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A Reader Question About A Grandstream BT-200

Grandstream-BT-200Last week I received a question via email from reader Marshall Wilgard. It seems that he is having trouble with a Grandstream BT-200 desk phone.

For five years, I used a Grandstream BT-200 IP phone without any problems.  Six weeks ago, a loud hum appeared on the phone as soon as I picked up the handset.  About 10 days later, the hum vanished, for no apparent reason.  However, about 10 days after that, the hum came back, for no apparent reason.  Despite my rebooting the phone three times, the hum remained.  Then approximately 10 days after the hum returned, it vanished again, for no apparent reason.  My phone has had the latest firmware for more than a year, and my VoIP provider says the problem is not with it.

Hum like Marshal describes is usually an analog phenomenon, not something that I’d associate with firmware. It sounds to me like a problem with the hardware. Issues of hum tend to revolve around a problem with the power supply. Given the age of this phone I’d guess that most likely some kind of capacitor is failing.

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Ekiga v4.0 Released

Ekiga-LogoThis week saw an announcement about the release of Ekiga v4.0. This is the most significant release of the venerable open source soft phone in some time. It brings with it many improvements.

I’m especially interested in the following new capabilities:

  • New audio codecs: SILK (used by skype), G.722.1 (aka Siren 7), G.722.2 (aka GSM-AMR Wide band)
  • Video codecs changes: H.264 optimizations
  • Added RTP TOS support
  • Support for DNS SRV caching

While developed primarily on Linux Ekiga has long supported multiple platforms. I took a short while today to try the new release on an older Windows XP laptop. The Windows installer also installed the GTK libraries necessary to support the application. Installation was quick and painless.

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Holiday Gift Idea III: The Nest Thermostat

nest-thermostat-300Some months ago I was doing some work around the house at the request of my wife. I can’t remember what exactly, but it involved some woodworking. The process was not going as well as I might have hoped and I was getting tired.

Somehow I managed to mash my hand, which aside from being painful brought the effort to a premature end for the day. My wife decided that we need to make a trip to our local Lowe’s anyway, and that I should take a break come along for the ride.

While at the store we stumbled upon a display for the Nest Learning Thermostat. A few days before I had mentioned to Stella that it was being rolled out nationally. I also told her a bit of the story about the company, its founder and their legal entanglement with Honeywell.

Upon seeing the device offered in the store, and with feelings of guilt stemming from my damaged digits, she bought the Nest as a thank you for undertaking her honey-do list.

The story of Nest is very appealing to her sensibilities. A small start-up shaking up a stodgy business, complete David v Goliath legal cases. Who isn’t drawn to an underdog? Especially when the product bears all the hallmarks of design by Apple .

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