Puakma: Under the hood

I'm Brendon Upson, jack-of-all-trades, master of one or two. I'm talking about life running a small ISV tackling business issues and leaping technology hurdles in a single bound.

webWise Network Consultants is based in Sydney, Australia and develops the groundbreaking Tornado Server technology.


Filed under: by Brendon Upson on 2008-01-24

In the last couple of weeks I have been setting up a voice over IP system for the office. Something I have been meaning to do for a while but now the neccessity has arisen to make it so.

After a little research it seems Asterisk is the best software available. After failing miserably at a bare Asterisk install (due to the plethora of extra sh17 to install on top of it). I tried AsteriskNOW and prebuilt ISO with the linux OS, asterisk and apparently all the gear to make it fly. I burnt a pile of hours trying to make that flat with limited success so abandoned that too. Last and successful attempt was using trixbox. AWESOME! Really great package, it is the whole box and dice (as per AsteriskNOW).

I have installed it in a virtual machine inside the office, opened the relevant ports in the firewall. The asterisk virtual pbx connects to my VoIP service provider Exetel.

Call quality is average, a little worse than the regular telephone system but quite acceptable. Where it wins is in flexibility. A single incoming number can be routed to ring groups, IVR, a specific user etc. Video calls are possible, voicemail built in, web interface to configure.

Next job is to hook up the regular phone to divert through the PBX.  

Jaded or just old?

Filed under: by Brendon Upson on 2008-01-23

I'll admit that part of the reason for not writing much last year was a general sense of being somewhat jaded with the IT industry. The industry I find is a bit wierd and not really "welcoming". Some examples:

a) a noob (no, not me) on a linux site asks a simple question.  He/she gets 1000 flame responses treating them like the village idiot. Get with the program guys: LINUX IS NOT INTUITIVE! A little help and patience may make everyone happier and produce a better software product for all.

b) another noob posts a question on a programming site. "I need to do X send me the code". Er, no. We're all happy to help with a specific problem but if you want to be a programmer you have to pay your dues - that means a CS course (or whatever training/apprenticeship). A bad copy/paste makes all programmers look unprofessional.

c) Spam. There is soooo much spam and sh17 floating around now to make email almost unusable. On top of that we waste sooooo much time securing server and application code to stop people doing destructive things to applications. Just stop it - one day it will become too much and we'll just turn off.

d) For chrisake CREATE SOMETHING. Most of the blogs etc out there just comment on stuff and throw rocks. eg A post on why language X is better than language Y. Who really gives a f#^&@?? Are you really contributing to the greater good or serving to create a greater divide between X and Y users? Instead, how about you build something useful in language X and put it out there? In this day and age it really doesn't matter what language you write in, they all get the job done. 

...there are a few others perhaps too sensitive to post here :-)

The end result is I often think about the simplicity of digging trenches for a living. If I disappear from the young person's interweb one day you'll know what happened.

Now I feel better for having vented :-)