Monthly Archives: July 2007

No word lists can be found for the language en_us

During the Debian dist-upgrade from sarge to etch, I uninstalled aspell and associated packages on one of my servers. So, when I got around to installing it again, it apparently didn’t install a language or word list. Trying to run a spell check from mutt resulted in:

No word lists can be found for the language en_us.

I installed the aspell-en package and all was well. Turns out I didn’t have any spelling errors in my e-mail anyway.


More about Asterisk 1.6 Distinctive Ring

Asterisk 1.6 will include a new option for distinctive ring called dringNrange, like dring1range, dring2range, dring3range. These ranges specify how much variance is acceptable in the cadence of a received distinctive ring.

Background: The local telco seems to send distinctive ring cadence in an inconsistent manner. On one call the cadence might be 175,100,0 and on the next the cadence is 201,102,0 for the same dring context. Therefore, I added and submitted patch to add a range in order to account for the variance.

In zapata.conf, you might have this:

;incoming from pstn
;your normal other stuff goes here.
;here's a distinctive ring example
; use fxs signalling on the fxo ports
channel => 3

Now for distinctive ring 1 with a cadence of 205,97,0 anything +/- 50 will be accepted. It’s a fudge factor, I agree, but there’s simply no other way to solve the problem short of getting the telco to be consistent.

In addition to the dring range, you can also specify a -1 for one or more of the cadence values in order to indicate that you don’t care about that value. For example, I’ve found that only the first value out of the three in a given range is important. There’s enough difference in that first digit to indicate which number was being called. Therefore, instead of:


I could do this:


Asterisk would then ignore those last two values, treating a -1 as an indication to ignore the value.

The new dring1range, or dringNrange as it is, will be available in Asterisk 1.6 but is available now in the SVN trunk, which I’ve been using for months without issue.

Current Project: JavaScript Step by Step

I’m currently working on a new book for Microsoft Press. The book is JavaScript Step by Step and should be out late 2007 or early 2008. The book is, yes, a book on JavaScript. It’s a beginner-level book and though still taking shape, the book will cover everything that one might need to know in order to do some fun stuff with JavaScript.

For those that have read my books before, you’ll know that I like to cover more than the basics of the topic at hand. So rather than just learning how to create some silly JavaScript widget, you’ll also learn why that widget works like it does. The reason I do this is simple: I believe that if you want to just learn how to code some JavaScript flavor of the week, then you’ll just go copy the code from another page. There’s little use in me simply dumping scripts into a book without any context. Therefore, I’m attempting to add substance to the book so that you can learn how and why the JavaScript does what it does.

Anxiously awaiting Asterisk 1.6

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Asterisk 1.6 since last November. I contributed a patch to the Asterisk code base and it was accepted. Naturally, the patch was just that much too late to get into the 1.4 release, so it had to wait for 1.6. Until then, I’ve been running the latest Asterisk beta code on production systems (*shudder*) in order to take advantage of the additional feature. I’ve had good luck with the beta code.

I write this because I’m reminded this evening how much I miss coding and contributing to open source projects. I haven’t done all that much but when I can, when I find time, I’ve enjoyed digging into the code of various projects. If only for more time.

I’ll also use the opportunity to give kudos to Grandstream too. I’ve been using their gear (now) exclusively for my Asterisk installations and I’ve been enamored. The equipment rivals the much more expensive gear from other companies. Take a look at the GXP-2000. For right around $80 from Atacomm you get a 4 line SIP phone with two ethernet ports and tons of features. And I do indeed recommend Atacomm for your Asterisk and VOIP needs. Their shipping is inexpensive and quick and the one time I worked with their customer service I was quite happy.

Techdirt Insight Community

I’ve been accepted as a contributor for the Techdirt Insight Community. I’ve found Techdirt to be an excellent site for technology issue analysis, with the authors on the site having a particularly acute understanding of the issues facing intellectual property, open source, economics, and several other areas. I’m excited by the opportunity, even being accepted as a contributor, though admittedly I don’t know how stringent the criteria is for acceptance, maybe someone can fill me in.