Tags: voip

05/29/11

  11:43:05 am, by The Dreamer   , 804 words  
Categories: Stuff, Software, Computer, VoIP, BOINC

Death to Skype! Bring me its head!

Link: http://jeff-duntemann.livejournal.com/281642.html

Years ago, I had installed Skype on various computers thinking that I'd jump into the whole using my computer for VoIP calling either as a supplement to doing VoIP using ATA's or successor. It revived buying webcams and/or headsets on my newer computers. I bought a webcam for my dad. But, he never used it.

And, I've never really used any of the many new webcams I keep buying either. But, recently I've met some friends on line that are into chatting online using Skype. I did do it once, and it was a strange experience actually talking to people....rather than the usual type into a window or web form chatting that I'm accustom to for online chat. But, they weren't into the webcam feature of Skype, so I don't know if I'll ever get to use that part for more than just as the microphone. (Which I might not do, since I bought a headset for one of my computers...)

Meanwhile, yesterday on Gumby....the computer I installed Skype and a(n HP) webcam onto, because ole TARDIS wasn't feeling up to getting new hardware (the plastic tab in some of its USB ports have broken off, though the kind of still work sometimes....not as bad as the old Gumby where the front USB ports didn't work at all anymore....And, I was using a PCCard USB adapter to help...)

Anyways, yesterday I recall seeing this EasyBits Games or something dialog come up, when I was checking some stuff on the machine. It had been up for over 16 (reached a max of 16.8 this time, TARDIS is currently at 35.52 days), but it seemed confused. A java app said it was out of memory, though there was plenty on the machine (over 1900MB free)...so I tweaked its JVM settings. Though later I discovered that PRTG had stopped running at some point. Someday I'll install Nagios, or something and replace that aspect of PRTG that I use. I had switched to running it, because bello-monitors-the.net ceased operation a few months back...and I was using it to monitor the performance and availability of this blog. At first PRTG seemed the solution to doing this...but its more annoying than just works, so I'll probably look at some other online service...

Anyways, suddenly with no explanation my screen went dark and the lights went out on Gumby...a moment later it was booting back up. Nothing in the event log to explain why it had gone down. I came back later to see the finished boot, and dismiss the various dialogs that come up during a boot and see why PRTG was complaining about something I was sure I had told it to stop monitoring (LHAVEN....I haven't finished that post yet). That's when I saw the huge gap in data, and it had apparently stopped working sometime yesterday morning (this unexplained reboot was around 5:27pm).

I vaguely recall seeing a strange dialog from Skype in reference to EasyBits Go games, seemed odd that Skype wanted me to install something like this. And, I have Skype in offline state on this computer...since I had upgraded to Zen...and Skype is online there. But, I dismissed it. I wasn't interested in it. But, later I saw that it had installed itself anyways. :##

Then a strange Flash Player install dialog, not the usual one from Adobe that comes up now and then. But, it seemed to do the normal Adobe Flash Player install...the except it was the kind that tried to install crapware with it, that you have to figure out the checkbox to uncheck to not get it before downloading it...while needing to check other boxes for it to proceed.

Guess I should've read it, because it was yet another part of the Crapware infestation that was coming to my computer via Skype/Microsoft.

Did a quick google search this morning, and found out how that its realy crapware, because the uninstall doesn't do anything...have to do more complicated stuff to remove it.

:rs::rs::rs::rs::rs:

Found the steps to eradicate it at: Jeff Duntemann's ContraPositive Diary - EasyBits GO, Skype, and The Crapware Problem

:rs::rs::rs::rs::rs:

Just firing off this quick blog post and then to reboot.... :cool:

Wonder if the Free AVG will catch it later, or if I should install something like Norton Internet Security (I seem to have gotten a 3-seat license, but I'm only using it on one computer at the moment....I do need to upgrade the version of Trend that is running on TARDIS, but getting NIS working and not working on Zen has been quite the hassle...so maybe I'm still looking, at least its SONAR isn't going after BOINC like NAV used to on TARDIS....wouldn't be so bad, if it didn't start doing that just after I extended it for another year.)

