Posts tagged: superfecta

CallerID Superfecta 2.2.2: International CNAM Directories

Unlike Willie Nelson, we’ve always nurtured our software projects hoping some would grow up to be cowboys. Thanks to Tony Shiffer, Jeremy Jacobs, and a whole host of new contributors (Patrick, Zorka, Nixi, UKstevef, and others), nothing even comes close to the success that CallerID Superfecta has enjoyed. What began as Asterisk® CallerID lookups from three sources with the original CallerID Trifecta four short years ago now provides an astonishing 27 CallerID lookup sources from around the world in the latest CallerID Superfecta 2.2.2. And the real beauty of this new beast is the utility permitting new lookup sources to be added without any further software modifications. That’s the tip of the iceberg.

For those that are new VoIP telephony, a brief history lesson will get you up to speed. When you make a phone call, telephone providers have traditionally passed your CallerID number to the receiving carrier while throwing your CallerID name in the bit bucket. The duty fell on the receiving carrier to look up your name in its directory and associate it with the CallerID number for delivery to the receiving telephone. If this sounds absolutely crazy, you’d be right. Who is in a better position to know the name of the calling party: the company initiating the call or the company receiving the call? Duh! That, of course, ignores the fact that the Bell System in particular was in monopoly preservation mode. Since they initially owned both companies, it really didn’t matter. Well, it does today and government regulators for some reason have completely missed this last vestige of the Good Old Boys telephone network. Does it make any sense that over half the phones in the world are mobile phones and you never know who’s calling? </rant>

When VoIP telephony came along, we obviously had to do something about that. Thus was born the CallerID Trifecta, an Asterisk/FreePBX tool allowing you to associate names with phone numbers using your computer and publicly available resources on the Internet. Version 2.2.1 introduced worldwide CallerID lookups. Unfortunately, there was a big gotcha. Some names in other countries use special non-ASCII characters, and delivery of those characters to some telephones sent the phones into the ozone. Not exactly our problem (HINT!), but folks did still want their phones to work. :roll: CallerID Superfecta 2.2.2 fixes that by adjusting special characters to pure ASCII until the phone manufacturers catch up with the times.

The CallerID Superfecta Design. As originally implemented, CallerID Superfecta let you choose one or more lookup sources for incoming CallerID numbers. When an inbound call arrived, the sources were queried in a specified order, and the first source that provided a matching CallerID name won. The CNAM search result was returned to Asterisk for display on your phone instruments, and the lookup procedure ended. The problem with the original design was that newer and better lookup providers continued to appear so the hard-coded search order wasn’t necessarily ideal for every user or organization, and the providers kept changing formats to make lookups more challenging. In addition, when you receive a call from another country, it made little sense to look up that number in directories in which it obviously would not appear. CallerID Superfecta 2.2.2 fixes that with its new CallerID Schemes support. This lets you tailor CallerID lookups based upon dial strings just as you would do with FreePBX inbound and outbound routes.

What Else Is New? For openers there are a number of new lookup sources as well as some tweaks to older sources that stamped out a few (more) bugs from our previous, sloppy code. :-) You’ll also note there’s a new checkbox to Check for New Lookup Sources Online. This lets you easily import all the new lookup sources as they are added to the repository. The web user interface (UI) for FreePBX also has been reworked. You can prioritize the lookups in the order that best meets your needs, and you can tailor lookup sources to match specific CallerID number sequences. There’s also a debug function built directly into the web user interface. By entering a telephone number in the debug field and pressing the debug button on the form, the results from your selected lookup sources together with the latency of each enabled data source can be displayed on the form for you to review. This debug function greatly enhances troubleshooting while serving as a terrific tool to assist you in fine tuning which providers to actually enable and in what order. Providers who can’t be reached, or who perform too slowly, or who provide lousy results can be turned off completely or moved to the bottom of the search order. Finally, CallerID Superfecta 2.2.2 introduces prefix code hooks. This gives developers the ability to trigger an additional outside process when the Caller ID function is initiated. For example, this feature might be used in a call center to allow the system to automatically perform an ODBC query and bring up a customer record for use by a customer service representative.

