I became the sky – Flying the T-6 Texan

I have been fortunate to have tried a good many things in my day- So far, with the exception of getting married and witnessing the birth of my girls, I have yet to do anything as exciting and scary as what I did today…

Flying the Texan- For those of you who don’t know, the Texan is a WWII era pilot trainer… The plane itself was the final step before a pilot found himself flying solo in planes like the P 47 or the P 51… The plane is considered an advanced trainer based on its ability to perform aerobatic maneuvers.

As an arm-chair plane buff, I nearly fainted when my wife presented me with flight lessons in the T6 for father’s day… I’ll have to admit, the thought of pulling nearly 4 G’s in an old warbird left my palms sweaty weeks before flight day.

3:39 – Pre-flight briefing was pretty uneventful… I was relieved to know that I would in fact be sitting on a parachute and that there would be in-plane “sick-sacks” – The sacs were extremely modern however, as we were taking off I couldn’t help but think of how the chutes could use an upgrade.

Some of the first instructions I received were how to raise and lower the landing gear- being that the plane was older than just about every one I know, I wasn’t completely suprised at the amount of force that was required to initiate the sequence and I couldn’t help but think that I was somehow breaking the plane- images of me sitting there with a broken handle in my hand thinking OH $#@$ kept flashing through my head.

As we left the runway – My instructor Bruce banked pretty hard to the left as if to say are you sure about this?, and then flew over the airport so my family below could get a good look. After the pass we climbed to about 6000 feet heading North to Saginaw Bay. On the way, Bruce gave me an overview of the controls and before long I was flying the Texan- To be honest, it was a pretty exhausting. The plane itself required some strength to handle and left my calves burning after only a few minutes. Now I am not complaining nor was it very bothersom, but I was a bit relived when Bruce took back the controls- this lasted for about 2 mins…

At this point, from what I could gather is that Bruce’s job is part flight instructor part tour guide… What I didn’t know was that the tour that I was about to take would be one where I’d find out just how much I could take and the only instructions that I could remember were the ones that directed me on how to find use the sacks mentioned above (Which fortunatly, I didn’t need- I had the decency to make it back to the hanger before my lunch paid me a second visit FYI)

6000 feet and climbing – Once we reached the desired altitude and Bruce scanned the skies to make sure that we were the only plane in the general vicinity, Bruce walked me through the process of what is called a wing over. This manuver is basically a high banking turn where you have a moment of weightlessness. EASY… Once we finished this I was asked how I was doing, I replied great and we moved on…

Next up- The loop… Having ridden all of the coasters @ Cedar Point, I felt as if I were ready for anything… I’ll be the first to say that these coasters and all their glory fail to deliver 1/2 of the adreniline of a fully aerobatic aircraft. Bruce then took the plane in to a fairly steep dive. Once the aircraft reached 160 knots Bruce eased back on the stick running us through our first loop at about 2.5 g’s – Again, I am asked how I am doing… At this point I replied with a white lie and we moved on, again with the loop… Only this time we are diving faster and the only hand on the stick is mine… I pull back… Probably harder than I should have- almost 4 g’s… To be honest, at this point I was thinking that I may have bitten of more than I was prepared to chew…

Before long we were looping, barrel rolling, and performing “double clover leafs”… A day I will never forget.

Digium Sells 4 Million Ports – .e4 is happy to be there for it!

No doubt, a sign of the changing times in the telecom world is seen in the recent announcement by Digium of the delivery of their four-millionth port. Ashley Furniture, a major home furniture brand, purchased the 4 millionth port for their Switchvox AA300, SMB system from Digium reseller and online retailer and consultant .e4 Technologies. –
http://www.e4strategies.com

Digium’s announcement is not only a feather in the cap of .e4 Technologies, but evidence of their ability to bring demanding businesses comprehensive, cost-effective telephony solutions. Michael White, principal of Traverse City, Michigan-based .e4 Technologies, said in response to Digium’s announcement, “We’re proud of our work for Ashley Furniture because it met their specific business needs. The breadth and quality of the Digium product line help us deliver this kind of top-quality yet cost-effective solution to customers every day.”

Asterisk, the Digium company, is the world’s leading open source PBX, telephony engine, and telephony applications toolkit. As it becomes ever more apparent that communication platforms like Asterisk are not only viable, but uniquely capable of handling a wide range of telecom needs with sensitivity towards the bottom line, .e4 Technologies is determined to remain the premier resource for sales, consultation, and implementation of comprehensive telephony solutions.

Polycom to use Texas Instrument’s DSP in SoundPoint IP 670

Polycom, Inc. has selected Texas Instrument’s field-proven digital signal processing (DSP) technology to power its new SoundPoint IP 670 desktop phone.

TI’s DSP technology and Polycom’s software and systems expertise align to create a unique high definition (HD) lifelike voice quality experience for Polycom’s business customers and to further extend Polycom’s innovative family of IP phones. The two companies have a longstanding relationship and a shared focus to push advanced IP communications features to businesses worldwide.

The Polycom SoundPoint IP 670 – It’s Official

Disclaimer… Before anyone tries to snitch me out to Polycom or gets mad at me for letting the IP 670 out of the bag I thought that I might first give you a quick overview of how I first found out about the Polycom IP 670…

The answer are simple. Someone Posted the phone here… http://www.voip-info.org/wiki/index.php?page=Polycom+Phones So I did some googling and found it on the Polycom site here… http://www.polycom.com/usa/en/support/voice/soundpoint_ip/soundpoint_ip670.html

I have been mumbling for quite some time that it would be the cats meow if Polycom would offer nerds like myself a replacement device for some of the less Asterisk friendly COLOR Display SIP Phones in the market… Low and Behold the Polycom SoundPoint IP 670! Finally, a SIP phone from Polycom with a full color back-lit display! I bring to you the Polycom SoundPoint IP 670 – This new voip phone appears to be based on the extremely popular IP 650 platform. The format is simple- Take one of the most popular Polycom SoundPoint IP phones in the line up and give it a Technicolor makeover.

