There aren’t many VoIP discoveries that get us this excited about the future of telecom. But merging with 1.5 billion users plus Facebook’s enormous talent pool and technology resources is definitely something worthy of your attention. What a Facebook marriage with the VoIP platform could mean for the future of telecommunications is nothing short of earth-shattering. Few people still have home phones. Almost everyone has a Facebook account and a cellphone. If VoIP solutions for businesses fail to take those last two sentences into account, commercial PBX’s days are numbered… and it’s not a big number.

So why integrate Facebook Messenger into your PBX? The screenshot above says it all.

Think of the possibilities. Using Facebook Messenger on your smartphone or desktop PC, you could query a CRM database running on your VoIP server and instantly connect to anyone in the world by making a free call or sending a free text message. Using Facebook Messenger, you or any designated employee could receive instant alerts when a new voicemail or fax arrived on your PBX. Using Facebook Messenger, the Call Center possibilities are virtually endless as documented here. Using Facebook Messenger, you as an administrator could literally manage your entire fleet of PBXs from the convenience of your smartphone… anywhere in the world. While the Facebook Messenger platform does not independently support phone calls between its users today, it’s just a matter of time. Look at the name of the product. Is there any doubt where this project is headed given the fact that Apple already supports free calling with Facetime, Microsoft supports free calling with Skype, Google supports free calling with Google Voice, and Amazon supports free calling with its Echo platform?

Facebook integration is revolutionary in another way as well. It heralds the arrival of chatbots to do the heavy lifting for telecom businesses as well as system administrators. Just as ATMs revolutionized banking, chatbots are poised to do much the same thing for communications and Internet support. Down the road, we’ll document how to take advantage of this chatbot technology using Facebook Messenger.

We need to learn to walk before we can run. So today we’ve developed a Facebook webhooks integration project for Incredible PBX® that is perfect for administrators, whether you manage a home PBX or a dozen PBXs for an organization. We’ll get to some of the other possibilities in future articles. Setting this up is the best way we can think of to get your creative juices flowing to consider what’s possible and to identify where to go next. When we’re finished, you’ll have a Facebook Messenger platform from which you can issue any Linux® or Asterisk® command to your server. And, you’ll be able to send messages from your PBX to Facebook Messenger to identify any events you wish to monitor, whether it’s phone calls, or voicemails, or receipt of faxes, or even VoIP provider outages. In addition, you can even reroute calls by entering simple call forwarding commands in Messenger.

Before we get started, let’s get all of the legal stuff out of the way up front. WE PROVIDE OPEN SOURCE, GPL CODE TO OUR READERS AT NO COST. ALWAYS HAVE. ALWAYS WILL. THE TRADEOFF IS YOU MUST AGREE TO ACCEPT ALL RISKS INHERENT IN USING THE SOFTWARE, WHETHER THOSE RISKS ARE KNOWN OR UNKNOWN TO YOU OR TO US. THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS" AND MAY BE USED AS DELIVERED, OR YOU MAY MODIFY IT TO MEET YOUR OWN NEEDS SUBJECT TO THE TERMS OF THE GPL 2 LICENSE AVAILABLE HERE. IF YOU ARE UNWILLING TO AGREE TO THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, STOP READING HERE AND MOVE ON TO SOME OTHER WEB SITE. OTHERWISE, LET’S BEGIN WHAT WE PROMISE WILL BE A TERRIFIC ADVENTURE.

Overview of Facebook Messenger Webhooks Project

Here is a thumbnail sketch of what we’ll be covering today. Once you get an SSL certificate installed for your server, the remaining steps are a walk in the park. When we’re finished, you’ll have a Facebook Messenger platform that is seamlessly integrated with your PBX. The current software release supports Incredible PBX 13 with CentOS 6, Incredible PBX for Issabel, and Incredible PBX for Wazo. Minor tweaking required for other Asterisk platforms.

