VTel Video Conferencing Presentation

31 03 2010

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

On March 31st 2010 I attended a presentation hosted by Sprint and VTel showcasing a video conferencing system (and Sprint wireless connectivity for the device). The lunch and learn was held at Maggiano’s in Nashville TN.

VTel CEO Richard Ford lead the presentation and was joined by Ken Hall the South East Regional Sales Manager.

They showcased their iPanel Room video conference system. It comprised of an HDTV,  High Def SVideo Camera, a customized slimline PC (that was attached of the rear of the Flat Panel TV) and a paired wireless keyboard. A Sprint wireless device was tethered to the system to provide 3G connectivity. (Sprint mobile 4g is not available in Nashville currently – Sprint 4g is currently limited to WiMAX via their relationship with Clearwire). Read the rest of this entry »


Skype on Android / Verizon = Crippleware

27 03 2010

At long last Skype is available on my Droid!!!! The news on the new app is Good, Bad and Ugly.

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The Good.

  1. Cheap calls to international destinations directly from your cell phone. This is Huge!
  2. Skype calls do not use any of your wireless plan minutes. Yak all day long if you want to! Especially useful for those long tech support calls to 1-800 numbers during peak hours.
  3. All of your Skype contacts are automatically imported/synced when you sign-in to Skype.
  4. Contact presence is indicated. The online contacts filter to the top of the list, just like with the desktop application.
  5. Call Quality is good.
  6. It’s available at last – Yippee!!!

The Bad Read the rest of this entry »

Synchronize Online Calendars with Google Calendar

11 03 2010

Several web services offer an integration to iCal compatible calendar applications but may not provide an integration with Google Calendar. There is a way to add and synchronize such online calendars with Google Calendar saving one the time and trouble of visiting multiple websites just to see if you are scheduled for an event.

Here I use an example Web Service called Planning Center Online which is a planning site for religious worship services. However any web service calendar with an iCal link can be synchronized with Google Calendar, here’s how.

1. Locate the interface on your the Web Service to iCal and right click the button or link.

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Is it worth Pre-Ordering the iPad on March 12th?

8 03 2010

Now that Apple have announced that pre-orders are being taken for the iPad on March 12th with shipments beginning April 3rd I wondered if I should buy one to see what the all the fuss is about.

The Netbook we have is up for replacement so I tried to list the things we do with the Netbook and if the iPad could replace it. The answer is no, and its not even close.

Here are the uses we put the Netbook to :-

  • Call the UK on Skype. The lack of a webcam or USB port to accept the USB  headset we have is an issue. Would need to buy an adapter for USB devices. Not sure if headset is compatible.
  • Watch shows on Hulu – Hulu use Flash, so that rules the iPad out.
  • Play games on Facebook. Once again Flash is the issue.
  • Browse the web and check email. OK the iPad can do that well most of the time.

Since there are problems with Skype, Hulu and Facebook all being limited or non-functional, I think I’ll look for a Netbook instead that has a decent battery life and is faster than the 2nd gen Netbook we have. When you think of it, the iPad makes a poor laptop device, to get the viewing angle right you’d have to hold it with one hand or sit with your legs crossed. Crossed legs doesn’t work too well with a recliner.

Maybe the iPad 2 will be a more compelling device if and when it comes out.

Remote IP Discovery

1 03 2010

The need

Occasionally I need to access a computer using remote desktop, however the IP address of the computer is dynamic and changes every few weeks making the computer unreachable via remote desktop.

Here I describe how I setup a couple of simple batch files that will record the computers IP address to a secure website. More importantly the website can be used to trigger a new IP discovery on the remote computer. Oh yeah, it’s all for free :-)


  • Install DropBox webservice in order to store the IP address of the computer(s) you wish to interrogate.
  • Install two batch files on the target PC’s one which run in the scheduled tasks manager in windows.
  • Create a ‘trigger’ text file on the target PC.
  • Rename the trigger file to a given name to initiate the interrogation and publishing of the IP address.

Read the rest of this entry »