Kranky & Krankier?

Statler and Waldorf
“Statler and Waldorf” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

Chris Koehncke (aka Chris Kranky) recently posed a question in a blog post. He asked, “How good is your laptop microphone?” He then laid out an experimental series of recordings using different hardware. As an executive summary he offers, “Your current internal laptop mic is probably fine.” As you might imagine, I disagree…but there’s more to it than that.

In truth, it’s not that he’s wrong, but I think that he was asking the wrong question! The question he should have asked is, “How do I best convey my voice when using this laptop?”

The answer to that question is quite simple…use a high-quality headset, preferably one with a boom-mounted microphone. When participating in any kind of conference call, or video conference nothing can touch the quality of sound delivered by using a good headset. This has long been my belief, although I accept that it may not be a widespread.
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A Net Neutrality Infographic

VoIP Supply Infographic in Lenovo X-1-CarbonLast week VoIP Supply has posted an interesting and potentially informative infographic that purports to describe “How Does Net Neutrality Affect VoIP?” The artwork is originally from Visual.ly, created by Gryffin.

While the thrust of the thing is useful, there are a few things about it that put me ill at ease. Like so much of the debate about network neutrality, important subtleties are often misconstrued or simply overlooked.

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Ubiquiti Networks Announces New VoIP Hardware

uvp-feature-hd-touchscreen-300Several folks have reported that yesterday Ubiquiti Networks sent out a marketing email announcing a new line of VoIP products under their UniFi brand. A quick look at the information offered online reveals some very nice looking hardware. Very nice indeed.

The hardware includes a trio of handsets; UVP, UVP-Pro and UVP-Executive. All are Android powered, reported run Kit Kat (v4.4.2) on dual core Cortex A9 processor clocked at 1.2 GHz. They all sport 1 GB of RAM and 4 GB of local storage.

The entry-level UVP model is a bit feature constrained in order to hit a $149 MSRP.

The UVP and UVP-Pro are more-or-less mobile phone-ish in that they feature a 5” capacitive touch screen resolving 640 x 960 pixels. The UVP-Executive is more tablet-like, with a  7” capacitive touch screen resolving 1024 x 600 pixels.

Audio codec support includes; G.722, Speex, iLBC, PCMU,PCMA and GSM. Thus they are capable of wideband telephony.

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New Gear: Grandstream GXV3275

Grandstream-gxv3275-right-300pxGrandstream recently released a new model of desk phone, the GXV3275 Multimedia IP Phone for Android. A logical successor to their GXV3175 model, it’s been updated in a variety of ways. Most interestingly, it runs Android 4.2, aka Jelly Bean. This is most recent release of Android that I’ve encountered running on a dedicated desk phone.

My enthusiasm for smart desk phones arises at least in part from a desire to see telephones play a larger role in home automation. This desire I have expressed at various times over the years, although Dave Michels perhaps has gone further with respect to acting upon a similar desire.

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GoIP? What the %^&* is a GoIP?

HyberTone-GoIP-SIP-to-GSM-GatewaySometimes I see technical terms that cause me confusion. So it was when I saw Matt (@calltopology) tweet about “Using a GoIP with A2Billing for outbound calls.” My initial reaction was , “WTF is a GoIP? It sounds a bit like a disease.”

Of course, it isn’t a disease. Clicking a little further, I found that Matt has recently been exploring the use of a HyberTone GSM-toSIP gateway device. That company brands their GSM gateways with the rather obtuse “GoIP” monicker. I suppose it was predicated upon FoIP, another persistent term that I find to be something of an abomination.

My own language preferences aside, Matt does a nice job of describing how to setup the GSM gateway with his preferred Asterisk distro and billing solution. What he describes is a bit like the project that I undertook, so long ago now, when integrating a Portech SIP-to-GSM gateway with a local instance of Asterisk.

Back then SIP-to-GSM gateways were still relatively rare. Most of the affordable interface hardware terminated into an analog line jack, requiring an FXO interface to bring it into Asterisk.

It seems that there are a lot more options for SIP-to-GSM hardware, from freestanding boxes line those from Portech, HyberTone or 2N, to Sangoma W400 modular add-in cards for use within an Asterisk server. I see that the single-port GoIP gateway is available from Amazon for $290 or on Ebay, shipped from China, for $117.99.

The price on such things seems to have dropped by over half in the years since I undertook the project. That very fact may bring a single port gateway into the realm of mad money for some users.

New Gear: Mocet Communicator For iPad

Mocet-Communicator-White-facing-left-300pxIt has become something of a habit to announce when new gear arrives in my office, especially if that gear is destined for review. A couple of weeks ago I received a review sample of the Mocet Communicator. Communicator is essentially an audio dock for an iPad that turns it into an executive desk phone.

As you may know, I don’t generally use Apple products. However, occasionally there comes a product that is sufficiently interesting to get me to move in that direction. In the past case of the Invoxia NVX-610 I purchased an iPod Touch in order to provide a suitable host for the device under review.

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