Next Stop - Jacksonville for NEC and Another SIPTones Gig!

I've been following NEC for a long time, and this will be my first time attending their annual event. The main focus will be customers and partners, but there will also be some analysts and consultants at NEC's Advantage Executive Conference.

Am looking forward to meeting more of NEC's executive team, along with roadmap updates, especially for their UC platform, Univerge Blue.

I'll also be part of the fun, doing another stint on keyboards with the SIPTones. We've been working on our songs, and as per the agenda, we're playing poolside for attendees Thursday night. Hope to see you there, ready to dance!

If you haven't seen us play, here's our most recent gig at last fall's SCTC conference in Atlanta:

Making Music with the SIPtones at Interactions 2014

Most of you know me as an analyst, and I'm not in the habit of putting my personal life on public display. I still get my share of spam, but let's keep this upbeat!

Music is my biggest passion, and I've been playing piano and guitar most of my life. If you follow how my youngest son, Dean, is progressing with his music career, that should give you some clues as to where that's coming from. I can only take some of the credit, though - he's got a real gift, and my job is help him take it to full potential.

He bypassed my guitar playing years ago, but I still love to play, mostly blues, R&B and some jazz. I was really happy to have a chance to do that recently with the SIPtones, who got play a long, two hour set at Indy's top blues bar, the Slippery Noodle.

The gig took place earlier this month during the Interactions 2014 event, held by Interactive Intelligence, a vendor most of you will be familiar with. The SIPtones are all consultants by day, and they've been doing this a while. By night, it's Wayne Sos on bass, Stephen Leaden on drums, Rick Hathaway on saxes, and Mike Moszynski on guitar and harp.

They were nice enough to let me guest on a few numbers, with all but one on keyboard. Towards the end of the night, I comped on guitar while Mike did a Juke-like harp raveup, Off the Wall, including playing on top of the tables in the crowd. Whoo hoo!

Rick is the bandleader, and like all good bandleaders, he documents their gigs. He put together a nine minute highlight reel of the evening, and it's been posted now to YouTube. Unless you're a SIPtones groupie, you'll never find it, so I'm being the brand ambassador here and sharing it with you.

I'm on keyboard off and on throughout the compilation, and while the sound isn't great, I'm easy to spot on the far left of the stage. When comping Mike on guitar, I'm on the far right - that clip is near the end of the video.

Anyhow, watch as much as you like, and please share it with anyone who might enjoy it - or better yet, sign the band to a mega-deal and world tour. Rick is standing by on his SIP phone, and I'll keep practicing to keep the dream alive.  :-)

Remember When Rock Was Fun?

It's been a very intense week getting the Smart Grid Summit planned and launched. Anyone who thinks conferences are easy to do haven't done this before! It definitely gets easier over time, but we're after a new market and new audience, so most of what we're doing is laying the foundation for something we think has a long road ahead.

It's Friday, and to look on the lighter side, I wanted to de-stress a bit with a post about the Chickenfoot concert the other night. For those who follow these things, Chickenfoot is a very fun, happening hard rock mashup, with 4 veterans playing some great rock music - Joe Satriani, Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony and Chad Smith. I'm not a huge fan of their legacy bands, but I'm a guitar guy, so Satch is pretty special. More importantly, my younger son is a budding guitar shred-meister, and seeing players like this in person is a real treat. Chickenfoot is just finding their touring legs, and their Toronto show here on Wednesday was fantastic.

All I can say is if you love a good rock show, go see these guys. There's a reason why 80's rock went away, and there's only a little of that in their show - and hopefully they'll winnow that out as their tour progresses. Otherwise, these guys really rock, and just plain have FUN. I don't know about you, but I don't have enough fun any more, and it really takes you back to when all the rock shows were this good and this much fun. Sure makes you miss being a teenager, but I can take turning back the clock for a few hours for something like this.

I'm back to work now, but here's a bit of what we were seeing the other night.

Fall VON - Photo/Video Highlights

Am back from Fall VON now, and have not had much chance at all to blog. Got a bunch of things coming, and this is the first one up. I'm just doing photos and a Herding Cats video clip here - really to showcase the Nokia N90, since it doubles as my camera/camcorder when I travel. More posts coming tomorrow - just too tired to do anything else right now!

Two ways to make yourself look larger than life - me and my shadow, and Jeff on one of the big video monitors during his keynote on Tuesday. It's ok for Jeff to be larger than life here - it was his birthday!


