FCC Chair Kevin Martin Scolds Comcast for P2P Tomfoolery

July 13, 2008 by Garrett Smith

John Paczowski over at AllThingsD reports on the FCC’s pending action against Comcast for violation of net neutrality pricinciples in blocking P2P filesharing traffic.

The problem with “principles” is that they pre-suppose integrity, which is not an integral component of capitalism. Comcast will almost certainly mount a legal appeal to any action taken by the FCC, since there is no body of legislation laying out a framework and accountability for net neutrality.

From WSJ:

“You can’t enforce this because there aren’t any rules,” said Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice. “It violates all sorts of due processes in the way you are supposed to create rules.”

Guest Blog: Asterisk Rides the Train

July 11, 2008 by Garrett Smith

I have chosen Asterisk for many reasons. First was the lower cost, but once I had it running and tested I found it to have many more features than I could imagine.  When I first started with Asterisk it was my first introduction to any telephony system at all, everything was learned for this one project, also known as my family’s business, Art Knapp Plantland.

I have had Asterisk running for well over two years, learning more every time I look at it.  Once I had all the basics setup and functioning, I had some ideas to tryout and see what I could make work.  One of those ideas was an automated timer system for our ride-on train.

Here at work, we have a ride-on train that goes through our nursery.  The announcement system for this has gone through many revisions, starting with our cashiers making manual announcements following a timer, and then I made some recordings that were manually started following the timer.  Both those attempts worked to a degree, but if it was busy the times would be off.  Then I modified it so the cashiers could start the timer on a phone, and the three calls for boarding times (10 minutes, 5 minutes and 1 minute) would all go on their own.

If the driver asks how many minutes are remaining, they don’t usually know, so I made a script that checks the time and reads back the number of minutes before the train should leave.

Technically, the system works like this.  Our phones are all connected to our overhead paging system.  When the cashiers sell tickets, they dial an extension that launches an AGI script.  That script first checks if a call is in progress or not.  If there is not call it will copy three call files to the /tmp directory, touch them in the future based on the time they should be announced, move them to the /var/spool/asterisk/outgoing directory, then announce it was successful.  Asterisk will then play them in sequence when the time is right.  The time-checking script first gets the system time, and compares it against the time the one-minute call is scheduled to go, calculates the minutes, and reads it back.  Quite simple really.

VoIP Supply Selects Bandwidth.com to Deliver Total Business VoIP Solutions, Strengthens End-to-End Offerings With Partnership

July 10, 2008 by Garrett Smith

VoIP Supply announced today that it has selected Bandwidth.com to provide voice and data services for its end-to-end phone system solutions for small and medium-sized businesses. In selecting Bandwidth.com, VoIP Supply will now be able to offer businesses complete nationwide advanced Internet, VoIP, network and wireless services in addition to its current phone system and VoIP hardware offerings. The partnership, VoIP Supply’s first with a voice and data service provider, represents a strategic investment in the delivery of complete telephony solutions to the small medium business marketplace; allowing the company to further solidify itself as a market leader “with everything you need for VoIP.”


“After weighting a couple of options, we found the right partner in Bandwidth.com. Its business culture, offerings and customer-centric approach aligned perfectly with ours,” stated Benjamin P. Sayers, CEO at VoIP Supply. “As more businesses consider the switch to IP-based phone systems, Bandwidth.com’s flexible and affordable offerings will allow VoIP Supply to be uniquely positioned within the marketplace to help small businesses realize greater cost savings, increased productivity, and painless user management with their VoIP deployments.”

“We are very excited about our partnership with VoIP Supply,” said Henry Kaestner Co-founder and Chairman of Bandwidth.com. “VoIP Supply is a true leader in the business telecom industry with a commitment to excellence that is readily apparent in all aspects of their business from corporate culture to the way they treat their customers. We believe that this new one-stop shop approach to all things VoIP, from hardware to service, is exactly what businesses are looking for. We look forward to exceeding customer expectations in as give them better telecom functionality and quality, all while saving them money.”

Guest Post: Asterisk Providing Pizza Delivery?

July 9, 2008 by Garrett Smith


Ok, admit it, you like the Domino’s new online “Pizza Tracker.” If you haven’t heard of it, It is a Flash application that tracks the status of your pizza order as it flows through the steps from the initial order, preparation, baking in the oven, being boxed, and out for delivery. See: https://www.dominos.com/en/

While waiting for an order the other day I thought, what could top that? The system should call us when the pizza is out for delivery! No longer do you need to stare at the progress meter on your computer while waiting when you could be in the pool, watching a game with friends, or beating your kids in a game on the Wii. I figured I only had roughly 30 minutes to get this working, so let’s get cracking.

