Something fascinating is happening in the world of tech. It would seem that based on the comments of some, the entire industry is racist and has somehow avoided lawsuits. As a result of high-profile accusations, Twitter like others in silicon Valley has recently posted that they will start to increase their diversity. They explain they will be more proud of themselves if they are more diverse. Moreover, they will do better financially if more women are in charge.
In order to meet these goals they have a plan to actively recruit more minorities and women to their company.
Here is the challenge though. Is Twitter intentionally discriminating against minorities and women today? If so, this is illegal and we should see some lawsuits shortly as their diversity numbers are now public.
If not and they currently hire the best person for the job regardless of other factors, then what Twitter is telling us is whatever they did to get the company to this point – an extremely successful social media company, will change now. In other words a white male who is qualified for a job may lose out to a less-qualified candidate.
If in fact as Twitter explains, “women in leadership roles produce better financial results,” is the implication not that a qualified man is now less likely to get a job?
The challenge here is this whole line of reasoning is discriminatory. It implies a male and female equally qualified will not produce equal results.
I could see men who aren’t hired as Twitter managers now suing as a result of such comments.
Here is another one from the post which caught my eye:
We are keenly aware that Twitter is part of an industry that is marked by dramatic imbalances in diversity — and we are no exception.
Is it possible the reason for this lack of diversity has to do with choices potential job candidates are making? I covered a while back that Twitter's lack of diversity may have more to do with the fact that tech is considered nerdy. After all my tech classes in engineering school had few women but there were many Indian and Chinese students. This is the norm.
Silicon Valley and in fact most every tech company has almost the same ratio as college courses.
Tech is not interesting to everyone. I have seen many female workers leave the tech field for areas of actual interest such as fashion or decorating. Likewise for men, some will leave tech to work in sports or other areas which they are more passionate about.
It is illegal to not hire people based on skin color, religion, home address, sexual orientation and age already. But if a company isn’t doing anything illegal, does it make sense for them to focus on "actively recruiting" people who may or may not be the best hires?
Moreover, is this focus – noble as it sounds, discriminatory? Finally, will it hurt shareholders if less qualified people get hired as a result of such initiatives?
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The premise of the scam was that a company is likely in need of the service you are fictitiously billing for, so there is a high degree of likelihood they will pay because the bill is too small to check.
Similarly, scammers are able to rely on implicit familiarity to generate revenue from the unsuspecting. For example, many people know the yellow pages directory but the name is not unique… In fact there are many companies who leverage this name in order to trick customers. A small bill from the yellow pages may seem as innocuous as one from a snow plow company in fact.
In 2005 I wrote about Yellow Pages scams, specifically warning people not to fall for companies offering them free listings. Almost a decade later, the scam is still going strong costing small businesses millions of dollars. When I wrote about the problem, it was based on scammers sending a check to companies and in fine print it would commit those organizations to pay for listings.
Now these companies are using telemarketing and voice recordings to get their victims to pay. Here is how it works. They call to verify your address and other information and record the call. They then send a bill for a listing your company never authorized. If you call to inquire, they then play back a doctored recording which makes it seem like your company requested the listing.
The FTC just went after a number of these companies operating in Montreal. A federal judge entered a $15.6 million judgment against the defendants and banned them from the directory business. The defendants are charged with law violations for misrepresenting that they had a preexisting business relationship with consumers, that consumers had agreed to buy directory listings, and that consumers owed them money.
The point here is look out for these scams. Companies apply the same principles when selling you on the "URL hustle" – scaring you by saying your web address is about to expire. I covered this in a post about the four scams you need to watch out for.
Another one I wrote about was backup DNS services – something you should toss out as soon as you receive such a bill. Finally there are SEO services – if you hire a company, please be sure they know what they are doing. Over the years, many of them have been hired and their method of operations caused them to load the web with crap comment spam. In other words they would find a review of a Honda Civic and at the bottom, place a comment like, “I just bought a new Samsung Galaxy S4 for $25 and you can too at cheapgalaxyphonesrus.com.” Search engines now penalize companies for these sorts of low-quality unrelated links and as a result, companies need to go and clean up the mess these “experts” left behind.
Bottom line: be careful – there are a lot of bad actors out there looking to help you part with your hard-earned money. Worst of all, there seems to be no jail time being given out here meaning the expertise at deceiving the public may just get transferred to others who will launch a bunch of new companies targeting the unsuspecting. Who knew that the idea behind the snow plow scam would still be working really well so many decades later?
Here are the names of the people and companies involved in this case:
- Francois Egberongbe
- Robert N. Durham, Sr.
- 7051620 Canada Inc.
- National Business Advertising
- Nationwide Marketing Bureau Inc
- National Biz Ads
- Yellow Business Ads
- TransUnion Credit Bureau
- Regional Debt Recovery
- RDR Collections Inc.
- Donovan B. Hinds
- Ernest Baxter
- Carl Jenkins
- Andrew Beitler
- Your Yellow Pages Inc.
- EBS Collections
- Rapid Pages Inc.
- Rapid Yellow Pages
- City Pages Inc
- City Yellow Pages
- Online City Yellow Pages
- EBS Collections
- Target Marketing
- Oniks Media
- 7095333 Canada Inc.
- Mohamad Khaled Kaddoura
- Derek Cessford
- Aaron Kirby
- Kaddoura, Cessford and Kirby
- Modern Technology Inc.
- Online Local Yellow Pages
- Strategic Advertisement Ltd
- Local Business Yellow Pages
- Dynamic Ad Corp.
- Yellow National Directory
- Yellowpages Local Directory
- Wisetak Inc.,
- Online Public Yellow Pages
- US Public Yellow Pages
- Online Public Yellow Pages
- US Public Yellow Pages
- Internet Solutions LLC
- Public Yellow Pages
- Yellow Pages Express Inc.
- Yellow Pages Express
- Yellow Pages Online Inc.
- Yellow Pages Online
- CessTech Inc.
- Yellow US Pages
- SEO Online Inc.
- Yellow Local Directory
- SEO Online LLC
- Public Yellow Pages
- SEM Pundits Inc
- Yellow Pages Online
- CC Recovery Corporation
- CC Recovery
- M&A; Recovery Inc.
- MA Recovery
In October 2010, the FBI determined malware, most likely from an intelligence agency of another country had snuck into the Nasdaq’s central servers.
