Monthly Archives: January 2011

Sipdroid interoperability with Ekiga 3.2.7

I’ve recently been playing around with various mobile SIP clients, testing how well they work making calls to Ekiga 3.2.7 clients running on the desktop. Following are some notes I’ve collected using Sipdroid 2.0.1 Beta, running on a Motorola Milestone with Android 2.1.

In all tests, I am using the Milestone on the Vodafone New Zealand 3G network, while my desktop clients are all connected to either corporate LANs with public IP addresses, or running NATed on home networks.

Generally, for voice calls, Sipdroid plays quite well with Ekiga using this network arrangement, but there are some niggles regarding the various audio codecs either SIP application supports. A summary of this follows.

 

Speex

First, it appears that the speex (11kbit) codec in Sipdroid’s implementation is just plain incompatible with either the Speex 8khz or Speex 16khz codecs featured in Ekiga.

Enabling only the speex (11kbit) codec in Sipdroid, and Speex 8Khz in Ekiga, I could make calls to Ekiga from the Milestone fine, but calling from Ekiga to the Milestone results in an incompatible codec error at the phone end, and the call then immediately terminates.

Enabling only speex (11kbit) in Sipdroid, and Speex 16Khz in Ekiga, calls cannot be made in either direction. Calling from the Milestone to the PC, Ekiga gets an incoming call notification but on accepting the call, the connection is lost at the PC end, with a notification that the call was missed. On the Milestone, it simply continuously reads “Dialling”. Connecting to the Milestone from the PC, one gets the same codec error as above before the call terminates.

 

PCMA

Calls made from the Milestone to Ekiga worked great, and vice versa.

 

PCMU

Calls made from the Milestone to Ekiga using PCMU also worked great, and vice versa.

 

An interesting observation at this point is that if the PCMA, PCMU and Speex codecs are all enabled in both Ekiga and Sipdroid, and in Ekiga Speex is sorted in the audio codecs window to be at the top, then calls made from Ekiga to the Milestone will fail with the codec incompatibility error. Calls made from the Milestone to Ekiga however are fine, but will fall back to a PCMU/PCMA codec.

 

G722

Calls made from the Milestone to Ekiga using the G722 audio codec also worked great, and vice versa.

 

GSM

Calls made from the Milestone to Ekiga using the GSM audio codec also worked great, and vice versa.

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Sluggish presence updates in Ekiga 3.2.7?

Generally, it’s not unusual to observe that the “Online” status of remote Ekiga.net users on Ekiga 3.2.7 is slow to update when that user quits his/her Ekiga client. According to the developers on the mailing list, this is a known issue, and due to Ekiga not unregistering the account when the application is quit. After running a few tests, I see variances over five to eight minutes between when a remote user quits her Ekiga client, and her online status being correctly updated in my client (so that she is visibly offline).

Anyway, good to know it’s a known problem and will be looked at eventually.

Ekiga presence

More Mac OS SIP clients (which play nice with Ekiga)

I could never get Blink to work successfully with Ekiga.net, but as of version 0.22.2 on Snow Leopard it now seems to work well with Ekiga.net accounts. Calling to users on Ekiga 3.2.7 and vice versa poses no problem.

Blink on Snow Leopard

http://icanblink.com/

Stream video content from XBMC on Ubuntu Linux to an Xbox 360

I’ve recently started to play around with XBMC, a fantastic open-source media server that supports UPnP.

Main XBMC interface.

Following is a quick procedure to stream video content from a machine running XBMC to an Xbox 360 Arcade.

In this example, my XBMC server is an Intel Q8200 machine running Ubuntu 12.04, with XBMC version 11.0 installed. I’ve assumed that the server and Xbox are already connected to a home LAN. XBMC is running the detault Confluence skin.

 

First, let’s enable basic sharing. Launch XBMC, and in the application, goto “System -> Network”. Enable “Share video and music libraries through UPnP”:

XBMC - enable PnP

Now, let’s locate the media server from the Xbox. On the Xbox, go to the Xbox Home screen, then “settings -> System -> Network Settings -> Wired Network -> Test PC Connection”. If successful, you should see your XBMC server listed:

Xbox wired network settings test.

Now let’s add a video to test streaming with. In XBMC, goto “Videos -> Files -> Add Videos…”, and locate a folder containing a compatible video file (see here for compatibility details). If the video is not automatically detected by XBMC’s media scrapers, then you can manually add a video using this guide. Either way, the video file must be in the XBMC library for it to be detected by the Xbox:

Video added to the XBMC library.

