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1 Keyboard, 1 Mouse, Multiple Computers

Posted: July 22nd, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Linux, Mac, Tech | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Most tech-folk know that desktop real-estate is key to optimizing efficiency. Adding a second monitor can increase your work output/efficiency by almost half. So if you are like most people and have a desktop and a laptop, get ready for the best FREE upgrade you can make to your setup.
This article is also for those of you who are using multiple keyboards/mice on your desk for more than one computer. The solution to this cumbersome setup is Synergy. Synergy works by first defining where the computer screens are arranged (macbook to left of desktop, desktop to right of macbook…etc). The program can act as a client or host. The main computer with the keyboard and mouse is the host. The client computers consist of every other computer you want to use. I currently have a desktop as my host with 4 LCDs. To the right I have a mac mini on a 19″ LCD, to the left of the desktop is a macbook, to the left of the macbook is another laptop. I can control all of these with one keyboard and mouse seamlessly dragging from monitor to monitor. Synergy works by sending all of the mouse information over the local network to each defined host. It’s worth noting that the clipboard carries over too! From Mac, to Linux, to Windows!

What you need:
1. For mac users the gui wrapper for synergy is fantastic. Get it here – SynergyKM.
2. For *NUX and Windows users, get it here – synergy2.sourceforge.net

By the way, Synergy is open source (most things on this site are).

Here is a great example of synergy freeing up desk space:


The most Epic Mix

Posted: July 20th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Tech, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Ok, Ok, I know this is blatant self-advertisement/gloating, but I am proud of my work. I try to DJ every Sunday from my house and broadcast it live via a Shoutcast relay server. Well on July 20th, 2008 I believe that I have recorded my most favorite mix ever. It starts out with Progressive, then moves to Electro, then moves into Electro-Tech, then pure Tech goodness. If you want to download any of my mixes (they are all available > 20) please check it out at www.djg-regg.com

This is a tech blog, so a bit about how to broadcast your (Podcast, DJ Session, Rap, etc.) show over the internet in case you were interested. Head on over to shoutcast.com get winamp and the shoutcast relay plugin. Set your input to the PC running winamp with the relay program, click connect, and you are good to go. If you have uber-upload speed, you can possibly host the main relay server too, but it is complicated to setup (PM me if you need help). I use http://serverroom.us for my relay. They offer 30-Simultaneous channels at 128kbps Stereo for $11.99 a month! Not too shabby.

So yeah, check out www.djg-regg.com and if you want help setting up your own internet-radio station, I can help.


Flip1405 – The Failover Asterisk Solution

Posted: July 12th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Asterisk VoIP, Linux, Mac, Tech | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 57 Comments »

Flip1405 is an Asterisk Failover solution that was created in early 2008. I found the need to create an easy to install failover solution for Asterisk servers. After a couple hours on a Sunday night, I had the first version completed. In 2009 someone who came across this script reworked the code to add new features, and I updated the site. Now, in 2011 I am glad to announce that there is a new version that has many new features and improvements over my existing code. Many thanks to Jonathan Bayer for updating the script again. His site is http://linuxnotes.us

Excerpt taken from his site:
Congratulations! You have now set up your first Asterisk-based VOIP server.

Next question (probably the first your boss will ask you): What happens when the server crashes, or loses power, or needs to be upgraded, or…….; well, you get the idea. If you only have a single server, you lose your phones until it is rebooted. Given that you probably installed this on a cheap, inexpensive piece of hardware, these questions are not out of the question, especially for a business.

We had the same questions, and have implemented a failover solution. I started with a script I got from this web page, but was dissatisfied with it. It seemed to be a bit of a kludge, in that it wasn’t a true HA solution, but was only a backup solution.

I did a massive reworking of the script, and the result downloadable from here:

flip1405.sh

This script is used to synchronize the /tftpboot with the /var/ftp/ directory:

syncftp.sh

The only dependencies for Flip1405.sh are nmap and arping

To use, first get your primary Asterisk server running smoothly. When ready, you can either clone it using Clonezilla (or some other utility) or just install Asterisk on the second box. Then follow these steps:

Setup shared-keys so the servers can copy between each other without user intervention. Setup Login without password
Set up ftp (I use vsftp), if needed. We use it to download the configurations for the Aastra phones. Usually we would use tftp, but since we have some phones outside our office we simply use ftp for everything.
Install this script into /usr/local/sbin on the primary/active system.
Run the script with the -s option:
/usr/local/sbin/flip1405.sh -s
The second script: syncftp.sh, is used to synchronize the /tftpboot directory with the /var/ftp directory. If you need it, install the syncftp.sh script into /usr/local/sbin
Open up the flip1405.sh in an editor, and check the various settings. I would recommend that if you need to change them, to use a config file (/etc/sysconfig/flip1405) rather than editing each file. The config file is NOT sync’d between the systems, so you can have system specific options in the file.
There is no need to specify the device, or whether the system is a master or slave. The script determines this at run time. The most important lines to set are the first three variables: MASTERIP, SLAVEIP, and FLOAT. These are:
MASTERIP IP address of the master system (arbitrary name)
SLAVEIP IP address of the slave system
FLOAT IP address that will float between the Master and Slave, and which your phones will access
All other variables are set for an Elastix system. Elastix is based on the following:
Asterisk 1.6
Centos 5.5
FreePBX 2.6
Make sure to set the bindaddr to the virtual IP address in /etc/asterisk/sip.conf or
/etc/asterisk/sip_general_custom.conf
bindaddr=192.168.1.12 ;IP of Virtual interface
Add the following line(s) to the root crontab (only install the syncftp.sh line if you are using it):
* * * * * /usr/local/sbin/flip1405.sh
*/5 * * * * /usr/local/sbin/syncftp.sh
If you like, you can add the following lines to /etc/crontab instead:

* * * * * root /usr/local/sbin/flip1405.sh
*/5 * * * * root /usr/local/sbin/syncftp.sh
If you have phones outside your network, you will need to configure your firewall to direct the following ports to the FLOAT address:

tcp 21 (if you are using ftp)
tcp 3000
udp 3000
tcp 5060-5082
tcp 10000-20000
tcp 5800-5900
udp 5060-5082
udp 1000-20000
udp 5800-5900

Click below to see previous versions (20090327)
Old Versions


Remote PC Assistance – www.911PCAssist.com

Posted: July 12th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Linux, Mac, Tech | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Every once in a while there is a site on the internet that has an original idea. This isn’t one of those times, but I believe it will make residential PC support much easier for all parties involved. The site is 911PCAssist.com and they present a great way to get help with your computer, when it is convenient for you.

Here is how it works:

1. You submit a help ticket via their web interface
2. They call you based on your callback hours
3. You open a screen-sharing program they email you
4. They look at your computer while you are on the phone with them, and fix the problem
5. Since you are eternally grateful, you donate money via the link on their homepage!

Easy as pie.

Would you ever use 911PCAssist.com ?

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Asterisk as a Virtual Machine – On a Mac

Posted: July 11th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Asterisk VoIP, Linux, Mac, Tech | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

I know a few people that would like to run their small home-office phones with Asterisk, but don’t want to dedicate a server just for Linux/Asterisk. The answer to their problems is Asterisk running as a virtual machine! I was running VMWare Server on my Mac Mini with CentOS as the host os. But that got me thinking, I have a sweet Mac just sitting there running 2 linux OS’s and it’s pretty idle. I proceeded to back up my Asterisk config files and installed Leopard on the Mac Mini.

Now for those that aren’t familiar, VMWare can run with either Windows or Linux as the Host OS. Linux is usually the better option due to uptime, security, memory usage, etc. I simply acquired Parallels for Mac (VMWare equivalent, but for Mac) and installed CentOS as the client OS. Within 15 minutes I had my new server up and running. Upon boot, I had an issue. The box would hang when it was “booting Kernel”. I looked around and sure enough, it was trying to boot the EL-SMP kernel. One reboot later, hit esc. at the OS kernel page, and selected the EL kernel (not SMP) and I was up and running with Asterisk virtual with a Mac host OS. Opa!

Once you are logged into your Asterisk/Linux OS:
Edit /boot/grub/menu.lst and comment out the EL-SMP kernel, then you will auto-boot the working kernel.

Happy virtualization.


First blog ever, and there’s a few things on my mind.

Posted: July 10th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

I went in to have an operation on my foot today, and they gave me full-on anesthesia. So as I type this, I have the common haziness that is associated with prescribed drugs (oxycodone too). My foot is throbbing though. O yeah, the purpose of this blog is so I can A) speak my mind and B) write detailed instructions/findings about Linux/Asterisk/VoIP/MySQL/PHP projects I have been involved in. So I look forward sharing everything I can with the Open-Source community in the near future.