The following facts are the most shocking:
- Several different groups were operating freely on Nasdaq computers, some of which may have been in the exchange’s networks for years, including criminal hackers and Chinese cyberspies.
- Basic records of the daily activity occurring on the company’s servers, which would have helped investigators trace the hackers’ movements, were almost nonexistent.
- The website run by One Liberty Plaza’s building management company had been laced with a Russian-made exploit kit known as Blackhole, infecting tenants who visited the page to pay bills or do other maintenance.
- The situation was so bad, one investigator referred to Nasdaq’s computer banks as “the dirty swamp.”
- There were indications that a large cache of data was stolen, though proof was scarce, and it was hard to see what was spirited out.
- A subsequent investigation showed systematic security failures riddling some of the most important U.S. financial institutions.
- Many of them were vulnerable to the same attack that struck Nasdaq. They were spared only because the hackers hadn’t bothered to try.
- By mid-2011, investigators began to conclude that the Russians weren’t trying to sabotage Nasdaq. They wanted to clone it, either to incorporate its technology directly into their exchange or as a model to learn from.
- Almost four years after the initial Nasdaq intrusion, U.S. officials are still sorting out what happened.
Bottom line is that companies still seem to be behind the curve in terms of protecting themselves from threats like these. Recently a hedge fund was infiltrated and its trading algorithms were slowed intentionally to make them ineffective. Hackers are getting as smart as the coders they target – oftentimes they are even smarter. And their motives vary, making an effective security policy almost impossible to put in place.
Amazon has made its name in ecommerce and cloud but its next frontier may be productivity applications and in the process, they may disrupt the entire enterprise software and cloud market. Zocalo is a new service from the company which allows the sharing of numerous document types with full version reviewed support and the ability to store files in specific geographical locations for compliance reasons. It works across devices (pretty much all of them), continents (files can be stored in the US and Europe (Ireleand) as of today) and can communicate with Active Directory if required. File transfers are encrypted and documents can be shared internally and externally.
The service is designed for workgroup communications and document preparation. Commenters on a document have their own color codes and users can quickly access the comments and the area of the document they correspond to.
Zocalo was designed to work smoothly with the Amazon WorkSpaces virtual desktop solution. Each WorkSpaces user has access to 50 GB of Zocalo storage, the Zocalo web application, the tablet apps, and document review at no additional charge. The Zocalo administrator can upgrade these users to 200 GB of storage for just $2 per user per month.
If you don't use Amazon WorkSpaces, Zocalo is priced at $5 per user per month, including 200 GB of storage for each user. Additional storage is billed on a per-GB, per-month basis using a tiered pricing model. See the Zocalo Pricing page for more info.
The competition here is SharePoint, Dropbox, Box, Huddle and a slew of other cloud vendors. Moreover, Amazon could be gearing up to take on Google and Microsoft in the office productivity solutions space. If this is the case and I believe it is, areas of strength in which Oracle and SAP play, won’t be spared. It's too soon to say that Amazon will be successful selling productivity solutions to corporations but they do have a way of proving their detractors wrong in market after market. A limited preview is available now.
Here are some screenshots of Zocalo in action:
The following diagram is borrowed from the substantial cranial database of TMC partner in WebRTC Expo and UC University, Phil Edholm who was a major tech driver at Nortel and Avaya for decades. It was modified a bit by me.
The state of the PBX market can be summed up by this chart showing existing vendors getting squeezed between Microsoft coming from the OS down, Cisco coming from the router out and cloud and open-source coming from the bottom up in terms of pricing. In short, it is a tough time to be a PBX vendor. This doesn’t mean that these companies can’t adapt – many are… ShoreTel is now a cloud provider for example.
In about six weeks, one of the largest US-based tech and communications trade shows ITEXPO will take place attracting an audience from around the globe. At this event, attendees will see everything of interest in communications and technology and one of the areas of tremendous growth which has generated lots of interest is FreePBX World from Schmooze taking place Aug 11-14th in Las Vegas.
This event had tremendous interest last year in Vegas and we expect it to get bigger.
Why? As the diagram above shows, open-source is putting pressure on PBX sales from below – at a time when companies have tighter budgets. Linux familiarity is only growing and success stories using this OS are everywhere.
Moreover, a system like FreePBX has taken an open source-platform based on Asterisk and turned it into a UC or unified communications solution. It also runs across endpoints ranging from hardware-based phones to mobile and even WebRTC-based clients.
But enough about the product – you can check the website for more. The conference of course is a great place to come learn about what the FreePBX ecosystem is capable of – and can do for your company. Moreover, be sure to come to be part of this exciting new ecosystem perfect for developers and resellers.
The event touches on some of the most important topics in the industry right now such as high-availability phone systems, software integration in small and large companies, localization for global customers, certification, hosting (cloud) pitfalls and more.
The speakers will be top notch and include Mark Spencer from Digium as well as Philippe Lindheimer of Schmooze. Mark as you know really popularized the open-source PBX movement about a decade ago. We have come so far, so fast.
Here is the bottom line… There is major disruption happening in the PBX market… This means new opportunities for customers to take advantage of things they likely didn’t have access to if their last PBX purchase was close to a decade ago or more. For example, open APIs, cloud-based access, SIP integration, WebRTC, mobile apps, HD voice, etc.
Open-source may or may not be for you but it is a smart thing to look at very seriously and there is one global event where you can see FreePBX in action. It's worth mentioning that quite often the solutions you buy from traditional telecom and tech vendors are open-source behind the scenes anyway. Amazing, huh? I am really looking forward to this event – it is great to see this thriving ecosystem continue to grow and evolve, integrating WebRTC and more. Hope to see you there.
Let me start off apologizing for writing about a non-tech topic and also for a somewhat sensational headline but I believe what I have to say here supersedes my responsibility to just cover the typical topics you come here to see. I have been traveling a great deal lately and as a result signed up for and was accepted to the TSA Pre check lanes at the airport meaning a more relaxed screening as shoes remain on, laptops stay in the bag, etc. The only issue is over the last few months, before I was accepted to the program, I have been chosen at random with hundreds of other passengers in Indiana, New York and Orlando to go through this line.
The point is, to be accepted in Pre you have to give fingerprints, submit to a background check, etc.
When people are randomly selected to go through the same relaxed security line, none of this applies. Of course it is a random occurrence – but nonetheless, if a terrorist organization wanted to be successful in carrying out an attack, they could simply send large numbers of terrorists at once, hoping to get one or more through the system.
