A big milestone in the Open USB FXS world

by Ruben Email

Since November 2008, Angelos Varvitsiotis, have had a very interesting Open Hardware project going on: A simple USB-to-FXS device.

On February 25th a milestone was reached: A finished "dongle board" was produced. Even if the hardware is "ready", it does not mean that it is working. On top of this, the Asterisk channel driver needs to be written.

Given his non-hardware background - the writeups are understandable even for another software guy like myself. I have learned a lot with regards to DIY electronics.

Even if this is a hobbyist project, there could be really be some real-world usages for the result of the project. I am thinking about making really cheap hardware available for emerging countries. In my opinion, communication is THE single reason for emerging countries to heighten their income per capita. Without means of making communication work - we will still only be patching the problem, not fixing it.

If you have never looked at Angelos' blog, please do.

Look Steve! No More Boobs!

by Ruben Email

There are certain well known tech-web sites who are NOT happy about Apple's decision to restrict certain iDevice applications. A good example is TechCrunch - calling the new rules "pretty ridiculous".

According to the ChilliFresh developer blog, there are now a set of new rules in play.


To sum it up: No more boobs.

I think this move is excellent.

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ATCOM grows up and surprises me

by Ruben Email

The other day, the CEO of VoIPtel - mr Jan Bjørkhaug, visited my office to tell me about some exciting development from ATCOM. ATCOM is a producer of various VoIP equipment, and I am very found of their IP0x line of PBXes. VoIPtel is the European distributor of ATCOM products.

Last year I had the chance to talk directly to representatives from ATCOM and gave them my feedback on the lack of modularity in their IP0x-line.

What I heard the other day is nearly good news: Modularity - and a steel chassis. No more plastic, no more either-this-or-that regarding BRI, FXO or FXS. Actually - we still will have to make a choice - but it's much easier now.

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A closer look at the Freesentral

by Ruben Email

When I took the first look at Freesentral I immediately saw the fresh approach to Open Source PBX configuration. It's fresh due to not being bloated like a few other contenders out there.

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Skype on the Nokia S60

by Ruben Email

The picture on the left is an actual screen shot of the Skype start-up screen on my Nokia E71.

Pretty cool - is it not?

In December 2009, there was a posting on the Skype website announcing the first beta of Skype on the Symbian (read: Nokia E and N series) platform.

I have now taken the Skype client for a prolonged test-drive - this is a very good product.

Update after publishing this article:

What you read in this post is my experiences with the beta release of the Skype client - you can now download the release version from Skype For Symbian web page. The annoyances mentioned in this article is still present in the production version, and the main menu has a added feature. However, for all practical purposes, the behavior of the beta version mentioned in this article is the same as the released version.

One thing worth mentioning, is that Skype have added the ability to easily do Skype Out call from the main menu.

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Vizualizing your dial plan

by Ruben Email

Asterisk Java Blog - example 3b Ask your self the following question: Do I have documented my dial plan? Do I know which contexts are in use and which contexts which are included where?

Do you have a document describing your dial plan? Probably not. Most of the people managing Asterisk by hand never care to document the structure of their dial plan - after all - It's a text file - documenting a text file is stupid work!

If your dial plan becomes quite extensive after a while - or if you become in charge of an previous Asterisk installation - you really wish for some documentation of the structure of the dial plan.

Even with just a few contexts it can become a daunting task to change an existing dial plan. Even if you do not need to really amend your dial plan - just having a graph of how your dial plan is organized is really a good thing to have in your PBX documentation.

There is a tool that will help you getting the big picture of your dial plan: JUNG (Java Universal Network/Graph Framework). The tool will not work with the Asterisk dial plan "out of the box", but Martin Smith of the Asterisk-Java blog have done all the hard work.

Even if the tool that Martin Smith created in May 2008 is "old news", his solution is so simple that it borders to ingenuity - it's worth repeating for new and old Asterisk manager alike.

Read his full article and feed your dial plan into his tool at Visualizing your dialplan with a graph

Freesentral - the PBX GUI we all long for

by Ruben Email

I have never really bothered to dig into YATE. I have seen this project as a small niche product in the Open Source Telephony sphere. That said, YATE have quite a few nice features.

With the release of Freesentral I finally have a excellent reason for taking a look into YATE.

Even better, if you need a simple way to set up an IP based PBX I can really recommend the Freesentral GUI. The GUI is clear and simple - really uncluttered compared to other front ends.

Even if the project seems to be very young, the GUI is rock solid.

In my opinion, the only thing missing is a ready-to-play distribution.

If you are tired of FreePBX and it's cousins - and if you need something simple and easy to us, you should really check out Freesentral.

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