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September 2003 Archives

September 2, 2003

Changing Face of Blogs

I've been struggling to get going with blogging since returning from Europe.  Many of my thoughts just prior to going away had an increasingly Corporate Blogging thrust from thinking about teams to also how the news is collected. 

So it was nice to see this timely reminder from Rob Patterson to use blogging to change our world.  He says: " it's not about making the corporation better..." he writes about human voices, conversations, discovery.  From his previous day post I'll add in community and learning...

And that is exactly why we need to stretch the perceptions and understanding of individuals in organizations. I still believe early organizational bloggers will have power.  They also need to explore how they will share with their colleagues - some who will be threatened.  They may emerge as experts as they talk with a voice that can influence internally and perhaps externally. They accelerate their learning and provide new opportunities to share organizational success --- and good strategy comes from great conversations. Similarly smart blogging strategies will simplify and streamline their communication channels.  So, blogging can and will improve institutional learning. 

This is exactly why Rob's desire for an eBay market for knowledge will also impact.  Just like the wreckless claims that all large organizations should start organising "Bringing Silicon Valley Inside" like venture firms, blogging may well stimulate new knowledge communities and in that may have a more lasting impact on instituitions.  Knowledge in such a format is inherently cooperative.  Thus the ownership structures may change providing the fuel for revolutionizing the corporate institutions. 

Rob: "For me the big challenge is how can we create a safe community where we can learn from each other?" 

As an individual being part of a blogging community is something I desire.  In the life before blogging I had many colleagues almost none of which currently blog.  While I've not asked them much... few have ever asked me about my blogging.  It why it is so enlightening and enriching to make contact with other bloggers who see the potential. The free flowing implicit connections are not institutionalized and yet my desire remains for more explicit connections that force me to "raise the bar".  I feel there is a merry dance in there.  Few blogger that I really know or correspond with have been blogging longer than two years.  We are thus a mass of loose ties... weakly joined. The potential for collective action is enormous.

So perhaps the challenge is to link or cross syndicate blogs - perhaps for time periods possibly for lifetimes.  The contracts can be explicit... We maintain the individual augmented by their thought networks.  I'm not blogging alone... and yet I'd like to be blogging as part of a more collaborative group. I need more input - perhaps that is just me. However, blogging in a groups still fits with my belief that all of us is better than anyone of us. 

Back to the CEO --- exploring the possiblities of blogging will open up the flow of information in organizations.  Increased flow makes everything more transparent. The hierarchies approach to organizations rather than wirearchy means a lack of transparency, creating powerlessness and leaves CEO's listening too often to too few voices. If the organizational environment could even begin to approach the blogging stream of thought (See Mitch & John R example re making "connections") then the emphasis will move one tick closer to "learning faster".  I

I'm sure there is a percentage point where people get a bigger kick out of what they are doing when they are learning more.  Those that are blessed with the 20%+ of time type number will almost automatically put confidence and leadership back into an organization.  The CEO that fails to explore blogging will fail to harness the changing social nature of work.   

September 3, 2003

Digital Authentication Cures Spam?

A user centric approach to solving the spam problem using digital signatures from First Monday Giving E-mail back to the users by Trevor Tompkins and Dan Handley

"This paper argues that current legislative and private attempts to stop spam are either ineffective, or involve unacceptable tradeoffs.

We propose a system that possesses the following features of authentication:

  • The authentication process should be easy to initiate. Just as in face-to-face communication, users should have an effortless way to grant their family, friends, and coworkers immediate authentication status.
  • Authentication should have the option of being transferable. Users may want their friends to be able to give other friends authentication for your e-mail address. This is not unlike the real life situation — "Bob referred me to you."
  • There should likewise be the option to make authentication non-transferable. Users may not want certain friends to be able to give other friends authentication to contact the user.
  • Re-issuable. Users may want to re-issue permissions.
  • Changeable. Users may want to change the authentication status and/or attributes of a particular person, or groups of people at any time.
  • Revocable. Users need the option to revoke anyone’s authentication — meaning ability to contact them — at any time for any reason they deem fit.
  • Hide or announce authentication status. Users may or may not wish to let someone know that they have revoked their authentication.

Authentication on this basis is very similar to the levels of access I'd like to give different names on my buddy lists.  Then perhaps this is more complex than it at first seems.  The end-user is getting closer to wanting a solution that they can implement. 

If we turn off spam can encrypted keys to verified profiles owned by you and me be far behind?  Similarly enhanced public directories?  Could be useful. 

Then their solution might also cure the comment spam this blog has recieved in the last few days... (deleted as quickly as I note it and I know I am not alone.) .... Shoud we be helping these guys? 

September 4, 2003

Boom Earth Shakes n' Google

Wow... boom sharp quake about 8 miles away at 18:39.  Want information.  Google.  Almost in real-time by 18:44 I'm sharing a map with my daughter.  Who needs reporting when the instumentation is online.  Cool!  Actual report is here magnitude 4.  Was strong enough to throw pictures off the piano. 

earthquake0904.gif

Enough to mess up Bart timetables tonight!

Intelligence in the Fields

Seb's Kuro5hin observations are picked up by Marc and others below. This is exactly the problem that corporates are having to deal with. As corporations explore these new tools they are forced to rethink how they interact. So the closed garden is a wonderful metaphor for understanding the present and the opportunities that are presenting themselves.

Too often we focus on the tools that may help to make these changes rather than the leadership challenge. Knowledge leaders inspire the behaviors and culture that connects and weaves together ideas from which we draw growth and value.

I believe Seb's example is wonderful for highlighting what happens when strategic dialogues take place behind closed walls or highly structured environments. At Kuro5hin.. perhaps ( I don't know) they have lost the capability to dialogue through the tough questions. Organizations that nurture the garden... encourage new life, take time to listen, to heed the calls of nature. Better to go wild rather than let it die.

Escape from Kuro5hin?.

This one strikes a chord with me, being a Kuro5hin expat. Here's a discussion among k5 users who have come to see the community as a walled garden and realize how the centralized architecture of the site limits the use they can make of it.

"Right now, we're all constrained by K5 mechanisms and K5 borders. K5 is the AOL of the blogging world."

As I wrote a while ago, "rigidity and tight coupling is going to be a hindrance to the growth of communities like k5 in the long term. Intelligence and freedom need to be at the ends, not at the center."

[Corante: Social Software]

I totally agree.  That's why we're building a social network based upon FOAF - called the PeopleAggregator.com.  It's up - but just barely right now.  Lots of interesting notions built into it - which I'll be covering - soon.  In the mean time, we can literally watch the erosion of these centralized services - in front of our eyes.

[Marc's Voice]

Blogs for Innovation Panels?

There's a marketer in me wanting to seed blogs thoughout the organization.  I've eluded to potential Sales/Marketing synergies before and rather than raving about the whole organization my thoughts generally remain internally focused, around teams and groups that can begin with reasonable hurdles.

So today I caught Renee's post:Creativity & Innovation: New ideas, products, concepts, ideation. IdeaFlow - Corante. which turned me to thinking about "Consumer Insights" and opens:

"Do you have an opinion about the role of consumers in innovation? My company has a consumer panel (screened for creativity and further trained in creativity techniques), which we use for ideation projects. It had not occurred to me to analyze the use of this consumer panel via social network theory,"

There's a lot more there.  It keyed me into thinking about how blogs can aid in panels. I'm familiar with Communispace and the Hallmark story.  Still that's never utilized a diary aspect.  It's more focused on threaded discussions, provides profile information and the opportunity to run quick questionnaires etc.  What captures the imagination -- is the idea of giving product managers a 24/7 focus group on steriods. Some of us might say that bloggers already get this.   Renee again:

"In a social network sense, our consumer panelists can serve as connectors between small worlds, with those of us who work with the panel serving as facilitators that make the actual bridge (at least, if we do our part right). We had not really thought of our panelists as lead users…but in a sense, that’s exactly what they are.

Another approach is to mix our consumers with a company’s lead-user customers and/or internal R&D people, so that the product knowledge of the one group plays off the creativity skills of the other."

I think blogs are a good fit.  Here's another example of where a semi-structured community - of panelists will create substantially more valuable information when their thoughts, lives and exchanges get the opportunity to flow.  Panels in a modified Live Journal?  Panelist that can reach out... to RSS feeds and insert new ideas... the ones that are shaping their perspectives easily today.  Now that might make leading edge panels even more fashionable. 

So is anyone out their using blogs in consumer panels?  Anyone willing to experiment?

It is also easy to integrate the blog component with a hub with questionnaires – online profiles chat etc.  Sharing diaries… would also enable a “learning experience” for panelist… better diaries and thus insights may emerge.

September 9, 2003

Blog Panels +

Appreciate the good feedback and links on the Innovation Panels. See Ideaflow, Conversations and Halivais

Two other thoughts crossed my mind today. First via Phil Wolff "Weblogs Finding a Home in the Nation's Workplace. includes an advertising agency example. Seeing as I've been talking to a market research co recently about blogging it just reinforced the value being created for client projects augmented with blogged notes. Similarly, some incentives should be placed for focus group members to share some reflections via a group blog after the event. A few categories would be useful... Eg... on what was said, post event observations, new ideas.... The best bloggers are recuited into blogging panels. For the researchers running focus groups.. this is an ideal way to augment their relationships.

Second is the ongoing need to reduce research costs - or at least get more bang for your buck. A few years ago that meant exploring and implementing programs around MarketTools, Zoomerang or similar. More recently, we find public examples like Communispace being able to create effective panels that also enable some quick and dirty statistical sampling. Not only reducing research costs... these companies are moving faster "taking the pulse". Blogs can add an additional searchable element and repository over time.


Social Networks & Brands

Emerging Social Networking sites need to think more carefully about their brands. Too much time is spent "engineering" and not enough being conversational telling real stories. Strategic brand positioning is becoming ever more important in this realm. I continue to miss compelling stories on the new sites.

Today I was pushed by a colleague back to take another look at LinkedIn. I've not been growing my network there. My profile lacks detailed documentation. So I found myself playing around there and on Tribes getting a feel for yet another emerging social network. There's also SixDegrees (in beta), and if you are enterprise ready with money you can look at Spoke and Visible Path. also locked in beta. There are others too. Mostly clones.

Ross Mayfield ("The Network is the Market") also provides an excellent technical positioning overview of Tribe and demonstrates the innovative thought going in these offerings. Matt comments here and I'm sure there are others as a vacation means I'm late to the party.

At each one I try and ask myself: "How do we all feel here?" What's the tone? What is the brand trying to convey. Seeing as none of these are yet growing exponentially --- all have failed to get into the millions I suspect core issues remain around branding, functionality and "viral" growth strategies.

For my two cents Tribe is being too structured and planned in its layout and branding. While it is crisp and organized - when I think about my networks I do with feelings, sensations, connections perhaps even trepedations. I also think directory, business cards, phone numbers. If I'm thinking about trading things (something Tribe encourages) then my online experience is dictated by eBay. There's lots of personality in the listings on eBay. That's missing from Tribe. Similarly the book reviews on Amazon are another way of adding color. Ryze does it by using GuestBooks. While guest books aren't endorsements --- they are an informal method of understanding the conversations around people. As such they are useful and can rapidly broker new exchanges.

While I'm on these things... I have a generaly gripe about many of the registration processes. They don't quickly show me while I'm filling things in what others are putting in their boxes. A new registrant is going to be uncomfortable. What are you interests? Many... No be specific..... Human stories - and examples... please!

Then for participation they must be friendly, fun and inviting. If you don't enjoy it --- it won't get done. Tribe might take on Craigslist or take people away from Friendster. I know it still in beta and I bet there are many new functionalities to come. However from what I've seen so far... play, chaos, individuality, is in my view too restrictive.

So I'm going out on a limb.... just before Ryze - rumoured to be readying a relaunch shows its new stripes I'll reinforce that from a brand point of view - Ryze's inelegance is part of it's brand strength. Ryze was clearly created by human hands, the journey of a special person. Its useablity inelegant. Still at Ryze I feel like I own my own page. Ryze's pages often have a chaotic appeal that Tribe in it's current format will never achieve. At Tribe I'm part of a database - the tight pages.. no scrolling. It's an important distinction. Ryze could learn some lessons from Tribe, while Tribe still has to learn some Ryze lessons. Yep they are ostensibly focused at different markets. Still if I was Ryze I'd add their listings functionality.

So... make these brands about people.

Some functional desires in support:

  • a great directory which I don't need to update; including phone numbers etc.
  • to make those new connections and leverage my relationship capital.
  • integrated with my IM systems
  • with levels of disclosure
  • with keys to kill all my spam
  • to not only enable trade... but cooperative buying
  • to arrange meetings
  • accept my newsfeeds
  • be part of an indentity federation
  • integrate with my mail system
  • create consumer power

    Gee I want all these things. Is there a business model in here? That's also a question being asked next week. Get to Vlab and attend Social Networking: Is there Really a Business Model?

