For the voice geek’s leisure-time reading during the Christmas break: the Bell System Memorial Home Page. Fascinating and amusing photos, literature, and anecdotes, and a history lesson as well.
I don’t have any updates at the moment on using Smokeping to monitor the quality of the VoIP network (though I am in the middle of debugging and setting it up, and it looks like it will work very well) but hope to have some graphs to show, soon.
In the meantime there has been some rustling in the VoIP blogs about a new “Asterisk-distribution-on-a-CD” called PBX In A Flash. Ward Mundy of the Nerd Vittles blog (linked on the sidebar of my site) is the man behind this distro, and it looks good. A long-time Asterisk@Home and then Trixbox user, he got tired of the limitations of the Trixbox distribution and decided to produce his own. I’ve downloaded it and plan to evaluate it. I think it will be decent because I like the various Asterisk hacks that have come from Nerd Vittles and I have the feeling this distro will be full of clever configurations and nice feature additions.
At home, I run a well-customized Trixbox, connected to the world with some cheap SIP trunking and connected to me via an analog adapter with cordless phones and softphones. To be honest, there’s no “in a flash” about it — setting up Asterisk, even with nice GUIs and self-installing CDs, is time consuming and requires a lot of research. But it’s rewarding to be able to set up a fairly powerful home PBX using free software, cheap hardware, and cheap connectivity, and have more for $10 or so a month than you could get from the phone company for $40 a month.