August 18th, 2007

I had to install an OpenBSD firewall at a customer's office yesterday and wanted to check that all of their VoIP phones still worked afterwards. Since everyone had left the office by the time I got there, it was a bit tricky testing all of the phones at the same time by myself.

I thought about writing a little routing snippet on the Asterisk server so I could dial a number at each phone and it would just play music until I hung up, but I wanted to make calls out to a PSTN number to double the bandwidth going out of the PBX server and make sure the voice quality was ok.

Some searching around led me to 1-800-555-TELL, which plays recorded news, weather, sports scores, etc. I figured it could ramble on long enough for me to get each phone dialed into it at the same time, so I dialed it on one phone and said "sports" and then "baseball" to get some baseball scores. I ran to the next desk and did the same thing, then again until all 7 phones were blasting some idiot talking about baseball from their speakerphones.

By the time I finished the last one, the first phone had gone silent, so I ran over and it was waiting for me to tell it something else to play before hanging up, so I just said "baseball" again. As each phone would go silent, I'd have to run over and say something else at it. Sometimes it wouldn't understand me so I'd be yelling at the phone, "baseball. baseball! BASE-BALL!" Eventually I figured out that yelling "nascar" would get it to play a longer message.

As I was running around this empty office for a half hour I thought about how odd it would look if the customer walked in to an office full of people talking about sports on speakerphones while I sprinted around the office yelling "baseball!"

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