I’ve been keeping this information to myself – not sure who to share it with. After all, it is a security matter… Do I go public, hoping the authorities button up the procedure at the risk of alerting people who may want to use this loophole to harm the US or not?
What triggered me to write about these experiences is a new initiative by the US and UK to shore up international airport security for flights coming into the US. The reason is, there are reports of terrorists trying to develop non-metallic explosives to bring onboard planes. It seems to me these explosives would be the exact kind that TSA Pre would NOT detect as these passengers only go through a metal detector and not a millimeter wave device which does a full-body scan and can detect the lint in the pocket of your jeans.
The only other thing worth mentioning is there has also been an increase in random scans for bomb making materials via bomb-sniffing dogs and explosive detecting devices reading the swabbed hands of many travelers which shows the government has been aware of the heightened bomb threat level for some time.
It stands to reason that if we are at a heightened security level with respect to airplane travel and we know the US border with Mexico is so pourus that children can come through by the thousand each day, we should be very concerned about the state of US airline security - not just in international airports. If the TSA Pre lane is designed to work in conjunction with a thorough background check, it shouldn’t be available to people who don’t go through this process.
Perhaps I am being paranoid or overreacting but it is always better to be safe than sorry. Hopefully this post helps increase the domestic security level at our airports.
Does the cloud have challenges you should be aware of? Is IoT the future? If so, how should carriers react? Weill WebRTC change how companies communicate internally? With customers? Will SIP trunking evolve or become obsolete? What is the future for communications?
These are just some of the important answers you'll get from reading the following interview with respected telecom analyst Gary Audin. A frequent speaker at ITEXPO, I have noticed the sessions he presents are seeing larger and larger crowds.
It made sense to me that if so many people want to hear what he has to say live, they likely want to read his insights as well. Here is the result of a recent interview I conducted with Gary.
What is the future of SIP Trunking?
For the time being, SIP trunking will continue to grow especially for intra and inter enterprise communications. As I look into the future of the IP transition from the PSTN, I wonder if SIP trunking will be just another piece of the evolution. Instead of standing out like it does today, it is possible that nearly every enterprise and SMB location will have an IP trunk. SIP may just be the signaling protocol that is commonly used. Another consideration is that SIP trunking will start to handle all the non-voice and non-video devices that reside on the PSTN. Near term it does not look likely.
Will IoT change the telecom landscape?
IoT is about billions of physical objects and devices. They can be network connected over short range wireless, Wi-Fi, and cellular networks and wired networks. They may be connected to special sensor networks or utilize RFID.
The wireless service providers will have to reconsider the way they charge for data. Much of the traffic will be short messages delivered periodically rather than randomly. A utility company may want a special data plan for its cell connected meter’s network use. Will this produce a whole series of special pricing arrangements since the IoT object will not be a cell phone or tablet? What network QoS should be given to the collected data transmission such as medical or emergency information?
Service providers will need much more bandwidth, both wired and wireless. The overhead for the short messages will be high because the messages themselves will be only tens of bytes long. The transmission overhead could be as high as 50% for IoT data.
The fiber networks will continue to be expanded. The problem is that for every increase in available bandwidth, there seems to be data generation that quickly consumes the available bandwidth. Network transmission capacity and routers, switches, and interface cards need to keep up with the bandwidth demand.
One of the outcomes of IoT is the evolution of the industrial Internet. The industrial Internet is an overlay on the existing Internet--not a new parallel network. It stands above the individual devices, enabling the remote control of a system, rather than just the devices. The industrial Internet can be used to optimize a system's operation to produce greater efficiency. It can be used to generate new revenue
The industrial Internet is about systems and devices, although the devices may be sensing and reporting on humans. The data, however, will be machine-produced. A major benefit of the industrial Internet is the easy deployment of sensors that measure and report on the health and operation of machines. Another benefit is to capture data that was not available before connecting to the Internet.
Are there security implications to take into account?
Since a tremendous amount of data will be generated by IoT, who owns the data? Medical and financial information is already covered by regulations. But what could a manufacturer learn from our appliances, game consoles, even our cars. Will an insurance company raise our rates if we speed or go through a red light? Will the data from my car go to the car manufacturer, local law enforcement, my insurance company, and into court if I have an accident. Could the service providers collect information and sell it?
A second consideration is the ability to hack the IoT objects. The hacker could read the information, manipulate it to your disadvantage, steal the device identity, or change GPS coordinate information. This presents new security challenges to both the owner of the object as well as the collector of the data.
Will WebRTC have enterprise implications?
What will it do to communications within an enterprise? With customers? Collaboration?
WebRTC has to deliver one or more of these goals for the enterprise:
- Make money
- Save money
- Save time
- Improves experience (the one area most commonly associated with the contact center)
WebRTC can be a labor saving device. Through its collaboration capabilities, labor can be strategically deployed. It can reduce the time required to complete tasks. This can be done today mostly with more expensive solutions. WebRTC promises to deliver these capabilities at a much lower price and to a greater number of organizations.
One of the WebRTC focuses is on improving the contact center experience. WebRTC can be an excellent sales delivery mechanism. It will be most valuable for high value transactions. It can also help with complex customized sales or services such as for medical and scientific devices and healthcare. Use of WebRTC can better retain the high value customer.
The ability to initiate a voice and later a video chat, with an agent during the access of a website, will help retain that customer when contacting the organization’s website. The chat can mitigate problems the customer has with the website. The ability to chat may also increase the number of customers willing to try the website. They always have an exit to talk to a person.
The voice/video chat will improve customer retention and loyalty. It is much less expensive to work at keeping the customer happy than trying to recapture the customer when the contact center experience is poor.
As our culture allows and supports impulsive behavior. WebRTC responds well to this change. The goal of the contact center is to sell, many times to upsell, and/or respond to customer demands.
What about cloud? Is it a solid enterprise PBX alternative yet? Better for the SMB?
Not every cloud will have the silver lining that you want. If as many predict, cloud services will stimulate the migration from on-premises systems, then working with multiple cloud services is very likely. As the enterprise and SMB looks at cloud solutions, it may become attractive to move more and more functions to the cloud--but which cloud, and how many clouds.
Replacing the PBX with a cloud service seems simple enough. But with Communications Enabled Business Processes (CEBP), the PBX cloud will most likely have to integrate with another cloud offering business applications support.