  • September 11, 2003

    P2P Telephony Should we SKYPE

    Try SKYPE out. When I've made a few more calls I'll report. If you are thinking about the future of IM, social networks, progressive disclosure, disruptive innovation and thought the founders of Kazaa were smart. This will probably confirm it. Read their Skype discription here. Provides some interesting strategy insights. Wish it would work with my Mac based friends.

    Evan caught this:  Skype.  P2P telephony.  From the Dutch developers of FastTrack (the system that powers KaZaA).  In my opinion, this is the first true legitimate application of P2P technology.  Next step:  a pro version with call waiting, voicemail, etc.   I am going to try it out to see if it does provide the quality level claimed.  If you are on, let me know so we can try it out.  Also, I wish they had skins for this so it won't look bad on my desktop (nobody needs an ugly ICQ-like system on their desktop). [John Robb's Weblog]

    YEP SKYPE - P2P Telephony

    I did a little further checking on Skype this morning. Try this search. Here's another article from InfoWorld With 10000+ users in a week I think it will blow all previous viral records.

    I also looked up Stowe Boyd's Corrante blog on IM to see if it was being reported and then e-mailed him. Within minutes he was calling me. Very cool. I'm easy to find "stuart_henshall". I'll confirm the sound quality was much better than any Yahoo or MSN voice connection I've ever had.

    It also turns IM on its head. It's ring centric. All those adults.. that are failing to understand messaging... understand how to make calls. Yep your PC will soon be ringing. Now what I want to know is:

  • What will the impact be on corporate systems... I'm sure employees will bring this in when they realize they can call anywhere... and not be logged on /via the corporate system? Will this add corporates to the sharing process? Will there be an enterprise package?
  • How will we control spam calls, telemarketing calls etc.
  • Will telemarketers who have been put on a "do not call list" have to comply with this service? Legal Issues?
  • Which blogger will give me an online/offline MT plug-in for my blog.
  • How soon will conference calls be available?
  • What will regulators and the tel co's do to make it illegal?

    We could create a list of questions a mile long with this one. My perception is it is really disruptive. It has element of my "Circles" post in it. Then even Microsoft employees have said this is a forefone conclusion. See Darknet. I'd hope that the communications companies have been thinking about this. If not time to start on some scenarios! This is a consumer centric world. It's small pieces loosely joined.

    I'm also seeing comments about Spyware. I'm less concerned. I don't think that is the business model they are going after. At the moment anyone can call me. I just got a call from a kid in Finland. Clear as anything. However I don't need robo bots on this one.

    Design Media: Usable Digital Media Skype, P2P telephony: A new P2P telephony software, Skype, is offered by the company that brought you Kazaa. One disadvantage is that, no one knows what spyware will come with this installation. But the advantage of p2p telephony offered by skype is, clients that are NATed or are behind firewlls can initiate the calls. Clients on publicly routable IP addresses will be able to proxy to NAT’ed nodes and route calls. Also, call quality is increased by keeping multiple connection paths open and dynamically choosing the one that is best suited at the time.
    You can call me to discuss this post!
  • Uncorking P2P Research

    Are there more business models around P2P? Seems a good time to highlight this emerging research business. BigChampagne is bubbling in the media world. Like Zoomerang lowered the cost of market reserach BigChampagne is the online ethnographer. They simply observe - watching for behavior changes.

    In fact, it tracks every download and sells the data to the music industry. How one company is turning file-sharing networks into the world's biggest focus group. By Jeff Howe from Wired magazine. [Wired]

    This month, I chatted with Kai Rissdal about the RIAA and BigChampagne, the company that gleans customer intelligence from filesharing networks. (The interview is in RealAudio.) [Z+Blog!]



    This is Forrester's view in August.. I'd ask youself how could they be wrong. Despite the RIAA threats... Big Champagne says file-sharing is up this week from August. Makes sense to me... back to school. Will music CD's exist in 2008?

    Hard media is in jeopardy: By 2008, revenues from CDs will be off 19%, while DVDs and tapes will drop 8%. Piracy and its cure -- streaming and paid downloads -- will drive people to connect to entertainment, not own it.

    If you are like me scanning for early indicators --- looking upstream from time to time to see what's coming then Skype and Big Champagne are two "signals" that the world may be moving in this direction. When I mentioned Skype to George Por today he kindly referred me to an article by Michel Bauwens, "Peer to Peer -from technology to politics to a new civilization". It was the first time I'd heard the meme "P2P Civilization". I rather liked it. There is further thinking in the "Integrative Style" in this Text Index.


    September 12, 2003

    Skype Accelerates --- Start Tracking Growth.

    There's plenty more out there on Skype today. The number of users online has doubled (from my observations) in a day. Currently there are 10049 users online. This is up from the 4500 approx early yesterday....... I noted yesterday. They claim 160000 downloads. So at this point probably close to 10% of the Skype population is staying online.

    How many users will they need to have more computing power than the traditional switching networks? With 10000 online now.. Only 5% to 10% are actually staying online. I'd guess we can expect this to increase. If not it suggests consumers are using a particular strategy with the system perhaps wary of being connected P2P all the time. Eg... Use a current IM client turn on and switch to Skype for Voice. From a brand point of view the associations with Kazaa are both good and bad and I'm going to address that separately. Why isn't the % participating higher? Well many will have problems with mics and sound. Others won't have got their buddies on yet. Not everyone does it immediately. Easily fixed (get a headset) see the helpful hints below.

    Things that ... make you go hmm

    160,000 Skype downloads in 12 days Skype helpful sound tips
    Here's a Miss Cleo prediction: Skype is going to be huge. Yesterday I tested (while working on a few technical support issues actually), chatting with several folks on both broadband and dialup and I remain very impressed with the sound quality. Remember, it's still beta software, and thus there are some kinks, but it is catching on fast. Here's a few helpful tips:

    Stowe Boyd also reports on his take at Corrante IM I've also received a number of comments and trackback about "Spyware" concerns (any proof anyone?) and comments read the Eula. I've read the Eula - as much as one reads it... What should I be scared of there? Where is Larry Lessig on this? John Robb remains equally enthused.

    Seem worthy to note... that from my perspective this is another one of those "blogging accelerates knowledge sharing" examples. I went to IMPlanet this am. Looking to see what they might be advising. Nothing! There is an IM conference in less than a month. Enterprise focus or not I think they should be hustling to "think outside the box". Bloggers are beating the papers on this one! Combined Skype and blogging demonstrates how viral the "knowledge exchange" really is.

    My rec... keep watching feedster on this one.

    Good Skype Review

    An excellent overview of Skype. Note Robin's comments re Vonage and similar services.

    Please Skype Me: Disruptive P2P VoIP Technology Allows You To Call And Talk Free To Any Windows PC - Robin Good' Sharewood Tidings

    The advantage(s) of this over other similar new services like Vonage and Free World Dialup is that Skype does not rely on a centralized infrastructure to maintain the directory of users and to route each and every call. This means that for those services based on a centralized infrastructure costs scale proportionally with their user base while providing quality and reliability becomes always more difficult to achieve.

    Where I'd disagree with advice later in the article which recommends accepting calls only from friends. I'm happy for example to accept calls from around the world. However I will check the info button before answering. Or I can simply treat it as one to call back. You can't always answer your computer. If I don't know / recognize your name or it is made up.... and there is no country etc. then the caller isn't providing enough info to encourage appropriate courtesy.

    Skype Users are Talking

    Interesting just tracking Skype quotes... and thinking about the grass-roots activity that is happening.

    When VoIP via P2P technology hits a point where you can call friends using a headset, PDA, and Skype software, using a wireless network, existing phone services will feel the financial hurt. I doubt P2P will kill either cellular or landline phone service, but it will certainly shift some dollars from the pockets of businesses that have far too much control over the way we communicate - I can't wait. refer
    Matches my experiences round the world.
    Me and a friend gave Skype a try and I must say its amasing. He was on a ISDN in South Africa and I was on my ADSL in London. My firewall blocked all incoming connections and it worked a charm. Sound quality was comparable to a phone if not better. I am. [refer]
    It's not hard to check out.
    Ive been seeing stuff about Skype, so I had to check it out- and Im pretty impressed. Its like instant messaging, but with telephone quality voice. Instead of getting pinged with a Gotta second? IM, your computer will ring. You... [refer]
    A foreign interpretation I can't read.....
    Devo a Mantellini la scoperta di Skype, programmino che ormai da qualche tempo utilizzo con gusto per telefonare via Internet, realizzato dalla ban.. (85 words) [refer]
    Around the world and probably more impactful than music sharing
    Dring! Dring! Dring! SKYPE! Des concepteurs de Kazaa. Téléphonie IP et P2P. What kind of impact do you think Skype... [refer]

    Living Skype the Brand

    While Skype founders are probably scrambling with what should be an overnight success, they are running some branding risks and have made some crucial target audience assumptions. Unfortunately, "beta" isn't an excuse. The consumers targeted with this product will ignore the "beta" label. I'm just going to put a few piece into play that suggests Skype must quickly become a marketing-centric organization.

    Skype's consumer base is morphing by the hour. Each registration - will impact on the community that uses Skype. Living the Brand "Skype" requires more than the initial wow fun - it works. I will try and illustrate this. I'll be brutal. The founders of Kazaa, (an egocentric pitch if I ever heard one) bring you... That's a techno-centric pitch. Lets face it Kazaa created both the platform for this step and dangers particularly perceptions. Techies will take notice.. while my mother is not interested. Trading music - has a real economic incentive for young people. Kids do it. They can't afford CD's or would in fact rather put their money on other entertainment items. I think however the target for Skype is much broader. It's not 12 year old that are trying it out. Telephone calls have no cost for them. This big bold link to Kazaa is unnecessary. Get rid of it. There's a much bigger idea under it all and the founders must build real sympathy for it.

    It begins with "living this brand" There's no marketer on the company list! There are already a number of branding problems. First we have (as too often with tech products) no consumer stories. The closest we get to smiling faces on the main screen are these two mug shots in the company section. Hey great they look like rock stars.... Well no. These photos in the company section are almost scary. They may want to change the world. However, that will require color and a smile. They must appear "pleasant" and "approachable". Some simply manufactured warmth would help. Change these photos quick!. They may work on Hot or Not; they aren't appropriate here.

    It's true there is a lot of good word of mouth out there. I've been tracking it. People really seem to get it. So why start kicking at the founders? Simply because the best emerging online community I know for having a "personal" face is Adrian Scott's Ryze. From day one he cared about his friends. This is in stark contrast to the mistakes being made at Friendster. For Skype to be really successful it must be more than technology or "disrupting" the old phone system. It's about welcoming in tomorrow. We are in the age of P2P telephony. How people share in these riches will define the potency of the solution.

    So what scares me about this initial beta techno incarnation is I (the consumer/customer) have no way of knowing if these guys care about anything more than the tech or the likely money they are going to make in the future. At the moment it could go either way. I'm talking about how names are filled in! I'm ranting about instructions on filling profiles. Profiles are central to this emerging community. I'm suggesting that the founders make it clear. I have have checked. THE FOUNDERS (full name) ARE UNLISTED! I can't call them. What sort of communications society are they suggesting we support? Are they scared to take calls? For this to really work... everyone has to want to be always on... like the phone system.

    Now to be more fair... They won't be able to take millions of calls. Still an old computer with an away message would work. Or even have a PA answer some! Still there are many CEO's that can still list their home number. It's called the phone book. Here we have two founders that may well be able to create a P2P directory of everybody on earth. With some smarter technology it will enable progressive levels of disclosure. The path is fairly clear. So this... PERSONAL DISCLOSURE thing is important. They are not making it easy enough to decide.... what's my name and how do I share details about myself. The assumption is people know how to fill in the form. Actually they don't. Every community has it's approach. Just look at Ryze vs.. Tribe. ort Yahooprofile pages. Unfortunately the only Skype example on the home page lists Skype_lover and Skype_rocks as well as Catherine etc.. It's not funny and may suggest the wrong connotations. Just simply a risk a smart marketer wouldn't take in packaging a product for mass popular consumption. Clean it up quick! Share more thinking about the "design" of the profile. From my perspective some of it seems a little premature. My phone numbers??? Talk to me personally. Tell me how to be "smart", with-it and techno savvy.

    This also reflects an issue of understanding who the target audience is. It's not those that change their IM name everyday on AIM. It is not your average Kazaa user. For a phone system to work we need some naming consistency. This is going to be a real interesting emergent phenomena. It is no wonder the Eula says... we can't handle emergency calls. By the way "Operator" is taken and is not listed. In some fun and jest I called up the top Brands
    and started trying to register them as my number. Coca-Cola, Microsoft, down to number 7 Disney... which registered for me. So looks like we are going to have a pretty interesting phone book. Should I auction "Disney" on eBay? Ebay users will adopt this too! This won't be so problematic if we realized and accepted that 1-800 calls are made all the time. If you are a company... why not let your operators use this system. (ah a new backend business for someone) . However I was thinking target audience. Who's likely to move first? Who will be the initial users?

