Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The best joke of the day

No good news for VoIP in Italy

Just somebody who is not Italian could begin this article in this way.

In a country where there is the highest number of laws (that nobody follows) could they refrain from making one on VoIP?

In a country where there is a law that guarantees the freedom and competition we still have three big Monopolies ruling:




All the rest is just rubbish paid by them to put up a farse of “Freedom and competition”.

But still the hardest part is that, in spite of the huge amount of money the customer pays, the service is so lousy and the user cannot even complain.
They discovered the “Call Centers Italian Style” where you begin to press numbers on your telephone keybord and you finish after half an hour (if you are fast) at the same point, with just one difference: the Telecom Italia can charge you half an hour for “non conversation”.

TelecomPaper reports on the new guidelines for VoIP in Italy as defined by the Italian Authority (where I wasn't able to find the original press release). VoIP will be subject to regulation if it principally is a PSTN replacement service (looks like PSTN, feels like PSTN, ...). Only P2P calls between computers will be exempted. I am wondering how that will effect e.g. Skype and their SkypeOut/SkypeIn service (would a solution be to break Skype into two legal entities to escape regulation at least for the P2P part?)

P2P are exempted because Telecom Italia will find out the nice way to charge more for the using of the Internet line for “calling”.

The decision, at least at it is described on TelecomPaper, is definitely a ruling in favour of Telecom Italia, which already offers Voice over ADSL with its "Il Telefono di Alice", so they can actually corner the market by leveraging their incumbent market power. For obvious reasons, Il Telefono di Alice doesn't include what would be call-by-call or preselection services in a PSTN world, and doesn't provide access to emergency services either. The new ruling however requires VoIP service providers to enable emergency number access,

And this is the real joke of the day.

Every day on the news we have a report of somebody dieing because he didn’t find a place in a Hospital, and after going up and down Italy in an Ambulance, finally gave up and left definitely such a S..t of a country.
So, tell me what is the use of an emergency number if you have no place to call, and even if you had it, nobody would bother to assist you?

Unless your name is Berlusconi and Prodi, but also in this case would be for nothing, because they do not use VoIP.

and nothing easier than that if you bundle it with a POTS line, and nothing better for your business than that when you are sitting on a pile of aging copper lines in the last mile and an IP-based core network using MLPS, that way you have the best of both worlds.

Yes, you said it, THE BEST Italian style!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Viagra and Cialis

Viagra and Cialis
News report: Viagra and cialis may cause loss of visual acuity.

My diagnosis: It's a well known fact that erections cause a loss of visual acuity.

Tom Evslin


How could I refrain to comment to such a provocative statement?
The loss of visual acuity is natural and naturally comes when you age.
What is un natural and wrong is trying to regain it.
If you cannot change your partner and you are not able to accept that passing years leave their marks, well it is not bad not being able to see all the details.
One of the suggestions to attract a partner was to use a wonder bra.

"And when you have to take it off?"

At that time he is supposed to be so excited not to see anything...
The same applies to Viagra.
Who cares?
That is the moment in which seeing is just for nothing...
I personally like to close my eyes (you feel more)...

And my readers?

Friday, May 27, 2005

Europe, technologically speaking...

Firstly, I disagree strongly with the assertion that Europe is somehow structurally incapable of promoting innovation.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing
posted by James Enck

Europe has terrific people, but terrible politicians.
And the problem is, like in all the beautiful things of life, there is an opposite ratio and irrational imbalance,
while at the back of the firsts there is none or little money, at the back of the seconds there is a huge amount of it...

A lot of knowledge is a beautiful thing, but sometimes is useless...
posted by Patrizia

SoIP: Sex over IP

One year ago I was talking about revenues from VoIP and one possibility (a very realistic one) was SoIP, Sex over IP.

What the normal telephony would never be able to do (never is a word I shouldn't use, in reality I should say at present) is transmitting good images together with audio.
You can compress as much as you like, but 64K are not enough for it.

Skype Closer To Video Conferencing

Andy Abramson - VoIP Watch

As I said last week Skype is clearly taking aim at the video conference space.
For companies like XTEN and SightSpeed this could pose a real threat if they don't make the right moves soon. SightSpeed has a new update to their client due out in a day or so. It will feature SIP based on a note I received yesterday from their customer relations group. I think that's the right move for them. XTEN is already using SIP. So too is Packet8 and they too are developing their own client. Yahoo's new Messenger is also SIP based. Skype at this point isn't.
Skype has more users. The other guys are using a standards. Thus, that begs the question, why don't the software clients all talk to one another that are using SIP? Interoperability is the key for growth, yet Skype will likely amass more users (or claim them by downloads) than the rest simply due to the Skype hype
At last report Yahoo had 13 million or so users of their Webcam software that is embedded inside Messenger. According to well placed sources, a great deal of the usage is the amateur adult variety, something that tells me videocam usage will rise over time, as the adult market is one of the proof points for adoption and behavior indicators of new media taking hold. Just think of the VCR, DVD and downloadable movies. Adult content always paved the way.
With Skype entering the Video Conferencing space along with their superior sound codecs, I can only imagine the moaning and groaning over peer to peer.

One last remark

As I wrote yesterday, the desert is full of bones of the ones who wanted to build an empire.
Latins included...
But I correct myself today.
The difficult part is NOT building an empire, it is keeping it, you can win a war and still not being able to rule a country, and the Americans should know a lot about it...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

How much per minute does an IP to IP wireless Skype call cost? Skype bits and bytes.

More than bitting it looks like biting to me.
I will come to the substance first and then, if you want to go on and reading all the technical explanation, the following article is for you...

The cheapest wireless Skype call, that means the Wireless Skype call done using the cheaper wireless provider costs you between 17 and 90 cents (Euro) per minute. (For those of you in the US, the cheapest Verizon Wireless plan seems to be 60MB for $59.99, or 0.0977 cents US per KB, so that Skype call would cost between 17 and 92 cents US per minute.)

And that without considering that if you call a PSTN number you must add the Skype out cost per minute...

Skype Bits and Bytes

Lars writes rather dismissively about the bandwidth requirements for Skype over a wireless data connection, quoting and attempting to correct an article titled "Why Skype for Mobile isn't a Big Deal" in an online publication called The Feature, which is owned by Nokia.

First, the quote from The Feature:

Skype says its software uses 0-0.5 KBps when idle, or 3-16 KBps when on a call. That's 30 KB per minute when idle or beween 180 and 960 KB per minute on a call -- which on many mobile networks would run up a huge bill quite quickly.
Then, Lars's attempt at countering the math:

To use the author's own words, there is a bit of a disconnect in his calculations between bandwidth (measured in kbps) and storage (measured in KB) and consequently between his deductions and reality. Multiplying the kbps by 60 does NOT lead to a KB value per minute (as the author has done). There are 1.000 bits in a kilobit (10^3 bits) and 1.024 bytes in a kilobyte (2^10 bytes), while one byte consists of 8 bits. So to convert from a bit-value to a byte-value you need to divide the bit-value by 8. Hence, 1.000 bits are 125 bytes. So by using the author's figures, a bandwidth rate of 16 kbps for Skype would actually mean transfering 2.000 bytes per second or 120.000 bytes per minute or exactly 117,1875 KB per minute - a far cry from the 960 KB per minute claimed.
The only problem is, the author of the article in The Feature was directly citing Skype's figures, which are stated in kilobytes per second:

How much bandwidth does Skype use when there are no active calls?

On average Skype uses 0-0.5 kilobytes/sec while idle. This is used mainly for contact presence updates. The exact bandwidth depends on many factors.

How much bandwidth does Skype use while I'm in a call?

posted by DG Lewis

Skype automatically selects the best codec depending on the connection between yourself and the person you are calling. On average, Skype uses between 3-16 kilobytes/sec depending on bandwidth available for other party, network conditions in between, callers CPU performance, etc.
So doing the math myself - Skype uses up to 4 kilobits per second (kb/s) while idle, and anywhere between 24 and 128kb/s for an active call. And the original author's math is exactly correct: an idle Skype client will use as much as 30 kilobytes per minute, and a Skype call will consume anywhere from 180 to 960 kilobytes per minute.

