Live From Las Vegas! We’re Now Hosted At Lightning Base In Las Vegas!

Lightning-Base-Logo-Lenovo-X1-CarbonThis is the fourth installment in the long-running tale (parts one, two & three) of my search for the most appropriate host for this site.

The very fact that you’re reading this means that the site is now live on a server operated by Lightning Base. In the past I’ve used a shared host and couple of different VPS providers. In point of fact the site was at UnmeteredVPS.net for over two years.

I have nothing but nice things to say about UnmeteredVPS.net. That service is excellent, but it wasn’t exactly a perfect fit. It was an unmanaged VPS, which meant that I was responsible for everything.

Every few weeks I would need to update some aspect of the OS or supporting software. Some updates were trivial. Some, like major Apache or MySQL updates, were a bit scary. Despite five years running this site I’m no Linux guru.

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Embedded Asterisk: HP T5735 Thin Clients

There still seems to be a lot of interest in DIY Asterisk appliances. Make that DIY PBX appliances in general, because the Freeswitch folks are just as active in this regard. My prior article giving an overview of suitable target platforms continues to be well received, even six months after it was originally published.

One of the host platforms mentioned in that article was the HP range of thin clients. Every day I get an email from the HP SMB Outlet listing the refurbished and overstock offering du jour. In todays list I notice that they include a quantity of 24 HP T5735 thin clients offered for $ 149 each.

These little boxes would make great little DIY embedded PBX systems. Here are the specs:

  • AMD Sempron 2100+ CPU clocked at 1 GHz
  • 1 GB DDR-2 memory (1 SODIMM)
  • 1 GB internal flash storage
  • PS/2 mouse & keyboard ports
  • 6 USB 2.0 ports
  • On-board audio
  • ATI Radeon X1250 graphics with support for up to 1920 x 1440, or up to 24 bit color depth
  • 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet

These little beasts are fanless and only draw around 18 watts. There is also an expansion chassis available that allows the addition of a riser for one PCI card.

At $149 each these devices are cheaper than a net-top. Granted, they’re not quite as powerful as a new net-top…they’re plenty enough to host a SOHO PBX or small music server.

    m0n0wall Now Supports Next Server Option for DHCP

    Sometimes its the little things that make life a lot easier. I just found that the latest beta of m0n0wall (v1.3b13) more properly supports the “Next Server” (aka Option 66) feature in the DHCP server. This is really handy for provisioning IP phones.

    There has been for some time a little config file hack that you could do to add support for the “Next Server” option to the DHCP service in m0n0wall. I discovered this while reviewing the Polycom SpectraLink 8002 SIP Wifi handset. That device required that the DHCP server tells where to look to TFTP its firmware and config profile.

    Now that this is included in the web user interface there’s no further need to manually edit the XML config file as in the past. Very handy indeed. Further proof that m0n0wall rocks!