Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Google Voice and Gizmo5 - The future of voice.

In March 2009, Google released a preview of Google Voice, an application that helps you better manage your voice communications. The Google Voice service is currently invitation only and will be its next big step in Unified Communications for Google.

The Google Voice application improves the way you use your phone. Google Voice offers a host of great features, including a single number to ring your home, work, and mobile phones, a central voicemail inbox that you could access on the web, and the ability to screen calls by listening in live as callers leave a voicemail. You also can get transcripts of your voicemail and archive and search all of the SMS text messages you send and receive. You can also use the service to make low priced international calls and easily access Goog-411 directory assistance.

The full feature description can be found here: https://www.google.com/voice/about

For the past few months, WebCanDo engineers have been testing the Google Voice system and we have been impressed with its functionality and features. We found that a single number and unified voicemail is an excellent way to manage your voice calls. The control panel is easy to navigate, the system settings and initial setup are simple. You can add multiple phones, we have tested up to 6 phones that can be integrated. You can add your mobile phone, work, home, and an IP phone. We have also tested the free IP phone client from Gizmo5.

The Gizmo5 phone service is a proprietary SIP freeware soft phone. Unlike Skype, the Gizmo5 network uses open standards for call management, Session Initiation Protocol and XMPP. Gizmo5 uses several proprietary codecs, and like Skype, the Gizmo5 client is closed source software. A Gizmo5 Call in number is sold for $ 35 per year, which is all that is needed. We found a free workaround by dialing ** on your Gizmo5 softphone. You are assigned a 747 number. Since Gizmo5 is based on SIP, it can interoperate with other SIP-based networks. That is where Google Voice comes in.

For inbound calls, the Google Voice service allows you to add the Gizmo5 IP call in number and add it as a device. If someone dials our Google Voice number it places inbound calls to our Gizmo IP phone and all other devices loaded in our Google Voice account. You can set your devices to ring on set schedules like weekdays or weekends only.

For outbound calls, the Google Voice service allows you to determine which device you would like to initiate the call, you can select any device to make the call, it can be your mobile, work, home, or your IP service. The Google Voice service will make the call and bridge the call to the selected device for you. Currently, all Google Voice lines offer unlimited local and domestic long distance service for free. The international service is currently an additional cost, but they do give you .10 cents to test the functionality. Combined with Gizmo5 this service can eliminate the need for a local phone line and your Google Voice service can become your primary line. The advent of the newer headsets and speakerphones that work with SIP softphones to make the Google Voice service an effective value play.

AT&T and Apple have recently blocked the Google Voice service on Iphone devices. The two companies definately see Google as a potential threat. AT&T has everything to lose as its local phone business would be greatly impacted with the launch of a full scale rollout of Google Voice. The wireless business would also lose its international calls as rates for Google Voice are inexpensive as compared to AT&T and Verizon. A call from a mobile phone using AT&T and Verizon Wireless is $ 1.49 to Italy to a landline phone and only .02 with Google Voice, a huge savings.

AT&T says it has absolutely nothing to do with Apple's rejection of Google Voice for the iPhone. The rejection and banning of other Google Voice apps has even led to an FCC investigation. Reuters interviewed Jim Cicconi, AT&T senior executive vice president for external and legislative affairs, who said "Let me state unequivocally, AT&T had no role in any decision by Apple to not accept the Google Voice application for inclusion in the Apple App Store," He also added "AT&T was not asked about the matter by Apple at any time, nor did it offer any view one way or the other," Cicconi provided the statement, accompanying a response to a regulatory inquiry into the rejection of Google's voice application by Apple.

Google Voice will definate shape the future of voice, both mobile and landline. The positive press that Google Voice has captured with the beta will all be based on its ability to offer Number Portability. Today you are issued a new phone number when you sign up for Google Voice. But we’ve confirmed that a number of people have ported their existing phone numbers to Google (Google uses Level3 to handle phone numbers and porting). Google is only testing the service for now, but we’ve heard from a source inside Google that they plan to roll out number portability as a general feature later this year.

Once that happens, it will be a matter of time to see how Google Voice and Gizmo5 impacts the future of voice. We bet on Google.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Network Solutions Hacked, Thousands of Merchants and Cardholders at Risk

A data breach at Internet domain administrator and web host Network Solutions has compromised personal and financial data for more than 500,000 credit and debit cardholders. To add more pain to the breach, Network Solutions says it was PCI compliant at the time of the breach.

The breach was discovered in June, was the result of hackers planting rogue code on the company's Web servers used to host mostly small online stores, intercepting financial transactions between the sites and their customers. No further explanation of how the rogue code made its way onto the company's servers was available from Network Solutions. Network Solutions communications representative has no comment due to of the ongoing law enforcement investigation. Compromised data was captured between March - June in 2009, when the breach was discovered.

The last PCI assessment and certification of Network Solutions' networks was completed on October 31, 2008, as per Network Solutions spokesperson Susan Wade. The firm that performed the assessment was the Payment Software Company, a San Jose, CA-based qualified security assessor company.

The 4,000+ ecommerce merchant customers were notified of the breach on Friday, July 24, via an email and a letter sent via US postal service. Network Solutions provides service to more than 10,000 merchant websites. The ecommerce customers are mainly small businesses, mostly "Mom and Pop" type retailers spread geographically across the country. Wade says that Network Solutions has offered them help in contacting their affected customers. Of the compromised data, no fraud has been reported thus far by the four major credit card brands.

