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Andy Abramson
Interests: travel, wine, friends, blues, tech, music-jazz, dining, rock.
Recent Activity
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The U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement folks (not to be confused with Homeland Security) are making great strides to improve the "welcome home" and "welcome to the USA" experience. And, they're doing it with your smartphone and applications. For years we have been filling out a form as we land, and then presented it to the Immigration officer as we entered the USA. Along came Global Entry, where we insert our passport, present our fingerprints and allow a retinal scan to be taken. For those in Global Entry, the process dramatically reduces time, and if you carry on your luggage... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at VoIPWatch
If you look at the US Telecom preemptive lawsuit against the FCC's Net Neutrality action taken this week and then look deep enough at what is being done in Tennessee you'll likely see the same players working behind the scenes to limit muni-broadband providers expansion out of governmental footprint. The incumbents already have easements and rights of way, usually grandfather agreements dating back to the last century, where there was only one telephone provider, cable tv was a dream, not yet a reality. The cable guys had to fight, buy and struggle to get the same access, which they eventually... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at VoIPWatch
The National Football League is going to stream a football game next season. On face this may seem more like an experiment as the game will originate in the UK as part of the NFL's global marketing effort. But OTT delivery of sports content will mean much, much more to the league and the broadcasting world which is why new startups like client, YIPTV are poised and well positioned for a new era of how sports is broadcast. That's why I think there's more to this, a point that is called out in the Wall Street Journal story. The "more... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at VoIPWatch
I stopped carrying any bag that I can't carry on a plane years ago thanks to Luggage Forward. The relationship with them began in 2007 when I had to get all kinds of things over to France for my wedding. I've been using them ever since. The last two trips though have raised my respect of them even more. I've always been a fan, but back in July and again this past trip, my bag was where it needed to be within two days of being picked up. What this means is the bag I left in Lisbon on Tuesday... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2015 at VoIPWatch
Wire, the app that is rapidly replacing Skype within the VoIP insider community including many of the VUC regulars, just updated to version 1.4. The new version adds some new ringtones, audio improvements-from guys who really do know audio, and some new messaging and ping sounds to make the app sound different. My experience with Wire has been more chat than talk, but that's the nature of the community that's active right now. Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2015 at VoIPWatch
Earlier this week the VoIP industry learned that Simple Signal, led by dear friend and former client, Dave Gilbert was picked up for $20 million plus some stock. This is very similar to the 75 percent cash, 25 percent stock deal done for the other former Comunicano client, Telesphere was sold for but for a lot more in cash. The two deals follow Vonage's purchase of Vocalocity just about 18 months ago. In essence Vonage is buying enterprise business but in doing so, they are buying very different business who have pretty much the same customer type targets, two or... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2015 at VoIPWatch
I just read pal and uber analyst Dean Bubley's recap on the first day of the 2015 Enterprise Connect that's being held in Orlando. I have to admit, that the lack of excitement in Dean's post came through, further underscoring a feeling I have about events, conferences and summits being less and less about the news and really coming back to being what trade shows were created for. To sell. That makes it far less interesting to people like Dean and I, who are looking for the next big thing and how to propel it. You see, today, you don't... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2015 at VoIPWatch
A few years back, the Chevalier du Comanderie en Faugeres, deep in the heart of the Languedoc chose to make me a "Chevalier" or Knight for my more than 20 years of promotion of wine in the region. I guess buying the wines from there also for as long didn't hurt either. Now, on every trip to the Languedoc I make a point of visiting the region to see what's up and check on a few wineries. One that needs to find their way to the USA is Mas D'Alezon, overseen by the charming Catherine and her daughters. Without going... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2015 at WINESCENE
Before I started VoIPWatch, there was GigaOm, and Om Malik. While Om may have taken a massive step back about a year ago from the publication he started, largely to focus on his health and role as a VC with True Ventures, GigaOm was a lighthouse in a storm of breaking news. Those of us who are journalists first will miss the well written, thoughtfully penned pieces around the news that mattered in the industries near and dear to our hearts. To my friends there, I'm personally sorry for what is all, our loss. Related articles VC funded tech site... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2015 at VoIPWatch
