Quite a few years ago, Chucky and I found ourselves in Malaga, Spain. We were both in college, and his parents had graciously invited me along on their family trip. We spent our days in more or less typical tourist fashion, venturing around little Spanish villas, the near-by cities and even crossing the Strait of Gibraltar to visit Tangiers Morocco.

The evenings, we had pretty much to ourselves, and although our plans to hop a train to France were thwarted, we managed to enjoy ourselves by wandering aimlessly around Malaga in a relentless search of interesting pubs and British girls to flirt with. We found plenty of both, but as wildly successful as we were at getting these British girls to agree to meet us for dates on subsequent days, we were decidedly less successful at getting them to actually show up.

We also found this poster with a very attractive woman named Ana advertising the Spanish public telephone service. We must have walked past it a dozen times, each time commenting on how attractive Ana was, and how much the poster made us desperately want to use one of these amazing Spanish public telephones to call her up and ask her out on a date. Sadly for us, and fortunately for Ana, however, her number was not listed anywhere on the poster; a fact which we found most upsetting, but was probably a blessing in hindsight because neither of us knew much Spanish and would have most likely made quite a blunder of any advances we might have managed.

On to plan “B” we thought. If we couldn’t have Ana’s phone number, we were most certainly not leaving Spain without her poster.

Now, it is important to realize that this poster was not only in a very public location near the beach, it was also enclosed behind locked glass, making any attempt to acquire it a fairly risky proposition. If we were going to nick it, we were going to first have to find a time when nobody was around, and secondly, a way to unlock the glass cabinet enclosing it.

It so happened that on our last day in Spain, we were were strolling back late at night from a pseudo British pub after a failed attempt to locate flirtable British girls when we noticed that the normally bustling sidewalk where Ana was located had become deserted. Problem one solved! Now just to get that glass cabinet open. I’m a roof and tunnel hacker, so I consider myself above forced entry, preferring more elegant methods like lock picking and social engineering, but I did not have my lock picks so we were forced to use more imaginative methods… Like the butter knife we had conveniently taken from the pub. We moved in to inspect and realized to our joy that the lock was placed directly in the middle of a very long and flimsy piece of aluminum that made up the frame for the poster to sit it.

An insertion of the better knife and a little twist popped the door open with a “dh-dh-dh-dh” sound that I will never forget. Chucky and I looked at each other, both a little surprised, but in total agreement that the only next step could be to take Ana down, roll her up and put her up Chucky’s sleve. This we did, and in a few short seconds we were off with Ana, having escaped Spanish jail and acquired just about the sweetest bit of travel memorabilia I have ever seen!

Ana now hangs in Chuck’s office down in Greenland NH.

Save Money With DIY Phone Wiring

It’s not the prettiest site in the world, but has awesome guides for just about anything you might want to do with your home phone service. I went looking for it because my Mom wanted me to wire her up an additional phone jack and the instructions worked perfectly! They also have step-by-step guides for wiring a second line, wiring a third line, and wiring a DSL splitter. Very handy stuff if you don’t mind hacking around a bit with these things.

Verizon wanted to charge more than $100 to come out and wire up the additional jack, but it’s really only about twenty minuets worth of work and all you need is a screwdriver and wire cutters! It’s amazing how much money you can save if you are just willing to try something yourself!

Quick Start Guide for Asterisk

Asterisk is a complete open source software-based IP PBX solution that runs on a variety of platforms. It supports VOIP in several protocols, and can seamlessly integrate with almost any standards-based telephony equipment using relatively inexpensive hardware.

This guide is a quick-start set of notes that should help you get the Asterisk service up and running with the web-based graphical user interface. Much of this was taken from the various README files that come with the software download, but I thought it would be nice to have the directions all in one place so that I don’t have to search for them in the future. I did this on a new RHEL 5 install. I would imagine that the same procedure should work on most Linux distributions.

Configuration and implementation of Asterisk is fairly complex and is beyond the scope of this document. I should also say this this guide does not include directions for installing and configuring other Asterisk related software that is required to integrate with telephony equipment.

Enough disclaimers… Let’s get started.

  • Download the latest source package of Asterisk, untar it and CD into the newly created directory.
  • Run “make
  • Run “make install
  • Run”make samples” (Doing this will overwrite any existing config files you have, so don’t do it if you are upgrading or something like that)
  • Run “make config” (This creates the `/etc/rc.d/init.d/asterisk’ file so you can crontroll the
  • asterisk service with chkconfig and service.)

You are now done installing Asterisk. Now let’s install the GUI.

  • Download the latest source package of the Asterisk GUI client, untar it and CD into the newly created directory.
  • Run “make
  • Run “make install
  • Run “make samples” This installs the sample configuration files. Again, don’t do this if you are upgrading because it will overwrite your existing files.

Now let’s configure it.

You need to edit a few Asterisk configuration files to enable the GUI

1) In /etc/asterisk/http.conf:

        enabled = yes
        enablestatic = yes (The IP address of your Asterisk server)

2) In /etc/asterisk/manager.conf

        enabled = yes
        webenabled = yes

3) Create an appropriate entry in manager.conf for the administrative user

        secret = YourFavoritePassword
        read = system,call,log,verbose,command,agent,config
        write = system,call,log,verbose,command,agent,config

4) Run “make checkconfig

Look for the following lines… They will tell you how to get to your GUI.

  * GUI should be available at

  * Before using the GUI, Please visit the install page at

5) We should be all set Let’s start or restart asterisk:

Run “/sbin/service asterisk restart

6) Lastly, grab a web browser and go to your install page. It should look something like this:

Configure it up and have fun with your new Asterisk server.