    Bloggers are a pretty good bet. I liked John Robb's comment suggestion today. I just don't know how to do it. Internationally connected by words... often too expensive to talk. Ryze is another community where "phone costs" limit exchanges. So it is not only communicate P2P Telephony... which seems like maybe just a new thing... go global with the thought. International calls are free! It's more where this is placed on the home page and the story around it. In America long distance state to state is increasingly just a fixed fee of $15 or thereabouts every month. It's not a motivator. International calls still add up. Then there is the college student on a mobile. Wants to protect some minutes. Skype will be all though the college dorms. The College students will get their parents on it. Something they could never do with Kazaa (with rare exceptions). "Hey Mom! Here's a telephone for your PC!" The aged can then push youth back to some sense of talking....

    Now these older users are more concerned. P2P is bad. It says so in the news and with the RIAA. (Get the Kazaa references off the home page!). The second part of the culture equation is the culture of abundance and how all of us collectively can create a better communication system. Setting the stage for this is the personal guarantee from the founders that they've designed the system so I don't have to fear leaving it on all the time. It won't slow down my computer and gee... you know Seti at home we will work it so we only use latent capacity. Hey Seti is good right! They could do even more if they started commiting to a long-term "world communications" behavior charter.

    Which brings me to the color choice. Purple --- a mixture of red and blue. Strongly associated with relationships and identity. Purple is the colour of magic and deep emotions. This seems like an interesting color direction to go down. So let's use it to talk the magical relationships. The elimination of cost barriers to good conversation. It's first iteration... fairly naked by comparison to other IM clients. Now the downside...Too much purple is probably immature or too erotic. It's a great color for school girls - it's not in this rendition that the color for the worlds next phone company. And that is where the branding can get really interesting. It's P2P telephony... and Skype is really after magic seamless connections, and for that it's perfect. At least I can see ways to grow it.

    Then there is the name. How is it pronounced? It may not be clear to everyone. Let us know... in the story on the site where it came from, what it should inspire.

    Then tell me the story of why it will overturn IM. Why ringing is more natural? Why this solution is both less intrusive and more efficient! Jeez I'm not going to write that for you too. What you need is a marketer who realizes that this is the next eBay. You need someone focussing on the message, holding the business true to a set of core values that rest round people, relationships and innovative communications. It was easy for people to go from Napster to Kazaa. It will be easy to get people to go from IM to Skype. Thankfully IM is never mentioned on the home page. At the core... Skype is not beholden to the big company, but the emerging community.

    Now my final little freebee!. The receiver on the phone the hang-up/pickup should always on top. As Skype is not IM the little headset icons shold be at the top. Plus the name... area to put one in and dial.. just under that. The file etc. and tabs all at the bottom! Afterall it is about turning the world upside down. Why should I scan to the bottom of an IM looking box to see that it's phone centric! Come on! Plus... on the useability stakes.. it is either minimised or in the bottom right of the screen.

    I could go on... I must stop.


    September 13, 2003

    Skypdicted - Skypers - Evolve Quickly

    Ah emerging words and phrases. I see 12349 Skype users online now and just took up TDavid on his Call Me invite. He's put into practice what John Robb said you could do yesterday. Now I understand just how simple this is to do!

    I may just find the Skype logo and put it on my main blog page later. For now you can "Click n Call" Me on Skype


    Several searches to this blog for Skype information, not to mention when I first looked at Skype this morning I saw 11,000+ users online which was the most I've seen online to date. And as of the time I'm writing this there are 11,507...."
    skypers (pronunciation: sky-purse) - people who call you the moment before you get out of your chair to do something else. A skype equivalent of eBay snipers. [TDavid]

    We also exchanged info round post #456 from Russell Beattie's Notebook.

    Someone needs to wire this up with my mobile phone. I mean *now* not some day in the future. Here's how I see it. First a native Symbian app on the phone accesses the Bluetooth connection to a PC and streams voice each way. At 1650 bytes/sec for GSM-encoded voice, Bluetooth has more than enough bandwidth to handle it. This would allow your Symbian device to act, believe it or not, as a phone. On the PC side, a Bluetooth server sits and acts as a gateway between the serial port and the P2P voice app.

    Now - I don't want the client to just be a dumb headset with a mike. I want to be able to start the app up, get access to my normal address book, choose someone I know has the same setup, and to attempt to make the call via BT. Now if the call doesn't go through, I want it to swap to a normal GSM connection and then dial that one.


    David also runs a weekly live broadcast for his Scripting School. By next week Skype will have enhanced his service for his international followers. Also had it confirmed that you can't go in and hack the ring file. Customized ring tones will be a pro option!...

    September 14, 2003

    I've got to Skype - Bye!

    I just sent a note to a number of friends and colleagues around the world. Earlier I also put a note on Ryze and also today to put a Skype link on my blog. Talking to more readers might nurture this blog along. Don't know if it works yet. Distance, locations and cost simply get in the way. I'm hoping by tomorrow I'll have a few more on my friends list. It will add to Skype's utility factor and make it more valuable. So I'm doing my thing today to spread the virus.

    I also connected with Mum & Dad in New Zealand for the last hour. We had a magic chat as if they were in the next room although I’m in San Francisco! I wonder if Dad is currently the oldest user (75) on Skype? My mother couldn't’ believe the sound quality and wanted to dial me right back. Up till today she didn't believe in this Internet thing and all the e-mail. From my perspective - we may have turned a corner.

    I've also see additional pointers that starting off with no friends presents a difficulty. Mitch makes a good point about useablity in his post. It is in the little details. From how we use profiles to our first screens. Some committed souls (not me) would man a help desk I'm sure. Could be easily done via the Skpye website.


    UI insults Designing application interfaces that make people want to immediately jump in and use the software is an art. I've just downloaded Skype, the hot-right-now peer-to-peer voice over IP application. After installing, the first actual message I... [Ratcliffe Blog]

    See it is not new. It is just that this time it works!

    3-4 years ago we were asking the VoIP providers to create something like this for QuikkTUTOR. They never really got it. A few years after that for another venture we were looking for the same thing but with video as well. There were a few players but... [Tims Blog]

    See also a list of known Skype problems Don't look too serious so far.

    Finally I'd still like to know the pronunciation. Rhyms with hype? Or more like this morning - when I heard - like sniper. Is it just me or is it really like SKIP? In other words when a SKYPER is done he or she has to SKYPE (Skip)?

    September 15, 2003

    Skype Changing Social Networks

    It's all really intriguing. This question of whether and how we should codify relationships with the majority of effort around centralized data solutions, negotiating standards and adoption. I'm thinking there is another route.

    Right now Skype has 18869 users online with 240000 downloads. That is more than any of these social networking tools Ryze, Ecademy, Linkedin, Tribe etc.. have ever had on concurrently. The founders negotiated no standards they are simply providing a phone system that works. See Cnet and the quote below.

    Let's tie the interesting discussion on relationships and social networking software that's emerged over the weekend to whats happening with Skype. The discussion started with Liz Lawley here and then a great perspective by Danah Boyd here and Matt Mower adds more here. Summed up in Marc's blog as well where he says.

    However if Matt knew what it took us to even broach the subject of multi-granularity to the RDF camp and get it expressed in FOAF, he'd know that you gotta walk before you can run. Since everyone's concept of 'friends' is this binary yes or no sort of attitude, it has repercussions across all sorts of issues: user experience, profile interchange, the semantic web, ecommerce and multimedia personalization.

    Whether it be for a foundation of federated social networks, enhancing one's digital lifestyle aggregation or as a basis multimedia personalization - putting identity into CONTEXT is what it's all about. Identity doesn't work as a stand alone concept - putting folks into a frenzy about privacy and security. It only works - when it's put into some real-world context.


    Well we have a new real-world context. whats interesting is it is driven by voice not text. Most of the above remains driven by text, transactions and regulations. What I want to know is whether or not we should talk. Some text and a profile or additional infomation may help. Around the telephone call are all sorts of "understandings". I'll be interested to see if we have to reinvent them as a result of Skype.

    I fully expect people to leave AIM, Yahoo and MSN for Skype. Skype's already carrying a profile. It could be made significantly richer and I'm sure progressive disclosure could be enabled quickly. My question is what access do I want to enable. My buddies and buddies buddies? Those that have read or linked to my blog? Sure! The doctor's office, dentist etc. Yep. Then those that perhaps I don't know but are prepared to provide a verified profile, including those verified to contain no adult content. Concurrently with these lists we have an emerging phone system that may be linked to our knowledge assets. Why can't Google and Technorati be linked to Skype? If Technorati can search Skype blog urls and match with owner names... then we would accelerate exchanges. It could easily be made smart (online or offline) and provide a notification!

    Thus blogging / knowledge assets would also have a Skype contact number capability and whether they could be reached now or if they are offline you could offer a notification service perhaps even using Skype that so’n so is now online. Potentially you could make this a Technorati call. You become the call forwarder thus brokering the intro. Ie this person has linked to your blog and is available to talk to you. Similarly when I send a trackback pin, should I have an option to ping Technorati that I'd be willing to talk to the pinged author? There's a lot that could be done here. I imagine Feedster too could start searching online Skype users and link back to retrieved postings.

    Similarly I'd like someone to tell me quickly how I add an additional input section to my comments like the e-mail address that enables a Skype callback. Be a lot easier to thank people that way!

    Kazaa co-founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom have a new target: the telephone industry. They've launched Skype, which they claim is the first Internet phone service to use peer-to-peer software. In just its first week of availability, 60,000 people downloaded the free Skype software. Other voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, such as Vonage or Free World Dialup (FWD), needed several months to attract the same level of interest. Tech News - CNET.com

    Separately, where there has been some negative blogging around the Eula and possible future charges keep the following in mind. First it is now proven and could be duplicated. Second this is a global phenomena and any charges will have to work accordingly. Lastly, real disruptive change happens when the cost factor means the new product is 10 times cheaper. That can only happen if everyone get online. Pressure your friends and I bet more than a few new businesses emerge.

    September 16, 2003

    26488 + 40% vs Yesterday

    A recent comment on my blog asked why the hype about Skype? "Aside from quality, why is everyone going crazy over Skype. I have used yahoo, netmeeting, and dialpad with success." I've tried them all too. What's inspired me to keep plugging away and digging deeper on Skype is it's base architecture. All the other systems use some form of centralized directory. Centralized directories create control and incur costs. Decentralized directory systems and input systems appear to create new markets. eBay never decided what should be auctioned, only how to auction it. eBay facilitates connectivity between buyer and sellers - flow and thus trade. I suspect if Skype or an open source substitute comes along it too will facilitate connectivity and create new markets around new very low cost voice exchanges.

    If nothing else Skype is changing perspective on VoIP. Today I see 26488 users up +40% from the 18869 I saw yesterday about the same time. A good part of my practice has been scenarios for the last few years. While Skype should not be "news" to telecoms, MS or Yahoo for it's potential. I'd like to know how many have really thought it through and if even aware. Then what action and scenarios are they using to challenge their strategic thinking. Will US Telecoms be the next RIAA?

    This link below to a comment sums up why it sounds good to me. It also suggests a solution is required for directory security. Can someone track this down and verify one way or the other? True or False?


    An interesting editorial, but you might be wrong. My take on Skype is that it is using P2P technologies for the "white pages" portion of the VoIP network, not just in peers communicating directly. Super-peers store portions of these white-pages. Just as super-peers in Kazaa store indexes to music files stored on other peer machines, these super-peers store indexes to the phone numbers of other peers. They aren't clear if they are using this approach, but it's my take when they say "the network works just like Kazaa". This is also an unsecure approach, which is probably why they aren't publicizing it in detail. These super-peers could "lie" and reroute calls to the wrong peer, just as super-peers in Kazaa can "lie" about what music files are stored where. When you tell the system to find the phone number for 510-938-2222, it probably actually initiates a "search" on the network of super-peers to resolve to the actual peer that has this number, just as it would "search" for madonna.mp3.

    This is an important approach, by the way, because if we don't need to maintain massive white pages servers then we can significantly reduce the capital needed to build such a network. In fact, we can reduce it down to such a marginal cost that businesses aren't needed to build these networks at all. The network, including the white pages, self-organizes out of the peers themselves. This network can then be used to build VoIP apps, virtual hard-drives, etc. I have been working on an open-source project named P2P Sockets that is attempting to achieve this; check it out at p2psockets.jxta.org. One significant issue that needs to be solved before this approach is tenable is that these white pages need to be secure even though they are also decentralized and human-friendly.
    Comment at Rebels Without Cause


    I really enjoyed this post from Jibbering Musings below. He's right. Skype is not a IM replacement. My words were probably sloppy earlier. However I remain convinced that it is a threat to the MSN AIM etc systems as all of them provide and have that centralized server. Some of the other points he makes... just reinforces to me the business opportunities that will emerge from a winner in the decentralized VoIP space. I think voice is also a bigger motivation for adoption than text. This voice solution may lead more people to trying IM.

