Help tech-neophyte with call-in public art project


#1

It seems like you all know what you’re talking about, so I’m hoping you have some advice. I’m working on a project for which I’d like to provide a call-in service where people can opt either to leave a message or listen to an audio program when one is available. I would like to be able to download their messages to my computer and occasionally produce that audio program (in whatever audio format is appropriate, though all i’m familiar with is standard WAV or AIFF editing) and upload it to the service for them to listen to. I would also like to be able to upload the broadcast to a server for availability as podcast.

Currently, though, I have none of these components set, not even a phone line, and am not clear on how to proceed: do I need a phone line at all, and what kind of phone, and what sort of services are required, what is required to install and operate what software, etc. A friend whose base-level technology knowledge is much higher than my advanced level knowledge referred me to Asterisk, but I’m afraid I don’t even know what a PBX is. If the more patient and explicit of you were inclined to help me walk through the necessary steps in this process (keeping in mind that I’ve never done any of it before but am a quick study if things are made clear), I would be really grateful.

Thanks,
Raj.


#2

rkottam,

It sounds like you want something simple, and functional so I would do this:

  1. Install Asterisk@home. It combines all the software you should need to do most of what you are asking for. Including asterisk and a management gui (amp)

  2. look up a voip provider in your area that provides sip. There are many different ones in the world, some that are even free.

  3. look up setting up a extension with voicemail and explore the option of having the voicemail emailed to you… (it will come in wav format by default)

  4. look up the digital receptionist.

With all these items you should be able to have the line auto-answer, and either play a message, or allow a recording or the both (with a menu).

the only part left is your audio editing… check out audacity.sourceforge.net/.

Good luck


#3

Thanks Irissman. I’ve been trying to follow your instructions. I realize that understanding PBX and what Asterisk does is not something that will come intuitively to someone who’s never thought too hard about telephony before, but I have some questions:

  • Asterisk@home seems to require a complete format of my drive. What’s more, my impression is that it is only designed for a PC. While I have one of each, PC and Mac, I can’t sacrifice either one to exclusive telephony usage. Is this an absolute?

  • I have never implemented source code to run a program before. While learning is a pleasure, time is somewhat limited. I found a Mac installer (my PC is pretty wimpy) for Asterisk proper. Can I just install that and supplement Asterisk with certain things to give me the features you think might be useful to me from Asterisk@home?

  • If I have no need to actually speak into a telephone for this project–if all I require is a repository for messages, do I need a physical telephone/adapter/SIP or whatever? Aren’t I okay with just my computer?

Thanks again.
-Raj.


#4

with asterisk at home it is required. however you can a dedicated computer in a data center and use that. it shouldnt be that much


#5

[quote=“rkottam”]Thanks Irissman. I’ve been trying to follow your instructions. I realize that understanding PBX and what Asterisk does is not something that will come intuitively to someone who’s never thought too hard about telephony before, but I have some questions:

  • Asterisk@home seems to require a complete format of my drive. What’s more, my impression is that it is only designed for a PC. While I have one of each, PC and Mac, I can’t sacrifice either one to exclusive telephony usage. Is this an absolute?

  • I have never implemented source code to run a program before. While learning is a pleasure, time is somewhat limited. I found a Mac installer (my PC is pretty wimpy) for Asterisk proper. Can I just install that and supplement Asterisk with certain things to give me the features you think might be useful to me from Asterisk@home?

  • If I have no need to actually speak into a telephone for this project–if all I require is a repository for messages, do I need a physical telephone/adapter/SIP or whatever? Aren’t I okay with just my computer?

Thanks again.
-Raj.[/quote]

Asterisk@home does require a format if you use the ISO version
You can get a tar.gz version that will install into linux; however, you may want to look into Microsoft virtual PC or Vmware as both are now “free” for use, and I know for sure that A@H works in vmware. A@H also does not need a powerful machine… mine for the longest time was a Pentium II 266 mhz system… about as wimpy as you can get these days…

If you dont need to speak at all, then no you dont, but you will need some sort of microphone to record your messages…

But I would recommend you get a soft-phone if for nothing else, testing purposes… they are free… and work fine. Xten is a popular one, but personally i cant stand that one… I prefer firefly.

Enjoy
Lance


#6

Hey Raj,
I’ve been in the same boat as you in learning this entirely foreign concept of PBX’s. I’d recommend trying what Irissman suggests with the VMware edition of Asterisk@Home. It’s perfect for testing but as you get more comfortable with this software you will probably want a dedicated box. You don’t have to install Linux, just download the vmware player and visit vmwarez.com to download the Asterisk@Home vm pacakage.

I’ll say that Asterisk has a steep learning curve as I’m in my 2nd week of really trying to grasp the basic concepts. Just hang in there and ask questions as most folks love to help out.

Also for your podcast, you might check out Podmail which looks to be a great script for allowing you to automatically make all voicemails into a podcast feed.


#7

[quote=“rkottam”]It seems like you all know what you’re talking about, so I’m hoping you have some advice. I’m working on a project for which I’d like to provide a call-in service where people can opt either to leave a message or listen to an audio program when one is available. I would like to be able to download their messages to my computer and occasionally produce that audio program (in whatever audio format is appropriate, though all i’m familiar with is standard WAV or AIFF editing) and upload it to the service for them to listen to. I would also like to be able to upload the broadcast to a server for availability as podcast.

Currently, though, I have none of these components set, not even a phone line, and am not clear on how to proceed: do I need a phone line at all, and what kind of phone, and what sort of services are required, what is required to install and operate what software, etc. A friend whose base-level technology knowledge is much higher than my advanced level knowledge referred me to Asterisk, but I’m afraid I don’t even know what a PBX is. If the more patient and explicit of you were inclined to help me walk through the necessary steps in this process (keeping in mind that I’ve never done any of it before but am a quick study if things are made clear), I would be really grateful.

Thanks,
Raj.[/quote]

RKottam, heya there :smile:

May i ask what exactly service you try to offer ?
I wonder why this should be bound to and based on a PBX ?
Maybe i just get it wrong tho.

Of course you can do it with asterisk, i can show you how, no problem.

But it might be also, that a shoutcast server with messenger and user-accounting might be better, therefore iam asking what it exactly is you want to do.