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June 2004 Archives

June 8, 2004

Passionate Bloggers Corporate Asset or Liability

I'm getting inquires and questions. Stuart have you stopped blogging? Why no posts recently? The answer is complicated. This is a story about a blogger who found a new niche in an emerging industry with a new job through blogging. It also contain my thoughts and recommendations for companies that find themselves with a passionate blogger on the outside. For those that are blogging and looking for the "next thing" it may provide some lessons.

Almost nine months ago I started blogging Skype. In the first few weeks after it was launched I blogged it incessantly. At the time this blog was focused on emerging social networking sites, digital identity, collaboration. For the most part within the context of knowledge innovation. When Skype launched a few things clicked for me. Skype was an early indicator of things to come. As a strategist with scenarios as part of my tool kit, Skype confirmed for me that Stupid Networks were going to go beyond music sharing. Concurrrently my blog learnings just proved that these tools are operating as early warning radar, an accelerated learning environment, and a place to find new friends with similar interests. To explore the future we need models and examples that work as great test beds. I decided to pick up on Skype and just blog about it. I've never been affiliated with Skype in anyway, and I've tried to keep a balanced point of view. Still I managed to pick up the Stuart "SkypeMe" Henshall tag somewhere.

My Skype blogging experience leads me to recommend to other bloggers who find something new that it may be worth helping to put it on the map. It may not get you a job or even an approach from that company. I'd actually trace all the work that I've generated in the last six months to my blog. Plus my blog has played a key role in brokering new introductions. So there is little chance that this blog is going to fade away.

What I do find curious is companies don't have clear strategies for approaching bloggers. I'm not the only one to get a new job via my blog, for exampe Ton Zijlstra did. However, I'm not sure I know of any bloggers that have attached themselves to an emerging company and still found 9 months later that they really don't have a dialogue with it. Let it be known. I blogged Skype for I wanted a broader conversation around it. I may not have done it very well, I may have made myself unapproachable. However that is not what I believe. I do credit myself with at least some of the direction that Skype has taken. Although I will never know.

If you are a company with a blogger outside:

Understand the Asset: I'd recommend you actually contact them. If they are making real visibilty for you and adding value to what you are building you should contact them with a representative at the highest level. You need to know, what drives them, why they are doing it, and where they are hoping their actions may lead. Some may want independence, others may be looking for something new. Depending on the blogger this might be a single post, or a multiplicity of posts. Cautious about writing, then call them up. Start-ups are in a particularly difficult place. One bad review may kill them.
Intellectual Capital: Blogging is research as well as connections. Even those that may not have originated in an industry may well take new strategic postions and bring new insights. These blogger potentially represent the largest risk. If you can identify the bloggers in and around your industry with these types of capabilities then you should consider how they may look if working for a potential competitor.
Open a channel; Whether official or unofficial You better have a feedster link for your company and be prepared to follow-up with them. Similarly even some low cost options may enable you to connect more effectively. Don't think that the blogger may be too expensive. Even if there are very limited resources there are ways to generate face to face meetings. You may be surprised at what the blogger is willing to do. Moral is... If you don't ask them don't be surprised later.
VC's and Investments: If you are a VC and making an investment then you would be well-advised to search blogs. If that Passionate Blogger turns up in your search then you may learn something by talking to them. I had a call just yesterday from a Skype VC (my first one, I think wondering why I hadn't blogged much on SkyeOut or SkypePlus yet) Perhaps they miss me? The problem is it has all changed for me and that happened a few weeks ago.

Blogger Goes to Potential Competitor.
Yep it has happened. I'm now the VP of Marketing for DiamondWare and we have the technology, engineering and vision to launch enterprise mobility solutions that combines VoIP, Presence, and Collaboration. I'm going to talk more about DiamondWare in a separate post. This is more a post about me, this blog and what happens when a passionate blogger makes a new commitment. If you know me well you will know I haven't sold myself short and I'm simply delighted to be working on "our" products and solutions. The single biggest issue I have had in the last 12-15 months was knowing that I wanted to either start my own firm or be part of creating a world-class company. While I've been encouraged to extend my consulting practice I've known for a long time that that is not my preferred space. My chosen interests have been technology and Internet related. I didn't have the money to fund a team. However as my passion and focus emerged I've let it guide me in terms of who to meet, what to do, and where to commit. So a new journey has begun.