Some CEBP applications will work best on IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service), some on PaaS (platform-as-a-service), while there are already many SaaS (software-as-a-service) services that meet enterprise demands. This situation of multiple cloud services, each delivering a portion of the enterprise applications, will eventually lead to connecting the multiple clouds together. We need cloud interoperability and federation.
Multiple issues will become important to resolve:
- Connecting to multiple clouds as a single enterprise
- Two or more services used to complete a single enterprise function
- Moving data and information requests among clouds
- Multiple cloud resource sharing
- Transferring tasks, licensed software, and workloads among clouds
The IEEE is working standards to help with these issues.
Why should someone come to ITEXPO to hear you present? What will they learn?
The goal of my ITEXPO presentations at the Telecom Reseller theatre is to deliver a 15 to 20 minute overview of a subject that may be new and relevant to today’s VARs and enterprises. The presentations offer enough information to gain a grasp of the subject, pros and cons, without being too technical, not boring.
I find it interesting that past presentations start with a few people seated in the theater but have a large number of listeners who will not sit down to listen. That would be a commitment most don’t want to make. However they will stand in the back for the entire presentation anyway.
The presentations are a take away that allows the listener to decide they know enough and do not want to pursue the subject. I also provide a number of online references so that the listener can continue their education after the presentation
Tags: cebp, cloud, iot, ip communications, ip telephony, itexpo, lync, m2m, microsoft, video, voip, webrtc
Related tags: industrial internet, contact center, cloud services, multiple cloud, service providers, cloud
There are some good thoughts from Carl Ford on the Supreme Court Aereo ruling which says the company cannot transmit content freely received over public airwaves over the internet while also providing a DVR service and charging customers. Carl argues that the Supreme Court lost track of the public good regarding this case but I would argue that that is not the job of the court. Instead, I would make the point that if I were to come to your house and install a digital TV antenna, DVR and Slingbox I would effectively be giving you what Aereo does. If I were to charge monthly for the equipment, would this not be providing the same service Aero does? And, as far as I can tell, it is legal to install all this equipment and charge monthly for it. Why, is it illegal to do this in a central location?
This is the same argument Cablevision made to the Second Circuit's Court of Appeals when it put its DVRs in the cloud and subsequently won the case case. ARS Technica had a good article on the matter at the time. Here is an excerpt:
It seems to me the Supreme Court got this one wrong. If we go back to Carl’s point about “public good,” it is worth pointing out these public airwaves were made available for broadcasters to use… The internet today is an extension of these radio frequencies and the government needs to adjust. To that end, Aereo made a plea yesterday to its members to send letters to politicians so as to get the service reinstated. If you agree, you should consider doing so.
If you want to learn more, the company has a site full of information at protectmyantenna.org.
Recently I had a chance to give Truphone a weeklong test drive in Europe. The company sent me a new iPhone 5s and a HUAWEI MiFi E5776s-32. When I landed in France the iPhone worked perfectly but the MiFi did not. I called customer service by dialing 707 on a Sunday morning. I did this as I was waiting in line to rent a car. Of course, as I got into the conversation with tech support I was at the front of the line. The Truphone rep offered to call me back. When I got to my destination I finally spoke to support – they called me repeatedly until we connected.
I finally took the SIM out of the MiFi and placed it in a phone and it worked fine. I then swapped SIMs again and the MiFi worked for a few days but was slow to initially connect to the network when turned on. It turns out you need to set the APN to static at www.truphone.com and leave the user name and password blank to get the MiFi to work right. Interestingly, the easy to read manual explains this but I didn’t read it until I got back from my trip. Once I set this up – thanks again to Truphone support, the MiFi worked perfectly.
Truphone individual plans and add-ons
Between the iPhone and MiFi I was as connected as I am in the states. I had a ton of work to do on the road so I really put these devices through their paces. The network partner Orange worked throughout Cannes, Nice, Juan Les Pines, Monte Carlo and more.
Truphone shared plans and add-ons
The Truphone phone provided came with two telephone numbers – one for the UK and one for the US. I forwarded my US based phone to the US-based Truphone number so as not to incur international costs which start the moment your phone gets a call and is in voicemail. In other words, had I used my domestic phone in Europe, I would get billed – for every moment the phone is ringing, playing and recording voicemail, etc. Instead, I never turned the domestic phone while I was away. Moreover, I associated the new phone number with iMessage meaning all the texts to my domestic phone came to me internationally with no additional charges.
In the past, I have covered the company’s share plans (video) and expanded telephone number support – it was great to finally put the service through its paces. It works as advertised – perhaps even better.
I really can’t think of any room for improvement. The MiFi lasted close to nine hours, the phone worked well and support was as good as it gets. Moreover, this MiFi unit is likely new for the company as I was told their typical MiFi devices only last a few hours. Of course, you can bring your own device if you like but it is good to know the company provides top-of-the-line alternatives if needed.
Whether you think the Surface Pro 3 is a good product or not depends a great deal on the applications you plan on using and the specific needs you have. It is better than an iPad and a MacBook Air in many ways and also worse. While I have had about a week to use the device I have found it is a lot more productivity-inducing than an iPad Air if you get tremendous volumes of email like I do. Specifically, Outlook 2013 is a much better interface than the email client on an iPad.
Two reasons I’ve touted for purchasing a Surface Pro 3 are it is a laptop replacement that you can keep in your laptop bag as you travel through security and on the airplane during takeoff and landing.
I recently had a chance to test how the travel industry would deal with my new device on a trip to France.
On the way their I was in the TSA Pre line where laptops aren’t required to come out of the bag so I wasn’t able to test the reaction to this device. Moreover, it was a red-eye so I decided to sleep instead of working.
The way back was a different story.
I left the SP3 in the bag when placing it on the X-ray belt but they made me take it out. French security was very tough – they examined every protein powder I had on me (four different kinds) and asked me what they were. Once satisfied that these powders were in-fact not harmful, they turned their attention to my jump rope. I thought for sure they thought it could be used to choke someone but no, they were concerned the metal handles could be used as weapons. It was confiscated.
When taking off from the airport in France, there were no requests to turn off devices which I found odd. No one even checked to see if we were using gadgets. When we landed I was told I had to shut the Surface Pro 3 down. I protested in a polite fashion and then removed the tablet from the keyboard to prove it was a tablet and not an “evil” laptop. The flight attendant seemed quite surprised by my actions – she said she had never seen a tablet that large and told me to use it with keyboard off until she went further towards the back of the airplane.