Also note that generally-accepted practice is to use the ISO abbreviation "k" for kilo = 10^3, and the character "K", which does not stand for anything, for 2^10. Thus, a kilobit is 1000 bits, a kilobyte is 1000 bytes, and a Kbyte - usually shortened to simply a KB or K - is 1024 bytes.

So a one-minute Skype call will result in data transfer of between 175K and 937K. Using the Vodafone D2 rates Lars quotes, 0.0963 cents (Euro) per KB, that'll cost you between 17 and 90 cents (Euro) per minute. (For those of you in the US, the cheapest Verizon Wireless plan seems to be 60MB for $59.99, or 0.0977 cents US per KB, so that Skype call would cost between 17 and 92 cents US per minute.)

Why Skype chooses to cite bandwidth figures in kilobytes per second instead of the more common kilobits per second is left as an exercise to the paranoid.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

How big will Skype become?

In today’s comments at the VON ‘05 conference in Stockholm, Niklas Zennstrom gave some interesting clues as to his ambitions for Skype. I’ve long suspected Skype of wanting to essentially take over and replace the public telephone network, but now it’s coming from the horse’s mouth (from the Inquirer):
Zennstrom revealed that he was particularly keen on an embedded Linux version of his product. The goal appears to bring out devices which contain a dedicated Sykpe client. He almost certainly appears to be thinking of Wi-Fi handsets.
Embedded Skype means third-party devices can gain interoperability with (and possibly dependence upon) the Skype peer-to-peer network. Like the Skype API, only not restricted to Windows PCs. Imagine that. Licensed embedded endpoints accessing a proprietary network. Kind of sounds like the Microsoft of the early 1990s, doesn’t it?

But that’s not even the most revealing tidbit. Niklas also said that an open standard should be developed to solve the E911 call-routing problem, since, at least at this point, it doesn’t look like Skype is going to be able to avoid regulation (they’re a PSTN-connected carrier, after all). Skype, of course, does not use an open standard such as SIP or Dundi for its own call-signaling, so it’s somewhat ironic that Mr. Zennstrom is calling upon the community to solve his E911 dilemma with open standards.

For the record, I agree with Zennstrom on that point—an open standard for emergency dispatch calling should be created. But not merely for Skype’s sake. Of course, if Skype were to embrace an open 911 standard, but not play nice with all the other truly open interop standards out there, it would be a shame. Since Skype clearly has its focus set on rebuilding the international telecom system as we know it, I sure hope Skype doesn’t become the “Windows of telephony”.

Ted Wallingford

I always thought that if you want to build something new to "rebuild something old" you should propose something new and "better"

Undoubtedly something cheaper can be seen as something better, but the ratio price/quality shouldn't be lower.
And in quality, besides the voice quality I would include also availability, security, easy to use.

While out there, there are a lot of Wi-Fi Linux devices in which you can embed your Skype, the majority of the Mass (and I include myself in it) is not willing to buy a portable device with Linux, just to embed Skype.

I personally find it difficult and not worth to have to configure my portable device to a Hot Spot just to be able to make a telephone call for free (but if you use Skype out it is not even free).
And if you calculate the cost of the device, the hassle to find a hotspot, to configure it, well you certainly prefer to limit your call to a few minutes, use your cell phone and call from wherever you like.

That is: Wi-Fi for the moment and for the Mass is not a substitute of a cell phone.
And I do not think it would be so easy to become the new Telecom.
The desert is full of bones of the ones who wanted to build an Empire.
Latins included...


Monday, May 23, 2005

Behind "Special Offers"

From IP Inferno

"Open Letter to George Lucas
Or, how IP will transform movie distribution...


Despite the advanced technology that serves as a backdrop for your blockbuster Star Wars franchise, your movie distribution process is firmly stuck in the 20th century.

According to a recent article in Forbes ("Special Report: Star Wars") the Star Wars media empire has earned $20 billion since the original film in 1977. According to Forbes, here is the breakdown (inflation adjusted dollars):

$5.67 billion through movie theater
$9 billion for Star Wars toys
$1.5 billion for video games
$700 million for publishing

and just $2.8 Billion for video and DVD distribution.

So here is the question which you should be asking yourself. If you released full digital copies of all of the Star Wars films -- with no DRM -- allowing anyone to duplicate and distribute to their hearts contents... would sales in the toys, video games, and publishing categories increase by enough to offset the loss in sales from video and DVD?

Now this isn't a formula applicable to the movie industry generally. After all, we are unlikely to ever see "Sleepless in Seattle" action figures. But with Star Wars the money is clearly in the physical products sold around the franchise. So the more ubiquitous the franchise, the more every child grows up thinking about the world of Star Wars, the more toys, video games, books, and magazines will be sold. The movies merely become advertising for the "Star Wars lifestyle."

Lets do the math. The franchise is today a little over 25 years old. So in 25 years, it has sold just $100 million a year in video and DVD products. In the same period $11.2 billion in toys, video, and books have been sold -- or about $450 million a year. So sales in those categories would only need to increase about 22% to replace ALL of the video and DVD sales.

Now lets think about the power of the Internet. IP distribution of Star Wars could reach 150 million broadband connected homes (as of Dec 31, 2004 according to Point Topic). Each of those homes would only have to spend, on average $0.67 on toys, video games, and books in order to replace all of the income earned from videos and DVDs. Assuming an average $40 product price (probably low) that means that only 1 in every 60 broadband connected homes would have to purchase an additional Darth Vader Voice Changer Helmet or X Box Revenge of the Siths Video game to replace this lost income.

After $20 billion dollars, George, you can afford to experiment a little. Why not at least take Star Wars, I mean "A New Hope," and make a legal digital copy available worldwide. You don't have to make it HD quality -- how about just extended TV quality? Promote a special product in the intro or trailer to the movie -- a special URL to go to where some product can be purchased which is only advertised through this free digital copy of the movie. Then sit back and watch the power of the IP world to spread your message.

In one blow you will have called into question the philosophy of fighting the unfettered digital distribution of movies and proven that the Star Wars franchise can move into the future of "...speeding spaceships, chattering robots and lightsabers..." and the Internet."

Your analysis is perfect regarding the numbers, and what you say is perfectly true.
But you do not consider also the unpredictable behind the numbers.
What if world wide is too much?
What about being fed up with it?
Man is a queer creature.
He always likes what is unreachable.
In principle, all this craziness about downloading free copyrighted material was partially due to the interest for them and a lot due to the idea of getting for "free" what would have cost a lot of money.

That is the secret behind all the "sales" and "special offers".
You forget the unpredictable psychology of the user...


Sunday, May 22, 2005

Features looking for an IP devices manufacturer...

It is a few years now we are shouting about the "Dumb Network" and the "Smart Endpoints" and when it comes to features people ask them from the VoIP providers.

Isn't that clear that we are talking of a complete different structure, architecture, business plan or whatever you want to call it, than the traditional monopolistic telephone system?

We say: the Internet is a decentralized Network, where the intelligence is at the endpoints and then, when it comes to features it "Should be the VoIP provider to provide 911."

Not only,

"But for the short term, the big winners Thursday were the RBOCs, who are getting the kind of payback they expected when they backed the re-election efforts of the Bush administration. In his first important opinion as FCC chairman, Kevin Martin went out of his way to praise the incumbents, saying: "I am extremely encouraged by and commend the efforts of the Bell Operating Companies (BOCs) in permitting VoIP providers access to their 911 network."
Leaving out, of course, the fact that they had to be dragged there, lawyers kicking and screaming all the way."

Having to ask an "incumbents" to let the VoIP network to use their 911, well, I do not understand reality anymore...

