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[#] Wed Aug 15 2012 13:36:09 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Last night I sat down at the computer with the mission of getting my X100P card working. I never got it working with the new motherboard I bought, and have been using an unreliable Grandstream FXO box.

Hours later, still no success. It was 1:30 in the morning and I was ready to give up; maybe I'd buy an SPA3102 on eBay and replace both the inbound and outbound ATA's. So I went to put everything back the way it was when I started, and oh yeah, I had deleted /etc/asterisk so I needed to restore its original contents.

That's when I realized that the backup I took at the beginning of the evening had gone missing. It was in /tmp but it wasn't there anymore. Probably got deleted during a reboot or something. And I don't take full backups of this box anymore, only the /home directories.

So I went around the house and tore down all of the SIP phones. I deleted whatever was left of Asterisk, and plugged the base station for my cordless phones into the POTS port on the FiOS ONT. I am no longer a home user of Asterisk. We now just have ... phones.

It actually feels pretty liberating. I've maintained phone systems at home for 11 years -- originally a Partner system, then Asterisk. To now have ordinary home phones and not have to maintain anything is a relief. There are a couple of cool features that I'm going to miss but I have better things to do with my time at home than system administration. That's been the focus lately: simplify. I can do all of my geeking out at work where I produce something useful with it and get paid for it -- and that includes a couple of Asterisk systems, so I do get to keep the skill set going.

Later this week I'll take one of my defunct SIP phones and reconfigure it for my extension at the office, so I can have a convenient way to access the office phone system on the days when I work from home.

I'll have to call Verizon and have them re-activate the voicemail feature on FiOS, which we had disabled when it was originally set up. And I'll need to find an inexpensive wall phone for my kitchen that has both Caller ID and a message waiting indicator.

[#] Wed Aug 15 2012 15:42:08 EDT from Ahff Rowe @ Uncensored

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Asterisk is awesome. I had a setup at my last employer, with a four port PRI card and Cisco 7960G phones running the SIP image.

For FXS ports, I ended up buying a Carrier Access Adit600 (dirt cheap on eBay), which handed off a channelized T1 to the PRI card.

I have also played around at home (using $5 modem from eBay that dual-functions as a single-port FXO interface). Not all that useful though without
structured wiring in the house, unless using wireless SIP phones or something. Fun to play with though for sure.

[#] Thu Aug 16 2012 10:34:02 EDT from dothebart @ Uncensored

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Wed Aug 15 2012 13:36:09 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

That's when I realized that the backup I took at the beginning of the evening had gone missing. It was in /tmp but it wasn't there anymore. Probably got deleted during a reboot or something. And I don't take full backups of this box anymore, only the /home directories.

/tmp/ is flushed on reboot on all modern distributions; you need to use /var/tmp/ for that stuff.

nowadays /tmp/ most of the time is a ramdisk system anyways.

[#] Mon Aug 20 2012 10:28:27 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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I'm still using Asterisk in a big way -- just not at home any more. :)

Last night I started hooking up all of the original phone jacks in the house, and replacing the Ethernet jack in the kitchen with a phone jack. It's starting to become clear that POTS is here to stay. It's just too inexpensive and too good-enough to go away. The data channel available through FSK for features such as Caller ID and MWI, plus the fact that it is no longer relied upon for Internet access, makes it one of those low-tech things that's just too useful to replace -- kind of like X-10 (which I also have).

In the end it's really my state of mind that is shifting. I've been in this house for 16+ years and for most of that time I wanted a "smart home." Only over the last year or two has my thinking switched to "simplify." The role of my server diminishes with every change, as I begin to use the technology products and services I buy in the way they were intended to be used.

At this point I could get hit by a bus tomorrow and my family would still be able to live in the house without a resident system administrator.

[#] Mon Aug 20 2012 11:30:03 EDT from the_mgt @ Uncensored

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I can totally relate, I used to have a server with an attached modem doing the internet nat/routing stuff with Squid for adfiltering. Since it had a few downtimes and nobody at home was able to properly restart the machine (due to encrypted root partitione etc.) I switched to a Fritzbox which now takes care of the routing.

I also always wanted to have an asterisk instance to do the telephone stuff, have a bluetooth headset for hands free telephone calls, etc. but never got a grip on the asterisk config files. I can singlehandedly set up a fresh gentoo install while being blindfolded, but asterisk is just too unusable.

Now we have an ages old Elmeg box doing ISDN and POTS in the house and it is rock solid. I even have my grandma's phone with a dialing wheel attached to it and this is configured as emergency phone in case of a total power outage. Almost every other phone in the house has an additional psu, so they are basically useless on power outages. (Yes, I know there are mobile phones, but in this not really rural area we have troubles getting a working signal at times.)

I whished there were more devices, like network printers, NAS, etc making use of Avahi/Zeroconf, so normal family computing stuff wouldn't be such a damn PITA. While I could be driven over by a bus and the house would not be directly thrown back into stoneage, some things would need maintance still. Also, I guess in your case, too, nobody really knows were the wires run but the people that install all the nice hardware. 