Wonder if I shouldn't just remove Skype while I'm at it.... :hmm:

09/14/10

  11:51:46 am, by The Dreamer   , 687 words  
Categories: Wireless/iPhone, Travel, VoIP, Networking, AT&T DSL

My Broadvoice Outage

Yesterday, I was at home....staycation....when I heard my cellphone ring, and while it was ringing I heard a text message come in. But my home phone, which I was sitting next to, remained quiet.

I have my Broadvoice VoIP service set to simulring my cellphone, so that I'll have the option of answering calls to my home number when I'm not at home. But, name display doesn't carry to the cellphone, so I also have call notification send an SMS with that information. Actually, its more interesting in that I have the SMS go to my iPhone, and the simulring is of my regular cell phone (during a work day, the iPhone is usually dead around 5pm...but I need to be available 24x7). The future of having a smartphone is up in the air, but I'm considering an IPX7 phone to replace my current regular cellphone....

Anyways....I didn't recognize the number (and there was no name for it), so I ignored the call...and it didn't leave me a voicemail. I then picked up my home phone...and got fast busy. Hmmm, wonder when it stopped working?

I tried the usual troubleshooting, reboot ATA, reboot router, modem, disconnect/reconnect, switch from using DSL to Cox, etc. No dice. Checked my account portal, no service outages reported. Tried emailing support to make sure. But, got no response (until after I had resolved the issue on my own).

I'm using BYOD service....when I had originally signed up, I had a D-Link DPH-540...but it wouldn't switch between work wireless and home wireless...at all. No WiFi between home and work, so no expectation of that kind of roaming. But, it didn't just work when I went between the two networks. And, there were other issues.

Since I neglected to get either of the ATAs from my previous VoIP providers unlocked (ATA-186 from Vonage and something else from Lingo.) I went looking for an unlocked ATA on eBay. I originally got a Linksys PAP2, but what I really wanted was the Sipura SPA-3000.... Anyways, I initially set up the Broadvoice service on the Linksys PAP2 and all was good then.

Later I scored a Sipura SPA-3000, and switched to that. The Sipura SPA-3000 has the capability of using a landline either via dial code, as a gateway to VoIP or as backup. The latter two reasons were why I got it. In the event of an Internet outage (or power outage), I wanted to still have phone service...and I was paying an arm and a leg for landline service, but not using it for any other reason...except that naked DSL wasn't available when I moved here. And, I wanted DSL.

I had toyed with the gateway option....being able to call from work, and then relay out to VoIP, in case the urge to call my parents or something when I'm working late ever strikes. It never did, though I've played around with options over the years. I had tried Skype, Fring, Packet8 services....but never actually made the real call.

Anyways..the Sipura SPA-3000 worked well the few times that having it fall back to landline was needed....

Though later, I did switch to naked DSL. So, no more fallback. But, I left the SPA-3000 in place, unchanged...because it was working....

Well, this morning I got up....and I still have no phone service. So, I decided that it might be time to dig out the 'old' Linksys PAP2 and see if that would work.

I did. Didn't even have to remember how to get to the admin interface...forgot that it has a user and an admin, and that default URL is for the user interface. So trying to login as admin wouldn't work. I knew what admin password I had set on it, but I couldn't remember what the user password was (once I realized that was what it was prompting for). Anyways...plugged it in, and it just started working immediately.

Later I verified that all the settings were still right.

Now I'll be able to make (and receive?) phonecalls from my home phone... :cool:

Wonder if I need to shop around for another backup ATA. :hmm:

08/11/09

  11:18:55 am, by The Dreamer   , 303 words  
Categories: Wireless/iPhone, VoIP, Networking, Cox HSI, AT&T DSL

Saying good-bye to phone service again.

Today, I finally pulled the trigger again....and canceled my home phone service. But, I'm keeping DSL.

Originally, when I first moved to Manhattan, KS there were issues on whether or not I could get a local number from a VoIP provider. And, I was interested in the possibility of getting DSL. Plus as it turned out, I had trouble getting Cox Internet. So, I had to use expensive dialup Internet to feed my habit. :>>

Later I went ahead and ordered DSL, after giving up on ever getting Cox. Of course, once I did that, Cox moved mountains, and got me connected. But, I kept DSL because it had been on my list of things to try....to try being dually connected. Which has been fun, so I'm going to continue to do this.