Jeff doing his keynote, and one of his slides about how voice is really just an Internet application. Much of his keynote focused on how video is no different with IP, and that the same disruption we saw with voice is happening now with video.


Jeff gave several examples of how video and broadcasting are quickly becoming Net-centric. He's just gotten into Second Life, and here's a shot of avatars watching Jeff present in his virtual world call Pulveria. The really cool thing is that Jeff actually conversed with one of these avatars in real time during his preso, which all of us could see and hear. For those of you who need something more that what real life has to offer, this is a pretty neat way to put your imagination to work in a virtual world.


Ted Leonsis, Vice Chairman of AOL probably gave the most dynamic presentation of the show, and really opened us up to some of the cool things that AOL is offering today, as they try to take Web 2.0 mainstream. While not quite the 10 Commandments, here are his 7 "web virtues" for success in this space. He's good!


Other stuff of note. First, Iotum's screen interface at the AIM PhoneLine booth. They are one of the developers being showcased by AIM at the show. Second photo - the VON youth brigade - a panel called "Next Generation Networking - Literally". Some of these guys aren't old enought to drink yet, but they sure know what works in the Web 2.0 world.


The blogger's panel - moderated by Alec Saunders, and joined by Jeff Pulver, Andy Abramson, Dan York, Martin Geddes, Brough Turner, and remotely via SightSpeed, Om Malik.


If there's a sacred cow in Boston, it's my Red Sox. What a cool idea. If you must see this for yourself, it's in the lobby of the Marriott in Copley Square. Love the hat and the shoes!


Time to move on to the party last night. Got some good photos - and lots of bad ones, plus a video clip down below. If you haven't seen the Herding Cats, you're missing the most fun band around, and they've become a staple at Jeff's parties.

Oh, and if you like this, and want to see more Herding Cats photos and video clips, you'll enjoy my post about their show at Globalcomm this summer.



If you've seen the finale of their show, you'll know what song this is. The water spraying up from the drums is a great effect they use during Whole Lotta Love. I'm wondering if anyone out there noticed a subtle lick they managed to work in while they were grooving along on this song. It was a short take on Cream's Spoonful, which I picked up right away, being a Clapton afficianado. I just loved that one - anyone else out there catch that? I hadn't heard that one before - nice twist.


Finally, here's my video clip of their take on Bon Jovi via my Nokia N90 - very fun. Gotta love YouTube...

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Jazz Ringtones � Who Says Art and Commerce Don�t Mix?

Don�t get me wrong, I love VoIP, and think tech is pretty cool, but if I was stranded on an island with the choice of one inanimate distraction, it would be a piano, hands-down. Jazz and blues are real core passions, and when a jazz buddy shared this with me, I just had to post about it.

If you�re a jazz fan, you know all about Blue Note Records - and if you don�t, but want to, look for me at VON, and we�ll walk over to Berklee and go from there. Anyhow, Blue Note recently launched a series of custom ringtones, drawing from their incredible catalog of modern jazz, mostly from the 50s and 60s. The jazz mind thrills to the thought of having the cell phone ring with classics like Watermelon Man, My Funny Valentine or Straight No Chaser. And my favorite, Horace Silver�s Song For My Father. If you�re a big-time Steely Dan fan like me, you�ll really want that one. In case you don�t know it, this is the tune the catchy riff from Ricky Don�t Lose That Number was lifted from. Check it out if you don�t believe me�..

And to whet your appetite,I can think of no better image to bring this together than the vintage Blue Note album from one of my faves, Dexter Gordon � appropriately titled Dexter Calling, with a cover shot of Dex making a call from a phone booth. How cool is that? Of course if Dex was still with us, he'd be doing it today with a mobile phone.

Dexter Callilng.jpg

Nobody ever thought ring tones would be a big business, and it�s incredible what people will � and will not � spend money on. As frivolous as ring tones are, Blue Note is simply extending the idea in a creative way that totally works for their audience. It�s tasteful and hip at the same time � not crass marketing, and it�s not Warholian pop culture. And if it liberates a few disposable dollars from cell phone users and funnels them back to the jazz community, then we have capitalism that even Castro would like.

That�s what�s so great about IP and a lot of today�s other technologies � they work equally well for a large market as for a niche market. In that regard, IP is a lot like the improvisational nature of jazz � it�s flexible, open, and thrives on user-defined content and highly personalized experiences. Now if we could just make jazz as popular�..

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