Installing CallerID Superfecta 2.2.2 Installation or upgrade should be a snap on any of the FreePBX-based Asterisk aggregations including PBX in a Flash, trixbox, and Elastix. First, using a browser on your desktop PC, download CallerID Superfecta 2.2.2 from the Superfecta repository. Do not decompress the .tgz archive. Second, open FreePBX with your browser and choose Admin, Module Admin, Upload Module. Browse and select the superfecta-2.x.x.tgz module from your desktop and click the Upload button. When the upload completes, click local module administration. Scroll down and click CID Superfecta. Click the Install or Upgrade radio button depending upon whether you have previously installed the Superfecta FreePBX module. Click Process, Confirm, Return to install the new module. Reload the Asterisk dialplan when prompted.

Configuring CallerID Superfecta 2.2.2. There really are only two steps to bring CallerID Superfecta on line. First , we’ll configure the lookup sources and search order of the lookups. And then, for each inbound route on your Asterisk system, we’ll tell FreePBX to use CallerID Superfecta as the CallerID lookup source.

To configure CallerID Superfecta, click Admin, Setup, CID Superfecta in FreePBX. If you’re using PBX in a Flash or trixbox, be sure to insert the UserName maint and your FreePBX maint password in the fields provided under General Options. Then choose the Services you’d like to use for queries by clicking on the corresponding Enabled buttons. For those in the U.S., if you’re unfamiliar with previous versions of the product, we’d recommend you start with Addresses, White Pages, Yellow Pages, Any Who, and Telco Data. If you use the Asterisk Phonebook, AsteriDex, or SugarCRM, enable those options as well. Our rule of thumb in prioritizing the searches is to move your personal directories (Asterisk Phonebook, AsteriDex, and SugarCRM) to the top of the list. For the remaining choices, we recommend you start with the following search order: Addresses, White Pages, Yellow Pages, Any Who, and then Telco Data. Telco Data normally returns only the city and state of the caller, not the caller’s name. Who Called requires registration. Once you get everything squared away, click the Save button. Then key in a few known phone numbers in the Debug section of the form and click the Debug button to make sure everything is working as you expected. Take note of the retrieval times and the results and adjust the search order to meet your needs. Remember, the first match on a name using the search sources from top to bottom wins. The other search sources are never consulted for this number.

For additional configuration options and tips on configuring SugarCRM, see this thread on the PBX in a Flash Forum.

Once you’re satisfied with your lookup sources and the search order, the only remaining step is to designate CID Superfecta as the CallerID lookup source in your inbound routes. For each inbound route on which you want CallerID lookups performed, click Admin, Setup, Inbound Routes and choose the desired route from the column of routes on the right margin. Scroll to the CID Lookup Source section of the form and choose CID Superfecta from the dropdown box. Click Submit, Apply Config Changes, Continue to save your entry.

Adding Support for More Countries. So… here’s the challenge. We need to finish the rest of the world. If your country is not yet supported in the following list of directories, do us all a favor and post a comment with a good Internet source for reverse name directory lookups in your area of the globe. This means you can plug in a phone number and the directory will return the name of the person or business associated with that number. Even if you’re not a programmer, providing this information will assist greatly in making even more sources available to everyone down the road. Here’s the list as it stands today:

Adding Your Number to Directories. We know some of you are wondering how to get your VoIP number or Google Voice number added to the phone directories. It’s easy at least in the United States! Just go to www.listyourself.net and sign up. Enjoy!


Twitter Feeds on Nerd Vittles. If you glance over to the right column just above the Google Maps, you’ll see the current Twitter feed for @NerdUno. But did you know you also can read anyone else’s tweets or list from the same UI? Just scroll to the bottom of the frame and try one of these: voipusers (for the VoIP Users Conference feed) or voipusers/voip-users-conference (for recent tweets from all members of VUC). No need to type @. We’ll handle that keystroke for you. :-)


Enhanced Google Maps. In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve added yet another Google Map to Nerd Vittles. Now, in addition to showing our location with Google Latitude, we also are displaying your location based upon your IP address. We’ll show you how to add something similar to any LAMP-based Linux system in coming weeks. It’s a powerful technology that has enormous potential. If you’re unfamiliar with Google Maps, click on the Hybrid and Satellite buttons and then check out the scaling and navigation options. Double-click to zoom. Incredible!


whos.amung.us If you’re wondering what your fellow man is reading on Nerd Vittles these days, wonder no more. Visit our new whos.amung.us statistical web site and check out what’s happening. It’s a terrific resource both for us and for you.



Need help with Asterisk? Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum.
Or Try the New, Free PBX in a Flash Conference Bridge.


