Archive for September, 2006|Monthly archive page

Avoiding the Telco

I’ve just read a number of posts offline while travelling and one theme that struck me was the amount of new services designed specifically to cut the Telco out of the loop entirely. This is something I’ve commented on regularly in internal reports and email but I figured I’d post about two that caught my eye.

First Up is Fring, the description from the site makes it clear:

fring is a 3G mobile application that allows you to make free mobile calls, send instant messages to other fring users, and communicate with PC based VoIP applications such as Skype and Google Talk.

And the next is Tuxphone which gets a good post from Telepocalypse:

You then dial as normal. Press the green button. NO SPECIAL APPLICATION UI. If the other user is on another Truphone device, you’re through. If they’re on a landline in 40-odd countries (or US/Canada cell phone), you’re also through. Note: you’re not a penny poorer. The price of PSTN calls is effectively zero now — official death of the metered minute, full report at noon. Want to call Timbuktu, a high termination fee mobile or non-geographic or premium service? Deplete your pre-paid Truphone balance. Or just pay the usurious mobile rates if you insist — instead of pressing the green button, make a charitable donation to telco shareholders using the menu.

Martin Geddes, the man behind Telepocalypse is running an event next week called Telco2.o which is designed to help Telcos figure out how to make money in an IP world, will be interesting to see what he and the other speakers have to say in light of posts like this!

He is right of course, there are a few now and many more soon that want to take revenue directly away from the Telco and keep it for themselves, the rise of Asterisk and SIP is a challenge to the IMS vision, can they both exist or a hybrid of the two perhaps, read a few posts touching on this which I don’t have to hand right now but one thing is for sure in this battle, there will be carrier grade IMS, there will be numerous VoIP providers, SIP and Asterisk growth and in the end it can only be good for the customers and at the end of the day it will be the services and prices that decide this, not the underlying technology I believe.



I read about what these guys are doing with RSS and decided I wanted to give it a go as I struggle with my ‘flow’ and having a better defined river may well help with that.

After trying to sign up though I came across two problems which stopped me from doing so, I know they aren’t massively valid problems but they put me off, lesson to be learned, possibly, what I realised is that my perception of what a sign up process should be has changed a lot over the past year or so.

First problem is that I had to click on a button to check if my desired username was available, like I said not major but I’ve got used to the fact that many sites now do it dynamically!

Second problem and the killer for me, they insist that your username MUST have two numbers in it ! now I have a web ‘persona’ and it’s ikisai, I use it for everything, I don’t want to be ikisai99 or some such, plain silly if you ask me as the concept is one that appeals to me on many levels, wonder if they will change that?

FooCamp 2006

FooCamp 2006

It’s been a few days since I returned from Foo and I have been mulling it over since it ended and reading many posts on the subject. They are generally all positive and that doesn’t surprise me since it was an excellent event. There is still a small corner of the blogosphere dedicated to ‘unFoo-ness’, basically people that seem to have a problem with not being there and so they make a big fuss about the elitism and exclusiveness of the event. I don’t know all these people but I have met some and it seems strange that they would choose to so publicly do this, but then again the O’Reilly ‘name’ has been under fire from the ‘voice’ of the blogosphere before after the Web2.0 trademark debacle.

All of that aside what I can say is that i found the event extremely stimulating, at times overly so, and I am very grateful that I got the chance to go this year, this seems to be a common theme with all the first timers entries I’ve read, very happy to be there, not sure why they are but just glad that they are.

This was raised in the closing feedback session and from what I understood it seems that those that have been there before thought that the introduction of a lot of new people took the vibe of the event back to its roots, not knowing what those roots are I can’t really say of course.

As for my own experience? I did have a conference mentality going in to the event which meant that once the sessions board was filled up I began the usual routine of planning out what sessions I should attend and cover, the number of tracks was manageable (unlike OSCON) but there were still overlaps in things that I would have liked to see so I set about canvassing opinion on what would be good, this lead to several conversations with people I may not have met otherwise, these lasted a long time generally so that by the end of the event I found that I hadn’t attended many sessions at all, however what I did do is have interesting, compelling and fun conversations for the entire weekend, which is actually a lot more draining than I thought it would be, Jetlag never helps and travelling 27 hours to get to the event and then dive right in was, in hindsight, not the best approach to this event. Not that I had to blog anything like normal, in fact I left my laptop in a room for most of the day and never touched it, except to go find a new program someone recommended (I’m still finding new apps all the time since my switch to the Mac, and I’m writing this post in one that I liked as soon as it was demoed to me by RaelWriteRoom)

What I wish I had done though is take lots more notes to help me recall what happened over the course of 2.5 very long but interesting days..

I did have two detailed conversations about SMS and how it should and could be used more for notification of events on particular sites, I’ve long held the view that this is a primary function for the mobile in a converged world, along with remote control. Orange has an extensive 3rd party network of SMS partners and this is the obvious choice in, however it only gives access to Orange customers (albeit to all 80 million of them through our hub) hence why there are several 3rd party aggregators out there, however over the course of a discussion with Dave Sifry of Technorati it became clear that there is another opportunity here, one that I will follow up on soon to see what can be done, dare I call it SMS2.0 !. I wont put the details here for confidentiality reasons, once I’ve run it through and got an answer I’ll decide what to put up here though as I have in the past with other ideas.

In line with Tim’s current meme I had several conversations on Open Data and how the carrier (Telco to us) is ‘evil’ in the way it holds all the data back inside its walled garden, my own view is that it’s a combination of certain people not wanting to and not actually having the systems to allow them to do so. Those that don’t want to normally just don’t understand the possibilities that are there to be had, or more specifically how money can be made (directly) from doing this, often the money wont be direct revenue though but that’s another story (post) and RSI tells me it’s time to wrap this up for now.

In summary, I learnt a lot of new things outside my normal areas, met a lot of new interesting and clever people and got a lot of inspiration over the weekend, much of which will shape my thinking over the next months. If I get invited back again ( I was invited last year but couldn’t make it so it would be three in a row) then I’d know I’d want to go and also how to get even more from the weekend – take notes !!