• Available WiFi phones for Skype and SIP

    The long awaited Skype handset SPH101 from Netgear is on the market for about 230. One caveat though: "The Skype WiFi phone does not contain a web browser, therefore, cannot access those hotspots that require web-based login or authentication."

    If you prefer open standards like SIP and Linux and have got some more money to spend, take a look at the Trolltech Linux Phone It's aimed at developers who will be able to program and install their own applications on this quite stylish WiFi phone. For a starting price of $695, you get a Linux kernel 2.4.19, QVGA LCD color screen, Intel XScale 312 MHz, 64MB RAM and 128MB Flash memory, Mini-SD card slot, Bluetooth and a Mini-USB connector.

  • New Nokia browser 2.0

    At CTIA Fall 2006, Nokia released version 2.0 of their web browser for S60 phones

    I've already been amazed how well the browser works, and now Nokia has improved it even more:

    • The browser now integrates WAP functions, so there are no more two separate applications.
    • Browser pages can be saved for offline viewing.
    • Clicking on empty space displays a context menu (for example with a list of recently visited pages).
    • Auto-detection of RSS and ATOM feeds has been added.
    • Feed contents are displayed with the site's favicon and images included in the entry.
    • Intervals can be specified for automatic feed updates.

    Two of the few things that are bugging me in the current version are that the browser lacks form autocompletion and storing of access credentials. Version 2.0 removes those flaws, too.

    Seems like Nokia is becoming a provider of great mobile phone software, additional to their already successful cell phone hardware business.

  • OTRS goes ITIL

    As I found in this forum entry&id=2314977&articleid=2314977#2314977 on OpenBC, the two german companies Enterprise Consulting GmbH and OTRS GmbH started working on a joint venture in February that aims at extending the free ticket system OTRS to an extensive ITIL tool.
    For 2006, they plan on doing first steps towards ITIL certification. Among other features, OTRS is getting role-based access control, transactions and interfaces to 3rd party applications.

    Early next year, OTRS GmbH is going to implement the ITIL processes "change management" and "configuration management" based on a central integrated data model, the "configuration management database" (CMDB). Implementation of release management and service delivery processes are following goals.

    It's always good to see free software targetting the professional IT management tools market. OTRS had a successful start as a trouble ticket system and has every chance to be a good contender in IT process and service level management.

  • Spying while flying

    Most of my friends and colleagues like flying to holiday places, some even are frequent business flyers. Folks, you better watch your tongue and behaviour in the future.

    According to the British Telegraph", soon "Passengers' chat will be recorded to foil hijackers Currently, researchers are developing computer systems that can monitor the whole plane, of course including the lavatory, with cameras and microphones.

    And if you tend to get nervous before lift-off or even have a bit of fear of flying, well, you better don't show it.

    "It would pick passengers who are behaving oddly or in an unruly manner," she said. "They may appear nervous, or could be getting up while the plane is taxiing. If someone looks as if they are praying, the microphones would be able to tell if they were by picking up key words."

    Just imagine what will happen when you sit on the toilet, constipated, muttering to yourself "Oh my god, I think I'm gonna explode..."

  • WoW as a management training ground?

    Almost every morning, I have to endure my colleagues' talks about their latest adventures in World of Warcraft. "Yesterday, we spent hours on that quest in Shnirzelwood until we, finally, almost had Blargelfarg tanked, and then that stupid hunter just ran away!" Oh please. Spare me.

    Reading about how Joi Ito, a successful venture capitalist and well-known figure in the IT business, draws parallels between managing his WoW guild and organizing a company, could make me reconsider trying out WoW myself, though.
    Strategy+Business" explains in "The Ambassador from the Next Economy how Ito perceives managing his WoW guild of about 250 people as a good example of leadership in modern business:

    Long frustrated by the fairly conventional hierarchies in even the most innovative technology companies, Mr. Ito says he sees in his Warcraft guild a new way to organize, manage, and motivate people. With his guild doubling in size every month, he does a lot of learning on the fly. "Every week or so, I have to add a new rank, build a whole bunch of new rules, and throw in kind of ad hoc structures," Mr. Ito says. "Im playing with all the different kinds of management ideas Ive had for companies with a bunch of people who are actually very dedicated. They will set their alarm clocks for 3 a.m. to run a raid of 40 people. They are committed to each other like people in a normal company wouldnt be committed to each other. So as a test bed for these ideas, this is actually pretty amazing."

    He considers himself more a "custodian" than a "leader", putting the different abilities, backgrounds and experiences of his diverse guild members to their best use. And he doesn't really care much for hierarchies:

    In the World of Warcraft, much of what you learn is how to improvise or accumulate the resources you need. [...] Once he knows what he really has to do, then he becomes incredibly creative in finding resources anywhere in the organization. He never even thinks about the fact that hes just jumped over three silos. Hes found out how to find who knows what, and how to engage that person to help him.

    Next year, Ito is going to launch a new company of his own, its staff recruited from the ranks of his Warcraft guild.

    Well, that gets me thinking. WoW is about getting the job done, in time and under pressure, in a team. Maybe I should ask my next job applicants about their leadership experience in World of Warcraft.