a tool for business. His point is well made. The cost of implementing video remains too high for many companies, including my own employer.

Scott says, “It’s unquestionable that video conferencing will be and is becoming the de facto way that people communicate.” While I’d like to agree with this. Heck, I want to agree with this. It’s not been my experience to date.

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Dev-Audio’s Microcone: A Novel New USB Conference Microphone

Many thanks to self-described Blogalyst Dave Michels for pointing out a new usb conference microphone from Dev-Audio called the Microcone. Featuring six microphones and some on-board DSP this little device is purportedly able to capture the directional cues inherent in a meeting.

The company sells a related OSX application that is said to record six tracks in parallel. Each track corresponds to one of the size directional microphone pickups.

According to the companies web site:

“Microcone® uses innovative intellectual property based on microphone array techniques. Microphone arrays consist of multiple microphones functioning as a single directional input device: essentially, an acoustic antenna. Using sound propagation principles, the principal sound sources in an environment can be spatially located and distinguished from each other. While the Microcone device can be understood conceptually as a single intelligent group microphone, in fact it is a microphone array device containing several microphone elements acting in an integrated manner.”

They’re leveraging acoustic beamforming, something that I have mentioned a few times in the past.

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Deal Alert: BUY.COM Offering SanDisk Cruzer 4 GB USB Sticks 2 for $7.99

I know we’ve been down this road before. These USB sticks are on the short list of those that can be used with Polycom SoundPoint phones that are capable of recording calls to a USB port.

At first glance 4 GB might seem small, but it’s 30+ hours of phone call in uncompressed wav format. They’re very handy for the podcaster who wants convenient, high-quality call recording.

If you need these you can get them here.

Newsflash: SSD Pricing Is Getting Enticing

Back in January I rather impulsively purchased a 120 GB Sandisk Ultra SSD. At $120 it was just too tempting to pass up. Until recently that disk lived in my HP Mini 5102 netbook.

In truth, 120 GB was on the borderline of being large enough for what I need. I have a 50 GB paid Dropbox account. That dictates that s very small disk will present certain inconveniences.

The SSD in the netbook achieved what I had hoped. The little PC booted faster, ran faster and had longer battery life than with the stock WD Scopio drive.

The events of past week or two have resulted in my having a spare 750 GB Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive. I’ve swapped that into the netbook for now. That leaves the SSD without a home, a situation that I will surely remedy shortly.

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