Some ten years or so ago my then soon to be wife and I were "shopping" in a French electronics store when she spotted a 5 outlet power strip that was for European plugs. It was one of the best things we ever purchased as it has made dozens of crossings. While I also carry a Monster USA 4 outlet adapter, the longer cord and the bigger footprint makes it very useful in older hotels where the power outlet is only one or two and usually hidden behind some piece of furniture. By using European power cords for my Apple... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2015 at VoIPWatch
Being on Bouygues Telecom's prepaid means real 4G/LTE with my iPad Air 2. The experience is quick and responsive. Running the Gmail application, the Chrome browser or Safari yields rapid page loading. Services like Spotify sound great, and having 4G on the iPad sure comes in handy when hotel broadband slows down. I've even tethered the Mac to the iPad once or twice just to get past a slowdown. Of the three major Mobile operators in France, only Bouygues offers prepaid users 4G. Having now used Bouygues 4G service on my iPhone and iPad I'm happy with it, but also... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2015 at VoIPWatch
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Having spent the last few days here in the Rhone Valley, tasting wines at Decouvertes du Rhone an the many "Offs" events, I have a few observations to help those not here on their buying strategy. The 2014 Rose wines are stunning. Chene Bleu's just bottled Rose is a killer, so are the usual suspects from Domaine La Mordoree, Chateau Triquevedel and Prieure de Montezargues Tavel Roses as they are all back on track and very reminiscent of the 2011s and 2009s. So while the 13s were good, despite a horrible growing season with lots of rain, the good news... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2015 at WINESCENE
I've been a music junkie in need of a fix since I was in 3rd grade. It was 1969 and I joined the Record Club of America and voila, the Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers, Led Zeppelin III, Jesus Christ Superstar arrived and my world was never the same. As time went on my vinyl collection swelled to 2000 discs, tons of 45s, and by the time I was 16 I was working Saturday's in Plastic Fantastic, perhaps the greatest of all used record stores ever, thanks to the founders Harold Gold and his ex wife Betsy Berlin. Between my late... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2015 at VoIPWatch
Every two years I travel to France to attend a key wine industry event, Decouvertes Vins Rhone. It's an event I have been attending as far back as my days as the Del Mar Time's Wine Critic, as it provided an advance look at what the recent vintages in the Rhone would be delivering well before the wines arrived in the USA. Somewhere along the way I became the "Ambassador" to the USA for The Grenache Association helping to extoll the virtues of what I like to call, "the other red grape." Beyond the four days of tasting that stretches... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2015 at WINESCENE
Let’s face it, we’ve all had credit card transactions declined even though we were nowhere near our limits. Usually it has to do with location, as that’s one of the factors that the credit card issuing companies and banks love to use to detect fraud. But, when you’re actually the person who is the cardholder making the transaction not only is it unneeded by the merchant, it’s unwanted by you. Today, VISA has come to our rescue with a new service called Mobile Location Confirmation, powered by a Comunicano client, Finsphere out of Bellevue, Washington. Kevin Fitchard of Gigaom has... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2015 at VoIPWatch
I have been both honored and humbled at the same time. Two days ago, TMC's Rich Tehrani presented some of my closest friends in world, some who are or have been clients and I with an award. That award is all about our contributions that made us Pioneers in VoIP by helping make the industry what it is today. For me, it was about as emotionally charged as the day I graduated Temple University, my wedding in Montpeyroux, when I produced the retirement night of the Flyers' hero and longtime captain Bobby Clarke, or the night I brought him out... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2015 at VoIPWatch
I'm in West Palm Beach at one of Marriott's Courtyard by Marriott properties. Years ago their saying when they first introduced this mid priced, business person's oriented property line which transformed the hotel industry was "Designed by Business Travelers, For Business Travelers" because Marriott actually spent time asking the business traveler, who up until then either backed up into a Holiday Inn or stayed in a full service hotel. Courtyards offer the best of full service properties, but with less frills, and honestly, a more modern feel. But those days are gone, at least when it comes to broadband. At... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2015 at VoIPWatch
