With the news that AT&T is going to buy out T-Mobile, unless the US Regulatory stops it (like that would happen), it would seem as if I would end up paying more than I would like for phone service. If I was to go with AT&T choosing either a locked up iPhone, or just as locked up Android phone, it would seem as if no matter what, I would have to consider trying to reduce my demands. So far, the best option is to use an IAX server, along with a dedicated Google Voice account.
However, the problem is to find a budget friendly, and resource friendly system. In goals to try to keep things to less than $150, it would mean I would have to rely on used systems that are either lacking in capability, and/or power hungry. One example is a 160 watt Dell Optiplex which only has 256MB of memory for about $90. Now, mind you – the system won’t be running at 160 watts all of the time, but as with all servers, it should be running 24/7. Even at 100 watts, this would mean that every day, the server will cost 2.4kw. In a month, that would be 72kw per month. On someone that has to pay for electricity, and on a tight budget, that is discouraging. This is one reason I am not considering commissioning my desktop to the task. I’m assuming 3¢ per kilowatt as I hadn’t received my first electric bill yet, this could mean an extra $30 per year just to make phone calls While this may not sound like much, keep in mind that I am on a tight budget, and there is a refrigerator that runs 24/7 as well as an iPod dock that runs nearly 24/7. Either dock is only 10 watts per hour which means that the iPod dock would require 10 days of 24/7 usage for it to rack up the same power demands the server will require in 1 day. Thankfully, servers don’t require monitors beyond the initial setup. A better option will be an HP that is used in a smaller package, but with a slightly faster CPU, and more memory.
Continue reading Easier Said than Done
Google Voice has acquired Gizmo which is a VOIP service a number of months ago. So far, they have seemed to have done very little with it. Actually, they aren’t even taking new Gizmo registrations, and extended any annual numbers that current users had until 2015. However, one thing that Google could do to improve their Google Voice service which is why they acquired Gizmo would have to be is to allow Google to have SIP settings, and therefore be on SIP clients, and PBXes.
For those that don’t know, SIP is Session Initiated Protocol, and just about every VOIP provider except Skype uses it. Google is most likely using SIP on some level as it would probably be not cost effective to offer Google Voice users free US, and Canada calls. They however lock their settings behind close doors, and at times change things up a little to make sure that no one can get a reliable setting.
Continue reading Google – PBX is Good!
The average size of a Pittsburgh Home is actually small in comparison to most other cities. In the city, most homes are 3 stories x 25’ wide x 40’ deep. With the walls accounted for, that would mean that each floor is about 850 square feet. An average 1 bedroom apartment is about 900 feet. In addition, while there are three floors, the attics in most cases are not really usable. I remember living in a house where the attic was 6.4’, and for someone that was almost 6’, it was a bit cluster phobic. In addition, the actual size of the attic was a bit smaller then even in the second floor.
So, what are my ideas of how to make a Pittsburgh house better. Well, some of these suggestions addresses the the size. Other suggestions addresses the environment that the homes are in. They are all intended on making the house more like a home. The suggestions are as follows:
- Replace stairs with spiral stairs, and an elevator.
- Install a Gas Generator
- Centralized Systems
- Efficient Heating
- Kill the PSTN
- Bedside Appliance
Continue reading Top Ideas for Renovation of a Pittsburgh Home
In the United States, the emergency response number is 911. Any where in the US, or even Canada – you can dial 911 from any phone, and help is on the way. Well, not exactly. There are many VOIP providers that don’t offer this. For example, Skype doesn’t offer this. Neither do many providers that just charge you on a per minute plan. One example is I use Local Phone to make VOIP calls (when I need too), and they are less than 1¢ a minute. However, no 911 dialing is available.
Call Centric charges me $3/month for a 911 fee, and offers it, but that would mean in an emergency, I would have to remember to do something different as calls through them are 2¢ a minute. And I am sure that some people want to make sure their VOIP provider hasn’t screwed anything up, and would want to call 911 to see if it works. However, doing so just to say hi is illegal.
Continue reading Can I Really Count on You in an Emergency?
Original Article: http://b.fsp.im/936a
On Thursday, the 3rd of November, Ars Technica published an article regarding the possibility of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to move to 100% VOIP from the old POTS standard. If you would read the comments on this article, are with some people afraid that the PSTN is going to break, there would poor quality, and jittering galore.
First, you are already probably using Voice Over IP Protocol (VOIP). The Plain Ordinary Telephone System (POTS) relied on a copper wire running from your home going to a Central Office, and then electronically (at least since every one had their own phone number) to connect to another set of wires. This essentially meant that if you lived in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania (like me), and you wanted to call San Francisco California, you literally had an electronic tie of a phone cable from your home to where ever you called. Essentially, you owned that line of wire until you finished the call. No one else could use it, and long distance calls were very expensive. Anyone in their 40s would know that you didn’t make very long distance calls for no reason.
Continue reading Got VOIP? The answer is already
In the US, there is a saying “Give Me the 411” which means give me the info. The reason for this is that it has been widely accepted by most carriers for 411 to call the local or carrier’s Directory Assistance. 611 is widely accepted as the Customer Service number.
So, what does this mean to me? Well, for those that are fortunate enough to never have to call their customer service department may not know that while your cell phone carrier wants to be your only carrier, their oxy-moronic thinking tells you to call from a phone other than the one you’re calling about. This realistically means – get a landline. Also, with almost every carrier charging $1.75 – $2.50 per call for calling 411 (or NXX-555-1212), would also mean there is some serious issue there.
Continue reading Give Me the 411, or 611
OK, the title is a little misleading while making the cheesy Shakespearian parody, but it does bring an interesting point. Is there really a place for Skype when there are well established open standards in place?
Some may say, does it matter? I would have to say yes it does. First, I am sure that Skype works well for millions of users and it is used regularly and reliably. And for that, it is fine. However, earlier this year, all of that almost came crashing down. When eBay bought Skype, they for some reason never purchased the proprietary technology that makes Skype work. There was a dispute about licensing that if it didn’t work out, Skype would literally fail to work, and all of those millions of users would be SOL. Every single piece of hardware, and Skype phone that is out there would be paperweights.
Continue reading To Skype, or Not too Skype, That is the Question?