Asterisk and the Australian grey pages

NOTE: This info is VERY outdated and doesn't work anymore. You should look at the new script for services provided by Reverse Australia.

So since I found the Australian gray pages on a lovely web site, I wanted to integrate this info into asterisk. 30 minutes of perl hacking later, and it works. enjoy :)

The following script & example will enable a reverse lookup of incoming caller ID and replace the name section with the lookup. It also allows you to maintain a comma separated file in number,name format. If this finds a match, it will add the name in the file to the caller ID string. If nothing is found in the file, it will consult the grey pages.

Updated 24/8/07: changed script URL to reflect new grey pages site.

Download this script and put it into /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin.

Create a file /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin/numbers.txt and populate it with numbers that you already know in the format of: number,name eg: 0390001234,My Pizza Shop

The script will try to match numbers from this file first. If no match is found, it will consult the Australian grey pages for a match. If nothing is found here, it will not change the caller ID strings.

In your extensions.conf, call cid-lookup like so:

    exten => 100,1,NoOp(Incoming call!) exten => 100,n,agi,cid-lookup.agi exten => 100,n,NoOp(Caller ID: ${CALLERID(all)}) exten => 100,n,Dial(SIP/my-sip-phone,30) exten => 100,n,HangUp

Microsoft release major Vista updates

While not quite calling it a service pack, Microsoft have released two major updates for Windows Vista. Microsoft have labelled these as a Performance Update and Reliability Update. The biggest change I found is the copy/move/delete file operations are behaving as they should after the Performance Update. The Reliability Update apparently fixes many standby and power management issue.

You can download these at:

Happy patching :)

I'm out of hospital!

Yay. After finally getting in and having my hernia operation, I'm back out and recovering. I have to say that with all the bad things you hear about the public hospital system etc in the media, I couldn't have been happier with the way I was treated and the quality of treatment I received while at the Northern Hospital.

Niel was my anaesthesiologist - and he was great. He was upfront with everything - which helped out my nerves a lot as this is the first time I'd ever been in hospital for an operation. The nurses were great, everyone was friendly and it was all done before I could really get scared.

There was a few interesting things... The gas that they give you in the operating room to knock you out seems to have a sweet smell - and I remember being very nervous thinking that the gas isn't working - and that's the last I remember before waking up. The second funny thing was that I had to be given 29mg of morphine in the post-op area to get rid of the pain. Apparently that's a lot for anyone to be given - and the nurses were really shocked that I didn't throw up or feel nausea afterwards.

All in all, I'm feeling much better and progressing well on the road to recovery. Thanks to all that sent me emails wishing me well etc - it all helps :)

More microwave fun!

Ok, so if you haven't figured this out already, I really like microwaves and other RF emitting devices. What I never thought of before however is how to measure the speed of light using a microwave.

Mr Hood (a friendly English physics teacher) shows us exactly how to do this in this article. Certainly a case of thinking outside the box :)

Raid arrays in Linux

Linux has a lovely software raid feature set with a ton of options and levels for just about any situation, however one thing that most people use it for is data retention when your hard disk does die (not if, when). With the new tools that are around these days, a lot of the documentation is out of date on how to check RAID arrays - and one of the worst things in the world is when you figure "it doesn't matter that drive died", whack in another clean disk and SURPRISE! you have another faulty disk!

So, how do you minimise the impact of failures?

1. Look at the smart tools. Take note of their values and get the drives to self-test on a regular basis

  • smartctl --smart=on --offlineauto=on --saveauto=on /dev/hda
  • 2. Scrub your RAID array on a semi-regular basis. This forces the array to verify your array and make sure everything is ok.
  • echo check > /sys/block/md0/md/sync_action
  • 3. Keep another backup. If your data is important, don't rely on just a RAID array. Think about if the machine dies. Say a power supply dies and takes out your hard disks, your RAID is now useless. Invest in a good quality tape drive and have a regular backup schedule.

    Nothing is 100% foolproof, but with a bit of thought before a failure can save you hours, sometimes days of stress and headaches. The server that this site is hosted on recently had a RAID1 fail. Most data was recoverable, however the system required 2 new HDDs. A nightly rsync run from this machine to another offsite system took the recovery time to 2 hours + data copying time. Very little was lost (I think we lost maybe 5 mailing list messages from the archives).

    Oh, and if you need to repair your RAID array at any time, try using:

  • echo repair > /sys/block/md0/md/sync_action
  • Australian DAPS updated

    Airservices Australia have recently published another batch of updates in line with the release cycle for the Aerodrome, Apron and Procedure IAL Charts. I'm running my batch scripts on these as we speak and the new PDFs will be available here shortly.

    CSIRO has a win on 802.11a/g patent case.

    THE CSIRO has won another round in its lengthy battle in the US to collect millions of dollars in royalties for its 1996-patented Wireless LAN technology.

    Last Friday, a US federal court granted the science agency's application for an injunction to stop the Buffalo group of companies from infringing the CSIRO patent in the US.

    The injunction prevents the sale of products using CSIRO-patented technology until a license is negotiated.

    Hopefully this should see the start of the CSIRO starting to get some royalties for patents used in 802.11a/g based equipment that were researched and developed at CSIRO.