Wouldn't it be easier, if we really talk of the same thing, and the word "intelligence" has the meaning universally understood, to have two smart devices, or at least one that together with the IP address could just say:

This phone belongs to x, y who right now is in x street at the y number?

Do we ask too much from "computer intelligence"...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Rush to VoIP

Following other once-nascent technologies along the
technology adoption curve, enterprise deployments of VoIP
technology have steadily grown in their number and scale for
several years.
VoIP, which emerged in its most rudimentary
form in the mid-1990s, has now matured into a mission-critical,
wide-scale voice communications solution for companies
around the world. Across sectors as varied as finance,
manufacturing and healthcare, industry leaders are embracing
VoIP, such as:

• Boeing commiting to install 150,000 IP phones

• Ford Motor Company announcing a 50,000-phone VoIP

• Bank of America announcing a 180,000-phone VoIP

The business objective is clear: to reduce costs and enhance
revenue opportunities through strategic use of technology
advancements such as VoIP, which digitizes voice or video
signals and sends them as packets through the same network
channels as data.

Migration from traditional telephony to VoIP
is expected to continue expanding significantly because it can
deliver substantial financial benefits including:

• Reduced infrastructure cost, since data and voice traffic
can exist on one infrastructure, not two.

• Reduced staffing and management needs from consolidated

• Lower corporate telephone bills, as calls are routed
through the corporate Internet instead of through external

Beyond cost savings: VoIP is a platform for future applications.

Although early adoption of VoIP has been driven by cost savings, it is increasingly being chosen by forward-thinking companies as the robust foundation for future applications.

These companies intend to leverage VoIP as a means to integrate voice, video and other data applications, illustrated by examples including:

• Unified messaging, which ties together voicemail, fax, email and instant messaging
systems, enhances user productivity and responsiveness through capabilities including:

o “Find Me/Notify Me” functionality that tracks down the user and delivers messages
via desktop phone, cellular phone, pager, email, etc.

o Desktop application integration that allows users to receive voice and fax messages
through email clients

o Speech access mobility support that gives mobile employees hands-free access
to desktop tools such as Microsoft Outlook and key communications capabilities
(dialing, conferencing) through simple speech commands.

• Mobility applications that bring together cellular, wireless LAN and VoIP technologies to provide seamless roaming between enterprise and cellular networks.

These solutions support contiguous voice and data service to users across enterprise networks, public cellular networks and public Wi-Fi hotspots. Using Wi-Fi technology inside the enterprise and cellular telephony elsewhere, the mobility applications supports seamless VoIP communications across the various networks, allowing office phones to be used at the desk as well as away from the desk, on- and off-campus.

• Contact center: VoIP-based contact center solutions allow distributed call centers to function as a virtual, global resource by flattening and consolidating contact center infrastructure, removing expensive network charges and running many locations
from one centralized set of applications.

Home agents, satellite locations, outsourced resources and resident experts can then be easily added as extensions to the same contact center, maintaining centralized management and decision-making.

VoIP technology also enables sophisticated skills-based routing capabilities; for example, if all agents in Paris are busy, an inquiry can be routed to Dublin to be handled by a French-speaking agent — completely transparent to the customer.

Incoming calls can now be intelligently distributed between sites, based on each center’s call load, substantially reducing wait times.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Free Cell Phone TV

Free Cell Phone TV
Tom Keating - VoIP Blog

Ben Charmy over at CNet is reporting "free" advertising supported music videos delivered to cellphones. This is interesting but since I am no longer a teenager, I could care less about music videos and care more about getting my favorite TV shows, such as 24 sent to my mobile phone's LCD display. I realize the teenage demographic is important, but c'mon! There are plenty of adults who will pay to watch their favorite TV show while on the road. Probably damn tight copyright lawyers holding up the process of getting TV programming on cellphones. Ok, end rant. Here's a snippet of Ben's article:

An estimated 10 million cell phones with Windows' Media Player software inside will be able to receive and display programming from the Digital Music Video Network when it debuts in mid-June with Top 40 music videos, organizers said Tuesday. Rather than paying a monthly fee for the programming, all viewers need do is wait through 15-second advertisements sandwiched between the music videos, and pay the data-service fee for downloading all those bits onto their cell phone.Cell phone TV services such as Verizon Wireless's vCast and MobiTV, which is offered by Sprint and Cingular Wireless, all require monthly subscriptions costing between $10 and $20 a month. "It's the closest thing in the mobile media arena to a traditional broadcast network" such as CBS, NBC or ABC, SmartVideo Chief Executive Richard Bennett said in prepared remarks.

Don't we have enough of normal TV and normal TV commercials?
Do we really need them on a cell phone?

Don't we have enough pollution in the air with using cell phones for the most stupid reasons (how is the weather there?)?

When will all this craziness stop?

People are really getting 100% brainwashed since they are enthusiastic and willing to look at stupidities also on such a small screen as the cell phone...

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

About 911

Free Calls

"Two weeks ago Vonage made news by raising $200 million of venture capital. This week the Wall Street Journal reported on a Florida family who dialed 911 on their Vonage phone and were allegedly unable to reach emergency services (story is here but requires a subscription). Their daughter was dead, according to the story, by the time help arrived. Om Malik reported this story and possible implications for Vonage a week ago (you CAN read that without a subscription)."

This sounds really strange to Italian ears.
You realize how far we are from progress when you read something like this.

Not only we DO NOT HAVE a 911, but if we had it, it would certainly be useless.
Daily we have reports on the news of this person or the other person dieing because didn't find a place in the emergency hospital.
Some people go around Italy for 24 hours on an ambulance, before dieing because they didn't find anyplace where to find assistance.

What they do not report is the number of people surviving in spite of.
Well, I can look cynical, but it doesn't look like to me that the real emergencies are so many, and out of those many, I am convinced people who have to die would die anyway.
Or after recovering them and attaching them to a respiratory machine they find it out that anyway they have no right to live, because they are just vegetables...

Well, that 911 in my opinion has more a psychological value than a real one.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Revenue is what drives progress, but greediness can stop it.


"The real issue is recognizing connectivity as a general concept.
When I first wrote my connectivity essay I treated it as a technical problem -- networking as a means of connecting end points.
It's about more than just transferring bits, it's about communicating. The network itself just transports the bits without interpretation but the devices and services on the network need to have a shared "understanding" in order to communicate.

Simply providing connectivity adds new value without necessarily adding additional costs. It can even reduce the costs by sharing the transport and encouraging innovation."

But if at the two ends of the process there are two different devices, connectivity doesn't exist.

You can reach this goal (both ends communicating) when all users use a some kind of monopolistic OS (Microsoft for example) or Devices using monopolistic proprietary protocols ( Skype for example) or alternatively using standard OS or protocols that can be universally understood.

Sometimes the greediness can stop progress.
I often wonder what kind of environment would we have if Microsoft had competitors all over the World.

Most probably we would be several steps further and certainly life would be harder for hackers and spammers.

The war of INKS

"The reason is that if the tipping point is reached and more people will be connected to broadband, the PSTN will die very quickly. One should not forget that in Europe mobile penetration is reaching already 100%, which implies that every person has at least one broadband access capability.

For genuine Skype-Skype or even SIP-SIP with URIs you do not need a phone number. You also do not need a street address to receive an e-mail.

And of course these development will also kill the "broadband parasites". These are living on arbitrage only. If finally there is only "free" IP-IP communication and no real "service", only an applications and products, there is not more business case for specific VoIP providers then for e-mail providers.

Of course there will be some business left for residential users not having company accounts, but they will get VoIP service as add-on to the access, similar to e-mail and a 10MB webpage.

Update: And one should not forget that ECRIT and NENA I3 is working on emergency service access genuine on the Internet."

Richard Stastny VoIP and ENUM

I agree with the fact that "if the tipping point is reached and more people will be connected to broadband, the PSTN will die very quickly."