Polycom SoundPoint IP 670 Features:

  • Support for the Polycom SoundPoint IP COLOR Expansion Module
  • 320X160 pixels (4” by 2”) Full Color Display
  • 6 Line Appearances
  • HD Voice
  • Support for the Polycom Productivity Suite
  • Back Lit Display
  • Quality of Service – IEEE 802.1 p/Q, Layer 3 TOS, and DSCP3
  • Local Call Recording on demand to a USB stick plugged directly in to the 670

The IP 670 Color Display:
The phone used in the Polycom example looks as if it was configured by a minimalist- The tech that installed this device hasn’t enabled the presence feature or bothered to configure anything other that a single registration on a six line phone 🙂 A better photo example of the Color display on the Polycom SoundPoint IP 670 would have at least had a BLF or possibly had the new park button that will soon be available with the Polycom Enhanced Feature Key License.
I am also forced to assume that you can change the background images to something a bit more desirable – The user guides that I have found make no mention of the ability to do so via FTP, TFTP, or HTTP.

In summary… I have already begun letting my Linksys SPA962 and Plantronics CS55 know that their time spent on my desk is short lived- I have been using the combo for about a year and I can say that they have performed well… Unfortunately, for them, they will soon be replaced with a phone that truly offers best of breed Asterisk integration, a far superior speaker phone, and lifter-less headset functionality with my GN Netcom Jabra 9350 that I was lucky enough to get for FREE under GN’s recent B.O.G.O reseller promo! Can you say electronic hookswitch? Hello Jabra Mode!

snom klarVOICE – Announcing the new wideband handset from snom

snom klarVOICE Handset:

Staying current is an issue for all SIP/VoIP handset manufacturers. With Polycom’s latest offerings in the “HD Realm”, hard-phone vendors have been looking for new and innovation methods to stay current and even get a leg up on the competition.Snom announced today their new klarVOICE handset will afford any phone in the line with the ability to use the codec G.722.2 PSTN. This codec compresses the bit rate of a voice channel to 12.65 kbps

Introducing the Switchvox AA300

Staying true to “form”, Digium has released another Switchvox appliance directed at the SMB market. at first glance The appliance looks like a bigger/stronger/faster Switchvox AA60. The new AA300 will replace the AA350NR as the second beefiest device in the Switchvox family of products offering identical capabilities in a unique form factor.

Switchvox AA300 Features:

  • Same user capacity as the AA350NR
  • The Switchvox AA300 will ship with rack ears. An optional rail kit and wall mount bracket can be purchased
  • The AA300 & Switchvox SMB bundle price will remain the same, but the extended warranty and cold spare costs are lower.
  • Short Depth 3U Rackmount
  • 1-150 Users
  • 45 Concurrent Calls
  • 10 Concurrent Call Recordings
  • 15 Concurrent Conference Users
  • Spare Available
  • Silver, Gold, or Platinum SMB Subscriptions
  • 1 Year Warranty Standard
  • 3 Year Warranty Available
  • 80GB Storage

Certifications:

AA300 is certified for Safety and Emissions in the United States, Australia, Canada, and the European Union

More on the Switchvox AA300

The new Switchvox AA300 – Offering the power of a server class PBX for medium-sized businesses.

Today marks the newest addition to the Switchvox appliance family. Since acquiring Switchvox – the predominant IP PBX founded on Asterisk – Digium, Inc. has wasted no time merging the products of both companies. The result: increased, better options for customers who are looking to get rid of dated, expensive phone systems while enjoying the functionality of a PBX designed with the demands of large businesses in mind. By employing Switchvox software on Digium appliances, customers can expect to benefit from the easy-to-use, plentiful features of Switchvox and the dependable, convenient quality of Digium appliances. With the AA300 enhancing the already-well-established Digium appliance family, customers representing a wide range of business network demands should have no trouble finding the IP PBX best suited to their needs.

The AA300 supports up to 150 users, 45 concurrent calls, 10 concurrent call recordings, and 15 concurrent conference users. It comes in a short depth 3U rackmount form, but it can easily mounted on the wall and its relatively compact size means it can even sit inconspicuously on most desks. The AA300 can be used with Silver, Gold, or Platinum SMB subscriptions and it comes with a standard 1 year warranty, which can be upgraded to a 3 year warranty. The AA300 SMB starts at $4,240.

More on the Polycom Spectralink 8002

Hello again!

We had the fortunate luck of testing a Polycom Spectralink 8002 recently, The device we received was still labeled “beta” however the phone far surpased our expectations.

The Polycom Spectralink 8002 has a few options when ordering – There are several pachakes designed to meet the need of a mobile work force.

– Polycom Spectralink 8002 (Single Charger)
– Polycom Spectralink 8002 (Dual Charger)
– Polycom Spectralink 8002 (Battery Pack)

Our testing on the Polycom 8002:

In our lab environment we used a very basic Linksys WRT54GC Access Point. This AP’s compact design and support of WMM makes it an ideal platfor for our lab. The Spectralink 8002 met the need for a device that can roam from AP-AP with minimal setup and the battery life was pretty good too.