Sydney Staff SRE or something.

last update:

There are so many ways to monitor whether a particular application is working properly or not. For the average website - Is the server pingable? Can you open a socket to port 80? Can you do a GET request and get a “200 OK” response? Some checks are more complicated again - “Does the page ‘/index.php’ include the text ‘Blog’?”. A few even go so far as to simulate multiple page-loads, “clicking” along a path to ensure functionality.

…or at least a little savings. You’re in a quandry. You’ve found VSP1, with brilliant general rates. VSP2 has fantastic rates for mobile calls. VSP3 has the cheapest calls of all to England, where you have family. You can’t use just the best bits of each… can you? With Asterisk, yes you can! The extension configs here assume that you’ve set up your VSP peers already as vsp1, vsp2, and vsp3.

One of the things I like about Asterisk, is its ability to send email notifications to me if certain things happen. There’s no built-in ability to send emails by itself, so we’ll use its integration with the underlying server to do it. Let’s start by sending me an email if someone uses my VoIP line to make an international call. In Australia, all international calls are prefixed with “0011”… [regular_outbound] ; Email me for international calls exten => _0011.

Asterisk saves me money, even using just the one VoIP provider. (Disclaimer: The provider I use is run by my employer, but I’m writing this only as a happy customer! :). It just so happens that my work desk phone number is a free call, but my wife can never remember the number and is usually in too much of a hurry to stop and think about whether I’m at my desk yet etc.

…or at least, not as bad as it’s sometimes made out to be. Please note that I am not discussing any password system used by any employer, past or present. This is based on general industry knowledge only, and is meant to explain why so much software suggests or requires plaintext passwords to be stored. When I first came across a professional application that used plaintext password storage (about six years ago now) - I thought, “Ugh, why would anyone store passwords cleartext?

One of the nice things Asterisk can do is manipulate Caller ID information on the fly. Since I’m too lazy to update the stored numbers within my individual cordless handsets, I use Asterisk to cheat. Asterisk looks up the incoming phone number (“08XXXXXXXX”) in a MySQL table, finds matching text (“Bob”) and passes that along to the handsets for display. This assumes you have a MySQL database on the same box as asterisk, with a username of asterisk, password of mypassword, your database is called asterisk, and your final internal destination is SIP/myphone.

A quick adding game for Asterisk. Set up an extension (I used “4263”) to Goto(game,s,1). It will speak two numbers from 1-8, and expects a single key to be pressed for the sum of those two numbers. I’ve only used fairly standard sounds, so there’s no recording involved. Hoping that my five-year-old enjoys this :) [game] exten => s,1,NoOp(GameSTART) exten => s,n,Set(num1=${RAND(1,8)}); exten => s,n,Set(maxnum2=$[9-${num1}]) exten => s,n,Set(num2=${RAND(1,${maxnum2})}) exten => s,n,Set(total=$[${num1}+${num2}]) exten => s,n(quest),SayNumber(${num1}) exten => s,n,Playback(letters/plus) exten => s,n,SayNumber(${num2}) exten => s,n,WaitExten exten => _X,1,NoOp(GameHazDigits) exten => _X,n,GotoIf($[${EXTEN} = ${total}]?

When I mention to someone that I have a PABX at home, people always ask me - WHY??? Early Media - this is a fancy way of saying that when someone calls me it doesn’t just go “ring ring” - I have it going “rrrrrinngggggg rrrrrrinnnngggg” like an old-school telephone. I’ve considered having cackling monkeys, but I don’t want to confuse people too much. Free Calls Home - Anywhere I have full Internet access (like at an Internode CityLan hotspot ;) I can connect to the PABX and call the “extension” that rings my home phone.

Well, it’s been three months at Internode - a bit over, actually. And… it’s cool here. I really like that I can focus on just sysadmin work, instead of trying to divide my attention sixty ways. (That’s Anton’s job now :-). And I still get to spend time on forums (think Whirlpool), though it’s not quite as easy to justify! I also have had quite a few freebies already (coffee mugs, shirts, hats, etc - from node itself and vendors).

End of an Era

Well, it’s done. Over. My last day at Ballistic Media (CGSociety) is now finished. To my friends - for five years, my family - good bye. Keep in touch!