But there is still a transitional time.
And in this transitional time what will or what should people do?
What would be the WISE THING to do?

Of course embracing VoIP, but in the right way.

What are all the VoIP companies doing?
For having a profit, the only good profit that VoIP can provide, they are building new monopolistic companies that have everything in common with the Telcos, but the price.

And price of course is a discriminating and competitive tool.
But for getting customers and more than anything for keeping the customers, they are using proprietary systems.
If you buy a SIP device that works with Skype you won't be able to use it with another provider the moment you want to change it.

It is the same game of the Ink jet printers.
The price is not the printer's, what you pay, and for the rest of the life of your printer, is the ink...
I know about the war of the Inks, may be something similar could happen with VoIP.

VoIP is not a Service, but they make it a service, Telco's like, so that they can have a revenue Telco's like.
Pay per minutes and depending where you call...

I do not say in the beginning you do not need a termination, you probably will need it for long, because broadband is not so wide spread...especially in certain countries, but you HAVE TO PLAN in order to be ready when most of the calls will be IP to IP.

Patrizia from a World on IP

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Why not looking at it under another point of view?

"Why is every regulator in the world making consultations regarding VoIP (some of them already the second or third), making decisions, just to make another consultation after some time? Robert Shaw is pointing at the ITU-T VoIP Newsblog to the ITU-D 2005 Regulatory Proceedings giving a snapshot of the current consultations and decisions.

So if regulation is technology neutral, what is all this fuzz about?"

VoIP is a new technology, it is something that is and WILL substitute the way we communicate.

It is REAL communication, while telephony was just exchanging sounds.

In a face to face communication you involve most of your senses, voice, eyesight, in VoIP you can even do something more, you can exchange written documents at a speed that would be impossible in a normal person to person meeting.
You can send your data, your programs, not only your image, but the image of what you own and you want to share.

This is simply impossible to do with the classic telephony.
It is an open door toward progress, why do you need to regulate, in the sense, why should somebody feel the need to stop it and forbid it?
Just for a few commas among sentences.

The Telecoms had the privilege to own it before the Public, they had the money and the power to implement it.
They DID'T.

Because it was and is against their interests, they couldn't anymore suck the people with obsolete services paid at a very high price.

So, THEY LOST the game, because they didn't want to fight.

VoIP followers of this world, let us take our chance...not creating new monopolies, but a new world of communications where everybody can have his shares...

Patrizia from a World on IP

Friday, May 13, 2005

Not all VoIP are the same...

Poor quality of voice is making something worthless.

Good quality of voice is making something intelligible and memorable.

Great quality of voice is making something memorable and meaningful.

Exceptional quality of voice is making something meaningful and worthwhile.

Of course you also need something to say...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A clear soap bubble with a rainbow of colours

George Bernard Shaw wrote: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

I would say: Therefore all progress depends on "SOME unreasonable man".

Which is partially true.
You can contribute to progress as unreasonable and as reasonable.

I wouldn't put Bill Gates in the list of the "unreasonable" and wouldn't define him as somebody who tried to "adapt the world to himself".
He saw the potential of software, as many others indeed, he just was a little bit luckier, or he was "at the right place, at the right time, with the right product".

"In Internet Bubble One, companies routinely went public without being profitable. Some went public without revenues."
"But I think we could have built better companies if we had gone public later. The things you have to do to run a public company – including the time required by the basic regulatory requirements – are at odds with what you have to do to build a new business based on a new paradigm. Public investors want predictability."

Most of the Stock Market is emotional or "created emotional" or "piloted emotional".
Bubbles are for their intrinsic nature something that has almost no reality.

But a "clear soap bubble" in the right light has a rainbow of colours,
real or unreal, who cares?

Monday, May 09, 2005

The War of Customers

Statistics have never been so important, as much as numbers.

What drives a company to Poll position?

Not its products, not its peculiarity in the market, not the quality, not the experience.
All those were parameters of the Past.

What drives the future of a company, what makes its value and its prize is the number of customers.
Or even the hypothetical number of customers.

As the value of a product, is not its intrinsic innovative quality, its need in the marketplace, it is just the number of customers it can reach.

The big problem is that statistics are getting as reliable as the quality of the successful product...

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Content for your Blog

Context For Your Blog
By Fredrik Wacka - Contributing Writer

If you want to gain a deeper understanding of the changing field of communication your blog exists in, take a look at the presentations from WOMMA Summit 2005. The focus is obviously word-of-mouth marketing, and blogs are just one tool from that perspective. But many of the speakers did talk about blogs as part of their strategies.

GM Blog in Marketing Strategy Terms
I found it interesting to learn more about the thoughts and plans behind General Motors FastLane Blog in Michael Wiley's presentation (pdf).

"Company position but candid and transparent" is one of the operating principles, and they also use the blog to "subtly introduce or move to important positions that need more clarity".

One of the goals is to use the credibility and influence the blog generates to reach mainstream with a fresh image of GM.

Wiley's presentation is all the proof you need to convince yourself that a blog can be a integral part of a marketing strategy, written in the words your Marketing Director feel comfortable with.

PETA Staying Relevant
For People for the ethical treatment of animals the blog of cofounder and president Ingrid Newkirk is one of several ways of "staying relevant with fresh content daily"

I happened to read Isenberg's Blog (David Isenberg is somebody I LOVE to read...)
He submitted the link to another article which gives everything but a "fresh image of GM."

Rotten cars, not high costs, are driving GM to ruin
By Simon London

Published: April 23 2005 03:00 | Last updated: April 23 2005 03:00

It is a sunny Tuesday afternoon in California and I'm driving down a traffic-clogged freeway at the wheel of a white Pontiac Grand Prix. General Motors has just posted a $1.1bn (£574m) first-quarter loss. Healthcare costs for current and retired employees are to blame, says Rick Wagoner, chief executive. On the car radio, analysts debate what can be done to get GM's finances back in shape.

By the end of the three minute discussion I am apoplectic. Have none of these people driven a GM Pontiac, Saturn, Buick or Chevrolet recently? GM's problems stem not from its spiralling healthcare costs but from its inability to build cars worth buying.

The future of the Internet

VoIP quality

The internet is a tool, not a replacement for life.

The Internet is a powerful tool, the most powerful tool we ever had, it increases options and possibilities. It connects people to
each other and increasingly things to each other.

We still do not realize it, but we (Internet users) are all "wired" and always "on".
Our life has more or less become a "Flat" connection to a virtual world.

We used to have friends and colleagues in the place we live.
Now we have friends and colleagues all over the world.

“The most radical changes will likely involve the workplace, because of
the economic incentives involved, and processes of artistic creation, because the internet is such a fabulous new medium of creation and distribution."

“Nearly everything will change because of the internet, and especially as the internet becomes ubiquitous and all pervasive, different from the discrete experience it is now on a computer. The ‘always on’ internet, combined with computers talking to computers, will be a more profound
transformation of society than what we've seen so far.”

"The astounding array of information available on the Internet is much larger than anyone could have ever expected.”

“Humanity has had books for hundreds of years, but does not have universal literacy. Creativity may bloom but that does not mean it will be seen or appreciated by all.”

The Internet is just a tool, as with everything else, there are enthusiastic who take advantage of it immediately and there are the ones who cannot or do not want to.

They will come later...

Being connected is our destiny, either we want it or not...

Patrizia, more than ever from a World on IP.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

TV on IP

When you choose a mean to broadcast something you HAVE to decide if it is appropriate, useful, convenient and so on.
Or at least you should.

Streaming a TV program on the Internet in my opinion would have only one advantage: the interactivity.
No other broadcasting mean can give you a complete interactivity as the Internet could.

For the simple broadcasting of a movie or a TV program, which has mainly to be "seen", the TV broadcasting, and the Satellite broadcasting are still much better.
You do not have problems of bandwidth that you would have on the Internet the moment you want to reach a big audience.

