Monday, June 27, 2005

Google to launch streaming video using VLC

Word has it, that sometime today, Google will launch an in-browser video streaming feature based on the VLC Media player.

For the uninitiated, VLC is a really powerful tool - ever since I was first introduced to it in the Fall of 2003, it has been my first choice for playing videos. It is free, supports a wide array of media formats and is less resource-consuming than all other popular media players.

Get VLC media player

This release from Google will mark the next step for Google Video search and upload feature. It is expected, that all video content uploaded to Google which has been marked "free" will me made available for streaming using VLC.

Update: Here it is. Install the video player, and then perform queries on Google Video search to see it in action.

4G to go quicker still

Japanese firm NTT DoCoMo is widely regarded as the most successful 3G wireless service operator in the world. For the last couple of years, NTT has been working on 4G research and development.

Last Thursday, NTT announced that it had achieved data speeds of upto 1 Gbps in its test runs of 4G. The system which they used to achieve this used the MIMO antenna technology, and ran something known as the Variable Spreading Factor-Spread Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (VSF-spread OFDM).

NTT also said, that its goal is to establish a global 4G standard in cooperation with ITU, and to have commercialized 4G services by 2010.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Cellphones over Skype

Norwegian company IPdrum has developed a patent-pending solution to connect GSM phones over Skype's VoIP service. The solution is configured in such a manner that any GSM phone can connect to any other GSM phone across the globe at local call rates. Sounds ground-breaking doesn't it..?

Get into a little detail of their solution, and you will soon realize that it is extremely simple and anything but ground-breaking. But it sure is innovative and IPdrum deserves credit for this.

The solution comes with a "mobile cable". This cable essentially connects the cellphone to the USB port of a PC. Thereafter, the user is "connected" to IPdrum's softswitch on the PC. From here on Skype API takes over. Calls to Skype users are free and to anyone else cellphone/POTS, will cost SkypeOut's long distance charge of about 2.4 cents/min.

FYI, this product is not endorsed by Skype (if that makes any difference..?). This is expected to launch mid-August and will be priced between $60-$80.

Blackberry goes VoIP

A week old news: Research in Motion (RIM), the makers of the BlackBerry phones have been working with Avaya to integrate their enterprise wireless VoIP solution into their handsets.

The two are in the final stages of testing the solution on the BlackBerry 7270 handset.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Halo - the movie

Thanks Anshul, for the tip off.

Anyone who has played Halo, will have to agree that the storyline was its biggest strength. Now, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. have joined hands with MS and Bungie to work towards a motion picture based on the Halo storyline.

We already have a IMDB Halo page. It doesn't talk of the cast yet. But rumors emanating from certain MS blogs say that Ridley Scott will probably direct; with Samuel L. Jackson playing Sgt. Johnson; and the splendid Ed Harris playing Capt. Keyes.

Google launches Mobile web search

On Thursday, Google started testing its Mobile web search. Basically, it is a search engine to specifically go through website which offer content customized for the smaller handheld interfaces.

You can access this service be visiting Google on your handhelds or just visit this link.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Yahoo buys Dialpad

Am a couple of days late on this - but news is - as of June 14th, Yahoo took over Dialpad Communications. There has been much noise recently about Yahoo and VoIP. The acquisition of Dialpad will allow Yahoo to directly introduce PSTN connection capability to their Messenger. In other words, Yahoo can use Dialpad to provide PC to Phone and Phone to PC services - which puts them at par with services provided by Skype.

This acquisition may trigger responses from "competitors" - namely Microsoft and Google. On one hand, Google's VoIP interests are mostly conjured up by the rumor mills, on the other, those of MS are most obvious. But, it is also fair to say, that it wouldn't be totally surprising if Google ventures into the VoIP space.

But MS itself, must face a dilemma. So far, Microsoft's VoIP ambitions have been limited to being an infrastructure/solutions developer for other VoIP service providers. In case, MS decides to venture into becoming a service provider itself - then it would risk "annoying" some of its current clients.

At the same time, I must say, Yahoo's giant strides must be having its impact on MS's VoIP strategy; and IF, Google so much as hints a VoIP move - Microsoft will definitely take the plunge. Whichever way it goes - this'll make an interesting watch.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Yahoo Skype Rumor

While I try not to post anything off the rumor mill - this one is too big to disregard.

The word on the VoIP block is that Yahoo and Skype are in talks. Why..? Considering Yahoo's recent emphasis on VoIP for theit Messenger - the first thought is possible interoperability or integration of Yahoo Messenger with the Skype client.

Some brave souls are going all the way and speculating that Yahoo might be trying to buy Skype..!! That would be BIG.

New MSN toolbar

MSN just launched their latest toolbar - which supports Tabbed browsing. It took them a while to copy this one..!! A little precursor of things to come - IE7's native support for tabbed browsing is next.

So is Copy-paste = Micrsoft's definition of innovate...? Personally, I'm done with IE..! Firefox all the way.

For Halo 2 fans..

The "world" championship of Halo 2 is nearing its completion. The winners from all 24 regions are gearing up for the finale tonight. Watch this space for more information. The final rounds are scheduled to start in just a few hours. The final rounds will be completely played over XBox Live.

Should be interesting to get a hold of the game videos once the tournament closes.

Another one from the crazy scientists at Google...

As reported here, Google is planning to create a 3D city map of San Francisco. All this effort for local advertising services...!! Most of us fail to see the point of this - but with Google's projects - we've had that before - were left to chew our own words. This time, lets not speculate, lets just watch.

Intel and Nokia to push for Mobile Wimax

Intel and Nokia have joined forces to push through the design, development and eventual deployment of a mobile version of the Wimax standard. This new standard us expected to be published as 802.16e in the latter half of next year - so still early days.

Its good to see more and more collaborative efforts in the industry. Just 2 days ago we the announcement about Microsoft and AT&T working together - this is Microsoft's easy ticket into the VoIP market, as they intend to integrate AT&T's VoIP solution into some of their flagstaff products.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Playboy supports open source..

Interesting mirror to download your open source software. If you go looking for stories, pics or centrefolds to, then you'd be sorely disappointed. Actually, it is an unsupported mirror for open source software like FreeBSD, Apache, Fedora and the Mozilla suites. It is also an official mirror for Firefox and Thunderbird.

Turns out, that in fact, the Bunny corporation uses a lot of open source software for its daily operation. Its proved cheaper and has vastly improved performance. Hence, mirrors is just a small symbolic token of appreciation towards the Open Source community.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Little fun with Google Maps

Well, ever since Google integrated satellite imagery into their maps, people have been looking around for intersting locations. A whole new concept of Google maps based site-seeing came up.

When I first posted about the satellite images, the earliest locations I checked apart from my apartment, were Niagara, Hoover dam, grand canyon etc. I also tried military bases and area 51 :). Now, most of these places were blurred out as per security requirements. But we are all human and ever so often we make mistakes.

For example, one dude just forwarded this link to me. So is that a stealth bomber sitting nicely in the compound...? I wonder... :)

Friday, June 03, 2005

Video for Skype

It had to happen. In fact, I am surprised it took so long. Skype users can now download a free plug-in from Dialcom which will enable video comm. using the Skype engine and protocol stack.

The Spontania Video4Skype is free download as of now. It uses 128-bit encryption as security for your video transmission.

Currently, the only short-coming in this plug-in is the lack of conference support. It only permits a one-to-one connection at this point. Check it out.

In fact, Dialcom hopes to make Spontania a set of plugins which in their words - will work with "any communication" solution. Well, they covered Skype first because of its obvious popularity. I foresee - SIP-based solution will be next.