 
New Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a new discount for PBX in a Flash users. You now can get an almost half-price DID and 60 free minutes from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you’re seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. And, when you use our special link to sign up, the Nerd Vittles and PBX in a Flash projects get a few shekels down the road while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity’s DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For PBX in a Flash users, here’s a deal you can’t (and shouldn’t) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls for just $3.99 a month and you get a free hour of outbound calling to test out their call quality. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. Do not use this link to order your DIDs, or you won’t get the special pricing! After the free hour of outbound calling, Vitelity’s rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage and any balance is fully refundable if you decide to discontinue service with Vitelity.
 


Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest…

Asterisk CallerID Perfected: CallerID Superfecta 2.0

If you’re new to VoIP and Internet Telephony, it may come as a shock when you discover that incoming calls no longer display the names of your callers unlike your POTS CallerID service. The problem is that most telephone providers deliver only a CallerID number when sending calls. Your DID service provider is responsible for looking up the incoming number in their directory and supplying a matching name. Simply stated, CallerID numbers are pushed to recipients, but CallerID names must be pulled from in-house databases. With Ma Bell and siblings, this was easy because they had a monopoly on all of the records. They’ve done their best to preserve that advantage. For example, Google provides very good CallerID information for people in the traditional phone book but provides no facility for adding numbers of those that don’t have a Ma Bell line. Coincidence? Probably not. With Internet Telephony Hosting Providers, CNAM lookups are few and far between. A few now will provide CallerID lookups but only on a per call fee basis.

A similar problem arises for outbound VoIP calls that you place. Even though you may provide a CallerID name and number, most telephone companies throw the supplied CallerID name in the bit bucket and do their own lookups. If you’re not in their directory, your number or nothing will be supplied instead of your actual name. Bottom line: This is one major piece of the telephone monopoly that Judge Greene forgot to address. And it’s only going to get worse now that more people own cellphones than Ma Bell landlines.

With Asterisk®, the simplest solution is to do your own CNAM lookups. And today we’re delighted to introduce CallerID Superfecta 2.0, a FreePBX module with incredible flexibility. It also serves as a living testament to how open source development actually should work.

The History Lesson. We originally wrote an AGI script for Asterisk@Home known as the CallerID Trifecta. As sources of CNAM lookups expanded, a number of other individuals contributed code to support those lookups. The original application morphed into the CallerID Superfecta when these new sources were added, but all the code still resided in a difficult-to-maintain PHP/AGI script. Tony Shiffer picked up the ball last year and converted the CallerID Trifecta into a FreePBX module which made it incredibly easy to install the application and configure the providers you wished to use. Fast forward to today, and now Jeremy Jacobs, with help from other members of the PBX in a Flash Forum community, has taken the original work of a number of PBX in a Flash Forum participants and released a real masterpiece, CallerID Superfecta 2.0. It’s not only easy to install and configure, but now it’s incredibly flexible and simple to expand as more and more people begin contributing lookup routines to this open source project. And Tony has put the icing on the cake with a new SVN development site to track bugs and feature requests for this project and others as we move forward.

The CallerID Superfecta Design. As originally implemented, CallerID Superfecta let you choose one or more lookup sources for incoming CallerID numbers. When an inbound call arrived, the sources were queried in a specified order, and the first source that provided a matching CallerID name won. The CNAM search result was returned to Asterisk for display on your phone instruments, and the lookup procedure ended. The problem with the original design was that newer and better lookup providers continued to appear, the hard-coded search order wasn’t necessarily ideal for every user or organization, and the providers kept changing formats to make lookups more challenging. CallerID Superfecta 2.0 fixes all of that!

What’s New. For openers there are a number of new lookup sources as well as some tweaks to older sources that stamped out a few bugs from our previous, sloppy code. :-) The web user interface (UI) for FreePBX also has been totally reworked. Now you can prioritize the lookups in the order that best meets your needs. And, as new CNAM lookup sources become available, they are automatically added to the new UI. The code also has been modularized with separate templates for each provider. This makes the addition of new lookup sources incredibly simple to implement. There’s also a new debug function built directly into the web user interface. By entering a telephone number in the new debug field and pressing the debug button on the form, the results from your selected lookup sources together with the latency of each enabled data source are displayed on the form for you to review. This new debug function greatly enhances troubleshooting while serving as a terrific tool to assist in fine tuning which providers to actually enable and in what order. Providers who can’t be reached, or who perform too slowly, or who provide lousy results can be turned off completely or moved to the bottom of the search order. Finally, CallerID Superfecta 2.0 introduces prefix code hooks. This gives developers the ability to trigger an additional outside process when the Caller ID function is initiated. For example, this feature might be used in a call center to allow the system to automatically perform an ODBC query and bring up a customer record for use by a customer service representative.

