Posts categorized "Books"

Jim Courtney Discussing His "Experience Skype To The Max" Book on March 27 on VUC at Noon US EDT

Vuc534 skype to the maxWant to learn more about what's up with Skype right now? Tomorrow, March 27, 2015, at 12 noon US Eastern, my friend Jim Courtney is going to be discussing the new second edition of his "Experience Skype to the Max" on episode 534 of the VoIP Users Conference (VUC) podcast.

As noted on the VUC page, Jim will be talking about:

  • New features over the past three years and why they don’t have the “buzz” impact that new features used to have. Are we becoming calloused to anything new?
  • The challenge of innovating with a product that has built up a legacy and familiarity
  • The challenge of educating users about features beyond free voice and video calling (and it’s also a challenge for smartphones – to make users realize there is value in all those applications available beyond voice calls and SMS messages).
  • The feature set to consider when evaluating other alternatives
  • The directory issue
  • Skype vs Skype for Business
  • Asynchronous vs real time comms (migrating to IM backend has allowed more “persistence” with chat messaging, for instance)
  • Anytime communications Rooms

It should be a good session. I've known Jim for many years through his blogging about VoIP and he has a great amount of knowledge about Skype. Sadly, I'll be occupied with IETF 92 activities during the live broadcast so I will have to catch up with the recording of the session.

It's probably best to also join the IRC backchannel where links are shared, questions are answered and other comments occur. You also can visit the Google+ event page for the VUC #534 session today where there may be additional links and info.

If you won't be at your computer, you can also call in via:

The session will of course be recorded so you can listen/watch later. Here is the YouTube live video stream:

Calling All Asterisk Users! Can you help proofread Asterisk:The Definitive Guide?

asteriskdefinitiveguide.jpgDo you use Asterisk as a PBX? Are you an administrator of an Asterisk system? Do you have a product based on Asterisk? Or that connects to Asterisk?

If so, the authors of the forthcoming book "Asterisk: The Definitive Guide" are looking for your help as they enter into the final production stage of the book. Now, the cool part about the book is that, like the first two versions, it will be released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States license and made available online for free usage and download. You also can naturally purchase it from O'Reilly... but the key item is that the content of the book will become part of the available body of online Asterisk documentation.

So it's in all of our interest that it is as accurate as possible!

If you have even just a few minutes to browse a section or two and provide feedback, the book is up in O'Reilly's "Open Feedback Publishing System" at:

You need to have a account on O'Reilly's system in order to comment... but those accounts are free and if you have ever bought anything from O'Reilly odds are that you already have one.

In today's VUC call, authors Leif Madsen and Russell Bryant asked for help from the community. They are at the stage where they can't really add large blocks of content or massively rearrange, but they can tweak text. So they are asking people for help in just checking it over... are there any errors found? Are there better ways to say something? Text that isn't quite right? Or any other comments...


Leif and Russell stressed today that you don't need to read the whole book... if there is a chapter that interests you or that is applicable to something you work directly with, please take a look at that chapter and provide feedback. Even if you just have 10 or 15 minutes now and then to scan through some of the text, it would be a great help.

I'm going to try to read a bit of it (predictably the security chapter ;-) and would encourage you to take a peek, too!


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Looking for a Last Minute Gift for A Telecom or Security Person?

<shameless self-promotion>

With Christmas fast approaching, are you looking for a last-minute gift for someone you know working with telecommunications or security?

If so, may I suggest a book written by a certain someone called, oh, Seven Deadliest Unified Communications Attacks? You can order it from sites like and have the book delivered this week before Christmas!

The book will help whomever you give it to understand what the real threats to communications networks are today - and also what the real solutions are. Here's a video I made to explain why I wrote the book:

</shameless self-promotion> :-)

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O'Reilly asking community to help create "Asterisk Cookbook"

I love it when I see the collision of a variety of my interests.  Here O'Reilly combines VoIP, open source and social media (a wiki in this case) all in one effort: Bruce Stewart is looking for people to "Help Create the Asterisk Cookbook".  Here's his request:

We’re looking for two kinds of contributions. First, we’re looking for problems you’d like to see solved in the book. If you need to make Asterisk do something and just can’t figure out how, let us know. We’ll try to solve the problem for you. Second, we’re looking for more advanced Asterisk users to contribute solutions to problems that they’ve faced.

And Bruce has a wiki set up for people to use to contribute.  This is interesting on a couple of different levels.  First, it's a major publisher going out to a community to directly involve them in writing a book. Second, they are using a wiki for all the collaboration. (And yes, other authors have reached out to communities and have used wikis for public collaboration, so this isn't necessarily a new idea.)  And third, the topic being Asterisk, I'm sure they'll wind up getting recipes from a ton of people who have scratched their various itches and solved peculiar problems using Asterisk.  In fact, it will probably could have been titled "The Itch-Scratcher's Guide to VoIP."

I'll be intrigued to see the result, not only of how the collaborative process works for O'Reilly, but also for the actual book.  The fascinating and fun part about Asterisk is that because the code is wide open for anyone to tweak to their heart's content, people can scratch itches and solve problems that are so particular to them that no commercial vendor in their right mind would ever spend the time or resources to address the issue. There's just no real market for it beyond that one company/organization. But that entity can turn to Asterisk and either program it themselves or pay someone to develop the feature or fix for them.  If they make their code public, it might just turn out that there are some others out there who might have the same or a similar itch.  And the itch-scratching continues...

So it will be fun to see what recipes emerge.

"Hacking Exposed VoIP" book from McGraw-Hill has a podcaster review quote (mine) on front cover

(Originally posted at

If you look at the front cover of "Hacking Exposed VoIP" (either click on the small image to the right or follow this link), you will see a review quote from a certain someone:

If you are a security professional charged with protecting a network infrastructure that includes VoIP, you definitely must read this book! Failure to do so will seriously put your VoIP systems - and your network - at risk!"
-Dan York, Producer and Co-Host, Blue Box: The VoIP Security Podcast

McGraw-Hill left out the first part of what I sent them, namely "This is a dangerous book.". (UPDATE: The full quote is on the first page inside the book.) It is a dangerous book, really, because Dave and Mark have brought into one book an amazing amount of information that previously was only found through diligent searching of many places. I stand by my quote - security professionals responsible for the security of VoIP systems really do need to read this book!

On a different note, I have to wonder if this is the first time a review quote from a podcaster has appeared on a published book that does not have anything to do with social media. Quotes from podcasters have been on books about podcasting... and perhaps books on blogging (I don't know, but I could see them there). But I wonder how many review quotes from podcasters have been on books in other fields. There is no way to easily find this info, of course, so I have no clue. Perhaps this book is among the first to feature a podcaster (maybe even the first)... perhaps not. The only reason I mention it is that it really becomes just one more sign of the rise in the recoginition of podcasting and podcasters. Cool to see.

Meanwhile, if you are dealing with VoIP security, you really should buy the book. (And no, I don't receive any income or a kickback for promoting the book. I just think it is an extremely good book.)


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