Weird, huh? Nonetheless, I did get to use it on the flight and was able to eke about nine hours of battery life by being judicious with screen brightness and only lighting the keyboard barely, when needed.
Bottom line is two solid reasons that a traveler might have to purchase an SP3 over a laptop have yet to fully materialize. Perhaps it will just take time as the travel industry, TSA and global equivalents figure out what this thing is. In the meantime though, it may behoove Microsoft to actively start educating the proper authorities – FAA, etc. so its customers don’t have to do the educating for them.
People in the tech space generally accept the Innovator's Dilemma written by Clayton M. Christensen as fact - companies need to either disrupt or be disrupted. Jill Lepore writing for the New Yorker Magazine questions much of what is "accepted wisdom" or as Al Gore might call it, "settled science" in a well-researched and written piece debunking much of what techies have believed for decades.
Lepore's argument is that the book uses handpicked case studies which aren't necesarily cut and dry in terms of their outcomes. Moreover, the innovators aren't always more successful than the incumbents as you can see from this passage below:
In fact, Seagate Technology was not felled by disruption. Between 1989 and 1990, its sales doubled, reaching $2.4 billion, "more than all of its U.S. competitors combined," according to an industry report. In 1997, the year Christensen published "The Innovator’s Dilemma," Seagate was the largest company in the disk-drive industry, reporting revenues of nine billion dollars. Last year, Seagate shipped its two-billionth disk drive. Most of the entrant firms celebrated by Christensen as triumphant disrupters, on the other hand, no longer exist, their success having been in some cases brief and in others illusory.
As striking as the disruption in the disk-drive industry seemed in the nineteen-eighties, more striking, from the vantage of history, are the continuities. Christensen argues that incumbents in the disk-drive industry were regularly destroyed by newcomers. But today, after much consolidation, the divisions that dominate the industry are divisions that led the market in the nineteen-eighties. (In some instances, what shifted was their ownership: I.B.M. sold its hard-disk division to Hitachi, which later sold its division to Western Digital.) In the longer term, victory in the disk-drive industry appears to have gone to the manufacturers that were good at incremental improvements, whether or not they were the first to market the disruptive new format. Companies that were quick to release a new product but not skilled at tinkering have tended to flame out.
Another subject of the book, Bucyrus was a victim of disruption - did indeed enter Chapter 11 protection but emerged some years later as an entity which was sold for nearly nine billion dollars.
The point is, companies can indeed come back from a disruptive influence - Apple is a great example.
Google seems to be involved in every industry we can imagine; cars, robotics, satellites, fiber, etc. because - you guessed it, it is afraid to be disrupted by new entrants. Amazon launched its Fire Phone today with 3D technology and the ability to scan and buy virtually limitless products because it fears disruption from Google, Apple and app developers.
It included its famous Mayday help button powered by WebRTC making this technology available beyond just the company's tablets.
Speaking of WebRTC - the industry's largest show WebRTC Expo is taking place this week in Atlanta, GA and what I am seeing here is massive technological disruption which IS changing business models. There are over a hundred companies speaking, sponsoring and exhibiting solutions - many are new ones you've never heard of. Then there are the incumbent providers, AudioCodes, Dialogic, Avaya, Huawei, Oracle, GENBAND and others adding WebRTC to their offerings.
Yesterday I wrote about how AudioCodes already adapted thanks to Alan Percy who has seen disruption before and as a result raised early alarm bells at his company and as a result made it possible for a big phone sale.
This too shows how incumbent companies CAN be disruptive.
The latter part of WebRTC stands for real-time communications and it is unquestionable that this technology will change the way we interact. One "killer" application I mentioned onstage at this conference yesterday and have written about was the twinning of a phone with a web browser allowing a service provider to provide increased functionality to its customers. I was roundly criticized by an analyst and others who told me at best this was a boring idea.
Then about two hours ago I had a briefing with Truphone and they announced this exact application.
Is it a killer app because I said it is? Perhaps not... But if you are a carrier watching your marketshare erode due to myriad (yes disuptive) OTT providers, you likely will consider it so as it allows you to provide a FaceTime-like service on all devices. For the first time, a carrier can easily expand beyond its core footprint and potentially generate reveue and or add to their valuation. History as they say will decide if this is something the public wants but I can guarantee you that carriers who don't adapt to WebRTC risk becoming dumb pipe-only providers or possibly getting eliminated by more nimble competition.
Moreover, what is perhaps most interesting is there is no consensus on what will and won't be successful in this new market. In other words we know there will be disruption. We are living it. But still, we aren't sure what direction it will take.
VoIP disrupted telecom - it doesn't mean that it killed the established players (some of course are gone) but it did give major advantages to new companies like Cisco. Still, new disruptive technologies can help kill off incumbents if they don't adapt properly.
The good news is that Lepore reminds us that most startups fail and moreover that incumbents can adapt, restructure and thrive. Think the second tenure of Steve Jobs at Apple - or IBM.
The point is, you need to embrace change and innovation and not be afraid to cannibalize existing businesses as you get into news ones. And if this is what you take away from this article and disruption in general, I think we'll all be in good shape.
The cloud computing revolution hasn’t been lost on carriers who are looking for less expensive and more flexible ways to serve their customers. Moreover feature velocity is a challenge – otherwise explained as the ability to rapidly add new and innovative features in a low-cos manner. Jibe Mobile is a Silicon Valley company helping carriers become competitive in this new paradigm according to the company.
The client name is Messaging Plus – a full RCS 5 client with WebRTC media built natively into it. Opus and VP8 are supported.
Because SIP is difficult to do efficiently on an iPhone they use the OMA REST API for signaling – they further extended it and make it available to developers. Their SIP to REST gateway looks to the IMS core like a SIP client – but multiplexes signaling channels – allowing one signaling path for multiple clients. It can be deployed on the northbound side of an SBC or outside of the network in the cloud.
Neil McGrath Director of sales and engineering for the company walked me through a demo of Messaging Plus at WebRTC Expo Atlanta 2014.
McGrath further explained the company is in final talks with four tier-one carriers in Europe (see a related TMCnet story on the company detailing their solutions and wins).
What this tells us is the cloud and WebRTC are major themes that carriers are migrating to in order to lower cost and increase flexibility. It seems traditional equipment providers have to step up their game to compete with the new service provider options available on the market and to that end, most of them are at WebRTC Expo this week making their case.