Installing CallerID Superfecta 2.0. Installation and setup should be a snap on any of the FreePBX-based Asterisk aggregations including PBX in a Flash. First, using a browser on your desktop PC, download CallerID Superfecta 2.0 from the Superfecta repository. Do not decompress the .tgz archive. Second, open FreePBX with your browser and choose Admin, Module Admin, Upload Module. Browse and select the superfecta-2.x.x.tgz module from your desktop and click the Upload button. When the upload completes, click local module administration. Scroll down and click CID Superfecta. Click the Install or Upgrade radio button depending upon whether you have previously installed the Superfecta FreePBX module. Click Process, Confirm, Return to install the new module. Reload the Asterisk dialplan when prompted.

Configuring CallerID Superfecta 2.0. There really are only two steps to bring CallerID Superfecta on line. First , we’ll configure the lookup sources and search order of the lookups. And then, for each inbound route on your Asterisk system, we’ll tell FreePBX to use CallerID Superfecta as the CallerID lookup source.

To configure CallerID Superfecta, click Admin, Setup, CID Superfecta in FreePBX. If you’re using PBX in a Flash or trixbox, be sure to insert the UserName maint and your FreePBX maint password in the fields provided under General Options. Then choose the Services you’d like to use for queries by clicking on the corresponding Enabled buttons. If you’re unfamiliar with previous versions of the product, we’d recommend you start with Addresses, White Pages, Yellow Pages, Any Who, and Telco Data. If you use the Asterisk Phonebook, AsteriDex, or SugarCRM, enable those options as well. Our rule of thumb in prioritizing the searches is to move your personal directories (Asterisk Phonebook, AsteriDex, and SugarCRM) to the top of the list. For the remaining choices, we recommend you start with the following search order: Addresses, White Pages, Yellow Pages, Any Who, and then Telco Data. Telco Data normally returns only the city and state of the caller, not the caller’s name. Who Called requires registration. Once you get everything squared away, click the Save button. Then key in a few known phone numbers in the Debug section of the form and click the Debug button to make sure everything is working as you expected. Take note of the retrieval times and the results and adjust the search order to meet your needs. Remember, the first match on a name using the search sources from top to bottom wins. The other search sources are never consulted for this number.

For additional configuration options and tips on configuring SugarCRM, see this thread on the PBX in a Flash Forum.

Once you’re satisfied with your lookup sources and the search order, the only remaining step is to designate CID Superfecta as the CallerID lookup source in your inbound routes. For each inbound route on which you want CallerID lookups performed, click Admin, Setup, Inbound Routes and choose the desired route from the column of routes on the right margin. Scroll to the CID Lookup Source section of the form and choose CID Superfecta from the dropdown box. Click Submit, Apply Config Changes, Continue to save your entry. Enjoy!

Good Things Are Coming. Sometimes you can just sense that something really terrific is about to happen with a project that’s been properly nurtured. So it is with PBX in a Flash. Many of us invested countless hours in the Asterisk@Home project, but it just never quite took off in terms of fostering independent development. And that is what open source is all about. When we started the PBX in a Flash project with Tom King and Joe Roper, we wanted something different, a participatory platform that could get folks excited about Internet telephony and open source development. As long time readers of this column know, we’ve pumped lots of applications into PBX in a Flash in hopes of encouraging others to catch the spark. Well, we’ve made it. CallerID Superfecta 2.0 is a perfect example of a creation from a developer who hasn’t previously contributed to any open source project. And there now are many more in the works. So we’re excited for the Asterisk community. Seeing your baby grow up is quite a thrill. We’re quickly building a network of application developers and contributors of many varieties, and it is starting to transform a really good telephony toolbox into a really spectacular application platform. Have a look at this new project to get a glimpse of what lies ahead.

This isn’t a private club. If you’d like to participate in a big or a small way, please visit our new, non-denominational Development Site and kick the tires. The objective is to create applications that can run on any of the FreePBX-based Asterisk distributions. So, while we’re a little biased, you don’t have to be to join in on the fun. Just click the Register link at the top of the form. Welcome!!!

