All my Gmail invites are given away now. Furthermore, my harddisk has a failure. I cannot boot my computer. I am now running Knoppix. The “swiss-knife” for every computer user. :-)
Here is my personal review of the Inkom 2004. I was an Inkom crew member and helped preparing the different locations.
On Monday, August 23rd, we had our crew instruction. We got one smaller book concerning the course of events and one “crew draaiboek” with the size of a telephone book that contained our shifts. Furthermore, we got our really nice crew shirts (picture here).
My first assignment was on Tuesday morning to set up stage barriers and blinds at the Market in Maastricht. Here, the official Inkom opening should take place with (next to other things) the performance of Boris, the winner of the Dutch Idols show, as the main attraction. From 10 o’clock on, the first die-hard fans of Boris were waiting for his 16 o’clock performance. I did not know him before and when I was sitting during lunchtime with some crew members in one of the cafes and told them that I have never seen him before they started laughing. They told me that I definitely must have seen him because Boris was sitting at the table next to ours. From 15 o’clock onwards, the first-year students began populating the market place and the opening started. At around 19 o’clock the opening was finished and we had to break down the stage barriers, the blinds and other things. When Boris leaved in an ordinary VW Golf, about 12 girls were following the car screaming “Boris, Boris”. This was actually very funny.
On Wednesday morning, I visited with two Inkom groups the “Kazematten”, an underground system of tunnels use during different wars. On Thursday, the “Preuvaqua” event took place in the MECC (the congress center) due to the bad weather. Here again, I helped building up the stage, lots of blinds and other fences and finally sold food coupons.
All in all, the Inkom 2004 was a really nice event. Nice people, nice “crew borrels”, where the crew members met for a drink, and lots of parties. Unfortunately, I have not taken photos, but there are a few on the web already.
On these sites you can find Inkom pictures and photos:
(hint: please make sure that the sound on your computer is turned off, some of these sites have an extremely annoying background sound :-) )
Today, I spotted an interesting looking car at a McDonald’s restaurant near Neuwied. It was an ordinary looking VW Sharan, but what caught my attention were the 7 antennas on its roof. I first thought that these were normal GSM antennas and I was wondering why you would need 7 of them, but lying on the front passenger’s seat were maps of the Neuwied/Koblenz area that showed measurements of the UMTS coverage. So these antennas were UMTS antennas (6 of them), the last one was an additional GPS antenna. Also on the front passenger’s seat was a flatscreen monitor, unfortunately, turned off. In the back of the car were all kinds of technical things like telephone equipment in 19″ racks. I would have liked to talk to the driver, however, I could not see him. Maybe he was enjoying his (or her?) meal.
A friend of mine helped me to get an email account at Google’s Gmail service. The service is still being beta-tested, but so far, Google invented a quite nice interface. It has a very simplistic “Google-Style” and is therefore fast and has some interesting features. E-Mails are displayed in form of a conversation like it can be seen in webboards. You have 1000 MB of storage. For those of you, who do not have a Gmail account, GMX provides also 1 gigabyte of storage for free.
Last update: March, 3rd, 2006
What is the advantage?
I didn’t really like that I had to use a headset when I wanted to call someone via the internet. The volumes of the soundcard had to be adjusted to avoid over- or undermodulation. With the way described here, it is possible to use an ordinary ISDN telephone (at Germany’s Ebay you easily get one for 30 EUR) to make phone or internet calls with the help of a computer and a SIP provider. The audio quality is excellent with a DSL connection, there is no noticeable difference compared to a normal phone. The line should be clear however.
Additionally, you save the money for buying a SIP phone which costs about 100 EUR at this moment. Over the internet, you can call each other for free with a “real” phone. Calls to the Germany phone network cost 1.79 euro cent per minute with Sipgate.
This how-to is written especially for Sipgate accounts. However, you can easily adopt it for other SIP providers. You find links to other providers at the end of this document.
I wrote a small of article on how to connect a common ISDN telephone to a Linux computer running Asterisk, and make calls to the public phone network. However, at this moment, it is only available in German. I will translate it in English and post it here as well.
What kept me busy the last few days was Asterisk, the Linux telephony software. It is a software that provides PBX services (Private Branch Exchange) and is able to connect to SIP service providers like Sipgate.
An ordinary ISDN telephone is now connected to my ISDN card which runs in NT (Network Termination) mode. When I pick up the handset I get a dial tone and can call any public phone number. This works really perfectly with an extraordinary good audio quality. No chopping, no static.
More on this and how I connected the phone tomorrow.