Linner with Asterisk guru Mark Spencer

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Linner with Asterisk guru Mark Spencer

Yesterday was a very hectic day for me. I didn't have time for breakfast so I figured I'd just grab lunch after moderating the Open Source Roundtable session which started at 2pm and was scheduled to run until 3:45pm. So my plan was to go 14 hours with no food which is no biggie, since I'm not a fan of breakfast anyway. But alas, the session went over and didn't finish until 4:30pm and I still had a meeting scheduled with Asterisk guru Mark Spencer of Digium. I figured that meeting wouldn't end until at least 5:30pm, which meant it would be dinner time or basically 24 hours since I ate anything. Oh, how I torture this body!

In any case, after the Open Source Roundtable ended I proposed to Mark that we reschedule since I hadn't had a bite to eat. Mark Spencer said he hadn't either and invited me to go out for lunch. So we headed off through through downtown Los Angeles in search of some grub. Two programmers, indeed two true techies certainly had a lot in common to discuss. We walked and talked discussing various technologies, the state of the VoIP industry, gadgets, Asterisk partners, etc. I recently lost my antiquated cell phone in a taxi so I picked Mark's brain to see if he had any thoughts on me getting a Linux-based cellphone with integrated GPS functionality. I also mentioned my interest in possible getting a Windows Mobile 2005 mobile phone and fortunately the mention of Microsoft did not spark a Linux vs. Microsoft debate. We also briefly discussed the slow death of Palm.

Anyway, with two geeks you'd figure we would have headed off to the nearest McDonald's or other junk food establishment. Us geeks love our junk food! ;) Unfortunately, there weren't many restaurants around, so we chose a very nice Chinese dine-in restaurant. The food was superb, but I still couldn't figure out why my wonton soup had shrimp, chicken, and muchrooms in it, as well as an almost clear broth. Must be a West Coast Chinese food thing.

After linner (cross between lunch and dinner - it was 4:30pm after all) we headed back to the L.A. Convention Center and Mark showed me a photo of their new analog board which I wrote about yesterday called the Digium Wildcard TDM2400P . He'll have the actual board at his booth when the exhibit floor opens which I plan to check out. In any event, he pointed out some of the key characteristics of the board. One of the most interesting things I noticed right away was that they use a standard PC power supply power connector for the ring voltage. This white connector attached near the base of the board is internal and draws its power from the power supply as opposed to an external power source. It's the same white connector used to connect hard drives, CD-ROM drives, DVD-ROM drives, etc.

This differs from the Intel/Dialogic MSI analog boards for example which has an external A/C adaptor brick attached to the outside of the board. By the way, mentioning the Dialogic MSI boards reminds me of a funny article I wrote in CTI Magazine back in 1999 where I had major ring voltage issues with multiple Dialogic MSI boards used in an Artisoft TeleVantage PC-PBX system. I had two MSI boards fail on me and even got to see a cool blue electrical arch nearly fry me to death. ;) It's a worthy read if you want to flashback to 1999. I remember Dialogic wasn't too happy with me bringing to the attention of the entire telecom industry the problems with their MSI boards. If I recall, they explained they had some issues with the BlackBox ring voltage generators and that they solved the issue.

In any event, what I really liked about Mark's design is that unlike the Intel/Dialogic MSI boards which requires an external power source, the Digium board utilizes the power from power supply in the PC/server chassis. I asked Mark if a standard power supply had enough wattage to handle simultaneous ringing on all ports and he told me that the issue wasn't wattage or power but rather the cooling. He said full ringing uses about 100W and that they internally tested 20 minutes of simultaneous ringing on all ports with no problems. Below is a picture of the new Digium board that they launched at Internet Telephony Expo. I'm sure there will be more VoIP news to come, so stay tuned!

p.s. If you read this blog entry Mark, thanks again for lunch/linner! :)

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