For a conference about getting work done, there are sure a whole lot of toys here at Office 2.0 in San Francisco. Sure many of them are old hat, like the the Nabaztag/tag, but there's some new stuff here too like Pano Logic's zero client desktop. This shiny metal cube is actually a computer--well kind of. Actually it involves setting up a a beefy server to give everyone in your office a full version of Windows sans hardware. Just give give them a keyboard, mouse, monitor and one of these shiny cubes and they're ready … Read more
Despite SunRocket's recent implosion, venture capitalists are hot to invest in voice over IP start-ups.
A company called Jaxtr announced Tuesday that it's raised $10 million. The company, which hopes to emulate the success of eBay's Skype, actually attracted some of the same investors as Skype. Draper Richards, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Mangrove Capital, all early stage investors in Skype, contributed to Jaxtr's first round of funding.
Jaxtr is one of a growing number of IP telephony start-ups hoping to make it big. These companies are leaning more toward Skype's business model as a complementary … Read more
Several readers blasted me for my blog post last week about the Skype outage. I assumed that many of the people using Skype's messaging and voice over IP service didn't rely on the service for their primary form of communication. But several people pointed out that many small businesses use Skype to communicate with clients, employees and partners.
These comments got me thinking about this segment of the market. And now I'm working on a story that will take a look at how small businesses use free communications services like Skype instead of products that they would … Read more
When I first read the headline, I was shocked. I thought, "Wow! Skype runs on Windows servers???"
But no. Skype blamed its outage over the weekend on a different kind of Windows problem. It turns out that when you have millions of Windows machines restarting at the same time (getting their weekly doses of patches because, um, the system is rock-solid), it can cause all sorts of problems for others.
Last week, the Skype VoIP service went down for two days, affecting customers worldwide. On Monday, Villu Arak, writing on the Skype blog Heartbeat, attributed the outage to "a previously unseen software bug within the network resource allocation algorithm which prevented the self-healing function from working quickly."
But the root cause? "The disruption," he said, "was triggered by a massive restart of our users' computers across the globe within a very short time frame as they rebooted after receiving a routine set of patches through Windows Update." Tuesday Microsoft pushed out nine patches, six … Read more
Skype's service appears to be up and running again for the most part, after software issues Thursday prevented millions of Skype users from signing on to the IP telephony application.
Skype officials say the outage was not due to a cyberattack or network upgrades. Instead they attributed the issue to "a deficiency in an algorithm within Skype networking software. This controls the interaction between the user's own Skype client and the rest of the Skype network."
As of 11 a.m. GMT Friday, the company said that the software had started to stabilize. Some users have … Read more
Could open source have saved Skype from its ongoing disaster? Andy Oram @ O'Reilly believes so, and I think he's onto something. Open source is not a panacea. But it does offer an alternative way to fix snafus like this that are wreaking havoc on Skpe's reputation, as Larry Dignan notes.
Andy writes:… Read more
Skype users got a proverbial dead line when trying to dial out, or receive, a call on Thursday because of a software glitch with the VoIP service, according to a notice on Skype's Web site.
The notice begins: "Some of you may be having problems logging into Skype." So it's not yet entirely clear how many users are being denied service. The engineering staff at the Internet phone company expects to have the problem resolved within the next 12 to 24 hours, which would put a fix in place sometime Thursday or as late as Friday … Read more
Who needs downloads? Not instant-messaging fans, apparently, according to Nielsen NetRatings. The online division of the legendary statistics-crunching company just released a study that tracks the fastest-growing instant-messaging software products from August 2006 to June 2007, and the results indicate that Web-based is the way to go.
The most rapidly growing IM client, according to the study, is Meebo, which launched just over a year ago. The fact that it's so new may be partially responsible for its rapid growth--354 percent from August 2006 to June 2007. But Meebo also packs a double punch: not only is it Web-based … Read more
There are so many products announced at the January Consumer Electronics Show, a few of them always manage to slip off your radar. For me, one such product was the new line of GE-branded cordless phones from Thomson. I know what you're thinking--"Thomson" and "GE" are yawner brands that have no place among your carefully groomed hipster-approved gadget lineup. Well, think again: I was able to spend some quality time with the new GE phones last night, and each of them offered at least one compelling leg up on competing products. Each model is a DECT 6.0 product (Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology), meaning it operates on the 1900Mhz wireless band that's free of the interference issues that can occur on the more-crowded 2.4Ghz band (which competes with everything from microwave ovens to Wi-Fi to wireless speakers). A quick roundup of the key models follows: … Read more