Network Solutions has hired TransUnion, a credit reporting agency, to work with it on behalf of its merchants, to contact their customers whose data may have been affected.
Affected merchants can visit www.careandprotect.com, the website Network Solutions set up for them to get more information.

PCI Security Council Weighs In

Just because a company has passed its compliance validation, it doesn't mean that the need for vigilance of security measures should stop, says PCI Security Standards Council General Manager Bob Russo. As for whether Network Solutions was PCI-compliant at the time of the breach, Russo notes, "Until a forensics investigation is completed, an organization can not comment accurately on its compliance status."

The announcement a data breach at Network Solutions underscores the necessity for ongoing vigilance of an organization's security measures, he adds. "Security doesn't stop with PCI compliance validation. As the Council has said many times, it is not enough to validate compliance annually and not adopt security into an organization's ongoing business practices," Russo states. A card data environment is under constant threat, so businesses must ensure their safeguards are also under constant vigilance - "monitoring and where necessary, ongoing improvement. A layered approach to security is absolutely necessary to protect sensitive payment card data - without ongoing vigilance or a comprehensive security strategy, organizations may be just a change control away from noncompliance," he says.

Validation to the principles and practices mandated in the PCI DSS plays an integral part in an organization's security posture, but basic monitoring and logging cannot be set aside after a security assessment is complete, Russo stresses. "Reports by forensics companies suggest that this is an area of weakness among organizations," he says. "An intrusion need not result in card data compromise if an organization is following the 12 guiding requirements of the PCI Data Security Standard."

WebCanDo offers a PCI compliance review service that will ensure your cardholder data and your merchant services are protected.

Sprint Wireless Broadband: Ranked #1 in reliability by EVERY major third party comparison in the past year.

By Denny Nunez - (Sprint Nextel)

More and more of our clients are looking to migrate their mission critical wired data connections to Fixed-wireless solutions. The main drivers for this are flexibility, decreased time to market, and potential cost saving versus low speed landline alternatives such as frame relay circuits. One of the key selection criteria in choosing a wireless data provider is connection reliability. Wireless Data Coverage does not do much good if it is not consistent and reliable.
Verizon claims that they have the most reliable wireless broadband network. Sprint claims we have the most dependable wireless broadband network. “Sounds like we are saying the same thing”. Who is truly the most dependable or reliable?

The most unbiased way to find out is to look at trusted 3rd party tests based on sound scientific sampling methodologies.

Imagine if McDonalds started to advertise that they make the best hamburgers in America. Imagine they say this claim is based on McDonalds hiring their own Market Surveyors (who receive a W-2 directly from McDonalds) and come to the conclusion after trying the hamburgers from Burger King, Wendy’s and others, that their employer, McDonalds makes the best hamburgers! (Surprise!)

Far fetched? No brand name company would ever do something so obviously biased and expect the public to believe it?

Verizon’s Most Reliable Claim

Let’s take a closer look at the testing methodology that is behind Verizon’s claim of having the most reliable network. See This Verizon press release which reveals what is behind their most reliable network claim:


“Verizon Wireless’ team of real-life test men and test women drove more than 1 million miles in 2008 – the equivalent of two roundtrips to the moon or 40 trips around the world – to test the company’s and competitors’ networks. Data collected by these test men and women, who inspired Verizon Wireless’ iconic national advertising campaign, helped the company direct its multi-billion dollar network capital expenditure program and is the basis for the company’s “most reliable network” claim.”

Huh? So Verizon employed drivers in Verizon owned test vans with Verizon owned test gear decided that Verizon has the most reliable wireless data network!

Luckily, in the past year at least 6 independent reports have been released comparing the major wireless data carriers. They are all from trusted 3rd party sources such as Gizmodo, PC World, DSL Reports, Mobile Broadband Reviews, and the company behind our most Dependable Data Network Claim – Nielsen Mobile. 100% of these trusted 3rd party reports come to the same conclusions: Sprint has the most reliable data network!

1) Gizmodo
Coast to Coast 3G Data Test
“Sprint is a serious contender in almost any location—and should be taken seriously as a 3G and 4G data service provider”

2) PC World: A Day in the Life of 3G
“Sprint's results lent credence to its 'most dependable' claim…The Sprint network performed especially well, both in speed and in reliability, in our test cities”

3) DataOutages.com:
Sprint - Fewest data service outages of any major wireless provider

4) DSLReports.com
Wireless Broadband Review

Sprint Ranked #1 in Reliability among major wireless data providers

5) Novarum
Performance of Cellular Data Networks
“Sprint offered the highest performance with the greatest availability… For both ATT and Verizon, in about 25% of the locations with service - we could not get 3G service but rather fell
back to 2G service”

6) MobileBroadband-Reviews.com
2009 Wireless Broadband Comparison
Sprint Wireless Data Ranked #1 For Coverage and Reliability.
“ The following is not an overstatement. Sprint mobile broadband is one of the best 3G services you'll find out on the market right now. If you're a Wireless Broadband Exposed reader, you already know that they have the largest and best mobile broadband coverage. In addition to that, their average mobile broadband speed is better than Verizon and AT&T in a number of cities.”

EVERY single independent study I have seen that objectively looks at wireless data services comes to the same conclusion: Sprint has the best wireless data network and the most reliable wireless data network in the country.

We can proudly tell our customers: If reliability matters, choose the wireless data network found to be the most reliable by every major third party report. Choose Sprint Wireless Broadband.