Ethics Personal Blog and Corporate Blog:
I've pretty much blogged whatever I wanted for a long time. Now I shall have to post one of those disclaimers; that this blog is not necessarily the view of my employer etc. What you as a reader should know is I've seldom shared details on consulting projects and I am well aware of the new balance I need to find between blogging at DiamondWare and blogging here. This is the place I'm planning to stay playing with ideas, watching my blogging buddies and following my interests. Don't be surprised if you find me blogging about VoIP or even Skype here too. How can I do that? I believe I can only do it if I'm always blogging in the context of the industry.

Years ago in when in the grocery business we used to talk about growing the category. We (eg the coffee manufacturer) may have wanted more shelf space and a better position. We were after share. I always wanted to beat the competition. However the retailers controlled the shelf-space and the only way to improve your position was to grow their overall share of business. The brands/products that contributed to growth were rewarded with better shelf position etc. Well.... I may not be retailing softphones or even distributing my solutions in a grocery store in the near future although one never knows. What I will try to insure whenever I write about potential competitive products here is that I state the facts clearly, that I maintain the highest standards of "growing the category". I'm also well aware of "claims" and comparisons on performace. Should I make any comparisons they will be either "personal experience" or link to some independentt lab or research. Softphones are a growth category. So not talking about softphones would be foolish when one is in the VoIP business. Similarly, IM clients, social networking services etc. These are all converging. Plus it would be foolish for anyone to think that I am not trying out "other" products. Like the retailer I once was. Try them out. Take them home. Use them. Record your impressions. Learn.

Online Presence Spiral Two

"It is said that the present is pregnant with the future." ~ Voltaire Or similarly.... "the future is all around us we just don't know it yet!" --- a line delivered by many. If you read my last post you know I'm actively pursuing my future and it is all around me. One task I wanted to take care of before sending friends and colleagues to my second blog, and new company affiliation was to have something to send you to. It's a little selfish I know. Keep people in the dark, don't blog for a few weeks and then pour out the details. Then part of my job is to create traffic and interest in DiamondWare. So forgive me for being self-serving. You can help me. Come and visit, subscribe to our syndicated blog.

This post aims to do a couple of things. Help kick off a new corporate blog and achieve some visibility with enough intrigue for what you may find there. DiamondWare's roots are high performance audio software. The DiamondWare story is here. We are moving from developing the engine (audio media stack) to building the vehicles / applications for next generation communication. The website is a work in progress. For me this is a first iteration. Release and update may present the best way to get feedback and accelerate message development. So blog friends are beta readers for a current marketing department of one. So, now you know and I'll be very receptive to new ideas and honest input. I hope that over time a successful blogging component will outweigh all the static pages created to date. If I'm working towards real-time communication then a blog componet is a key to the way forward.

Why DiamondWare?
Beyond the great group of people are core elements for the next generation of VoIP solutions. That was key to attracting me to join the team. Plus the desire to create new answers and leap forward with an "always-on mobile presence communicator". For me this opportunity emerges at the intersection of where new audio processing capabilities, VoIP networks and collboration tools converge. This Online Presence Spiral also includes solutions for social networking, privacy, security and digital identity.

While this diagram may look static imagine it spinning like a turbine creating an always-on environment that emerges as a conversation accelerator.

First, leveraging communications is driven by presence that nurtures events. That happens at the front line so to speak on your desktop, with your handset. Presence becomes really interesting when combined with mobility.

