These Pretzels are Making Me Thirsty

by Dave Michels

Well this update has nothing to do with pretzels, but I am thirsty. The line is from my favorite fake Woody Allen movie.

Anyway, my blogging has become pretty light lately and I feel just terrible about it. Of all the things I do for no apparent reason, blogging is one of my favorites.

Well, there are lots of good things coming – so I thought I would provide a teaser post since I don’t have the real posts ready to go. This is a form of advanced procrastination. As I really should be writing them instead.

So here are a few things in the hopper:

I am currently working on several blog posts, articles, and features. I just wrapped up two OCS posts for (not published yet), and a UC post in the works for For pindropsoup, I have the following in process:

  • SIP growth… primarily in trunks… why not in the phones?
  • Skype for Asterisk – why it is soooo significant.
  • My Cloud Series Updates (at least two more planned)
  • Product Reviews: DECT Phones – currently evaluating two – Aastra and Polycom. Major progress on the cordless SIP phone front.
  • Product Reviews: The Polycom video phone on a Mitel 3300. (No comment from Mitel).
  • Product Reviews: Motorola Cliq “Blur” Android phone. At least I hope to get one and I will share a bit about it.
  • Cloud Journey update. See below.

I haven’t blogged for a while over at – I intend to publish a few more soon on whole home audio. I’ve been using the Squeezebox solution with the Russound… very interesting (sell your Clear Channel stock). Also loaded up Casatunes as another interesting alternative.

Those posts were all planned for September.

But I’ve been distracted with a few things.

A big distraction was the upgrade to a dual WAN router at home. That was not supposed to take so much time. Very disappointing actually. I fell victim to one of the classic blunders – not calling tech support soon enough. I spent days (which means nights and weekends) trying to get that router to work with SIP. I tried everything I could think of, called in re-enforcements from everywhere – only to find that the solution required double secret beta firmware. That firmware made it possible to uncheck “Enable SIP”. Perfectly intuitive.

But even now, the router works fine with one WAN – still don’t have SIP working in load balance mode. Though I am so disappointed in my Qwest DSL that it may all be moot anyway. Will likely cancel DSL and get a mifi which won’t even do voice. Do Mifi’s have a LAN port? I wonder if I can plug it into the 2nd WAN port on the router.

Other distractions include The Big Switch by Nick Carr… good book.

But one of my biggest distractions has been my new obsession with the Cloud. I’ve decided I want to abolish our computer room at the office – ideally by the end of the year. We have already moved over the low hanging fruit – now the hard part.

This decision is largely a direct outcome of my Cloud Series. I am becoming quite biased against client server solutions and local servers – phone systems excluded. This will be better explained in the upcoming cloud posts, but meanwhile I am trying to implement the future today…. not so easy.

The IT department (as we know it) is doomed (“and Loving it”).

The big challenge is Tigerpaw – for lack of a better term it is our ERP. It is more than a CRM – ERP is reasonably accurate except we are not an E – we are an S and it seems to require a dedicated resource to manage the beast. The problem is it touches every aspect of the operation and changing it won’t be trivial. It involves a PC client, a dedicated server, hooks into the web server, it requires MS Terminal Server for remote access, and it hooks into Quickbooks. It has more tentacles than benefits.

It will take a while to unravel, but for now I just want a new SaaS accounting solution, but that could break the TigerPaw integration. So accounting system review is forcing a look into CRM, PSA, and ERP as well.

It is a tremendous amount of work, and the status quo isn’t all that broken… but I can explain all this in upcoming posts. Right now, let me just say cloud shopping isn’t easy yet.

I do want to get these posts done by the end of October, because I should have 20 new posts after VoiceCon.

Speaking of which, I will be on a VoiceCon Panel. The title of the panel is “How Many Phones Does Your Enterprise Need?” I got invited as a direct result of my NoJitter feature stating the peak of IP phone sales was last year. That piece really struck a chord…

Considering my desktop currently has five working phones on it, might suggest a bit of duplicity. I don’t think phones generically are going away, but I do think we are going to see much dumber phones (bring back the digital phone). I don’t think organizations are going to continue to spend $300-$700 on a phone for current functionality (which hasn’t changed in 20 years)… either dumb them down or smarten them up – or get rid of them (can you say “cell-u-lar”?)

That’s all the procrastinating I can do for now. Tune in soon, same Bat channel.

Live Long and Prosper.