[#] Mon Aug 20 2012 11:51:36 EDT from Ahff Rowe @ Uncensored

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Heh.. I often wonder the same thing. How would my family cope without a resident sysadmin?

The only thing I've mucked up at home is the network (cisco L3 switch & router, Linux NAS/router, and that could be sorted (ripped) out by a $100
visit by the cable installer.

I rip all the kids' DVDs to a NAS so they can be streamed to the TVs (beats buying 15 copies of cars2 & finding nemo), or watch the 15 minutes of
crap they make you sit through befoe the movie, but they could always just dig the originals out of storage.

I used to think about wiring my entire house with Ethernet, but have lost most of the drive as most of the devices I use are wireless, and things
like homeplug AV now exist if I really need an unusual amount of bandwidth.

[#] Mon Aug 20 2012 18:26:11 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Heh. Wireless does make it easy. For the first couple of years in our house I had 10base2 (thin ethernet) running around the basement and one end with drops on the first and second floor. Good times. :)

[#] Mon Aug 20 2012 22:52:49 EDT from Ahff Rowe @ Uncensored

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10Base2 running through your house?? Why, just why? Even 16 years ago that was out of style. :)

[#] Tue Aug 21 2012 06:44:25 EDT from the_mgt @ Uncensored

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We had 10base2 as main wiring system on our university department until last year.... One circuit for each of the floors and some frankensteinian 10base2-to-TCP hubs (not switches, hubs!) to spread the net on each floor. The collision led was almost constantly lit and there were the oddest failures when a hub went out for lunch.

Now we are using CAT7 wires, Cicso gigabit switches connected via fiber to the rest of the university and the DFN. Our internet is like *whooosh* now.

[#] Tue Aug 21 2012 17:10:09 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Why? I'll tellya why. At the time there were big piles of it sitting around that I could take home for free. I had just bought a house and was broke.

Not to worry. Nowadays I have switched Ethernet and fast wireless, with fiber coming in from the street. And with the exception of the fiber Internet connection, my network is *still* built with surplus gear rescued from discard piles. I try not to pay for this stuff.

[#] Wed Aug 22 2012 07:34:15 EDT from dothebart @ Uncensored

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hm, some years in the 90'ies it was cheapernet floating around at my parents house... which then became replaced by regular ethernet, and recently cat7 plus structured wiring...

[#] Wed Aug 22 2012 11:23:47 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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"Regular ethernet" -- you mean 10base5 (thick ethernet) ?

[#] Wed Aug 22 2012 19:25:26 EDT from dothebart @ Uncensored

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10 base T as cheapernet,

cat5 cables as ethernet.

[#] Thu Aug 23 2012 07:50:21 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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I understand, but the term "cheapernet" actually refers to 10base2, thin ethernet on RG58A/U cable with BNC connectors. It was "cheaper" compared to 10base5, thick ethernet on RG8/U cable.

Star-wired ethernet over twisted pair cable took over fast, as we know, but it was never referred to as "cheapernet" -- especially considering that those hubs originally were a real expense for the first couple of years (which is why my house was wired with coax).

[#] Mon Aug 27 2012 17:17:51 EDT from Spell Binder @ Uncensored

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If I remember correctly, 10BASE-T will run over cat3 UTP cabling. When it first came out, I'm sure there was a cost advantage to cat3 over cat5.

[#] Mon Aug 27 2012 19:43:08 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Yes, you can run 10baseT over category 3 cable, and yes, there was a cost advantage over category 5.

In fact, one of the original competitors to 100baseT was a technology called 100baseVG (also called "AnyLAN") which could do 100 Mbps over Category 3 wiring, but it required all four pairs. It didn't catch on and soon faded into oblivion.

[#] Mon Aug 27 2012 20:38:41 EDT from Ahff Rowe @ Uncensored

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Heh.. I remember nearly buying a crap-ton of VG cards at some point shortly after TX was the clear winner. Someone was selling them for $5 ea. and I only caught that
they were VG (or was it T4?) at the last minute before forking over the CC#.

[#] Wed Aug 29 2012 11:51:44 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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We re-upped with Verizon yesterday. The price of our triple play service is going down by $5 and the Internet bandwidth is being increased to 50 Mbps.

[#] Wed Aug 29 2012 15:33:50 EDT from Spell Binder @ Uncensored

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I need to get on AT&T's ass about getting FTTH. Right now, it's FTTN, using VDSL to get into the house. We're far enough away from the VRAD that the most we can get is 12 Mbps for internet bandwidth--i.e. not counting the bandwidth reserved for video and VOIP.

Either that or I need to convince my company to lease a fiber into my home so I can run 10 Gbps Ethernet. :P

[#] Thu Aug 30 2012 07:12:09 EDT from Freakdog @ Dog Pound BBS II

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I'm close enough to the node that I can get 24 or better...but I'm only paying for 12.

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