Second, the communications velocity is enhanced when we become better listeners. Telephony today is not for listening it's for telling, contacting, reporting etc. Few calls are made just to listen. Listening is a learning characteristic. The traditional telephone is somewhat restrictive in this regard. It's been hard to do multi-party conference calls. While compared with IM many complain that the telephone is invasive

Leaders facilitate conversations. We will only spiral the velocity and flow of conversations if we find ways to make encounters more appealing and integrate with the ways that people want to use them. Lets say that the online conversation broker needs an upgrade.

"Online Presence Spiral Generator"

The Always-on Presence Communicator

In the organization it's often the water cooler conversation that is instrumental, or the unexpected connection that create new value. Just one reason open plan offices are effective. Put every one in virtual offices and we need a communication system that more closely mimics the open plan. So far that has been difficult. In fact, asynchonous is a frequent label for online collaboration. By contrast creating more transparency by running multiple conversations concurrently is similar to what many kids (and some of us) do with IM. It's just not integrated with voice. An illustration of what I'm talking about would be a multi-channel Audio IRC. A multi-modal intercom on steroids.

It seems a lot to ask. I'm sure many will look at the preceeding paragraphs and say I don't want to work in a world like that. However there are some that already do. Traders run multi-lines. Call centers need the capability to bridge and share calls quickly. There's are more thoughts on always-on conferencing here. There we said "A communications format is required that enables enhanced listening and positioning of voices while engaged in the call." Which brings me back to intercoms and audio processing capabilities. Only DiamondWare is in the field with a 3D Hi-Fidelity VoIP solution. This enables the positioning and the mulit-level listening along with other capabilities.

So in a nutshell technology is enabling an online presence spiral and I am now directly involved in next generation communication solutions. These are brief reasons for my excitement. From the DiamondWare site:

1. Sound Quality: Hear an audible difference as telephony moves to higher quality audio. There will be a clear perception and audible improvement over the sound of traditional telephones.

2. Spatial Positioning: Since Stereo first introduced the sound stage, we have increasingly brought the surround sound experience into our lives. Telephony has not kept up. Stereo VoIP technology closes the gap between the online conference and the physical meeting room.

3. Presence: Online presence reduces the number of failed connections and repetitive messages, and it improves understanding of availability. Presence is only now becoming multi-modal and being integrated from the desktop into other devices.

4. Communications Centric: IM systems have traditionally been text centric with poor support for voice. Communications-Centric presence platforms are redefining how calls and texting work in tandem as the first step in enhanced collaborative communication.

5. Always-On: As call costs trend to zero, closing a call (hanging up at the end) resulting in termination may no longer make sense. In an open plan office chatter goes on all the time. In an always-on world of telephony, you may participate in multiple concurrent conferences.

6. Push to Talk: Push to talk and intercoms may seem like a very old idea. However sometimes a short voice message is appropriate. Look at a money trader example, or any other fast-moving information environment.

7. Mobility: As devices combine PDA's, mobile phones, tablet PC's and Wi-Fi, solutions are enabling new forms of connectivity and decision-making. We are preparing for a day when every mobile device has the capabilities of today's PBX. Engineering reflects small devices and efficient solutions.

That is all I will tell you right now.

June 9, 2004

Supernova - See You There!

I just took a look at the list of people now signed up for Supernova in Santa Clara on June 24-25. Kevin Werbach has assembled a great group for another deep dive exploration into our decentralized future together. This will be the second time I'm attending having thoroughly enjoyed the first (December 2002) soon after beginning this blog. I'm going to be pressing the agenda for answers on Presence and Mobility with a VoIP / Collaboration hat on.

Supernova 2004 -- June 24-25, Santa Clara, CA
Voice over IP...Social networking...Web services...WiFi and unlicensed wireless...Blogging and syndication...Broadband applications...Next-generation email...Grid computing...Digital identity...Collaboration tools...Digital content distribution...and more. Supernova links together the most compelling technologies, and uses many of them to enhance the conference experience itself. SUPERNOVA 2004

Start tracking the SuperNova weblog and there is the SupernovaWiki. If you can't make the event but will be in town for the dinner. Come join us all there. It will be fun.

