Posts tagged Asterisk
Well, as some of you know, I’ll be speaking at this week’s AstriCon convention, being held in Glendale, AZ. I guess that in normal days I wouldn’t be starting to write about it prior to the actual convention, however, this time I decided to write about it earlier. I guess the title of this post can be changed to: Tosche Mark Spencer.
In order to understand what I’m talking about, we need to take a trip down memory lane, to be more exact – 2.5 years back memory lane.
Date: January 2007, Location: Tel-Aviv, Israel. Mark Spencer along side with Schuyler Deerman of Digium are on their way for their first time visit to Israel. Both of them are flying to Israel together after spending their Christmas holidays in the Middle East, mainly Egypt. Back at that time, I used to work for a company called Atelis – we were the Digium Israeli distributor. To make a long story short, Mark and Schuyler got held up at the airport for almost 4 hours, by Israeli security. The only thing that helped was for me to call my brother in-law, back then at the NY Israeli consulate, to try and find out what happend to both of them. Aparently, they were held up for questioning – without notifying anybody on the outside – who were waiting for them – what is going on.
Date: October 2009, Location: Philadelphia, USA. I’m being held for a seconday inspection and the immigration control at the US border. The funny thing is, this is not my first trip to the US this year – I was here last February. The immigration officer looks at me and decideds that I’m a candidate for an illegal worker for some reason. Maybe the fact that I came in on an e-Ticket and didn’t have my itenirary printed throw him off, maybe the fact that I looked somewhat young to him, or maybe the fact that I’m continuing to Phoenix flagged me – I don’t know, in any case,
I’m now being held in secondary inspection, while I have only 50 minutes to get to my connecting flight – talk about turning up the heat. So, here I am, infront of this immigration officer, who I had to admit does his best to be polite and correct about the way he does his job. I gotta hand it to these guys, I guess they come across some of the worst scums in the world, and yet, they are able to sustain a professional and polite manner at all times – brava. Any way, he starts questioning me about my travel to the US, who paid for it, where am I going, where do I work, etc, etc. So, I
start explaining to him what AstriCon is, giving the guy the 5 minute “Asterisk is” introduction, and for some reason, it doesn’t really cut it with him. So, I decide to pull out the ultimate weapon – The Internet. I ask him if he’s able to logon to www.astricon.net and see that my picture is on the website. He looks the site up and indeed my picture is on there. The guy is now convinced that I’m here to lecture and nothing more – thank god. I get my passport back, pick up my stuff and run like the wind to my connecting flight – getting to it right before they close the boarding doors.
So, although I didn’t get the same 4th degree Mark/Schuyler did, I understand what they must have felt like in there. I guess it could have been worse, another guy that was in there with me got deported back to where he came in from (don’t know where that was) – not a very pleasent scenario.
Points for travelers
- You’re coming to the USA, have your itenirary printed and ready
- Have you flight invoices printed and hotel reservations printed – it may be required
- If you are staying with friends, not at a hotel – state that when asked, don’t hide it.
- If you had memorized your answers, these guys will pick up on it really easy – they know their job.
- If you are lecturing in a convention or tradeshow, make sure you can point the officer to an online mention of your talk – this helps smooth things faster.
Tomorrow’s update – AstriCon Cloud Computing class
Since early 2006, an ever increasing competition between the local PTT carriers in Israel, had introduced an unlikely friend to the Asterisk community in Israel. While Cellcom, one of Israel’s largest cellular carriers, isn’t closely associated with the PSTN market – it’s entrance to the local PTT market, especially into the E1 PRI market, had introduced the most unlikely friend to Asterisk.
Cellcom’s highly aggressive marketing techniques, rapid deployment of skillful sales agents and a highly motivating sales campaign – had yielded a migration of many customers from the local PTT carrier (Bezeq) utilizing Analog lines with traditional PBX systems, to low cost, PRI circuits provided by Cellcom, with low cost Asterisk based IP PBX systems.