The world of disruption keeps chugging along thanks to cloud and WebRTC.
Alan Percy had a challenge... The Senior Director of Marketing at AudioCodes saw the promise of WebRTC three years ago... And he saw how disruptive it could be for his company which provides communications equipment for enterprises and communications service providers. He approached his engineers and told them they need to start thinking seriously about this new standard. At first his coworkers didn't get it - but he persisted and they eventually understood the potential but weren't sure how to unleash it within the company.
Some time later AudioCodes started to integrate WebRTC into their SBC and then their phones. This was the move that changed the fortunes for the company's phones and future sales.
In an industry which is about two-plus years old or so, there is a desire to quickly generate sales and profits. This is where the story gets exciting for those looking for the pot of gold at the end of the WebRTC rainbow.
Two weeks ago at the Interactive Intelligence Interactions event the company unveiled its PureCloud solution which brings contact center solutions to the Amazon Cloud. One big part of the news was that AudioCodes phones were selected to support the solution. Why is this a big deal? Well, AudioCodes is known for great technology but they have strong competition in phones from Polycom, Yealink and a number of others.
The differentiator for the Israeli company was the support for this emerging standard that just happens to work really well with cloud applications such as the one now being sold by Interactive Intelligence.
And this is just one of the success stories being talked about here at WebRTC Expo in Atlanta, Georgia. Over the next few days I expect to hear more positive news like what I reported on earlier this week.
Finally, Percey's persistence in adopting this new standard and helping to grow the market is just one of the reasons he was just awarded here at the show as a WebRTC Pioneer.
Some time back I wrote about Nomad cables - particularly the small thin Lightning adapter that fits in a wallet. Its the ideal was to ensure you never run out of power - as long as there is a USB plug nearby, you can always top off your device. Now the company has a new clip device which can attach to your backpack, laptop bag or anything else - to again, ensure you are always powered. The iPhone 5s doesn't last a whole day if you actually use it meaning power users are foreced to add a bulky case or top off frequently. The new iPhones expected later this year will have even larger screens - it remains ot be seen if they are better or worse on battery life. Either way - you'll rest easier knowing you can always add some more charge if needed.
NomadClip, NomadKey & NomadCard (pictured) are some of the world’s most portable cables, shaped like a carabiner, housekey & credit card respectively. Pre-order each cable for $29 on hellonomad.com. There is a 25% off special this week with code "LIVESIMPLE" so act fast.
The webifications of communications is transformational and at its core its WebRTC says Phil Edholm as he kicks off WebRTC Expo in Atlanta at the Cobb Galleria. He says that WebRTC is the next wave of communications. He went through a number of waves - in tech and telecom. He pointed out that the Web needed time ot take off as infrastructure was built. The point here is the waves are getting shorter - he says this wave will be even faster than the others which take about ten years to reach their potential.
He referred to the famous Crossing the Chasm book - explaining we as an industry are around the ramp of enlightenment - about to take off like a hockey stick. (Check out my most recent post discussing this book).
Kevin Cook CEO of Dialogic takes the stage and started off by saying WebRTC - with Google behind it will likely grow even faster. Moreover, he went over the history of Dialogic and the experience the company has in media processing - allowing them to learn what the need are in the market and how to utilize this knowledge to make WebRTC more useful.
PowerMedia XMS 2.0 laaunched at this conference last year has seen tremendous traction - primarily in the CSP or communications service provider market.
See my interview yesterday with Kevin Cook for more.
He says although WebRTC is free, the company can add tremendous value to it.
He showed a video a seven-way video conference call - explaining the company saves $6 thousand dollars per year on conferencing thanks to WebRTC.
The conversation shifted to making money from a commodity like WebRTC - an example shown was how coffee beans are turned into a cup of coffee which you could spend $7 on or more. Value added services 2.0 is web telephony, the new high-speed networks can handle these capabilities meaning more opportunity.
Examples of WebRTC in action we saw included an airport kiosk, a dance studio which used the technology to bring in more students and instructors. A trading turet was shown - Cook said a client of their used the company's voice technology but is now porting the turet to WebRTC allowing traders to work from anywhere.
Recording, media processing such as ad insertion are value that the company can add to WebRTC he said. The key to success he said is the technology must be business-useful if you want to be successful.
Sessions start now - I'll resume blogging major speaking events when they begin.
Chip Wilcox with Temasys takes the stage to talk about what is needed to make WebRTC implementations successful. While there are lots of use cases, challenges are lack of browser support from Microsoft and Apple - mobile as well - awareness also.
WebRTC will solbve lots of problems bringing the disparate worlds of web, telecom and tech together. His company has a WebRTC plug-in for IE and Safari. The solution is free, will be supported and at this point will not be open-sourced.
Breaking news: Next the company wants to get WebRTC in WebKit - they are crowdfunding this idea.
The company also launched developer tools and a scaleable infrastructure for developers ot make their apps available to customers. Skyway Developer Platform is designed to speed up development.
I speak now - so no blogging for a little while - sorry. Next time, you'll have to come see me for yourself :-).
Phil Takes the stage again to honor WebRTC Pioneers - the real innovators who were responsible for this market... The standards groups, GIPS, Google - now AMEX, Amazon via the Mayday button, etc.
Congratulations to all the winners - that's all for today, see you tomorrow.
Also check out other WebRTC Expo interviews on TMCnet
Day 2 Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Phil takes the stage again - he talks about the event from last night - the WebRTC Pioneer awards - starting with Google and branching out.
Serge Lachapelle the product manager at Google takes the stage to talk about making WebRTC a reality. He talked about his history - working at Ericsson in Montreal to pay for school.
From there he went out and started a new company Marratech focusing on real time communications but the 10-person company coouldnt pull it off. He instead licenced a video and audio stack as well as patents. The system ran on Java but was a challenge to pull off. They had partnered with Apple and had major universities as clients.
In 2007 the company was acquired by Google and they were tasked with bringing video chat to users - they chose Gmail as a way to do this. The adoption rates were amazing he said "An amazing thrill."
Still, they had to solve th echallenges on a larger - scarrier scale - not thousands but millions of users across more platforms and browsers.
They also had to deal with plug-in security - its a very scary world he said - you have to make sure you arent leaving anything wide open.
He says he is lucky to be part of this amazing launch.
20,000 meetings a day take place on Google Hangouts and there are 30,000 employees he said.