You would also need a good compression, which at the moment is not there yet, or at least would be very expensive.

The user of today wants also quality.

I guess the TV on IP will undoubtedly come, but it is a little bit too soon...


Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Convergence has got too much approval lately.

I do not even believe it would be the perfect solution for everything that can be broadcasted or streamed on the Internet.
The transmission of data and voice over Ip have undoubtedly many advantages.
But who can be sure that it would be better to broadcast TV on the computer?
I do agree that having one only system in the house, a media centre with one or more screens connected, could have its advantages, but I fail to see the big improvement in broadcasting movies or even TV programs on the Internet line.

The Internet line has the quality of interactivity, which means the possibility of interactive TV programs, but when it comes to a Movie or some kind of passive entertainment, I still believe it would be stupid to consume precious and costly bandwidth, where the old broadcasting system could still do the job in a cheaper and better way.
Satellite for example, has the Multicasting feature, you consume the bandwidth once for millions.
While on the Internet, in most regions (for example in Europe) multicasting wouldn’t be possible.

A different scenario would be a metropolitan Internet, especially a wireless metropolitan Internet, where the bandwidth consumed would be the local bandwidth.
It could be highly profitable and useful for the broadcasting of local transmissions, sport events, local music or theatre or whatever.

In this case, the Metropolitan Internet could really be the heart of the town.
E-commerce, e-teaching, e-medicine, events, local news and so on, could have a huge boost.

Sometimes the enthusiasm can mislead us and show patterns that are not the right ones.
Coming back to reality and weight the pros and the cons will give us a better chance to succeed.

About Internet Marketing

Good marketing is not understanding the needs of your customer, but understanding YOUR customer's psychology in order to create his needs.

In the specific case of the Internet users, whoever plans a good marketing of a good product or of a successful product, has to keep in mind the peculiar characteristics of the "Surfers".

For doing that, we have to go to the early beginning of the Internet, the time in which it was not widespread, the time in which the Internet grew because a flourish of people built strange and interesting applications, and left them open to access by the outside world. The early days involved everything from fish tank webcams to FTP repositories of software to online communities talking about the technical and the trivial.

The main catching of the Internet in the beginning, was the fact that you could find a lot in it and the "lot" was mainly "free".

This particular welcome characteristic was enhanced by the birth of the P2P community, the file sharing.
Even the copyrighted material became suddenly "free" and "available" at a click of your mouse.

This made the fortune of broadband, this was really the factor "driving broadband".

This stated, it looked clear that if you wanted to make a good, widespread product, it had to have the main feature, in other words, it had to be "free".

Now, VoIP, even though it is a very low cost application, because during the call it is consumed the user's bandwidth, and it uses the Internet line, still it needs an authentication and a directing of the call.
This involves a central gatekeeper that consumes a certain quantity of bandwidth.
For not talking of the software needed to "adapt" voice to the Intenet line, to transform voice into data.

In this respect, I guess the idea of the Skype's inventor was great and the marketing even more.

You do not need a big central server, because you have many decentralized "nodes" to do the job.

Well, at first sight this could really look like the best possible architecture for VoIP.

And who cares for the rest, we care that "it works" and that it is "free".

Every Monopoly could be a wonderful architecture.
What is better than a system adopted by 99% of the users, which is free, which is simple to use, which "works"?

Yes, every monopoly would be perfect, if it was driven by computers and not by men.
Computers are not greedy, they do the job they are planed for, they do not need revenues, they do not want to take advantage of anything.
A computer's monopoly begins with certain previous statements and rules and keeps them till the end.

A men's monopoly tends to evolve in a different way.
Begins like a "free revolutionary tool" and ends like "the most profitable business" where the profits are not anymore for the users, but for the ones who own the Monopoly.

And it is a very dangerous tool.
It is like a tyranny.
Every "Duce" begins as the biggest benefactor of this world and evolves to be somebody who does everything for his own advantage.

It is easy to fight a tyranny in the beginning, very difficult and dangerous when it evolves.

So, it is very important that "Surfers" begin to open their eyes and be less dreamer and forget the illusion of a "free world" based on the sharing of "free software".

It is time they begin to understand that it is better to pay a little and have something for it, that having a lot "free" and having to pay much more that what they got.

Nobody works for nothing.
Nobody works for fame or glory or gratification.

Unless they are already paid.
A university CAN give something for free, because the one who does it, is paid in another way, may be taxpayers' money.

But if you believe that there is still somebody willing to work for nothing, let me tell you, those times, if they ever existed, are definitely gone...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

About Freedom

"All efforts at controlling the mind are subject to this myth of
scarcity. Try to control education and smart kids learn to reject
you. Try to control the Internet and Chinese people learn just how
precious a sip of freedom is, while the rest of us get bored by the
Freedom is the answer to tyranny because freedom creates abundance,
or discovers the abundance that is in fact all around us.
To all those who feel oppressed, no matter their cause, I hope this
brings some comfort. In the end, freedom will win out. Maybe not
today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not even in your lifetime, but it
will. Freedom, knowledge, and truth are all plastic, all powerful,
and all unlimited.
The universe, whether we're talking about your mind, this planet, or
the stars themselves, is far more infinite than you or I can possibly
And the only way to get a taste of it is to open your mind, as
scientists do, and prepare always to have it changed.

This is definitely very pretty wording."


The unlimited freedom has a taste of license.
Freedom is not in the abundance but in the understanding of scarcity.
Freedom is being able to appreciate your limits and respecting the others'.
Freedom will never win, because men will never change.
We will always have the weak and the strong, and the first will always be oppressed by the second.
History repeats itself and teaches us that there is no perfect life or world because there is no such a thing as a perfect man.
Believing in the victory of freedom is nice and warming the heart, but it is an illusion.

Create a perfect world and it will slowly change in an imperfect one.


About Music Copyrights

Music stealing all around

Cary Sherman's opinion piece on Sunday, "Mellifluous Discord:
Universities' High-Speed Internet2 Used by Students to Pilfer Music,"
was as one-sided and illogical as the whole Recording Industry Association of America he represents, as president.

Sherman suggests that universities should remind users of "the necessity of responsible use of network resources." In my computer science class at Carnegie Mellon, "Introduction to Computer Music," I spend a little time doing just that. I teach students how, historically, the major recording labels have dominated the recording industry, refusing to record some of America's greatest artists, including Louis Armstrong. (His first recordings were manufactured by a former piano company in Indiana, which was sued by the major labels of the day for patent infringement.) Mr. Sherman, is this an example of "a climate where creativity is valued" that you are seeking?

My students also learn how the broadcasting industry, dominated by NBC and CBS, ignored recording technology until the NBC monopoly was broken up by the FCC. The innovations in magnetic recording for broadcast introduced by the struggling ABC were a major step forward, enabling the modern recording industry and even modern computer technology. Mr. Sherman, was the monopolistic suppression of innovation the "responsible use of network resources" you are seeking?

Mr. Sherman, you say that stealing "is not OK," and yet I have musician friends who cannot get RIAA members to pay them the royalties they are due. While you are asking universities to address your problems, please don't forget that you too can be a "powerful leader in curbing theft of copyright materials on campus." If you'll stop your members from stealing from my friends, and then study some history, maybe I can help you.

Squirrel Hill

Anne Watzman, Director
Media Relations, School of Computer Science 412-268-3830

Even Politicians...

Even Politicians say intelligent things once in a while.

A German one said:

There are two major problems in the society of today:

1) Trade Unions

2) Politicians

He is not a politician anymore. May be the fact of being too intelligent killed him...

