E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

Damaka – Experience the Joy of Communicating

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

A few weblog posts back I created a couple of weblog posts regarding a few of the VoIP / IM tools that are out there and that were going to bring some competition to Skype, which is always a good thing if you would want to stay ahead of the pack. That was when I talked about VoipBuster, Jajah and Gizmo. At the same time, and not too long ago, I mentioned Google‘s incorporation into the VoIP / IM space with the launch of Google Talk. In short, it looks like the list is never going to end just there so I thought I would mention one last addition that I have been enjoying for a couple of weeks now and which I think is also going to have something to say.

It is called Damaka and you can download it from here. It is still in beta but you can already download it to see what is actually all about. As the homepage says it is one of those real-time collaboration tools that brings joy into communicating with others and there is a single reason for this: it is actually quite a lot of fun to use. It has got lots of pretty neat, and extensive, features (Although I am missing the ability of sending files. Hope they add that one soon, too!), that try to put together not just Instant Messaging and VoIP, but also e-mail, SMS messages, etc. etc. So this is one of those clients that you cannot ignore if you are looking for an integration with some other applications you may be using already.

One other feature that I like quite a lot, actually, although it is not exclusive from Damaka is the ability to send offline messages; also the fact that both text and VoIP calls are encrypted, not like some other tools; and finally the fact that this new tool is “firmly committed to the use of industry standards throughout the product”. This is really great stuff ! As I said there are tons and tons of really useful features, like a weather forecast option, or a stock exchange one, or a Media Player to listen to your favourite piece of music. And the list goes on and on and on.

But where is the fun part in collaborating using this particular application, you may be wondering, right? Well, it is all over the place in its user interface with some really cool graphics, very well put together. And also with another of my favourite features to enrich the online interactions: the usage of dum-dums just to stress out your point in a much more interactive way. I must say that when I was first using Damaka I didn’t see the point of using such fun arguments to enrich the conversations, but then over time I found out through talking to a number of folks that it is a superb effort to try improve the team building techniques to make people feel comfortable with one another in order to be able to collaborate much more effectively.

I tell you, if you are looking for a feature packed VoIP / IM tool, with a great user interface and with some lovely options to encourage informal discussions, and therefore great for some initial team building to get collaboration going, while keeping the fun part of the interaction alive all the way through, Damaka will be probably one of your best choices to have a look at. After all, collaborating and sharing knowledge with your colleagues, or with your friends, should not be boring, should it ? Now, if only file transfer would be available… Let’s hope it makes it some time soon and I think we would have a very powerful option out there, folks ! If you want to give it a try just send me a message to elesar and we will pick it up from there. Have fun !

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18 comments

  1. Hello sandelwoods and welcome to elsua ! Thanks a lot for dropping by and for sharing your thoughts. I have been away the last couple of days travelling and I have just now got a chance to upgrade to the latest version available of Damaka. I must say that I have been using it all along next to Skype and I have been enjoying most of its features although I am not very content with the fact that some of the different features are only US based, when the application is available worldwide, something that we have seen with quite a few other applications. But I guess that will be addressed soon. One thing that I have yet got to find out why it does not work is the RSS Reader. Apparently, no RSS nor Atom feed that I have tried out seems to be working. I have tried out with feeds from my default feed client reader and still the same problem so not sure what is going on. And about the video feature I haven’t been able to test it out just yet, will be doing so shortly as soon as I get in touch with some folks and see how it would go. Hopefully, the quality would be as good as you state, sandelwoods. Thanks again for the feedback and for dropping by !

  2. Dear Luis,

    I don’t think there is any website/service that shows traffic information for the entire world. If you know of any such service, we can forward that to damaka guys. I did some RnD on their RSS Reader… I was able to add most of the RSS 2.0 feeds. I don’t they support older versions of RSS or Atom at this time… The following feeds worked for me:

    http://rss.cnn.com/rss/cnn_topstories.rss, http://rss.cnn.com/rss/cnn_tech.rss, (and all the feeds on http://www.cnn.com/services/rss/)
    http://rss.news.yahoo.com/rss/topstories, http://rss.news.yahoo.com/rss/world & http://rss.news.yahoo.com/rss/mostemailed

    Feel free to add me as your buddy and I’d be more than happy to test damaka with you. My damaka id is “sandelwoods”.

    Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about their new feature — CALL RECORDING. Its a wonderful feature… People can use this feature to record their PoDCasts… the audio quality of the recorded file was awesome. and I am sure you know that you can now set your custom picture in damaka.

