IP PBX for dummies

Gradually figuring out how this IP PBX stuff works so I can do it myself. Basically, if you’ve got a house or small business with a bunch of old telephones and some old analog lines, here is what you need:

  • Audiocodes MP-114 FXO. This connects 4 analog lines into your IP PBX. You then have a proxy which takes all these analog lines and talks to them over local Ethernet
  • Audiocodes MP-124 FXS. This is a 24-port analog phone to IP. You connect your old phones to this and then point the proxy address to your IP PBX.
  • Mac Mini running SIPXOES. This is from SIPFoundry and is a Linux based open-source IP PBX. It takes the outbound lines from the MP-114 and connects them to the phones in your house vis the FXS.
  • IP Phones. These you plug directly into your network and then talk directly to the Mac Mini

Anyway so much for that, now time to figure out configuration.

Color space redux and DPP

Been doing lots of photo editing lately. Finally got Canon Digital Photo Professional working again. Had to rebuild a Mac. One obscure option is color space. This is essentially what the range of different colors that are in a photo.

Here is a quick reminder of color space are. Basically the main idea is something called gamut. Which is simply the range of colors that can be displayed.

  1. sRGB. This was the first color space and what is used as default in most digital cameras today. It uses 8-bits for each color (24-bits in all). It is the space you use when you post on the Internet for example. However, when you print with this, it looks just OK. So it is OK for most uses, but pros would move up.
  2. Adobe RGB. This is a later standard set in 1998. It can show roughly 50% of the visible light colors. You can set most dSLRs to use Adobe RGB instead of sRGB. A good idea. It is still 8-bits per color, so you don’t get as much density.
  3. Wide Gamut RGB. Not recommended for use, this was also developed with Adobe RGB in 1998, it is still 8-bit but wider at 78% of visible colors. It doesn’t use 8% of the colors and it is so wide a gamut that you get funny effects called posterization which means there isn’t enough density of colors. 
  4. Apple RGB. This is an old color space, so don’t use it. It was the old 13″ Apple monitor standard, so use it only if you have legacy images that were edited a long time ago. 
  5. ColorMatch RGB. Another legacy color space you don’t need to use. It was originally developed by Radius for its line of monitors. It has large gamut thatn sRGB but less than Adobe RGB.
  6. Pro Photo RGB. This is a full 16-bit color space, so 48-bits per pixel. It is what the pro’s are using but it makes the photos much bigger. You want this because if you are using photoshop or whatever, then the working color space should be large so as not to lose colors. Note that there are no printers that can actually show this many colors, so the gamut of a printer is likely to be more limited. DPP doesn’t use Pro Photo, but if you are editing with Photoshop CS, then you can set it.

In a Canon 5D Mark II and other cameras outputting RAW, they do 8-bit per color JPEG, but RAW is show at 12-bit per color, so there is much more information. That is why although RAW is bigger, when you are editing them, you want to sue Pro Photo color space so you are using 16-bit per color.

Another note is in the room where you are viewing your photos, you want to color calibrate with a specific tool like Spyder Colorvision and you want the light to be at 5000K (you can buy special light bulbs that do this).

You want to set your camera to take RAW (I normally take RAW+JPG, so I can get fast photos out, but also have the real thing for deep processing). Set the color space to Faithful.  I normally turn up sharpening one notch from zero. Then in DPP 3.0, set the monitor color space to the calibrated type and the working color space to Adobe RGB and relative colormetric

What is boring???

On a Saturday night hanging out, wondering what people think boring really  means to me…Well thank goodness for Google, here’s the definition…
Boredom – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Boredom has been defined by C. D. Fisher in terms of its central psychological processes: “an unpleasant, transient affective state in which the individual feels a pervasive lack of interest in and difficulty concentrating on the current activity

Garmin Traffic and new models

Net, net, the Garmin nuvi 1350T seems like a good choice. It is part of the bigger 1200 and 1300 series that is thinner and a new platform. the big thing is free traffic subscriptions which is great and is ad-supported. Alternatively the 1390T has this Junction View which is also pretty nice. I don’t need bluetooth handsfree or Europe.

  • Nüvi 1300 – $249.99 – 4.3′ screen, 48 States of Maps, and Text to Speech (Says street names)
  • Nüvi 1350 – $299.99 – Adds maps for All North America Coverage, and Lane Assist
  • Nüvi 1350T – $349.99 – Adds subscription free traffic from NAVTEQ
  • Nüvi 1370T – $449.99 – Adds Euro Maps to the North American Set, and Bluetooth Handsfree
  • Nüvi 1390T – $399.99 – Subtracts Euro Maps and Adds ‘Junction View’ to see realistic views of upcoming complex intersections

Then there is the 1200 series which has the 3.5″ screen:

  • Nüvi 1200 – $199.99 – 3.5′ screen, and Text to speech with maps of the 48 states + PR
  • Nüvi 1250 – $249.99 – Adds maps for all North American Coverage
  • Nüvi 1260T – $299.99 – Adds subscription free traffic and Bluetooth Handsfree

Amazon only has the 1370T for $450 and will release it on June 8. Main questions are what traffic system to use and you probably also want the Friction mount so that you don’t need to stick it on anything or leave those telltale marks thiefs will recognize and use to stea

Traffic GPS Review

Most GPS devices are using the Clear Channel Total Traffic Network solution. If you are looking to use the TomTom RDS-TMC solution, the NAVIGON traffic system, or any of the Garmin devices that use the FM based traffic, that is where you need to look. Yes, that means that devices from different brands do often use the exact same data from the same traffic service. The differences in those cases come down to presentation. (More on that with graphics further down.)

