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UnoTelly review and Vonage revisited

UnoTelly review and Vonage revisited

Academic Blog Posts

Let me first share some articles from some academic friends of mine:

A friend tries Vonage?

Image representing netTALK as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

A US female friend of mine was tired of her AT and T service.  She just switched to Vonage and has missed phone calls routed to her cell phone.  While not bad mouthing the product, I did suggest these three things:

  • Don’t let the Vonage folks talk you into using the Vonage router as the bridge between your modem and the PC and phone hookup.  A better option would be to buy a good commercial router like Linksys or Netgear.  Then run the Vonage device or router via an Ethernet cable to the commercial router.
  • Rather than send the calls from Vonage to the cell phone, sign up for the free Google Voice service.  It gives you a number that rings all your phones.
  • Rather than Vonage, go to Walmart and look at NetTalk.  It’s cheaper and every bit as reliable as Vonage.

Note to readers: Please don’t go for either MagicJack or MagicJack Plus.  I just got a letter from the attorney general of Florida.  It mentions I submitted a complaint to either the BBB or some other government/private sector body.  They are following up with anyone who issued a complaint in the past. Since you get live phone support with NetTalk, why bother with a product that only has chat support?

UnoTelly review

Someone approached me to check UnoTelly (see UnoTelly ). I thought I would get my friend Roger Richardson to run some tests for me (see Roger on LinkedIn).  We have worked together both at Motorola and outside Motorola.  At Motorola, he was a tester in their cell phone division and had various patents submitted.  He might suggest product improvements that might be considered.  Yet please don’t take them as necessities.

My research of other reviews

Better Business Bureau logo.

Better Business Bureau logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While Roger was doing the technical testing, I tried to see what else I could find out about the product.

  • A check of the Better Business Bureau Canadian website turned up nothing.  But this is a good sign.  This means no one has complained to the BBC about the company’s tech support, business practices, etc.
  • I did find a good review on how to use the product in South Africa at South African review. It’s interesting how they combine UnoTelly with the Roku streaming player.
  • I do like the fact they don’t have contracts you need to commit to.  You can drop any time without penalty and they offer a free trial.
  • A product review at Claim to fame says, “UnoTelly’s claim to fame is that it uses DirectDNS rather than VPN technology, which gives you the same entertainment at a faster speed than VPN providers can offer. “
  • A product review at product drawbacks lists a couple of drawbacks.  These drawbacks are related to security and what services can be unblocked. But a Google search of “UnoTelly review” brought up other reviews that were very positive.
  • It appears they do have a direct competitor Unblock US, when I visited some forum archives at direct competitor.

I hope the company eventually writes up a Wiki page on the product.

Roger’s take

roger on tuesday evening

roger on tuesday evening (Photo credit: nicholaslaughlin)

Now Let’s see what Roger says:

“It does work.”

That’s saying a lot from Roger.  I know how he likes to try to break things (i.e. new software, etc.).  But he goes have some feedback on the UniHelper functionality:

  • The interface UnoHelper application looks rough…. The start / stop buttons are not smoothed. The UnoDNS account data for the user feeds under the change account button on the upper right side.
  • On the install page the blue lettering for the install should have an underline to show that it’s a link without that users won’t know where to start.
  • UnoHelper. When the rest of actions have buttons then going to the quick start link to get it started isn’t smooth. Actions to start programs normally feed down. So a button at the bottom of the interface would be easier understood. As it is the user can press the quick start button when the service is not active. Should have that tied into the start button. So it’s only enabled  after the start button is selected. Perhaps the color of the quick start button would then change and then it would be enabled. If you get real fancy you create an error message box for pressing the quick start button don’t open the web page to show the error.
  • When you open the selection page for the web sites. The links are shown below and there is a slew of little icons at the top for what is covered. To make things easier they should make those icons linked. So once you get to the page just click on where you want to go. They will only look at the list the first few times. So why not make it easy to get to them?

Testing on various devices:

When I talked to Roger via Skype, it appears you need to set things up on the PC first, before accessing other devices.  We spent some time trying to see what devices from his son’s arsenal we could test with.

Roger’s son has both Xbox and Wii from Nintendo.  Unfortunately, we ran into two obstacles:

  • His son has a gold membership on Xbox, so he already has access to what we are testing.
  • You still need memberships to Netflix, etc., in order to test UnoTelly and access those sites.  Since we didn’t want to access trail site memberships, we stopped the tests.

