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The Ooma telco revolution

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Jul-2007 22:07

I am reading about the Ooma service and box, just being released in the U.S. Om's got more details but here is the summary:

So how does Ooma manage “free” voice calls? Say you call Manhattan. Ooma routes the call to an Ooma box to the 212 area code, with the local carrier accepting it as a regular outbound call. It works even if the destination number lacks an Ooma box.

It’s free to you, though it does cost the Ooma box in far-flung area codes, but most of the local call plans are flat rate and come with unlimited calling. Ooma piggybacks on existing phone services, bringing all the things you expect from a traditional phone service, like dialing 911. (Walt Mossberg gives his thumbs up to this service.)

In telecom lingo, this is called distributed termination. The more boxes on the Ooma network, the more termination points - and , more voice calls the system can carry to the public switched phone networks.

Think of it another way: What the PC did to the mainframe, Ooma is doing it to the telecom switch.

I cannot overstate the wrath Ooma will feel from incumbents. Since Ooma threatens the carriers’ core business, they’ll do their best to crush it, arguing Ooma bypasses the local access regulatory structure.

Well, this is incredible indeed. And while simple in its essence, it is probably a lot of technology crammed into the Ooma box.

While this happens there, here in good old New Zealand we are still trying to unbundle the local loop, have naked DSL and a decent broadband service...

Securing Windows Mobile devices inside your organisation

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Jul-2007 21:42

According to studies every year around 60,000 mobile devices are lost and 120,000 are stolen. Many of these devices contain information belonging to companies, and yet an HP study says 83% of mobile devices in a company are privately owned.

Fellow Microsoft MVP Jaap van Ekris has written an article touching this subject and what IT departments can do to bring "rogue" Windows Mobile devices in line with their security policies:

Major point in this article is that it is necessary for ICT departments to take measures to secure mobile devices, regardless who is the owner of the physical device, and that measures are relatively easy to take and that users should not be hindered too much by it. Many companies have developped a blind spot for mobile devices in general, especially the ones that are taken along by employees themselves.

Companies are in fact taking counterproductive measures to protect their interest: most companies only allow the desktop sync with these devices, which makes these devices unseen and uncontrollable even if they are completely filled with company information. To stop this, companies do have to grasp any means possible to gain control over these devices: it requires querrilla tactics to find uncontrolled devices in your infrastrucure and convert them into well protected containers of information.

The combination of the prices going down and the need of effectiveness is noticeable in business settings. A lot of devices are simply entering the company through the backdoor: people are simply buying devices themselves and take them to work to hook them up to whatever they will find. According to research conducted by HP, 83% of all devices found in companies are privately owned. Still these devices are used in business contexts and contain company information. Since the devices are privately owned IT departments ignore them, making them unmanaged risks in the company. This introduces the need for guerrilla tactics: you will have to find unusual ways to gain control over devices that legally are beyond your control or otherwise you will lose control over your data completely.

There is a need to gain control over these devices: they are in fact a risk. They are not considered under the company control, but still they contain company confidential information.

A couple of years ago we touched this subject here on Geekzone, with the article "Defining a security policy for Windows Mobile", but since then, with Windows Mobile 5 and Windows Mobile 6 new features are built into the OS making things easier.

Symantec Internet Threat Meter on your PC

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Jul-2007 11:13

Here is a tip: you can have the Symantec Internet Threat Meter on your PC, free from Symantec. It's a Yahoo! Widget that will run on your Windows XP or Mac PC (what, no Windows Vista Sidebar Gadget yet?).

If you don't want to install Yahoo! Widgets (previously known as Konfabulator) then you can always visit the Symantec Security Response page for updates.

I just read on their Security Response Blog that their ITM system is being update, and it looks good.

Now, I don't run Symantec software anymore. A lot of people complain it's bloated, hard to uninstall, sometimes requires reinstallation because it loses its configuration, and it may be all true.

But the information they are giving away for free is interesting. So go check it out.

So true: why doesn't on-line mainstream media link?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Jul-2007 18:16

As seen on ProBlogger:

I’ve often wondered - but why don’t many online main stream media sites link when they refer to blogs or websites?

