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Sunday, 28 February 2010

TVersity & Windows 7

My ongoing quest to enable all my media on my iPhone has led me back into the world of TVersity.  I've previously used this way back when to push MP3 content to my PS3.  I then got my hands on a NAS which I installed MediaTomb on making TVersity redundant.

MediaTomb & the NAS works fine for just MP3 streaming but for Video its CPU is just too slow.  So I've just been using the PS3 web browser and navigate to the NAS running Apache to show a file list and play from there.  Which work's great.

The iPhone on the other hand can't do the same.  I'd previously installed Plug Player which found MediaTomb and the music with no problems ..

So Enter TVersity again.  Installed it on my office PC, Windows 7.  Installed fine and I could browse to http://server:41951 but couldn't see the UPnP server either from PC's, PS3 or from PlugPlayer iPhone app.

The Tversity Trouble Shooting FAQ was the answer :

If the computer running the media server has more than one network interface, you need to make sure that the the TCP binding order on your machine is such that the network interface on which it is supposed to communicate with the media player appears first.
Start |  Control Panel | Network & Internet | View Network Status & Tasks | Change adaptor settings | Advanced | Advanced Settings.

I have Cisco VPN client installed which had inserted into top position.  Pushed my onboard NIC to the top and bingo.  All my devices see Tversity.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

iTunes - I tried

Its music management is horrible.  Always has been, and even though I tried its just not as flexible as Media Monkey.  Something which I've been using at home for a couple of years.

Followed this guide 

and moved Music & Podcast syncing to MM .. Podcasts are bit of a hack.  I cant see a way to get the final url from iTunes Store so have been subscribing to the Podcast where you can then right click and copy url, which I then add to MM.  Need to google that ..

Unfortunatly I still need iTunes for backup, contacts, video, ringtones ... I'm sure the time will come.

I feel cleansed ..

EDIT : Also just found that MM cant handle Video podcasts.  So they also need to go via iTunes.  I feel half and half now.  Not such a happy place but better than only iTunes.

IBM Lotus Sametime - Toy throwing

The company I work for are a Domino shop and I am a big fan of what Domino server and clients can do.  But when it comes to Sametime.  I loose the will to live.  

Its obviously written by a group of developers who want, and I think are completely outside the control of what's left of the Lotus team.  Other than having Lotus in the product description and that it allegedly 'runs' on a Domino server that's where the comparison stops.

So to my reason for this seemingly un-provoked rant.

We're in the final stages of upgrading our Domino environment from 8 to 8.5 and there are a few stragglers, our Sametime 8.0.2 standard server being one.

So I did the due diligence, found out 8.0.2 isn't supported on 8.5.1 but theres positive reports of it working.  Also found that ST 8.5 had been released, oh, that also doesn't support 8.5.1 - but wasn't it released way after ?  Yes it was, remember my rant at the top ..

So we took the chance and went with the 8.5.1 upgrade with 8.0.2.  Domino install went fine, ST server started, IM came up, web site, meetings etc all working.  Great.  Started to test and found that we'd lost the ability to setup an online meeting from the Domino calendar.  Now we had this when we first upgraded from 7.5 to 8.0.2 and worked with IBM.  It was found to be which we applied to our mail template and resolved the problem.  Now its back.  

The symptoms where exactly the same.  Make the booking and the process sends the message to the mailin db where the message arrives at stcs.nsf and gets 'processed'.  At this point the ST server adds the booking to the meeting centre and I think resource DB and then emails the chair back.  Its here that the process fails - again.

Got hold of the devs and they confirmed the code was still in place, so reverted my mail design to 8 and then further back to 7 and still had the problem.  We also tried upgrading the resources.db design to 8.5.1.  

So decisions decisions.  This isn't a massively used feature but if Sametime is to get any traction in the company other than an overly complicated IM service then it needs to work, also if it wasn't fixed it would have bugged the crap out of me.

The first thing was to roll back to Domino 8.0.2 and confirm the booking function did still work before we upgraded, it did - thank you VMWare snapshots !

Rolled forward again to 8.5.1 and started going through the debug options again ..

All to no avail.

OK, no real choice so lets try 8.5.  We have snapshots, no big deal to roll back and forward.

IBM in their wisdom seem to have taken a simple if not detached application and turned it into a monster - I guess they are trying to keep up with Webex/Meeting Place.   There are now classic, meeting, proxy, WebSphere, DB2 - where does it stop.  None of which we need or want.  Its a small 200 user base who just need IM and some online meeting functions.

As always IBM's software passport site is useless.  I really hate this site with a passion.

Heres an example : Show me all German language Domino clients.  Click.  I'm presented with all English clients, no German.  Tried various ways and in the end needed to wait 4 weeks for IBM to send me the part code, which then miraculously produced a German language install.  And which still doesn't show if you select language filters.