  • SSL Certificate – Obtaining and installing an SSL certificate for your web server
  • Security – Locking down your server for safe, secure Facebook Messenger access
  • Incredible PBX Webhooks App – Installing the server-side webhooks software
  • Facebook Integration – Interconnecting Facebook Messenger and Incredible PBX
  • Outbound Call Setup – Configuring Incredible PBX to make outbound calls from FB
  • Incoming Call Alerts – Configuring Incredible PBX for FB Messenger call alerts
  • Webhooks Feature Set – Our tutorial covering all supported webhook commands
  • SMS Messaging – Configuring Incredible PBX for SMS Messaging support with FB
  • Webhooks Tips & Tricks – Adjusting our code to meet your own requirements

Obtaining and Installing an SSL Certificate

Believe it or not, the hardest part of today’s project was covered in last week’s Nerd Vittles tutorial. It walked you through obtaining and installing an SSL Certificate on any of the major Incredible PBX platforms. This gets your server configured to use secure and encrypted web communications via HTTPS which is both a Facebook requirement and a smart idea. There’s no need to read further until you get your server working properly with an SSL certificate because the Facebook integration component will fail until you get HTTPS access squared away. So start there and return here when you’re finished.

The Most Important Piece of the Puzzle: SECURITY

If you’ve been following Nerd Vittles over the years, you already know that our most important consideration with any PBX deployment is security. A PBX without a secure firewall is an invitation for an astronomical phone bill. Today’s setup assumes you already have deployed Incredible PBX with its Travelin’ Man 3 firewall that provides a whitelist of IP addresses that may access (or even see) your server. By definition, Facebook Messenger is a public platform available to everyone in the world. So how do we safely integrate it into your PBX while preserving the security of your server and its telecom resources? We do it in several ways. First, Facebook Messenger Webhooks are tied to a commercial Facebook page even though you don’t need a business in order to create the page. As the owner of that Facebook Page, you have to authorize users to access the page. DON’T! Make this a page that is solely dedicated to managing your PBX through Messenger. DO NOT USE THIS FACEBOOK PAGE AS THE PUBLIC FACE FOR YOUR BUSINESS! Also make certain that your Facebook credentials include a very secure password… as if the integrity of your PBX depended upon it. IT DOES! So long as you follow these guidelines, Facebook’s own security mechanisms will protect your PBX from intrusion. If this discussion makes you nervous, our last topic today will show you how to remove components from the code to eliminate any functionality you wish to turn off.

As configured, Facebook Messenger Webhooks won’t work at all with Incredible PBX because the firewall should block all web access to your server. This requires a change on the Incredible PBX for Wazo platform which we will cover momentarily. The way we will provide Facebook access is by adding the Facebook server IP addresses to the existing whitelist, and then we’ll run a bash script every night to keep the Facebook IP addresses current.

In the past, we opened TCP port 443 (HTTPS) to public access on the firewall with Incredible PBX for Wazo. Instead, we relied upon web server authentication for access to the Wazo, Telephone Reminders, and AsteriDex services. That needs to be changed before you interconnect with Facebook Messenger, and we’ll include that in the commands to whitelist the Facebook servers below.

1. To secure port 443 in your firewall, be sure that the port is not exposed in /etc/sysconfig/iptables (CentOS) or /etc/iptables/rules.v4 (Debian/Ubuntu/Raspbian). And then restart the Incredible PBX firewall.

sed -i 's|443|450|' /etc/sysconfig/iptables
sed -i 's|443|450|' /etc/iptables/rules.v4
iptables-restart

2. Verify your new configuration: iptables -nL. Search for 443 and make certain it is NOT in the whitelist.

3. Verify that the whois package is installed on your server by issuing the command: whois. If you get a file not found error, install the package using the top line for CentOS and the bottom line for Debian/Ubuntu/Raspbian:

yum install whois
apt-get install whois

4a. For Issabel and Incredible PBX 13, add to the end of /usr/local/sbin/iptables-restart these lines to whitelist the FB servers. Then restart the firewall: iptables-restart

whois -h whois.radb.net -- '-i origin AS32934' | grep ^route: | sed "s|route:     |/usr/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -s |" | sed "s|$| -p tcp -m tcp --dport 443 -j ACCEPT|" > /usr/local/sbin/iptables-facebook
chmod +x /usr/local/sbin/iptables-facebook
/usr/local/sbin/iptables-facebook

