Thursday, May 29, 2008

Web 2.0, The New Brain Sucker

If anyone's interested in grabbing a copy of my feed subscriptions from Bloglines, grab 'em quick. I've decided that RSS feeds are just as insidious as television, if not more. When I started this blog, there weren't that many out there and there were definitely only a handful of security blogs. I spent a lot of time writing about topics that interested me and tried to stay out ahead (or away) from the gathering crowds.

Nowadays, I don't write much and there aren't many topics not covered by a blog. Also, you don't have to travel too far to find any two security experts willing to contradict one another.

As such, I am attempting to crawl out of the RSS sinkhole and go back to researching the more cutting edge stuff. I may blog about it, I may not. To help do this, I'm pulling the plug (unsubscribing) from all of the feeds that I read (there's over 300 of them), except for those of a few close friends and one or two high signal-to-noise feeds.

For those of you that are totally immersed in RSS feeds or other forms of social network (yeah, you guys in the Twitter pool are included), the world is passing you by. Take a look around. The time that you used to spend coding or researching a topic has now disappeared into "reading time". You're probably spending the majority of your free time following the kruft growing in other peoples' lives or watching a couple security "experts" bicker.

If you're skeptical of my intent or even just of my possible success, you can call it a blogger's mid-life crisis. Me, I'll call it an escape attempt.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Product prejudice

"Product hate" tends to last longer that the reason for it. Case in point: I've asked a few Grandstream-related questions in some well-known forums and, instead of receiving legitimate answers (or even "don't know"), I've ended up on the receiving end of invective that is reminiscent of the old MS-v-Linux quasi-religious "purism".

The company may have had some crappy products in the past, but I've used a number of their products recently and I'm quite happy with them. Admittedly, the previous firmwares did cause a number of unbearable issues but the current versions work quite nicely. I'd recommend taking another look at the Grandstream stuff if you're needing some cheap equipment. Some of the newer models have a few bells/whistles that you might be interested in, too.

Monday, May 26, 2008

It's the little stuff

Just about everyone that's tried to cause Asterisk to play hold music that's streamed from elsewhere has run into the "Stopped music on hold on Local/202@default-b77d,2" issue. Googling for it is no help whatsoever. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of people asking about this error.

The answer is quite simple: if you're sucking off of a stream, comment out the line that starts with "directory". You only need the "mode" and "application" lines.

How do I know this? Well, let's just say that I spent a few hours today, tracing just that very problem.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Grandstream GVX-3000 video phones

Got the chance to play with some GVX-3000's last night. Once I recovered from the problems induced by my own typo's, we had them working nicely. Left the test setup running for a friend's enjoyment this morning. There are a few additional features that I want to play with.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Many of us like to pop a bowl of popcorn, toss a DVD into a player, and watch a movie (esp. in an election year), say, like "National Treasure 2". Here's a hint to the Effin' marketing department: the previews shouldn't last longer than the d**n bowl of popcorn.

(To borrow from the real SJ) Oh! And one more thing... Converting a crappy stop-motion animation to "high def" doesn't mean that I'll consider buying it, especially when it's placed somewhere around minute seven in the previews of other movies that I'd never watch/buy, with the fast forward feature disabled. It's enough to make you barf your popcorn back up!

Yeah, I'm in a mood. What of it?

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Arg! Why is it that online sites, that create audio files for use a podcasts, can't tag the MP3's properly, if at all? (*Ahem* TalkShoe) I've been tweaking my Savonet scripts, getting them to randomly play files if no one is using the jukebox function. Quite a few (not all) of the podcasts have no tags whatsoever and nothing shows up in the jukebox interface when they're played.

Anyone care to join me in pestering various sites about their tagging capabilities?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Chris Soghoian's post, "IRS web site opens door to phishers" prompted me to visit the web site. In attempting to connect to the secure site, Firefox spit up the warning below. Note to any IRS webmaster: this is NOT how it's supposed to be done!

Sunday, May 4, 2008


I've started a list of numbers to call. If you have any interesting SIP or IAX numbers, drop me an email or ask for an account on the wiki.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Switching languages

I've switched languages for the conference manager. PHP proved to be just too brittle in dealing with self-referential recursive calls (it tended to pass a variable to the first call but would ignore the same value in the second and third calls). I'm now looking at switching to Perl or C based CGI scripts. So far, it appears to be going well. The Ajax piece is a bit more tolerant of the background code and the button functions implemented so far, work.

I'm able to adjust volumes now!