My testing experience

I tried the application myself, to see what I would experience. I could set it up in five minutes.  I decided to give some of the free channels a spin on my computer.  You can run the application well from a Windows 7 computer.  Not sure what I can view currently, that I can’t access on my Comcast cable TV channels.  I’ll need to experiment more.


Roger does have some excellent points.  He has made suggestions how the UnoHelp interface could be built better.  Perhaps the product designers can review his suggestions?

What can I say?  You don’t have to purchase any company hardware, they offer a free trial and you can drop out at any time – no contract.  Perhaps in the future, Roger and I can have everything in place, to run it through it’s paces (i.e. Netflix membership, etc.).


Google’s patent acquisition, Facebook/Google + cigars and content marketing

Is Google in the patent acquisition business?

iOS v. others

Image by ohskylab via Flickr

The Android operating system

Google has developed the Android operating system. It’s probably more stable than the Windows 7 platform for mobile devices. Yet I’m not sure how it compares to the Apple operating system for mobile devices, which pilots the smart phone.

A few months ago, Tech Crunch did a great comparison in Google Android vs. Apple iOS: Handicapping the 2011 death match at Google Android vs. IOS (Apple) .

In summary, it looks like a choice with Apple having limitations and Android being to open with no central control. Someone who maintains good central control is Oracle with the Open Office project.

Google in the patent acquisition business

Shortly after Google acquired Motorola Mobility, I shared a blog post entitled Google Purchase Sweet 18 and Independent Bookstores Fight With Amazon at Google Purchase Sweet 18 and Independent Bookstores Fight With Amazon , This was a follow up to a earlier blog post entitled Now that Google brought Motorola Mobility – what will they do with it? at Now that Google brought Motorola Mobility – what will they do with it?.

The Daily Herald newspaper published an article where they mentioned there were 18 patents that Google was interested in. The paper didn’t specify the nature of the patents. The article was entitled Motorola’s value to Google found in 18 patents at Motorola ’s value to Google found in 18 patents .

In an article this week entitled Google Buys IBM Patents, Rhapsody Goes Social, Twitter In 5 New Languages, Groupon’s IPO, Windows 8 On Tablets Dodges Flash at Google Buys IBM Patents , it says this:

“Continuing its recent patent acquisition spree, Google has bought 1,023 pieces of IP from Big Blue–covering a very diverse range of processes and innovations from circuit engineering to file system management. The move is likely defensive, in the continuing IP battle for the smart phone and tablet space, and continues Google’s penchant for strange numbers: 1,023 is just shy of 2 to the power of 10, and it bid a multiple of Pi for Nortel’s patents.”

So does Google first acquire Motorola Mobility followed by IBM patents, to aid its Android legal defense?

Google Phone docomo HT-03A

Image via Wikipedia

Which is better: Facebook or Google Plus?

Google Plus resources:

There’s a good article entitled 34 Google+ Resources for Your Business: Advice from the Pros 34 Google+ Resources for Your Business: Advice from the Pros

Which is better: Facebook or Google Plus?

Perhaps we can extract an answer from my recent dialogue on Cuban cigars. Now I’m not a tobacco smoker of any type – but I have friends that are. Here’s what I said recently:

Let’s take that cigar store example. I know a guy who owned a cigar store after he retired. I asked him about Cuban cigars.

He told me that some Cuban cigar makers have migrated to places like Niagara and taken the Cuban tobacco seeds with them. These Central American countries have a climate similar to Cuban for growing tobacco.

Now the Cuban cigar makers (i.e.using methods handled down by generations of Cuban cigar makers) using Cuban seed tobacco growth in Niagara, can make the same quality or better cigars then those from Cuba . But Cuba “still has the perception and historical record”, as producing the world’s best cigars.

I asked my cigar connoisseur friend to comment on this. Here is what he said:

“The ‘best of the best’ are still considered to be the Cubans. Many of these go for $100 and up, per stick. I usually smoke cigars in the $6-9 range, that are hand rolled in Nicaragua, Honduras,and the Dominican Republic. As you had said, much of the industry brought Cuban seed to these countries, and brought the tabacaleras with them.”

