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23 posts from February 2007

Light blogging here this week as I'm out at "ETel" in San Francisco... VoIP blogger dinner... more...

I anticipate not blogging here (at "Disruptive Conversations") as much this week because today starts the first day of ETel, a.k.a. O'Reilly's Emerging Telephony conference.  I am out here in full "VoIP blogger/podcaster/speaker" mode with two presentations (a workshop today and a general conference session Thursday) and a bunch of other activities going on.

So I expect that I'll be blogging more over at "Disruptive Telephony" about the goings on here. I'll also be recording a number of the sessions as O'Reilly has given me the permission to do so for Blue Box (assuming the speakers are alright with that).  And I expect to be doing a number of other interviews as well... so it will be a busy week!

Also, in what should be a very fun event,Andy Abramson has organized a "VoIP Bloggers Dinner" that currently shows something on the order of 38 people having signed up!  Should be fun...

Anyway, I would not expect to see me writing much here this week...   (but of course, I've been known to be wrong before)

Shout-out to Podcamp Toronto folks... hope you have fun!

Just a quick note to say that I hope all of you folks heading up to the big T.O. for Podcamp Toronto have a great time!  (And I'm sure you will!) I can see via Twitter that Bryper, Chris Brogan, John Wall and Christopher Penn are all on their way up there... (currently in Buffalo).  It looks to be a fantastic event. Since I'm heading out to Emerging Telephony in San Francisco on Monday, I just couldn't also go to Toronto, but it definitely looks to be a great time.  I'll look forward to reading and hearing about it in various blogs and podcasts over the next days and weeks. 

Dang... I could have been sharing the VON panel/conversation with Scoble, Arrington, Steve Rubel and more...

Sometimes the choices you have to make turn out to be a bit bittersweet.  For the past several years, I've routinely attended the Spring VON show in San Jose, CA.  It's a great show for someone in the CTO space to see what's happening on the bleeding edge of telephony/communication... especially with regard to the carrier/service-provider space.  The thing I always like about VON is that there's always these companies off in the little 10x10 booths doing really wacky things.  And there there's the big open source presence as well.

Well, since (VON founder) Jeff Pulver is an avid blogger, there's always been a blogger presence at the show and for the last couple of shows I've been a member of the "blogger panel" where a bunch of us, usually led by Andy or Alec, engage in a conversation about our views on where the industry is going.  It's always been a good bit of fun - and we've often had a "VoIP blogger dinner" that's been equally fun.

This year looked to be no different. I was invited to be part of the blogger panel and had, in fact, accepted.  Then, other events intervened.  Mitel has a conference for our resellers in Cairo, Egypt, the same week and I need to attend for some presentations there as well as some side meetings.  I'm very much looking forward to it because I love doing the type of presentations I'll be doing... and I've interacted with some of our staff and VARs there, but never met them. (A side benefit is admittedly that I should get to see the pyramids, something I've always wanted to do since I was a wee little kid reading National Geographic.)

But then I read Jeff's post this morning... linking over to Robert Scoble's post...  turns out that Robert and Michael Arrington (of TechCrunch) will be doing a joint presentation at the "Video On the Net" conference... and then joining the blogger panel, where Steve Rubel will also be present.  Dang... talk about "social media rock star" line-ups!  Would have been a great amount of fun to be part of that conversation....

Ah, well... perhaps another time...  I'll send virtual greetings from Cairo...  :-)

Meanwhile, if you are thinking at all of going to Spring VON (or live in the Bay area), here's another great reason to go.  Kudos to Jeff for putting the panel together... it should definitely be a great session!  (And I'm sure as moderator, Andy will make it interesting!)

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Skype launches "SkypeFind" to go after Google, Yahoo, Microsoft etc for local business listings... with social networking reviews and rankings

Today Skype launched a new "3.1 beta" release for Windows that does something rather dramatic... it rolls out a new "SkypeFind" service that lets Skype users search a directory for businesses - and then call them, of course. This goes head-to-head with what Google is doing with GoogleMaps (and its "click-to-call" in North America) and what Yahoo!Local and Microsoft's Windows Live Local are all doing.

I've written up a longer review including screenshots over at my VoIP-focused blog, Disruptive Telephony, but I thought I'd mention it here because: a) I know many folks in social media are also Skype users; and b) there's an interesting social networking element to it.

Specifically, the SkypeFind directory started out close to empty and is there for users to add listings and fill up.  For each listing, other Skype users can also add their ratings and reviews, allowing the directory to be searched by highest ranking reviews (as well as, interestingly, by "most called").  You also see recommendations from your contacts - and have an ability to "ask" you contacts about recommendations.