Social Tools + Mobility

Stowe Boyd has a nice post in DarwinMag this month on "The State of Social Tools". I like the tone and was great to learn that Stowe is now at Corante. Congratulations Stowe! There is a nice clear structure and set of points in the article. Let me share a couple of lines before adding my two cents.

The big story is that the global computer network is an enormous chat room, enabling us to collaborate in unexpected, complex and novel ways. We are experimenting with new social systems, systems that to an unprecedented degree involve software and hardware.

The State of Social Tools - Darwin Magazine

My issue is where is the thinking about mobility and conversation velocity. I infer from the article that this convergence will take place on laptops and desktops although I think the real impact will be felt in mobility devices. Current demos show capability and potential for the social revolution to come. How those handheld / wearable devices work with everything will be key.

The element that bothers me more and more is that the focus in these discussions on social tools without stepping back and looking at the environment in which we work. The State of Social Tools contains a reference to “voice” yet reads text and desktop centric. The most socialized tool in the workspace after the pen and paper is the telephone. Somehow it isn’t mentioned. Then neither is the cellphone. Are we assuming too much or not looking at where the real revolution must start?

June 11, 2004


This post represents quick notes on Skype and Stanaphone. As Om Malik worries about a price war. Frankly I'm just surprised Stanaphone has the money and commitment to go down this route.

After Andy Abramson blogged Stanaphone as Free Calling... huh?. I downloaded it and made a couple of phone calls. They were adequate. I only made calls within the US. In one quick test we held a Skype connection and Stanaphone connection open at the same time. We ran a count while the listener listened for latency. Skype PC to PC and Stanaphone PC to phone. Frankly on this simple test latency results varied with one ahead of the other and then reversing. Not enough to really effect the conversation.

A key difference remains Skype call quality which simply provides a clearer sound. I've made this point for awhile now. Now here's the problem for Skype. As soon as they run the PSTN interconnect their call quality goes down. I've had a few calls from Skype beta testers. Over a week ago I had one from Luxembourg to my Vonage account. It was only ok and the quality was worse than Vonage, the PSTN or my cellphone usually is. I think that connection remains through Denmark. While I presume they are still working on correcting poor quality IP to PSTN connections at this point the quality will not set the world on fire. Comparison? How many do you know that use Yahoo Messenger's Net2Phone function for example?

Additional notes on Stanaphone:
When installing Stanaphone I noted it was an SJPhone from SJLabs. The latest version version that launched this week. Stanalone is in beta. You can also receive calls. Stanaphone to Stanaphone works ok

So if you have Skype live in India and can't call your Mac buddies then download Stanaphone and try calling your friends in the US on a landline. The quality may suck. This will enable free dialing for a few other countries too. I don't think this is quite what the company had in mind. Then you could register as many different addresses as you want currently to get the 100 free minutes for each of them. I really wonder how long this beta will last?

Additional notes on Softphones vs IM-Voice. There needs to be a mental shift in what we turn out as softphones. The traditional phone was a dialer and not much more. The problem is we are creating desktop dialers and call them softphones and expect people to get excited. A phone in that state is a commodity! You go to Target and you buy a commodity cordless handset. Perhaps the upside is these products require little learning if (big if) they install easily. More imagination will be required.

June 13, 2004

Yahoo a Better IM?

Where does Yahoo fit in all the messenger systems? Compared to MSN and AOL it's is not winning on share. Still it recently had a facelift. Download here. From my perspective there is both good and bad. Still it brings some innovative new features worth thinking about.

The Good:
Voice Quality: Anecdotally Yahoo voice capability is much improved. I used to use Yahoo for PC to PC voice before discovering Skype last year. The improvement traces to latency reduction rather than a more open sound and richer sound. It still sounds tinny. That's Yahoo trying to save bandwidth through compression. Can't blame them it goes through their servers. This little change is not hyped at all.

Launchcast Radio: This new feature pipes stereo music right into your buddy list. Plus if you want you can let your buddies know what you are listening to. The song appears next to your name. Then they can double click and listen to the same music as you at roughly the same time. It is not synched so singing is a little weird. Lauchcast radio does not yet link with yahoo chatrooms.