Friday, May 22, 2009

More wireless commercials to be fair.

We received a number of submissions of funny commercials from people touting their wireless carriers, so to be fair we added these commercials for AT&T and Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. So the wireless funny commercial competitition begins. Select your favorite.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Does it pay to buy a Netbook?

A netbook is a small portable laptop computer designed for wireless communication and access to the Internet. The netbook is designed for limited uses such as web browsing and e-mailing, netbooks rely heavily on the Internet and wifi for remote access to applications and are targeted increasingly at users who require a less powerful computer, most netbooks are priced in the $300 to $600 range at full retail.

In recent months, major wireless carriers are facing a slow down in wireless growth and are now subsizing inexpensive netbooks for for future growth. AT&T and Verizon Wireless are selling HP netbooks for as low as $199 with a two year wireless data contract at $40 per month or $59.99 per month. AT&T subscribers who sign up for a two year service agreement can purchase an Acer netbook for as little as $50, but they must agree to a $60 a month for 5 gigabytes of wireless service.

The carriers want to sell the netbooks the same way AT&T sells Apple's iPhone, by subsidizing the device and re-cooping the costs with contracts for wireless data plans. Business Week reported that AT&T announced that by midsummer it would broaden its own netbook experiment to all its stores nationwide, offering Dell, Acer, or Lenovo products. Using a subsized netbook and wireless plan averages $ 1,500 over the course of a two year agreement.

Verizon is selling the HP Mini 1151NR netbook equipped with the 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270, 1GB of RAM, an 80GB HDD, two USB 2.0 ports, 802.11b/g, SD slot, 10.1 inch screen and Windows XP and of course a 3G EVDO card. You should note that all netbooks miss a DVD drive and have limited storage, so for heavy users they miss the mark.

The average low end laptop typically costs between $ 350 and $ 499. We recently found a full featured Compaq Presario laptop CQ60Z on the HP.com website on sale for $ 399, the laptop came with 2.1GHz AMD Sempron SI-42, 1GB of RAM, 160 GB of HDD, 15.6 inch HD Display, 801.11/b/g, three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI port, LAN port, external monitor port, SD/MS/PRO/MMC/XD slot, and Windows Vista Home Basic SP1 (32-bit).

The return on investment for a netbook would be based on how you plan on using the device. A road warrior who travels may consider a netbook, but can easily miss the features of a notebook. A light user who does not want to carry a large laptop would be the best candidate for a netbook. It is a matter of choice, yes. Is it practical, no.

With wifi now available at most hotels, airports, and shops it has become easier to connect to the web and Internet. Many broadband carriers, like Cablevision and Verizon will be offering wifi in thier coverage areas See More The expense for a carrier subsidized netbook becomes less of a value play and more of the cool device to have and an expensive proposition. Our opinion is stick with a laptop or notebook.

Friday, May 15, 2009

New Sprint commercial featuring Palm Pre

I know everyone is asking, when is the launch date of the Palm Pre? I can only say its coming any day now. Someone just sent me a link to a funny Sprint commercial featuring a Palm Pre at the end of the commercial, so I would be safe to bet my money the smartphone is coming sooner than later.

Sprint is betting big money on the Palm Pre to take subscribers away from the AT&T and the iphone. The web has some significant positive press and reports, and based on what I see on the Palm website, this phone could potentially make a big impact.

We can only wait and see what happens with the launch of the Pre, but based on the Sprint stock's performance this quarter from a measly $ 2.50 a share on Feb 12th to $ 5.33 on May 12th, a 213% rise that most people are betting that this smartdevice could actually do the trick and kick off a comeback.

Take a look at the video, dust off your sleeping bag and prepare to wait on the line in front of the Sprint store.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Can the iPhone hurt AT&T?

The success of the iPhone has helped AT&T move to the top of the list for wireless carriers by selling millions of Apple's cool iPhone smartphone devices. The new revenue has added billions of dollars to AT&T's revenue and has helped the carrier rack millions in profit.

Can there be trouble selling so many I-Phones? The Wall Street Journal has recently reported that the I-Phone is putting a strain on the AT&T Wireless network. The iPhone itself is the most expensive device for AT&T, due to the rich revenue sharing contract with Apple. Add in the equipment subsidies on the initial purchase price and the tack on the cost to operate the data network for such a bandwidth intensive smartdevice, this all adds up to a questionable ROI for AT&T.

IPhone users download games, videos and other internet content at three to four times the rate of other PDA users, according to independent studies. A popular game Myst, uses 727 megabytes of data to download. Currently, AT&T charges IPhone subscribers the same data rate of $30 per month for mobile web access as all other customers, aside from restricting activities, like file sharing, AT&T does not restrict how much data can be downloaded using an iPhone, making the iphone a costly device to operate on its network.

As the number of I-Phone customers grows combined with the resulting growth in internet mobile web downloads (over 1 billion as of April 2009) will begin to cause extensive strain on AT&T's core data network. AT&T will have to expand its network and add capacity to support the data consumption of its iPhone users.

In the race to compete for subscribers, the question "is this subscriber profitable" has now been lost in the shuffle. How does AT&T re-coop investments made to support these customers? AT&T will be further pressured to compete with Verizon and Sprint as they all make large capital investments for 4G technologies and attempt to increase capacity tenfold. Who pays for this capacity? The current data pricing structure will have to increase in the near term to support its growth in data.

