Tom's Networking Product Reviews : TomsNetworking :
This is a very good overview of the asterisk at home project. I have been using asterisk for about eight or nine months. The at-home version of Asterisk makes it very easy to set up initially and learn how the system works. It's really extraordinary.
We are replacing our four year old telephone system in the office with a system based on Asterisk sometime in the next few weeks. We are waiting for the installation of our T1 line.
I am very excited because it will provide us an opportunity to enhance the services and make things go a little bit more smoothly in the office.
I'll write a quick review of the system tomorrow.
Well . perhaps it was the OS 10.4 reviews (generally good) and the
trouble we had with editing movies with the crappy Windows software ...
or I just wanted to see how the other side lived again (my 1st
computers were Macs .. and I lived over there on the "light side" for
!0 years before defecting in about 1995.
So far, the next Mac decade isn't going so well.
The imac arrived today and Sam set it up in the family room. All
was going OK until he called me in and suggested that I should help get
it to go on.
Everything was hooked together right, but it just wouldn't go on.
He said that it had powered up once and then "fell asleep." after about 30 seconds.
Subsequent efforts to get it on were unsuccessful.
That was about 10:00 PM
Apple Support is closed .. but they have "24 x 7 chat support" and an online troubleshooter.
I tried the troubleshooter while waiting for the online chat to
respond. The troubleshooter was good, but I hit a dead end when
it told me to push a button that doesn't exist on my model.
So far - it looks like we are victims of the well-documented G5 imac
power supply issues. But I think we have a world record for how
long the machine lasted. (under 1 minute!)
Here's the transcript of my chat session with Apple -- after waiting in their cue for 2 hrs:
If a purpose of a weblog is to document important things so that others can find them .. I'm obligated to share the following. It's not medically related. Medical readers please ignore this .. geeks are welcome to follow along for your reading pleasure.
Our home network has three replayTVs, a win2k server, an Iomega u300 270 GB NAS (RAID level 5) .. running through a Smoothwall Linux firewall, Linksys 24 port 10/100 switch, a Lingo VOIP ATA and (finally) a Time Warner-supplied Toshiba cable modem .. which attaches us to Earthlink Broadband (essentially Time Warner RoadRunner).
I'll spare you the links to any of the above .. google will get you there rather easily.
We love the replayTVs as they allow us to avoid commercials. We almost never watch "live TV" anymore. We can also watch things when we want to - rather than when they are on. Alias and West Wing are on at the same time, but we can alwasy see them. Two weeks ago, we forgot to record Alias .. so I used Poopli to get it. Cool. We can also watch a show in the bedroom that was recorded in the Family Room. Until ...
Over the last few weeks, the replayTVs stopped reliably talking to each other. Rebooting sometimes helped .. but I couldn't figure out what in the world was going on.
Last night I invested (wasted?) three hours and figured this all out.
After researching similar issues on the REplayTV FAQ and the AVS replyayTV forums, I learned that this problem is often due to the ReplayTVs having different TIME settings. A difference of over 30 seconds is bad.
So I went through the processes that everyone suggested to cause the devices to "phone home" and find out from the ReplayTV mother ship what time it really is. They're using a NTS protocol .. which runs on UDP port 123, BTW.
But none of the devices could get a new time!
So I looked at the firewall settings to amke sure that port 123 was open .. and it sure was ..
And then I looked in the firewall logs and saw that the poor firewall hadn't updated its time successfully in weeks. Every time it tried to call a time server, it failed.
So I logged in to the Lingo ATA .. which was no small task. I still can't get in with the admin password (thinking maybe that would have helped me to solve the problem .. so if anyone knows how .. let me know!) .. but the user password (username: user - password = ph3taswe) .. log in to 172.25.25.1 through a browser .. and I noticed that the ATA has successfully made IP entries for DNS servers (it's getting DHCP from Roadrunner) but that it also has an entry for NTS .. which says "0" ... so I'm guessing that the ATA is intercepting all NTS requests and sending them to the NTS that it knows about ... which .. in this case .. is "0" .. so all NTS requests fail.
