The Long Weekend…

I’ve been quite busy this bank holiday weekend.

After a full day of lectures and a tutorial on Friday, I met my friend Michelle for a few drinks, which resulted in drinks in The Porterhouse, Captain Americas and Smyths in Renelagh over the course of the evening. All in all a long day, but a good night.

Then on Saturday afternoon, Ciara and I went to see the Nothern Nocturnes art exhibition in the National Gallery. It’s very good, definitely worth a visit before it finishs in early December. Saturday evening, I met Ben Mako Hill, Debian and Ubuntu activist/general geek in the Schoolhouse. We shared a few interesting anecodes, bother nerdy and non nerdy.

On Sunday, I had a nerdy dinner out in Pizza Hut with Colm and Colin, with proper supervision for all 3 of us of course. 😉

Today, I’d planned to do some college work and outstanding paperwork, as well as do some work around the house, mainly plan and begin the Great Rewire ™ (since the attic in my house is currently being converted along with other building work). In the end, I never got around to any college work, but I’ve begun a proper structured Cat5 cabling setup with 4 to 8 Cat5 cables running into practical room of my house. I intend to use Cat5 for everything, including cable TV, Sky Digital/Plus satellite TV, telephones, my LAN and just about anything else I feel like.

Amazon Generosity

Back in min September, I ordered a few books from Amazon.com about Postfix. Early October, one arrived, the second didn’t.

Since one book was missing, I informed Amazon, who asked me to wait until this week, so it was 7 days past their delivery estimate. I informed them on Wednesday that it still hadn’t shown up, so they prepared a replacement copy of Postfix: The Definitive Guide for me. Yesterday, the original copy sent turned up, so I prompted asked Amazon to stop the replacement order.

It seems they were too late, but they’ve informed me that I am to accept the duplicate, with their compliments. When it arrives, I plan on donating it to SAGE-IE for their library resourse.

I’ve been an Amazon customer since 1996 or 1997, I’ve never had to get a book resent before, but I’m quite impressed by the service. 🙂

Asterisk working, almost…

Hmmm, after a little poking with Asterisk this afternoon, I finally managed to get my Cisco 7960G IP Phone to play nicely with Asterisk. I can now make outgoing calls using my Blue Face account.

Incoming calls are another matter. They appear to reach my Asterisk server, then die after 1 ring, which makes me suspect I’ve a kink in my Asterisk config which isn’t “patching” incoming calls to my phone. :-/

Since I’ve probably spent a bit too much time poking Asterisk over the last few days, since I have a number of other things to be doing instead. So, I’ve given up and consulted the Blue Face support guys themselves to try and work out where the problem is.

Once I get it sorted, I plan on posting my sip.conf and extensions.conf configs online to try and assist others trying to set the same thing, even though my configs are mainly based on Martin List-Petersen’s SIP proxy config, with some details taken from Blue Face’s Asterisk Setup Guide.

Conferences

There are a no of conferences in Ireland over the next few weeks that look interesting.

On Wednesday of this week, there is AV in the City, a conference all about audio and video conferencing using primarily Cisco hardware. Registration was free, so I’ve signed up to go to it for a while on Wednesday afternoon, mainly for the VoIP area.

The other interesting conference, is of cource the HEAnet Conference in November, which I was hoping to be sent to by work. Recently, it was looking doubtful, mainly because of so many other things going on. Except for this evening, when I got the go-ahead to register on behalf of InfoCAD, so I get to go after all. Hooray! 🙂

Sender Policy Framework

Ever since I first heard about SPF, and some of it’s much argued flaws, such as hosts who redirect mail to offsite locations, I haven’t really been too keen to enable it.

A few days ago, it was disussed on SAGE-IE, which included a comment from Justin Mason, which didn’t condemn SPF.

So, I went off to refresh my knowledge with SPF this morning. Since I run SMTP-AUTH on all my MX servers, as a trial, I’ve added an SPF record (which I generated quite easily with the SPF wizard) to my conall.net domain, which only I use for mail anyway.

I’m interested to see if it has any noticible affects. If it works, I’m tempted to enable SPF on my conallobrien.com domain, with the hope that I might be able to reduce the no of failure reports from spam I see going to my catch-all address.

Ack! My Reputation

Hmmm, it seems my sarcastic reputation is at stake. Nóirín has mentioned the care package I sent her last week, which was 3 x 200g Carbury Dairy Milk bars, deliberately disguised in a large Jiffy Bag with no return address.