AT&T currently offers unlimited data plans to customers because most wireless users prefer a fixed cost model and many users would reconsider purchasing a phone in which they have to monitor their usage to avoid hefty charges. A price increase on unlimited data plans might also cause strain on churn, as there is heavy competition these days and smaller competitors like Sprint that have the Palm Pre as an alternative to the iphone and that can lure customers away.

Apple and AT&T are rumored to be nearing a contract expiration date and AT&T is reportably expected to reduce the cost of its contract by $10 each month to hang on to the exclusive agreement with Apple, so more bad news for AT&T. From this perspective, AT&T may have bitten off more than it could chew and only time will tell if the iphone helped or hurt AT&T.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Verizon to launch WiFi Hot Spot Router and Free WiFi Service

Verizon Wireless is ready to launch a Wi-Fi enabled hot spot device called the MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot. The carrier, which used to advertise the benefits of its mobile data network over Wi-Fi, plans to start selling a Wi-Fi-enabled device that lets customers share Internet connectivity.

The device lets customers share Internet connectivity as long as one person is hooked up to the Verizon 3G network. The device acts as a personal Wi-Fi cloud, accommodating up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices, including notebooks, netbooks, cameras, gaming devices or portable media/MP3 players. The device is small enough to fit in a pocket, and it weighs just over 2 ounces, according to a Verizon spokeswoman. It includes integrated internal CDMA and Wi-Fi antennas, security and authentication. When one device is connected through Wi-Fi, the MiFi 2200’s rechargeable battery provides up to four hours of active use and 40 hours of standby time on a single charge.
The MiFi 2200 will go on sale on May 17 for $99.99 after a $50 rebate and new two-year agreement. Price plans range from $40 a month to $60 a month. Customers also can get a day pass for $15 when the device is purchased at full retail price without a monthly service plan.
Verizon Communications Inc. is also planning to offer free Wi-Fi access at hotspots to subscribers to its home broadband services, according to informed sources. The company is in talks with Boingo, a startup that counts former EarthLink founder Sky Dayton as chairman, to deliver the access. Discussions are in the early stages, and Verizon is uncertain about particulars like whether users would have free access only in their regions or nationwide. The service may launch as soon as the summer, according to reports.

The move comes as more users are turning to mobile devices like cell phones and laptops to connect to the Internet. Some Verizon rivals, meanwhile, already provide subscribers to their home broadband services free access at wifi hot spots. AT&T Inc., the country’s second largest cell phone company, offers broadband subscribers free wifi access at hotspots. Cable operator Cablevision Systems Corp. rolled out a wifi network available for free to broadband subscribers in its Long Island, NY footprint last year.

Boingo’s network of Wi-Fi hotspots – which includes more than 100,000 locations around the world – will be available to both Verizon FiOS and DSL broadband subscribers. Boingo charges users $9.95 a month for access at North American hotspots, such as airports, cafes and restaurants. Verizon would likely offer Boingo service to its DSL and FiOS subscribers. Verizon and Boingo would not comment on the potential partnership.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Google Chrome browser Can it beat IE and Firefox?

We have been testing the new Google Chrome browser and so far the application has its positives and negatives.

Google now directly competes against Microsoft and Firefox and with the release of its new web browser, Chrome. The browser is a small and fast applications that is not full featured as IE or Firefox, but it makes up for it with its speed. Chrome has received a tremendous amount of press and reviewes and lives up to the hype by creating a whole new idea in web browsing using clever and convenient changes that make browsing the web faster than Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 or Mozilla's Firefox 3.

The software is only available for download for Windows Vista and XP, but Google plans to expand Chrome to Mac and Linux platforms as well. The installation of the Chrome browser is easy and fast and Chrome automatically detects the current web browser you use and prompts you through the process of installation. When you first run the application, Chrome imports your bookmarks, passwords, and settings from Firefox or Internet Explorer. It even can grab username and password data, and it automatically populates those fields for you when you use Chrome for the first time to visit any sites, so startup is a snap.

After running through the installation, Chrome opens and immediately you begin to experience the internet in a new way. Chrome's layout is very simple. You will see a row of tabs that runs along the top, a web address bar, and a bookmarks bar that runs beneath the address bar. A separate recent bookmarks box appears at the right of the screen. No Google Toolbar which is a big miss.

Like all Google products, Chrome has a remarkably minimalist client. There is no full-scale menu bar and no title bar and few distractions. All controls are buried beneath two icons to the right of the address bar. A page icon for managing tabs and using Google Gears to create application like shortcuts from your desktop to a Web site; and a wrench for history, downloads, and other browser options.

You can set your own home page, or you can use the most visited sites page as your starting point. This page provides thumbnail images of your most frequently visited sites, shows recent bookmarks, and supplies a search field for searching your page history. You can change your default search engine. This option is located beneath the wrench icon, under Options . Chrome's design bridges the gap between desktop and the new term "cloud computing." At the touch of a button, Chrome lets you make a desktop, Start menu, or QuickLaunch shortcut to any web page or Web application, blurring the line between what's online and what's inside your PC.

For example, you can create a desktop shortcut for applications like Google Maps. When you create a shortcut for a Web application, Chrome strips all of the toolbars and tabs from the window, leaving you with something that feels much more like a desktop application than like a Web application or page. It needs some work as the lack of forward and back buttons means that if you browse between pages in a saved web application you may find yourself a little confused if you want to go back a page. Chrome does let you right-click to navigate backward, but its an extra step.