I find it slightly ironic - particularly when they write about new media/blogging.

I’m not sure if it’s laziness, fear of loosing readers from a site or if it’s just a different philosophy of web design - but I would have thought if a site was seriously interested in providing useful content for their readers that they’d hyperlink mentions of other websites.

The whole thing came up from a story on BusinessWeek, talking about how bloggers make money - except that BusinessWeek didn't give out any link love. Exactly like we see here in New Zealand when talking about the on-line editions of the big newspapers...

PR Folks, pay attention

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 18-Jul-2007 17:06

If you contact me to pitch your product, or viral campaign, at least take your time to know my name: it's Mauricio, not Dylan. It doesn't even sound the same.

That's for you, Motorola.

Patch your Flash Player and Java Runtime

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Jul-2007 11:41

According to F-Secure both Adobe and Sun have released patches covering several critical vulnerabilities for their software Flash Player and Java Runtime Environment.

If you have those installed (and who doesn't in these days of YouTube?) then download the patches here and here.

Many of the vulnerabilities are cross-platform, and between them, they have most OS-browser combinations covered. You are vulnerable until you install the patches. Read the advisories from the vendors and grab the patches here and here.

English Terror Alert

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Jul-2007 11:07

Found this today on Nic's blog:

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." Londoners have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists themselves have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was during the great fire of 1666.

Top ten ways to kill your server

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Jul-2007 10:35

IT admins should pay attention to this video:

Geekzone Friends is live

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Jul-2007 11:24

I've just written a forum post about Geekzone Friends, our new networking feature:

What is Geekzone Friends?
Many times we have been asked if there is a way to be informed when someone posts a new discussion or a reply in our forums. People don't want to be notified of all replies to a specific discussion, but would like to know when a friend replies to something.

With Geekzone Friends you will create relationships with other users, and will be informed of their activities on Geekzone.

How is the notification sent?
We initially thought of e-mail notifications - but e-mail overload is already a bad thing. So we decided on RSS feeds. RSS feeds are convenient because you can read them later and pull the information when needed, unlike e-mail.

What information will I be able to see?
There are two types of RSS feeds available:

- Your own Private Feed, listing all of your Geekzone Friends' activities. You will see when a friend creates a relationship with another user, or when your friend posts in the forums. You won't see any of your friends' friends' activities, unless they are your friends too. No one else can access this Private Feed.

- Your Personal Feed, listing all of your own activities on Geekzone. This feed does not list anything your friends do. You can make this feed public or private by changing your profile. If public then anyone can see it (including non-Geekzone users), but if marked as Private then only your friends can see it.

Why Personal Feeds?
These feeds list the activities for each relationship individually, instead of going through the Private Feed, which will have all relationships in a single stream.

What are Friends Status?
Think of this as a "micro blogging" thing. Just below the menu bar on Geekzone you can see a status field - enter anything there and your friends will see this message in their RSS feeds.

You can also share a web address by entering http//... with the full URL in the status field.

I can see a lot of people using this feature already.

I've made my feed public so everyone can check it out. I also changed my profile to "Auto Accept" so any Geekzone user can create a relationship with me.

Check the Windows Mobile demo video (and others) from the Microsoft Partners Conference

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Jul-2007 09:11

 If like myself you were not attending the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, you can still watch the video recordings for some of the demos presented during the event.

The demos include the following topics: Microsoft Surface, Live Lab Photosynth, Windows Live for Windows Mobile, Microsoft RoundTable, Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM, Microsoft SilverLight, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Automotive.

The Windows Mobile demo is interesting, with a quick demo of the UI released by HTC with its HTC Touch device, plus Windows Live for Windows Mobile showing what can be accomplished with a rich client connecting to web services.

freitasm's profile

Mauricio Freitas
New Zealand

I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

I work for Intergen and I'm also the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums.

Subscribe now to my blog RSS feed or the Geekzone RSS feed.

If you want to contact me, please use this page or email me Note this email is not for technical support. I don't give technical support. You can use our Geekzone Forums for community discussions on technical issues.

Here's is my full disclosure post.

If you'd like to help me keep Geekzone going, please use this Geekzone Amazon affiliate link when placing any orders on Amazon.

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