Sunday, June 25, 2006

Mid-Summer's dream ...

Well I've spent the last two weeks away from the computer but not by choice. My work has kept me busy and I've had late hours and long days. Not really conducive to after hours hobbies (HA). :-) But I have managed to squeeze in some HA activities. The first is 2 new UPS boxes (GeekSquad 685 VA). They were $20 + $12 S&H (US) but now they're sold out. I happen to need a couple of small UPS boxes for my Tivo & cable box and the other for odds and ends. I also just received my 2 new batteries for my larger UPS ((800 VA). The 800 VA unit is for my Linux HA server (Misterhouse, Asterisk, etc). I also want my cable modem, CallVantage ATA and Linksys WRT54G backed up. I think these will either go on the smaller GS685VA or on the larger 800VA unit. So far I can't get the GS685VA Windows software to talk to the UPS. I'm going to try it with my Work laptop and see if that makes a difference. Once I have it working I'll use USB Snoopy to observe the command it's issuing. Then I can write some software for my Ethernet micro-controllers and Linux. The larger 800 VA unit is a left over from 1988 (yes it's that old). It only has a single pin output which is either normally open or normally closed. I can't remember which. The 800 VA unit is for power backup and conditioning. The smaller units are mainly for conditioning.

I've also spent a lot of time fine tuning my Asterisk system. I wish I could say that it's working great but it's not (it's not an Asterisk problem). I've purchased a WiFi VoIP phone and it partially works but the vendor is trying to fix the minor problems, The more severe problems are hard to tell whom is at fault. So for now I won't name names to keep myself from looking stupid and to give the vendor a chance to fix problems in a product that seems to have a good base. The other device I picked up is the Linksys SPA-3102 (Linksys's replacement for the SPA-3000 which I also have). I've put the SPA-3102 on my POTS line (a real telco connection) but I haven't finished working it into my Asterisk setup just yet. The SPA-3000 is on my AT&T Call Vantage (CV) connection. When I call from any IP phone to through the SPA-3000 and then through the CV ATA I get wicked echo that slowly works itself out. I think I have too many software echo cancelers involved and they seem to make the problem worse. I've also gotten my FreeWorldialup (FWD) numbers (mostly) working through Asterisk. I seem to have a few minor problems I need to figure out. Like why I have congestion when I forward to an IP phone (???). I've been working on message recording and I seem to have the basic menus working. I also have caller ID working interfaced to Mr. House (MH). I'll need to rewrite the MH code and the Asterisk AGI code as they don't relay the information I want. And lastly I have voice menus that can send commands to MH to execute various things. What I haven't figured out yet is how to get MH to talk back to Asterisk. Plenty more work to do there but I'm making good progress.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I've finished writing the HA book. Alleluia!

I finally finished writing the Linux Smart Homes For Dummies book. I like the way Amazon has the suggestion that it's 'Better Together' with an investment book. They haven't got a clue as to what it's about. Hopefully the Linux community will great it better. I'm very nervous about its reviews. Since I wasn't the original author I didn't get to choose the index. I did whittle away at it as some things made no sense at all. ViaVoice for instance, it's been discontinued for a while and doesn't work with latest distributions. Perhaps Sphinx will fix that. I did make sure that Asterisk and Misterhouse are both in there but the Asterisk and Misterhouse chapter (actually MH, Asterisk and Festival) had to be removed. We also need to remove Misterhouse and IR. Really that's a shame as those were 2 of my favorite chapters. Terry Collins also wrote a number of chapters. He is my co-author on the book. There were a few technical editors (I'm afraid I don't know their names) and another author of the beginning chapters whose name I don't know (sorry guys). I'd really like to thank the Editors from Wiley. They did a good job of juggling things around so the chapter would say what I was trying to say.

Well now it's time to get back to work on the various home automation projects. I especially want to attack the Insteon hardware problem and I need to work on finishing up the 2 extra chapters.. While writing the book my serial controller went nuts and I now have to figure out what's wrong with it (I have an idea). Plus there's web pages to update, hardware to install and network parts to replace (a thunder storm damaged my network switch). So lots to do so little time to do it.