But, since I got Internet service at home...I haven't used the phone part of my home service.

So, I was sitting around this morning, because I didn't have to go into work, looking for little things to pass the time with....so I decided this was a good time as any to finally make that call.

Getting past the automated phone system to a real person was kind of a pain, but once I got a real people the process went surprisingly well.

So, this Friday my home phone service will be no more. It was kind of useless...at over $27 a month for just basic local service, when pretty much all I do are long distance calls (to Canada...to my mom)...hence the value of VoIP. I had rationalized keeping it for when nothing else is available....but having survived a couple significant power outages recently...I decided that it wasn't as essential.

Yes, I expect my DSL cost to go up....by $10....but it is still a savings....that I can apply to other crazy things.

06/16/09

  10:55:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 706 words  
Categories: General, Hardware, Computer, VoIP, Networking, TV, Home, Broadband, Amateur Radio, Healthcare

Rainapocalyse: The Post

Last night I experienced another Kansas Weather Event. Starting to wonder if I had known about these things, would I have called Manhattan, Kansas home?

Last night it was rain, and lots of it. I may as well have been a solid water coming down everywhere....almost the instant it started....I could hear water pouring into my living room. I had towel handy, and the put empty trash containers along the patio door and that kept most of the water at bay.

Carpet was dry by morning.

But, then the inevitable next happened. The power flickered and then went away. I was watching TV at the time (L&O: Criminal Intent). Guess I'll have to pick up the ending later. Things were humming on the UPS. Though somethings bounced...I turned off the TV and the V880N. Seems my HDVI5 switcher isn't on a UPS. So, there was no using things while the UPSs beeped. I thought I had disabled the beeper in the UPS, but maybe it only disables if it knows there's a computer attached....there isn't so...hmmm.

The UPS handling 'lhaven' died immediately. So, no IRC. So, even though the cable modem was still working and lasted more than half an hour. And, the DSL modem never went down. I was quickly without Internet, as computers ran down. And, my wireless access points are connected to desktop UPSs. I think I should move the access point to the PowerSource 400 that was backing up my phone/VoIP/router/dsl.

I went around shutting down some other computers to help stretch the UPSs....

Seems the Lasko floor fan and the Kenmore Envirosense air purifier didn't like being on the UPS...probably the TRIAC to make low speed fan and the simulated sine wave of the UPS output not getting along. I turned these things off. And, then after pacing around for a while, and checking various light sources. And, finding it getting warm and stuffy indoors. I went out and listened on my HT to the weather spotters, and checked out the area.

Pages: 1· 2

02/23/09

  10:25:17 am, by The Dreamer   , 546 words  
Categories: VoIP

I Canceled my Vonage Service

July 24, 2003 is the date that I first signed up for Vonage, with them assigning me a local Columbus, Ohio number. The service had been very good, and there were even times I looked at upgrading or adding on to the service.

Then on July 1, 2006, I landed in Manhattan, KS. I had looked before this move whether or not Vonage had local numbers, and they didn't. But, since I was mainly using the service to call long distance to Canada, I felt that I could survive without having a local number.

Problem is that for the extended period that I was out of work, my number had been circulated with many different head hunters who wouldn't stop calling to harrass me...with claims that I must talk to them, and they wouldn't accept that I had a job now. Even the Ohio State government kept calling to harrass me with jobs. Guess they wouldn't accept that I now work for the State of Kansas.

So, I got rid of my Columbus, Ohio number on December 30, 2007. I got a number that corresponded to Oxnard, CA...thinking that my parents could make a local call when they spend a month each year there. Of course, they never did....its I have to call them, etc. still. Plus I suppose, where they are staying...perhaps they still have to pay for local calls. But, it was a big mistake.

Almost immediately I was getting calls for somebody else on this number. It was totally useless, they were all collection agencies and other like calls. And, none of them would get a clue that they should stop harrassing me. donotcall didn't help either. If only I could sue these people for all they were worth for bothering me...with their autodialers that even if I chose the option to tell them that they have the wrong number, they wouldn't stop.

