Extending The Web Even Further
I enjoyed reading your article, "Extending The Web With
Phone-Based Voice Browsing" (Internet Telephony�,
September 1999). Moreso because I am part of the team at Lucent Technologies working
on TelePortal (Lucent's VXML/VoiceXML platform solution). Towards the end in your article,
you mentioned that it will be great if one could initiate a call to a live representative
from a VXML dialog. Actually, per the 0.9 specification of the VoiceXML draft, there is a
TRANSFER tag which lets you do exactly what you described. In fact, the VoiceXML
specification defines two ways of transferring a call: A blind transfer, and, a bridging
transfer where the VoiceXML platform will bridge the call to another telephone number
while being still connected. The 0.9 release for the specification can be found at www.voicexmlforum.org/specs_1.html.
Another set of capabilities that we are currently working on are enabling
location-based services with our Teleportal platform. For example, if one is driving down
the highway and wants to know the nearest gas station, McDonald's, etc., one can dial
something like *FIND which connects to a Teleportal-based service which uses a caller's
current location to provide location sensitive information. We had demoed a prototype
version of this application at the PCS99 trade show held in New Orleans.
Internet/Intelligent Network Services Architecture/Prototype
Lucent Technologies, Bell Labs Innovations
Router Price Wars Continued
Your magazine lost credibility with me based on your article in the September 1999 issue
Crazy Routers And Switches. Their Prices are Insane.
I agree with your premise that router prices are higher than they ought to be, but you
unwittingly explained the reason for this phenomenon with your purchase of a Cisco 2501
router. Like sheep going to Microsoft, you described how many people blindly purchase
four- or five-year-old technology at todays prices. Many uninformed networkers
blindly buy by brand without considering cost, performance, and value. Sure, Cisco
traditional routers comprise most of the Internet edge now theyre called
bottlenecks. Heard about L3 switching or high-performance modular routers? Its
amazing to me that people still purchase these low-performance fixed-configuration 25xx
boxes simply because they bought one several years ago and it did the job.
Did you shop this with Nortel, 3Com, or Ascend? Did you consider using Linux? Did you
even consider other manufacturers or less-traditional technologies? If you wanted to save
money, there is a huge market for used traditional routers on eBay. You could have picked
up the same router for a quarter of the cost (because many savvy techies are getting rid
of them). I realize your comments may have been driven by advertising revenue, but I sure
hope not. I prefer to think you simply havent researched other products on the
One final thing to be aware of while Cisco captured 75% of the traditional
router market, guess what? The world is quickly replacing <100,000 pps traditional
routers with >1,000,000 pps L2 and L3 switches. Guess what else, Cisco isnt the
market leader in these next-generation networks (See DellOro Group Q299 Switching
Market Research) theyre capturing only brand buyers who dont examine
architecture or performance and have money to burn. Its the old No one has
ever gotten fired for buying Cisco <yet>.
Robert Vahid Hashemian responds:
It is perfectly fine to disagree with my opinions. I respect you for your candor.
But I feel compelled to mention that the opinions expressed in my column do not
necessarily represent the opinions of the magazine or its staff. My column mainly
refelects my real world experiences dealing with different vendors and products without
regard to their advertising status with TMC. The only bias here is my personal opinion.
The Power Of The Palm
As a Palm Pilot user, I had to respond to your Reality Check column in the
Nov 99 Internet Telephony. With an installed user base in the millions, the Palm OS
is something like the #2 OS in use in American business (I think this is based on a
Dataquest poll from several months ago you can easily confirm). What makes the Palm
so successful and WinCE so unsuccessful is the KISS concept.
If I wanted to make the Windows desktop function in a palm-sized format, I would have
to use WinCE. However, I do not. What sold me on the Palm platform is the ability to chuck
my paper Daytimer and replace it with a Pilot. The decision process to go from paper to
PalmP took roughly 30 minutes; and yes, learning graffiti is difficult at first, but now
after several months, I sometimes find myself writing the same characters when creating a
paper note (how analog.....).
WinCE users I know struggle with incredibly low battery life, buggy synchronization
with the desktop, and scores of other issues. I carry around a 2000+ Goldmine contact
database, my Outlook calendar, to-do and e-mail inbox, keep track of my business expenses,
my Quicken finance data, and all the other things that used to take hours transferring
from the paper daytimer to the desktop. In addition, I have a very useful outliner
(BrainForest) the ability to use a keyboard (GoType) if necessary and a cool Solitaire
game (keeps you awake in very boring staff meetings).