Marriott, which is still backpedaling from their $600,000 fine from the FCC for blocking users of Mi-Fi's at their Nashville area Gaylord Resort and Conference Center, is now in the process of introducing content from providers like Netflix, Hulu and Pandora right to guest room tv's. For a fee. This begs the question, are retailers, hotels, motels, hospitals and shopping malls Internet Service Providers? Are they already that under the current FCC definitions, or will they be under what's likely coming either from them, or from a proposed set of legislation from the House of Representatives that's making the rounds?... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2015 at VoIPWatch
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Citrix, best known to many readers here for GoToMeeting and many other enterprise services is getting in the phone business. The are quietly inviting GoToMeeting users into a soft launch for Convoi and they are aiming it to be your second line on your mobile phone, but with features that are geared around business, all based on an Over The Top (OTT) approach. Key highlights include a second number, voice calls and text. Much like Line2, FLYP or the original pioneers in this space Truphone and TalkPlus (both at times Comunicano clients). What's interesting is that Citrix's Convoi is how... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2015 at VoIPWatch
AliBaba, the Chinese eCommerce giant has launched a social business communications service called DingTalk in Beta (Translation required) bringing back memories of what eBay hoped to and failed to do with Skype. The dream back when Skype was acquired by the online marketplace pioneer was to connect the business to business ecosystem that powered it and the customers who shop. That's exactly what AliBaba is trying to do today with DingTalk. The Chinese market is rapidly expanding, and today, DingTalk is only available in Mandarin. But already AliBaba is claiming their multiple ecommerce platforms have 8.5 million users, so they... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2015 at VoIPWatch
Marriott Hotels has reversed its position on Wi-Fi and will no longer pursue their lobbying efforts with the FCC when it comes to blocking. For travelers who use Mi-Fi's this is good news, but more importantly, it shows that Marriott is beginning to rethink their digital strategy, and are beginning to listen to the public and influencers. This may also mean that other member hotels who joined up with Marriott who are members of the American Hotel & Lodging Association will likely take the same perspective but continue to lobby the FCC for clarification. SKIFT has more on this. Marriott... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2015 at VoIPWatch
WebRTC is alive and well, and in reality all the AT&T announcement did this past week was move it from the world of early stage and forward looking companies like Citrix with their free version of GoToMeeting, to Switch.co, Talko, Wire, iotum with Calliflower and a cadre of collaboration service providers like appear.in who all see what it means for them and their customers. At the same time Cisco, Ericsson, Firefox are sticking more than their toes in the water, each finding ways to want to swing their weight, while emerging companies like client Temasys, Telefonica Digital’s TokBox and Acision... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2015 at VoIPWatch
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Last night I popped two stunning, well aged and certainly, not close to being finished in life red Chateauneuf du Papes from Domaine du Pegau. The two wines, from the 1998 and 2000 vintages were about as different as different could be. The 1998 was a old school style Chateauneuf du Pape, loaded with black fruit, wild meat, olives and herbs, but was very much rustic in style and taste. It had the kind of flavors that matched up really well with a morels, cepes and wild mushroom risotto. The 2000 is a much more elegant, softer and smoother wine,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2015 at WINESCENE
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Having been a fan of Tuscan producer Vignamaggio since their wines hit the shores in the USA back in the 90's it was a treat to discover them available again after some years of absence. Add to that with the fact that I love Italian wines that made the 2007 Vignamaggio Castello di Monna Lisa Chianti Classico Riserva an immediate go to for Paleo Pasta and Meatballs night. The Castello di Monna Lisa Chianti Classico Riserva is one of those wines where you realize that aging it makes so much of a difference. Last year the wine was tight and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2014 at WINESCENE
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One of my favorite producers in the Languedoc was always Pic Saint Loup's Chateau La Roque, back in the day when Jacques Boutin was the winemaker. For me, when I was discovering wines from my favorite region, La Roque was a great way to understand Mourvedre based wines, and in reality, were easily rivals to the great wines of Bandol, but at much lower prices. Thankfully, uber-importer, Kermit Lynch has been bringing in the wines from here since the 90's and quite honestly, I don't know of a more consistent producer in his stable that rivals La Roque for QPV... Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2014 at WINESCENE