Radio and Voice in Conversation: It's possible to keep listening to launchcast and hold a voice conversation. In fact this make the voice session more real, closes the gap and hides some of the poor sound quality. Potentiall both parties could be listening to different music.

Pictures: Your photo is becoming de rigour on messenger systems. Not everyone is revealing a pictures of themselves. Still Yahoo builds in some protection, unlike Skype where unless you block unknown callers you get their picture. I wouldn't assume that all pictures you be what you expect, especially from spammers. Yahoo also introduces their Avatar function.

Stealth: Now you have the capability to reveal yourself to specific individuals while maintaining invisiblity with others. This needs setting each time one logs on. One step closer to more complex disclosure systems. A plus.

The Weird:
Audibles: Whatever were they thinking. You install the new version and audibles and the default setting is "flirts". Even the voices are adult. I wonder who Yahoo's target is. Am I weird? Does it bother anyone else that a kids first experience with an Audible will be a flirt? Mummy probably won't even know. The few comments I see via Feedster appear positive and are from slightly older women. So audibles could be fun. They could also get a few raised eyebrows if you have sound on in the office.

The Frustrating
Screen Hog: The whole feature set now takes up more screen space. There is no basic or minimalist setting. For that just move to Trillian.

Load time: Is it just me or does logging on seem to take much longer?

From memory, Yahoo's last major update came in advance of MSN and AOL. Frankly it was my favorite, until Skype came along and created an adequate text and superb voice connection along with conferencing. Yahoo and the rest still have something to learn when it comes to adhoc events and single clicks. There are still two extra clicks required for a voice conversation and a unmasked delay while the system connects. Conferences are even more complex.

So unless Yahoo, AOL and MSN get their act together, then this pronouncement really won't hold much weight. We think???

"We're making (AOL Instant Messenger) a new front door for communications services," said Ed Fish, senior vice president of AOL's desktop messaging unit. "We think it's becoming the new phone."SocialTwister.com: AOL IM Blurrage

June 14, 2004

Plain Ugly Emoticons

I've been quiet on Skype. A different beta was just released on the forum. Try this link. forum.skype.com :: View topic - 0.98.28 For those interested in how the dial feature will be implemented download it now.

SkypeOut's presence format challenges all traditional softphones designs that are dialer centric. FireFly is another good example of a buddylist focused execution. It works okay however like most of these softphones it doesn't match Skype connection quality.

Plain Ugly! That's about all I can say for the new Skype emoticons on this version. Graphically the rather fat lines seem heavy handed. They should take a look at the Yahoo ones and get them re rendered.

June 15, 2004

Skype VoIP Costs

More details on the Skype VoIP showdown. See VoIP suffers identity crisis | The Register for "VoIP suffers identity crisis".

Still no rates published. So how much will it cost to SkypeOut? I've held back on this rate card for some time. However the address is still there. It's not officially announced and suggests European rates only. At less than two cents per minute US it is pretty cheap to call across 25 countries. Not as cheap as Stanaphone I'd add which is free for the first 120 minutes per month.

SkypeOut Global Rate: 0.012 €/minute
With the SkypeOut Global rate you can call regular phones in 25 countries around the globe, while only paying the price of a local call no matter where you are calling from. All Skype-to-Skype calls are of course free of charge.
SkypeOut Global Rate

Implications for Cost.
At two cents per minute $10.00 will buy you 500 minutes. That's a pretty cheap option. More importantly, those are likely to be rollover minutes further cutting costs for most users. If cellphone operators would provide automatic voicemail to e-mail forwarding then this becomes even more attractive. My kids wouldn't burn cellphone minutes at home and the home phone in our case could go.

