Saturday, November 29, 2008

Open Source VoIP

There hasn't been a post for quite a while (3 weeks qualifies as quite a while) but I have been pretty busy. Also, I wasn't sure what to write about. The week before Thanksgiving was spent in Barrow working mostly on telephones. They now have a full-featured voice mail system on their VoIP phones. I'm using Openser (now Kamailio) as the SIP proxy, a Cisco router for the PSTN gateway, Polycom handsets and Asterisk to provide media services such as voice mail. All of the software is open source but are feature rich. I wish we had some of the features available on the phone system in Fairbanks such as emailed voice mail or web access to your voicemail box. On the other hand, there are some features that we take for granted that I haven't got working yet. (haven't figured how to do it yet). Last Wednesday, I finally got rudimentary CDR (call detail recording) set up. It has been a very challenging couple of weeks and very satisfying for me. I really enjoy learning something new.

No one at home was very enthusiastic about a traditional turkey dinner so I made a seafood paella. It came out okay but I overcooked the seafood which really just needed to be thawed and warmed up. I used a seafood mix from Sam's Club that contained shrimp, muscles, octopus, squid & fake crab. The octopus and squid were a bit tough and the fake crab was tasteless. The rice also came out mushy. Now that I know what goes in, I have a much better recipe developing in my head. I usually always follow the recipe closely the first time I make something. Maybe next weekend I'll try out my new, improved recipe. I always wanted to make something that needed saffron. I was pleasantly surprised when I found the expensive spice at Fred Meyers on sale.

Not much walking these days. On Wednesday, I ran instead of walked on three short walks. My WIN goal is still 45 minutes 3 times per week. So far, no problem meeting the goals. The lack of a UA walking program means no external motivation for more activity. I'm working on getting my 1000 mile virtual trophy on the Nike+ site but not actively engaged in any of the challenges. I received a one month pass to the Alaska Club for showing up to three WIN health sessions so I can play with some of their resistance equipment. I did use the equipment in Barrow at the college gym but I never feel like I get much exercise.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tiring Week

There hasn't been an entry for over a week partly due to exhaustion. Last week, I attended the Educause conference in Orlando. Almost immediately after the conference was over, I headed to the airport. One flight to Seattle then another to Anchorage arriving around 2:30 AM. I tried getting some sleep in the terminal but they don't design their chairs to be comfortable. I then caught the 6:00 AM flight to Fairbanks. A very exhausting trip.

On Tuesday, a representative from Internet2 came to Fairbanks to perform a site visit. The main purpose was to take a look at the facilities at the University of Alaska. I am attempting to bring up the ESCC/Internet2 Joint Tech meeting to Fairbanks in the Summer of 2010. It's looking good. Yesterday and today were spent in an ITIL foundations class ending in an examination. Tests are always somewhat stressful. On top of all this activity, one of the boys needs to be at school at 6:30 in the morning. All in all, a tiring week.

As part of the WIN IHP, I agreed to start walking again on the treadmill for 45 minutes, three times per week. I haven't been doing much walking lately due, in part, to soreness in the back of my knee. It is pretty much gone so having no more excuses, I tried walking again last night. It felt good to be walking again. The gps gadget doesn't do any good while on the treadmill unless you get a $100 option which turns it into a $10 pedometer. I don't think so. At the Educause meeting, several vendors were handing out pedometers and one of them even had an area marked off to help adjust it. It was part of their "green theme". I saw a lot of people wearing them. At least I now have a couple of spares. I also wanted to start some sort of upper body program but I'm sort of at a loss on what way to go. We don't really have room for more equipment so if anyone has any suggestions...