Monthly Archives: January 2011

Running Asterisk 1.8 and Fail2Ban? You need a new configuration file…

 

Important
This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on a blog called The Michigan Telephone Blog, which was written by a friend before he decided to stop blogging. It is reposted with his permission. Comments dated before the year 2013 were originally posted to his blog.

… And Ward Mundy of Nerd Vittles and PBX in a Flash has one for you. The explanation and instructions are here, and the file is here.

(And for all you people who say my articles are too verbose, take THAT!) 🙂

A couple of links for those using a Google Voice number attached to their primary Gmail account, especially Asterisk users

 

Important
This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on a blog called The Michigan Telephone Blog, which was written by a friend before he decided to stop blogging. It is reposted with his permission. Comments dated before the year 2013 were originally posted to his blog.

This article was originally posted in January, 2011 and may contain outdated information.

If, despite all the advice you’ve read here and elsewhere, you’ve not created a separate Gmail account to use with your Google Voice service (using this form to attempt to get your existing number transferred to the new account, if that’s your desire), then these links are for you:

1.  Asterisk hack: make your Google Talk client invisible:

It’s been a too-busy-to-write week, but I found some time the last few evenings to brush up my C coding (only hacking at this point, really) to make Asterisk 1.8 do something I’ve wanted from the beginning: Google Talk’s invisible mode for the Google Voice integration. ….. You might want to use this feature if, like me, your Google Voice number is attached to your main GMail account. I don’t use the chat features but I appear online to anyone who has me in their contact list, as long as Asterisk is logged in, and that has the potential to draw unwanted instant messages (that will never get answered).

Full article here.

2. Avoiding the problem of missing calls when you are logged into your Gmail account:

NOTE: Also see: Not receiving some incoming Google Voice calls? Try increasing the priority.

This is posted on the OBiTALK forum, but likely applies to Asterisk users as well.  I specifically suggest that you read the third and fifth posts in the thread (posted by user “Agate”).

Link to thread on OBiTALK forum.

By the way, something I’ve been looking for, for those who use Asterisk 1.8+ with Google Voice but prefer to use the Google Voice voicemail instead of Asterisk’s, is an easy way to get a count of new voicemail messages in a specific Google Voice account. This information could then be used in some type of notification system.  What I’m specifically NOT looking for is something that requires the use of pygooglevoice — since all we want is a voicemail count, that’s overkill.  I’d also prefer a solution that doesn’t require downloading a huge XML file just to extract a voicemail count (since this is something you’d check rather frequently, pulling down about 10,000% more data than you really want just doesn’t cut it).  If anyone know of an elegant way to do this, I’d love to hear it.

FreePBX voicemail hacks

 

Important
This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on a blog called The Michigan Telephone Blog, which was written by a friend before he decided to stop blogging. It is reposted with his permission. Comments dated before the year 2013 were originally posted to his blog.

This article was originally posted in January, 2011 and may contain outdated information.

Motel Phone

Image by Andreas_MB via Flickr

A few things you should know about FreePBX voicemail:

• If you are not receiving voicemail notifications (stutter dial tone, message waiting indication on certain phones, etc.) there are two things to check.  One is to go into /etc/asterisk/vm_general.inc and see if there is a line of the form ;pollmailboxes=yes — if it is commented out (semicolon in front), uncomment it by removing the semicolon.  The other is to go to the /var/spool/asterisk/voicemail directory and make sure that you have directories there called default and device, and that one is symlinked to the other (generally default is the “real” directory and device is the symlink). If the device directory is missing, make sure you’re in the voicemail directory and do this:  ln -s default device

• If you have users in different time zones, you can have the voicemail “envelope” information say the correct time by creating a [zonemessages] context at the end of /etc/asterisk/vm_general.inc (in later versions of FreePBX you can also enter these in the Timezone Definitions section of the Voicemail Admin module) — here’s a simple one showing the four major time zones in the continental United States (I know this is not complete, it’s just an example):

[zonemessages] eastern=America/New_York|'vm-received' Q 'digits/at' IMp
central=America/Chicago|'vm-received' Q 'digits/at' IMp
mountain=America/Denver|'vm-received' Q 'digits/at' IMp
pacific=America/Los_Angeles|'vm-received' Q 'digits/at' IMp

Then, on each extension setup page in FreePBX, find the Voicemail & Directory section, and under that the VM Options.  In the VM Options add a tz= option for each user (for example, tz=eastern), using one of the zones you defined under [zonemessages] in /etc/asterisk/vm_general.inc.  Note that multiple options in VM Options must be separated by the | (vertical bar) character (not that you’re likely to have multiple options, but I mention it just in case).

