Pay vs. Short Pay

Every auditor – whether in a carrier or enterprise organization – uncovers instances where the billed amount is higher than is should be. Then a decision must be made – to pay the full amount paid (“pay”) or to calculate the true amount due, but subtracting any discrepancies, and pay only the amount owed (“short pay”). Continue reading

Stress & Anxiety in Networking

Pop quiz: What’s the No. 1 barrier to networking effectively?

You may be surprised to learn it’s your own stress level.

If the thought of meeting other business professionals to trade “war stories” and expand your network produces social anxiety, you’re not alone. Establishing new relationships feels risky to many people. It may bring back memories of the first day of kindergarten. Continue reading

VXML hacking

Today I hacked around on Voxeo’s VXML platform and managed to build a rudimentary local search voice application modeled on their screen scrape. It was surprisingly straightforward and initially used Google’s Web API for search. After finishing, I discovered Yahoo!’s API was much more complete, both in terms of what I wanted to do and in terms of future flexibility. In comparison, Google’s API seems pretty inadequate compared to Yahoo’s. Maybe it’s a function of poor documentation, but it sure didn’t seem that way based on searches of example code. Continue reading

Webtrends Small Business Reviewed

Project Overview
For one of our larger clients we’ve decided to move their website / database / analytics to a dedicated group of servers. While this project was fairly straight forward on the surface it became a real pain when it came time to setup their analytics software. For this project the poison of choice was Webtrends 7.5b. Working for a marketing driven company I’ve had the chance to use nearly all analytics at one point or another, however this was my first experiencing using the newest version of Webtrends. It didn’t take long before I learned to hate this application, just like its parent programs. There is one word which all computer people have learned to hate. Licensing. Nothing can drive a person insane more then having all the tools to fix something, but not having the “permissions” to use them. The worst part is we’ve spent over $1000 to be back to square one. The problem is how Webtrends handles licensing. Continue reading

Achieving Effective Inventory

Attaining a consolidated, accurate inventory is difficult for many communications providers. The challenges include: data housed in multiple systems (e.g., billing, CRM, ordering, provisioning) and manual update processes – both of which lead to “dirty” data. However, achieving cleaner inventory data opens many opportunities to carriers – including enhanced cost auditing, reducing revenue leakage and network optimization. And, as a survey earlier this year from Stratecast Partners reveals, most carriers view inventory management as key to managing operational and capital expenditures, launching new services, and ensuring data integrity. Continue reading

Wireless Entertainment

Cell phones have come to be so much more than just a telephone. In this day and age it is hard to find a cell phone just for the sole purpose of making calls. Mobile phones have cameras, the ability to take videos, send text messages, emails and so much more. Recently in L.A, entertainment executives met to discuss how mobile content will be broadcasted through cellular phones. The debate centers around whether the content should be portrayed in the same way that existing TV shows, games etc. are spun off. The L.A executives posed the question, “Should they recreate the experience of the TV, silver screen or gaming console on a 2-inch-by-2-inch screen, or should they embrace the medium as an entirely new format with unique capabilities and limitations?” There are different views to this question, many with the feeling that it is impossible to deliver the content in the same manner.

3ware – SATA RAID

After being disappointed with Linux support for low-end SATA RAID cards I began searching for a controller card which would give me optimal performance, and complete Linux support. A few quick Google searches later I found a candidate. 3ware is a smaller company (now owned by AMCC) which builds an extensive line of SATA / ATA RAID cards. They also make their drivers open source, which allows for quick release of quality drivers. There is also a good amount of documentation on the Internet on how to compile your own drivers as well. They clearly build their product around the Linux environment. Continue reading

AWStats

fter months of evaluating commercial analytics programs we found no better value for our client then AWStats. This is a fantastic open-source application written in Perl. Most of the major players are moving away from bulk hosting analytics. For example web trends now requires you pay licensing per visitor in your reports. Basically the more successful your site, the more money they want from you. Sounds like a scam doesn’t it? Continue reading