Now, coming 2009, Cellcom had sprung up a new marketing campaign for their new service line: all-in-one Internet access and telephony service for your home. The service is rendered via the utilization of an OPTION GlobeSurfer II devices, allowing you to connect your home wireless network and an analog phone directly to the device.
So, why is Cellcom becoming a better Asterisk friend? very simple, the usage of the GlobeSurfer II device, in an SMB environment is the ideal companion for a small time Asterisk installation – in the office. Each GlobeSurfer devices allow us up to 2.4Mbps of downlink Internet with 384kbps of uplink – and a dedicated phone line. All of this, for a low cost of 29$ per month (give or take a few dollars). By all standards, that price is lower than any of the high-power uplink Broadband connections in Israel – thus, this is an ideal choice for a small office. Now, all that we need to facilitate an office of 4-6 people, is to have two of these units, get a router that can support multiple (2 or 3) Internet uplinks – walla – we have the perfect office communications suite. Another added value is that our office is now truely mobile – we want to move offices, no problem, takes 10 minutes to move the offices and start working again. Now, the only thing that’s missing from the mix is the availability of static IP addresses on the link, and you’ve got a serious potential looking at the new PTT killer in Israel – Wireless Internet and telephony to go – at a price you can afford.
Other questions that remain are:
- Will Cellcom allow for a single mobile number/landline number to be associated with multiple SIM card gateways such as this, allowing for office redundancy and maybe in the future true IVR capabilities?
- Will Cellcom allow its customers to aggregate more bandwidth in the future, allowing for true VoIP services to operate using these units?
- While the units are fully capable of rendering up to 7.2Mbps downlink and 2.4 Mbps uplink, Cellcom is limiting these to 2.8 Mbps downlink and 384kbps uplink – will they increase that in the near future?
All things considered, I believe that this unit will make Cellcom into a new contender in the market, allowing for new residential services and competition to exist – in other words, the heat in the Israeli residential and SMB market in on – let’s get cooking.
I recently gave a presentation at the Amoocon convention, held in Rostock, Germany – about Asterisk and Amazon EC2. Below is a medium quality video of that presentation:
or you may download it here:
Amazon EC2 and Asterisk video files
As I recently explained to a good friend of mine, the essence of Jewish holidays is, more or less, the ever growing consumption of food – due to our great fortune with people trying to kill us and not being able to do so. Putting that aside, now a days, the essence of Jewish holidays, at least in Israel, is to basically sit at home and do nothing.
Last week was Passover. For those not in the know, Passover is the weird Jewish holiday when we’re not allowed to consume any bread or bread like products. On one hand, it reminds us our ancestors who travelled the desert for 40 years, and had to leave Egypt in a rush, so their bread didn’t rise. So, we eat Matza Bread to remember that time. However, today, you can make bread from a multitude of other ingredients, not only White Flour. For example, you can make bread from Potato Flour, Soy Flour or even Rice Flour – in other words, anything else by White Flour. I’m confident the orthodox Jew will claim that I’m wrong – but hey, that’s my 2c on the matter. In any case, Passover started on the 7th of April, and lasts 7 days. The first 2 days and the last 2 days are national holidays. So, the only work days that remained were: 9th, 12th, 13th. The 9th was a Thursday, no use working for one day, 12th was a Sunday, most of my customers abroad are not working, 13th was a Monday – hence – a single day of actual work to do. For a workaholic, like myself, that is more or less a nightmare.
Recently, a post on voip-info.org had caught my eye:
- 2009-04-15 - VoIP Providers Ranking AZ-VoIP-Providers publishes latest International Top 10 VoIP Providers Ranking on 15-April-2009.
I’ve decided to visit that website and take a look at the providers the “so-called” list offers. So, in general, the site is nothing more that a so-called “VoIP Link Farm”, promoting some services over others. In general, the site only contains some logos of service providers, a shit-load of Google banners, and some poor content relating to the actual pricing of the service providers – in other words, nothing new. So, if you’re looking for the real thing, stay away from this site, there is nothing special in there.