• If your system is not used in a large office, or some other location where not all users can be trusted, you can disable the requirement to enter a PIN when using *97 to pickup voicemail for your own extension.  To do that, add the following context to /etc/asterisk/extensions_custom.conf:

NOTE: This is the original code for older versions of FreePBX:

[custom-voicemail-retrieve] exten => s,1,Answer
exten => s,n,Wait(1)
exten => s,n,Macro(user-callerid,)
exten => s,n,Macro(get-vmcontext,${CALLERID(num)})
exten => s,n,VoiceMailMain(${CALLERID(num)}@${VMCONTEXT},s)
exten => s,n,Macro(hangupcall,)
exten => h,1,Macro(hangupcall,)

In newer versions of FreePBX (probably 2.9 and later) use this instead:

[custom-voicemail-retrieve] exten => s,1,Answer
exten => s,n,Wait(1)
exten => s,n,Macro(user-callerid,)
exten => s,n,Macro(get-vmcontext,${AMPUSER})
exten => s,n(check),Set(VMBOXEXISTSSTATUS=${IF(${MAILBOX_EXISTS(${AMPUSER}@${VMCONTEXT})}?SUCCESS:FAILED)})
exten => s,n,GotoIf($["${VMBOXEXISTSSTATUS}" = "SUCCESS"]?mbexist)
exten => s,n,VoiceMailMain()
exten => s,n,GotoIf($["${IVR_RETVM}" = "RETURN" & "${IVR_CONTEXT}" != ""]?playret)
exten => s,n,Macro(hangupcall,)
exten => s,check+101(mbexist),VoiceMailMain(${AMPUSER}@${VMCONTEXT},s)
exten => s,n,GotoIf($["${IVR_RETVM}" = "RETURN" & "${IVR_CONTEXT}" != ""]?playret)
exten => s,n,Macro(hangupcall,)
exten => s,n(playret),Playback(beep&you-will-be-transfered-menu&silence/1)
exten => s,n,Goto(${IVR_CONTEXT},return,1)
exten => h,1,Macro(hangupcall,)

Then do the following in FreePBX’s GUI (do these steps in the order shown):

Go to Feature Codes and under Voicemail, disable “My Voicemail” (*97) using the dropdown, then Submit Changes.

Go to Custom Destinations (under the Tools tab) and create a new Custom Destination:  custom-voicemail-retrieve,s,1 — then Submit Changes.

Go to Misc. Applications and add a new Misc. Application. Make the feature code *97 and the destination the Custom Destination you created in the previous step, then Submit Changes.

Finally do an “orange bar reload” in FreePBX. Now when your users dial *97, it will assume they are authorized to pick up the voicemail for the extension they’re calling from. Obviously, this is probably not a good idea in any kind of office setting.

Got any other FreePBX voicemail hacks you like?

How to install Midnight Commander under Mac OS X (the easiest way?)

 

Important
This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on a blog called The Michigan Telephone Blog, which was written by a friend before he decided to stop blogging. It is reposted with his permission. Comments dated before the year 2013 were originally posted to his blog. We have used the information here to install Midnight Commander 4.8.10 under OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) and also to install Midnight Commander 4.8.12 under MacOS 10.13 (High Sierra) and in both cases it was a quick and painless install, and works great!
Midnight Commander

Image by mcastellani via Flickr

Over the many months that this blog has been available, one of the most consistently popular posts has been, How to install Midnight Commander under Mac OS X (the easy way, using Rudix). Unfortunately, at the article notes, the developer of Rudix changed his package and while you can still use Rudix to install Midnight Commander on your Mac, it’s not quite as straightforward an installation as it once was.

This morning I received a comment from reader LouiSe on that article, that read as follows:

What do you think about an up2date universal binary installer package? … http://louise.hu/poet/tag/mc/

Well, if it works I think it’s a great idea, but I don’t have the time to fully test it and since I’m still running Leopard, I have no way to test it under Snow Leopard.  So I’ll just throw it out there and say that if any of you would like to test it (at your own risk, of course) and see how well it works for you, I’d appreciate it if you’d leave a comment.  For the time being, be as careful as you might be with any software from an unknown source.  But if you’re daring enough to give it a try, this might indeed be the easiest way to get the latest version of Midnight Commander onto your Mac.

Since Midnight Commander is free and available for virtually all versions of Linux, learning to use it now will put you a step ahead for the day when you get sick of being seen as a cash cow by Apple, and are ready to move on to a computer that runs Linux.  Ubuntu Linux in particular has finally matured to the point that it is actually usable by non-geeky types, and the vast majority of the software in the Linux world is still free.  I like free software, and I don’t like watching the “spinning beach ball of death” on my Mac Mini, so unless someone gives me a newer one as a gift or something (not likely), the Mac Mini I’m using now is probably going to be the last Mac I will ever own.