Ron Paul (‘s ideals) for President.

I’m not sure that anyone cares but I’m officially endorsing Ron Paul for President.  That being said, I really wish I could just nominate his ideals.  I like the idea of a strict adherence to the Constitution.  As Glenn at Instapundit suggests, Ron Paul as a candidate leaves a bit to be desired.  When I showed Ang a video of an interview the first thing she said was something like “crazy old man”.  I’m sure that’s a relatively widely held opinion and because of that he stands little chance of winning.  The groundswell of support though would indicate that there are enough people that like the idea of libertarianism to finally get this idea in the forefront.  I’m hoping to push that along by voting for him.

PVR woes

We’ve been Tivo owners for some years now.  We used to use it constantly, now we just use it often.  The sole reason is HD.  Or rather, lack of a good way to record HD.  Yes, we can get the HR20 from DirecTV but I don’t believe there’s any ability to move content between devices.  Plus, that’s another closed system.  No, what I really want now is an HD MythTV setup.  I could have that today, no problem.  Except, how would I then go about getting HD content?

You see, the only way to legitimately record HD content into MythTV or any similar PVR is to pull it over the airwaves.  Two problems with that.  It’s only the local broadcast channels and we’re so far out in the country I’m not sure we can get a signal anyway.

I know, we can do RSS subscriptions and suck it down over Bittorrent.  Aside from the illegal aspect of that Comcast has noticeably affected Bittorrent speeds of late.  It simply wouldn’t be practical.

No, what we need is a Component recording card.  There’s one on the market that I’ve found.  It’s made by Blackmagic, costs >$1k and isn’t supported in MythTV or any other open source system.  Yippee.

Someone help me.  Tell me how to fix this.

Freecall, for a time

I might have discovered the limitation with Freecall.  There’s a reference to the calls being limited to 1 minute until you buy credits from them.  Well what’s the point of 300 minutes per week then?  Are you really going to make 300 1 minute calls???

I’ll report back once I test it.

Asterisk part deux

I’ve been running on Asterisk, actually Trixbox, for probably over a year now.  It works ok but I have several issues that I’ve never been very happy with.  For one thing I’ve been using an old version of the SCCP channel to run the Cisco phones.  I have 7940’s and 7960’s and the SIP implementation on those phones is somewhat weak.  The SCCP channel hasn’t been developed much at all so there’s not been much reason to upgrade.  The problems I have though revolve around my 7905 flaking out occasionally and the laptop I run * on doesn’t like to go on UPS power for any extended period of time.  How weird is that?

Time to upgrade.

I have an older PC that I’m hoping will have sufficient power although I do have concerns.  It’s a Celeron 466 with 640mb of ram.  * requirements are pretty light so hopefully it’ll work ok.  I’ll be using the new version of the non-commercial Trixbox CE.  I also have concerns about that but I’ll give it a go.  I’ve also discovered that there’s been some new development on the chan_sccp side.  Hopefully I can set up a more stable system and start extending it.

I’d like to figure out how to get Google Talk working with it so I can extend calls to my laptop.  At some point I’m hoping the VoIP apps will come about on the iPhone and I’ll be able to extend calls to it.  I read something the other day about someone finally testing a demo app for this but it struck me as being very preliminary.

I’ve also discovered a service called I’m going to see about giving this a shot too.  From what I can tell you get 300 free minutes per week.  I’m sure there’s a catch that I’m missing but I’ll find out.

I was considering going to CallManager 6 since DLU’s are now included but that would leave me with the problem of voicemail.  I could do Unity but the demo license only supports a 30 second message and that won’t cut it.  Extending the system to support other VoIP methods will be easier with * too.  Just too hard to justify it for home use.

Pricey Video Conferencing

I just came across Andy’s comments about the state of room based video conferencing. I have to say that I agree completely.  I’ve been to a number of Cisco Telepresence demo’s now and there’s no question it’s impressive.  The price tag kills the interest for all but the richest companies though.  $250k for the required two sides of the 3 TV Telepresence unit and that doesn’t even include the UCM system it requires or the 15mbps of bandwidth it needs for start up.  No doubt it’s easy to use and the video is absolutely incredible, but it’s just one of those technologies that hasn’t filtered down yet.

One thing Andy mentions is the ultimate ability for the home user to access the same tech.  Well, that’s a ways off but you can see it coming.  Cisco’s acquisition of Scientific Atlanta is all about just this sort of thing.  I’m kind of surprised Cisco hasn’t kicked something out in that regard.  Their assimilation usually takes a couple of months but they’ve had SA for how long now?  2 years maybe?  Bandwidth is less of a concern than in the corporate world and more and more houses have HDTV’s already installed.  Maybe Cisco’s too hung up on the “experience” which would certainly be affected by consumer class implementations.

Cobra folks

I just discovered that I’m #1 for “cobra build” on Google.  Wow!  Except it’s for the old site.  The one I haven’t updated in years.  So, I’ve put in a redirect to the blog here and just to the Cobra related posts.  Please feel free to look around at the rest though.

And yes, more Cobra related posts coming soon.  I haven’t spent much time at all on the Cobra lately but I’m hoping to be able to get back to the dash soon.  Can’t wait to see those gauges move!

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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  You might notice some changes around here.  I’m going to start working on going bigger with the blog.  Please let me know how I’m doing by leaving me a comment.  Hope to see a lot more of you!

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One of my Grandmothers died last night.  Grandma Brooke had been in declining health for some time and last night she moved on.  From what we’ve been told she went peacefully.

Here’s the part where I say the things we’re not supposed to.

I’m happy about the time I was able to spend with her.  She always showed a lot of love for our family.  Her situation had grown tragic over the last year though, so I’m glad she isn’t living in that world any more.  I’m glad for her and her children that she went peacefully.  And although there’s never a “right” time for someone to die this might have been the best time and best way.

While I’m sad that she’s gone and I’ll cry about it, I’m also glad to have known her and been a part of her life.

Grandma Brooke


While I greatly respect the writing of folks like Om and the podcasts of TWIT, there seems to often be a disconnect between the press releases they report on and the reality on the street.  I try to look at these things in the context of what’s to come but sometimes they flat out get it wrong.  The comment in my last post about engineers often forgetting about the cost ramifications illustrates this.  It’s easy for us to get all googly eyed when something new and shiny comes out.  When you sit in front of a customer and try to explain to them why they need to spend more money…that’s when you see the disconnect.

I left some comments over on Om’s latest article about really fast copper speeds.  The reality on the street doesn’t jive.  I installed a bunch of 6500’s at a customer last year.  The interconnects were all 10gbps.  Any guesses on what the typical load is on those interfaces?  1%

We’ve reached a point now where the only place for really high speed network traffic is in large data centers where 100’s of servers are being aggregated.  I’m glad those people are blazing the trail for the rest of us that will drool over 10gbps connections we’ll use 1% of!