    I don't agree, Skype is a one at a time (currently one to one) communication mechanism. You can only talk to one person at a time, and whilst you're in that conversation you're out of communication with everyone else, even if they develop an answerphone system, you'll still have to listen to each message. Speech is a very slow medium of communication, and it requires full attention. You can't talk on skype whilst in your office, or in the middle of cooking a meal, or doing any other task that takes you away from your computer momentarily. (I have a bluetooth headset which solves some of the problems - but popping to the toilet, or to the door, or somewhere out of bluetooth range is still impossible)
    refer Jibbering Musings.for more

    More Skype enthusiasm:

    CNet.  State regulators attempt to control VoIP phone services (Vonage).   Here is a more informative bit of analysis from Jeff Pulver.  LOL.  Let them try that with Skype. [refer J Robb]

    Hope my Skype Blog Button left now works

    So, you can Skype me TDavid of www.makeyougohmm.com answers my request for a Skype me link. Heres his explanation and the HTML tag and heres my Skype me link. Youll need to download and install Skype. On the this looks like a viral winner... [refer Ratcliffe]

    Slashdot

    Well here's confirmation that Slashdot isn't in my Sharpreader. I almost missed the Slashdot posting on Skype?

    No Bull about Cow Farts

    Last night I had a great time meeting with some colleagues. I'm used to being introduced from time to time with a New Zealand story in the mix. Recently there was press about NZ and its cows. So you can imagine my smile when New Zealands efforts to control Cow Farts with the Flatulence Tax was shared. Like National I know know they are laughing round the world.

    fart3.jpg

    Be thankful it's not Skype! No bull.

    Denham Welcome to the Blogosphere

    I arrived at Stanford tonight for the Vlab event on "Social Networking is There Really a Business Model?" Traffic was light, so I had a little time to take some notes from my newsreader. So I began reading Denham Grey's new blog.

    Knowledge-at-Work started this week. It's a unique opportunity to get in at a ground zero and grow as his blog develops. My first thought was how lucky I am. He'll tickle my newsreader a few times a week, and is always going to make me think. It's a more public "persistent conversation" that he is engaging in and I welcome it. I'm in a soundbite world. I will have something more tangible to trackback to. There is a good chance his blog will open his other knowledge spaces to me. With my own links I may indeed learn to use it better and perhaps gift a little in return. I'm still interested in Jazz-Blogging

    His last post "On asking hard questions" was the one that forced me to take the time to study all his posts (5) to date. While I'm for hard questions I really prefer "better" questions, however that is just semantics. My net takeaway is that these questions are very systemic, and thus leave room for another set of questions that include, intuition, beliefs, and readiness for change. The best questions in the world won't help the organization that's in denial. While the philosophy that seeks better questions and runs with the accelerator down simply learns to be smarter faster.

    A previous post provides interesting dataon the changing KM Discussions Link to KMBloggers for a sample of Denham's KMwiki!

    A knowledge space is where we gather to: share awareness, conduct productive inquiries, reflect upon persistent conversations and capture our thinking together.

    A large part of the focus in my KmWiki has been to collect links and thoughts on tools, practices and design for collaborative spaces for knowledge work. The Wiki page serves as a summary and pointer to that work. The central theme has been to explore virtual spaces, affordances, rituals and tools that support social knowledge creation and innovation rather than storage, access, organization and retrieval of information. Some people feel I take the social aspects too far!

    There is something enticing, exciting and alluring about knowledge spaces. In one very real sense, such spaces, when they exhibit effective social affordances, offer a glimpse of the future - collaborative innovation, continuous learning, profitable practice and strongly supported development.

    It's time to work on syndicating the KM Blogs in some way together.

    September 17, 2003

    P2P n Media

    Plausible scenario on the impact of P2P on the Entertainment Industry and Future of Media. What do you think?

    Hardball assessment of the future of media

    Many people have predicted that peer-to-peer file-sharing will change the face of media, but this paper by Scott Jensen is the most thoroughgoing research I've seen into the commercial and artistic effects that peer-to-peer can potentially lead to. The paper is bold and futuristic, which means there are plenty of places the path it lays out could be sidetracked, but I think it's important reading. It makes me a little afraid to work for an old-style publication company, even one as innovative as O'Reilly & Associates.

    Social Jibes Predominate

    Stewart Butterfield provides the best one liners from last nights Vlab in Stanford. Many-to-Many: Social Networking for Social Networking

    Forgetting the jibes: Tony reported Match would turn $200m at a 70% operating margin. Build it - go viral and VC's may invest. However, Social Networking is not a business model. Cynthia reinforced a key point. "career data must be owned by the individuals". My read is this is too easy for the majority of these entrepreneurs to forget.

    Friendster, Ryze, Tribe and Faces.

    Via Marc see the Abstract Dynamics posting on Friendster.check it out.

    Skype's Disruptive Branding

    Last night there was a strong case put for "branding" as part of winning strategy for building business around Social Networks. We know it's critical. The imaginative fusion of personality and productivity create great brands. Then I discovered Abe's post on the "The Idiot Savant - Friendster Triumphant" and Marc's comments. It reinforced for me the strong "personality and polarlization that the founders of Skype have already provoked. It's getting press and reminders:

    Allan Karl and Dina Mehta with more comments on branding:


    Success can go to one's head. As such, fundamental strategic and tactical common sensory (sic) goes out the window. We saw what happened to the intense accelerated growth with Friendster. And it appears Skype is the latest social network wildfire. But out of control it's just a fad. Reigned in and focused it could be a solid brand, build equity and offer founders and users intense value. This isn't revolutionary. But it's certainly evolutionary.
    [for the sake of clarity - The Digital Tavern]

    With the ever growing number of social networks, it is likely to be the more human brand personalities that define the relationship users will have with each, the strength of loyalty and pointers to differentiate one network from another. Conversations with Dina

    Similarly the product itself is creative. It's not IM. It is IM. No it's not. etc.... So via Dina's blog Forget Work, IM Is for Scheming, Flirting, Gossip. Another way of looking at the clear the pragmatic use for IM are made on Ulises blog. He asks me:


    Does it have to be either/or? We are talking about two different technologies with two distinct sets of characteristics, and potentially two different uses. Expecting that people will leave AIM, Yahoo and MSN for Skype is overlooking some of the features that text-based IM affords that voice-based communication doesn't." I d e a n t: Skype: Voice vs. Text

    I do concur. When I made this statement the other night. I fully expect people to leave AIM, Yahoo and MSN for Skype. Skype's already carrying a profile. It could be made significantly richer and I'm sure progressive disclosure could be enabled quickly.....

    I had in mind a vision of what could be done with the Skype profiles. I've alluded to profiles in this blog before and argued for soft human ones. This is only partly a voice vs chat thing. The phone is ultimately more entrenched in our culture than IM. Skype may bring more people to recognize the significant benefits of text chatting. Similarly, IM users will be slow to give up a chat system if the substitute doesn't at least match its functionality. My comments were really based on a deeper belief that P2P systems will ultimately win and that as they transform commerce new markets and better tools will be created. That is where Skype's disruptive creative branding might really show.

    This is quick mind dump of the logic. At best a hypothesis. Still suspend disbelief and consider versus everything from MS to SBC whether Skype or a similar product for the consumer market will radically change the rules. Hey lets make it up as we go!

  • Ownership. Consumers have a greater degree of control. We can swarm on Skype or another system. Ownership and the profit model (is there one?) will determine the service. Consumers perceive more control over "THEIR" data in this environment.
  • Profiles. Skypes decentralized "who's online?" will foster scraped directories. The core directory can be built on my everything from verification services though to social networks that individuals plan to participate in. Really why play on Friendster another service can tell you which Skypers want a date. Audible intros? Listen and call?
  • eBayization of Communications: Imagine an eBay style of market. Skype or its future decendents facilitate connectivity. Having access to their supernodes pack will give you access to confernce calls while the additional opportunities are in the added functionalities. Just like Auctionwatch, PayPal, Andale, etc. Now think about everything from 900 numbers to online helplines. Everything that a telephone company ever bundled is now up for grabs.
  • Stupid Network. David Isenberg has talked about this for years. The economics are not in the MSN solution. I'm not sure they are even in the Vonage solution with a centralized directory. Doesn't 30--40% of communications co's cost go on sales and marketing? I don't see that being spent by Skype. The core... needs very few people.
  • Sound Quality: It's simply better than the phone to faraway places. I'm sure the headset issues / phones are already solved with many new solutions on their way. I'm already thinking about a bluetooth headset. I'd also like to know if anyone can Skype yet from a WiFi enabled PDA?
  • Brand: The brand records of all the players is simply lousy. I've already commented on the Skype brand. It' going to have to do a much better job to foster trust to be "the people's" telephone company. If they can't work it out. Someone will. There's a David n Golaith story in this.
  • Real Names: Having a persistent voice presence requires real names or numbers we know. Voice really is more important. Here P2P telephony is likely to differ from the identity proliferation that exists on Yahoo etc. For it to be useful and to find others... it is easier to use real names. Skypers that want it to grow will demonstrate that it is safe. If you want to reach out and talk to someone new you don't give them a fake identity. While I'm yet to see IM messages from unknowns opening the door to Bill Gates. Pretty difficult on the phone too... :)
  • Always on: For many IM is sporadic. It's an on and off again thing. That's the generation that really doesn't know how to use it. This generation understands that telephones have to be on all the time to work. So if they want the lower costs that this might bring. the All of Us consumer community must collectively work to be always on. Bring costs down!!!! Share your "own" number or handle --- It's your choice.
  • Experience / Behavior: Voice/chat is also just reflecting on the behavior and expectations. It's a step forward. It's big enough to make people think about their computer in a new way. When I IM someone I may or may not get a response, my words probably went though. They remain words I don't get intonation etc. When I Skype someone the phone rings I'm in a listening response mode --- are they busy, happy to hear from me etc. In a millisecond I'm more in tune.

    And finally Gary Burd asks:


    .... another Internet telephony application, has found a way to handle the NAT problem:
    Non-firewalled clients and clients on publicly routable IP addresses are able to help NATŐed nodes to communicate by routing calls. This allows two clients who otherwise would not be able to communicate to speak with each other.
    It will be interesting to see how this plays out for Skype. Will Skype users with direct Internet connections be happy about giving away bandwidth to Skype users behind NATs? Will they even understand that this is happening? Gary Burd: NATs and Internet telephony

    Yep I think they will. Just like they are giving away WiFi. Get ready --- it's creative destruction! As noted in other places there are many forms of innovation. This is transformational and matches Schumpeter's concept of a "historic and irreversibe change in the way of doing things." Tranformational innovations tear at the social fabrics and the economic markets.

  • Skype? or LivePerson

    When words return it makes blogging a lot more satisfying. When I receive a call from a new Skype user who clicks on my blog and introduces himself as the organizer of last nights event you know answering created more value than ever losing him to a profile link on your site. I hope he doesn't mind my sharing... he was using MP3 headphones as the speaker (see Skype help) and it worked just fine. Some people will go to extraordinary lengths to check out new technology. I'm sympathetic with his interest.

    And no it's not the only call I've had today. I began to think... wouldn't it be nice to have a LiveBlogger behind every blog. I saw Don Parks post --- too late his Skype link was gone. Would have liked his input. So all this connecting had me reflecting on LivePerson a business that I visited a few years ago. So I checked up on their claims for small businesses. Thought they may give me a hint as to the value of reaching a "LiveBlogger". Here's their pitch. :


    INCREASE YOUR SALES
    Sell “instantly”by chatting with your customers.
    Offer them special deals, up-sell, cross-sell…

    DECREASE YOUR COST
    Easily assist multiple customers simultaneously, save money over phone calls.

    IMPROVE YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE
    Give them the service they deserve from a real person.


    While there they offered me a LiveChat with Camilla. I don't know if they are all Camilla's there or if this was a unique individual. Here's a snatch"

    Camilla: This chat service is text and image based
    you: ok
    Camilla: We don't support voice over IP as of yet
    you: right thanks - are you planning too?
    Camilla: Are you familiar with our services and features?
    you: i checked the listing
    Camilla: Yes, voice is still in development

    Camilla: Can you please tell me a bit about your business and Web site?
    you: no can't --- for a client - doing a little investigating - thought this might provide an avenue but I'm not sure
    Camilla: If you'd like to see a list of features available in the LivePerson Pro package click here. (clicked)
    Camilla: Since voice is what you're looking for
    you: yep thanks
    Camilla: or is it something else?
    you: no voice facility --- at exceptionally low cost -- it is a global audience
    Camilla: Well, voice isn't a part of what we currently offer
    you: I understand
    Camilla: and aside for a few cases there's not much demand for it either
    you: why is that? is it cost?
    Camilla: When voice is introduced , it takes off the edge a chat has over telephone converstaions
    you: interesting please explain
    Camilla: Like the ability to handle multiple simultaneous chats
    you: how many are you handling now?
    Camilla: for instance
    Camilla: 4
    Camilla: features like the "histroy" are also disabled
    Camilla: when doing "voice" chats
    you: makes sense
    Camilla: The History Function feature allows all of your operators to access the Chat and Navigation history of any repeat visitor to your website, at a click of a button. While your operators are chatting, they can see what other questions that visitor has asked in the past, and see where they have visited on your site......