The company then decided to purchase GIPS or Global IP Sound - you may recall they were the engine for Skype and most mobile VoIP engines over th elast 15 years.
The next big step was getting Firefox and Chrome browsers to work together.
Now Opus 1.1 has been released to reduce overhead on mobile devices.
He says we are 80% there and now have 20% left - which is the new 80% he said.
The company received a lot of feedback he says.
Screen casting , SCTP, IPV6, CPU adaptation when resources are low, stereo support, etc.
A new version is coming out version 36 and 37 - we will see a years worth of work on bandwidth estimation being deployed. It will do better at guessing how much bandwidth you have - you'll have better performance on WiFi and use HD resolution more often and stay in it longer. There will be more immediacy when you place calls.
Here are some things which caught my eye:
"Nice crowd for #webRTC code walkthrough w/ @DanielCBurnett & @alanbjohnston. These guys are always good. @Webrtcexpo" - @reidstidolph
"Good stuff #WebRTCexpo, including @ebkell calling bluffs on developer mktg claims ‘Just a few lines of code’" - @robarnolducc
"Great developer sessions at #WebRTCexpo today." - @tomsheffler
"Cool map mash-up demo. #WebRTCexpo" - @tomsheffler
"Phil Edholm rocked each #WebRTCexpo session he did today. Great content." - @robarnolducc
"Jan Linden from Google: webrtc is a technology, an enabler. Yes! @webrtcexpo" - @micaelagiuhat
"@AnyMeeting CEO Costin @costin312 nails it with a real world proof case of #webrtc #webrtcexpo being used on his collaboration platform" - @ms1sd
"Almost wrapped up with day 1 of #webrtcexpo. Looking forward to the ITSP tracks tomorrow and Thursday!" - @darrensessions
"Really like that presenters at #webRTCexpo giving actual mainstream brands as eg’s of #WebRTC commercial deployment #NotHype" - @disruptivedean
"Enjoyed the panel on Making Money with #WebRTC @webrtcexpo" - @jbradleybush
- AnyMeeting Opens WebRTC-enabled Conferencing Platform to Partners with New API
- WebRTC: 'Now it's About Implementation' Argues TokBox
- Acision Launches New WebRTC SDK at WebRTC IV Conference & Expo
- Oracle Makes WebRTC Easier on the Backend
- Radisys Launches Real Time Communications Media Control Interface for Java Platforms
Once again, thanks to all of you who decided to take time from your busy schedules to learn, network and foster the growth of the WebRTC community.
Dialogic announced today they are involved in over 90 WebRTC engagements among telcos, enterprises, contact centers, cloud and Web companies, and public institution. Some of the details are as follows:
- Communications service providers (CSPs) demand WebRTC. 74% of engagements have a CSP focus or relate in some way to communications service.
- Existing IP communications networks must be extended. 67% need to connect existing networks with WebRTC where PowerMedia XMS provides media interworking.
- WebRTC is a global phenomenon. 62% of Dialogic's WebRTC engagements are international, with representation in all global regions, notably with pockets of activity in Latin America and the Middle East.
- Video telephony is the leading application. 65% were most interested in PowerMedia XMS's video capabilities, with nearly half interested in providing multi-party conferencing features.
Dialogic has been one of the most disruptive companies in the communications space – especially when you factor in the disruptors it’s purchased over the decades. They disrupted the fax machine with PC-faxing. The proprietary enterprise telecom equipment which handled voicemail and media processing was disrupted by the company’s media processing boards which again were installed into PC servers. These products eventually evolved into packet-processing engines allowing VoIP gateways to be built and you guessed it, disrupt the entire telecom market.
The company soon became disrupted themselves as host media proceeding (HMP) was born allowing computers to do much of the work you used to need a Dialogic board for. Interestingly, Intel saw this trend and purchased Dialogic at the start of the dotcom boom. They didn’t have great success running it so they spun it back out.
Since then, the company rolled up the competitive space and made investments in areas like leading-edge video for carriers.
However the challenge the company has faced over the last years is apps – this is where a good amount of investment has gone. By investment of course I refer to not just capital – but more importantly the time and attention of developers.
WebRTC however is a new world for the company to explore and in a meeting with CEO Kevin Cook and Senior Director Product Marketing Chad Hart this evening I walked away impressed with where the company is headed. For example, Dialogic’s PowerMedia XMS is helping to bridge the divide between the web and telecom networks thanks to WebRTC. It is being used by corporations to enable more full-featured multiparty conference calling not built into the current WebRTC spec while saving these companies money.
It can also power conferencing services, handle WebRTC voice and video mail and more. This is why telecom equipment manufacturers continue to depend on the company. Moreover, Cook explained that they are focusing more on and are having more success selling to larger carriers.
The future the company sees is carriers using their solutions to more nimbly compete with OTT competitors. They see CSPs in a unique position – they can provide better services than OTT vendors because they have access to the network and can bring in secure file-sharing and other services to make a powerful solution for companies and perhaps consumers.
Going forward, they will be more cloud-ready by virtualizing all their solutions and interestingly, HMP – the technology that helped disrupt the company will play a part in helping Dialogic become successful in the NFV space. After all, it was host media processing which really was the ancestor of today’s NFV – allowing once proprietary hardware to be replaced by Intel servers chips. Moreover, they see big opportunities ahead as web developers realize how powerful WebRTC is and can be. At 90 deployments at such an early stage in the technology’s life, we can safely say Dialogic is one of the leaders in this exciting new field.
As NFV and SDN usher in a new era of software telcos, there are just so many pieces which have to be put into place to enable solutions from disparate vendors to interoperate smoothly. Moreover, carriers are always looking for one throat to choke and NFV really opens up the carrier network is so many new ways that determining who is responsible for issues is more difficult.
Security has always been a major focus for operators. Indeed, when their networks were proprietary and thought to be bulletproof, it was determined a simple whistle distributed in a box of Captain Crunch cereal could give access to hackers.
NFV allows software to run on standard virtualized servers and moreover this software will likely come from smaller players. While this is not inherently a less secure way of building networks, it goes without saying that loosely connecting systems from various vendors on PC servers will open up new areas of attack for hackers and fraudsters.
To that end, Alcatel-Lucent has been focusing on shoring up NFV security – so networks of the future powering software telcos are as secure as possible. David Amzallag Vice President, Virtual Telecommunications and CloudBand CTO has an in-depth post on what his company has been doing in the space.