Other that that, life is ticking on. College is starting to get busier, with assignments being given. I apperantly get an SQL assignment this week, which looks quite difficult.
</sarcasm>

I poked by head into the ILUG (who are not a support group Dave!!) on Saturday afternoon. There were a few interesting talks, particularly about RPC and messaging systems on Linux, which are interesting for my fyp. There was also a quick intro to Digital Rights Ireland (who *really* ought to geographically distribute their DNS servers in their WHOIS info – *nudge nudge* Colm).

Afterwards, we retired to The Schoolhouse for beer and nerdy discussions, one of which was on how good Blue Face service and support are.

Speaking of Blue Face, I’m still battling with my 7960G and integrating it with Asterisk. I seem to be able to setup Asterisk with Blue Face quite easily, mainly by following the config example at markow.dk. The problem is connecting and “patching” (for want of a better term) my 7960G to my Blue Face account within Asterisk. Hmmm, I may resort to mailing the asterisk-users list or someone knowledgeabe about this to speed things up.

Nerdy Weekend

On Saturday, I went off to Tech Camp, out in Coolock. Altough I only stayed until lunchtime, the talks were interesting, plus it was good to be able to put a face to certain people I’ve heard of, such as Anton O Lachtnain, Bernie Goldbach and Tom Raferty.

I found the DRI presentation particularly interesting, so I’ve quite happy to be involved with them, both on a technical level (I’ve helped geographically distribute their DNS) and I’m looking forward to discussions on their mailing list.

I didn’t stick around for the afternoon’s talks, since they were mainly about Web 2.0 and other topics which I’m not too interested in. Instead, thanks to Colin, I got a guided tour around Magnet Networks. It’s quite interesting to see what sort of setup an ISP use, particularly one who offers facilities like fibre optic connections, VoIP and IP TV.

This evening, I went to see Wallace & Gromit – The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. A great film, it really is. Even when all the girls I went with kept gushing over “cute, little bunnies” as the end credits went past. Definitely a film everyone would enjoy.

I’ve also been messing around with my Cisco 7960G IP Phone, which arrived on Thursday. I’m currently having difficulties upgrading it’s firmware from the default, to make it SIP capable, which is the recommended setup with Asterisk. Hopefully, I’ll have it setup and working in the next few days.

Video Killed the Radio Star

I decided a few months ago that I’d replace my old, battered 3G 40GB iPod with a nice new 60GB 4G iPod. My only problem is I’ve a cash flow issue currently with some payments outstanding. Once payments come in, I’m in a position to buy myself a 60GB iPod Photo. Or so the plan was until this afternoon.

Now Apple have unveiled the 5G iPod, aka the iPod Video, which do even more.

  • They play MPEG-4, which I could certainly put to good use. 😉
  • They also have an even better battery and are much thinner, also good news for me (my current iPod is lasting about 4 hours between charging, whether I use it or not).
  • And finally, there is a choice of colours (the U2 iPod doesn’t count as a choice).

Quite simply, I want a new 60GB iPod video, in black.

Since the price didn’t go up, my Apple wish list (constructed of multiple saved baskets in the Apple Store) is looking pretty good. With any luck, before the end of the month, I can order the little black temptress, an iSight for a bit of fun, and numerous other bit and pieces I prefer to order together to get free shipping.

Pollux

Hmmm, after attending a talk on Xen, organised by SAGE-IE this evening, for no real reason I tried googling for Xen hosting providers. It seems I struck gold, sort of…

I stumbled across Rimu Hosting, who have a very attractive prices. So attractive in fact, I signed up for a Xen server, so for a whopping USD$19.95 a month, I now have a Debian Sarge Xen box based in the US with 96MB RAM, 4GB hard disk and 30GB transfer limit, which will be hosted in either Texas or New York. I figured I might as well get a 3rd “server” to try and globally distribute my DNS better and removing the reliance on a DNS server I run at home.

No Rest for the Wicked…

Now that my brand new, bubble-wrapped 7960G should be on it’s way to me shortly, I’ve been onto my friendly telecom company Blue Face about additional functionality.

I was surprised to get a response on a Sunday, but taken back when my requests were processed by 23:30 on a Sunday night. I was expecting it to be done sometime tomorrow. Those guys really do go above and beyond…

Not only do I now have a UK VoIP number for free, which friends in London and clients in the UK can use to call me at local rates, but I’m now a beta tester of Blue Face’s upcoming Fax to Email service. I should probably see if it can handle converting a M$ Word Fax template and some LaTeX into a PDF..

I’ve also started looking into setting up Asterisk, in advance of my delivery later on this week. With any luck, I hope I get it before Friday, so I can have some time to play with it before Tech Camp on Saturday. I should probably ask knowledgeable people the best way to ge there, especially since getting to Coolock for 08:30 on a Saturday is not going to be pleasant… *groan*