Other Coming Attractions. Well, we got distracted again this week because CallerID Superfecta 2.0 was such as terrific new product. We’ll wrap up the Orgasmatron Installer tutorial in our next column. Stay tuned!

Security Alert. Secunia has published some security vulnerabilities in FreePBX. Upgrade all of your FreePBX modules at your earliest convenience.


Twitter Magic. If you haven’t noticed the right margin of Nerd Vittles lately, we’ve added a new link to our Twitter feed. If you explore a little, you’ll discover that the user interface now brings you instant access to every Twitter feed from the convenience of the Nerd Vittles desktop. Enjoy!


whos.amung.us If you’re wondering what your fellow man is reading on Nerd Vittles these days, wonder no more. Visit our new whos.amung.us statistical web site and check out what’s happening. It’s a terrific resource both for us and for you.


 
New Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a new discount for PBX in a Flash users. You now can get an almost half-price DID and 60 free minutes from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you’re seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. And, when you use our special link to sign up, the Nerd Vittles and PBX in a Flash projects get a few shekels down the road while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity’s DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For PBX in a Flash users, here’s a deal you can’t (and shouldn’t) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls for just $3.99 a month and you get a free hour of outbound calling to test out their call quality. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. Do not use this link to order your DIDs, or you won’t get the special pricing! After the free hour of outbound calling, Vitelity’s rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage and any balance is fully refundable if you decide to discontinue service with Vitelity.
 


Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest…

A Baker’s Dozen Asterisk Nuggets from the Forums

Whether you’re new to the Open Source VoIP Community or an old-timer, we wonder how many folks actually miss many of the terrific Asterisk® applications that are hidden in message threads on the various Asterisk forums around the globe. In honor of St. Patty’s Day, today we want to take a stroll through the PBX in a Flash forum just to demonstrate what you may be missing by not visiting the forums or subscribing to some of the better syndication feeds.

Skype Gateway to Asterisk. If you read our recent column on integrating a Skype gateway into your Asterisk server, good for you. But, if you missed the forum dialog which followed release of the article, you missed all sorts of enhancements and system integration tips which made the Skype gateway a much better fit on many systems.

CallerID Superfecta. One of the most perplexing issues facing those that implement VoIP telephony solutions is wrestling with CallerID issues which flow from the ongoing Baby Bell phonebook monopoly. Many of you may have tried our CallerID Superfecta application which provides CallerID lookups for FreePBX-based systems using AsteriDex, Google Phonebook, AnyWho, and WhitePages. But, if you’d explored the forum additions to CallerID Superfecta, you would have uncovered an incredibly slick FreePBX installer as well as support for WhoCalled.us and Telcodata plus SugarCRM as well as numerous fixes for syntax changes on the various lookup sources.

Faxing with Asterisk. Other than CalleriD, there’s probably no issue that generates more consternation in the Asterisk community than fax integration. We reintroduced nvfax for Asterisk 1.4 recently. But, if you’d been following the forums, you’d also know that HylaFax and AvantFax now can be easily integrated into PBX in a Flash thanks to the work of Joe Roper and Tony Shiffer.

A2Billing for Asterisk. Another application that’s been difficult to get working with Asterisk has been A2Billing, a sophisticated calling card and PBX billing system. There really never has been a clear, concise cookbook for getting the software installed and properly configured. Once again, thanks to Joe and Tony, this forum thread provides a step-by-step tutorial for getting every facet of A2Billing installed and properly configured.

Asterisk Stickies. This is another promising Asterisk web application for PBX in a Flash that pops up stickies when incoming calls are received. You then can add the contact to your phonebook and also generate the XML code to update the phone directory on Grandstream and Cisco phone sets. It also supports click-to-dial from the web interface. You can keep up with the progress of this developing application in this very active message thread.

Text-to-Speech FreePBX Module. Just today a new TTS module for FreePBX was introduced which lets you generate TTS announcements for use with any FreePBX-based Asterisk system.

Overhead Paging with Asterisk 1.4. Most workplaces need some sort of overhead paging system. With the tips in this thread and any Asterisk 1.4 server, it’s incredibly easy to implement.

Streaming Music on Hold. We introduced streaming audio for Asterisk over three years ago in the Asterisk 1.2 days. A new message thread has updated that technology to support Internet radio using any Asterisk 1.4 server.

Email Alerts on Trunk Failures. For those that rely upon Asterisk systems to do real work, it’s essential to know when access to your carrier has failed so that you can make adjustments to your outbound and inbound trunks. This thread provides a simple tutorial and script to get you started.

