All the leaves are brown, and the sky is gray.I\u2019ve been for a walk on a winter\u2019s day.I\u2019d be safe and warm if I was in L.A.California dreamin\u2019 on such a winter\u2019s day.The Mamas and the Papas, "California Dreamin\u2019"Dear Vorticians,Yes, indeed, I am California dreamin\u2019 \u2013 or Barbados dreamin\u2019, for that matter \u2013 what with the first snow of the winter . . . err autumn . . .\u00a0 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\u2019s Prayer for Bosox fans:\u201cOur Father, who art at Fenway, baseball be they game.\u00a0Thy kingdom come, World Series won,\u00a0on earth as it is in the Cask 'n' Flagon.\u00a0Give us this day, our Pedro Martinez,\u00a0and forgive us our losses as we forgive those, like young Billy Buckner.\u00a0And lead us not into depression, but deliver us from the curse.Amen.\u201dIn case you don\u2019t know, the Cask is a rather seedy bar near Fenway. If you haven\u2019t been, don\u2019t rush out.\u00a0 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\u2019d like a copy, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.Anyway, if you\u2019ll 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 \u2013 mostly that it isn\u2019t quite the threat that I made Skype, and services like Vonage\u2019s, out to be. That pulled Vortician Rolls back into the game.\u201cJohn, 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 \u2018Net- 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 \u2018nodes\u2019 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.\u201cWe're still investigating these things to see what's reality and what's Skype . . .\u00a0 I mean hype.\u00a0 Note that in my original email, I merely said \u2018check it out.\u2019 I didn't suggest this was going to take over the world.\u00a0 But it's an interesting development.\u201dThanks Jay. Vortician Bill Baker also wrote, saying: \u201cJohn, 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: \u2018The Perfect Curse.\u2019 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.\u201dThe Perfect Curse analogy is a good one, Bill. If you recall \u2018The Perfect Storm,\u2019 the ship (Red Sox) sank and everyone (the fans) was lost at sea.Speaking of being lost at sea, next week I\u2019m shifting my attention, even if briefly, to the Federal Communications Commission and the idea that maybe we don\u2019t need it any more. Maybe it\u2019s time for sunset at the nation\u2019s networking watchdog.Every major decision the FCC has made is being challenged in court and the uncertainty and confusion surrounding the FCC\u2019s policies is a powerful drag on investment and growth. The U.S. is slipping behind \u2013 in some cases plummeting past \u2013 other industrialized nations in broadband and something needs to change.We\u2019ll talk. Thoughts on any of this to email@example.com.Bye for now.