    Camilla: Another great feature commonly used in text chats
    Camilla: is the canned response feature

    My takeaway, SkyperBloggerPhone makes me more accessible, accelerates conversations, bridges gaps the poorly or quickly written word can't cover at no cost to me other than my time. Better personal linkages mean more referrals, and ulitmately better blogging from me.

    Now as Ken noted. I just need an audible "Speak to my blog feature" that automatically forwards to my e-mail when I'm away and plays on opening. So who's going to offer me a voice message facility to go with this?

    Well that sums it up. Should LivePerson hustle on their VoIP solution? What's the impact of the Skype model on their business, and how it is structured? Only time will tell.

    September 18, 2003

    Sun VoIP demo doesn't shine

    The Silicon Valley Guest Blogger slips again on stage.


    <Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president of Sun's software group, tried to tout Lucent's VoIP equipment and Sun servers, noting that his regular office phone cost $300 to buy and $300 a year to operate. VoIP would be much cheaper, and Sun, now on a low-cost kick, hopes to sell servers that will support VoIP services. But during the demo, two VoIP calls placed from one side of the stage to Roger Heinz, vice president of convergence solutions at Lucent, standing at the other side, never went through. Cnet (links added)

    Somebody recommend his customers try Skype. It already works globally and isn't a stage trick.

    Yahoo to Lock out Trillian

    Are you a Trillian user just trying to keep your chat consolidated? At the beginning of the phone system there were different companies. Those on one network couldn't connect with another. Well looks like Yahoo is making a fatal blunder following Microsoft's lead to close out third party clients. See the CNET article found via this blog.


    For all the aggravation brought by incumbent telcos, the thought that organizations such as Yahoo or MSN could replace them to provide our basic communication infrastructure is even scarier. Heres a simple action plan to send a clear message that were. [Oliver Travers]

    This closed door mentality is just one reason 525000 people have downloaded Skype to date. I've seen 34000 so far today online (up from 32000 yesterday). I keep saying it beats MS and Yahoo for voice quality while still beta. I'm not wedded to any of the above IM clients for I'm not 11 years old (my daughter will be harder to shift from AIM) and don't particularly like multiple text conversations. However while I failed to really convert my parents and many friends to IM chat, I know Skype provides another opportunity. Now we are talking phones something they understand. For them a Yahoo upgrade or lock-out is is just a bore.

    Why is it a strategic blunder? Yahoo is looking at their "former" competitors and is unwilling to think forward. I don't think they ever had a strategy for "Your Computer is Ringing!" Now what if ringing and entertainment file sharing are brought together via a plug-in strategy? Sharing music (access to anothers Hotlist) is just an individual hack. It's the card that won't be played for a little longer and it won't tie to Kazaa.

    Trillian's blunder is also just the type of strategy I was warned and advised about yesterday. Tying any business to Skype at this early stage is a "test" to get learning for an emergent environment. It may pay off, real big time. Then again Skype's business model is not declared. There is risk there. The strategy questions continuue - who, how and what will shape the value equation in the P2P telephony market?

    Skypers Need a Better Way to Navigate Connections

    I just took a Skype call from an "unknown" for research purposes. He was a 16 year old German lad who lives in Bavaria. He's finding Skyping pretty cool. His key objective was to practice his English --- (almost perfect) and so he's reaching out to America and Japan wanting to share culture and just talk English to other people. Simply curious.. probably didn't expect to get someone older than his father. So I did my questioning thing. He was checking it out. Hoping to get his AFS exchange girlfriend who's in San Diego on the system. Poor guy, he's getting beach shots and missing out.

    Some might complain --- it was really a spam call. I didn't have to answer it and I could have rejected it. There was no profile - name or anything. Yet this perfectly illustrates the type opportunities that may emerge around Skype type technologies. This example for language, meeting people and cultural exchange. Who will create a safe haven for this kid to have his conversations? My son is a Spanish 3 sophomore. I know his Spanish isn't at the same level and yet who does he have to talk to? Who could buddy him and vice-versa. Skype potentially brings a real language lesson immediately into the home.

    Yet another option for those social networking profiles. We've had PenPals now maybe it is TalkPals. However, Skype isn't going to get our profiles. They are probably already maxed out for data unless they think real carefully and provide a better brand charter. We are more likely to broker or spread our profiles. Reid (Linkedin)used the term "graphs" which I interpret as: Business, Personal, Professional, Household, Family, etc. The opportunity exists for a collection of permanently on Profiles --- Skypepages --- which will then list our other "trusted" directory and networking suppliers. A certain level of access and sharing will be required to dig deeper or get the number to connect. List on SkypePages for free and your listing on Skype will no longer be public but smart. Skypepages will only list name, zipcode or telephone number publically. Think how classmates matches people Skypepages can frequently change log-in addresses automatically updating your directory contacts just like Plaxo adding additional security. (Would this work?) The linkage engine is an initial prize. SkypePages can' be owned by Skype. So how does Skypepages make money. For a small fee it will link you to your other networks. Enabling them to provide the access you have contracted them to provide while retaining the knowledge that should you fire them and move your data or recast your profile elsewhere your "number" for calls always remains secure. Even SkypePages can't know it. Note: SkypePages doesn't need to know your e-mail address however it may need to collect your credit card. SkypePages can create the market for trusted social networks.

    I believe this strategy is attractive as the name aggregator doesn't have to act as a universal trust broker only facilitate the market for trusted exchanges.

    Anyone want to help build it? Any advice? The theory is Skype has to go after connecting to landlines and mobiles. That is where they make money. The directory is key to all sorts of value added new services created when call costs go to zero. Telecoms got rid of yellow pages etc as it wasn't a core business. Skype would be too ambitious to go there.


    Scotty's Red Ryze

    I don't really understand Adrian Scott at all.
    ... the Ryze thing... what's with this new logo... LIKE WHAT???? ryze.gif
    This is exactly what we've been talking about. Branding and Social networks. You know the YASNS. Well caution. Don't jump the gun. It's not finished. Yeah. just first impresssions? Really give them to me. Thought you would never ask.

    Well sire it looks a little awkward, bits of the old design intact. No come on now I really want your opinion. Well then I'm really really disappointed. In fact I'm RED with it. DANGER DANGER. That's no sunrise honey... it's the morning after an A-bom. Are you sure you have thought this though? Is it gut or analysis? What's with the colors? It hard to tell. Presume they will play with the left and drop the duplication. Sort of looks like they are short handed. Was this really a good investment in the community. All I wanted was some features. Not a strip bar. There's

    no sense of art in a place where artisans play
    no sense of personality in a realm of personalities.
    no sense of canvas when everyone paints
    no sense of action when everyone chatters
    no sense of our place just structured space.

    Jeez when we talk about branding we talk brand personae and oh high and mighty I see red. I see the red devils work here. Just when I was hoping to get a break from that stinking light blue-grey. You know... White, with spashes of orange and yellow! We were once an innovative community, transforming networks, connecting not red for the hunting.

    Wonder if there was a budget for it. Careful, be analytical now. Yep I'm certain it is totally out of synch with what RYZE stands for. Hey do you remember that Ryze research, the few focus groups... the quotes from users, the group on Serious Play sort of kicked it around. Can you remember that far back. Yes sir. It's in my blog --- before categories. Look them up if I must. Shared some with the Ryze folks too. Hmmmm... Check my recollections! Thinkthe comments are on representative. Could the community have changed that much?

    Oh man those guy must need a party. Where are Mixers in all this? Where the Guest idea? Didn't you feel like you used to own your page? Yeah I did. It was the first of the soft human profiles. I'm wondering where my home will be now. Gosh what next? A Friendster faceroll? I used to welcome you to my space. I'd check out your guestbook. When you were on my page you were visiting and then I'd go home to the house that Adrian had built for all of us. Dam I can't find the mixer on the beach. Ever been to a Mixer on the beach? Nope but I bet they happened. You sure you are not just mouthing off. Nah.. well maybe. Bet you got a trip to the Bahamas.

    Where is the fatal mistake? The evil of the ways? Oh it's coming to me. Yep that's it. the fatal mistake. the emphasis till now on the left was navigation. Holy Crap Batman you mean it has been Amazoned. Yep sure do Robin. Alfred has the lesson. The emphasis on the left was navigation ... . by trying to go left to right with the oversized new indexing tabs... outlined and shadowed... he's usurped my identity.... Scotty's stolen my page. You sure? Yep pretty sure. Before graphically the header wasn't so strong. Now the header and the RED logo are stronger than my name and picture. Oh come now. pack up that frustrated marketer. Go back and whistle techie tunes.

    No way I got to get me a link to that touchy feelie research. Now where's those quotes> Yep here it is consumer research? What's it say. Probably said Ryze was refreshing, tickled the parts other sites didn't reach. Was Adrians thing for his friends. Look like maybe he sold out.

    The new stuff? Says RYZE first --- ME second. What was the brief? Oh probably make the community more professional looking. You have any recommendations? Is there a strategy? Is there a business model? Ryze could have had it all.

    September 19, 2003

    Houston - we have lift-off

    HoustonChronicle.com - Working@home on Skype


    FIRST it was the music industry, and now it's the telephone companies. Digital wizards may leave no industry unchanged.
    Check out the latest from file-swapping pioneers as they set their sights on a new target and offer a system that lets people speak to each other for free

    WSJ Backgrounds Skype

    Made the WSJ very quickly!


    WSJ on Skype:  "It's easy to dismiss Skype and other Internet voice initiatives as a lunatic fringe," said James Enck, a telecom analyst at Daiwa in London.

    As expected by this weblog: But Janus Friis, one of the founders of Skype and its vice president of strategy, recently said the company plans to launch a service within six months to allow people to make calls over Skype using their traditional phones. Skype intends to make money by selling a package of additional telephone services to users, such as voice mail, Mr. Friis said. Phone calls will remain free.

    Stockholm-based Skype is closely held. Draper Investment Co., established by American venture capitalist William H. Draper III, was the founding investor in Skype in 2002. (Tim Draper is an investor in Streamcast Networks, the operator of Morpheus).
    JRobb

    Scotty's Red Ryze Simply Stated

    Abe thanks for so succinctly putting the Ryze revised brand problem. Let's not hide it in comments. It is a gift.

    I the more a I think about logos and community sites the more I think the branding should be so discreet its practically invisible. If the users make the site and the network is the application then the users need to have a sense of *ownership* over the space in order to invest the time to build the network. If the branding is loud then they'll never really feel at home, and when was the last time you bought some furniture for someone else's house?

    I think it's real clear in reading some of the keep friendster free messages that circulate on that site that the users really have a sense of ownership, so its no so surprising it keeps growing...

    My BOLDING. My prediction. More will be RED on Ryze.

    Einstein on Reading

    "Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking."

    What does too much blogging do? Would Einstein have been a blogger?

    September 21, 2003

    Skype Dinner: Wednesday 6:00-9:00pm 20 Sept, Oakland

    Like the idea of P2P telephony? See opportunities for Skype and blogging. Want to explore SkypeWorld? Got some programming ideas? Come join us for some brainstorming and fun....


    Stuart Henshall and I need to talk. We talked on Skype. Now we're going to talk in person. Join us for dinner in Oakland this Wednesday. On the agenda:



    • What are the traditional business opportunities for Internet telephony?
    • What are the non-traditional, blog and social software -based business opportunities?
    • What would we ask Skype to open to independent developers?

    So:



    Wednesday, 24 September 2003
    6pm
    Oakland
    we're still looking for a venue: quiet, WiFi, BART-friendly.
    I'll broadcast the location here, and by email if you write or Skype me.

    [a klog apart]

    September 22, 2003

    WiFi Roaming

    Picked up this note. Something that I tended to think was limited to cellphones "roaming" (at least for the time being) may just be beginning to emerge in WiFi. Now that makes Skype's appearance even more interesting. Could these two paths together accelerate the future? Then perhaps it makes the office more interesting too. No wires, no phones as we know them.

    AIRCQ Wi-Fi Instant Messenger - 802.11 Planet, CT AirCQ by LodeSoft is an Instant Messaging program for WiFi computers that can be run on a dynamic, ever changing WiFi network. AirCQ ...

    Ryze Home - Bad Feng Shui

    A smart community is allowed to weigh in on developing its future direction. Scotty's Red Ryze saw follow-ups; "followed up last week with "Ryze - don't let the sun go down". Maybe it was just late night fun. I was temped to let it go until I learned Dina had asked the question in a couple of Ryze networks. So here's the scoop (selected comments are hardly a sample). However the Ryze Logo change is a wonderful illustration for others around which a community forms. Just possibly it will help the team at Skype think though the "community" opportunities they have and the implications for creating an open dialogue.