Eventually I worked out that Standard has been renamed and is now Classic.  Then found a number of good blogs with file names .. and similar rants to mine.

Downloaded and installed Classic 8.5, on the un-supported 8.5.1 platform .. :)


Server crashed.  Gave it more RAM, crashed.  Eventually it stayed up long enough to test the calendar function which still fails.  I also found a few other problems we'd had with 8.0.2 and fixed have come back.  One being when you try and assign policies to users and bring up the directory.  In 8.0.2 Sametime doesnt support Internet Site configs so needs a SSO Web Site doc to enable the single sign on in order to be able to run the java applet that runs in the policy assignment.  Great, another example of Sametime devs not talking to their co-workers.  This stopped working again in 8.5 but I could live with that.  Then some more server crashes and a great console error.

Some generated functions exceeded the JVM method size limit and were automatically split into smaller functions. You may get better performance by manually splitting very large templates into smaller templates, by using the 'splitli

Found some scary java documentation which made some sense - but to me another example of the ST devs going with something outside the Domino norm.  Whys it even in JAVA, thats always been a pain as it only runs on Domino, so why not something clever with the native app.

Gave up, rolled back to 8.0.2 and will see if we can get that online meeting working again ..

And finally, the brilliant Cisco Click 2 Call plugin stopped working with the 8.5 IM standalone client.  Voice-mail plugin still works and ST video still doesn't.  Meeting Place anyone ? !!!

or maybe the moral here is just let sleeping dogs lie.  Left the server well alone on 8.0.2 and everything working.  But I suspect it will still screw up with the same problems when we upgraded.  Maybe I'll try a fresh install some day, or by that time just switch to Google Wave when its ready ..

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

iSip SIP Client to Cisco Call Manager

After finally getting SIP phones working on our Call Manager 6 attention was turned to getting the iPhones connecting via the corp WLAN, and then via VPN.

The first part of this assumes your on a local network to the Cisco Call Manager (CCM).  First find your iPhones MAC address.

Settings | General | About | Wi-Fi Address

Set the SIP phone up as you would normally in CCM - See other Blog post.  Note.  Only one user can be assigned to a SIP device, so if you already have a SIP phone assigned to the end user you'll need to create a new one.  You can of course still assign the same extension number.

Install iSIP from the app store. 
Connect to your WLAN
and create the account as:

Display Name : Up to you
Domain : IP addr of your CCM Publisher
Username : Phone extension


In Advanced :

Auth Username : CCM end user
Proxy : IP addr of your CCM Publisher
Phone Number : Phone extension

Its possible Proxy and Phone Number in advanced are not needed.

Any problems then I suggest installing X-Lite, switching the MAC address and testing to make sure the User, digest etc are all working .. Then turn your attention back to the iPhone.

Connecting over a VPN worked seamlessly ..

SIP Phone on Cisco Call Manager

I've been trying to get a SIP phone working with Cisco Call Manger on/off for probably the past year.  Its always been a niggling task that I'd wanted to do but never really found the time, nor inclination.

I also found a real lack of information ..  My recent foray into iPhone led me back down the SIP path so with a few days to play and some back door help from an excellent guy at Touchbase - Darren Parkinson I have managed to get a Softphone working.  Still working on the iPhone.

Darren pointed me in the direction of a blog at :

This got me 99% of the way, but missed a single crucial setting - probably a difference in CCM7 which the blogger used and my CCM6.  So for prosperities sake and mine when I forget how to do this again I have reproduced the blog with the additional step .. 

Note.  There are other parts of the CCM config which has SIP  configs, eg SIP Route Pattern, SIP Real, SIP Domain .. From what I can tell these are all used for SIP trunks and not for end points. 

First, I just wanted to add some 3rd party SIP phones to CUCM to start testing feature behaviors.  X-Lite seemed like a reasonable choice as it was free and apparently pretty popular.  Second,  the resources I have found on-line, including CouterPath's own write up (which is a bit dated) and an article on Cisco's "community" collaboration site, were just too light on details.  The examples would have things like this:

Account Setup
Display Name: 1234
User Name: 1234
Authorized User Name: 1234

I ask you, what am I supposed to do with that if I try to deploy this application in the real world?  Now, I am not saying that I am going to cover all bases adequately in this example.  Every one of us has a slightly different environment that we operate in.  But, I hope to provide some examples to give you a better feel for how to add 3rd Party SIP endpoints to the CUCM.  I like X-Lite, so I am using it as the example.

Versions and other information.
For my testing I used CUCM (that is 7.1(3b)SU1 for the uninitiated).  The X-Lite version is 3.0.  From looking at some of the examples on line (dating back to CUCM 5.0), the basic configuration we are going to discuss is pretty applicable to all CUCM appliance models.  I suspect that procedures for 6.0 to 7.1 would be near identical.

