Remembering OS/2

A couple of weeks ago a friend gave me a box that I had not seen in a long, long time. It’s a complete install set for IBM’s OS/2 v3, a.k.a “Warp” I could barely believe my eyes. Never have I seen a product delivered on so many floppies! There are 21 diskettes for the OS and some drivers, then another 14 diskettes for the “Bonus Pack’ which included some basic productivity software, internet access, etc.

Back in the early 90’s I was serious fan of this software, and for good reason. On a humble 486 PC running at 66 MHz it could do some major multi-tasking. It could run in 8MB of RAM, just barely, or do useful work in 16 MB. It could do some truly astounding things in 32 MB or more.

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8×8 Hosted PBX…Not For Me Thanks.

The folks over at Packet8 today issued a press release stating, “8×8, Inc. Hits New Milestone for Packet8 Virtual Office Service With Over 10,000 U.S. Companies Subscribing.”

That’s nice. Packet8 were on the short list of vendors considered for a hosted PBX project that I’m involved with, but at the end of the day the business went to Junction Networks. Why you ask? Two simple reasons. Continue reading “8×8 Hosted PBX…Not For Me Thanks.”

Streaming Audio + Video With Skype + Slingbox

Tom Keating over at TMC has an interesting How-To about combining Slingbox with Skype to stream audio and video to a remote location bypassing the Slingbox client software and remote access mechanism. Potentially interesting stuff. His approach combines that NAT traversal and high quality video conferencing capability of Skype with the Slingbox as a video source.

Pixel Power purchased a Slingbox Pro last month. The intent was to be able to stream the output of one of our Clarity systems to a remote viewer to be able to conduct ad hoc live remote demos. We’ve done some initial testing and the video quality looks ok as long as there is sufficient bandwidth available. With 768kbps available from a Comcast cable model it seems pretty good.

The NAT traversal mechanism built into the Slingbox system leaves me a bit cold. It requires a consumer grade UPnP router to works its magic automatically. It does provides some guidance about manually establishing port forwarding but remote viewing has thus far been a problem.

To overcome this I’ve just established a VPN login to the router handling the cable modem. Anyone needing to see the Slingbox output just logs into my LAN via the VPN, making them effectively a local IP address on the LAN. This works perfectly as long as the remote party is somewhere that allows VPN connectivity.

Why Do I VOIP?

Its many advantages not withstanding I was driven to use VOIP for other reasons. Understanding my motivation will perhaps help you to also understand why I’ve gone in some of the directions outlined elsewhere on this site.

I despise AT&T…

…and if at all possible I will never spend another dollar with them.

In the mid-1990s my wife had local phone service from SBC and long distance from AT&T. When we started dating AT&T was pursuing her over what they believed was a bad debt. The matter was eventually tracked to an internal accounting error. However, in their zeal to pursue her they badgered us for weeks with threatening phone calls. Their threats included variety of possible actions, some of which were in fact illegal. If only I had recorded those calls!

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For VOIP We Need QoS Right?

The common understanding is that VOIP benefits from network QoS. So by extension QoS over the internet backbone would be a good idea, right? Well, maybe…and maybe not. Here’s some interesting reading.

Why We Don’t Need QOS: Trains, Cars, and Internet Quality of Service by Dan Bricklin

Why there’s no Internet QoS and likely never will be by Brough Turner