    Let me know if you have any other question…

    Rgrds,
    S.Woods

  3. Hello Sandel ! Thanks a bunch for dropping by once more and for sharing your thoughts. It is actually quite interesting that you have shared your feedback comments above because I have just checked out the RSS Reader with a couple of the feeds you mentioned above and they seem to be working just fine. Excellent stuff ! However, and since you mentioned that only RSS 2.0 feeds seem to work I have tried it out with my own weblog feed, which is also on RSS 2.0, and I still cannot get it to work. So if I try to add http://www.elsua.net/feed it just won’t pick it up. I think at this point in time I will contact their support line and see what is actually going on. Appreciated the feedback though indicating that it works so I know I am not going crazy or anything.

    I have also added you to my list of contacts in Damaka and, hopefully, we may be able to test things further whenever we get a chance to catch up with each other. Also I did know about the possibility of adding a custom picture, which is really nice since I can now show my own picture and let it stay there. Pretty handy. And, finally, about your comment on being able to record the Damaka calls, this is, indeed, a superb feature specially for people who may want to not only create their own podcasts but also to register and save the conversations that they may have been having with their virtual teams so that they can go back and capture what bits of information they may need. They would be an excellent tool for capturing meeting minutes and organise thoughts, for sure. But, also, and like you say, it would be a great feature to go ahead and prepare your own podcast, something that I have been pondering for a little while and which I may be able to get it going some time soon !

    Thanks again, Sandel, for all the feedback comments ! Appreciated.

  4. You are very welcome Luis. You actually bring a very interesting point wrt damaka call rocording feature… it can indeed be a
    great tool for collaboration – organizing thoughts and capturing meetings minutes… it can also be effectively used in schools
    and colleges – where teachers can record audio session and distribute to their students… or create virtual classrooms with
    damaka video. Possibilities are endless…. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I left you an offline msg earlier… hope to catch up with you later and discuss more ideas…

    have a good weekend! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    woods…

  5. Excellent feedback, Sandel ! Certainly the possibilities are limitless ! I am really glad you are suggesting all these different features and possibilities since they would certainly help me convince even more of the folks I work with to give it a try. Damaka is a superb option to take real-time collaboration into new heights. And best part of it, at least, as far as I am concerned is its ease of use. I still yet have to find someone who may have tried it out and says that he / she doesn’t like it because it is difficult to learn. And that, to me, is a great advantage over other tools from the perspective where people would then just need to focus on whatever they would want to collaborate with without having to worry about the tools they may be using in getting that collaboration going.

    I got your offline message and it looks like we missed out each other once more. I have sent you another offline message and see if this time we can make it. You see, another great feature from Damaka: the possibility of sending messages to offline users who will see them next time they are online. Not many real-time tools can do that. Great stuff !

  6. Luis,

    I just came to know that damaka has released their enhanced video… I don’t know much about the technology, but on their
    website they claim to use H263. I tested it with my friends at work and the video quality is awesome. It is better than Skype, MSN and Yahoo.

    When you get a chance, do check it out and let me know your thoughts.

    Regards,
    Woods…
    damaka
    damaka id: sandelwoods

  7. Hi Sandel / Woods ! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks a lot for letting us know about this. Yes, I got a noticed earlier on this morning that there was a new version of Damaka that was putting together some really cool features, some of which you have mentioned already above. I must say that I haven’t been able to try out the new video capabilities since I didn’t have a chance to look into that just yet, but as soon as I am able to do so I will have a look and see how it goes. Judging from your comments it looks like Damaka may have exceeded the expectations once again and we may be witnessing one of those VoIP collaborative tools that you just cannot ignore.

    Thanks again for the feedback and will surely catch up with you some time ! Have a good one!

  8. SIP P2P vendor Damaka Launches its Service Provider Product

    Press Release Source: damaka

    damaka Launches Operator and Service Provider Version of Its Peer-to-Peer Personal Softswitch(TM)
    Monday June 12, 9:00 am ET

    RICHARDSON, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–June 12, 2006–damaka, a leading provider of real time peer-to-peer multimedia collaboration and communication software solutions, announced the release of “damaka powered” Partner Operator version of it’s Personal Softswitch(TM) that enables Operators and Service providers to offer unique high value, easy to use voice, video and data services to their customers with the highest flexibility and lowest cost of ownership compared to any solution available today.

    ADVERTISEMENT
    “damaka now empowers Operators, VoIP Providers and ISPs with branded solution to leapfrog their competition by providing next generation services with secure, high quality Video and Voice (PC-to-PSTN/Mobile and PC-to-PC) communication,” said Siva Ravikumar, Founder and CEO of damaka. “damaka’s cutting-edge peer-to-peer technology based on SIP standards allows our customers to take advantage of its service enabling and highly scalable solution to increase revenue and reduce cost significantly.”

    damaka has announced their Operator launch with Mortel Telecom (www.mortel.com), a next generation Turkey based VoIP Provider focusing on Turkey and International markets. Mortel has implemented the complete “damaka powered” solution to deliver creative peer-to-peer services. damaka is currently working with numerous other operators and VoIP providers to enable them to launch their own peer-to-peer networks and be in the forefront of offering tailored communication and collaboration solutions to their customers.

