Saturday, March 21, 2009

Faxing with Asterisk 1.6.1 (Receiving Faxes) - Timesaver

If you're trying to get Asterisk 1.6.1 to receive faxes these steps might be all you need for a simple setup:
  • Make sure you have udptl.conf in place, and make sure you're aware of the ports configured there
  • Make sure your firewall will accept udp connections on the ranges you set in udptl.conf
  • sip.conf: In the [general] context: t38pt_udptl = yes
  • sip.conf: In the [general] context: t38pt_rtp=no
  • sip.conf: In the [general] context: t38pt_tcp=no
  • sip.conf: In the peer configuration: t38pt_udptl=yes
  • sip.conf: In the peer configuration: you might need to set canreinvite=yes , especially if you're sure there is no NAT involved. If NAT is involved or might be involved, try nat=yes and canreinvite=no (or canreinvite=nonat)
  • In your dialplan use the ReceiveFAX application instead of rxfax
If these settings look contradictory or confusing, take page from the book of working with actively developed software: Sometimes it just works.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Asterisk 1.6.1 + OpenSSL: Save your hair! Timesaver

While compiling Asterisk 1.6.1 from source, if you come across a "no such File or directory" compile error (through chan_sip.c and tcptls.h) try using the ASTCFLAGS instead of or in addition to CFLAGS.

This error is most likely to show up if:
  • ./configure runs fine, even with --with-ssl=/usr/local/ssl (or your path)
  • openssl is installed in a non-standard path (common when compiled from source)
  • you know that ssl.h and err.h exist on your system -- asterisk's build simply doesn't find it during make (arguably not asterisk's job)
If ssl.h and err.h are under /usr/local/ssl/include/ssl.h and /usr/local/ssl/include/err.h, respectively, this might get Asterisk compiling when other methods don't:

ASTCFLAGS="-I/usr/local/ssl/include" CFLAGS="-I/usr/local/ssl/include" /usr/local/bin/make

Faxing with Asterisk 1.6.1 and SpanDSP

If you're familiar with Digium's Asterisk 1.4x or 1.2x, your fax solution might have included the extremely useful SpanDSP library. Getting a vanilla install of Asterisk from source to "installed" with SpanDSP required a patch and separate downloads ... that is, until recently.

Good News:
Recent versions of Asterisk in the 1.6x line include a combined app_fax support and work with recent versions of SpanDSP.

If you're looking for a place to download app_rxfax.c or app_txfax.c (no longer available from and you're using Asterisk 1.6.x, consider getting a recent version of SpanDSP. For many installs, this will be enough.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

March Beta-watch

After a talk with a long-time associate and web expert about business direction, brewing startups, and security, I walked away with a couple of interesting sites:

Groupable - which helps groups (even tiny, esoteric groups) to find sponsors, is in beta and moving quickly. I haven't been following the site progress closely, but it looks promising.

It is more functional than many in the beta stage. The real tests for Groupable will be to:
  1. Clearly communicate what they can do for a Sponsor or Group
  2. Get Sponsors to sign up
  3. Give Sponsors easy, relevant ways to find Groups

It looks like it's well on its way. I see a lot of potential for student groups, support groups, little league teams, and networking groups especially. Not every group would consider finding outside funding or support for activities provisions, and Groupable might help some of those succeed where they wouldn't have.

TipMeOff - which seems to be a classifieds site, in the vein of Craigslist. The interface is messy, though I see some useful features rare in free classifieds:
  1. 6 Photos per post (as opposed to 4, or none, in some cases)
  2. Anonymized e-mail or Web-based messaging to reply to posts
  3. Multiple languages, although right now only the location names are localized
  4. Multiple locations post, global and local (you can post your ad to multiple locations anywhere in the world, but this won't be useful until TipMeOff gets its interface together)
  5. Ads don't expire (for now! I expect this to change if TipMeOff wants to keep its content relevant)
For most people, the ugliness of the site will be a turn-off. For generalist-nerds, it just might be a fun ride.

2008? Somebody light a match! 2009: Much, much better...

The latter half of 2008 was a real challenge.
In so many ways.

While I still think the company I started working for (after so many positive years consulting independently) is the best I've ever worked for, there were a few times last year that gave me pause. All in all, we pulled together to resolve impacts many of you will find familiar:

  • Clients with "disappered" budgets
  • Projects frozen due to "significant changes in client standing or management"
  • Staff changes due to major life changes, family matters, or a need to move

Almost through the first quarter of 2009, we're looking forward to the Spring! We found opportunity in 2008's adversities, and smoother times are ahead.