Digium Releases Fax for Asterisk
Per Digium’s website, the Digium Fax for Asterisk is:
Digium's Fax For Asterisk is a commercial facsimile (Fax) termination and origination solution designed to enhance the capabilities of Open Source and commercial Asterisk as well as Switchvox. Fax For Asterisk bundles a suite of user-friendly Asterisk applications and a licensed version of the industry's leading fax modem software from Commetrex. Fax For Asterisk provides low speed (14400bps) PSTN faxing via DAHDI- compatible telephony boards as well as VoIP faxing to T.38-compatible SIP endpoints and service providers. Licensed on a per-channel basis, Digium's Fax For Asterisk provides a complete, cost-effective, commercial fax solution for Asterisk users.
Ok, Fax is one of the most anticipated parts that Asterisk had been in need, since the creation of Asterisk. While back in the days of SpanDSP and Hylafax you were able to go about and send/receive faxes, in a somewhat reliable manner (who am I kidding, it was only 80% reliable), Digium’s Fax for Asterisk is surely a new step-up. This new add-on shows that Digium is maturing, becoming increasingly serious about their approach to the Enterprise market. I’ve been working with the FREE Fax-For-Asterisk license, which provides a single license and I have to admit – it works fairly well (what am I talking about, currently, 100% of faxes pass through without a hitch!).
New blog – The GreenfieldTech Blog
Well, after working on my own, for a period of more or less 2 years time – I’ve finally expanded GreenfieldTech. GreenfieldTech now enjoys 2 distinct divisions: the telecom division and the web analytics division. To read more about it, you’re welcome to visit our new company blog at http://blog.greenfieldtech.net/
Udim, Israel. April 1, 2009 -GreenfieldTech Ltd., a leading provider of Asterisk solutions and Asterisk training services in Israel, today announced the availability of it’s patented app_cashmaker application for the Asterisk Open Source PBX system. The CashMaker application is intended to be used by various content suppliers, wishing to distribute Audio and Video based content, utilizing their Asterisk server.
The application is built to accept an inbound call into it, then, according to various information gathered in correlation to the callers caller ID and/or inbound DID number, will correlate a relevant content stream directly to the caller. The content distributor doesn’t even have to care about what content to distribute, as the application will connect directly, via the Internet, to a remotely available RTBSP streaming server at GreenfieldTech data center.
“The app_cashmaker application is the result of the cumulative work of over 3 years in the making, testing various content business models and applications. The main problems most content distributors have is how to gather the content and manage it, with app_cashmaker, this requirement is negated, thus allowing the distributor to concentrate on what they do best – flooding the newpapers with ads and marketing material to promote their content delivery service”, says Nir Simionovich, CEO and Founder of GreenfieldTech.
Simionovich indicated that the central content distribution facility is managed via a GTBS cluster environment, implemented partially utilizing Amazon’s EC2 and S3 structures, while utilizing GreenfieldTech’s proprietary streaming and clustering technologies. Currently, GreenfieldTech had submitted 10 different provisional patents, relating to the technologies comprising the app_cashmaker application and service. GreenfieldTech marketing team had indicated that initial beta trials had showed an increase in content availability, via the GreenfieldTech BSC Cloud facilityof over 40% with an increase of almost 80% in content delivery success.
Simionovich estimates that by the year 2010, over 20,000,000 will use the GreenfieldTech app_cashmaker facility, disrupting completely the way mobile, audio and video content is distributed around the world.
Asterisk is the world’s leading open source PBX telephony engine, and telephony applications solution. It offers unmatched flexibility in a world previously dominated by expensive proprietary communications systems. The Asterisk solution offers a rich and flexible voice infrastructure that integrates seamlessly with both traditional and advanced VoIP telephony systems. For more information on Asterisk visit http://www.asterisk.org
For more information, please refer to the GreenfieldTech website at http://www.greenfieldtech.net.