Interesting points from the piece include the ETSI SFV security group started with just six members and has well over a hundred now – when you factor in passive members as well. This tells me the interest in security is great as vendors and carriers realize they have to get it right up front to eliminate headaches later.
Here is more:
Our vision emphasizes the necessity of building the trust chain for NFV components in three major steps. The first step is securing the platform— reinforcing deliberately disconnected islands of compute, storage, and networking infrastructure as well as the management system. The second step is the deployment of virtual security appliances, such as firewalls that transform the islands into controlled network zones, and virtual DNS servers that help to mitigate denial-of-service attacks. In the third step, virtualized functions in support of applications are placed in the zones established previously. The security of that deployment is assured by a combination of native application security controls and virtual security appliances, and then it is further enhanced by NFV platform capabilities. Once deployed, the security services provided by the applications can, in turn, be used to improve platform security further. For instance, the IMS virtualized Home Subscriber Server (HSS) can be used to provide an extra authentication factor for access to platform software. With these three steps in place, a centralized management and orchestration system can ensure a consistent, horizontal implementation of security through systematic application of security policies that will be enforced through the policy management mechanism of an NFV orchestrator, as in the CloudBand Management System.
Another important point is a well-orchestrated network of virtualized routers can actually be more resilient in the face of DDoS attack than legacy systems. The idea is highly intuitive – in-fact, DDoS mitigation seems to be an NFV killer app as the added flexibility and instant scaleability make software telco networks much harder to take down.
Another point Amzallag makes is OpenStack needs to have its security beefed up… Something the company is working on. For more details, I refer you to the article which also references a corresponding white paper (registration may be required) with more information - specifically addressing these security issues which accompany virtualization:
Reliance on additional software (that is, hypervisors and modules for management and orchestration) and hence a longer chain of trust
Reduced isolation of network functions
Fate-sharing due to resource pooling and multi-tenancy
Effective key escrow for hosted network functions
To learn even more - be at Software Telco Congress August 12-14 in Las Vegas.
By now my readers know I think the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is a solid compromise between tablet and laptop with a few trade offs you would have with any device. Starting with the bad first, the keyboard although very functional, actually feels like it is made from cardboard. There is flex when you type. Moreover, there is no key spacing. Instead, the large keyboard has large keys. This is something that you get used to with time and practice.
When typing on a desk you can keep the keyboard flat and the flex issue is not a problem. Typing on your lap is an issue – the company says lappability is excellent (a term many hate but descriptive nonetheless) but really, the tablet is at its worst when it is used in this fashion. The reason is, the tablet consumes the bulk of the weight and there is no hinge like on a traditional notebook.
Instead, to handle all this weight, you ave a kickstand with limitless flexibility built-in. This allows typing with the tablet all the way down to a near 180 degree angle which could be useful to avoid glare. The challenge is, I am around 5’10" and it takes the majority of my lap causing the keyboard to be close enough that it is unnatural for me to type with it. In other words, I am not shorter than average so I’m not sure how a person with shorter legs may deal with this challenge.
Again, another trade-off to get used to.
The stylus loop will likely break but there is an alternative place you can store it on the keyboard. When you do this however you can’t properly connect the keyboard to the tablet when on your lap. The reason is – the keyboard has the option to magnetically connect higher up on the tablet – useful when on your lap. The pen, stored on the back of the keyboard in the provided notch, interferes with this capability.
Speaking of which, touching the icons with your finger on the bottom of the screen is obstructed when the keyboard is raised in the above fashion.
Finally, the lack of applications IS a problem. I have been involved in many forum conversations about the device and there are religious zealots on both sides of the issue (Apple Vs. Microsoft). The Microsoft loyalists say there are infinite programs out there for the PC and you can access any website which can often be superior to an app.
While this is 100% accurate, there are many apps which don’t exist in a web browser. Blogsy for example is an excellent blogging app which I use constantly and there are virtually no other pieces of software out there that can do what it does for me. The company has determined the Microsoft Windows market is not big enough for them to port to but the Mac is. This means if you are looking to decide between a MacBook Air and a Surface Pro 3, knowing which applications you might want to use is helpful in deciding which platform to choose. Moreover, there are a lot of PC programs (video editing, etc) which have yet to be modified to look good on the SP3.
Now for the good – I think the SP3 will be very popular and as such, app developers will change their tune on the device and begin to support it in even larger numbers. Microsoft better pay many of these guys off to avoid a chicken and egg problem.
What’s interesting to me is over the last decades I have seen Microsoft steal app developers away from Apple and then do the same to IBM’s OS/2. The company is not used to being so far behind… Not only losing against iOS but Android as well. Again, I think this may change soon.
Again, the iOS versions of many apps pale in comparison to their web versions which look great on the SP3.
Other positives, you can run Xbox games on it, you can keep it in your bag when you go though security at the airport. You can use it for the entire time you are on a flight because it is a tablet, not a laptop. It has a stylus, touch, trackpad and mouse support. It has a USB port. It has a microSD slot which goes up to 128 GB, it works better with Remote Desktop, it runs Flash. As it becomes more popular, we’ll see a ton more touch apps released for it. It is amazingly light – in fact HP came out with a "competitive" product, the Pro x2 612 but it is a lot heavier at four pounds, not 2.4 (a lighter keyboard is coming says HP). Microsoft’s tablet boots amazingly fast – in 10 seconds in some of my tests (Intel Core i5 version). The charger has a USB port built-in and there is Mini DisplayPort support on the device for a large second monitor. There is a camera on the front and back which helps when posting to social networks, blogging, etc.
It also runs the real version of Microsoft Office which is full-featured... Not the stripped-down version on the iPad. Moreover, you can actually buy the software and are not forced to pay an annual fee like you must do on the iPad.
I purchased the device – I am still concerned about blogging software but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Moreover, the keyboard flex is a concern to me but I think I will adjust over time. I expect the tablet to arrive later this month.
I recommend the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 based on my testing.
Moreover, I produced this video which in hindsight could have been more concise. This is the first time I have made a video like this and I realize now, more compact scripting would have made it even better.
Hope you like this review and video – feel free to share your comments below. Here is the pricing information:
Special thanks to Vincent Nguyen, Editor-in-Chief & Co-founder at SlashGear who lent me his SP3 to use, gave me his opinion on the device (some included above) and has a great article on the the SP3 himself worth reading.