Necessity is the mother of invention, but Creating Necessity is the father of a good "Mass Market Product"

"Where will innovation come from? That's always on the minds of those whose livelihood depends, directly or indirectly, on information technology. Visionary entrepreneurs and brilliant engineers are always out there, building solutions for markets others don't even see. Yet most of those markets are hypothetical today for a reason. The majority of innovation occurs because it solves identifiable problems. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

Precisely because computers and digital networks are so powerful, pervasive, and inexpensive, however, few applications truly call for breakthroughs. Corporate and government research and development once drove significant innovation, but both have been cut dramatically in recent times. And even research operations with generous funding, such as Microsoft's (MSFT ), have produced nothing comparable to the legendary output of Xerox' PARC and AT&T's Bell Labs. Some other drivers must take up the slack.

Anthropologist Jared Diamond tackled a similar question for the planet as a whole in his Pulitzer-prize winning book, Guns, Germs, and Steel. He showed how the three elements in the title, plus other surprising variables, explained why certain parts of world attained a much higher level of development than others. Hidden conditions of the local environment, rather than innate capacity differences, produced extraordinary innovation in regions such as Europe while retarding it elsewhere.

PRACTICAL TASKS. In today's technology industry, the three hidden factors shaping the innovation environment are guns, games, and style. " Kevin Werbach

Good marketing is not understanding the needs of your customer, but understanding YOUR customer's psychology in order to create his needs.

Necessity is the mother of invention, but Creating Necessity is the father of a good "Mass Market Product"

People didn't need to call while travelling on a train till they provided cell phones that worked on trains.
People didn't need to play video games before they invented Video Games.
They didn't feel needs, until somebody CREATED a good and highly sellable product.

Knowing the psychology of man and using your knowledge is the marketing tool of the present and will be the marketing tool of the future.

Man has three main needs:

1) Surviving

2) Reproducing

3) Fighting the fear of death

"When man had reached the stage of eating, clothing, social organization and weapons, so overcoming the danger of starving, freezing and being eaten by wild animals and these dangers ceased to be the essential factor influencing selection, an evil intraspecific selection must have set in.
The factor influencing selection was now the wars waged between hostile neighbouring tribes..
Aggression is really an essential part of life.

Style can be seen as the need to "look better" in order to "attract more".
Or can be seen as the need of beauty, as the need of Art.

The third point must not be under evaluated.

The biggest kingdom of this world, the biggest market is the "Religious Market" which has the basic fundaments in the fear of death.

Keeping in mind these three main issues, a good "Market strategist" can create the needs for Wars, Video whatever, style, and all what is connected to the safety of the "soul".

Without forgetting the need of Communication that is in between the need of Survival and Reproducing.

I wouldn't include Skype in the category of Style.
It has, in my opinion, everything but style, at least the way I intend style.
The style of their softphone and web pages is more like a lipstick on a Gorilla mouth than real "fashionable style".
But then, everybody has his personal tastes.

I would include Skype in the category of "Creating a need for cheap communication and so more communication".
And you can believe it is the greatest and most innovative technology.
But then, everybody has his own tastes and convinctions...

Who invented the Internet; or the origins of the Internet

I always thought the Internet was the evolution of the Arpanet.
It was a new vision of communication, as a decentralized Network in opposition to the common architecture of a centralized service (telecoms' like)

In this sense I see VoIP as the natural child of the Internet for its singular decentralized structure.

This new architecture is much more than a mere technical change.
It is the different structure of intercommunication that makes the Internet first and VoIP later and all the services on Ip that will come in the near future, a real revolution, the revolution of our century.

That is why, in my opinion, limiting VoIP to a service which allows to save on telephone calls is misunderstanding the present and the future.

What most VoIP providers offer is nothing else than a cheaper copy of the Telecoms' business structure.
You pay the Ins and the Outs and you pay for minutes.
You still pay for using an infrastructure, but in this case it is already yours.(because you lease it)

You still use the PSTN for the ins and the outs.
And I understand that in every process there is a transitional phase.

But if you use proprietary codecs and hardware, if you have to belong to a proprietary Network, if every network is an island, then where is the disruptive technology that is causing significant change in the way voice communication services are delivered?
It is not anymore a transitional phase, but a service that begins and ends at the same point, not the evolution of a new technology.

VoIP is only the beginning of a more significant move to convergence. As the world moves to a common IP-based data network as backbone, VoIP is only one of the realtime services offered on such networks, along with many data services. The same network will also support video services from videoconferencing to entertainment video.
Networks will become multiservice platforms.
The only open question is:

Who will provide the services?

The Internet, new cheap hardware made it possible to dismantle the big corporation.
It is not only a decentralized Network, it is a decentralized world of opportunities.

The Internet offers all the opportunities to change the players of the Market.
Decentralized Network, decentralized corporations.

No more a central unity, but many independent endpoints and end workers.

Will we be finally able to foresee the natural evolution of the dinosaurs into smaller birds?

The Internet world doesn't need or like a central brain.
It needs many decentralized, interconnected brains.

"From the History of Science, we know that big ideas never spring from just one source (story line). Mr. Peter's work acknowledges this by commenting on an interesting juxtaposition of several origin stories.

However, there is a fundamental missing piece, reflected as a misapprehension in some of the comments he cites, which is fundamental to The Internet as we know it.

The critical point missed is that in all of the "internet progenitors"
that actually contributed substantial "DNA" to Today's Internet all fostered an environment where the creativity was at the *edge* of the network, not *inside* the network, per se."

It would be very difficult to find creativity in a piece of wire or in a wireless link.
The new point is not in where is the creativity, but in the existence of many creativities in the place of one.

"This trait remains the central driving force in The Internet - the "sustainable rate of innovation" - and that is maximized, generally speaking, by not requiring "permission" to attempt innovation."

There is no need of permission if there is no authority.
Every ring in the chain is a part of it, a contribution to the global innovation.

I was particularly taken by the comments about how it might still be "the internet" if done with X.25 or ATM.

"those "telco" technologies were created specifically to provide for central planning and control of innovation (aka "new services").
the power of that control can be seen in how successfully ISDN was crushed in the US. In that world, "new services" (not necessarily
innovative) are doled out by the network operators, in concert with their handmaiden equipment providers, on geologic time scales.

No, any comprehensive theory for "how the Internet came to be" must take into account this very fundamental decentralization and the innovative forces it unleashes.

It is the unrivalled "sustainable rate of innovation" which makes The Internet what it is.

Moreover, any alternative "Mark 2" notion of "The Internet" which does not maintain and leverage this force will be unable to compete with another model which is in league with it.

At large scale, Biological Diversity beats Centralized Planning.

The rise of The Internet as innovation platform was the transition of communications and comm infrastructure from the world of Centralized Planning to a world where Biological Diversity drives the sustainable rate of innovation."

Discussion and exchange of ideas. Ideas generate new ideas and new ideas make a new world, while a monologue is very often sterile especially when driven just by profit.

"Intentional economic gerrymandering not withstanding, this is a hugely powerful force. That fundamental model transition marks the real birth of The Internet as she is known today. All else was prelude.


What I like best is the "she".


Monday, May 02, 2005

Who invented the Internet

The beginnings of the Internet are shrouded in myth and misunderstandings that have led to some claims of proprietary ownership of the Internet.

Where and when did the Internet begin? The only thing Internet historians seem to agree on is that it was not 1969, or the Pentagon, (or for that matter Al Gore). From there on, there is a wide divergence of views as to when, where, and by whom the Internet may have been invented.

In the article at we examine various theories, including:

1. Packet switching represents the origins of the Internet
2. The TCP/IP protocol represents the origins of the Internet
3. A range of telco-led activities from the 1960s represents the true origins
4. The birth of the Internet is best explained through a history of applications rather than the protocols
5. The range of inventions and activities emanating from Xerox Palo Alto laboratories, including Ethernet, represent the true beginnings.

Examining these various events, we come to some important findings, including;

* There are a number of valid claims to origins of the Internet.
* Although an original date and place might be obtainable for the first networked transmission that could be called an Internet, the result would need by definition to include more than one party or network, and is unlikely to be a satisfactory or useful conclusion.
* Not only US projects were involved in the beginnings of the Internet.
* Not only government funded US research programs were involved in the beginnings of the Internet.
* Not only telcos and the commercial sector were involved in the beginnings of the Internet.
* Neither Arpanet nor TCP/IP is present in all valid theories.

