A focus of the Viodi View is the intersection of technology and entertainment, especially as it relates to independent telcos. Unfortunately, all too often, technology gets in the way of entertainment. Reviews are a good way to judge whether technology is useful, without having to invest the time and effort that an early adopter would. In this issue of the Viodi View, we have some reviews of technology products that may be helpful to the independent telco.

Click here to learn more about HP's Smart HouseExample of a Smart Home – HP Style

The Jetson’s home of the 21st century may be here; cleverly disguised as a non-descript double-wide in the parking lot of HP’s Cupertino facility. This "Smart Home" showcases technology, available today, that features things such as home security, energy efficiency and advanced communications. Watch this video to see a 2 minute tour of this home of the present.

As a side note, this entire video was shot with a combination of Pure Digital’s Flip and Creative’s Vado video cameras.

Click here to watch the video as to whether broadband video is friend or foeBroadband Video: Friend or Foe

Video over broadband is a reality. The question is whether this is good or bad for independent telcos. Listen to a variety of speakers – Ed McKell of Horizon Telecom, Tom Vitt of Horry Telephone Cooperative, Shaun Carlson of Gardonville Cooperative Telephone Association, Sean Riley of Fox Cable Networks, Jay Cuthrell of Digitel and Rob Riordan of Nsight – provide their insights on this topic. Riordan gives a particularly nuanced argument of the net neutrality aspects of Broadband Video.

AT&T-iPhone Voice Monopoly Bypassed

By opening up the iPhone to 3rd party applications, Apple may have inadvertently created new competition for its infrastructure partner, AT&T. Frequent Viodi View sponsor, 8×8, Inc’s Packet8 MobileTalk application is now available for the iPhone.  Not yet available in the Apple App Store, the software to enable the service (it also works on other smart phones) may be obtained directly at the Packet8 web site.     

I haven’t had a chance to review the service first hand yet, but  the documentation suggests that the MobileTalk application automatically redirects international calls to the Packet8 VoIP network. Packet8’s international calling rates are much lower than those of AT&T. Of course, the caller still has to pay the minimum $69.99 per month for the privilege of using the iPhone.

Telecom Updates from Alan Weissberger

Alan Weissberger has some interesting commentary and analysis in these two most recent posts:

Click here to watch Roger Bindl's excellent review of ToonBoom Storyboard Pro

ToonBoom Storyboard Pro Review by Roger Bindl


ToonBoom Storyboard Pro is a pre-production planning tool for producing video’s. It’s appeal may depend on your creative style, but it is well worth looking into since planning is so important.

Click here to watch Roger’s video review of this product. 

Click here to see the video review of the Creative VadoA Tale of Two Inexpensive Video Camcorders

The video found at this link provides an overview of Creative’s Vado, solid state, sub-$100 camcorder. Like the Pure Digital’s Flip Video camcorder, the key features are the ease of use, the small size and its rugged nature. 

 The color on the Flip looks a little richer.  Both camcorders feature 640×480 resolution. The Flip is specified for better low light sensitivity, although this specification was hard to tell in my side-by-side comparison. To read rest of the review and watch the video for a side-by-side comparison of the first generation Flip and the Creative Vado.

 People on the Move

Dennis Couture is leaving Nortel after 35 years to pursue other opportunities.  Dennis is very well known in the Independent Telecom market from his work with the trade associations and his many public speaking appearances.  He will take some time off and intends to resume working in this space shortly.

 The Korner – Trying to Phone Home

The title of this section of the Viodi View was originally known as Krazy Ken’s Korner, named after that famous and fellow San Jose State Alum, Krazy George (inventor of The Wave). Part of the reason for including "krazy" in the name of this section was that it represented the feeling I so often have when working with technology. 

Click here to go to the video of the Vonage V-PhoneFor decades, I have been seduced by the promises of a technology to save me money or make my life easier. More times than not, however, I spend way too much time trying to implement the technology and often times it either doesn’t work or even meet the expectations set by the supplier; yet, I never learn.

At the OPASTCO 2008 Summer Convention last month, I thought I had a great way to save a few dollars in roaming fees, while trying out a new technology/service. Fortunately, we were in a video mode, so you can see the experience Roger and I had, as we realized that Vonage’s V-Phone didn’t operate the way we thought it would. Click here to watch  the video.

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