4b. For Incredible PBX for Wazo, add to end of /usr/local/sbin/iptables-restart these lines to whitelist the FB servers. Then restart the firewall: iptables-restart

whois -h whois.radb.net -- '-i origin AS32934' | grep ^route: | sed "s|route:     |/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -s |" | sed "s|$| -p tcp -m tcp --dport 443 -j ACCEPT|" > /usr/local/sbin/iptables-facebook
chmod +x /usr/local/sbin/iptables-facebook
/usr/local/sbin/iptables-facebook

5. Verify your new configuration: iptables -nL. You should see numerous whitelist entries for port 443 at the end of the listing.

6. Add the following command at the bottom of /etc/crontab to assure that the Facebook server IP addresses are kept current:

20 0 * * * root /usr/local/sbin/iptables-restart >/dev/null 2>&1

7a. For Issabel and Incredible PBX 13, create new web directory, set ownership/permissions to house the Facebook Messenger webhooks, and add a sample web page:

mkdir /var/www/html/fb
echo "Hello World" > /var/www/html/fb/index2.php
chown -R asterisk:asterisk /var/www/html/fb

7b. For Incredible PBX for Wazo, create web directory, set ownership/permissions to house the Facebook Messenger webhooks, and add a sample web page:

mkdir /var/www/html/fb
echo "Hello World" > /var/www/html/fb/index2.php
chown -R asterisk:www-data /var/www/html/fb
chmod -R 775 /var/www/html/fb

8a. For Issabel and Incredible PBX 13, no further configuration is required.

8b. For Incredible PBX for Wazo, we need to enable access to the fb web directory. Edit /etc/nginx/locations/https-available/01_incrediblepbx:

At the top of the file, add the following:

location ~* ^/fb/. *(?:ico|css|js|gif|jpe?g|png)${
 root /var/www/html;
}

At the bottom of the file, add the following:

location ~ /fb/ {
 root /var/www/html;
 index index.php;
 try_files $uri $uri/ =404;
 fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
 fasstcgi_index index.php;
 include fastcgi_params;
 fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php5-fpm.sock;
}

Finally, restart the NGINX web server: service nginx restart

9. Using a browser, verify access to sample page: https://SERVER-FQDN/fb/index2.php

Installing Incredible PBX Webhooks Application

Now it’s time to install the Incredible PBX webhooks application on your PBX:

cd /var/www/html/fb
wget http://incrediblepbx.com/incrediblewebhooks.tar.gz
tar zxvf incrediblewebhooks.tar.gz
rm incrediblewebhooks.tar.gz

For Issabel and Incredible PBX 13, adjust the file ownership and permissions like this:

chown -R asterisk:asterisk /var/www/html/fb
chmod -R 775 /var/www/html/fb

For Incredible PBX for Wazo, adjust the file ownership and permissions like this:

chown -R asterisk:www-data /var/www/html/fb
chmod -R 775 /var/www/html/fb

Hooking Up with Facebook

1. Visit the Facebook Developer’s Page and click Add a New App. Give your app a Display Name and provide your Contact Email. Match the letters in the box to get past the Security Check to display the Facebook Product List.

2. When the Facebook Product List appears, click Messenger and choose Setup.

3. In the Token Generation section, click Create a new Facebook Business Page to open a separate browser tab. Do NOT use a page that you use for other purposes! Company, Organization, or Institution is a good choice because there’s a Telecom Company category. Give your new page a Descriptive Name: incrediblepbx-podunk.

4. Return to your Token Generation browser tab and Select the Page you just created from the pull-down list (see Token Generation section of image below). Click Continue and OK to accept the default settings. Facebook then will generate a Page Access Token.

5. Copy the Page Access Token to your clipboard and paste it into the $access_token variable in the config.inc.php template in /var/www/html/fb. Write it down and keep it in a safe place. You’ll always need it to create new webhooks applications. This is the important link to talk to your Facebook Webhooks.