Some of the Garmin systems use, or can use, the MSN Direct service instead. That system also includes weather forecasts, movie listings, and current fuel prices in addition to the traffic services offered.

If you have a Garmin device and are trying to decide between going the MSN Direct route coverage list, or the FM route coverage map, first check the appropriate coverage maps. That might make your decision for you. Where I live for example the MSN Direct service doesn’t offer flow data, only incident data. The Clear Channel TTN service offers both flow data and incident data. I can also receive the Clear Channel signal in my area, so it is almost no contest for my area.

Otherwise consider the subscription costs, how much you might use the additional services like movie times from the MSN Direct service, and how often you might travel outside your usual coverage area. In the cases of an apparent “tie”, I’ve found the Clear Channel Total Traffic Network (FM, RDS-TMC) system to provide slightly better data in the areas I’ve tested both of them in.

iDVD doesn’t handle long scrolling credits

Ok, the only bug I’ve found so far with iDVD ’09 is that for long scrolling credits, it seems to have a memory pointer problem and creates hash for the scrolling credits. I’m guessing that this is because scrolling over an image is really hard on the encoder. It works fine from iMovie ’09, but whne iDVD tries to make a DVD (technically, it is transcoding from H.264 that iDVD produces to MPEG-2 that DVDs use).

So beware. I fixed this by making the scrolling no longer than 45 seconds that seems to work.

Canon 5D Mark II Firmware updates

My goodness, the biggest problem with the video mode in the 5D is that it is set to auto exposure and everything. That means that you can’t even set the F/stops and that plus the fact there is no useful autofocus makes it pretty useless unless you have still subjects. Now version 1.1.0 at Canon fixes this by allowing manual exposure control so you can set in manual mode the shutter speed, the aperture and the ISO. So you don’t have aperture priority, etc., but at least the thing can’t go crazy on you.

Also claims to fix some problems with the Auto Light Optimizer interacting with highlight tone priority. No idea what that is.

There is also some hackers out there on cinema5d.com who are working on things like audio meters for the video system. Basically, the hardware is sort of there with the 5D, but it is far from a camcorder replacement without autofocus for instance or someway to control the audio.

Replace your iPhone 3G battery for $6

Replace your iPhone 3G battery for $6 | iPhone Atlas – CNET Reviews

Meritline sells a iPhone 3G-compatible 1600mAh battery for $5.99 shipped. The standard 3G battery has a capacity of 1150mAh, so in theory the replacement should give you about 50 percent more runtime.

Now it’s time for some surgery. The iPhone may look airtight, but a little careful prying with an X-Acto knife (or similar tool) will get the case open.

To see how, check the nicely illustrated iPhone 3G Repair Guide at Rapid Repair. Once you hit Step 10, just swap in the new battery and close everything up. That’s really all there is to it.

Argh iDVD renders scrolling credits improperly

Well, I’ve been using iMovie and iDVD quite a lot. But now in a 20 minute movie, I see that there is a obvious bug in the encoding problem. From iMovie, I have a nice 20 minute large.m4v file created by Share to Media Browser. Rooting through the .rcproject package, I can see <i>large.m4v</i> and it looks fine.

But when I add it to an iDVD, and then do a create disk image, I get a bizarre error. The credits look like random bits of the screen. As if somewhere there is a bug and iDVD is somehow accessing things that are stuck in RAM. I can see screens of old applications I’ve loaded. Seems like a bug. I’m going to try to cut down the scrolling credits and see. Wierd.

Evom , Video Monkey and Handbrake for Mac video conversion

Evom beta takes up iSquint’s mantle, effortlessly converts video formats

While still in beta, Evom (from The Little App Factory, makers of iPodRip) looks ready to pick up where iSquint left off. It easily and quickly converts videos to formats compatible with iTunes, YouTube, your iPod, and Apple TV.

It couldn’t be a simpler drag-and-drop operation: drop the video on the Evom window, and select a destination. After that, Evom does the heavy lifting and (optionally) adds the finished video to iTunes. The output quality is good — it uses the same technical foundation as ffmpegX. You get the same high quality without all the fiddly controls of ffmpegX.

First Look: Video Monkey swings in to save the day

When Techspansion closed its doors in October of last year, there were hordes of individuals clamoring for a slice of easy video-conversion pie to fill the void in their now-empty hearts. Many did not find consolation in the fact that Handbrake supported universal input within a scant two months.

Handbrake — TUAW

The well known, open-source DVD ripping and video transcoding application HandBrake has been updated to version 0.9.3. Among the changes, perhaps the most exciting is universal input — now you can use HandBrake to convert any kind of video file it recognizes, not just DVDs.

iPhone 3.0 rumors

Four iPhone Models Ranging From 4 GB to 32 GB Coming? – Mac Rumors

GB to 32GB — that’s one hell of a range, but we’re hearing from a trusted source that new iPhones in 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB capacities just garnered approval by the PCS Type Review Certification Board, the standards body responsible for certificating handsets for use with some carriers (AT&T, for instance).

Engadget believes that Apple is unlikely to deploy high-end hardware and software features on iPhone models with capacities as low as 4 GB, suggesting that Apple may begin offering models differentiated by more than just storage capacity. Numerous rumors regarding an “iPhone nano” with scaled down hardware and/or software, as well as speculation regarding software-driven differentiation, have long pointed to the possibility of such variation in Apple’s iPhone offerings.