Finally, on the XBox, go to the Xbox Home screen, then “movies -> My Video Apps -> System Video Player -> XBMC (Your XBMC Media Server) -> Recently added movies”. You should see the file shared from XBMC listed – select it and play:

Location the Xbox video player app.

Launching the Xbox system video player app.

XBMC server detected on the Xbox.

Recently added movies in XBMC on the Xbox.

Ubuntu 10.10 x86 and older nVidia graphics cards

A couple months back, I upgraded a friend’s computer via software update to Ubuntu 10.10. She had been happily running Ubuntu 10.04 on an old Pentium 4 box, with an equally vintage nVidia Quadro4 380 XGL installed in it. Accelerated 2D and 3D was no problem courtesy of nVidia’s legacy drivers.

Well, all that changed after the update, and post-update-reboot we had no window manager. It took close to an hour of fiddling around before I eventually read the small type in the release notes and realised that the nVidia legacy drivers for the Quadro4 380 were not compatible with the updated Xorg server in the Ubuntu 10.10 release.

You can read the whole saga here, but in short, the good news was we were saved at the time by two things; nVidia’s completely awesome effort in the updating of the driver for a vintage graphics card to work with the new Xorg, and the generosity of a community developer who packaged it into a PPA. It’s just a shame that Canonical didn’t place far more emphasis on warning users with older hardware that an OS update might make their system unusable!

Since then, the nVidia driver update has made it into the Ubuntu maverick-proposed repository, as I found out recently when installing Ubuntu 10.10 on another machine of similar vintage (this time with an nVidia Quadro4 550 XGL installed in it). So, only a simple tick-box needs to be checked for the driver to be downloaded and installed automatically:

Ubuntu 10.10 - enable the proposed repository

After doing this, run a software update, and install both the “nvidia-96″ legacy driver, plus a couple of additional updates, such that it is handled by the GNOME hardware driver installation utility:

Ubuntu 10.10 software update - install nVidia drivers and utilities

Ubuntu 10.10 software update - install nVidia drivers and utilities

After updating, run the GNOME “Hardware Drivers” utility (“System -> Administration -> Hardware Drivers”), and install the driver visible there:

Ubuntu 10.10 Hardware Drivers utility

After a restart, accelerated graphics are back in Ubuntu 10.10. A note of thanks to nVidia – it’s stuff like this that makes me want to buy your products! :)

Secure LDAP address book using OpenDJ and Thunderbird on OpenIndiana

For testing secure LDAP address book connectivity using OpenDJ 2.4.0 and Thunderbird 3.1.6, running on OpenIndiana oi_147, one can use the following procedure.

This assumes you have already installed and are running OpenDJ 2.4.0, and that you chose to generate a self-signed certificate during setup. In the below example, afterburner is the name of my server. OpenDJ is running as a local instance.

 

In the Thunderbird application preferences, point to the LDAP server for address autocompletion. In this example we are using port 1636 for secure LDAP access:

Thunderbird - use a secure LDAP address book

Apply settings, and attempt to address a recipient in a new message. You should be presented with an error message:

Thunderbird - secure connection failed

Click “View Certificate”. In the window that appears, click on the “Details” tab, and click the “Export…” button:

Thunderbird - export certificate

Save the certificate somewhere convenient. The default certificate format (“X.509 Certificate (PEM)”) appears to work fine.

Go back to your Thunderbird preferences, and view your installed certificates:

Thunderbird - view installed certificates

Click on the “Servers” tab, and import the certificate you saved in the previous step:

Thunderbird - import a saved certificate

Edit the certificate properties, and tell Thunderbird to trust the authenticity of the certificate:

Thunderbird - edit certificate properties

Thunderbird - trust certificate authenticity

That’s it. You may need to restart Thunderbird for the settings to take effect, but if all has gone well you should have anonymous secure access to the local LDAP service.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 4 fully loaded ships.

In 2010, there were 89 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 97 posts. There were 138 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 34mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was August 3rd with 169 views. The most popular post that day was The Illumos Project.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were forums.virtualbox.org, blogs.sun.com, facebook.com, opensolaris.org, and en.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for oracle solaris, illumos, personas opera, scribus 1.3.6 ubuntu, and oracle solaris 10.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

The Illumos Project July 2010

2

FreeBSD 8.0 x86 and KDE4 full-screen in VirtualBox 3.1.4 March 2010
14 comments

3

Install and run Apache Roller 4.01 on OpenSolaris April 2010

4

Automatically mount a VirtualBox shared folder in an Ubuntu 9.10 guest April 2010

5

Use NFS to create a VirtualBox “shared folder” for a FreeBSD 8.0 Guest April 2010