6. In the Webhooks section, click Setup Webhooks. In the Page Subscription form, enter the callback URL for your page. This is the https address to access your Facebook directory with a browser, e.g. https://YOUR-FQDN/fb. Make up a very secure Verify Token and enter it on the form and in the $verify_token variable in the config.inc.php template. This is the code Facebook will send to initially shake hands with your web page. The two entries must match to successfully set up your webhooks linkage. For Subscription Fields, check the Messages box. Then click Verify and Save. If it worked, you’ll get a Complete checkmark in the Webhooks section (see below). The last step is to again Select your Page in the Webhooks section to interconnect Facebook with your PBX. After choosing your page, be sure to click Subscribe or nothing will work. Here’s what a successful setup looks like:

7. To test things out, open Facebook Messenger on a desktop PC, Mac, or smartphone. Search Messenger for the Facebook page you linked to in the previous step. Then click on it to open it. Type howdy in the Message Box at the bottom of the dialog and click Send.

8. You should get an automated response that looks like this:

Hi there and welcome to BotWorld. SenderID:  13824822489535983

9. Copy the SenderID and paste it into cli-message.php together with Page Access Token from step #5, above.

Outbound Call Setup for Facebook Messenger

Outbound calling with Facebook Messenger works like this. You can connect to a specific number using the dial command. Or you can use the call command to look up an entry in your AsteriDex database. Messenger then will display the matching phone number and give you the option of placing the call. When the call is initiated, Incredible PBX will first call your designated CALL-PICKUP-NUMBER. It could be an extension or ring group of your choice. You could even specify a mobile phone number as the pickup destination provided your PBX supports at least two simultaneous outbound calls. Google Voice and many SIP providers can handle this with a single DID. Our personal preference is to route the pickup call to a trunk on a 3CX server which then sends the call to every 3CX client registered with the 3CX server. No NAT issues ever! Once you pick up the call on your designated phone, Incredible PBX will place the second call to the number you requested in Facebook Messenger. The two calls then are connected as if you had placed the call directly. The brief video below demonstrates how this works and the flexibility of using Acer’s $250 Chromebook Flip with Messenger and a 3CX client as a (free) WiFi-based web communications platform with Google Voice. It lets you place and take calls from anywhere in the world so long as you have Wi-Fi access. It’s a dirt cheap travel companion.




To make all of this work, you need to designate a phone in /var/www/html/fb/.cli-call to take outbound calls initiated from Facebook Messenger. This is either an extension number or a 10-digit CALL-PICKUP-NUMBER in the examples below. To set this up, edit .cli-call and choose one of the following examples. Comment out the other Channel options.

For Issabel and Incredible PBX 13, choose from the following:

#echo "Channel: SIP/701" > /tmp/cli.call
#echo "Channel: SIP/vitel-outbound/1CALL-PICKUP-NUMBER" > /tmp/cli-call
echo "Channel: Motif/gSOME-GV-NAMEgmailcom/1CALL-PICKUP-NUMBER@voice.google.com" > /tmp/cli.call

For Incredible PBX for Wazo, choose from the following:

echo "Channel: Local/701@default" > /tmp/cli.call
#echo "Channel: Local/CALL-PICKUP-NUMBER@default" > /tmp/cli.call

Incoming Call Alerts with Facebook Messenger

If you’ve always wished for screenpops to announce your incoming calls, you’re going to drool at the FB Messenger Webhooks implementation with Incredible PBX. It works (simultaneously) on desktop PCs, Macs, iPhones/iPads, Android devices, and Apple Watch:

To set up incoming call alerts with Facebook Messenger, just issue the commands for your platform as outlined below.

