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Wireless Utopia

The journey towards a free wireless world.

Toktumi: The Skype killer?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

There's a new VoIP kid on the block: Toktumi. I have been using it since it came out of private beta few weeks back. To put it in easy terms, its Skype + a free SkypeIn number + free voicemail. There's something similar to SkypeOut as well but the pricing is more like a monthly rental + call charges. The call charges are not laid out (5cents to most phones) so a side by side comparison cannot be done. But it should be competitive, given the state of VoIP minutes market. Whats more, it provides a USB adapter to which you can connect your normal phone to.

Their system is differs significantly from Skype though. The website claims that its P2P PBX which sounds like a bunch of Asterisk servers which are peered together on the internet for load balancing. Looks like that the PC is not invovled in routing other's traffic through your system. Contrast that to Skype where any PC can become a super node if its in a good bandwidth environment. The other thing about this approach is that QoS can be monitored closely. Which eventually improves the call quality. The approach certainly has mertis on its own. But can it be cost effective is the question.

The soft client is breeze to install and use. The interface is more traditional compared to Skype which is more IM'ish. After using it for a few weeks, it found some annoyances about it though. For example, it does not startup minimized: you have to close it and then click ok on the message box which pops up. Another feature lacking is that there's no way to set the ringer to your PC's speaker. So if you are using a headset and a call come's in, you are in a bit of trouble if you are not on your PC.

So can it really take on Skype? Skype is superstar of VoIP services today. It has been going through a bad patch recently, with troubles at the top. But a little competition in this market would not do any harm. As the founder of Toktumi, Peter Sission says on his blog, entrepreneurs can still challenge Skype. It remains to be seen whether Toktumi can be as viral a hit as Skype was. But I would still recommend this service. Especially if you are small buiness owner or working out of home. Or if you are looking for a free US number as me. :)

Tags: Toktumi, Skype, VoIP, Asterisk.
posted by Rajiv, 2:03 AM | link | 0 comments |

Howto Record Skype Calls

Friday, March 14, 2008

A video tutorial on howto record Skype calls using Call Graph.



You can download the application from here.

http://www.callgraph.in

Its completely free and without any restrictions. Happy recording!

Tags: CallGraph, Skype, Beta Software, Howto, Tutorial.
posted by Rajiv, 5:53 AM | link | 5 comments |

Wireless In Goa

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I recently took off to Goa for a break. I was visiting after a gap of two years and was alone this time around. Here're some notes I made during the trip.

Twitter is definitely a great tool for lonely travelers. Here's my archive. I used it throughout the trip to post updates. The only thing it lacked was a easy way to upload your photos directly from the phone. Would have been great! Still I could not figure out why its the hottest thing right now in the valley. Maybe because its one way traffic for me. With more friends following and more interaction, I can see the point.

The GPRS service worked flawlessly through out. I used Airtel Mobile Office. The last time I was in Goa, Airtel did not have its own network. It used Idea's network there. And the SMS's I sent to activate the service would not reach Airtel since I was roaming. This time it just worked. It was slow and painful, but it worked. Even in the beach shacks. And into the sea. I was missing my Nokia Tablet. Would have been perfect for the trip.

The surprising thing was that GPRS never broke down on the road! I took a bus (KSRTC Volvo) and I was checking my mails from some obscure places deep in South India. Gives you a kick when you can do that. And speaks volumes on how the mobile operators are moving aggressively into the rural areas in India. Good job Airtel!

Another interesting this was the availability of Cell Id everywhere. It kind of gave me an sense of where I was on the road. And I had an eureka moment. How about a mashup between Google Maps and an mobile app which records the Cell Id as you go along. I would be able to trace the route of the journey which I'd really like to because the bus made the trip in 14 hours flat (fastest ever in all my 5 trips till date) and I want to know the route. It would also be able to tell me how far I am from the destination next time around. And it would also record which places I had been to during my trip which again would be a nice thing to show off to my friends. Better still have a Facebook app for it, spam your friends with it and get back at them for ditching me. :) Would be a nice weekend hacking project. Anyone up for it?

I am really glad that I have integrated all my mail id's (around 5 in total) into Gmail with mail fetcher. It was a lifesaver. The J2ME app for GMail worked flawlessly I was able to check all my accounts at one place. Thank you Google.

Goa is still a very cheap deal. For a comparison a KF pint is for 40 bucks. So is Old Monk quarter. The food in the shacks is just great, especially the sea food. Reasonably priced. The Condolim, Calangute, Baga stretch must have over 200 beach shacks. So lots of choice.

Surprisingly I saw very few iPod's or iPhones in Goa. Most of the tourists in Goa were European. But still no iPods at all. Forget about laptops. Did not sight a single one. Maybe because of complete lack of WiFi hotspots. But this time I did find a place which offers WiFi. Its called The Indian Kitchen (98221 49615), off Calangute Baga Road. Five minutes walk from the beach and not very expensive. They had a broadband connection and charges were Rs. 100 per day for WiFi. So thats where I'm gonna stay the next time. :)

Finally, the KSRTC Volvo bus service rocks! I recommend it highly.

The only thing I did in there was drink, eat and sleep. In that order. And man, it was soooo good. Its the best place to unwind and relax.

Tags: Goa, Wireless, Travel
posted by Rajiv, 7:50 AM | link | 5 comments |