Because I am a nosy sort, I checked out again how some of
you got to read my little part of the web, I found alot of people
wanting to know the downsides of running your own PBX.

A PBX is pretty much a unit that can distribute calls, handle
voice mail and extensions in your home or office. You call
a customer support line you will no doubt be placed into
a queue system to wait for an available representative, this
is also a roll of a PBX.

So why on earth should you need one for your home setting?

Since we are all mad about VoIP here we are going to concentrate
on a PBX system orientated around this, so for a choice of PBX
we are going to use Asterisk as an example, no gold stars to anyone
who guessed it either:)

I am going to throw out the pros and cons and try and
elaborate along the way.

Pros of using your own VoIP PBX

  • Calls can be easily screened, even certain telmarketers
    can be hung up upon automatically
  • Control of your own voice mail system, everyone in
    your house can have an extension, so no more shouting
    at the kids upstairs dinner is ready:)
  • Calls cost less, considerably less, you do not have
    to pay taxes on your phone lines just pay for the
    time you use, I use Exgn for incomming and outgoing
  • Redundancy, in an office environment you may have
    two offices, your PRI goes down in one, people
    cant call out! but with Asterisk you can divert
    the call to the other Asterisk box and you can
    make outgoing calls!
  • Again, in the office environment the two offices
    can communicate just by extension numbers.
  • Someone in your house is talking on the phone
    but you need to use it. With Asterisk, just pick
    your phone up and dial away.

Cons of using your own VoIP PBX

  • Hardware, you will need a PC, depending
    on your phone requirements it can be
    an good chunk of an initial investment, but
    I have seen offices of 50 people running on
    a 700Mhz 256Meg PC.
  • VoIP phones can become costly, they range
    from $80 to $300, the alternative is a Soft phone
    which runs on your PC which you can get for
    free, but if your PC crashes while you are on
    a call, then so does your call.
  • Linux, its a free OS and very reliable, but
    if you have never installed it for the first
    time it can be tedious, there is a Windows
    port of Asterisk though, I really cant comment
    on it since I have never installed or used it.
  • No Internet, no calls, If your Internet connection
    decides to go down, then so does your phone

I have tried to be as unbiased as I can:) From my personal
experience I use Asterisk at home an din a business environment
and I couldn’t be happier. Yes I run the risk of pretty much
a useless phone system if my Cable goes down, but thats
fine, since I am saving a great deal of money in phone charges.

I hope this gave you an insight on the whys and wherefores,
if you wish me to elaborate more let me know.

I am currently working on an article on how to install
Asterisk in a Knoppix environment, I`ll post when complete:)

Technorati : , , , , , , ,


Virtualy Free

July 31, 2006

One of my recent challenges was to make a cusomized Knoppix
CD for certain work related needs. Having heard some about
Microsofts Virtual PC I decided to give it a shot and throw
Vmware to the side.

I was struck straight away with how easy it was to do the initial
configuration, there really wasnt alot of changes made to the original
Virtual PC app that they bought it, just branding really.

Knoppix detected everything just fine as I expected, speed was
actually faster than Vmware, what did concern me was every so
often everything frooze, I had to wait around 5 seconds to be able to
move the mouse around again, this came and went, but it was very
distracting and hindered me to the point of uninstalling Virtual PC.

A few considerations though, I was installing Linux running on a dual
CPU laptop which may of been one of the causes, its a real pitty it had
this problem since it was real light on system resources and the performance
was better than Vmware…. I can hear you all already “Its free you moron!” 🙂
For Free, its awesome, but I`ll stick with Vmware…

Quick note, this didnt happen on a single CPU machine, I tried once more with
a different PC, it ran great without the irritating pausing. So if you have a single
CPU, dont waste money with Vmware, download Microsofts Virtual PC.

Technorati : , , ,

Edu-me-cate me..

July 23, 2006

In this day and age there is no excuse for not bettering oneself, if
you are so inclined to, which I hope you are.. With the aid of
the net and a good google`in you can become bloody genius! 🙂

Check out this chaps article on free education, very informative
and interesting! He does a wonderful job of getting to the details
on the resources available to better yourself.

Technorati : , ,

Today I was perusing the search criteria results of how
some people arrived to my little part of the web
(My blogg 🙂 ).. I found a few requests based on how to
make calls within Asterisk via the CLI.

I checked and I have not covered it, there seems to be
a demand so here goes.. If there is anything else you
wished to be explained please tell me
, I cant read minds:)

Asterisk has a built in CLI mode, in your console
/SSH/Telnet session just run the following command:

asterisk -r

Lets say you setup an extension with the number 100, to test
this extension , run the following command

dial 100@internal

With any luck you will hear it ring… if not make sure your
extension is registered in your sip.conf or iax.conf depending
on what protocol you are using, if you have a sip phone there
is no use checking your iax.conf and visa-versa.

Also check to make sure your OSS or ALSA sound driver
module is running, this can contribute to the dial commands

One thing I didn’t cover on the command above is the internal
part, this is the context associated with the extension.

On an another note, if you are testing a series of phones then you
can just make a Perl script and execute

asterisk -rx dial 100@internal

You would replace the 100 with a variable ofcourse, but the above
command does not go into the CLI just executes the CLI command

Technorati : , , , , , , ,

Guiding light?

July 22, 2006

Check out LinkScanner apparently it will tell you if a website has
any form of exploit. Real nice idea, yet I really cant imagine
checking every web page I visit… Tempted to write a quick
Perl proxy script to check every site you go to utilizing the
Linkscanner, hmm, probably get in trouble for abusing the
service plus it would be slow as heck though…

Technorati : , , , , ,

Spam trickery

July 7, 2006

I found this neat Firefox extension, we have all been there,you know
when you sign up for certain services or trial downloads at sites where
they require your email address for “Validation” purposes, we all
know its just an invitation to spam flooding your email account.

Well this extension uses a service called Temporary Inbox, when
you are signing up for something and it asks you to put in an email
address you get the extension to create a random one, you cut and
paste it in. You then have 6 hours to check that account for any
correspondence from the site you signed up for the usual stuff they
give you, i.e links to downloads etc. After that period the account
is deleted.

Technorati : , , , ,

XP Auto complete

July 7, 2006

Ok I feel rather a dork for not knowing this, but I found out XP has an
auto complete feature within its command line, Coming from a Linux
background it just felt natural.:)

Here is a link to the instructions to turn on the function, has some registry
additions, so if you are not confident with that then Tweak UI can do
the job for you.

Auto complete uses the tab key to try and guess what you are typing,
for example, I am in a DOS Shell in XP I can start typing half a
directory name or filename then press tab and it will complete it for
me, example below..

I make a directory called my_directory, then I want to get inside it so I
type cd my_


Now I go and press the TAB key and viola…


It filled in the rest of the directory name, ideal for the lazy geek:) Or a
necessity for a Linux type user.

Technorati : , , , , ,