We conclude that any claim by a nation, project, person, or team of individuals, or participants in any single event to "the beginnings of the Internet" is wrong. Further, any claim that the validity or legitimacy of any structure or arrangement can be justified as Internet governance purely because it arose from one of these events is false.

And finally "Nor should this article undermine the significant contributions of a number of individuals to claims as "fathers of the Internet". Most of these individuals, particularly those who are most prominent, are at pains to point out the crucial involvement of others - however, the institutions they represent are often less careful in ensuring that widespread involvement of individuals from commercial and government funded sources in a number of countries are ultimately to be thanked for the origins of the Internet. If this paper does no more than clarify that the Internet really has no owner and no single place of origin, it will have served well."

Read on at

"Dirt cheap" but "Clean useless"

Telepocalypse by Martin

"On the other hand...
It’s election time here in the UK, and the media are required to give a “balanced picture” by offering equal time to the main parties.

So in case you think I’ve gone completely Skype nuts, here’s a few balancing news items.

I had a Skype conference call with a client a few days ago. It was embarassingly bad, mainly because one of the participants was on a flaky hotel Wi-Fi link. In the vertically integrated telco model, this would be the telcos problem. Skype’s layered model tends to push them towards a “not our problem” approach. Mistake! The Skype client needs to be aware of the connectivity quality underneath it. If it can’t deliver, and is disrupting a conf call, then it needs to inform the participant, end the call, or somehow manage the situation. Skype needs to manage the user experience better, even the bits they don’t have control over.

I’m also having too many Skype calls where I need to re-dial to get a better connection. Plus I’ve had several failed SkypeOut calls (what is a 10040 error, or whatever it was, I don’t know — but that’s not my idea of a great user experience).

Skype also has some blind spots and weaknesses. It’s a winner so far at consumer-to-consumer chat, both for close buddies and strangers. Yet there’s space for Google to build a C2B VoIP service (“click here to talk to Acme Rotavtor Supplies”), Microsoft to federate their RTC/Outlook universe (B2B2B2B^n), and the PSTN to soldier on as the B2C preferred means of contact. Skype’s assumption that all calling is free doesn’t jive well with what we’re seeing elsewhere.

That said, some of Skype’s competition don’t get that “great user experience” idea. Yahoo have some dreadful advertising pop-up in their IM client, and you have to hunt for a configuration setting to turn it off. They litter their IM client with irrelevant crap. They force-feed users on upgrades to try to sell them BT’s VoIP services. And the webcam experience in Yahoo — and its ability to deal with firewalls and NAT — sucks like grandma’s lost her dentures. Last time I tried their voice client, it wasn’t good. Skype does things like automatic volume control very well.

In our world of toothpaste, Yahoo is the cap that rolls off into the sink, the tube that splits in your toiletries bag, and the dispenser that squirts a bit too much out when you squeeze the end. Skype has the perfect flip-cap, a tube that stands on its end, and even tastes good.

I’d also like to clarify one thing… I said:

Anyone who thinks they can roll a VoIP strategy without taking Skype into account has lost the plot.

What I mean is that you need to take it into account, not necessarily automatically embrace it. If you’re a telco, it means either fighting or co-opting Skype in some way. (What to know how - click here.)

Skype isn’t perfect. It hasn’t taken the feature set very far past the PSTN. (What can you do in Skype but can’t do with an all-you-can-eat PSTN plan and an IM client?) But the bar anyone else needs to cross is raising out of reach real fast. You’re not only going to have to outflank Skype in product features and usability, but you’re going to have to outdistribute Skype when Skype has an army of tens of millions of pushers already in its grasp.

No matter how much you love SIP and ENUM, there’s no “Perfect for the VoB” sticker on a box in Costco that assures you your SIP phone will interoperate with the rest of the universe, and that it’ll fulfill your full set of needs (voicemail, call control, etc.). The Vob is a marketing failure, not a technology one. The “promise” isn’t clear and the brand non-existent. Compare to WiFi, whose ascent is as much an accident of cute naming as meeting customer need. Also score another similarity between Skype and Microsoft — the genius of both is not the technology, it’s the sales and marketing.

As far as I’m concerned, Skype’s well past the Mum Test — my mother is now getting her friends onto Skype. If you dismiss or ignore Skype, flawed as it may be, you do it at your peril."

Posted by Martin

Perfect for C2C, perfect for now.

But it misses the full picture.


1) Right now VoIP is NOT a Mass Market Product, let me be clearer: it is NOT a PROFITABLE mass market product.

The users of Skype, the enthusiastic of it, are the ones who use it for IP to IP.
Skype out is "dirt cheap", but in most cases "clean useless".
For local calls the PSTN and the Telcos still have better pricing (Flat unlimited rates), better quality and you can use your normal phone.

The cost of a cell phone call local or national is almost the same.
Why should you use a termination? Unless you need to call Internationally.
But how many in the C2C market have the need to call Internationally?
Not many, at least in Europe.

"I love Skype because I can call for free my girlfriend"

That is a good commercial and marketing advertisement for Skype, but doesn't produce many revenues, does it?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The biggest invention

If somebody asked you:
Who is a great name?
Everybody would answer: Einstein, Rudolf Diesel, Edison, Marconi, and so on...

But nobody knows the name of Antonio Meucci, even though his was one of the biggest invention of the 20th century:

The Telephone



An invention none of us could live without, a tool of modern communications so basic that many of today's business and social activities would be inconceivable in its absence, the telephone, is at the center of a series of events so strange as to amount to a "whodunit."

Most of us were brought up on the story of Alexander Graham Bell, the romantic figure of an inventor with dash and charm. Some of these favorable impressions must have come from the famous, if apocryphal, "Come here Watson, I want you" legend of the invention of the device, a tradition augmented by the movie version of the tale, in which actor Don Amiche became more or less permanently attached to the persona of Bell.

But it seems that history must be rewritten if justice is to be done to an immigrant from Florence, Italy: Antonio Meucci, who invented the telephone in 1849 and filed his first patent caveat (notice of intention to take out a patent) in 1871, setting into motion a series of mysterious events and injustices which would be incredible were they not so well documented.

Meucci was an enigmatic character, a man unable to overcome his own lack of managerial and entrepreneurial talent, a man tormented by his inability to communicate in any language other than Italian. The tragic events of his personal and professional life, his accomplishments and his association with the great Italian patriot, Garibaldi, should be legendary in themselves but, curiously, the man and his story are practically unknown today.

Antonio Meucci was born in San Frediano, near Florence, in April 1808. He studied design and mechanical engineering at Florence's Academy of Fine Arts and then worked in the Teatro della Pergola and various other theaters as a stage technician until 1835, when he accepted a job as scenic designer and stage technician at the Teatro Tacon in Havana, Cuba.

Absolutely fascinated by scientific research of any kind, Meucci read every scientific tract he could get his hands on, and spent all his spare time in Havana on research, inventing a new method of galvanizing metals which he applied to military equipment for the Cuban government; at the same time, he continued his work in the theater and pursued his endless experiments.

One these touched off a series of fateful events. Meucci had developed a method of using electric shocks to treat illness which had become quite popular in Havana. One day, while preparing to administer a treatment to a friend, Meucci heard an exclamation of the friend, who was in the next room, over the piece of copper wire running between them. The inventor realized immediately that he held in his hand something much more important than any other discovery he had ever made, and he spent the next ten years bringing the principle to a practical stage. The following ten years were to be spent perfecting the original device and trying to promote its commercialization.