    I like this application of Feng Shui. I'd never thought of it that way before. Not everyone comes at a logo or a community with the same perspective.


    From the fengshui point of view, on a page the element that occupies the topmost left corner is wood. the element colour being green. the colour red symobilises fire, which is totally destructive of wood. its not suitable at all.

    However if the red logo was positioned in the centre ie. top centre of the page, it would help since the element for that portion is fire, element colour being red.
    I will not be surprised if the majority feel uncomfortable about the red in that corner. try changing it to green or blue. it would definitely be more soothing
    . Full Quote link
    Sandhya Advanii


    More community centric are these great observations. Run a contest, let the creatives on Ryze get noticed.

    If I were behind the RYZE scene - I would run a contest -
    What should our logo look like ? Let:s see your Stuff...BRAND US!
    ...submissions have a dedicated posting page where WE the peeps get to VOTE.........

    RYZE wins all around... they get free graphic design, test market a winning logo that WE voted into being, create an internal buzz that moves them up a notch on the " what can we do for our members" tip, deliver a non-verbal message everybody wants to hear, it's YOUR community and last and most important - all the creatives who submit their work "Get Noticed" - which is one of the reason we are all here. Full Quote linkRosetta Stone


    Brings us back to functionalities:

    My take on Ryze is that it was the Craigslist of networking. It's not all fussy about site design, and more about function. I think this logo, and the whole direction is caught in the middle. If you want to be simple, then don't have a logo. If you want to build a brand, then do a GOOD logo. Certainly, with all the talent on this community, there had to be someone out there who could have done a compelling logo that's easy on the eyes.
    Full Quote LinkMarc Lefton

    Which are still underway according to Erlend Wilhelmsen who says.

    "As some of you may be aware... Ryze is doing the implementation in phases - thus what you see now is perhaps 15% of the GUI we designed. Obviously, few of the IA or GUI improvements have been made and the visual ID is (clearly) not completed and/or representative of any sort of "brand building" efforts."

    More Skype Talk

    David follows up today with another detailed posting Skype P2P VoIP App: One in a Million?
    "If they don't screw it up with a confusing and overpriced subscription service, Skype could possibly become one of those extremely rare apps that comes along and truly changes communication and networking on the web." David also puts a stick in the ground on pricing. I'm not sure I agree either in the global context or the method. What's important right now is the appropriate business expectations are created. Skype may well have launched with more "noise" than expected.

    What I do want from David is his method for signaling whether Skype is online or offline on my blog. Come on David share! They will want it on Ryze pages and on Ecademy.

    In the early reviews some emerging features are being missed.

  • One-Click Calling: The idea that i finally have my phone book on my desktop and only have to mouse click to call is just great. It's been buried before. Voice vs Chat centric reinvents this for me.
  • Share your contacts feature: In "Tools" - "Send Contacts" you can share connections on your buddy list just like in AIM. Come on bloggers we can connect up quicker. Finding addresses will be much simpler.
  • Languages. The latest update provided languages and reinforces the global nature of this product. I had to go back in an download again to update. Short-term it's the international and long distance calls that you never could justify just making before.
  • Imagining what it's like behind the Skype walls? What's being monitored, number of hits on google. Broadband vs dial-up connections etc. Looking at the slowing toward the end of last week at people on line at 12:00pm suggested to me an increasing number of dial-ups. Yet today I think I saw 42500 online. That's roughly double a week ago.
  • Biggest functional issue: Currently in IM I can't click on a hot-link sent to me. I also seem to have some conflict with my other IM systems. Particularly Yahoo. Not sure if this is my system, firewall etc.

    Some new quotes follow: First asks how do I call my friend of my friend. Well that's part of the profiling opportunity.


    Nowadays Skype becomes one of the most faschinating application over peer to peer communication instead of Kazaa. I love this application but I want one specific function. That is to find a friend of my friends. [Kokoro]

    It's neat that Ecademy and Thomas Power groks it. They have already experimented there with RSS and blogging. Bet they will be the first social/business networking app to incorporate a link. May be the reason enough to activate my profile there.

    The product is amazing I have spoken with 2 Ecademy members already from the UK and Faroes, cost nothing. Kazaa are killing the music business. Will Skype kill the telco business? http://www.skype.com/ Thomas Power - Chairman... [Thomas Power]

    Getting your friends to stream in a broadcast..... Not the first time I've heard this desire.

    Best Use of Skype EVAR Alabamas game against Northern Illinois isnt on TV today, so I tried to find a stream of the radio broadcast. Unfortunately, Yahoo seems to have a monopoly on the streaming rights and wants to charge me $5/month, and theres no.. [Refer]

    I'd worry that I've become an advocate for Skype, yet there is support. So come on. Suspend your disbelief, try it and Skype me. It opens a new world for thinking strategic futures.

    This is a link that I would normally post over there in my sidebar in the Cookie Crumbs microblog, but considering I havent really heard any buzz about it at all lately, I wanted to post it in my main blog instead, just to get your attention. Check... [Refer]
  • Technorati API

    David Sifry announced a new callto tag for Technorati. This should create some interesting new "social networking" and interesting directory creation opportunites while stirring up some new profiling options.

    Technorati API. The first is called getinfo. It tells you things that Technorati knows about a user. In the simplest case you can use getinfo to find out information that a blogger wants to make known about himself, along with some information that Technorati has calculated and verified about that person This information is available in HTML form at: http://www.technorati.com/profile/dsifry . In this case, all the personal information that I want you to know about me is my username, and a link to a picture of myself, and the blogs I author. The second part of the document is a listing of the weblogs that the user has successfully claimed and the information that Technorati knows about these weblogs. This is the default, by the way. You'll see lots of information in there, like the Name and URL of each blog, its RSS feed (if it exists), number of bloggers who are currently linking to it, when it was last updated, and some other optional data, like a link to a FOAF file, or GeoURL.

    Will have to try it out.

    September 23, 2003

    Underground Internet.

    Useful update and article via the Arlington Institute on Darknets at Business Week. I do have reservations about the naming and the category "darknets" some may indeed be dark, however they just facilitate more effectively what has been done through the ages.


    "The Underground Internet - (BusinessWeek.com - September 15, 2003) "Darknets", metaphorical gated communities that work below the radar of
    firewalls, filters, search engines, and identity regulations pose a serious risk to the securities of the regular internet. These new establishments will
    allow for pirated software to sail from computer to computer without government
    regulation. Not only is this a problem for entertainment industries, but it will
    also generate an overflow of the information barriers established by authoritarian
    regimes. Hypothetically, a student in a regulated country could obtain restricted
    documents as long as he or she were connected to a "darknet"."

    New Kind of Revolution in Dorms

    Will the adminstrators or the students drive the change to VOIP telephony? From the New York Times --- Students get free calling. Dartmouth is looking to reach 13000, Skype already has 42500 online.

    Using the software together with a headset, which can be plugged into a computer's U.S.B. port, the students can make local or long-distance telephone calls free. Each student is assigned a traditional seven-digit phone number.

    The software, supplied by a variety of companies, works on laptops and desktop computers alike. Over the next six months, the softphone platforms will expand to include Apple computers, as well as Palm and Pocket PC hand-held devices.

    When running, the software appears on the screen as a phone with a dial pad. Phone numbers are dialed by clicking the numbers on the key pad.

    Voice over Internet protocol is not new. But running so much voice over a wireless data network is.

    "As far as I know, no one has done a wireless voice-over-I.P. network this large before," said David Kotz, a computer science professor at Dartmouth.

    The network is being phased in across the entire campus with plans to reach 13,000 people, including faculty and staff.

    "So far, it's just incoming freshmen, because they're the ones mostly likely to grab on to this," said Larry Levine, the director of computing at Dartmouth.

    The $50 headsets are being sold at the campus computer store. "But most headsets will work," said Bob Johnson, director of network services at Dartmouth. "It's just a question of what kind of voice quality you want."

    The roll out of voice over Internet protocol is closely coupled with Dartmouth's recent decision to stop charging students, faculty and staff for long-distance phone calls. The college made that decision when administrators discovered that the billing function was costing more than the calls themselves.

    "One wouldn't be possible without the other," Mr. Johnson said. "Imagine the complexities of trying to track down who made what call when on a large, mobile campus voice-over-I.P. network."
    [New York Times: Technology]

    How will the adminstrators address Skype?

    Writing - Talking - Writing - Talking Different

    Mitch provides more thoughts on the business model for Skype. What's attractive to me is the "global" flat rate of this demonstration. Even the emerging VoIP carriers like "Vonage" aren't providing a global flat rate. Now the global rate just went to almost zero and the cost of the infrastruture moved to the edge.

    The real business model is in linking VoIP to plain old telephones, including 911, which would make a broadband connection into a true phone instead of a closed P2P system like Skype.

    The debate now is over what Skype is... [Ratcliffe Blog]

    I do agree with Mitch's POV that this is not the only VoIP option. I'd add that there are other business models too. For example we may not want a phone system run like KQED or PBS, which has a good on air record. There are a good number of value added services that will be interesting. Let's see what emerges. What do others think?

    I'm excited by what I'm seeing in the blogosphere as individuals are connecting up who have never talked before. In seconds in terms of time we are moving from Blogs as Clipper Ships where one exchanges letters and comments to the Jet Age where networking becomes even more important. It was a "writing world" and now it's a "writing - talking" world. For the bloggers that have talked it is materially different. What were weak ties, or public exchanges of letters gather additional warmth with real conversations. Voice strengthens weak ties quickly. I never had an opportunity to talk about what I might blog today or that I wanted to respond. Skype is a way by which bloggers with weak ties can strengthen them. Each new conversation adds to my delight and fuels my interest to keep blogging. Then that's probably natural. Voice to me is an easier medium to share in than just text.

    Accelerating Voice conversations will lead to better blogs. If someone you like to see reading didn't blog this week. Skype them and find out why?

    Emerging Blogger Deskroll

    Anyone yet getting tired of my Skype links? I just have to convert a few more of you. In my case (old that I am) my Skype buddy list is increasingly becoming more useful than anything I ever amassed on Yahoo, Aim or MSN. I still have many bloggers to go. What's interesting is it reframes the context. This is my bloggiing community and I can talk to them and it is on my desktop. It's like creating the office phone list. Then there are some I know that have Mac's and that's too bad. I've also confronted the doubters. Still try it. It is a useful frame of reference to put yourself in. It may change your thinking about how these social networking tools fit together. Today again brings plenty of helpful hints and noisy comments ......

    There's been some confusion with call tags. David again!


    A couple of folks have stopped by and commented and said they were having problems with callto tags working with their browsers and Skype:Things that...

    I also went back to Skype and re downloaded to get all their latest features. After yesterday suggesting you can share friends lists. That's only likely to be possible with the latest version of Skype and I think both parties must have it for it to function. It's in my toolbar but have found that it is not in the earlier versions. So download if you want to keep current with upgrades and new functionalities.

    More comments on Skype via Metafilter some humorous, some intelligent. :


    P2P Telephony | Metafilter

    But the 911 thing is an issue, at least in the US, anyway.

    "Ohmygod... FIRE! Quick, honey, turn the computer on!, call 911 with that program!!"

    Really, who would use this for emergency phone calls? That's too funny.


    Makes me think about Windows. Would you entrust 911 to Windows... I doubt it. At least you would know that the sound quality is excellent. How do they get it that way?

    The wizard behind the curtain? Global IP sound supplies voice processing software for Skype. Global IP Sound demonstrated Skype [Things that ...]

    Skype me!

    September 24, 2003

    Skype Dinner: TONIGHT 6:00-9:00pm Details

    This confirms the venue for tonights Skype Dinner is "Pacific Coast Brewing Company" See Directions and be there around 6:00pm. Will be fun. They apparently have WiFi online.

    Need more info.... Skype me: Stuart Henshall" or Phil Wolff

    Like the idea of P2P telephony? See opportunities for Skype and blogging. Want to explore SkypeWorld? Got some programming ideas? Come join us for some brainstorming and fun....


    Stuart Henshall and I need to talk. We talked on Skype. Now we're going to talk in person. Join us for dinner in Oakland this Wednesday. On the agenda:



    • What are the traditional business opportunities for Internet telephony?
    • What are the non-traditional, blog and social software -based business opportunities?
    • What would we ask Skype to open to independent developers?

    [a klog apart]


    Also listed today on Ryze HERE

    September 25, 2003

    Where Next Skype?

    This post covers where we are going next with Skype. My underlying belief that this is radical innovation and that managers must understand networks to be successful. I plan on using my blog as a good way to test these ideas with a live emerging case study that we are all involved in. Particularly for Skype connected bloggers there is a range of insight we can each individually and collectively bring to this.

    Last nights small Skype dinner was a blast. We covered a lot of ground and there's more still to cover. You see I came away believing I'm not alone in thinking Skype may be a really big thing. More importantly with the whole VoIP space hotting up (don't believe me then just go to Google News and subscribe to VoIP and Skype respectively) it is worth considering alternate scenarios. From Microsoft to SBC, Motorola, Nokia and Dell, not to mention AOL and Yahoo, I hope to hell their management teams have this on their radar and it's not a surprise.