It all starts with a download.
First, you will need to download the X-Lite application here.  The install is pretty straight forward and relatively quick.

Configure CUCM
I like to get the station configured in CUCM before I start playing around with the client.  In CUCM you will need to create a SIP device and a user object.  You will need to make some associations between the two and perform some other ancillary activities in preparation.
Add a SIP Security Profile
I suppose you could consider this an optional step if you don't mind SIP endpoints just registering to your CUCM cluster without a password.  I don't, so we are going to create a SIP security profile that forces the use of Digest Authentication.  If you go with the standard SIP security profile, digest authentication is not used.  This means that a client can connect by simply providing the extension number and a user ID.
NOTE: In the X-Lite configuration examples I have seen, it is suggested that you specify the password
you assigned to the user in CUCM when you configure the Account Settings in X-Lite.  This is incorrect.
Connect to your CUCM server (http://mycucm/ccmadmin) and go to System->Security Profile->Phone Security Profile.  Search for profiles that contain the string "third-party" and copy the profile named "Third-party SIP Device (Basic) - Standard SIP Non-Secure Profile".  Configure the new profile as follows:
Save your settings.
Add the User
Go to User Management->End User.  You can add a new user or use an existing user.  You can also use a user that was replicated from LDAP using the DirSync service.  The information you need to configure (values shown are used in our example):
  • User ID: bbellsip
  • Password: (this is not used by X-Lite, but you should always have one)
  • PIN: (this is not used by X-Lite, but ... you get the idea)
  • Last Name: Bell
  • First Name: Bill
  • Digest Credentials: *******  (this is used by X-Lite!)
Click on Save.  We will come back to the user object in a moment.

Add the SIP Phone
Go to Device->Phone.  Click on Add and select "Third-Party SIP Device (Basic)".  At a minimum, you should configure the following settings (values shown are used in our example):
  • MAC Address:  DEADBEEF0000 (set it to something unique, it doesn't matter to X-Lite)
  • Description:  Bill Bell X-Lite (set it to something meaningful to you, it doesn't matter to X-Lite)
  • Device Pool:  HQ_User-SoftPhone_CSS (You should use a device pool that makes sense in your environment. I like to stick my softphones in a separate bucket.  You will want to make sure that if you are using regions, to keep everything G.711.  The free X-Lite doesn't support G.729 or other CODEC.  Also, a Cisco tidbit - the default inter-region CODEC is G.729)
  • Calling Search Space: HQ_User-Std_CSS (this should be a CSS that fits into your dial plan, just like a standard Cisco SCCP station)
  • Device Security Profile: Third-party SIP Device (Basic) - Digest Required
  • Owner User ID: bbellsip
  • Digest User: bbellsip *
* This is the missing step from the originial blog

Other phone parameters can use the default settings.  I didn't test Device Mobility yet.  I played with Presence subscriptions with marginal success (later blog maybe).  I also tested Trusted Relay Point (TRP) and it worked as it should (TRP will be a topic in a later blog).
Click on Save.  After saving the phone, you can add an extension.  Add the extension as you normally would.  The bare minimum settings I used for testing:
  • Directory Number: 2025550208  (I use 10d extensions)
  • Partition: CL_DN-1_PT (place the DN in your "phones" partition)
  • CSS: Apply line level CSS per your design
  • Voicemail Profile: Use the VM profile that you normally would
  • Call Forwarding: Configure Call Forwarding as you would normally, for example CFNA and CFB to voicemail
  • Display and Alerting:  Configure these as you would like
Click on Save.

Edit User Object
Now go back to the user you are assigning this soft phone to (e.g. bbellsip).  Edit the user object.  Go to Device Associations and associate the device you just created.
Click on Save.
Configure X-Lite
Launch the X-Lite application.  You may get prompted for software updates, etc.  After the application loads, you will have a screen similar to the following:

Right click on the "LCD Screen" and choose Account Settings.  Click on Add to create a new SIP account.  Go to the "Account" tab and configure as follows:
The figure above gives you some guidance on what should be configured in each field and what needs to match CUCM configuration fields.  It should be noted that you can use DNS names in the Domain field.  I did some testing with SRV records.  I found that if you have an SRV record for SIP (e.g. that is configured with the correct UDP port (5060), the X-Lite client will query your DNS domain for the SRV record and register. 
Click on OK.  If you setup everything correctly, you should see a screen similar to the following:

UPDATE for X-Lite 4.7.1

Monday, 15 February 2010

Case-Mate Barely There For iPhone

I guess the clue is in the name.  Barely there is correct.  All it would protect is the back from being scratched.

