Open Source Telephony

Voice Over Internet Market Sees Changes [pdf]

Some of the chatter has been dismissive and critical of Skype and its “peer-to-peer” technology. But the Skype deal and smaller acquisitions by Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. also are sparking optimism that the industry is now pushing into the consumer and corporate mainstream after a decade of promises.

“Skype has done the community at large a favor,” said Mark Spencer, a mini-rock star in that community who created a free “open source” platform for office phone systems based on Internet Protocol technology. […]

[…] One Asterisk programmer at the show used the platform to create a service to connect people displaced by Hurricane Katrina with friends and family. The service, called Contact Loved Ones, lets evacuees punch in a home number where they’re no longer located and record a message. Acquaintances who dial in and enter the number will be played that message and can leave their own.

Yaacov Menken, one of several Princeton University alumni who collaborated on the service, said doing that with a traditional phone system would have cost tens of thousands of dollars.

OT: Doing What One Can With One’s 15 Minutes

Poet Rebuffs Laura Bush – worth quoting in its entirety:

Protesting the war in Iraq, the poet Sharon Olds, winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award and professor of writing at New York University, has rebuffed an invitation from Laura Bush, the first lady, to attend the fifth National Book Festival on the National Mall in Washington on Saturday. Noting that the event, sponsored by the Library of Congress, includes a dinner at the library and a breakfast at the White House, Ms. Olds, in a letter on the Web site of The Nation (, said she found the invitation appealing. “But I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you,” she wrote in a letter to Mrs. Bush. “I knew that if I sat down to eat with you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning what I see to be the wild, highhanded actions of the Bush administration. . . . So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it.”


I hope I’m never *that* bored: It’s a Game. No, It’s an Ad. No, It’s Advergame.

The comeback of the Orbitz games is indicative of a trend known as advergaming, in which marketers offer games online that double as ads – or vice versa, depending on your perspective – to capitalize on the growing interest among computer users in so-called casual gaming, playing short games whether brain teasers or time fillers.

The goal of advergaming is to encourage consumers to engage in a branded experience – that is, spend time voluntarily with an ad. That is usually more efficient and effective for a marketer than to chase after consumers with ads they are likely to shun. Among the other brands that have added sponsored online games to their marketing tactics are Jeep and Life Savers.

Another (c) Suit For Google

Copyright Lawsuit Targets Google

An organization of more than 8,000 authors accused Google on Tuesday of “massive copyright infringement,” saying the powerful internet search engine cannot put its books in the public domain for commercial use without permission.

“The authors’ works are contained in certain public and university libraries and have not been licensed for commercial use,” The Author’s Guild said in the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

See the Wired News’ editorial: Let Google Copy!