Thursday, September 25, 2008

Skype opens up for asterisk

Today Skype and Digium announced a partnership that would allow skype to be integrated with asterisk platform via a channel driver. This sounds like an interesting collaboration. It’s definitely Good news to all those asterisk developers and corporate folks that use asterisk platform as PBX. What this brings to the table is an interaction of 338 million skype users with millions of asterisk users. The not so good news is that the channel driver is not open source. It comes with a cost. According to sources, the licensing shall be done per channel basis.

Picture courtesy, fiercevoip

Here is what users of asterisk get:

• Make, receive and transfer Skype calls with multiple Skype names from within Asterisk phone systems, using existing hardware.
• Complement existing Asterisk services with low Skype global rates (as low as 1.7€¢ / 2.1US¢ per minute to more than 35 countries worldwide).
• Save money on inbound calling solutions such as free click-to-call from a website, as well as receive inbound calling from the PSTN through create virtual offices all over world using Skype’s online numbers.
• Manage Skype calls using Asterisk applications such as call routing, conferencing, phone menus and voicemail.

Skype integration is not something completely new to asterisk developers. There were other workarounds that allowed some kind of integration with skype earlier. For e.g. using ChanSkype , asterisk users were able to call skype users online, Receive up to 30 incoming Skype Calls, Bridge with SIP channels etc. However, today’s announcement has more significance, because it’s coming directly from skype, and hope this is beginning of skype opening up! Asterisk already supports different VoIP protocols like SIP,H.232,MGCP,SCCP etc. Skype protocol will be a new addition to the list.

I’m interesting in knowing how much did skype open up to digium for this integration. The platform is open for beta. If you’re an Asterisk user or developer, you can apply for a beta at Skype Asterisk Beta . The initial beta is limited to a select number of users, developers and integrators

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

How palins yahoo mail was hacked

Republican Vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's private Yahoo e-mail account was hacked by one of the hacker , whose identity is yet to be established. It’s funny though how easy it was for the hacker to reset palins password and take control of the mail. Out of curiosity, I tried resetting my wife’s yahoo mail password, it was no-brainer. I guess mail servers need to introduce more security layers than authorizing based on some stupid secret questions. Some of the common questions these servers ask are- “what is your birth city”, mothers maiden name, favorite star etc. Anybody with little knowledge about the person can hack the email.

So here is the first-person account of how the email was hacked:

rubico 09/17/08(Wed)12:57:22 No.85782652
Hello, /b/ as many of you might already know, last night sarah palin’s yahoo was “hacked” and caps were posted on /b/, i am the lurker who did it, and i would like to tell the story.

