Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fax over IP, FOIP and IP Faxing being sent to a machine near you.

Years ago the standard telephone line (POTS or Plain Old Telephone Service) was all we knew. It worked for local and long distance. It also worked great for analog devices such as modems and fax machines. These devices send a high pitched, modulating squeal and are received on the other end. This modulating squeal is deciphered on the other end and turned into usable data or a fax.

The advantage of POTS technology is it is a one-to-one dedicated connection from one phone, modem or fax to another while the call is in place. This dedicated circuit is continuous and uninterrupted. The circuit is such that when a message is sent, is received in the same order it is sent. So, sending the message "Mary had a little lamb" was received as "Mary had a little lamb". It worked reliably with little complexity.

Then along came the internet. The internet was brought to life expressly to combat the simplicity of the one-to-one connection. The problem with this type of connection is obvious: if the line is broken the communication is lost. The US military saw a need to continue communications during a war even if certain telephone lines were damaged. Therefore the internet protocol doesn't rely on a dedicated connection.

IP communications break a message into packets. These packets are sent in any of an infinite web of servers to go from the server to the receiver. If one path is broken, damaged or busy, the packet gets re-routed. It eventually gets to the receiver where it is reassembled and put in order. Because the message is broken up and potentially sent all over the plance, the same message may be received as "had a Mary lamb little" Then the receiving device reassembles it and reorders it into the original message.

This works great for lots of things such as email. It has proven to be a challenge for real time or streaming media where the message has to quickly be sent, received, reordered and delivered.

One of the last devices to come into the internet age is the simple fax. But now, with the advent of the T.38 IP fax protocol, this is on the verge of changing. The old fax machine will be a thing of the past in short order.

Currently there are two common options for IP faxing.

1. A T.38 device send to a T.38 fax server. This server then converts the message to a standard analog fax protocol and sends to a typical fax.

2. Newer devices are smart in the sense that they can send to another T.38 IP fax or to an older traditional fax.

IP faxing is a way to save on long distance cost, reduce the number of needed standard phone lines and improve fax quality all at once.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Computer + Home =Amazing Home Automation (Smart Home)

Ever wish your home appliances had some intelligence? Like maybe the lights could come on as you pull in the driveway; or maybe the temperature could be adjusted to just the way you like it as you leave the office. Maybe you wish you could automatically open blinds or curtains during the day and close them at night. Or even yet, ever wish to know what is going on around the house while you are gone?

All this and more are possible with home automation. This technology (also called Smart Home or domotics) is the convergence of various technologies to allow this to take place. You can now pull up your hose from your iPHone, look at surveillance videos, change temperatures, turn on lights, or have these settings done automatically based on the time of day.

Building automation isn't new, so the technology is tried and perfected. Only recently has some of this commercial quality automation technology been applied to the home. There are a lot of quality home automation vendors and home automation products available to help with this. The technology is amazing, affordable and very cool all at the same time. Now your homes is at your command!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Speed up slow PC Computer

Is your PC getting slower and sloooooowwwer? Here are some tips to speed it back up.

1. Computers don't get slower, they just get more loaded. Modern computers are inherently very fast. What you are seeing whey the computer gets slower isn't the computer, it's what's on the hard drive. They get loaded with extra drivers, software, fragmented (for windows machines), unneeded processes running the the background.

2. Try degragmenting on a windows machine.

3. Remove unneeded running processes (automatic printer or webcam ubdates).

4. Remove old drivers from unused digital cameras, scanners, etc.

5. Clear internet cache.

6. Try software especially written to speed up slow computers.

7. Add more memory.

Utilizing these tips in this order will help find the least expensive solution to your slow PC.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Climate Change, Fact or Fiction

Climate change; is it fact or fiction. Is it man-made or a natural phenomenon? Be a part of the research while you sleep! By using an otherwise idling PC and joining a distributed network dedicated to climate change, you can use your home PC in a small way to help unlock the puzzles surrounding the climate change debate.

One such distributed networks dedicated to climate change research is This is a project sponsored by Oxford University with the stated goal of predicting the climate of the 21st century using distributed networking.

Distributed Computing

Distributed computing isn’t new but more people are relying on this concept to increase research computing horsepower. Distributed computing works like this: A central computer is connected to many other “worker bee” computers called nodes. These worker bee computers, more and more, are your desktop computer. During times of low activity such as at night and during the day while the user is at work this central computer sends small computing activities to the computer nodes. The object of distributed computing is to have as many nodes as possible so each computer does small amounts of work but the overall effect is a huge supercomputer.

Many researchers are using distributed computing for health research, climate change research and even the search for extra-terrestrial communications! The benefit of distributed computing can be magnificent. In some cases the computing power of a distributed network can be hundreds of times more powerful than the computing power a researcher would otherwise. This can cut time consuming and expensive computer modeling time from years to days.

For a list of some of the distributed networks visit

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fighting Cancer with the Computer

Imaging fighting cancer, ALS, Huntington's or Mad Cow Disease on your way to work, or while you are asleep. This can be done by everyone with a computer by a process called distributed computing. Stanford University isn't alone in using unused CPU time for good but they have the goal of using your computer's idle time and cpu for cancer research, Alzheimer's research and Parkinson's research. See Stanford's site for details.

There is also the Help Conquer Cancer Project. This project runs on the IBM sponsored World Community Grid. With distributed computing the Conquer Cancer researchers hope to use the World Community Grid to reduce computer time for certain research calculations and modeling from 162 years to 2 years.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Zoneminder Video Sample

Check out video security surveillance video captured using Zoneminder. Captured using a Four port capture BT878 capture card with Day/Night auto-iris zoom video surveillance camera.