Real MoneyFarmin’ G(eek)

For a while now we have had no land-line for telephone calls. As far as we were both concerned this was a good thing because not only did it mean we weren’t paying stupid prices for a land-line, but also that people couldn’t call us. Nowadays people imagine they have the right to be able to call you whenever they feel like it…and personally I like to spend time being inaccessible. Anyway, Michele and I fantasized about having our own telephone exchange that would insist on callers issuing an extension number on being connected. Anyone who didn’t know the number would be forced to go on hold, with some suitably offensive hold music (eg bagpipes) for a long while until they left a voice mail. Which we could then ignore.
Our dream is coming true thanks to a combination of VoIP, asterisk, and an amazing piece of luck.
I’d been trying to buy a piece of equipment called an ATA or “Analog Telephone Adapter” which would let us plug a normal phone into Ethernet. Owing to my preference for UK debit cards I’d had a few problems with many of the provincial companies of here.
But, the other night I stumbled upon something that seemed too good to be true: a company specializing in all kinds of VoIP hardware that is literally 2 minutes walk from my front door. So, I went to their site and bought a stupidly cheap ATA which Michele went and picked up the same day. Let me tell you, this little box of tricks is amazing. With no extra hardware I managed to hook up a phone that makes and receives calls for less that 1c/min – and that includes the UK. Obviously to get this bargain I had to use a VoIP company, but the company I used, Future-Nine do a pay-as-you-go thing that means there’s no “line rental.” They really do appear to rock.
So now I’m in the process of configuring asterisk to provide us with a lovely voicemail/annoyance system.

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