Having owned the same 'barely there' case for the Blackberry Storm I heading into this purchase with none of the normal online purchase, cant see it or touch it worries. - Wrong

Its a well made case, but really doesnt cover enough.  The corners and all the front is completly unprotected, a face first fall would wreck this thing.

Needless to say I have gone back to my cheapy rubber case.  Now modified so the on/off button is exposed rather than hidden behind a faux rubber button.

NB//No front picture !

iPhone invisibleShield

I'd purchased a screen cover and a cheap rubber case as emergency protection when I first started using the iPhone.  The screen cover was from Carphone warehouse and was unbelievably crap.  When you read reviews about spending that little bit more for a cover, do it !

I opted to get the invisibleSHIELD from Zagg. Its not only a screen cover but a clear protective shield for the back, top and bottom.  Comes in 4 pieces.

I kinda rushed the installation and should have paid more attention to the instructions, or at least watched the video :)

Anyway, its on, the fiddly side over laps on the back piece are not exactly perfect but I've put the rubber case back on for that inevitable 'drop' experience so you cant see them.  The screen cover is excellent though. 

Monday, 8 February 2010

Creating iPhone ring tone from MP3


1. Open iTunes.

2. Find the song that you want to make into a ring tone.

3. Listen to the song and find the part of it you want to use. The chorus may be a good place to start.

4. Write down the start and stop times of the clip.

5. Right-click the song and select "Get Info."

6. Click the "Options" tab.

7. Type in the start time of your ring tone in the text box next to "Start Time" in the minutes:seconds (i.e. 2:01) format.

8. Type in the end time of your ring tone in the text box next to "Stop Time." Make sure the ring tone is no more than 40 seconds long.

NB// 7 & 8 are optional, if the track is 40 seconds or less anyway you dont need to amend the start/stop.

9. Click "OK."

10. From the menu click Advanced | Create AAC version.
In older iTunes versions you can right-click your song again and select "Convert Selection to AAC." Wait for iTunes to convert your song. Either way will create a duplicate version.

11. Optional - Right-click the original file under Music and select "Delete."

12. Right click on the new AAC file and 'Show in windows explorer'

13. Find the file. It's usually in your User folder under Music > iTunes > iTunes Music and under the band's name. It will have an extension of "m4a."

14. Replace the "m4a" extension of your ring tone with "m4r". You can either double-click slowly to rename your file, or right-click and select "Get Info" on a Mac or "Rename" on a Windows PC.

15. Click "Use .m4r" or the PC equivalent when the system warns you that the change may affect the use of your file.

16. Double-click the ring tone file. ITunes will automatically add it to your ring tones folder in your iTunes Music Library.

17. Connect your iPhone and sync your ring tones.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Unwanted (?) Garden Visitor

I have a bird table in the garden which attracts Blue Tits, Robins, Redwings, House Sparrows & Blackbirds on a daily basis.

Yesterday something new turned up ..

And this morning the little bugger was asleep on the table ..

I dont know what to make of this.  The garden is in a pretty built up area by the London royal docks so where the hell has this bugger come from.  He/she is scaring the birds away but I guess also needs some food and somewhere to sleep ..

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Blackberry to iPhone

We're a Domino shop and have an onsite BES server but needed to provide email access to other handhelds.  IBM have a product called Lotus Notes Traveller which supports iPhone, Windows & Symbian by default.  Its possible to get Android working using a simulator - we installed this a few weeks back with good feedback.

So being the dedicate support professional that I am I decided it was time to switched my Blackberry Storm for an iPhone which I did last week. Shame huh ..

So far so good, LNT works relativly well.  Once big downside is it needs a constant connection to the LNT server.  Which means you cant delete or send anymail with no service.  A pain as I used to clean out the days mail chuff while travelling home on the underground.

But other than that the iPhone is great .. Messing around with VPN, SIP phone to Call Manager and some networking apps.  As well as the paper toss, Google earth etc :)

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Kid in a candy store

This morning we took delivery of 7 Cisco UCS chassis, 51 blades, Netapp & a stupid amount of disk.

These are all part of a data centre consolidation project at work .. due for completion June 2010 with a follow up project of turning London into a standby site for New York..

Let the fun begin ..

IQ Test

Just done an IQ test and come out with a 197 score.  I think it might be slightly flawed !  either that or I am a genius. 

New York

Having just spent 10 days in the city and looking like I'll be spending more time in the future here are some travel hints ..

Paddington Express to LHR - walk to the very front of the train when going to LHR and the opposite when returning.

JFK - If the official cab line is long then tell one of the privates to come see you when they need one more place. They charge the same flat rate of airport to city but they wait until all seats are filled before leaving.

Tips - Double the tax and add a little.