Sunday, 21 August 2005

If I had a dime for every time I had to explain what SIP is... Well, let's just say I'd be okay hanging out at Starbucks for a week or two anyhow... It's one of the least-understood and most-misused acronyms around technology shops these days. I certainly don't mind explaining it to people, but it can get a little complicated. Having a good fundamental understanding of Session Initiation Protocol is critical in the growing world of connected, collaborative applications. It's the protocol where the telephony people finally meet the application and data network people.

Over the past couple of years, SIP has become an underlying part of a number of different networked applications, and many people (most?) don't realize that. You'll find it in IP phones, voice terminal adapters, integrated into instant messaging systems, and all kinds of other places. I think it would be somewhat safe to say (loosely) that SIP is to IP voice communication as TCP is to IP networking. If that's not a good analogy, someone tell me a better one.

Anyhow, I decided it might be best to find a useful link to point people to. RMFB, if you will.

So here it is... Over on the VOIP Now blog there's a great explanation of what SIP is and what it means to computing, users, and technology pros:

SIP 101 - Session Initiation Protocol Explained

Session Initiation Protocol or SIP refers specifically to a language that various computers can communicate to one another in so that they can complete voice calls. It has become vitally important in recent years as it plays a central role in VoIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol. VoIP Is the rapidly growing technology which has millions of Americans throwing out their local and long-distance telephone bills and replacing them with free calls made over the Internet.

While Session Initiation Protocol sounds like technobabble, it helps if you can imagine SIP as the common language that new generation operators use to complete calls over the Internet. With SIP, however, the operators are no longer hundreds of people in a room...



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Tech
Sunday, 21 August 2005 05:43:05 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 19 August 2005

There's a bit of chat about regarding handwriting recognition on the Tablet PC, and the new feature/functionality in the Vista beta version of the OS.

I used to write in block letters or carefully crafted print on my Tablet PC. Then I decided (thinking naively that it would be a miserable failure) to write in cursive script. Much to my surprise, I found it worked much better.

With the Vista Beta One TIP (Tablet Input Panel), the ability to enter text and make changes is greatly improved. I've found it's even more accurate. In fact the whole TIP behaves much better all the way around - not so much in the way, more flexible, and all-around better recognition. I'd post pictures but I'm afraid I'd be breaking an agreement (although screenies of the Vista desktop and stuff seem to be very common on the Internet these days).

It also seems to recognize non-standard characters that are written by hand. Stuff like smilies and whatnot. That's cool. There's similar thoughts over on the Tablet PC Blog. It will also be interesting to see what Beta Two holds.



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Tablet PC | Tech
Friday, 19 August 2005 21:26:57 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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SmileyHow hard is it really to tell a real smile from a fake one?

On the BBK web site, you can take a quiz to check your skills of perception when it comes to checking facial expression honesty.

You might be surprised how many you'll miss. How can you tell if a smile is real or fake? What do you look for?

  • This experiment is designed to test whether you can spot the difference between a fake smile and a real one
  • It has 20 questions and should take you 10 minutes
  • It is based on research by Professor Paul Ekman, a psychologist at the University of California
  • Each video clip will take approximately 15 seconds to load on a 56k modem and you can only play each smile once

My score: 16 out of 20.

You?

Take the "Spot the Fake Smile" quiz here.



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Random Stuff
Friday, 19 August 2005 03:04:06 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 18 August 2005

Cutting through all the hype and hyperbole, Dominic White summarizes Microsoft vulnerability patch MS05-039 and the Zotob virus. Anyone who has to protect from this group of viral variants or who cares about security should take the time to read this summary article:

http://singe.rucus.net/blog/archives/510-MS05-039-and-the-Zotob-summary.html



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IT Security | Tech
Thursday, 18 August 2005 20:35:32 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 17 August 2005

That pesky msnbot/1.0 is a pretty busy bot today. That's MSN Search's spidering robot. I've had more than 10,000 hits from it today, and a friend with another blog has had about 4,000. These numbers are way larger than normal.

Hmmm... Something coming soon from MSN Search maybe? We'll see!

UPDATE: Looking at my web server log details, it looks like the spidering that's going on is touching mainly a whole lot of RSS content. Main feeds and category feeds are being pulled frequently. Is MSN Search pushing the RSS envelope? With RSS going native to the OS, this might make some real sense?

ANOTHER UPDATE: A member of the MSNBot Team (who, by the way, responded post-haste to a question I sent through, uh, channels) asked me to volunteer some of my web server logs earlier today and the traffic's dropped off since. Maybe it was just a little behavior problem (that happens). Interesting!



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Wednesday, 17 August 2005 17:55:14 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I have a request for makers of Tablet PC hardware - one that I think would be totally feasible, and would greatly simplify my Tablet PC ownership.

The one thing about using a Tablet PC that regularly haunts me, as an adult male approaching midlife crisis age (and with all the associate baggage in areas like memory, concentration, etc), is the fact that the pen/stylus I love to use with the Tablet is really, really, reaaaaally easy to misplace. It's a problem.

Cuz ya know, there's nothing quite like having a fancy-dancy convertible notebook Tablet PC without a pen. Heh.

Just ask the IT guys at my company who loses the most styluses (styluses? stylii? hmmm). They'll just roll their eyes, laugh and point at me.

So, here is my idea, recorded here for posterity: Build in a proximity device that I can turn on that will make the pen chirp or something if it's more than, say, about 15 feet away from it's home (the Tablet PC, that is) for some extended period of time.

Heck, it might even be worth enabling the pen to speak out loud and say something like, "That dork Greg Hughes at 503-629-xxxx left me sitting here all alone. Please call him and tell him to come pick me up, and that he needs to go put a quarter in the jar."

Or something like that. I'd settle for just the chirping alarm.

Any other bright ideas?



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Random Stuff | Tablet PC | Tech
Wednesday, 17 August 2005 04:59:13 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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