Search is an integral part of Chrome; and Google has added some great features to make searching the internet easier. Chrome goes beyond its competition by searching your browser history's page titles as well page content. The history results show the title of the page, as well as a thumbnail representation of the page, but it doesn't show the actual Web page address. The lack of URL information can make it difficult to identify the specific Web page you're going to, especially if the site's title bar description is not specific.

Chrome includes a number of features that appear in other browsers, such as a private browsing mode, tools for web developers to use in viewing and troubleshooting source code, and the ability to restore all tabs from a previous session. Chrome also features tab isolation: If a Web page causes a problem with Chrome and leads to a crash, the crash will affect only the tab displaying the page and not the whole program. Internet Explorer 8 will offer a similar feature, but Chrome takes the idea a step further by adding a task manager that gives the user an idea of how much memory and CPU use a page is eating up, and by allowing you to kill anything that is causing a problem.

Chrome features a bookmarks manager and uses a two-pane layout: The left-hand pane displays folders of bookmarks, and the right-hand pane shows the contents of bookmark folders. A search field is in the upper-right corner of the bookmarks manager window, and results appear as you type.

By default, Chrome will not restore your session; if Chrome crashes, it takes everything with it unless you manually configure the browser to act otherwise. In contrast, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 automatically restore your previous session in the event of a failure. Sites visited that run JavaScript and Ajax work fine, but Microsoft's Silverlight does not support Chrome at this time, even though it works with Safari, which uses the same WebKit browser engine as Chrome.

Google has produced an excellent browser that is friendly enough to handle average browsing activities without complicating the tasks, but at the same time is powerful enough to meet the needs of advanced users. I would definately recommend you test drive Chrome and see if it works for you as an alternative, the big bonus is the boost in page load speed.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Samsung to launch Google Android Handsets

Samsung is preparing to introduce several new devices that will use the Google Android code. Samsung confirmed Monday at CTIA that it will roll out its first device based on Google's mobile platform in June. A Samsung spokesperson said that only one handset using Google's Android operating system will hit the market somewhere outside the U.S. and would not "confirm or deny" two possible domestic devices rumored for release later this year. The Samsung spokesperson would not disclose the location of the impending international launch.

In an interview with Forbes magazine, Won Pyo Hong, EVP of product strategy in the company's mobile communication division said "Samsung plans to release several Google Android devices this year" and "Samsung's first Android phone is slated to launch in June outside of the United States".

Android is a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications. As of today only one device introduced by T-mobile, HTC and Google runs on the Android platform. http://code.google.com/android/

The two other phones will most likely be carried by Sprint and T-Mobile, as they are the only U.S. operators that belong to the Open Handset Alliance. The Open Handset Alliance is a group of 47 technology and mobile companies devoted to commercial deployment of handsets and services using the Google Android platform.

Bloomberg News recently reported that Sprint executives are now considering Android for its product lineup. "We believe in the vision for Android, so we want to see it get bigger and get healthy," said Kevin Packingham, Sprint’s vice president of products and devices. "We can, when the timing’s right, pull the trigger."

Due to operator preferences, the two U.S. Android phones will look "totally different," Hong told Forbes. In contrast, Samsung plans to deliver one Android phone, at least initially, to European consumers. "In Europe, you can launch one common device with several carriers," he noted.

Hong also said, that its carrier partners are content with the timing. "We are launching Android devices later than HTC, but in terms of our commitments with carriers, there is no delay at all."

Thursday, April 2, 2009

AT&T Strike Looms this Weekend

April 2, 2009 - AT&T unions and employees approximately 125,000 workers are poised to walk off the job on Saturday at midnite. AT&T employees are threatening a possible strike for several issues regarding employee wages, retiree benefits and healthcare. A critical issue is the company wants union workers to pay more for healthcare costs.

The workers who may strike are the AT&T call center and service representatives who take your calls about landlines service and wireless phones service would not be affected.
At&T management is preparing for the contingency plans. "We have been planning for the possible strike for some time and we are very prepared," said a company representative.

Communications Workers of America(CWA) workers have recently gone on strike before. It was five years ago, and eventually, they came to an agreement. The latest agreement is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday.

A spokesperson with AT&T says it is a competitive market right now and these are tough economic times, but the company is committed to negotiating a contract with good wages and benefits.

Both sides would like to prevent a strike and say a contract extension, while they continue negotiating, is possible.

Unified Instant Message and Chat with Pidgin

We have been using a competent instant messaging application to communicate with of our contacts, customers and colleagues and found that chat is an indispensible tool. After a review of several applications we found one application called Pidgin that was entirely unique which lets you log in to accounts on multiple chat networks simultaneously. This means that you can be chatting with friends on MSN, talking to a friend on Google Talk, and sitting in a Yahoo chat room all at the same time.

Pidgin runs on Windows, Linux, and other UNIX operating systems. Pidgin is compatible with the following chat networks out of the box: AIM, ICQ, Google Talk, Jabber/XMPP, MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, IRC, Novell GroupWise Messenger, QQ, Lotus Sametime, SILC, SIMPLE, MySpaceIM, and Zephyr.

It can support many more with plugins. Pidgin supports many features of these chat networks, such as file transfers, away messages, buddy icons, custom smilies, and typing notifications. Numerous plugins also extend Pidgin's functionality above and beyond the standard features.
Pidgin integrates with the system tray on Windows, GNOME2, and KDE 3.1.
We were also impressed with the Pidgin-Encryption plugin that encrypts conversations using stored RSA keys, so security isnt compromised.

