Archive for September, 2006

Visiting Cambridge, UK

Friday, September 15th, 2006

I’m going to be in Cambridge later today ahead of the EMPEG enthusiasts meetup this weekend. I’m looking forward to hanging out with Hussein and my friend from Ottawa (actually from the maritimes) Mark Lord. Ahead of that, I decided that I’m leaving the UK in under 2 weeks and haven’t seen Toby and Sara (and the new baby!) in a billion years. So, I’m working from $generic_coffee_shop this afternoon and then having some dinner. If you’re also in Cambridge today and want a quick coffee – call me and I’ll see if I can’t grab a few minutes away from the laptop :-)


Package of the day – PAP2

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

Yesterday’s random package of the day (man, these guys must love me now for all the ordering I’ve had to do in preparation for moving) was a Linksys PAP2. Like all other products from that (division of Cisco) company, I am impressed. So, ok, the supplier shipped me a US model with the wrong regional settings (the PAP2 has a fairly nifty DSP and can generate tones/support many countries in one model) and I had to locate some UK parameters (they seem to differ arbitrarily from what one person claimed was the BT “standard”[0]) but now it is configured and I can make test calls.

Unfortunately, the PAP2 didn’t come with a US->BT converter and the RJ11 I used here doesn’t seem to be wired right (on-hook detection doesn’t work) so it took a bit of fiddling to test. But I’ve ordered some adapters and hope that they’ll work out ok. Now, I just need to get my parents a large oversize red (very important) “bat phone” on which they can call me. Since it’s an international direct line over a secured network into a foreign territory, we’ll probably have to call it the hotline…the NSA will still be listening.

Once I have a place, I’m ordering one of these puppies for myself. Then I can hook up a DECT (recently approved for use in the US! wow! like 5 billion years later…) phone and use a variety of configured trunks to reach family and friends all over the world. The guys at Juntion Networks are still looking for a 31337 vanity DID number for the US. One day, oh one day, the FCC (or whoever) will nationalize the process of finding unallocated local area code numbers for this kind of vanity purpose. Until then, they’re very kindly doing a manual search for me through a variety of area codes so I can once again be l33t in my number (my UK mobile phone number being +44 7776 131337…). Oh, yes, I’m that vain…

Honerable mention goes to dotwaffle of #lugradio for his voicemail earlier. You too can check out my SIP service and get a mention here!


[0] It’s not a proper standard if one company tells everyone else what to do, like BT historically did. Not that I’m claiming any telco with a historical monopoly is any better.

Beta –

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

I’m testing out Asterisk at the moment. got updated with the appropriate SRV records and so in due course, you’ll even be able to call me at Meanwhile, if you’re in the UK and feel like helping me test this puppy out, call me at +44 118 3218364 and leave a message – funniest one wins a mention (or just call my UK mobile number and it’ll redirect you whenever I don’t answer the call).

The service is running on a virtual machine at the moment, which causes some issues getting realtime playback, so you’ll occasionally notice glitches. I’m working on two possible solutions to this:

  • mlock()ing asterisk in memory and hacking with the VM.
  • or moving the setup onto a Xen DomU once we sort out one of our colo machines.

I’ve got a US SIP provider doing a vanity number search for me at the moment and I need to write a few more scripts. Eventually, I’ll have one UK and one US number of preference that I’ll publish. Calls will automatically redirect to my geographical location using a variety of services with a fallback to emailing me a voicemail message. All part of making it easier to reach me both now and in the future. Don’t say I never answer the phone!


P.S. Family and close friends can optionally get an extension on my PBX. If you’d like one of these (presumably to call me more easily/cheaply) then send me mail.

UK – Leaving Party

Sunday, September 10th, 2006

I’m thinking about having a little gathering before I leave the country at the end of the month. Depending upon the level of interest, I’ll either try to book somewhere or not. Anyway. If you’re interested in meeting up then send me an mail with some idea of when over the next few weeks you would be around.

Alternatively, I’m also visiting parts of the country in my spare time. Next weekend, I’m at the EMPEG meetup in Cambridge (with Mr MightyMouse) but aside from that, I’m more or less around on weekends. I’m back in the country to give a Masterclass at LinuxWorld London in October, but let’s try to have a leaving party before I actually leave. My preference is for London as a central venue.

Oh, new category on this blog “Living in the US“.


Leaving on October 1

Sunday, September 10th, 2006

So, I spent all of Friday sorting out the final paperwork. I was in London all day, and about 6 hours in or around the US Embassy at Grosvenor Square. And I’m now finally able to say that I’m definately leaving the country on October 1. Between now and then, I have a lot of final TODOs, visits to see friends (in what little free time there is), packing, and all that jazz. But I’m looking forward to it.

I bought an iPod nano to celebrate. They rock.


Wordpress 2.0

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

So I upgraded Wordpress after playing with themes and deciding I’d get more mileage out of doing that. I’m experimenting with widgets as an alternative to the sidebar hacks that often appear in wp blogs. Let me know what you think…



Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

I bought my first WRT54GL last week. It arrived, I briefly marvelled at how well it was packaged, then turned it on, shoved OpenWRT on it and all was well. Now that’s what I call a cool Embedded Linux device. Not only does it run Linux, but it’s also flexible and very very hackable. Definately not the D-Link ADSL-cum-crappy-modem that’s now sitting in the corner looking very unhappy with the world, in a few pieces.

In fact, I’ve decided that the best thing I can do to help my parents out with connectivity is get a el cheapo Conexant firmware based DSL router and have it bridge all external traffic through to this blue box. That’ll give me the flexbility to setup port forwards for them, to setup VPNs and video conferencing but without having to use anything other than this yummy Linksys goodness to achieve all of that. Linksys rock.