Why has Skype not yet launched?
Problems with a US partner? Agreeing call rates. We don't know. Quite probably getting a decent interconnect without a huge deterioration in sound is difficult. Users will discover that every Skype to PSTN call is at a lower audio than Skype to Skype. Plus when people pay... they will be very angry if a poor connection burns up minutes. It's a completely different equation to getting it for free. Consumers have zero tolerance for poor service. "Can you hear me now?" Not to confuse with Verizon my former cellular provider.

June 21, 2004

Summarizing: "The Presence Spiral"

I've been looking back over my posts to capture a summary on "presence", the always-on VoIP factor that radically changes communications

VoIP Wi-Fi and Mobility are converging with "presence" to redefine communications environments. A failure to understand "presence" will lead telephony firms towards disaster. Making sense of presence is poorly defined by conventional distinctions between content delivery and communication. I believe the future of the industry is not making dollars on telephony rather it rests in the service of presence.

The online presence spiral is an interactive experience that is engaging, accessible, immersive - not just IM indicators but sound quality - active cams, mobility etc. VoIP can deliver these emerging functionalities when we throw away the "phone over internet" perspective and develop a "presence formula".
IM systems introduced us to online presence. Available, away, not available, do not disturb etc. Now these same systems are appearing on mobility devices. With few exceptions, the texting lives separately to the voice. From early IM's to an emerging crop of simple presence-centric soft communicators (Skype, FireFly, etc.) the writing is on the wall for number centric approaches, whether software or hardware, landline or mobile. Even AOL believes AIM is the phone of the future.

I believe they aren't even close. The current crop of solutions hasn't scratched the surface for rich presence systems.

Limit presence to buddylists and we restrict the opportunity. Our sense of presence is framed by real life examples; "you felt their presence as they entered the room (visual). The speaker carried real presence (audio"). Enhancing presence requires an abandonment of traditional audio restrictions, new forms of image sharing, and "contextual" input, not just availability (new ways; where, device type, situation etc.). Context includes ready transfer between devices. Cellphone partnering with Laptop. As presence peels layers away to create richer connections, new solutions will be desired for transparency, privacy etc. Our presence becomes our cloud.

Presence changes the focus from telephones and communications to collaboration and conversations. As connection costs trend to zero, presence-centered communications grow exponentially in an always-on world. Multi-conferencing, persistent rooms, redefine talking and listening into conversations and storytelling webs. Add in mobility and embrace presence in the palm of your hand.

June 23, 2004

Skype Linux Infectious?

Returning from my road trip I find Skype forums overflowing with with comments on the new Linux version. If you thought Mac users were zealots then the Linux response is even more fascinating. Check out Skype forums for more on Linux. Now Skype for Linux is an interesting marketing move. Skype is not open source, thus one can be quite cynical about the implications. Is this the way to make a splash with the open source crowd without giving them anything?

Today Skype released the first beta version of Skype for Linux. "We've had strong demand for a Linux version of Skype since debuting the Skype for Windows beta 10 months ago." said Niklas Zennstrom, Skype

Here's what I know from a quick search of the forums. The Linux version is like Skype Windows six months ago with poor voice and no conferencing. So it has a way to go.

Now here what I think makes it rather interesting. There are some PDA's that are beginning to use Linux. Linux PDA's have roughly a $15 operating system cost advantage versus Windows PocketPC's. So Linux makes sense for a price competitive Asian focused cellular replacement strategy. Concurrently there are some new combination Wi-Fi / Cellular phones being developed. If SkypeFree enables simple presence, and Skype sound whenever you are in a hotspot it may become a lowcost value add to next generation cell-phones.

