PBX Stuff


So, awhile back I used an old computer (AMD Duron 900mhz) as a PBX, I used PBX in a Flash to get it all setup, bought a Cisco IP Phone off ebay and was ready to roll. Setup Google Voice within the PBX to allow for inbound and outbound calls, but they’ve since removed the ability to make free calls. I stand corrected, Google has made calls within the U.S. and Canada Free through 2013. πŸ™‚

I used it for awhile and it worked great. I even setup a number for the Occupy Vancouver group to use as a phone tree. But when Google announced they were taking away the free calls, I took the pbx down and it sat unused for a long time. That is until yesterday, I had to find a way to stay up late as my work shift is changing, so i started playing around with the PBX again, I hooked it up and found a lot of issues with it, so I tore it apart and installed the PBX on a slightly newer but still old computer (Intel Duo 2ghz) which has been sitting unused since I upgraded my computer.

The PBX side of things is very interesting to me, I think it’s awesome to have my own phone system that I can control. Through SIP Solutions, you can buy a SIP Trunk for $24 a month with unlimited inbound and outbound calls, then you can buy a DID (the actual phone number) for $1 dollar a month, so basically for $25 dollars a month, you’ve got a full featured phone system. Custom everything if you know how to rig it up. The only downfall is that you need a decent internet connection. There are ways to rigging up an actual phone line into the PBX so you can use a legit phone line from the phone company, but I haven’t played with that side of it yet.

When my wife and I get a house, the first thing I’m doing is wiring the house for Ethernet and setting up a PBX, with 1 phone line from the phone company and a second line from SIP Solutions, that would equal two trunks, meaning two calls at the same time from any phone.

One draw back is you have to buy IP Phones that uses the SIP protocol, which can be a little spendy, but can you imagine the possibilities of what you could do? Tired of a phone number calling you? Blocked. You could even have hold music if you wanted to!

When someone calls and leaves a voice message, you can get an email with the voice message attached, so if you’re not home, you still get the message πŸ˜€

The best part is, once you have several IP Phones rigged up (if they have this feature) you can use them as intercoms, to communicate without having to scream across the house.

One really big requirement for all of this though, you need to know how to maintain a PBX and how to handle certain issues.

But aside from that, you’d be in complete control of your own phone system. Just like they do in an office.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asterisk_(PBX)

Thanks for reading.

Dan

The state of our education system.


As one of the people that “fell through the cracks” in the education system, I can relate to how Jeff Bliss feels about the education he is getting from teachers.

Our Education system is severely broken and needs to be fixed! No longer are students educated to provide them with a means to grow a career, students in public education, are taught everything they need to pass a test. A test upon which an overall grade is given to schools and districts. Better scores mean bigger budget for those schools and districts.

When I was in High School, the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) was the test we were trained to pass, and in 2004, a year after I graduated High School the Vancouver School District required passing the test Sophomore year in order to Graduate. From my understanding, that was cut pretty quick after low Graduation numbers.

During the course of my schooling (1990-2003) I can remember taking 3 or 4 WASL tests. I remember taking a test in 4th, 7th and 10th Grades.

I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.) my Sophomore year in high school, and was taking a medication through my Senior year. I always had trouble learning in school because I would get bored easily, and when I was in 1st Grade it became clear to me I had issues learning. I can remember being given a math work sheet and just crying because none of it made sense and I couldn’t work out the problems. The teacher never made it back to me (Last name starts with W, we were seated alphabetically) and I was never given a chance to understand the work. This trend continued for as long as I can remember.

I had a few teachers during this time that realized I had fallen through the cracks and did their very best to help me, one teacher at Discovery Middle School when I was in 6th Grade, Mr. Joseph Balin (who now works at Hudson’s Bay) even took his own personal time to come to my house and help me with my homework! THAT is dedication to a student. He obviously couldn’t do this very often but I remember on a couple of occasions, he would help me with my work. The other teacher that really helped me, was Mr. Burpee who now works at Battle Ground High School as a math teacher. I had him for Math my Junior year (unsure if I had sophomore year too) and he really took the time to make sure I understand what was being taught and I actually started “getting” it and being able to pull a B in Pre-Algebra. Sadly because of my hectic Senior year, I was unable to continue taking math my Senior year, He really wanted me in his Algebra class my Senior year, even saying so directly to me.

I’ve certainly had a few teachers who could really care less about the students and are there to simply collect a paycheck and fill a seat. I have really mixed feelings about Mike Goodpastor who taught my U.S. History class Junior year. I have to admit I did learn a lot from his class, but there were many things I learned after High School that I was shocked weren’t taught in his class. For instance, he was (and probably still is) super against unions (even though he’s part of one…). After my graduation, I learned about Bloody Thursday which was between Longshoremen and San Francisco Police. There was one day, our whole class was listening to “In a Gadda Da Vida” by Iron Butterfly.. Good song, but NOT something that fills an entire class period.

Education shouldn’t be something that is taught strictly to garner a better budget or at the discretion of the teacher. Anymore, High School is more like an advanced day care! It wasn’t made aware to me during my time in High School that places like the Clark County Skills Center existed, or that my credits even mattered. From 1st Grade through 8th Grade, I was under the impression if you just showed up to school and played along with what the teacher was teaching, you’d just move on to the next year of schooling.

So when I got to High School, I was under the impression that none of it mattered. That is until I got to my Sophomore year and my counselor pulled me aside and explained that if I didn’t start passing classes I wouldn’t graduate. Realizing I was in deep shit, I didn’t take any time off from school, buckled down and made up 2 years while keeping grades up for the last two years of High School. Doing 4 years of work in only 2, including two summers of summer school, night school and taking an online class. I found out I was Graduating just days prior to Graduation, when all the seniors were doing our practice walks into the gym and rehearsing everything. I maintained a B or better Junior and Senior year.

Our whole education system needs to be revamped, there needs to be more interactive education, more hands on, more information openly available to students. Being a low income student, I was always given the impression I couldn’t take part in things because I was one of “those” students. Looking back, there were so many things I would have loved to take part in.

Sorry for the long drawn out post.

Thanks for reading!

Dan

 

2013 Garden


In February, I had all the stumps that were crowding up the garden, ground down and cleaned up. The only issue I had, was the garden sloped down into the parking lot.

So, in order to fix that, I’ve built a stone wall extension of the current raised bed. All in all, this added about 7 feet of length and 7 feet of width to the garden area.

This year, I’m growing Corn, Cucumbers, Dill, Walla Walla Sweet Onions, Lettuce, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Garlic and attempting to grow Watermelon πŸ™‚

There won’t be a garden cam this year (at least not yet. the old laptop I was using to power the cam, finally died). I will be posting pictures of everything as it all starts to sprout.

garden1 garden2 garden3