• United States
IDG Enterprise Consulting Director

A prayer for Red Sox fans

Oct 23, 20034 mins
Data CenterVoIP

All the leaves are brown, and the sky is gray.

I’ve been for a walk on a winter’s day.

I’d be safe and warm if I was in L.A.

California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day.

The Mamas and the Papas, “California Dreamin’”

Dear Vorticians,

Yes, indeed, I am California dreamin’ – or Barbados dreamin’, for that matter – what with the first snow of the winter . . . err autumn . . .  already on the ground here in the Boston area. Our Red Sox lit out to warmer climates a week ago, having been ignominiously bumped from the playoffs by the Yanks.

Last issue, I asked you to pray for them and Vortician Kevin Gallagher sent along this version of the Lord’s Prayer for Bosox fans:

“Our Father, who art at Fenway, baseball be they game. 

Thy kingdom come, World Series won, 

on earth as it is in the Cask ‘n’ Flagon. 

Give us this day, our Pedro Martinez, 

and forgive us our losses as we forgive those, like young Billy Buckner. 

And lead us not into depression, but deliver us from the curse.


In case you don’t know, the Cask is a rather seedy bar near Fenway. If you haven’t been, don’t rush out.  Along with the poem, I got from a co-worker a really funny and well-crafted application form for Sox fans hoping to transfer their allegiance to the Yankees. If you’d like a copy, drop me a note at

Anyway, if you’ll recall, I started talking about voice over IP services a few weeks back, launched into the topic by a note from Vortician Jay Rolls who suggested I look into a service called Skype. The discussion has drawn a lot of response from readers – mostly that it isn’t quite the threat that I made Skype, and services like Vonage’s, out to be. That pulled Vortician Rolls back into the game.

“John, Here’s why Skype is a bigger deal than some of your readers might recognize:

– First, it’s brought to us by the authors of KaZaA – which has instant credibility in certain circles on the ‘Net

– Yes, some of this is about buzz; but buzz is nice to have if you’re trying to turn a product or service into a successful business. (Even Napster seems to have finally turned the corner).

– Microsoft Messenger calls are routed via a centralized server. This will not scale and will contribute to call quality issues. While Skype is not true peer-to-peer, it appears to use a rather advanced call routing algorithm and is built to scale to a large size. It uses self-assigned ‘nodes’ to operate.

– Unlike MS Messenger, Skype has advanced NAT/firewall capabilities. And Skype is encrypted.

– And one of the main ones: Skype truly appears to have superior call quality to most other VoIP applications.

“We’re still investigating these things to see what’s reality and what’s Skype . . .  I mean hype.  Note that in my original email, I merely said ‘check it out.’ I didn’t suggest this was going to take over the world.  But it’s an interesting development.”

Thanks Jay. Vortician Bill Baker also wrote, saying: “John, keep praying. As a former Chicagoan, I would hate to see two highly cursed teams meet for the first time. Can you imagine the consequences? I see a move script: ‘The Perfect Curse.’ Regarding VoIP. VoIP is to telco voice what IP was to IBM SNA. And yes, I am dating myself, but at my age it does not matter.”

The Perfect Curse analogy is a good one, Bill. If you recall ‘The Perfect Storm,’ the ship (Red Sox) sank and everyone (the fans) was lost at sea.

Speaking of being lost at sea, next week I’m shifting my attention, even if briefly, to the Federal Communications Commission and the idea that maybe we don’t need it any more. Maybe it’s time for sunset at the nation’s networking watchdog.

Every major decision the FCC has made is being challenged in court and the uncertainty and confusion surrounding the FCC’s policies is a powerful drag on investment and growth. The U.S. is slipping behind – in some cases plummeting past – other industrialized nations in broadband and something needs to change.

We’ll talk. Thoughts on any of this to

Bye for now.