    Skype represents Radical Innovation:

    Some of you may wonder why I'm still running with the Skype story. It's frankly a great space. This is the intersection of marketing, innovation and strategy that I most successfully facilitate and implement…. The product pricing opportunities are intriguing while new functionalities can potentially redefine how we "phone". Then there are the peripheral businesses and particularly hardware innovations that will be coming. That will be a change as yesterdays phones and innovation are an oxymoron.

    P2P Networks - Connectivity, Flow & Sharing
    I've been a believer for four years that this was coming. This may be more than just another early warning indicator. Skype is also more. It presents a point in time where the opportunity to test thinking around topics from social networking, IM tools, to the future of email and telephony, and the internet itself. The impact is much broader as well. This is a software company. It is an intellectual asset backed by I bet a very few people that is potentially reconfiguring economic structures. How we connect impacts on how and where money is made. This may just be an example of tomorrow's company. Just like Ryze is an example of one pioneer creating a community for 50000, a few are creating real value here. It is also Creative Distruction. Simultaneously, I am seeing numbers that say currently 10% of all voice calls are VoIP. What's the potential for Skype? Possibly as a program it could approach as much as 10% of Windows revenues. Broker some relationships with the Telco's and it could be more. Negotiating with the telco's alone will be interesting.

    Emerging Topic areas.
    So where do we go with this? Our brainstorming session lead in many directions last night. We're both going to keep blogging about Skype. Here's the list I organized. Phil's separately blogged his perspective.

  • Consumer Behavior From Beginning Calls to Managing Friends and Answering.
  • Experimenting with Skype: Skype Basic and Skype Pro Features
  • Defining the Business Model and Profit Opportunities for the Skype Garden
  • Defining Personal and Business Pricing Structures
  • Functionalities and Things Skype Needs to Address
  • Blogging with Skype
  • Amazon / EBay n' Skype
  • The Conferencing Opportunity.
  • Story to Close and Comment:
    I wonder how many of you have had your first experience of Skype with a full headset? For the simple observation is that phones only use one ear while Skype profits from two.., People really get into your head in stereo. No wonder the sounds so good! We laughed so hard on this observation.

    Then again if Skype were the size of Kazaa in two years time… with approximately 250m users and say 100m online at anyone time, I'd guess that would make them the largest telephone system on earth. It creates a different sort of negotiating position.

    Dartmouth Slashdot P2P

    When I posted on Dartmouth I had no idea it would be Slashdotted. The coments are interesting.


    FREE VoIP for Dartmouth Students - Slashdot
    From the prespective of the IT/IS department, they need to worry about
    how much bandwidth consumption there's going to be, and that's it. Not quite right.

    September 26, 2003

    Planetwork WiFi, FOAF, XRI

    I went to the monthly Planetwork forum on Tuesday night and made a few notes to share on SFLan, The Green Museum and a LivingDirectories update. Helped with insights on WiFi developments, more opportunities for blogging and some further insights into FOAF and XNI.

    SFLAN
    SFLan was presented by Ralf Muehlen and is an experiment in providing a community wirelss network in San Francisco. They are making good progress. By their calculations 20 stations at a cost of $1000 each are required to cover San Francisco. This is what Brewster talked about at Planetwork. I can't understand why they don't just say we need 500 of these things to cover the whole Bay Area. Collecting $20 donations wouldn't be that hard.

    Some characteristics of SFLan:


  • Symmetrical networking: everyone can be a server with a real, routable IP address and full uplink bandwidth.
  • Uninhibited networking: no commercial policies limiting streaming or particular formats.
  • Through-the-air backbone: touching the wired Internet at only a couple of high-bandwidth places.
  • DVD video speed: 1 - 5 Mbits/sec now, getting faster every year.
  • Distributed ownership of the network nodes: this could change networking in the same way PCs changed computing.
  • Cooperative development and support.
  • Riding Moore's Law: spend the same amount next year and get twice the speed


  • The Green Muesuem

    The Green Museum is all about environmental Art. Designed to help inspire people in art and culture. It's open 24 hours per day. Online exhibition of soundscape art. Art as information. I found myself inspired by Sam's comments while lookint at the site and wishing my RSS feed could be nurtured artistically every day. Post the session we had a detailed discussion on weblogs, newreaders, and potential ideas for engaging the broader community in this effort. This mueseum is receiving grant money and may receive more. Just like the physical ones this one may have a different cost structure, it too must chase visitors. We are going to see more Museum Blogs.

    LivingDirectory (Formerly Friendly Favors)
    Victor Gray began introducing his subject referring to Marc Canter who has been suggesting to everyone that provide part of the profile as FOAF data. So here's Victors FOAF profile. This illustrates how many directories could execute a vaild FOAF file So while this is a valid FOAF document Victor said that some of the FOAF files sort of horrified him. Apparently all the FOAF tags are agreed upon upon as a certain sort of data. However there are no FOAF tags for city, state, country and apparently no concept for an error document. Think that means tha bad FOAF leads to 404 screens.

    ( foaf:Person> foaf:name>Victor Grey foaf:firstName>Victor foaf:surname>Grey foaf:mbox_sha1sum>759c9f8d6317f0be5727bd85aaccf7ebc70ffcb7 foaf:depiction rdf:resource="http://livingdirectory.net/pics/FF/139.jpg" /> foaf:homepage rdf:resource="www.customdynamic.net"/> /foaf:Person> /rdf:RDF> /blockquote> See the crypto hash of Victor's e-mail address. It is unique to his e-mail address. There was a comment that if you had a completely crawlable network .... could send spam from my set of friends... It is not clear to me what contracts and permissions are incorporated in this.

    Took it that Victor wasn't that impressed with FOAF and has moved on. He then showed his XRI profile with a unique identifer on the bottom line that cannot be spoofed. XRI is running on the foundation that makes the internet run.

    ( ?xml version="1.0" ?>
    - element xmlns="http://xri.xdi.org">
    xri>=VictorGrey
    xri>=:(@:LDN:FF/:139)
    - element>
    xri>+formatted
    data>Victor Grey
    /element>
    - element>
    xri>+picture
    data>http://livingdirectory.net/pics/FF/139.jpg
    /element>
    - element>
    xri>+affiliation
    data>Programmer - LivingDirectory
    /element>
    - element>
    xri>+location.city
    data>San Francisco Bay Area
    /element>
    - element>
    xri>+location.state
    data>California
    /element>
    - element>
    xri>+location.country
    data>United States
    /element>
    - element>
    xri>+postal.address
    - element>
    xri>+work
    data>P.O. Box 6722, Concord, California 94524 United States
    /element>
    /element>
    - element>
    +fax.number
    - element>
    xri>+work
    data>925-682-9133
    /element>
    /element>
    - element>
    xri>+website
    data>www.customdynamic.net
    /element>
    /element>
    /blockquote>

    See this CNet article for further explanations. "Standards body tries to improve on URLs"

    The next Planetwork meetup date is October 30th at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.

    Skype Live Callers to Web Broadcast

    Will this be the first use of Skype for a web broadcast? Innovation in action!

    "Today on the 160th live broadcast of the Script School Radio show, we are going to be discussing and demonstrating the use of Skype to allow live callers into our live web streamed radio show. For those who are interested in seeing and hearing a demo of this capability, stop on by and learn how." Things that

    Radio feeds available at (mp3): http://www.scriptschool.com/radio/
    IRC: irc.scriptschool.com #scriptschool
    Java: http://www.scriptschool.com/commons/

    Experimenting on Skype Reveals More

    Some experiments using Skype enable a better understanding of how it works and what opportunities will emerge for "chargeable" versions. Let's hold the pricing theories a little longer and uncover some systems architectural features that begin to identify "product upgrades" and innovations to come. Points covered:

       

  • Basic Skype Experiment
       
  • Synchronizing Skype Friends
       
  • Obtaining Multiple Lines
       
  • Multiple Accounts - Exchange On a Computer
       
  • Security for Your Skype
       
  • P2P Decentralized Messaging Approach

    This post began with the article in The Register which sent me experimenting. Let's just say I was curious.


    "...creating a Global Index as a multi-tiered network where supernodes communicate in such a way that every node in the network has full knowledge of all available users and resources with minimal latency. Seconds after you log on your friends know you are there, rather like instant messaging".

    Basic Skype Experiment:
    Well not always. If I download and log in to Skype on another PC it can activate my account but it doesn't contain my friends list. This suggests that the only thing Skype centralizes is the account name, password and an email (should you want to retrieve the password). The friend's list information is almost certainly encrypted within the program somewhere. Now that makes some sense for the super nodes are then duplicating my encrypted friends list information (see the Register article). No wonder when booting up another peer with the same name I can't synch my friends list.

    In fact… Skype allows two or more peers into the system with the same name at the same time. Each new "install" is lacking a friends list. Unlike Yahoo or MSN if you log in on another computer Skype doesn't log you off. In Skype's case it can't. The result both ring when called from another account. That is if you are running your account on two computers simultaneously one can ring in the living room and the other the office. If you answer on one… the other just logs it as a call unanswered. This must lead to one of the Skype paid version features that quickly links my computers and their logs. However, let's stick with friends for a moment or two.

    Synchronizing Skype Friends
    So you have two computers ringing. However, the probable encrypted nature of the friends lists means that your duplicate running account doesn't have a friends list. Guess what? To get it or import it I have to request authorization from all my friends again. NASTY! It's also very SMART! They will be explaining that for a call anywhere account that can uplift /port your friends at/to another destination you will have to pay some dollars. In the Western world it means extra dollars for my WiFi - PDA, to match my Laptop to match my HomePC and enable frequent synchronizations. Otherwise.... Skype spams my friends with unnecessary authorization requests. Something I really don't want. Those that do --- well you will know they are being cheap!

    Obtaining Multiple Lines
    Now we know you can have two Skype (phones) with the same account ringing at the same time. Still I'm limited to running one account at a time on my computer. Some will want to run simultaneous accounts / names (there are industries already doing this). So the another element in the paid program is to enable you to have more than one ID feeding one account (multiple lines one account). Eg a Personal Line, Family Line and a Business Line. This starts to look a lot like breaking one of those sacred telecom cows… It's also different to MSN and Yahoo which only allow one log-in at a time. Trillian does allow more (but then consolidates the address book). Why different lines? The opportunity for different profiles and possibly different directory listings. It also enables customers to signal more about the type of relationship this number implies.

    In the IM sense I can order my buddy lists. In the Skype sense I begin ordering my ring tones and answering instructions. I could leave my home computer on and never miss a call picking up the chat (rather than voice at first) mail anywhere I go anytime as my WiFi PDA synchs with Skype each time it smells a free connection.

    Multiple Accounts - Exchange On a Computer
    However I've got another problem. When you share the home computer not everyone wants to share their IM account. Logging off my Skype Account means I no longer get my calls and dependent on the voice/chat mail application that's lost too (at least currently the logging is). So I want my computer to handle multiple accounts (it was once called a party - line) Just means that when I'm calling the line will be busy for my daughter etc. Still if you have multiple computers in the house all but the one you are speaking on could be ringing. Could that be a mini-exchange of some sort?

    Security for your Skype
    This brings us to security. Under this type of strategy everyone has their own account number and likely customized rings. (Which creates another set of opportunities for phones headsets etc which won't be addressed in this posting). As this looks toward a more personal phone future my multi-dimensional phone account requires some phone security. Cell phones have lock numbers, perhaps this should be an option as well. Thumb-reader? When someone comes to your Skype enabled house they can login... secure their ring tone (babysitters or night out) and only be answering their calls. That keeps your call private and the messages intact. Calls potentially can follow you around. (note a very simple new form of pager is also possible)

    P2P Decentralized Messaging Approach
    For me the real insight is that fact that Skype will never activate a centralized voice messaging system. Voice messaging requires an always on computer component. In version 1.0 it may require one of your computers to be always on even if it isn't ringing. Thus may have to be a two tier home user pricing for version 1.0. For those that run dial-up connections access to chat mail will be difficult unless your e-mail is in the profile. Chat mail is the message you leave when your call results in no answer or away. For a dial-up account they may all go to e-mail. Perhaps a later version 2.0 will arrive when enough peers can provide redundant encrypted voice messaging capacity (low quality MP-3) Think Freenet. Your voice mail is automatically taken by three unknown peers all with a known record of online performance. In the first instance it won't be voice mail, but chat mail. Stuart Henshall is not online would you like to leave a message? In 2.0 those peers may get a rebate on their monthly or annual software license. So if you've upgraded from free to a "synching peer" Your then you will always be able to access your voice mail. Perhaps also providing a consumer incentive to upgrade to broadband connection. Buy a small monthly fee for a "synched peering account" and even the smallest of global businesses are capable of having a voicemail and global reach via an internet café. Synched peering may also require a Freenet style backup. For example…. There is a power cut in California… my system remains working via backups in France, Japan and Arizona, all unknown to me. However this is getting a little ahead of the story line.