In the past couple days news had come to light about palin using a yahoo mail account, it was in news stories and such, a thread was started full of newfags trying to do something that would not get this off the ground, for the next 2 hours the acct was locked from password recovery presumably from all this bullshit spamming.
after the password recovery was reenabled, it took seriously 45 mins on wikipedia and google to find the info, Birthday? 15 seconds on wikipedia, zip code? well she had always been from wasilla, and it only has 2 zip codes (thanks online postal service!)
the second was somewhat harder, the question was “where did you meet your spouse?” did some research, and apparently she had eloped with mister palin after college, if youll look on some of the screenshits that I took and other fellow anon have so graciously put on photobucket you will see the google search for “palin eloped” or some such in one of the tabs.
I found out later though more research that they met at high school, so I did variations of that, high, high school, eventually hit on “Wasilla high” I promptly changed the password to popcorn and took a cold shower…
>> rubico 09/17/08(Wed)12:58:04 No.85782727
this is all verifiable if some anal /b/tard wants to think Im a troll, and there isn’t any hard proof to the contrary, but anyone who had followed the thread from the beginning to the 404 will know I probably am not, the picture I posted this topic with is the same one as the original thread.
I read though the emails… ALL OF THEM… before I posted, and what I concluded was anticlimactic, there was nothing there, nothing incriminating, nothing that would derail her campaign as I had hoped, all I saw was personal stuff, some clerical stuff from when she was governor…. And pictures of her family
I then started a topic on /b/, peeps asked for pics or gtfo and I obliged, then it started to get big
Earlier it was just some prank to me, I really wanted to get something incriminating which I was sure there would be, just like all of you anon out there that you think there was some missed opportunity of glory, well there WAS NOTHING, I read everything, every little blackberry confirmation… all the pictures, and there was nothing, and it finally set in, THIS internet was serious business, yes I was behind a proxy, only one, if this shit ever got to the FBI I was fucked, I panicked, i still wanted the stuff out there but I didn’t know how to rapidshit all that stuff, so I posted the pass on /b/, and then promptly deleted everything, and unplugged my internet and just sat there in a comatose state
Then the white knight fucker came along, and did it in for everyone, I trusted /b/ with that email password, I had gotten done what I could do well, then passed the torch , all to be let down by the douchebaggery, good job /b/, this is why we cant have nice things
The “white knight fucker” was the /b/tard who thought that going through Sarah Palin’s email wasn’t cool. He logged in, changed the password, and sent an email to a friend of Palin’s warning her and letting her know the new password. Unfortunately, he then posted a screenshot of this email to let the other /b/tards know their fun was over. He failed to blank the password, and they all tried to log in and change the password — which tripped the automated Yahoo! freeze. Since then, the account has been deleted. “Rapidshit” refers to — i.e., rubico wanted to download the emails, put them into one file, and put that file up on rapidshare for /b/tards and the world at large to download. But he panicked, or didn’t know how to download the emails, and so pawned that task off on Anonymous, which he didn’t realize wasn’t monolithic and in his favor.
As Paul Harvey would say, “And now you know…. the rest of the story.”

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Fonolo wins gigaoms mobilize conference

Today Gigaom hosted Mobilize conference, some startups were given an opportunity to show case their products. Fonolo, the IVR menu crawler, which I had written about couple of months back ,won the first price. There are very few times u get a WOW feeling about a product or company, fonolo is one among them. Necessity is the mother of innovation. Fonolo is definitely a company to watch for. I’m not sure what their funding status is. Will update more once I have more information

Congratulations to Shai Berger, CEO of fonolo, on winning the first prize.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Talibans abusing VoIP Skype client

This doesn’t sound like good news to skype. They were able to get away with their encrypted signaling and media protocol for so long. However, with the latest news of Taliban’s using skype to coordinate attacks against British and American troops will force them to work with the law enforcement officials

So what does it mean to support LI (Lawful Intercept) - Current mobile and landline calls can be wiretapped by a LI officers and listen to the conversation. The voice sample here is not packetized. It’s a normal TDM(Time Division Multiplez) PCM sample. Off course this requires that the suspect in voice conversation is the target and an approval is procured for wiretapping. In case of VoIP calls, and especially skype calls, the media or voice packets are encrypted and packetized. In order to listen to the conversation, you need to be able to decrypt the packet, which requires the understanding of the protocol. This is one of the big problems with the proprietary protocols. I’m surprised that FCC has not forced skype to support CALEA. Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act

Some tidbits from the news:

‘The trouble with this technology is that it is easily available but devilishly hard to crack,’ the source said. ‘The technology can now be accessed on mobile internet devices and the country’s mobile phone network is expanding rapidly.’

Sir David Pepper, the head of GCHQ, the British Government’s top-secret listening post, has told MPs that internet calls are ‘seriously undermining’ his organization’s ability to intercept communications.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

140 million Mobile Social Networking users

Abi research predicts 140 Million Mobile social networking Users by 2013. Web has already played a bigger role in bringing the best out of social networking. I’m not sure if there is enough room for additional Mobile Social networking platforms. Assuming a user is already part of social networking on the web, the chances of user signing in to another social networking platform purely because of mobile is slim. I still feel micro mobile social networking based on location, music etc will find some niche. In addition, what is required is a unified social network hub that can connect multiple platforms and allow seamless messaging and multimedia exchange.

The recent announcement of ATT and Verizon’s social networking application validates the point that Mobile social networking is indeed gaining momentum. Off course you can argue that these apps are just providing an interface to the existing social networking platforms. I still see a lot of potential in these kind of applications.