Outbound Emails with Asterisk and SendMail. Another one of our Top 5 most perplexing problems with Asterisk is getting an outbound email capability with SendMail working reliably. Part of this is the configuration hassles with SendMail. But service providers such as Comcast have made matters worse by blocking outbound access to port 25 on most non-business accounts. Here’s a message thread that will walk you through configuring SendMail to use Gmail as your outbound SMTP relay host, and you’ll never have an email problem again on your Asterisk server.

Voicemail Notification. Unified messaging may be everyone’s dream but the reality is that it would be nice to be called on your cellphone when a new voicemail arrived at your office. The Voicemail Notification System does just that. And this thread integrates the original design into a FreePBX module.

Configuration Editor for FreePBX. FreePBX stores much of its magic in Asterisk config files. At least in PBX in a Flash, we hide some of these files to protect the integrity of your system. In addition, changes made to some of these files will get overwritten the next time FreePBX is started since it populates a lot of the information in these config files from data stored in MySQL tables. For those that want to learn more about the FreePBX, there now is a configuration file editor which will let you view and edit any FreePBX config file on your system. You’ll find a complete tutorial in the forums.

Hotel-Style Wakeup Calls. A few weeks ago we covered Tony Shiffer’s new add-on module for FreePBX that provides hotel-style wakeup calls for Asterisk systems. This code actually had been available in the forum for several months and is yet another reason to frequently check the new message threads.

Mac OS X Scripting Package. Since publication, a new link to a Treasure Trove of Goodies for Mac OS X has been posted including a link to the new Mac OS X Scripting Package and Asterisk binaries for Mac OS X from Sven Slezak at Mezzo.

Syndication Syntax. Many forums provide a syndication feed link, but many do not. For vBulletin-based forums, the basic syntax for an RSS feed looks like this:

http://fqdn.com/forum/external.php

You can refine the type of feed you want by specifying the type: RSS, RSS2, ATOM, or XML. For example, to pull down a feed from the PBX in a Flash forum, here’s the syntax for the various formats that are supported:

http://pbxinaflash.com/forum/external.php?type=RSS

http://pbxinaflash.com/forum/external.php?type=RSS2

http://pbxinaflash.com/forum/external.php?type=ATOM

http://pbxinaflash.com/forum/external.php?type=XML

You can further refine the feed by narrowing it down to a particular forum of interest. For example, to retrieve the latest threads from the PBX in a Flash Open Discussion forum, the syntax looks like this:

http://pbxinaflash.com/forum/external.php?type=RSS2&forumids=2

Finally, here’s the list of forum ID numbers for the PBX in a Flash forum:

2 – Open Discussion
3 – Help
4 – Endpoints
5 – Trunks
6 – Providers
7 – Wish List
9 – Bug Reporting & Fixes
10 – Add-On Install Instructions

Something We Missed? There are hundreds of additional Asterisk apps hiding in the woodwork. Please share your discoveries by posting a comment and link below. Enjoy!


Want a Bootable PBX in a Flash Drive? Our Atomic Flash bootable USB flash installer for PBX in a Flash has been quite the hit. Special thanks to all of our generous contributors! Atomic Flash provides all of the goodies in the VPN in a Flash system featured last month on Nerd Vittles. You can build a complete turnkey system using almost any current generation PC with a SATA drive and this USB flash installer in less than 15 minutes!

If you’d like to put your name in the hat for a chance to win a free one delivered to your door, just post a comment with your best PBX in a Flash story.1

Be sure to include your real email address which will not be posted. The winner will be chosen by drawing an email address out of a hat (the old fashioned way!) from all of the comments posted over the next several weeks.

And it still isn’t too late to make a contribution of $50 or more to the PBX in a Flash project and get a free Atomic Flash installer delivered to your door as our special thank you gift. See this Nerd Vittles article for details.


New Fonica Special. If you want to communicate with the rest of the telephones in the world, then you’ll need a way to route outbound calls (terminations) to their destination. For outbound calling, we recommend you establish accounts with several providers. We’ve included two of the very best! These include Joe Roper’s new service for PBX in a Flash as well as our old favorite, Vitelity. To get started with the Fonica service, just visit the web site and register. You can choose penny a minute service in the U.S. Or premium service is available for a bit more. Try both. You’ve got nothing to lose! In addition, Fonica offers some of the best international calling rates in the world. And Joe Roper has almost a decade of experience configuring and managing these services. So we have little doubt that you’ll love the service AND the support. To sign up in the USA and be charged in U.S. Dollars, sign up here. To sign up for the European Service and be charged in Euros, sign up here. See the Fonica image which tells you everything you need to know about this terrific new offering. In addition to being first rate service, Fonica is one of the least expensive and most reliable providers on the planet.
 
New Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a new discount for PBX in a Flash users. You now can get an almost half-price DID and 60 free minutes from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you’re seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. And, when you use our special link to sign up, the Nerd Vittles and PBX in a Flash projects get a few shekels down the road while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity’s DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For PBX in a Flash users, here’s a deal you can’t (and shouldn’t) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls for just $3.99 a month and you get a free hour of outbound calling to test out their call quality. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. Do not use this link to order your DIDs, or you won’t get the special pricing! After the free hour of outbound calling, Vitelity’s rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage and any balance is fully refundable if you decide to discontinue service with Vitelity.
 


Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest…

  1. This offer does not extend to those in jurisdictions in which our offer or your participation may be regulated or prohibited by statute or regulation. []

Asterisk 101: Some CallerID Tips & Tricks

If you're relatively new to Internet Telephony and VoIP, then it may come as a bit of a surprise when CallerID for incoming calls shows the phone number for both the name and number of the incoming caller or when names that popped up using your plain old telephone's CallerID service no longer do. The problem is that most telephone providers only deliver a CallerID number when sending calls. Thus it is left to your service provider to look up the incoming number in a directory and supply the matching name. To put it another way, CallerID numbers are pushed to recipients, but CallerID names must be pulled from in-house databases. With Ma Bell and siblings, this was easy because they had all of the records. With some Internet Telephony Hosting Providers, it's a different story. The reverse is also problematic. Even though you may provide a CallerID name and number, most telephone companies throw the supplied CallerID name in the bit bucket and do their own lookups. So... if you're not in their directory, your number or nothing will be supplied instead of your actual name. Just another last vestige of monopoly preservation. With Asterisk®, the simplest solution to this mess is to do your own lookups. And today we have an updated CallerID directory lookup service to assist: the CallerID Superfecta.

NOTE: This article has been superseded. Continue reading the latest article here.

We have a second utility as well. Since moving to PBX in a Flash and Asterisk 1.4 and 1.6, we haven't provided a simple way to block or screen anonymous calls, i.e. those that show up in CallerID as either blank, anonymous, unknown, private, restricted, or toll free number. As they say, those are the usual suspects when it comes to weeding out unwanted callers. And today we'll provide several solutions from which you can choose. Our personal preference is to never answer these calls and route them straight to voicemail. You may be more curious than we are so we'll show you an option to screen calls using the Asterisk Parking Lot feature. Still others may hate these callers so much that you send them into IVR hell for hours at a time. And we've got some suggestions on that one, too.

Introducing CallerID Superfecta. We've dusted off an oldie but goodie today and reworked it a bit for newer versions of PHP. We also want to thank taiter and M Joyner for their whitepages.ca contribution to what used to be our CallerID Trifecta. The CallerID Superfecta now lets you choose up to four CallerID lookup sources for your incoming calls. The sources include the Google Phonebook, AnyWho, WhitePages, and our very own AsteriDex address book and robodialer. Complete installation instructions are available from our Best of Nerd Vittles site.

Installation and setup is a snap on all of the FreePBX-based aggregations including PBX in a Flash, Elastix, and trixbox. First, download and unzip the callerid.zip file into the root directory of the web server on your Asterisk system. Next, configure the sources you wish to use in callerid.php by setting the desired sources to 1 instead of 0 on the second page of the file. Then define the new CallerID Lookup Source in FreePBX. And finally, select the CallerID Superfecta as the lookup source for each of your Inbound Routes. The whole setup should take you less than two minutes. Now sit back and enjoy a much enhanced CallerID experience when incoming calls arrive on your Asterisk server.

Introducing the Creep Detector. Well, not so fast. The CallerID Superfecta doesn't get rid of the creeps that call wanting to sell you something or urging you to vote for your favorite Coroner. For that, you'll need a couple of tools. FreePBX includes an excellent web-based implementation of the Asterisk Blacklist. It allows you to specify the phone numbers of calls that should be blocked. You also can do this with a phone on your system by dialing *32 to blacklist the last caller or *30 to blacklist a specific phone number.