For Incredible PBX 13, add the following to the end of extensions_override_freepbx.conf in /etc/asterisk directory. Then reload Asterisk dialplan: asterisk -rx "dialplan reload"

[cidlookup]
include => cidlookup-custom
exten => cidlookup_1,1,Set(CURLOPT(httptimeout)=7)
exten => cidlookup_1,n,Set(CALLERID(name)=${CURL(https://api.opencnam.com/v2/phone/${CALLERID(num)}?format=pbx&ref=freepbx)})
exten => cidlookup_1,n,Set(current_hour=${STRFTIME(,,%Y-%m-%d %H)})
exten => cidlookup_1,n,Set(last_query_hour=${DB(cidlookup/opencnam_last_query_hour)})
exten => cidlookup_1,n,Set(total_hourly_queries=${DB(cidlookup/opencnam_total_hourly_queries)})
exten => cidlookup_1,n,ExecIf($["${last_query_hour}" != "${current_hour}"]?Set(DB(cidlookup/opencnam_total_hourly_queries)=0))
exten => cidlookup_1,n,ExecIf($["${total_hourly_queries}" = ""]?Set(DB(cidlookup/opencnam_total_hourly_queries)=0))
exten => cidlookup_1,n,Set(DB(cidlookup/opencnam_total_hourly_queries)=${MATH(${DB(cidlookup/opencnam_total_hourly_queries)}+1,i)})
exten => cidlookup_1,n,ExecIf($[${DB(cidlookup/opencnam_total_hourly_queries)} >= 60]?System(${ASTVARLIBDIR}/bin/opencnam-alert.php))
exten => cidlookup_1,n,Set(DB(cidlookup/opencnam_last_query_hour)=${current_hour})
exten => cidlookup_1,n,System(/usr/bin/php /var/www/html/fb/cli-message.php "Incoming call: ${CALLERID(number)} - ${CALLERID(name)}.")
exten => cidlookup_1,n,Return()

exten => cidlookup_return,1,ExecIf($["${DB(cidname/${CALLERID(num)})}" != ""]?Set(CALLERID(name)=${DB(cidname/${CALLERID(num)})}))
exten => cidlookup_return,n,Return()

;--== end of [cidlookup] ==--;

For Incredible PBX for Issabel, add this to the end of extensions_override_issabel.conf in /etc/asterisk directory. Then reload Asterisk dialplan: asterisk -rx "dialplan reload"

[cidlookup]
include => cidlookup-custom
exten => cidlookup_5,1,Set(CURLOPT(httptimeout)=7)
exten => cidlookup_5,n,Set(CALLERID(name)=${CURL(https://api.opencnam.com/v2/phone/${CALLERID(num)}?format=pbx&ref=issabelpbx)})
exten => cidlookup_5,n,Set(current_hour=${STRFTIME(,,%Y-%m-%d %H)})
exten => cidlookup_5,n,Set(last_query_hour=${DB(cidlookup/opencnam_last_query_hour)})
exten => cidlookup_5,n,Set(total_hourly_queries=${DB(cidlookup/opencnam_total_hourly_queries)})
exten => cidlookup_5,n,ExecIf($["${last_query_hour}" != "${current_hour}"]?Set(DB(cidlookup/opencnam_total_hourly_queries)=0))
exten => cidlookup_5,n,ExecIf($["${total_hourly_queries}" = ""]?Set(DB(cidlookup/opencnam_total_hourly_queries)=0))
exten => cidlookup_5,n,Set(DB(cidlookup/opencnam_total_hourly_queries)=${MATH(${DB(cidlookup/opencnam_total_hourly_queries)}+1,i)})
exten => cidlookup_5,n,ExecIf($[${DB(cidlookup/opencnam_total_hourly_queries)} >= 60]?System(${ASTVARLIBDIR}/bin/opencnam-alert.php))
exten => cidlookup_5,n,Set(DB(cidlookup/opencnam_last_query_hour)=${current_hour})
exten => cidlookup_5,n,System(/usr/bin/php /var/www/html/fb/cli-message.php "Incoming call: ${CALLERID(number)} - ${CALLERID(name)}.")
exten => cidlookup_5,n,Return()

exten => cidlookup_return,1,ExecIf($["${DB(cidname/${CALLERID(num)})}" != ""]?Set(CALLERID(name)=${DB(cidname/${CALLERID(num)})}))
exten => cidlookup_return,n,Return()

;--== end of [cidlookup] ==--;

For Incredible PBX for Wazo, edit /etc/asterisk/extensions_extra.d/cid-superfecta.conf. In the [xivo-subrgbl-did] context just below the n(keepon),Gosub(cid-superfecta,s,1) line, insert the following. Then reload the Asterisk dialplan: asterisk -rx "dialplan reload"

same = n,System(/usr/bin/php /var/www/html/fb/cli-message.php "Incoming call: ${XIVO_SRCNUM} - ${CALLERID(name)}.")

