Astlinux Lives!

After a relatively long quiet period the Astlinux mailing list has been fairly active lately. This is thanks in part to some new users who have been extending the distro to meet their needs. Like any open source project, the more the merrier, even if we sometimes bring differing visions to the party.

A new user I know only as FRED on the Astlinux mailing list has compiled a nice reference to building an embedded Astlinux server, including adding some nice things like Python and SQLite. Very handy. Worth a read.

Astlinux remains my favorite embedded distro, even though I’m still eagerly awaiting a release that includes Asterisk v1.4.

SproutBuilder Is Seriously Cool!

SproutBuilder IconFrom DEMO 2008 this week we have the launch of SproutBuilder, an online web 2.0 construction tool for Flash widgets. This looks so incredibly cool!!! So much promise. There has been so much buzz about Adobe entering into voip action via their new AIR platform. Something like Sprout could leverage this to great effect.

I once undertook to learn Flash v4, but found it wanting. I was frustrated by the fact that in designing flash Macromedia seemed to ignore all the precidents for manner of operation establish by animation software over the years. It was as if they truly ignored everything that came before. This was a drag for those of use who had used animation software for some time already. It meant getting to know things the “Macromedia” way, which was not always productive or intuitive.

I quickly moved over to Swish as a solution to creating my own Flash content. Swish is great. Vast amounts of the common banner ads that you see everywhere online are created in Swish. You can tell by the looking at the effects used on text.

I also hope that WordPress will let us embed Sprout objects into our pages. At present we can’t do that unless we host on a paid service so that we can have our own private instance of Worpdress running.

What Interests You?

I must admit that I’m more than a little surprised a what people read around here. The single most popular article is the one I wrote back in January 2006 about Building An Embedded Asterisk Server Using Astlinux On a Soekris Net4801. I would have thought that would have less appeal since it was published elsewhere over two years ago.

The next most popular articles are the series called A Beginners Guide To Successful VOIP Over DSL, most especially the posts on QoS and traffic shaping. People come by and read these things every day.

Hardware reviews are something that I’ve done many times over the years. Although deep in my past they were not technology related. These I will be doing again beginning with the Snom M3s. I need to be disciplined about using the phones for long enough to really learn about them in depth, and not just go with my first impressions. Even though the phones are in daily use the review will is a few weeks away.

Amongst my next topics I think I’ll be trying a SIP-to-GSM gateway. I’d like to provide my own 911 and 411 service by bridging calls over to my cellular account.

If you’ve got any ideas for topics or items for review let me know. I’m always open to suggestions.


What is IAX2? And Why Does It Matter To Me?

Randy (aka Zeeek or Randulo), founder of the VOIP Users Conference, was able to get his hands on a sample of the Allnet 7960 today and sent his initial thoughts on the device to the conference mailing list. This prompted another reader to pose the simple question, “Why does this matter?” (or something similar) More specifically, why does IAX2 matter in the light of a larger trends toward widespread SIP and IMS?

It’s a good question. So here’s my response.

Continue reading “What is IAX2? And Why Does It Matter To Me?”

It’s Worse Than That, He’s Dead Jim!

While I’m very active in VOIP matters I have other interests as well, one being what used to be called “stereos” and is now referred to as “home theatre” or “audiophilia.” I’m not into the “Golden eared” silly stuff like the unbelievably expensive interconnects that so offended James Randi that he tried to call them on their bluff. But I do like to play with music playback gear.

Most recently I especially like the combination of the Logitech Squeezebox and some professional powered monitor speakers. I also occasionally read www.diyaudio.com.

The whole reason for bringing this up in the VOIP space is that this week seems to have brought forward the concept of “SAF” with respect to the new Snom M3s. SAF = Spousal Approval Factor.

FWIW, with respect to loudspeakers, SAF varies inversely with the volume of the enclosure.

Continue reading “It’s Worse Than That, He’s Dead Jim!”