Archive for the ‘Asterisk’ Category

Yearly Blog Post

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

I suppose there are many blogs out there that don't get posted to as often as they should. I'd like to get into updating the blog a bit more often, but I'd rather have quality posts than not.

I recently purchased a house. I'm pretty happy about that as I was renting for quite a while and I was able to get into something while the market was more affordable. It's a small ranch and it's in pretty good shape. There is good amount of paneling I'd like to remove, but I'm pretty happy with the condition otherwise.

As I was preparing to move, I decided to take a look at what I did and didn't need.  Moving is always a good time to clear out some of the clutter.  I did the usual stuff like clean out the closet and all the electronics I'd collected.  I made some donations to Goodwill and took some old computer parts to the electronics recycling program.  I also decided to scrap the Asterisk VOIP phone I had set up.  I was running Asterisk on my Linode to provide phone service for myself and my sister.  My sister moved back to the US a few months ago so her and my brother-in-law got new cell phones.  I'm fine with just using the cell primarily.  So it was one less thing to maintain (no, I won't be updating any of the scripts I posted on here).

After moving into the new house, I had quite a time with Comcast.  First I wasn't able to connect the service during the weekend I moved because the old owner never cancelled their account.  So I was prevented from transferring service.  That was pretty frustrating since it's easy to verify ownership of a house with the county.  Then they missed two appointments to install the service.  I'm not even sure why someone had to come onsite since the service was working before they sent someone out to disconnect it when the old owners finally cancelled.  So yea, they weren't really treating the customer that great.  To be honest, I haven't been watching that much TV lately.  My biggest use of Comcast was for the Internet.  So I decided to give Clear Internet a try.  They're a wimax Internet provider that has recently started service in this area.  I can even see the tower out one of my windows.  I'm still waiting on the device though (I just ordered it before the weekend).  I have some anxiety over how well this thing will actually work, so I'll have to post back later about it.

Since I'm no longer getting Comcast, I thought I'd give over the air TV another shot.  I did apply for one of those converter boxes last year, but I got really crappy reception at my last house.  I figure at least this way I can get some of the major TV networks (which is all I got from basic cable anyhow).  So without doing enough research, I set about to build an antenna.  Someone else I know had built one from directions on the Internet and was happy with it.  So I got the parts for a couple bucks at the hardware store and went about it.  The antenna works great for UHF.  For VHF, not at all.  The ABC and PBS stations in Philly are broadcasting over VHF.  Everything else is in the UHF bands.  The one good thing is that my family room faces the direction of the Philly stations and the antenna fits well in the window, so the UHF stations came in strong.  Later on, I tried adding different lengths of wire to make a dipole, but I haven't been able to get the ABC station.  My house also has aluminum siding, so that probably doesn't help stuff like TV signals (or the wimax device that's coming).  The dipole for the ABC station needs to be 5.6 feet wide, which may be a bit too big for indoors.  I left the smaller dipole pieces on and now I can get the PBS station as well as the UHF stations.  At some point, I'd like to build another one of these to mount on the roof.  Next time I'd use materials that'll hold up to the weather a bit better.  I may just see about adding a set of rabbit ears if I get that far.  I'll see what happens, but I'm content for the moment.

I suppose some of the ambition to build an antenna came from my semi recent interest in amateur radio.  Over the summer I took part in a class the county offered and I passed the exam during the annual ARRL field day.  Currently, I only have my tech license.  I'd like to go back and get the general license, but I need to get that book and do some studying.  Depending on how interested I stay in ham radio, I may put another antenna or two on the roof (or maybe in the attic).  Hopefully I'll post some more pictures if I get crafty.

The other hobby I enjoy is rock climbing.  I was lucky to get two camping and climbing trips in to New River Gorge this year.  I passed up on a trip last minute to go to Rumney , NH.  I would have liked to go, but I really needed some more time to get settled in the new house.  Hopefully, they'll be some more climbing opportunities before winter.

Well, that just about takes care of summarizing what's been going on in my life this past year.  I'll make an attempt to do more posts when I have some decent climbing pics or maybe a new antenna.

Configuring Linksys PAP2T for Asterisk

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

I recently bought a Linksys PAP2T to hopefully provide phone service for some family members. I didn't need to support the incoming phone line, so this device should be more than adequate. It seems to be a bit easier to configure as well. I just wanted to jot down some notes on what I did for future reference.

* Downloaded firmware updates from Cisco's website. The firmware on the device was very old. In order to update the firmware, the device needs to download it over tftp. I used their firmware updater tool within my Windows XP virtual machine.
* On the System tab, I configured the ntp servers to use and
* On the Regional tab, I set the local date, time, and time zone. I also set the daylight savings time rule to "start=3/8/7/2:0:0;end=11/1/7/2:0:0;save=1" (without the quotes). Although this device may go where there isn't a daylight savings time change, so this will need to get revisited.
* On the Line 1 tab, I set the proxy and outbound proxy to my asterisk server hostname. I set "use outbound proxy" to yes as well as making sure "register" was set to yes. I set the display name (although I think it'll get overridden by options in my sip.conf). I set the user id and password to match what is in my sip.conf. I am also tempted to try different codecs to be used as the preferred one. Right now I've left it as the default (G711u). I also added "1xx" to the dial plan for my internal extensions.

That was it. I am also tempted to get to use the provisioning framework for updating the settings. Although once it's set, I don't plan on changing anything. The SPA-3102 has been working great for months.

Below is an example of the entry in my sip.conf file.

; Line1 on PAP2T
callerid="Pat Hennessy" <999>

Phone Phishing

Friday, February 6th, 2009

This evening I received a strange phone call on my cell.  All of my numbers are on the Do Not Call Registry.  This call was an automated system informing me that my Visa card was just blocked for internet purchases.  It instructed me to call a toll free number or press one to get connected to their security department.  This seemed like a typical phishing email, but I have never seen, heard of, or experienced this in the form of a phone call.  I was amazed.

The phone number calling me was 203-227-5533, which Google says is Weston Capital Management.  What I suspect is that their PBX system was broken into.  Someone could have used it to launch a bunch of automated phone calls while they get stuck with the bill.  There was even a posting at the Internet Storm Center regarding an increase of scans for specific Trixbox PBX systems.  Pretty scary as Weston Capital Management might have a phone bill in the 100s of the thousands of dollars.  The Nerd Vittles blog recently put up a post talking about Asterisk security.  Someone out there is always trying to pull some scam, so best to protect yourself.