PalmOne Treo 650

I purchased a PalmOne Treo 650 a few days back and I must say I am very impressed. I am posting this from the Treo. The interface is great and the availability of free software is great. The web browser is pretty impressive – it renders graphics with surprising accuracy and clarity. I look forward to continuing to use this device when I’m out and about, or just too lazy to get up out of my recliner. Good job PalmOne.

Your new Cingular Account Number

Dear (name removed),

Thank you for your recent upgrade! Your new Cingular phone will allow you to take advantage of all of the great services and features available to you as part of the nation’s largest wireless family.

To distinguish between the new and previous services, your new service has been assigned a new account number. To ensure the smoothest possible transition, please note the following:

Previous Service Invoice

You will continue to receive an invoice on your previous account as long as a balance remains unpaid. To prevent any possible interruption to your new wireless service, please make timely payments using one of the following options:

* Make your payments using the payment slip and return envelope included with your invoice. Please be sure to include your old account number on your check or money order.
* You may also speak with a representative at 1-800-331-0500 who can assist you with a payment by credit card, debit card, or electronic funds transfer from your bank account.

New Service Invoice – Your new account number is: 0

Services associated with your new phone will be billed separately, and must be paid separately from your previous service.

New Service Features: Once your new equipment is activated, please take the following actions to continue (or begin) to enjoy these features:

* Voicemail – Be sure to record your voicemail greeting and set up your password once service is activated on the new account. Simply press and hold the “1” key on your wireless phone to connect, and then follow the recorded instructions.
* Online Account Management – If you were previously registered for Online Customer Service, you will need to re-register using your new account information at
* Bill Payment Services – Remember to update these services with your new account number to ensure that future payments are applied to your new Cingular invoice. Examples of such services are: your bank’s bill pay service, Quicken, Scout, Yahoo Bill Pay or Paytrust.

Once again, we thank you for being a part of the Cingular family. We will continually work to provide you with the best wireless experience.

Cingular Wireless

Man, I must be special. Account number 0!! That’s gotta win me a prize or something.

Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

President Bush announced on Thursday that Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn would be among the recepients of this year’s Presidential Medal of Freedom. Cerf and Kahn designed the original code used to transmit data over the Internet. A fitting tribute to two individuals who had a hand in creating the catalyst for much economic prosperity for the world.

Net-Phone Firm Vonage Gives Mixed Signals

I think Vonage would be a great acquisition for one of these companies looking into expanding into VoIP. They have an established platform that is one of the best out there (and I’ve tried quite a few). I’ve been excited about Vonage’s product since way before it was getting buzz in the Wall Street Journal, and was one of their first customers. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Net-Phone Firm Vonage
Gives Mixed Signals
November 3, 2005; Page C1

Vonage Holdings Corp., a pioneer in selling Internet-based telephone service to consumers, is sending mixed signals to Wall Street.

Vonage is both preparing for an initial public offering of stock that could raise as much as $600 million and exploring selling itself to a larger company at a price that could top $2 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

Venture investors, including Bain Capital, 3i Group PLC, Meritech Capital Partners, Institutional Venture Partners and New Enterprise Associates, have poured $408 million into Vonage, of Edison, N.J., and are likely ready to start collecting a payout.

These investors can hope for a hefty price tag because Vonage is a leader in Internet voice, a technology that enables phone calls to be made using Internet technology for lower costs and with more features than traditional phone service.

Vonage’s hopes got a lift in September when eBay Inc. agreed to pay $2.6 billion for Skype Technologies SA, a Luxembourg Internet calling company whose revenue of $7 million last year is a fraction of Vonage’s. But there is a chance Vonage could fall short of that mark because several potential acquirers seem more interested in developing their own versions of the service than in making a costly acquisition.

Internet calling, a threat to the conventional phone business, works by transforming voice into data and beaming it along the Internet like an email or photo. The service requires customers to have a high-speed Internet connection, which most people get from their phone or cable company. Vonage’s customer roster of more than one million subscribers has more than doubled this year and the company continues to advertise aggressively, so revenue is likely to continue growing quickly in the near future.

Vonage’s fastest route to a big payday would be to sell itself to one of the cable, Internet or telecommunications companies that have been scrambling to get into the technology. The Skype deal proved that companies are willing to pay handsomely for a head start. Skype, which is primarily used by consumers sitting at their computers talking to one another free of charge, appealed to eBay largely because it would enhance eBay’s core Internet auction business. Even so, many analysts and investors questioned the high price.

It is far from certain that a suitor would pay a comparable sum for Vonage or that its big IPO — which is being underwritten by Deutsche Bank AG, UBS AG, Citigroup Inc. and Bear Stearns Cos. — would be smooth sailing.

“I think it’s not the most appealing business model in the world,” said Rob Bartolo, co-manager of the T. Rowe Price Media and Telecommunications Fund. “It’s a business with limited barriers to entry and falling prices.”

Vonage’s business model is more like a conventional phone company and could appeal to an acquirer seeking a steady revenue stream. Consumers pay the company about $25 a month for a way to plug their phones into high-speed Internet connections. While the company doesn’t disclose financial results, some estimate that revenue is coming in at a rate of about $300 million a year. Vonage so far has moved faster and been more successful in promoting the service than rivals, including cable companies and AT&T Corp.

But many of the most obvious phone and cable company buyers for Vonage are quickly rolling out their own Internet phone offers, as are Internet companies such as EarthLink Inc. and Yahoo Inc. Large telecom and cable companies also can bundle Internet calling with high-speed Internet and TV services, something that Vonage can’t match.

Also perhaps ominous for a Vonage IPO is that a smaller Internet phone company that went public yesterday, Cbeyond Communications Inc., twice cut its offering price. The IPO was priced at $12, down from an original range of $16 to $18. Cbeyond’s stock didn’t gain in its first day of trading, and closed at $12 a share in Nasdaq Stock Market trading.

Investors could give a Vonage IPO a similar reception.

“Skeptical is a good characterization of my view,” said Michael Mahoney, a partner at EGM Capital LLC, a hedge-fund firm based in San Francisco. Vonage’s growth has been impressive, Mr. Mahoney said, but its service isn’t unique and it doesn’t yet have the sheer size that has proved to be crucial in the phone business

On the acquisition front, Vonage so far this year has held exploratory talks with several potential suitors, including Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile USA Inc., a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG, according to people familiar with the matter. Traditional media companies and Internet players also have expressed interest, these people say.

None of Vonage’s discussions with prospective buyers have reached an advanced or exclusive stage. They could fizzle over price, as talks with Sprint Nextel did several months ago, say people familiar with those discussions.

In recent weeks, rumors have circulated that BellSouth Corp., which provides conventional phone service in the Southeast, was courting Vonage. A BellSouth spokesman declined to comment directly on the speculation, but said the company plans to launch an Internet phone service later this year “and it will not be with Vonage.”

A deal with Vonage could make sense for a wireless carrier such as T-Mobile that is seeking to expand its presence and has no conventional phone business that is threatened by Vonage. T-Mobile held exploratory discussions with Vonage earlier in the year, according to people familiar with the matter, but it isn’t clear if the company still has an active interest.