Reader Voice Comments Officially Launched

You may have noticed the widget that I added to the sidebar about a week ago. Inspired by hearing about Voxeo’s Phono on a recent VUC call I decided that I’d like to provide a mechanism for readers to leave comments in the form of a voice message.

This seemed like it would be really easy, even though I’m not a developer. I was particularly happy to see that there is a WordPress plugin called WordPhone that makes this practical for the complete newby.

So I setup an account with Phono to get an API key and I installed the WordPhone plug-in. I directed it to route the calls to a SIP URI that had no corresponding end-point except a voicemail box. OnSIP being 100% SIP-based makes this all cheap and easy. I like!

WordPhone did exactly what I had hoped. It worked perfectly with one little exception…it broke an aspect of the WordPress built-in editor in a curious way.

There are two toolbars in the editor; one for the “visual” editor and another for the “html” editor. As you toggle edit mode you see only the appropriate toolbar. With WordPhone installed both toolbars showed up at the same time and could not be removed.

So I removed WordPhone and pondered an alternative. Then I was contacted by Tim Panton who offered to tweak a version of his Phone From Here Java soft phone for my purposes.

Tim’s Java soft phone has been a feature of the VUC web site for quite some time. When a VUC call is in-progre4ss you can click on a link on the VUC site that launches the soft client in your browser and sets up a bone fide wideband call to ZipDX. It’s very slick.

Technically the Phono and Phone From Here solutions are very similar. They are both browser executed Java or Javascript that relies upon a back-end service.

In the case of Phono it’s Adobe’s Flash RTMP media handling backed by the Voxeo cloud infrastructure. In the Phone From Here case it’s G.722 over IAX2 to a Phone From Here Asterisk server that gateways the call into the SIP realm. Since I’m taking the call into a SIP URI the call never touches the PSTN in either case.

WordPhone was written by Mark Silverberg, who has since released a new version that may well have addressed the issue I faced initially. I may yet give that another try. For now Tim’s soft client is working just fine so there’s no need to change.

It turns out that being wideband capable is of little value in this instance because OnSIPs VM system doesn’t handle wideband media. (sigh) Nevertheless, assuming that you suitable audio hardware on your computer, you can now click on the link in the sidebar and in a few seconds you’ll hear a greeting…followed by the opportunity to leave a message.

Consider this your personal invitation to have your say! However, be warned…your recorded comment may be used to help frame any potential response.