    The next posts will attempt the layout some initial and perhaps future functionality plans. Consider a Skype Basic and Skype Pro for consumer and then there will be some business options as well. More to come.

  • Skype for TalkBack Blog?

    I'm having a blast here listening to a live broadcast from TDavid. Very humorous and completely off topic for me. He's set up his weekly show in a talkback format this week..so the audience has the option to call in using Skype. It has reframed my idea of what and how simply this can be done. Come-on Clay Shirky... when is the first "Many to Many" Talkback?

    So what's happening? I'm listening to the broadcast via winamp and running IRC in trillian. People are Skyping in and Tdavid has a 800 line as well. Early question was a real insight. Instant use of the Callto tag straight from the IRC window. This is experimenting messing around doing it live trying to get the audio mixing right. I'm generally amazed at the sound quality. The set up is using two computers. David is broadcasting from one and the second computer is being used for the Skype call-ins. There's little latency in this whole system.

    A shot of --- a desk and the second computer. ...

    web image.jpg webimg 3.jpg

    Equipment requires two computers and a few mics speakers etc. Cheap call it $50, more expensive $250 with some slicker audio mixing. Take the out of the mixing board and plug it into the other computer and using shoutcast start the live record.

    Skype to be Walled for Profit?

    There's increasing discussion around Skype and its business model. The question keeps getting asked. How will they make money? Beyond software charges where is the next money making opportunity? Personally I don't think there will be much charging until a million people are on all the time - perhaps more. So far we are only at 50000. So there's some way to go.

    For a call charging model I first thought of those used for cellular in many countries outside the USA where one just pays a flat fee. In NZ you can call any number in with no minute limitations. Cell phone to cell phone calls were also free. However (and unlike America) a landline to cell phone call was expensive. Probably still round US$ .20 to .30 cents a minute. This same barrier exists on international long distance.

    Call-in Charging Makes it more Viral
    I've had a sense that all the "money constructs" are about calling "out" rather than calling "in" to Skype. What if Skype failed to execute a call "out" of the garden but quickly enabled the cheapest calls on earth in? That would help growth --- right! It would also infect others. Even with a free Skype account others could call you without knowing anything about Skype, just that you have a new number.

    So the step two in the money making infrastructure is in enabling people to call into the Skype network. In the US we have 900 numbers 1010629, 1010987 and other dial round services. I'd imagine my New Zealand mother-in-law - no-PC being very happy with a local call and a cent a minute to dial internationally. Hour long calls from any phone in the world to a Skype account for less than $1.00?

    Create a Simple Dial Solution for non Skype Callers
    This sort of presumes that from a consumer perspective all you need to know is the equivalent of 1010Skype and the call to ID pressed numerically which then may require a choice from names currently online or a zip number or similar. I'm sure there is a voice activated solution somewhere that would dock with their directory. Then it connects. What could be easier? It also benefits Skype. People then need to be transparent about their directories and names.

    Businesses accounts could make this a free number by paying for the minutes at the access point. (Note those business accounts will want one account multiple answering capability).

    Thus calls remain free between Skype users, many of which will upgrade their accounts for portability and access. Calls in to a Skype user are very low cost, perhaps a 10th of today's rates.

    Plausible Scenario?
    This scenario has the potential to attack both traditional POTS charging structures and hit mobile users that will soon be carrying WiFi enabled gadgets. It also encourages Skype users to continue bringing their friends into the garden.

    To top it off. Skype is likely to enable "Skype to SMS" as they introduce this calling charging system. It would be interesting to play with the numbers. I'm guessing they could subsidize SMS with the inbound calls.

    Other point ofs view???


    September 29, 2003

    Skype Wants - Functionality

    Phil adds to the Skype meme below with additional "wants" that I've also been mulling over. It lead me to a few more to start the week.

       1. Auto - Info Profile: For eveyone not on my buddy list each incoming call should automatically open their profile. I may also want to specify that for all profiles filled with less than x-details Eg: First Name / Last Name, location etc.. to notify sender that I don't accept calls that don't match this criteria without ringing me.

       2. Profile / Photo Fix. I'd like to insure I see photos of friends on my buddy list when they call. They could be incorporated into the directory as well. I'd like to insure that all others photo's are optional "view photo" when the info advice is received. Concern will grow about offensive photos.

       3. Call Message Integration: For those I'm calling who are not on my buddy list I'd suggest a two-click calling option. This would enable me to send a short personalized message with my profile when placing the call. For example providing a business reason for the call.

       4. Timestamp: I need timezones in my buddylist and a current time for caller in their info file. This may be further enhanced with some form of "politeness" time management system.

       5.   GeoUrl: Adding where we are in the world might tie-to timestamps. However even more specific tie-ins may enhance the opportunities for social networking. Some WiFi applications are already experimenting in this area. With time I'm sure "online" Skype users within X area may prove interesting.

    From a klog apart

  • I want to use Skype to record interviews: I'd think this could be done already. Although the solution wouldn't be elegant. (there are also some laws against recording telephone conversations for what it is worth). TDavids setup (refer Skype for TalkBack Blogging) which used two computers. An analog version could be done via a tape-recorder using the input and output jacks.

  • A privacy proxy will hide my profile (until I'm ready to reveal it) and hide my IP address. At first I just thought open a onetime name although this wouldn't hide the IP address. However, an Internet Cafe would likely provide the same option.

  • Skyperolls should be sharable. I'd want to be able to merge skyperolls.
  • I've already found the functionality of "tools" - "send contacts" to be very useful. I'm wondering if I can upload my picture file to Blogrolling or Technorati with an integrated Skype callto link?

    VoIP and the Internet Cafe

    On Friday I blogged about Skype being a walled garden I was also thinking about Skype's potential third world business opportunities with Internet Cafe's. So it just proves that when you become aware and start looking for emerging indicators.... that just maybe it's in the news.

    Networking the Telecom Industry

    Utilizing the communications channels built to terminate international voice calls into Vietnam, AMEI will create a staging platform that will allow their joint venture partners to promote, market and sell a selection of telecommunications solutions throughout Vietnam. The system will be configured to both place and receive telephone calls. AMEI will provide the necessary hardware and software for the partners to implement the VoIP calling system in each of their Internet Cafes. These devices will be routed directly back to AMEI in North America, where the calls will be routed on a least-cost routing basis to their final destinations. AMEI is currently testing two gateway networks offering bundled long distance packages in order to maximize discounts of up to 70% to its venture partners.

    The beta system testing will take approximately two weeks after which AMEI and its partners have projected a minimum volume of 10,000,000 minutes a month of long distance usage, representing over $ 1,000,000 USD per month of gross revenue to the Company. Unlike North America, Vietnam and its burgeoning economy have minimal communications systems infrastructures in place and the average citizen has to rely on outlets such as Internet Cafes for access to the Internet and/or long distance calling. These Cafes, many of which are open twenty four hours.

    September 30, 2003

    What Will You Pay for Skype?

    I've been talking to bloggers and reading blogs on Skype. There's a lot of chatter from David,Dina, Lilia, Ton, Phil, Mitch, Russell, , Roland and many more.  The demands for certain features are growing. This posting attempts to define how to differentiate Skype's product options.  It focuses on Individual Skype Accounts; rather than business which is not addressed here.  I've not set any prices --- I would appreciate your feedback and comments.  

    Skype Individual Accounts

    This outlines a possible consumer structure that will lead to a charging model. 

    Single Skype Line Options

    Free

    Basic

    Dial-Up

    Premium

    Compare Current IM clients

    Concurrent session profiles available to user

    One

    As current

    Two

    Eg Personal / Business or His / Hers one profile

    Two

    Eg Personal / Business or His / Hers one profile

    Five

    Personal, Family, Business, Professional, Suppliers, Dating etc.

    One at Time

    Photos / profile

    Single Picture

    Single Picture per profile

    Single Picture per profile

    Refreshable Url or Folder Linked?

    MSN 6.0

    Customizable ring tones

     

    One Fixed

    Download Set by profile

    Set by profile

    Unlimited ringers by profile or friend, link to music files

    No

    Synch Friends when using Account on multiple devices

    No

    Yes (when base station is on)

    Yes (when base station is on)

    Yes (when base station is on)

    Yes available now

    Call Log Updates

    No

    Yes (when base station is on)

    No

    Yes (when base station is on)

    NA

    Chat Mail Notifications

    No

    Yes (persistent sending)

    Yes & via e-mail

    Yes (persistent sending) & via e-mail

    Yes Yahoo

    Call-Waiting / Call on Hold

    No

    Call-Waiting Beep

    Call-Waiting Beep

    Call-Waiting Beep

    NA

    Voice Mail Answering

    No

    No

    No

    Yes (at base station)

    NA

    Message Forwarding

     

     

    No

    No

    No

    Yes (from base station)

    NA

    The Skype Home PABX

    Free

    Basic

    Dial-Up

    Premium

    Compare Current IM clients

    Multiple Accounts on one PC

    No

    No

    No

    Yes

    Up to 6

    No

    Additional Directory Listing Control

    None

    Folders by Profile only

    Folders by Profile only

    Flexible and Shareable Folders Contacts can be shared across accounts. Alphabetical Search buttons

    No

    Auto Call Connection  when party is back online or off the phone

    No

    No

    Yes

    Yes

    No

    Account Security log-in / quick answer

    No

    No

    No

    Yes

    NA

    SMS

    No

    No

    No

    Yes

     

    Kid capabilities

     

    no

    no

    Yes – Parental Supervision

     

    Broadcast calls? 

    No

    No

    No

    ?

     

    Conference Calls

    No

    No

    No

    Multiple Lines Sharing dependent on PC power?

     

    VoIP Radio?

    No

    No

    No

    Yes

     

    Some assumptions:

  • I’m assuming that there will be no Skype to phone (landline
    - POTS) in version 1.0. 


  • Video will be part of a value added product – maybe 2.0


  • That basic chat functions of “hotlinks” and “send file” will
    be included in 1.0


  • That future “browse together” will be enabled in a later
    product.


    Note: I’ve got no affiliation with Skype in anyway (other
    than using their beta product. 



  • Interesting Skype Failure

    I was just Skyping with Mitch when we both began receiving Microsoft failure notices - Skype has to close. Ultimately Skype went completely down. As we tried to log back on I at first saw some 3000 online, then 12317 and then the rebuild appeared to accelerate reaching 45000+ pretty quickly. However this is still down from an earlier peak I saw this moring that logged 63346 as being online. This is roughly double two weeks ago and up approx. +50% versus one week ago.

    Our conclusion was it was a "cascading failure of the peer directory systems. Is this balancing between broadband and dial-up? I have no idea. We do know and accept it is currently "BETA" software still with some glitches. Within minutes of various reboots it seems to be up and running again. In the meantime we finished our call via Vonage... at a lower sound quality - although we remained connected.

    Was fascinating to see the peers re knitting the web and their numbers climbing. Clearly such global failures have to be eliminated!

    Walkie Talkie Skype?

    Just yesterday Phill Wolff and I were having coffee (no WiFi and thus no Skype interruptions) and discussing how we could access walkie / talkie / Skype. Well it seems there are some hints here. Skype to GPRS enabled phones may not be that difficult. Hmmm....

    Russell Beattie Notebook

    This morning I saw that Jeremy Allaire had pointed out this new piece of software for our Nokia 3650s called Buzz2Talk which allows your phone to Push To Talk over an internet connection. In other words, VoIP from your mobile phone. Obviously I wanted to try it to see if it worked...

    Something else to experiment with sometime.

    FWD and VoIP

    An article in Forbes provides a short sighted view of the changes currently happening in the consumer VoIP market. Apparently FWD (Free World Dialup) has been around for 10 months and until a month ago I'd never heard of it. Like the burgeoning social networks I'm wondering how many of these systems I need or want. ONE! The article does provide a good example for anonymity which can't be excuted the same way on Skype right now. May have to try it out and see if it will run side by side with Skype.

    Free World Dialup from Forbes.com: Talking In The Free World

    To some this will seem like more trouble than it's worth. Just as the economics of using FWD don't necessarily add up, neither do the economics of offering it. For now, Pulver runs FWD out of the goodness of his heart. Which is fine, since the whole system runs on a $5,000 dual-processor Linux server. But what if you wanted to make money offering IP phone service?

    VoIP Regulation Talk

    From government to the RIAA we need new perspectives if we are going to make the transition to a network economy.

    California to Regulate VoIP? According to this article over at Voxilla, VoicePulse CEO Ravi Sakaria has been put on notice by the state PUC that his company must begin adhering to telco rules, and has been ordered to "file an application with the Commission for authority to conduct business as a telecommunications utility no later than October 22, 2003.

    About September 2003

    This page contains all entries posted to Unbound Spiral in September 2003. They are listed from oldest to newest.

    August 2003 is the previous archive.

    October 2003 is the next archive.

    Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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