But, what about blacklisting all of those anonymous callers. Well, there's not an existing function in FreePBX to do it. Our preferred method goes like this. When an incoming call arrives, a message plays saying "Thanks for calling the Mundy's. Please hold a moment while I connect your call." During this message, a Stealth AutoAttendant will allow family members to press various buttons to be connected to various extensions. See the previous article for details. Once the IVR times out (in about 5 seconds), the call is passed to a Privacy Checker which screens the calls for creeps. If the call isn't identified as such, it is sent to a ring group. If a creep is detected, the system first plays a message that says: "Press 8 to be connected." If no key is pressed, we hang up. If 8 is pressed, the call goes to voicemail 704. If 4 is pressed, the call is passed to the ring group. This lets friends calling from phones with CallerID blocked still get through the maze.

So here's how to get it installed and working. Log into your server as root and add the following code snippet to the bottom of /etc/asterisk/extensions_custom.conf:

[custom-privacy-check]
exten => s,1,SetMusicOnHold(default)
exten => s,2,GotoIf($["${CALLERID(num)}" = ""]?s,16)
exten => s,3,GotoIf($["foo${CALLERID(num)}" = "foo"]?s,16)
exten => s,4,GotoIf($["${CALLERID(name):1:8}" = "nonymous"]?s,16)
exten => s,5,GotoIf($["${CALLERID(name):1:6}" = "nknown"]?s,16)
exten => s,6,GotoIf($["${CALLERID(num):1:6}" = "rivate"]?s,16)
exten => s,7,GotoIf($["${CALLERID(name):1:6}" = "rivate"]?s,16)
exten => s,8,GotoIf($["${CALLERID(num):1:9}" = "estricted"]?s,16)
exten => s,9,GotoIf($["${CALLERID(num):0:4}" = "PSTN"]?s,16)
exten => s,10,GotoIf($["${CALLERID(num):1:3}" = "oll"]?s,16)
exten => s,11,GotoIf($["${CALLERID(name):1:2}" = "--"]?s,16)
exten => s,12,GotoIf($["${CALLERID(name):0:1}" = ","]?s,16)
exten => s,13,GotoIf($["${CALLERID(name):1:3}" = "oll"]?s,16)
exten => s,14,GotoIf($["${CALLERID(num):0:3}" = "000"]?s,16)
exten => s,15,Dial(Local/777@from-internal)
exten => s,16,Playback(custom/nv-press8)
exten => s,17,Set(TIMEOUT(digit)=10)
exten => s,18,WaitExten(10)
exten => s,19,Hangup
exten => 4,1,Dial(Local/777@from-internal)
exten => 4,2,Hangup
exten => 8,1,VoiceMail(704@default)
exten => 8,2,Hangup

You'll need to make a couple of changes in the code above before using it. In lines s,14 and 4,1, modify extension 777 to reflect an extension or ring group on your phone system that you want to call after incoming calls are screened for creeps. In line 8,1, modify 704 to reflect a voicemail box that is active on your system and that should be used for recording messages from unwanted callers.

The next step is to add the "Press 8 to be connected" message to your system. While still logged in as root, issue the following commands:

cd /var/lib/asterisk/sounds/custom
wget http://bestof.nerdvittles.com/applications/callerid/nv-press8.wav
chown asterisk:asterisk nv-press8.wav
chmod +x nv-press8.wav

Now we need to configure your FreePBX setup to use the code above. The easiest way is to modify your Stealth AutoAttendant IVR and simply change the timeout destination (t) to a Custom App: custom-privacy-check,s,1. Save your changes and reload your dialplan, and you're all set.

Some additional ideas have also been floated on the PBX in a Flash Forum for handling anonymous callers. If you'd prefer to park these calls and announce them, see this thread. And here's an embellished version that gives you options to accept the call, send it to voicemail, or banish the caller. Enjoy!


Vitelity Special: Time Is Running Out. Remember, you only have one more week until July 15 to get your half-price DIDs and 60 free minutes from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you're seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. And, when you use our special link to sign up, the Nerd Vittles and PBX in a Flash projects get a few shekels down the road while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity's DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For PBX in a Flash users, here's a deal you can't (and shouldn't) refuse! Sign up before the end of June, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls for just $3.79 a month and you get a free hour of outbound calling to test out their call quality. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. Do not use this link to order your DIDs, or you won't get the special pricing! After the free hour of outbound calling, Vitelity's rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S.


Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest...

Ringbinder theme by Themocracy