Pidgin is under constant development as the code is open source and community driven. Releases are usually frequent and driven by user contributions, such as bug reports and patches.

Pidgin is free and contains no ads. The code is licensed under the GNU General Public License. This means you can get Pidgin's underlying code and modify it to suit your needs, as long as you publish the changes you make for everyone to benefit from as well.

So what was impressive and the clincher for our platform, is we communicate with team members in multiple countries, from India, China and Russia, so we needed an application that could support our team members using various languages. Pidgin is translated into 70 different languages, thanks to the generous contributions from volunteer translators.
So after the intensive search, we now have a new tool that can offer some major benefits to our enterprise. Try the Pidgin :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Outlook Hole - Spammers Sending Spam using Not Read Receipts

Spam comes in many flavors and the most common technique that spammers use known as spoofing. Basically, a spammer sends a bunch of spam and he adds a header that says that it is from you, so when that message gets rejected by the spam victims, all the bounce messages come back to you. Its a common issue that can become bothersome, but not really that dangerous.

A new variant has been identified where users suspect Outlook is actually sending the spam. Knowing that mail server logs never lie, our team started pouring through the SMTP logs. We identified that entries our outbound mail did in fact show that those messages had, indeed, been sent from our servers and IP addresses. And to top it off, they had been sent using SMTP authentication. In other words, something had used the end users computer and password to send this new type of spam.

We checked for a new infection or unknown spambots using every method in our Arsenal with no success and were surprised to find it was a bug in how Outlook 2003 and 2007 and how it responds to read receipt requests for junk email. The spammers found a new way to send mail to unknown domains without any notification nor without an entry in your SENT items folders.

Spam occasionally includes requests for read receipts. In some cases this is so the spammer can check for valid email addresses but most of the time it’s not intentional or the spammer just wants to be doubly annoying since the sender’s address is invalid and the read/not read receipt bounces back to the victim in the form of an NDR.

The issue has been reported to Microsoft as far back as December 2007, with no resolution.

We had to take action and investigate.
We had a user on our servers report this issue. After investigating the issue we did notice that Outlook 2003 and 2007 was causing this outbound SPAM. The headers were showing that the messages were passing the end users local Outlook accounts and spammers found a new way to infiltrate. They basically BCC a number of spam targets and send you the spam message with a read reciept enabled. Once the message arrives and it is Not Read or if your Spam program deletes the message Outlook sends the following

To: [BCC Target]
Subject: Not read: [Varying Subjects]
Body:Your message

To: [your address]
Subject: [Varying Subjects]
Sent: 9/25/2008 4:19 AM
was deleted without being read on 3/28/2009 12:16 AM.

***The FIX***
In Outlook 2003 and 2007, access Tracking settings. -- Tools, Options, Preferences, Email Options, Tracking Options. Select Use this Option to Decide how to Respond to Requests for Read Receipts. Select button Ask me before sending a response.Select OK

*** The TEST***
Remove Preview Pane by Selecting View Toggle Preview PaneSend a NEW test message to yourself and a backup email with ***Spam Test*** in Subject and Select Read Receipt. When the message arrives, highlight the message and delete. Emtpy Deleted Items Folder. The pop up will show to respond to the message. Check off the box to Not show this message again and select No to All. The read receipts response will not be sent and you will be protected.

Say hello to Google Apps http://www.google.com/a and give Microsoft the boot.

WebCanDo.com has a proven track record of providing creative designs, custom database applications, information architecture, e-marketing, software, and high availability hosting services to a wide range of industries and companies around the world. Our team are expert Google Apps professionals. http://webcando.com/apps.html

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Can the Palm Pre beat the Iphone?

The Palm Pre is an internet-connected multimedia smart phone designed and marketed by Palm, Inc. with a multi-touch screen and a sliding keyboard and CPU that rivals a small netbook. The phone is scheduled for release in the first half of 2009 and is the first phone to make use of the palm webOS — a Linux-based operating system developed by Palm. The Pre functions as a camera phone, a portable media player, a GPS system, and Internet client (with text messaging, email, web browsing, and local Wi-Fi connectivity).

The Palm Pre was debuted at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show. It is the first mobile phone to use Texas Instruments OMAP 3430 processor. The Pre will initially be available exclusively through the Sprint CDMA network in the United States. However, an unlocked 3G UMTS/GSM version of the Pre will also be available for other markets.

The Palm Pre has also attracted simultaneous praise and criticism due to a few similar features previously exclusive to Apple's iPhone, not only with its physical design, but with certain aspects of its user interface. It has been speculated that a patent cross-licensing agreement may be forged over many of the touch features of the Palm Pre since Apple has also incorporated features previously patented by Palm in the iPhone, an impending court battle may be the result.

The Palm Pre was a major winner of three of CNET's Best of CES Awards 2009: Best in Show, Best in Category: Cell Phones & Smartphones and People's Voice.
Best in Show Details : http://ces.cnet.com/best-of-ces/


The Palm Pre features an ARM OMAP3430 microprocessor, featuring a 600 MHz ARM Cortex A8 CPU, PowerVR SGX 530 GPU, 430MHz C64x+ DSP + ISP (Image Signal Processor), the fastest of most phones available today. The phone comes with 8GB of internal memory, a 3 megapixel camera with LED Flash, Bluetooth, Wifi 802.11b/g with WPA and WPA2, and Removable Battery.
Specs provided by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_Pre

The Pre will be one of the first smartphones to feature wireless charging through a first of its kind; electromagnetic induction and the use of an optional wireless charging dock, dubbed the "Touchstone". A special Palm Pre wireless charging back cover will also necessary in order to utilize the device.
Additional Details : http://www.palm.com/us/products/accessories/dock.html

The Pre has connected calendars and contacts and uses the Palm Synergy feature to bring your Outlook, Google, and Facebook calendars together for one logical view of your day. And if you have the same contacts in different places, Pre can link them together, making it easy to find the information you need.