I'll bet that if I could get in to the admin interface, I could change the NTS address to something useful (it even looks like the Roadrunner DNS servers are running NTS) .. but I can't.
So at this point (1 AM last night) .. I had two choices:
a) Connect the firewall directly to the cable modem. This would cause me to lose the QOS that the ATA presumably is giving me (though this may motivate me to add a QOS mod to the firewall).
b) Install NTS on the Win2Kserver .. and use the firewall to redirect all requests to UDP port 123 over to that server. The time would be consistent within the network - even though they would not likely be "right" according to the Atomic clock.
I Chose option "a" since I want the ReplayTVs to work with Poopli . and I think that other ReplayTVs will need to be able to talk to mine .. so they will all need to agree on the time.
This option worked. ReplayTVs now can tell the time, and Lingo phone quality doesn't seem too bad. We'll see what happens when streaming TV shows across the network.
At the office, we have great custon-built scanning software that Dave built. It's worked flawlessly for 3 years now .. and aside from the fact that the TIFF files it makes are a bit bigger than they need to be (hin, hint Dave) ... it's grrreat.
I'm looking for something now to use at home that is just as easy to use. This is not rocket science .. so I'm surprised that no company has yet produced software that does this elegantly. If you know of one .. please leave a comment.
The crieteria for a quick and easy scanning solution:
Easy to use
Really, really easy - this means that there is one button "scan" and perhaps a menu to define options such as resolution or turn on duplex, etc.
Stores the files in folders in the OS (or FTP, I suppose) rather than a proprietary database
Provised optional annotation or indexing of files .. with either a database (ODBC connection preferred) or a text/XML file that is stored locally or on a network drive
Inexpensive. This is not ricket science .. so we shouldn't pay for rocket science.
Stores files efficiently - in TIFF or .pdf
Easy to use .. and really fast.
What I've found so far:
edrawer - personal version is inexpensive .. but I can't download a demo .. and their website is so poorly designed it makes me wonder about their skills at making usable software. I can't tell where the files are stored, but it looks like ley are ina database. I don't want my files trapped in a database in 10 years. I want them in the OS -- in hierarchies of folders. They won't be trapped when the scanning software company goes out of business and my software won't work in Windows 2015 .. or Windux .. or Mac OS XV.
PaperMaster. hmm .. looks enticing,, but again .. where are the files?
SinmpleIndex "the best value in scanning software" .. sores files in folders. Inexpensive. Downloaded the demo. Scans a few images just fine .. then .. crash .. over and over ..
If you want to make sales .. then make sure your demo works.
Douxplorer is a "document managerment systerm." It works. But it stores the files in the database .. which has to live on your hard drive .. unless you pay for the professional version (n which case you can store the "library" (databse) on a server or shared folder.
InfoThek Docudex is the winner so far .. as it seems to do everything I want .. and it's developed elegantly. I'm going to test it for a while to see if I can make it work well.
"Bandwidth" is the amount of data a website consumes/generates/requires over a given period of time. Since building Medlogs.com, the bandwidth consumed by my account on our web host has increased quite a bit. How ironic that a successful weblog or public service site like Medlogs will cost (rather than earn) the owner more money.
Last month (october, 2004) we used nearly 12 GB of bandwidth ... and one morning our sites were down because we had gone over the limit of 10 GB. So today I'm experimenting with gzip compression to improve the speed of page downloads on both Medlogs and Docnotes. There are several ways to enable gzip, but the simplest is to use php:
At the beginning of every document (or add it to the MoveableType template) insert this line:
<?php ob_start("ob_gzhandler"); ?>
Of course, if it's already a php document, you can omit the <?php ... ?>
This will imporve performance on Medlogs.com and will reduce the amount of bandwidth that we use.
Our old Netgear router has been acting up recently and instead of buying a new one, I installed a free software router onto an old PC we weren't using. Smoothwall is a great router and it also provides firewall, DMZ, etc. I have not gotten it working with DansGuardian yet, but hope to soon to protect my children from the Internet.
Installing Dansguardian into Smoothwall doesn't look too hard, but I am no linuxhead .. so this may take a bit. 1st attempt this morning didn't go so well.