Incredible PBX Webhooks Feature Set

Now that we’ve got all the pieces in place and properly configured, let’s briefly walk through the various options that are available. With all commands, you use Facebook Messenger with your designated web page on any platform supported by Messenger.

dial 8005551212 – connects to designated extension and then calls 8005551212
call Delta – looks up Delta in AsteriDex and provides button to place the call
lookup Delta – looks up Delta in AsteriDex and provides button to place the call
!command – executes a Linux command, e.g. !asterisk -rx "sip show registry"
howdy – returns greeting and SENDER ID of your FB page (Hookup, item #9)
help – provides links to phone help as well as PIAF and Asterisk forums
sms 10-digit-SMS-number "Some message" – sends SMS message through GV
update – updates Messenger platform for Incredible PBX to the latest & greatest
anything else – returns whatever you typed as a response (for now)

Configuring Incredible PBX for SMS Messaging

We’ve implemented a traditional SMS messaging function in this build that let’s you send an SMS message to any phone if you have a Google Voice account and assuming you have pygooglevoice functioning properly on your PBX. The Google Voice account need not be registered as a trunk on the PBX. To use the feature, insert your Google Voice credentials including your plain-text password for a working Google Voice account in /var/www/html/fb/.smssend. Then test the SMS functionality by issuing the following command from the Linux CLI:

/var/www/html/fb/.smssend 10-DIGIT-SMS-NUMBER "Hello SMS World"

If an error occurs, the script will tell you what to try to fix it. Begin by Enabling Less Secure Apps. Then follow this link to relax Google Voice security on your account. If it still fails after trying both of these methods, you may have an old build of pygooglevoice. Here are the commands to bring your system up to current specs. Then try again.

cd /root
rm -r pygooglevoice
git clone https://github.com/wardmundy/pygooglevoice.git
cd pygooglevoice
python setup.py install
cp -p bin/gvoice /usr/bin/.

Once you’ve sent an SMS message successfully using .smssend, you can start sending SMS messages from within Messenger. Syntax: sms 10-digit-SMS-number "Some message"

Incredible PBX Webhooks Tips & Tricks

There’s lots to learn with Facebook Messenger Webhooks. When we started two weeks ago, there were no PHP resources on the web that offered much help. Lucky for you, our pain is your gain. The meat of the coconut is primarily stored in the index.php in your fb directory. Print it out and it will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about coding webhooks with PHP.

Disabling Shell Access. While shell access only provides asterisk or www-data permissions depending upon your platform, we’ve nevertheless heard from more than one source exclaiming what a dumb idea it is to put a webhooks shell command out in the wild. We trust our readers to use it responsibly and to always place it behind a firewall with public access to TCP port 443 blocked. If that design and the Facebook security mechanisms still leave you queasy, the short answer is to remove that block of code on your server or change the access code from ! to something much more obscure, e.g. YuKFoo!. This is easy to do but just be aware that if you change the access code or even remove the block of code, running the update command to load the latest release from Incredible PBX Headquarters will overwrite your changes. So it’s probably a better idea to rename the update command (line 248) as well so you don’t accidentally run it. You’ll find the shell command block of code beginning at line 64 in the 170928 version. If you change the access code to a different string, remember to change the substring "1″ reference in that line and the subsequent line to the actual length of your access code, e.g. YukFoo! is seven characters long so the number 1 would be replaced with 7 in BOTH lines 64 and 65.