The Pre will keep multiple applications open and move easily between email, maps, photos, and websites. Pre arranges your applications as "activity cards," and lets you flip through them, move them around, or throw them off screen.

Notifications will no longer interupt your calls, as text messages and calendar appointments appear as notifications at the bottom of the screen. You’ll know what’s going on without being completely interrupted or losing your train of thought.

Web applications and search are incredibly fast due to the IE6 browser bringing you full websites the way they were meant to be seen, including Flash based content. Search by typing your contacts, applications, Google, or even Wikipedia. Universal search narrows down the possible results as you type, so it’s easier to find what you need.

Overall the design is a breakthrough design and slide out the keyboard for faster and easier texting a major advantage from the Iphone. Close it up and rotate Pre for music, websites, photos, and videos in full widescreen glory. You get the best of both worlds in one beautifully designed phone.

* Operating system:Palm webOS
* Network specs: 3G EVDO Rev A
* Display:3.1-inch touch screen with a vibrant 24-bit color 320x480 resolution HVGA display
* Keyboard:Physical QWERTY keyboard
* Email: Microsoft Outlook email with Microsoft Direct Push Technology
* POP3/IMAP (Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, etc).
* Messaging:Integrated IM, SMS, and MMS
* GPS:Built-in GPS
* Digital camera:3 megapixel camera with LED flash and extended depth of field
* Sensors:Ambient light, accelerometer, and proximity
* Media formats supported:
o Audio Formats: MP3, AAC, AAC+, AMR, QCELP, WAV
o Video Formats: MPEG-4, H.263, H.264
o Image Formats: GIF, Animated GIF, JPEG, PNG, BMP
* Wireless connectivity:
o Wi-Fi 802.11b/g with WPA, WPA2, 802.1X authentication
o Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR with A2DP stereo Bluetooth support
* Memory:8GB of user storage (~7.4GB user available)
* USB mass storage support
* Phone as laptop modem: Bluetooth tethering
* Connector:MicroUSB connector with USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
* Headphone jack: 3.5mm stereo
* Palm Touchstone charging dock: Compatible
* Dimensions:Width: 59.5mm (2.3 inches)
* Height: 100.5mm (3.9 inches)
* Thickness: 16.95mm (0.67 inches)
* Weight:135 grams (4.76 ounces)

Technical Specs provided by Sprint http://now.sprint.com/pre/?id9=vanity:pre

Overall, the Palm Pre looks like the best contender to the Iphone, hands down. We can only wait and see. Palm has bet the farm on this phone, so if the Pre flops Palm will be next company on the short list.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

WebCanDo.com launches Green Initiative

WebCanDo.com launches http://www.GreenCanDo.org an environmental and socially responsible service of WebCanDo.com. GreenCanDo provides solutions to recycle and remove e-waste from the environment. We support and ideas to save clean the environment and find new solutions for a zero carbon footprint.

GreenCanDo is the result of WebCanDo.com's (http://www.webcando.com) environmental commitment to recycling. Our programs were created to eliminate electronic devices from ending up in the waste stream. We encourage everyone to help preserve our earth for future generations by recycling their used devices through one of our three programs.

GreenCanDo creates financially productive partnerships with environmentally friendly charities and programs to ensure that the benefits of recycling mobile phones, electronics, and inkjet cartridges are maximized, and their environmental impact is minimized. GreenCanDo provides marketing, operations and logistics support to our causes and to protect the environment.

By recycling these disposables, the greatest possible value is perpetuated from these devices; consumers are offered a socially and environmentally responsible means of disposing of their used equipment, charities generate donations to further their missions, and we all take steps to bridge the digital divide by providing affordable modern communications to citizens in the developing world. The refurbished phones are primarily used to provide affordable wireless service throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, Eastern Europe and India.

GreenCanDo recycles all donated non-functioning mobile phone batteries in an environmentally responsible manner, and all unusable devices are disposed of in accordance with all local and national environmental standards.

Google goes mobile with Google Sync

Google recently launched the new beta Google Sync service that can now sync contacts and calendars with most popular mobile phones like the Iphone, Blackberry, Android and Windows Mobile.

Synchronize your contacts. Get your Google contacts quickly and easily to your phone. With Sync, you can have access to your address book at anytime and place that you need it.

Get calendar alerts. Using your phone's native calendar, you can now access your Google calendar, and be alerted for upcoming appointments with sound or vibration.

Always in sync. Your contacts stay synchronized whether you access them from your phone or from your computer. Add or edit contact information right on your device or on your Google account on the web.

The Google Sync is part of the Google Mobile App suite that provides you a suite of mobile applications for your mobile phones like Search, Maps, YouTube and other Google products on your mobile device.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Google publishes the approved Open Source projects for Google Summer of Code 2009

Google publishes the list of the Open Source projects selected for this year's Google Summer of Code program. Click below to see the list of participating companies.


Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source software projects. We have worked with several open source, free software, and technology-related groups to identify and fund several projects over a three month period. Since its inception in 2005, the program has brought together over 2600 students and 2500 mentors from nearly 100 countries worldwide, all for the love of code. Through Google Summer of Code, accepted student applicants are paired with a mentor or mentors from the participating projects, thus gaining exposure to real-world software development scenarios and the opportunity for employment in areas related to their academic pursuits. In turn, the participating projects are able to more easily identify and bring in new developers. Best of all, more source code is created and released for the use and benefit of all.

"As we conclude our fifth Google Summer of CodeTM, we are incredibly delighted to see the program continue to grow. By our internal estimates, we calculate that our students and mentors have produced nearly 6 million lines of code." said Leslie Hawthorn, Program Manager for Google Summer of Code. "We feel privileged to give back to the community that has provided us and the entire world with so much useful code."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Google Apps threatened by Privacy Group

March, 19th 2009 - EPIC, a public interest research group based in Washington, D.C, has urged the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to shut down Google's Apps services, including Gmail and Google Docs. The petition filed on March 17th 2009 calls on the FTC to launch a formal probe of the Google Apps service. The petition was sparked by a Google security breach that allowed certain Google Docs files to be viewed by unauthorized users. Google estimates that the breach hit about 0.05 per cent of the documents stored by the service.

The Washington, D.C.based not for profit asked the FTC to assess the privacy and security safeguards used by Google's online apps and determine whether the company has properly represented these safeguards. "Google's inadequate security practices, and the resultant Google Docs data breach, caused substantial injury to consumers, without any countervailing benefits," EPIC stated in its petition. "The harm was reasonably avoidable, in that the damage could have been avoided or mitigated by the adoption of commonsense security practices, including the storage of personal data in encrypted form, rather than in plain text."

It also points to several cases where Google or outside researchers have discovered privacy and security flaws in the company's online apps, including the early March bug involving Google Docs.

The Google service has become an attractive low cost alternative to Microsoft, as the Apps Standard and Education versions are free. The more sophisticated Premier edition costs $50 per user per year and includes, a 99.9% uptime guarantee for Gmail and access to phone support.

Google would not discuss the petition, but it did provide a statement: "We have received a copy of the complaint but have not yet reviewed it in detail. Many providers of cloud computing services, including Google, have extensive policies, procedures and technologies in place to ensure the highest levels of data protection. Indeed, cloud computing can be more secure than storing information on your own hard drive. We are highly aware of how important our users' data is to them and take our responsibility very seriously."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Google has eyes on Voice - Google Voice beta launched

On March 13, 2009 Google released a preview of Google Voice, an application that helps you better manage your voice communications. Google Voice will be available initially to existing users of GrandCentral, a service they acquired in July of 2007. The new application improves the way you use your phone. Google Voice offers a host of great features, including a single number to ring your home, work, and mobile phones, a central voicemail inbox that you could access on the web, and the ability to screen calls by listening in live as callers leave a voicemail. You also can get transcripts of your voicemail and archive and search all of the SMS text messages you send and receive. You can also use the service to make low-priced international calls and easily access Goog-411 directory assistance.

Features : https://www.google.com/voice/about

The service is currently invitation only and will be the next big step in Unified Communications for Google.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

WebCanDo Internet Seminar 3-31-09

Tuesday March, 31st 2009 7:00 - 8:00PM

WebCanDo Webinar hosted online by http://vyew.com/

Register online here http://seminar.webcando.com/

"How to start an E Commerce business and succeed in a changing economy."


Guest Speaker - A 20 year internet and marketing veteran for companies like IBM, WorldCom, Verizon and Sprint will provide a dynamic presentation on the internet and how it can benefit your business.

The following will be covered :

I. Introduction
Introduction to the Internet, History of the Internet, Basic Internet Terminology, Internet Growth, Internet Statistics

II. How to start an E Commerce business and succeed in a changing environment.
Pitfalls, Success Stories, Growth Model, Basics of a Website, Bottom Line, The Steps, Tips, Internet Marketing overview, Online Credit Cards and more.

You will learn the most effective ways to increase and promote online sales.
You will receive an exclusive Top 500 keyword report for strategic marketing.
You will find new profitable marketing ideas for your online store or website.

A free raffle for a Complete custom designed website including domain name, web hosting for one year, a 5 page custom designed website with flash and more gifts.

Everyone will leave with a special gift.

WebCanDo has become an approved Federal Contractor

WebCanDo.com parent company GTS Communications Inc. (GTS) is pleased to announce that we have become an approved federal contractor on March 11, 2009.

"Our company is poised to have a dramatic growth in our public sector initiative with our new federal government contractor status" said Tracy Gil, President of GTS. The company is seeking to partner with larger prime contractors for support on web and IT projects. The company is also looking for experienced account managers that can promote its services to the partner vertical and to federal government and state agencies.

The next step is to focus on a creating and supporting a new GSA schedule that would increase exposure and opportunities.
Welcome to the WebCanDo Blog!

WebCanDo.com was founded by inspired thinkers with a vision - to make internet commerce successful for business. WebCanDo.com is a privately held company focused on developing and promoting internet commerce.

WebCanDo.com has a proven track record of providing creative designs, custom database applications, information architecture, e-marketing, software, and high availability hosting services to a wide range of industries and companies around the world.

Developed by leading programmers in the internet industry, WebCanDo.com uses leading technology and incorporates superior functionality in our designs. Our company has emerged as one of the most innovative and affordable solutions in the internet marketplace.

We have launched this blog to promote our services and communicate with our customers about new industry developments and discuss the latest trends.