After the latest flood of collection calls coming in over a year after I've had the number, I decided that enough is enough. I didn't want to pay Vonage for a new number, especially since it still can't be a local number, and run the risk of other wrong number activity.... I decided that I would just cancel the service.

So, I called Vonage, apparently I'm supposed to have a PIN. I have no recollection of setting one up back when I opened the account, nor having set one up during my tenure with Vonage. So, I had to answer the account verification question. First they asked why, and I said no local number....the agent put me on hold, evidently to see if a local number could be procured. Not entirely sure if I would've stayed if he were successful.... Then they offered to give me two free months of service (to tell people that my number is changing, etc....which is unnecessary given the situation), and then I can cancel completely after that. They didn't say it would cancel automatically, so I assume they expect me to forget after the two free months....or something. They then there was also an offer to downgrade to a cheaper plan. Also not interested. Finally, it got canceled.

I may seek out another VoIP provider that offers local numbers at a future date, but no immediate plans to do so....

Tags: phone, voip, vonage

01/12/09

  06:58:21 pm, by The Dreamer   , 66 words  
Categories: VoIP, Home

What a difference the phone makes

The Panasonic Dect 6.0 Series Cordless Phone seems to have made a big difference in the quality of my other VoIP service. So, guess most of the poor audio issues were due to the Uniden 2.4Ghz cordless phone I was using previously with this service.

Guess this means I don't need two separate VoIP services anymore, and that I can get rid of one to save money....

01/11/09

  03:19:56 pm, by The Dreamer   , 494 words  
Categories: Stuff, VoIP, Home

Panasonic Dect 6.0 Series 3 Handset Cordless Phone System with Answering System (KX-TG1033S)

I had been thinking a long time about replacing my cordless phone system at home. Mainly because it was a 2.4GHz system, though I had held off because I the VoIP service that it is attached is kind of noisy and I only have 100 minutes per month with it.

But, I had been eyeballing a Panasonic DECT 6.0 based cordless phone system. Then two months ago, I was at LISA and went on the Fry's BoF. Trying to think of stuff I wanted to buy while at Fry's...I looked at their cordless phone section. And, remembered that I've been wanting to get this system for a while.

I couldn't remember whether I wanted a 3 handset or a 4 handset system, they were all cheaper than online prices I had seen elsewhere....but the 3 handset system was on sale for further savings. So, I grabbed it. Though looks like I wanted a 4 handset system (someday I plan to declutter the other bedroom and make use of it, so a handset in that location would be useful). Guess I'll have to take the expensive route of adding a handset later (though it can't be too much later, in case newer models come out and obsolete the system I have).

Today, I was sitting around thinking of what else I could do to fill out my weekend...and I decided that this might be the day to finally set it up.

Preliminary testing, shows that most of the noise that I experienced with using this VoIP service have gone away.

Guess it makes sense...it is probably hard for a 2.4GHz phone to be clear when surrounded by tons of 2.4GHz WiFi and other devices around my condo.

I had considered other frequencies....but 900Mhz cordless phones are scarce, and I never had much success with them in the past. I already have a Panasonic 5.8GHz cordless phone, which is on my other VoIP service and it works well...but the intent was that the VoIP service that does provide me with a local number should be my primary (and perhaps prompt me to discontinue the other one). And, at the time I was using 5.8Ghz wireless rear surrounds....which the 5.8GHz cordless phone would prevent from working (noted in some previous blog posting).

So, that pretty much left 1.9Ghz DECT as the frequency I hadn't tried yet.

So far so good....maybe if it works out well, it may finally be time to get rid of Vonage....I would prefer to stay with them, since they were my first and other than the lack of a local number (and the annoying calls that aren't for me that I get on it, they way they appear seems to indicate that the person they are calling is continuing to give out this number as theirs)....they've been good.

If I do, I'll probably have to upgrade the other VoIP to 'unlimited' calling. With Vonage I just have the 500 minute calling plan, which is adequate for my usage....but 100 minutes isn't.

Now instead of subjecting some poor random forum to a long rambling thought, I will try to consolidate those things into this blog where they can be more easily ignored profess to be collected thoughts from my mind.

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