Other Security Measures. We don’t trust anybody (and that includes Facebook) when it comes to accessing resources from our paid VoIP providers. We would encourage you to run this application on a dedicated Incredible PBX in the Cloud server that has only a single Google Voice trunk with no funds balance in that particular Google account. In this way, if your server is compromised, the worst thing that can happen is your Google account gets compromised or some stranger makes U.S. and Canadian calls without financial cost to you. Now that Cloud servers are available for less than $2 a month, it makes good sense to separate out applications that pose heightened security issues for you and yours. If you do decide to use a SIP provider rather than a Google Voice trunk, we strongly recommend restricting international calls and keeping a minimal balance in your account with no automatic replenishment enabled.

Getting Rid of Lenny. The help command included in the feature set provided is more of a traditional web page with buttons simulating hot links. We’ve included a nifty telephone option in the help features. It let’s you embed a phone number that is called using client-side integration whenever help is entered and the "Talk to Lenny" option is clicked:

What client-side integration means is the calls use any dialer available on the Messenger client’s platform. They are not sent to your PBX for processing. On a Mac or iPhone, Facetime provides free calls. On Windows, Skype provides paid calls. On Android devices, the Google Hangouts Dialer provides free calls. Facebook basically passes tel: +18005551212 to the client’s browser, and it’s up to the client’s browser to figure out how to process the call. We currently have the feature configured to "Talk to Lenny," but you could change it to Phone Home or Call the Office and enter your own phone number. Here are the commands to do it. Just replace "Phone Home" in the first command below with whatever label desired. Replace "8005551212″ in the second line with the number to be called. Leave the other Lenny entry and phone number as they are since they will be overwritten by these two commands. As noted above, your modifications will be overwritten whenever you execute the update command.

sed -i 's|Talk to Lenny|Phone Home|' /var/www/html/fb/index.php
sed -i 's|8436060444|8005551212|' /var/www/html/fb/index.php

Enhanced Calling Option. Beginning with the October 1 update which you can obtain by entering the update command in Messenger, you now have two calling options on some smartphone platforms. The call command still triggers an AsteriDex lookup on your PBX. But now you have a choice in how to place the call. (1) You can click the dial button to place the outbound call through your PBX, or (2) you can click on the retrieved phone number link to place the outbound call using the client-side resource available on your Messenger platform, e.g. Facetime, Skype, or Google Hangouts. In some circumstances, the client-side call may be preferable since it avoids the two-step calling procedure used by Asterisk. The choice is yours and may depend upon the availability and cost of the client-side call when placed from your calling location.

Special Thanks. Our special hat tip to Scott T. Tabor (@ABSGINC) for his pioneering work on Facebook Webhooks. You can visit the PIAF Forum and Scott’s blog to review how far we have come in just two weeks. Thanks, Scott.

Published: Monday, October 2, 2017  




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FULL DISCLOSURE: 3CX, RentPBX, Amazon, Vitelity, DigitalOcean, Vultr and others provide financial support to Nerd Vittles and our open source projects through advertising or referral revenue. We’ve chosen these providers not the other way around. Our decisions were based upon their corporate reputation and the quality of their offerings and their pricing. Our technology recommendations are reached independently of financial considerations except in situations in which comparable products at comparable pricing are available from multiple sources. In this limited case, we support our sponsors because our sponsors support us.

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​​3CX is a software PBX that’s easy to install & manage. It includes integrated softphones, WebRTC conferencing and essential add-ons out of the box, at no additional cost. Try the free edition at www.3cx.com. Better yet, download the PIAF5 ISO powered by 3CX. Free version includes support for 8 simultaneous calls with a SIP trunk.

  • Run on Premise or in the Cloud, on Windows and now on Linux
  • Softphones for iOS, Android, Win & Mac
  • Easy install, backup & restore, version upgrades
  • Automatically configures IP Phones, SIP Trunks & Gateways

  • RentPBX, a long-time partner and supporter of PIAF project, is offering generous discounts for Nerd Vittles readers. For all of your Incredible PBX hosting needs, sign up at www.RentPBX.com and use code NOGOTCHAS to get the special pricing. The code will lower the price to $14.99/month, originally $24.99/month. It’s less than 50¢/day.


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