Another type of Infection?
There was a little rabble rousing on Skype security concerns on Om Malik's blog yesterday (link below). Make up your own mind. I've written before that I don't believe that Enterprises will want Skype P2P. Now that is not just a security concern, it is a management issue. Skype's P2P network is based on supernodes and sharing. It's frankly not the most efficient system for the enterprise bandwidth. Concurrently Skype's architecture means everyone is logged into a large cloud. I don't think IBM or Microsoft will want every employee listed or visible. Enterprises will require control of their clouds. That creates a different security environment and a different way of doing things.

wonder if we'll be seeing this on henshall's blog?
Comment by craig â€" 6/22/2004 @ 7:09 pm

Spreading FUD about Skype.
GigaOM is an interesting, opinionated weblog that I follow. However, I do have to comment on this entry about alleged security risk of installing Skype. Looks like pure FUD to me. The whole basis for accusing Skype of not being secure are those words … Trackback by Krzysztof Kowalczyk weblog - 6/22/2004 @ 7:41 pm

actually guys all of you make good points, and i think there is something there. i am trying to find out and hopefully by end of all this it will all be clearer - whether it is a risk or not. i think it is only going to be fair to talk to Skype and have them say what really is the story. Comment by Om - 6/23/2004 @ 6:42 am

Om Malik on Broadband » Skype, a security risk for corporate networks?


I'm about to go off and attend the pre-dinner Supernova event. Looks like a great crowd. Plus I put an initial post on the Supernova blog. The copy is also retained below.

Continue reading "Supernova" »

June 24, 2004

Triple Monitor Play

This puts my dual monitor strategy and advocacy to shame. Good links in this post for going to three monitors. Take a look!

Multiple Monitors and Productivity
I found an interesting blog post about a small, informal multiple monitor productivity study. A number of developers, with some nudging from me, have gravitated to multiple monitor setups over the last year. Based on that experience, I wholeheartedly agree with the study survey results:
On average, people would much rather have 2 smaller monitors than 1 larger monitor. Nobody answered that they preferred 1 monitor over 2 even a little bit.
Multiple monitors were most useful when the application had palettes or when 2 or 3 windows needed to be open, such as for programming/debugging.
The biggest complaint was desk space, since all of our monitors were CRTs (no LCDs).

Coding Horror: Multiple Monitors and Productivity

SkypeOut Active

SkypeOut is active. Click on Skype "Tools" and "Go to my Account Page". It was simple to spend my first 10 Euros. My account took a few minutes for my Skype dialer to show the credit.

I then dialed New Zealand for a couple of quick test calls. I didn't experience any noticable latency on these calls. The wideband Skype sound was missing the low's and highs I'm accustomed to. I also had to adjust the volume way up to make it work.

A quick look at the forum suggests not all calls are going through without latency; particularly when directed to a cellphone.

I'm a little surprised they are not releasing it with a "beta" minutes bonus. The rates are competitive although not the only low rates out there.

Note charged rates are rounded up to the next minute. This is a game versus offering it as a charge vs the second. The longer the call the less it matters. However those wasted no message answerphone calls will get you.

My billing list showed a number that was impossible to dial. Ie not enough digits. It was a did not connect. There was no feedback at the skype dialer to wrong number. There is also no "clear" button on the dialer and Americans will find it strange that there is a + or 00 before the country code.

I tried to create a PSTN conference call to two PSTN lines and couldn't. Not sure if this should be possible.

Don't expect it to be perfect!

Like the Skype software itself, the SkypeOut service is currently in a beta testing phase. So please be patient if you notice irregularities or inconsistencies with the SkypeOut service, voice quality, and this webstore — which may occasionally be inaccessible. We apologize in advance for these inconveniences and would be grateful if you take the time to report your problems or suggestions using our Report a Problem Form. However, be assured that all credit card transactions are 100% secure, authorized and handled by our third party payment partner. Buy SkypeOut credit

June 30, 2004

Multi-Dimensional Meeting Space

Today I became a virtual (graying) avatar sitting at a backgammon table in a rec room with some rock music playing. This was not a fantasy game rather an introduction to a remarkable new collaborative sharing space. Robin Good dressed in black introduced me to it. Leave a comment or ping me and and I'll send you an e-mail invite for a Friday at 9:00 am PST. This picture doesn't tell the full story. If you are interested in online conferences, the future of audio, and virtual environments don't miss this.


About June 2004

This page contains all entries posted to Unbound Spiral in June 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

May 2004 is the previous archive.

July 2004 is the next archive.

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

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