“The Cubans I have smoked have been very good cigars, but they are NOT 10-20 times better than the one I now smoke!”

Four cigars of different brands (from top: H. ...

Image via Wikipedia

Perhaps we can conclude that Facebook is still king – yet not by much? Perhaps Google comes close?

Content marketing

But first – a great up and coming webinar: FREE WEBINAR: Creating World Class Social Media + Video Marketing Strategies – Like, Link, Share, Tweet Creating World Class Social Media + Video Marketing Strategies

Here’s some nice tidbits from the art of watching two friends seduce each other + what it taught me about badass blogging the art of watching two friends seduce each other + what it taught me about badass blogging

“This is what I don’t think many writers (or other creatives) understand about blogging: that it’s a form of content marketing, which itself is a form of seduction.”

“Content marketing is content that has value in and of itself, but is also driving the reader toward a future action (ie: buying something, whether it’s a service or a painting or a book or a product). “

More on this on Wiki at Wiki on Content Marketing



Google Purchase Sweet 18 and Independent Bookstores Fight With Amazon

This week, I came across two articles in the Daily Herald Business Ledger that caught my attention:

They both talk about aspects of recent blog posts I’ve published.

Motorola Mobility and Patents

Closing the Gap In Science Achievement:

Image by projectexploration via Flickr

Let’s look at Motorola first. In Now that Google brought Motorola Mobility – what will they do with it?, we look at several possible reasons Google brought Motorola Mobility. One reason is Motorola Mobility has a huge assortment of patents.

The article mentioned 14,600 worldwide patents with 7000 other pending patents. From my understanding of patents, if you just change one invention element – you can create a new patent application. So the patent collection appears to be a major playing card.

But the Business Ledger has narrowed the field down to 18. But the article didn’t really elaborate on what the 18 patents were about.

Remember where I said that a while back, Motorola split into two units: Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions? It appears in an article at Motorola Solutions transfers 220 workers with sale of 2 units entitled Motorola Solutions transfers 220 workers with sale of 2 units, that parts of Motorola Solutions are being sold off.

In a recent article at Analysts: Motorola Mobility could be sold again entitled Analysts: Motorola Mobility could be sold again, it appears Google might spinoff the business, once they get the patent stuff.

What Independent Bookstores Like Andersons Do To Fight Amazon

The manga section at Barnes & Noble at The Sho...

Image via Wikipedia

In another article, I covered why Border’s failed brought Anderson’s in Naperville (Illinois USA) succeeded. In the Business Ledger articles, the reporter did interview the owner Becky Anderson. Here’s an interesting tidbit the article shares on how Independents compete with Amazon.

“Additionally, taking a page from Barnes & Noble, the largest national bookstore chain, independent booksellers are embracing the Internet. Using a new e-commerce program created by the American Booksellers Association, independent bookstores can now sell hardcover and e-books online at prices that rival Amazon and Barnes & Noble.”

Well, they certainly don’t need to worry about Barnes and Noble – but can this really turn the tide against Amazon?

The article goes on to suggest other tactics. One is an annual lunch with national and regional authors. Sounds good to me.

Andersons does hold regional book fairs and shares sale profits with non-profit organizations, churches and schools.

The article suggests they create a sense of community.

The interior of the Barnes & Noble located at ...

Image via Wikipedia

But what I notice if I go to the Anderson’s website at Andersons Bookstore in Naperville, is that they are active on both Twitter and FaceBook. It’s a good sign they are involved in social media. I haven’t checked the website rankings but they probably engage SEO as well.

There’s also a story by WGM at WATCH: Google Helping Independent Bookstores Sell entitled WATCH: Google Helping Independent Bookstores Sell eBooks. If Google helps with e-book sales and The American Booksellers Association is using e-commerce to sell books online at competitive prices – guess what?

Independent bookstores can effectively compete with Amazon – at least in theory.


Now that Google brought Motorola Mobility – what will they do with it?

Let me start by saying I’m very familiar with Motorola. I was a software engineer, project manager and six sigma black belt there for 7 years – in their cell phone division.

Then came 2007 and there were massive layoffs at Motorola. I got caught up in the whirlwind. But I loved what I learned there and everything I was involved in.

Brasília (16/08/11) - Presidente mundial da Mo...