    “We require our partners’ solutions to seamlessly integrate into our infrastructure so that we can maximize our capabilities, quickly deliver superior quality, and offer advanced services that touch people’s lives every day. damaka’s technology is changing the way we deliver services,” said Vahit Aykut, CEO of Mortel. “The secure peer-to-peer model helps Mortel to scale with the most cost effective infrastructure possible today and this is a key element to our overall growth plan.”

    damaka has also recently developed and released the best-in-class peer-to-peer video (H.263/H.264) as the cornerstone of its video offering.

    For information on how to have your own peer-to-peer “damaka powered” network contact: bizdev@damaka.net

    About damaka, Inc.

    damaka (www.damaka.com) is a technology pioneer in distributed softswitching for multimedia communication and collaboration services. damaka offers its state-of-the-art software solutions to Operators, Enterprises and Consumers. damaka platform is based on industry standards and uses patent pending technology, which provides a very secure peer-to-peer environment for Internet users worldwide.

    Contact:

    damaka, Richardson
    Sylvia, 972-979-6464
    sylvia@damaka.net
    http://www.damaka.com

  9. Thanks a lot, Dennis, for the feedback comments and for sharing this announcement with us. It surely sounds like an interesting option that the Damaka folks are putting together ! Worth while keeping an eye, for sure ! Thanks for the headsup and for dropping by !

  10. hi guys
    i think i’m in a right place to put my quetion, i have recently downloaded damaka and used it, seems to be cool tool but i’m very interested in encryption aspect of it but honestly speaking i dont know how can we the users trust these claims, do you guys know any way that we can test for ourseves if a voice-chat is really encrypted or not? thx in advance and waiting for your comments

  11. Hi tech1show ! Thanks a lot for dropping by and for the feedback input ! Welcome to elsua!

    I must say that when I first checked out Damaka one of the things that I really enjoyed finding out some more was to know the fact that Damaka does offer encryption of the messages and the VoIP components as can be read in the Security link here. In fact, if you go and start an IM conversation with someone you would be able to see on the top left of the chat window a lock icon with the word Secure indicating that conversation is secure enough to get things going. However, for the technicalities I am just going to leave it to the Damaka developers to chime in and confirm what the actual security specs are.

    Hope that helps.

  12. hello again
    could any1 tell me if a particular ip range is blocked in a damaka user’s country, is it possible for an isp to trace and block that ip range from being contacted by a damaka user? thx and bye

  13. I think this is developed by some chinese intelligence company, they put all spywares on the machine. so please dont use it if you want security

  14. Speaking of encryption and blocking, I was talking to a damaka sales rep recently and learned that even their SIP signaling is encrypted. (That’s what is the meant by full end-to-end encryption). In fact, some people claim it’s not SIP because they couldn’t trace the SIP signaling. But the company assured me it is SIP-based and offered to connect to my SIP server as long as I provide the SIP credentials. Hope this helps.

  15. Mr Roberts is absolutely correct. I work for damaka and I can attest that both signaling and media is encrypted. damaka is end to end secure. In fact, our technology is DIRECT PEERING, that means we do not use relays or super nodes like other popular products. So the customers are completely secure and safe.

    Go ahead and try damaka now (http://www.damaka.com). Sign up (http://www.damaka.com/signup) for the service (of course it is free) and enjoy the wonderful features like free phone & video calls, desktop sharing, whiteboarding, free tv and radio and so much more….

    If you want to test with me feel free to add me as your buddy – my damaka id is “chandan”

    damaka.com
    …experience the joy of communicating

  16. Hello Chandan! Thanks very much for the feedback comments and for dropping by to share some further thoughts on this thread. Welcome to elsua! I really appreciate you taking a few minutes to share with you some very thoughtful comments on how Damaka has been built up all along and which I am hoping would be helping folks get a much better idea of how Damaka is shaping up to become a very powerful collaborative environment for real-time interactions.

    Oh, by the way, stay tuned for a follow up weblog entry I am in the process of drafting out because I am actually going to be sharing my initial feedback with the latest upgrade of Damaka that I feel is going to imply a before and an after for real-time interactions. Stay tuned as it is coming up over the next couple of days.

    Thanks again for dropping by and do please keep up the superb piece of work ! Great stuff!

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