With this goal, he left Cuba for New York in 1850, settling in the Clifton section of Staten Island, a few miles from New York City. Here, in addition to his problems of a strictly financial nature, Meucci realized that he could not communicate adequately in English, having relied on the similarities of Italian and Spanish during his Cuban residence. Furthermore, in Staten Island, he found himself surrounded by Italian political refugees; Giuseppe Garibaldi, when exiled from Italy, spent his period of United States residency in Meucci's house. The scientist tried to help his Italian friends by devising any number of industrial projects using new or improved manufacturing methods for such diverse products as beer, candles, pianos and paper. But he knew nothing of management, and even those initiatives which succeeded were to have their profits eaten up by unscrupulous or inept managers or by the refugees themselves, who spent more time in political discussion than they did in active work.

Meanwhile, Meucci continued to dedicate his time to perfecting the telephone. In 1855, when his wife became partially paralyzed, Meucci set up a telephone system which joined several rooms of his house with his workshop in another building nearby, the first such installation anywhere. In 1860, when the instrument had become practical, Meucci organized a demonstration to attract financial backing in which a singer's voice was clearly heard by spectators a considerable distance away. A description of the apparatus was soon published in one of New York's Italian newspapers and the report together with a model of the invention were taken to Italy by a certain Signor Bendelari with the goal of arranging production there; nothing came of this trip, nor of the many promises of financial support which had been forthcoming after the demonstration.

The years which followed brought increasing poverty to an embittered and discouraged Meucci, who nonetheless continued to produce a series of new inventions. His precarious financial situation, however, often constrained him to sell the rights to his inventions, and still left him without the wherewithal to take out final patents on the telephone.

A dramatic event, in which Meucci was severely burned in the explosion of the steamship Westfield returning from New York, brought things to an even more tragic state. While Meucci lay in hospital, miraculously alive after the disaster, his wife sold many of his working models (including the telephone prototype) and other materials to a secondhand dealer for six dollars. When Meucci sought to buy these precious objects back, he was told that they had been resold to an "unknown young man" whose identity remains a mystery to this day.

Crushed, but not beaten, Meucci worked night and day to reconstruct his invention and to produce new designs and specifications, clearly apprehensive that someone could steal the device before he could have it patented. Unable to raise the sum for a definitive patent ($250, considerable in those days), he took recourse in the caveat or notice of intent, which was registered on December 28, 1871 and renewed in 1872 and 1873 but, fatefully, not thereafter.

Immediately after he received certification of the caveat, Meucci tried again to demonstrate the enormous potential of the device, delivering a model and technical details to the vice president of one of the affiliates of the newly established Western Union Telegraph Company, asking permission to demonstrate his "Talking Telegraph" on the wires of the Western Union system. However, each time that Meucci contacted this vice president, a certain Edward B. Grant, he was told that there had been no time to arrange the test. Two years passed, after which Meucci demanded the return of his materials, only to be told that they had been "lost." It was then 1874.

In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell filed a patent which does not really describe the telephone but refers to it as such. When Meucci learned of this, he instructed his lawyer to protest to the U.S. Patent Office in Washington, something that was never done. However, a friend did contact Washington, only to learn that all the documents relevant to the "Talking Telegraph" filed in Meucci's caveat had been "lost." Later investigation produced evidence of illegal relationships linking certain employees of the Patent Office and officials of Bell's company. And later, in the course of litigation between Bell and Western Union, it was revealed that Bell had agreed to pay Western Union 20 percent of profits from commercialization of his "invention" for a period of 17 years. Millions of dollars were involved, but the price may been cheaper than revealing facts better left hidden, from Bell's point of view.

In the court case of 1886, although Bell's lawyers tried to turn aside Meucci's suit against their client, he was able to explain every detail of his invention so clearly as to leave little doubt of his veracity, although he did not win the case against the superior - and vastly richer - forces fielded by Bell. Despite a public statement by the then Secretary of State that "there exists sufficient proof to give priority to Meucci in the invention of the telephone," and despite the fact that the United States initiated prosecution for fraud against Bell's patent, the trial was postponed from year to year until, at the death of Meucci in 1896, the case was dropped.

The story of Antonio Meucci is still little known, yet it is one of the most extraordinary episodes in American history, albeit an episode in which justice was perverted. Still, the genius and perseverance of an Italian immigrant - genius, poor businessman, tenacious defender of his rights against incredible odds and grinding poverty - is a story which must be told. Antonio Meucci is waiting to be recognized as the inventor of a key element in our modern culture.

Italian Historical Society of America.


It looks like the numbering is the only real issue of all the VoIP market.

It looks like nobody sees the real point, at least for what concerns the Mass Market.
They are building every day new Networks, of course proprietary stuff, like the Telecoms' business model, where you have to pay to get in or out.

And of course internal P2P are welcome.(as long as they are sure you will need to go in and out.)

The main difference is that the old business model (the Telcos') had a meaning and a justification.
They owned the infrastructure and with the ins and outs you paid for the leasing of the line.

VoIp is totally a different Scenario.
Finally we have a "customer's owned infrastructures" or at least leased directly by the user.
So why SHOULD the USER belong to a private NETWORK to do call that he can better do in HIS OWNED Network ( The Internet)

The only issue is directing them.
That is all what is required by a Provider.

Everybody owns a computer, everybody can buy an IP phone or a softphone, everybody PAYS for his access to the Internet.
Why should we be so stupid?

OK you can talk about the VoIP-PSTN connection.

But there are out there so many "terminators" you can choose among good services, bad services, no services, but you are not obliged to buy the Termination from a VoIP provider.

I tell you what we risk with this stupid behaviour.
One day the Telcos will feel treatened and will do just that: offer VoIP on THEIR Network and interconnectivity with the other Telcos.
In five minutes they will have the biggest VoIP Network ever seen and we will all agree that in the end, it is much simpler...

But we all will have lost a chance to have done a revolution when the oppurtunity was there.
You win a battle if you are able to take the enemy by surprise, oterwise if you have good chances to loose...forget it...


If we paid the bananas the right price...

The point is not what Skype should do, it is what the OTHERS should do.

I see a big opportunity in the Market for VoIP and I see also a big number of IT specialists out of job or near to.

VoIP and the Internet are a huge opportunity for small companies, in the fact that they allow a one man comapny to enter the market and compete with the giants.
You need a small investment, good skills and of course a clear vision of what you want to achieve.

I see a much better economical growth if the market is divided among many instead of being in the hands of a few.

We have seen a world where the rich tend to get richer and the poor tend to get poorer. No matter how and when.

Now, this process can be reversed, must be reversed, otherwise there will be a day in which also the rich will become fewer and fewer and the society will neeed to be replaned.
(if there is just a few that can afford to buy, how can you sell?)

If we paid the bananas the right price, in Africa they would have the money to buy computers and software produced in other countries.

Globalization is also that: giving opportunities...


Is VoIP for everybody?

VoIP IS for everybody, but for the moment it is not CONVENIENT for everybody.
Let's say: It is not yet a mass market product.

It is true, it has all the features to be, it is a cheap way to make calls, much cheaper than the actual telephony, it is relatively easy to deploy.

That is not enough to make it a widespread product.

85% of the calls are local and relatively cheap.
More: most calls are on cell phone and VoIP is not a competitor to cell phones, especially when we talk about LOCAL calls.

It will undoubteluy be a mass market product, because it has all the features to be.
But only when most of the people will be on IP.

Then the local call will be completely FREE, the user won't have the need to have two lines.

Now the question is: Who will make that possible?

The easiest and fastest way should be the Telecoms who are also Internet providers.
But would they be so stupid to loose the huge income of their voice line?

There is a big hole in the Market and it needs to be filled.
There is a huge potential out there, a lot of good unemployed people in search of a job.

Will they be intelligent enough to see the opportunity, or will they let the market in the hands of a new and old monopoly?

The Internet is a Revolution, but only if the people understand it.

Free lancers, intelligent people of today, let's all fight for a new generation where the power is no more in the hands of a few...