Archive for December 24th, 2006

The next big thing in VoIP business is SIP2Skype

There are over 50 million SIP users today. This is the open protocol that it’s widely adopted by the tech industry; it’s a hit in the Enterprise market too. Well, bad luck for SIP and its divided & semi-incompatible community, because Skype has 136 million registered users. Skype is the natural choice for desktop users today.

The next big idea for a startup is to try to bridge the two different services (at least one-way). The idea is this: they register a domain name (e.g. www.sip2skype.com) and they install a SIP server in there. In the meantime, their engineers are reverse engineering Skype’s protocol by creating a library that is able to place a call to the Skype network and hang up correctly. The startup must create about 100 Skype accounts (”lines”), and then change their Alias skype names on demand via their library, so when a SIP client is connected to the Skype network, his name is changing on the Skype side (so the Skype user can recognize the SIP caller). Then, they tunnel all this to Skype and they make it work with their SIP server. Then, they let any SIP user to use their SIP server for free: each time a SIP user dials with his SIP client sip:skype_username@sip2skype.com, they will be automatically ringing on a Skype handset/client!

Of course, Skype Ltd might not like this, because right now SIP is their big enemy. But they don’t seem to bother by other SIP-2-skype solutions like this one (the problem with this solution is that the skype user must have this utility installed, otherwise they can’t get called by SIP users). Another idea would be to give Skype a share of your profits so they don’t disable your ~100 accounts. When a SIP user is trying to connect to a Skype user, you play to them a 15 sec ad before you connect them. That’s how you make money. IMHO, there is a big market for it. There are many forum posts online about people trying to call Skype to Gizmo and the other way around… But of course, it requires some strong brains to reverse engineer Skype. If you don’t have the brains, find the money from a VC and license the damn thing.

Ok, time to go grill some lamb chops for dinner. L8r.

Random stuff

At last, today was the first time I made a successful Clafoutis (french dessert). All the previous times I tried ended up in a disaster because as I later realized, I was using frozen cherries. This time JBQ bought some (fresh but very expensive) cherries, and I retried. It was delicious.

My JBQ has the cold. I am pretty sure that it’s a matter of time before I contract it too. I am not looking forward spending Christmas being sick. I got a roast duck to prepare for Christmas lunch!

Damien Sandras (the Ekiga maintainer) today helped me out configuring the Nokia E61 with Ekiga. He had knowledge of the URL of an open SIP proxy and he trustily shared it with me (no, I am not going to reveal it). His trick worked, so now I have Ekiga up and running on the phone. Works well. Hopefully, a solution will be found soon so all E61 users can use Ekiga…

It’s my name day today. Name days are traditionally more important than birthdays in Greece. I got a massage office chair as a present from my JBQ and I am loving it. My mother and grandmother called me already for best wishes, my brother will be calling later.

Mmm, what else… let’s see… I need to fix 3 teeth. I am not looking forward to going to a dentist… I hate dentists.

Regarding my general health, is as bad as always. The medication my doctor suggested months ago for my stomach didn’t have any effect. Sometimes I feel that our understanding in medicine is still in medieval levels. Modern science is able to fix quite a lot of symptoms, but very rarely actually they find the source.

Why we do the things we do

I am eating shit from zealots of all OSes (windows, osx, linux, bsd, beos etc) for over 6 years now because I speak my mind on my blog or on editorials and comments on osnews (and back in the day, on benews). Readers can not comprehend that editors actually have opinions, and strong opinions at that. I became infamous mostly in the BeOS and Linux community because I kept writing and saying things the way I see them: as raw as I could. People prefer editors to be politically correct and to wrap anything bad they have to say in sugar. But that’s not me. So after a few years (as I have blogged in the past about it in detail) I got burned out and left OSNews (I only contribute occassionally for the past 1.5 years).

Now that Thom got my place, he gets all the shit in the world instead of me. While we don’t always agree on everything with Thom, he reminded me of myself in many levels. Always ready for a good fight, and also ready to protect his opinion. He is able to see clearly about some things in the industry, and I liked that. So, I gave him the job. Now he is being accused of “being anti-Linux” (while he is using Linux as his main OS daily), of being “anti-Mac” (after having owned two Macs), of “being anti-gnome” (don’t forget that I am the maintainer of gnomefiles.org), or “being writing controversial articles in order to drive ad revenue” (while no one gets paid on osnews). Thom gets exactly what I was getting for years. I don’t know for how long he will last this war towards him, a war by people who don’t want their lovely world get shuttered by some editor of a news site. They will close their eyes and live in the bliss of whatever they believe in, and they will fight with all their strength so their Utopian world never gets destroyed, or other potential new OS users who might be reading Thom’s opinions don’t get baffled. These people want to preserve the status quo, while we want to shake it.

Someone might ask, if you know that you will get all this shit from people, why do you keep writing controversial editorials? Well, I don’t know about Thom, but here is why I do it:

1. I have strong opinions about things and I feel like expressing them when I know I am right about some things. OSNews has a special section called “Editorials”, where EVERYONE (not just the editors) can submit long opinion articles for publication. We have published many controversial articles over the years written by readers, sometimes articles that we, the editors, didn’t really agree with. But we did so anyway because that’s why the section exists.

2. Because I am a perfectionist. Where people see a “great Gnome/kde/osx/vista desktop”, I see an unpolished and unintegrated desktop. I want things to work out of the box, I want things to work well, and I want to find the feature I need exactly where I expect it to find it. No, I am not a feature creep, neither I don’t understand how OSS works, but the point remains, I am a perfectionist when it comes to software. Bugs, ugliness, usability issues, driver issues etc are IRKING me beyond belief. In fact, I might start shouting how BAD a software is, and forget to write its good points. Not because I am biased against it, but because the bad points OVERWHELM me as a user. This is the reason why in the last year I only care about gadgets and not OSes (I don’t give a shit about OSes anymore — I have never experienced recent Vista builds for example and I never installed the betas Apple sent me). Gadgets are aimed towards Joe/Jane User and therefore they have a very strong sense of usability, plus they are simpler, and so applying usability standards and bug fixing is easier. So I prefer using a phone that works well — as I expect it to– rather than using a complex OS/desktop that has a garabazillion bugs and usability issues in it.

3. Because hopefully, the article will create such a stir, that usually the developers eventually LISTEN and they fix the things we shout about. This has happened again and again and again the last few years via my reviews and editorials. Developers will just shrug off my bug reports, I will just burn them alive publicly, and what do you know: next day they have the feature implemented or the bug fixed. I can do that, so I do it — if that’s what it takes to get their damn asses moving. Immoral you say? Not at all!

4. Because being infamous is more fun than being famous. I don’t want to be “popular”, I want to think different instead and always try to see the big picture on things.

I stand by my opinions 100%, even if I don’t have the ability to express myself in English as well as other bloggers or journalists do. This has created a lot of misunderstandings over the years, but the funny thing is that when I usually got face to face with some people that were violently disagreed with my articles, we actually found that we… agreed!