Image by conexaominicom via Flickr

Then this week threw me a twist. Back in January 2011, there was an article entitled Motorola To Split Into 2 Companies: Motorola Mobility, Motorola Solutions at Motorola To Split Into 2 Companies. The company split into Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility. Motorola Mobility intergated the Android system into their phone line.

Articles covering the Google acquisition of Motorola Mobility

But this week came the surprise. About a month ago, I wrote about Microsoft purchasing Skype. Now we will explore what Google might do with Motorola. Here are some articles I found this week:

The PC World entitled 5 Questions About Google’s Motorola Buy does raise 5 interesting questions:

A printed circuit board inside a mobile phone

Image via Wikipedia

  1. Will Google’s patent play work?
  2. Did Google Buy Motorola To Protect Android From Motorola?
  3. Will Motorola’s Favored Status Have To Change?
  4. Is This The End Of Motoblur?
  5. What Are Android Makers Saying?

Is it for the patents?

Reading through the questions brings some factors to light. Motorola Mobility has a huge assortment of patents. The article mentioned 14,600 worldwide patents with 7000 other pending patents. From my understanding of patents, if you just change one invention element -you can create a new patent application. So the patent collection appears to be a major playing card.

Is it for the TV deal?

Motorola F3 (2560890151)

Image via Wikipedia

In Why the Google-Motorola Deal Is About More Than Mobile Phones, the article talks about “Google-Motorola Could Give Google TV a Fighting Chance.” But Nokia was also one of Motorola’s key competitors. Would this mean that Microsoft could buy Nokia, with the Windows operating system being inside their phone line?

Is it for more video streaming?

The article Google-Motorola Deal Means More Video Streaming to Android Devices raises an interesting question. The article puts together some good arguments for video streaming being a possible major Google initiative.

What should we think folks?

I think the patent angle makes sense. In the article Why Google’s Motorola Deal Is Like The Book Search Settlement, the patent angle makes sense.

In fact, the article say this about mixed signals:

“During the conference call explaining this purchase, Google send some mixed signals as to what it would do with Mobility. Page vowed that it would be a ‘separate business.’ But he also said that he was excited about the possibilities that it opened for Google, to innovate in hardware. This is somewhat of a contradiction.”

It’s certainly true that there’s not much public statements coming from Google or Motorola, as to their plans. We certainly have seen come columnists and experts chiming in with opinions this week.

What do you think?


What did Borders do wrong but Andersons do right?

Winner of the book contest

We will explore the question, but first – the winner of the book contest from Launch – Content Management: The Final Frontier – Social Media Book Contest

The winner? It’s the Carol Stream Public Library (i.e. if no one enters last minute in July).  I don’t know what they will do with it. Will they:

  • Use it in their book collection?
  • Offered to another library?
  • Let the friends of the library sell it?
The cafe at the Barnes & Noble in Hoboken, New...

Image via Wikipedia


Now let’s get back to Borders. There’s an article entitled What Borders Did Wrong at What Borders Did Wrong. Here’s some things the author said:

“They cut expenses to make next quarter look better – they stopped carrying such a wide selection and cut back, a bit at a time, on in-store entertainment and social options. Books were replaced with journals. They ignored the internet for a very long time.”

Cut expenses? They did that at Motorola – where I worked – for years. How many people were cut? 100 K?

Even teen entrepreneurs get what went wrong with Borders at Teen Business Forum.

  • “Not Paying Close Enough Attention to Trends”
  • “Big Executive Turnover”
  • “Out of Touch With Customer’s Needs”

What does Andersons do right?

See article: Story’s not over for independent bookstores Story’s not over for independent bookstores

The manga section at Barnes & Noble at The Sho...

Image via Wikipedia

Andernsons book store in Naperville (Illinois USA) has been around for years. Visit their website at Andersons in Naperville. Just look at their website tabs. What do they have?

  • Staff recommendations
  • Events
  • Ebooks
  • Google ebook petting zoo
  • Tim Green Skype events
  • Bookclubs
  • Kids
  • Educators
  • Gifts
  • Services
  • Bookfairs
  • Local authors

Something for everybody!

What do you do when folks or companies don’t listen to marketing advice?

A shelf of Blink books at a Barnes & Noble in ...