The directory also turns out to be pretty much like a wiki, in that any Skype user can edit the listings that are in the directory.  While there is a way to view the edit history, I have to wonder about the capability for abuse given the fact that Skype accounts are free... we'll see.

Anyway, more info and links can be found over at my other blog and if you are a Windows user (sorry Mac and Linux users), you can download it and check it out yourself.

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An interesting way to announce that Odeo is up for sale

I was fascinated to see in an email newsletter today that the owners of Odeo are looking to sell it off to focus on Twitter.  My fascination was just with such a blatant and direct pitch offering up a fairly high profile site.  For those not tracking the world of podcasting, Odeo was one of the entrants in the battle for being the premier podcast host, directory, etc.  I never used them myself, but I knew of other podcasters who did.  But if you look at the stats, they do seem to be getting a good bit of traffic... I mean, 1.5 milion plays of MP3s and 76,000 logins in the last 30 days is nothing to sneeze at.  Still, if they are a small company, I can understand their desire to focus, and if Twitter is where their energy is going, it's understandable.  I wish them well with the sale and transition, and have to say kudos to them for being very open about wanting to sell off the property.

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Calendaring: versus Google - any opinions? (and the FeedBurner Event feed hack)

Question for anyone reading - do you use calendars from either or Google Calendar?  And if so, which one do you like better and why?

Here's the situation - over on my Blue Box podcast, you'll note that in any of the show notes we list "Upcoming Shows".  These are primarily conferences or tradeshows relating either to VoIP or security where the topic of "VoIP security" might be discussed.  You will also note that over in a box on the sidebar of the blog there is a list of upcoming shows... that is woefully out-of-date.

I want to automate this.

Nicely, at their latest Hackathon, the Feedburner folks created an "Event Feed" - see the details here.  So my thought is to use one of those services and then create an RSS feed... which then simply gets loaded into the sidebar of the blog.

However, I have to choose a service.  Google Calendar is easy on the one hand because I already use Gmail and some of the other Google services... but some of what I see at is also quite interesting.

Any opinions?  (Thanks)

Clippy is dead...

It seems that missed somewhere in all the hoopla about Office 2007 is the fact that Clippy is dead.  The pretty near universally-disliked Office Assistant is not included at all in the new release of Office... (details over at AppScout.)

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Why bloggers should learn about OpenID...

Over on my Disruptive Telephony blog, I have been devoting some time to exploring the world of OpenID, but I thought I also should mention it here because we in the social media space are probably the ones who can benefit the most, at least initially.  OpenID aims to solve one very basic issue:

  • How many times do you have to enter the same personal information into web sites?  
  • How many different login accounts do you have to create? 
  • What if you could have one identity that you used to login everywhere? 
  • Or just a couple of identities that you could use in different personas? (i.e. a work ID and a personal ID?) 

That's the idea behind OpenID.  There's a whole lot of buzz going on these days given that Microsoft announced they would support OpenID and AOL is now supporting it as well.  Here's some great introductory info:

You also can see my post about my research thus far... and my trail on the topic.  If you're not tuned it to what is happening with OpenID, I'd definitely encourage you to check it out.

P.S. I'm pretty sure OpenID will NOT address Steve Rubel's concerns... but it's something interesting to think about.

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New "Podcast Google Gadget Widget Kit" will let users easily put your podcasts on their Google Desktop pages

The ever-amazing Christopher Penn over at the Financial Aid Podcast has put out the word that next weekend at Podcamp Toronto he will be releasing the Google Gadget Widget Kit. I have to say that his example with his own podcast is very cool (picture on the right of it installed on my own Google Desktop).  I'll look forward to trying it out for Blue Box once he releases the kit.  Chris indicates that it can be added to any web page, so I'll be intrigued to play with it a bit more once it's out.

Thanks, Chris, for sharing these tools... and for all the other little projects you are doing. :-)

Watching Kansas watching me watching Kansas...

Gotta love the hall of mirrors that makes up social media...  about an hour after my last post about the Web 2.0 video from Kansas State, I see a trackback come in from "University Update".  It turns out, that there is a website tracking everything said in news or blogs about "Kansas University" (which I would have assumed is really "Kansas State University", except that there's another page for that).

Now the fun part will be if that site picks up this post and sends a trackback to here... in which case we'll have "Me watching Kansas watching me watching Kansas"... and the recursiveness can continue....

Ah, the fun little moments in the world of social media.

UPDATE: Ta da... notice the trackback to this message.  :-)  Welcome to our hall of mirrors...

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