Cheaper International calls with Skype To Go

Skype today announced a new feature called “Skype To Go” for Skype Pro customers. For those already spending a small fortune on International calls, this allows you to make international calls at local rates by dialing a local number. Now, you just have to pay the The SkypeOut rate of the country you are calling (plus local phone charges, if any)

Frankly this is not much different than using a local calling card to call internationally. For example, I use WQN to call from the USA to Sri Lanka (ah yes, that beautiful country otherwise known as Serendib). WQN has both toll free (800) or local number in the US (toll free numbers charge a little more). I can dial the local number from my mobile phone (at no additional cost as long as I’m within my minutes), and then dial the international number.

I’ve even programmed the International numbers I call into short codes (e.g. #1, #2, #3). All I have to do is program the WQN number and then the International short code, along with a ‘wait’ in between in my cell phone’s addressbook and I don’t even have to enter any numbers. No need for PINs, and I can even recharge by calling the same toll free number.

How it works

* You get a local number – it’s your personal To Go number.
* You assign the To Go number to an overseas number.
* Save the To Go number to your mobile.
* When on the move use To Go to save on international calls.

So what’s the big dilio about Skype To Go?

Other Coverage
1. Skype To Go: international calls from your mobile at local rates

Gaboogie’s Dont-Call-Me-I’ll-Call-You Conferencing

Gaboogie is a conferencing service with a major twist. Instead of you dialing into a conference, the conference dials you! Talk about convenience. Now you dont even have to remember your conference calls, because with a mobile phone, the conference will find you at the right time.


Not only that, if someone on a conference gets dropped, she can back into the conference simply by dialing the number that called her. The conference owner can mute or disconnect any participant with one click, a feature I really want so I can shut up that always-talking, know-everything, annoying co-worker from speaking again, ever!

Gaboogie can also record a offers the ability to record and syndicate calls via RSS, so you can go back and listen to everything again!

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I don’t get zMobs

zMobs

zMobs is a marketplace for buying and selling used goods and service safely and effectively with your “Circle of Trust”. I understand the power of a social network, but I don’t see the need to limit myself only to my network to buy or sell something. I have conducted many financial transactions with people that I’ve never met or heard of and with institutions that I’ve never heard of with no regrets.

The idea behind zMobs is to Buy and Sell with one’s “Circle of Trust” by building a network of friends and contacts. Like LinkedIn, you’d be able to see how many degrees away from the buyer/seller you are and determine their reputation based on pre-existing feedback or go through your network to see if they are trustworthy.

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Will HTC Touch be the iPhone Killer?

HTC recently announced the HTC Touch, a smartphone running Microsoft Windows Mobile 6 Professional (the version for touch-screen devices). The timing seems clearly aimed at garnering some of the wide publicity that the iPhone is receiving.

HTC Touch

So, what are the similarities to iPhone?

The focus on a touch screen as a defining feature in the HTC Touch is similar to the emphasis Apple has put in the iPhone. Apple highlighted touch screen as a key feature of the iPhone, including scrolling through songs and movies on the wide display.

The 2.8-inch screen (larger than iPhone) utilizes TouchFLO technology, where users need only sweep their fingers across the screen to activate an animated, three-screen, three-dimensional interface. With the one-touch features, users can instantly access to e-mails, contacts, and appointments. The screen also works with a slide-out stylus for text input and navigation. The customized home screen is also more finger-friendly, with software buttons that bring up the application launcher, a weather report, or the traditional home screen. Finger swipes can also be used to lock and unlock the device (for security and to prevent accidental launching of apps).

There are several important differences as well.

Unlike the iPhone, the Touch has a single navigational pad and button below the display.

There also no iPod-like software keyboard, other than the standard Windows Mobile soft keyboard.

The Touch comes with a 1GB Micro-SD card, presumably for music and movie storage, but this is no match for iPhones’s 4GB or 8GB. Nonetheless this is useful for storing music or for making good use of the built-in 2-megapixel CMOS camera.

The HTC Touch includes multiple wireless technologies, including triband GSM for voice and EDGE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth for data.

As Dan Nystedt points out, the iPhone focuses on entertainment, so its primarily geared towards consumers who value music, videos, and ease-of-use (of course, great show-off value as well).

The HTC Touch focuses on e-mail, network connectivity, applications, and other more business-like uses. I would say the HTC Touch is geared towards business customers, but also looking to have the latest and greatest in ease-of-use and hipness. Nonetheless, I highly doubt that HTC Touch will be an iPhone killer.

Then again, wudda know!!!

Get ready for the iPhone launch on June 29

For the fanatics looking to be one of the first to have the iPhone, June 29th is the much awaited day when the iPhone hits the stores (only available at Apple and AT&T stores and on Apple and AT&T web sites). Lines are expected to be long, so better hurry and get there early (may be a couple of days early).

Neither AT&T nor Apple is accepting pre-orders for the phone, so it will be first-come, first served at more than 1,800 AT&T and nearly 200 Apple stores, plus the Apple website.

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Backlash on “Street View” is great publicity for Google Maps

Google maps has a new “Street View” that shows a street-level view of a location. It currently has panoramic views of miles of streets around San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, Miami and Denver.

These pictures were taken in real-life, so people that were nearby when the camera was passing by are also captured in the photo (pictures are static and are not updated usually). Some of these pictures are damning (see below photo of a man entering an Adult Book Store)

Google Maps Street Views

 

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Will Apple sell 10 million iPhones in 2008?

The iPhone will be launched in the US in June, according to Steve Jobs, and given his bold prediction of selling 10 million iPhones in 2008, its now time to think whether this is achievable.

There’s plenty of opinion on whether Apple will sell 10 million iPhones in 2008. Alex Zaharov-Reutt in Why Apple will sell 10 million iPhones in 2008 thinks so, while Eric Zeman in Can Apple Really Sell 10 Million iPhones?, the Gizmodo article by Matt Buchanan Forbes Analyst: 10 Million iPhones? Good Luck, and Lance Davis in Why Apple won’t sell 10 million iPhones in 2008 doubt it.

The question is, what will it take to sell 10 million iPhones in 2008?

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Blockbuster, Best Buy to offer online movie downloads

Apparently Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer had told industry analysts that Best Buy and Blockbuster are set to enter the growing movie download business during a conference call yesterday (see Studio CEO: Blockbuster, Best Buy to launch movie download services). While neither company has officially announced it, this is how Feltheimer spilled the bean “We have nearly a dozen active agreements in place for digital delivery of our content with such major players as Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Blockbuster, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart, with more to follow”.

Full length movie downloads will take many hours to download at current broadband speeds) – but this is the future. But in the meantime, Netflix, Walmart, and Amazon (among others) already offer online movie downloads, so retailers have to respond or risk losing business (remember how Blockbuster lost in-store customers to Netflix’s mail-in DVDs).

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Is Microsoft’s patent claims a real threat to open source?

Microsoft claims that Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) like Linux, which runs a big chunk of corporate America, violates 235 of its patents. In a recent interview with Fortune, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith and licensing chief Horacio Gutierrez alleged that FOSS infringes on no fewer than 235 Microsoft patents.

According to Fortune, they further allege that the Linux kernel, which is the brain behind the Linux system and the core component common to all Linux variants, violates 42 Microsoft patents, while its user interface and other design elements infringe on a further 65. OpenOffice.org, the open source alternative to the Microsoft Office Suite, is accused of infringing 45, e-mail programs of violating 15, and other software programs/apps of infringing on 68 Microsoft patents.

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