Image via Wikipedia

I have an “acquaintance” who keeps making bad decisions – even after I tried to spend 2 – 3 years giving him marketing advice. Here’s what I shared with him recently:

“Over the past 2 – 3 years, I have made many attempts for you to work with SCORE (SCORE) and the Small Business Development Center (Small Business Development Center ) (i.e. via area community colleges). If you had spent the time to counsel with them and take their low-cost/free training sessions, I’m sure you wouldn’t make bad/impulsive decisions. Something to reflect upon!”

He just doesn’t get it – or he doesn’t listen. I recently took on a writing assistant. What’s the first thing he works on? It’s a business/marketing plan.

If the other guy would have hung around SCORE and the SBDC over the past 2 – 3 years – guess what? The first thing he would do is create a business plan. In the business plan, he would have a section devoted to a marketing plan.

Not he claims he’s broke. Perhaps he is telling the truth – perhaps not.  But whose fault is it, if he doesn’t listen to advice?

Isn’t he really just Borders or Barnes and Noble, in the era of Amazon?


Why Tulalip for the Microsoft social network initiative?

Why Tulalip for the Microsoft social network initiative?

The Microsoft sign at the entrance of the Germ...

Image via Wikipedia

A few days ago, Microsoft leaked about a proposed social network called Tulalip.

In case you don’t know, Google recently created a social network called Google +. There are some great article references from my blog post entitled Who will inherit the 9 Billion US dollar spiritual empire – Good Google + articles?

Why Tulalip?

If you go to the Wiki article on Tulalip at Wiki on Tulalip, it defines Tulalip as “a group of Native American peoples from western Washington state in the United States.”

It’s also the name of some gambling casinos owned by Indian tribes. So it raises some questions:

  • Has anyone trademarked the name? Either Microsoft or the gambling concerns?
  • Isn’t there the potential to offend some Indian tribes? Look at controversies that have been raised with either academic or sports use of Indian names.
  • How did Microsoft come up with that name?

We all know that Facebook is still the undisputed king. And Google +, which is run by the 1000 pound seach engine gorilla – is off to a good start.

In FaceBook Effect – Pit Bulls and Canned Worms?, I show how FaceBook played Google against Microsoft. In the early days, both companies wanted a piece of the Facebook empire.

Now they are competing with solutions to compute agains Facebook.

Stills from videotape of Bill Gates' depositio...

Image via Wikipedia

Can Microsoft pull this off?

Microsoft has some brainy people. I worked with some when I used to be a Motorola software engineer. But they still need to make something a priority.

Let’s take the task of creating a way to defy spam robots. Google came up with a way called recaptcha at Google Recaptcha.

What is the Microsoft solution? They experimented with a solution where one choses some cats or dogs. It’s a picture game. Pretty simple. It’s called Asirra and it’s found at Asirra. But notice it’s still in the research stage – after years of testing.

Now this dog and cat solution is a great proposal. It shouldn’t take a couple of Microsoft nerds any time to perfect it. So what happened?

It probably got bumped to the bottom priority queue. Yet the Google solution is running and very popular.

Why now?

Why is Microsoft announcing this “possible” social network now? Do they want us to think they have a competitor to Google +?

Actually, I’m in favor of a Microsoft Facebook clone – just as I favor one from Google.

So what’s missing?

What’s missing? It’s a time-frame or project plan, released to the public. Let us know when you will have something for us to beta test. We don’t need another Asirra. We need another Google + or another Facebook.

A Tulalip family in front of their home on the...

Image via Wikipedia

Microsoft just brought Skype and I like the acquisition. But I have yet to see what Microsoft will do with Skype.

Perhaps someone is asleep in their PR department. Or in the PR companies they hired to work with them.

Remember the old saying: I’m from Missouri – show me?

If you want me to be excited, give me a time frame when it will be ready for action.

Yet remember – an article at Microsoft leaks social network, swears it’s nothing says this:

“But Microsoft might not need to build its own social network thanks to deepening ties with Facebook. Microsoft is an investor in Facebook and plans to acquire Skype, which powers Facebook’s new video chat.”

One more week for book giveaway

The rules for the book giveaway for Launch – Content Management: The Final Frontier – Social Media Book Contest are found in the blog post The Final Frontier – Social Media Book Contest 

If no one enters, the book goes to the Carol Stream Public library after August 1, 2011.