www.joetalbot.com Joe Talbot VOIP Telephony and Asterisk www.joetalbot.com         updated 12 March 2021

Old guys
            whining about phones

For Joe Talbot's personal page please click HERE Yes, I know. It's probably not a bad idea to update my personal
page a bit more often? I am working on it. Most of my stuff has been on facebook for the past dozen years.

I specialize in Telephones. I'm building forums right now so that we can easily discuss problems and answer questions about Telephony.
I'm trying to move away from Facebook for my personal communications because it's gotten a little toxic over the past few months and I don't
enjoy the never ending conflicts and nonsense. So I'm setting up my own forums and a convenient place for friends and colleagues to learn about
telephones and broadcasting. I'll also link to other pages that are similar. There will be a lot of changes here as I bumble around and get the page
running on my own servers. It's been a while since I "made a web page". You get spoiled with the big guys "content management systems" and...
I still have phones to fix and friends to help out. This will get better. I promise!

SIP Phone Service for podcasters, radio and TV stations

We're now offering SIP service and DID's for broadcasters and podcasters. It's inexpensive, great quality and available immediately.
We can port existing numbers to it (takes about 10 business days usually). Local numbers are available for almost every city or rate center, we
can even supply international and Toll-Free numbers. If you need numbers for a temporary use, like a telethon or fund raiser, we can save you a ton
of money and make it much easier. We've been doing this for years for "friends and family", and since you're in that category too, drop me a note and
let me know how we can hep you. Try it before you buy it. We include domestic long distance at a flat rate (if you can keep the usage reasonable).

You should have solid internet (low jitter) to use the service. That seems to be easier to find these days than in the recent past. Since we're broadcasters
ourselves, we know what you need and can provide the expertise that you want without going through some off-shore call center. Common uses include
request lines, talk lines, transmitter and coupler phones, G.722 equipped lines for remote broadcasts and even entire office PBX's.

Please ring Announcement Technologies at 702 553-4100 and let's discuss your hopes, plans and challenges. Just ask for me. Joe Talbot. Please remember
that we're on the west coast, right outside of "Fabulous Las Vegas". Let me know if you're coming to town and are up for a visit.
Words of wisdom from a local : Avoid the strip!

Right now, setup is free and each D
ID (outside public switched network) number is $5 monthly. Extensions are $2 monthly.  We make it simple and inexpensive.

Asterisk and FreePBX news and issues

Being a broadcaster, I like reliable, predictable, stable things. I don't like surprises at all. I don't like things that make my cell phone ring like, outages or failures.
So, one of the things that I do is provide rock solid Asterisk PBX's for broadcasters. You can go to a website and download a "distro" (that's industry lingo for a
"distribution" or pre-packaged system load, usually including Asterisk, FreePBX and the Linux that it all runs on. Historically, that's been the way to go. Over the past
few years though, commercialization and changes in the base operating systems have made this all much more challenging. I started by just disabling or removing
unstable software, which wasn't all that hard. But as time went on, some of the players in the business changed and appeared to become more interested in "features"
and the ability to charge for them. I don't begrudge them the right to benefit from their own, excellent work. But things got sloppier. I can just hear the business meetings
in my head "It has to do X for Y now! They're a huge customer! Drop everything!" I've been in those kinds of meetings and... They never produce anything good.

Since You and I have to sleep at night, I took it upon my self to do extensive testing and find the fixes that would keep Asterisk stability where it needed to be. I have systems running
out there that have never been rebooted since installation (One has an "uptime" of more than 7 years!). That's what I expect in a phone system of any type. So this might mean
that we won't be running the most recent or typical OS or Asterisk. It just has to work (and work, and work...). I stay on top of security issues and our systems aren't
exposed to the public internet unprotected.

We also have to support "Legacy network interfaces" that support things like T1 and PRI cards, POTS FXO and FXS cards or gateways. There are tradeoffs that we are familiar
with and some gear is better than others. Some is very (overly) complex to configure with little benefit and some is easy and inexpensive. We can share all of that experience with
you. There are some easy ways to deal with firewall issues and security. Do a "port scan" on your outside IP. If there are services visible to the scanner, it's not really correct and
you're risking a great deal.

My personal goal if for you to be comfortable configuring and troubleshooting your own system to the extent that you wish to. I'll help to get you to that point. On the other hand, you
may want somebody else to do that stuff as you have a few hundred other systems that you are responsible for. I don't see my work as a pathway to eternal "job security.

At the moment, I can't recommend a "distro" that you should use out of the box, without at least turning off a whole bunch of un-needed stuff. If you want to try one "to play with" try
"Incredible PBX", you can even run it on a Raspberry Pi ($35). For "production" or critical systems,  Then of course, there is "The Centos Problem". which I expect to be solved
shortly, due to very popular demand. I am watching for things like "Rocky Linux" or others to supplant it, if Red Hat doesn't come to their senses. I do have some systems under test right
now, including the system that I use "in production" here at my home office and lab. Usually, I am able to improve these with a combination of stripping out or disabling the un-necessary
stuff and patching the O/S. And of course the selection of the most stable hardware is a part of this. I've found that using Supermicro motherboards exclusively is a great way to avoid
the failures of workstation class machines. We've used rotary drives (Western Digital "Black" is preferred) for years. In fact I just replaced a drive after eleven years of continuous
service (you lose track of time, sometimes). We've had SSD's under test for the past couple of years with good results (Samsung has the nod right now). We've had very good luck
with cards from Openvox, and excellent and responsive support from them as well. Like when we needed to "listen for the disconnect tone" used in the public network in Singapore,
because there is no DC disconnect pulse.
Useful telephony links

Download PBX manuals    Wedophones is a really helpful site and is pretty complete. FInd manuals on legacy gear and keep it going if you like.
FInd Rate Centers and Central Office Switch types   Telcodata.us has an amazing collection of free tools to learn about the switched network and various manufacturers gear!

Sites for Phone History:

Asterisk and Jim Dixon: a recorded interview with Jim Dixon (father of Zaptel and ultimately DAHDI), what made Asterisk Viable and brought down the telephony giants, recorded
shortly before we lost him.

In Southern California, before Frontier, before Verizon, Before GTE was California Water and Telephone - We've collected their fantastic Employee Magazine and present it HERE
There was also Associated Telephone

The ATI Phone Museum:
We're basically phone nuts... It becomes quite clear HERE