Watching the flash application make web requests in Firebug pointed me to the source of the status. All it does is pass your phone number on to a web page and it returns an XML structure with the data needed. The data includes timestamps of each step in the process, durations in the current step, the person who took your order, how long you were on the phone with them, the store manager’s name, etc. Plenty of data to provide some metrics to their corporate office, plus the information we need to send out the alerts.

How does the pizza tracker notification work you ask? Well it is made up of two components. The first component, a Perl script, runs every minute or so from Cron checking the online order status for the numbers we are tracking and generating calls for those out for delivery. The second component, the Asterisk dial plan, allows you to call an extension and set up the pizza tracker for a number and check the order progress.

It is by no means a complete application but it was fun to write, and seems functional enough to use. I’m sure there are tons of uses for something similar to this. One such use could be an airline notification system that notifies limousine drivers’ cell phones when their clients’ planes land. What is your next cool Asterisk project?

Ribbit Jumps on BT Acquisition Offer

Techcrunch reports that Mountain View, CA voice 2.0 platform company Ribbit has been acquired by British Telecom (BT) for a modest $55 million.

Ribbit’s main service offering is called Amphibian, and offers a variety of personal call management features with web + mobile + social network integration.

Ribbit also spawned an API and corresponding developer platform and offered an open and freely downloadable version of their Ribbit API, which uses Flash via Adobe Flex Builder.

Ribbit aimed to create an “iTunes”-like ecosystem with their Ribbit Store, the idea being to allow developers to distribute and monetize applications built using the Ribbit API.

Ribbit showcased several clever applications built using AIR and their Ribbit API. One application emulates the look, feel and some of the functionality of the Apple iPhone, the other is a very artistic take on the softphone called ChalkboardPhone.

BT is reportedly looking to leverage Ribbit to compete with Grandcentral, which was bought by Google just over a year ago for a similar price. The Google/Grandcentral acquisition likely served as a valuation benchmark for Ribbit. Congratulations to co-founders Ted Griggs, Crick Waters and Peter Leong.

IPCS Word(s) of the Day: SD Card

July 7, 2008 by Garrett Smith

SD Card= A flash memory card that provides storage on some IP cameras, digital cameras, cellphones and PDAs. SD Cards use the same 32x24mm form factor as the MultiMediaCard (MMC), but are slightly thicker (2.1mm vs. 1.4mm), and SD Card readers accept both formats. Introduced in 1999 by Panasonic, Toshiba and SanDisk, cards up to 4GB are available.

IPCS Word of the Day: Resolution

July 3, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Resolution= Refers to how much detail can be captured on a camera or displayed on a monitor. Cameras typically capture about 380 horizontal lines of resolution. High resolution analog cameras may capture 450 lines of resolution or more. High resolution IP cameras can record and stream in HD/Megapixel quality. The higher the resolution, the more detail that can be captured in a picture. The monitors and recording devices can generally handle at least as much resolution as the cameras can capture. Also remember that higher resolution images capture larger size frames (file size), and therefor, require more bandwidth to transport and more storage space to archive.

We Are Not Alone Anymore: Affiliate Marketing

Since the inception of voipsupply.com we have been fortunate enough to have a dedicated group of installers, network consultants, VoIP enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, and webmasters who have put time and effort to helping our business grow. These fast growing vehicles of young “feet on the street” are called our affiliates.

VoIP Supply’s affiliate program was originally put in place to provide our customers a way of delivering products to their customers and colleagues directly via our online store. In turn we have been able to track these purchases by their referral link and award affiliates on a percentage of the total sale made. With the success of the VoIP Supply affiliate program, we decided to replicate the model for our IP Camera Supply store and the IP surveillance enthusiasts.

At the pace we’re growing, we have seen a rapid increase into the inquiries and popularity of the program. We wanted to take our program mainstream and offer it to a wider range of people. In doing so we decided to join the Pepperjam affiliate marketing network. Before our affiliate programs were restricted to those who knew about the technology. Pepperjam now brings our exposure to a broader market, showcasing the popularity of the technology.

We are proud to be part of the Pepperjam affiliate network which in my own opinion is not necessarily the biggest, but they are the best. They currently represent some of the largest names in the fashion industry and retail markets who have since gone on to build up their brands in the online marketplace.
We welcome Pepperjam’s dynamic presence to the VoIP Supply family, and already feel extremely welcome in theirs.

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