Some snippet from the ABI research news:

“Subscriber numbers for mobile social networking will climb at a relatively modest rate for the next three or four years, but will then start to accelerate sharply,” says research director Michael Wolf. “That uptick is based on assumed acceptance levels in the giant emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Those countries are wildcards, very difficult to estimate, so we are quite conservative in our forecasts.”

Some of these social mobile apps bring in lot of value in terms of adding more content and messaging. With adoption of mobile skyrocketing everywhere in the world, it makes perfect sense to add social aspect to mobile. These apps will surely turn into a cash cow for the operators. As I said earlier, it has great potential to increase the data and SMS/MMS usage, which in turn shall increase the ARPU for the operator. In addition, advertisement can play a huge role with these apps. A recent end-user survey conducted by ABI Research showed that mobile users of social networks are likely to consume two or three times as much digital mobile content (pictures, music, videos and games) than their “asocial” peers. That would suggest a golden marketing and advertising opportunity yet, says Wolf, that isn’t happening: “They are not offering the right kinds of products for these users. The advertising isn’t that sophisticated yet.

Additional reading:
Location based social networking has a huge potential
Mobile social app has a great future

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

ATT and Verizons Mobile Social Networking app

Who said that Telco operators are old school, slow on innovation. ATT and Verizon proved the pundits and critics wrong. Today both ATT and verizon launched mobile social networking applications that provides a unified interface to multiple social networking platforms. ATT calls this app “My Communities” and Verizon has named its app “Social Life”. Welcome to the world of Telco 2.0!

What this launch means is that, operators have realized lately that just being a dumb pipe is not gone help sustain the revenue model long-term. By providing an application that can interface with different social networking platforms, they are providing a utility to the consumers to use more data, messaging(SMS and MMS). This will bring in additional revenue stream from data and messaging. This is in addition to that lucrative $2.99 or $1.49 monthly charge. I’m a little surprised that they are charging users for using the application. They should have let the users download the application for free and make the money from messaging and data package. Oh did I say free. Free is so alien to Operators :-)

Both these apps are powered by Intercasting Corporation , a leading mobile social networking company. So according to intercasting corp., there are some differences between the two deployments. AT&T is offering more features than verizion. I think this is one of the cool companies to watch for.

This is what verizon has to say about SocialLife

Social networking is fast and spontaneous, which makes it a perfect fit for a wireless phone. SocialLife gives people the opportunity not only to get to all of their social networking communities at once, but to update, communicate and stay in touch with friends,” said Jennifer Byrne, director of digital media at Verizon. “By bringing all of these communities together in one place, SocialLife makes it easier for people to stay connected and up-to-date.

ATT My Communities currently offers couple of social networks interface that include MySpace, the mobile-only community Rabble, blogging sites including LiveJournal and Xanga and the photo-sharing site Photobucket. Using this app, users can upload photos from their phone to social networking sites, view and post comments and perform contact management all in a single interface.

Our social networking applications are among our highest-performing category, and we anticipate sustained interest from consumers as social networks continue to explode in popularity and diversify in purpose," said Mark Collins, vice president of Consumer Products for AT&T's wireless unit. "The My Communities application brings unmatched simplicity, increased functionality and deeper integration to this space, a combination we believe will win over active users and newcomers alike.

Is yahoo again too late for the party, what is going on with their OneConnect. Where does this leave startups like xumii, jibe and juicecaster ?

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google’s Browser ambition

Iam too late for the party. Google is introducing a new Web Browser called Chrome . This is surely to counter Microsoft dominance in the Web Browser market. What is interesting with this launch is the Cartoon book that explains the browser functionality.

There are tones of articles talking about Google’s Chrome. So instead of repeating the same old stuff, I picked some of the best articles that might give a good insight on chrome. Check out!

1) How Bright Is the Outlook for Chrome?
2) First Test of Google’s New Browser
3) Our review: Chrome more than capable of taking on IE and Firefox
4) Browsing with Google Chrome
5) Does Google Have Rights to Everything You Send through Chrome?
6) Chrome: Nice, But Not a “Killer” Browser Just Yet

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