It’s Lenny – April Fools!

It’s Lenny – April Fools!

In anticipation or April 1st, we’d like to introduce you to the newest member of the Outside Open team: Say hello to Lenny! Like everyone we get a lot of unsolicited sales calls. Some of the callers have been incredibly persistent so we thought we’d have a little fun with them. A couple of years ago we created the Rickroll line, an extension in our office that plays the Rick Astley hit Never Gonna GIve You Up. When a telemarketer called, we’d transfer them to the Rickroll extension. That was good fun but few were deterred by Mr Astley’s dulcet tones. (You can reach our Rickroll hotline at (805) 364-4511) Lenny is an automated bot – a set of recordings of what sound like an older antipodean gentlemen responding to random questions While searching for some fun to be had with phone systems, we came across Lenny. Lenny is an automated bot – a set of recordings of what sound like an older antipodean gentlemen responding to random questions. The bot starts out with a friendly greeting and then whenever there is a silence, a new question or comment is played – simulating a wonderfully obtuse conversation. He rambles on about his family, home, and finances, doing his best to never answer a question directly and to keep the caller on the line. All are welcome to send telemarketer calls to Lenny, there’s even a subreddit devoted to recordings made by others. Transfer your own April Fools victim to Lenny at (805) 765-1985 Using our Asterisk phone system we created a new extension that forwards to the Lenny hotline. All calls sent through this extension are played a brief announcement that...
Awesome OO T-Shirts!

Awesome OO T-Shirts!

At Outside Open we collectively love Will Forte’s “Last Man on Earth” TV show.  As nerds and designers we also really enjoy the t-shirts worn by Forte’s character, Phil. When tasked with creating a tshirt for the OO team, I refused to just slap a logo on the top left corner like everyone else!  I browsed through Threadless for inspiration and this wonderful design by Budi Satria Kwan immediately caught my attention – the design is awesome AND it was featured in Last Man – FTW! Even with all the details in the dandelion seeds and the little man with his spyglass, the design doesn’t feel too busy or crowded. I loved that the design was playful, whimsical, and fresh without being cheesy. It reminded me of a carefree, idyllic onwards and upwards approach to life. Playing off of Budi’s design, I integrated low poly triangles (my latest obsession), an “idea” lightbulb and the Outside Open logotype to come up with a design for our new shirts. onwards and upwards also onward and upward   If someone moves onwards and upwards, they continue being successful or making progress. The team are moving onwards and upwards after their third win this season. She started her publishing career as an editorial assistant and it was onward and upward from there. Here are some early drafts as I toyed with the design elements and concepts: And here is the final product 🙂 The shirts were printed locally by the super awesome Curt Crashaw @ Foundation Press  Want one? Drop by the office and say hi! They come in a fabulous orange or yellow and sizes S – 2XL and limited quantities of Tall...
pfSense 2.3 port settings for Asterisk FreePBX

pfSense 2.3 port settings for Asterisk FreePBX

Getting Asterisk VOIP systems set up and working behind a pfSense firewall has become routine as pfSense grows in popularity and as our clients switch from legacy phone systems to Voice over IP systems. The following setup instructions for opening firewall ports to allow SIP traffic through pfSense has been tested, and works, for Avaya, FreePBX and Asterisk VOIP systems. The process of opening the SIP and RTP ports is needed both to connect to the SIP trunk provider and to get audio working in both directions once connected. If you have audio only in one direction, take a look at the RTP port settings shown below. Option A: pfSense in an environment where you have multiple public IPs and with one IP assigned to your Asterisk / FreePBX or Avaya system. Option B: Port forwarding on pfSense for single IP system like you would have on a home Internet connection. Option A – using a dedicated static IP: Add Virtual IP Add 1:1 NAT for the Virtual IP Firewall rules to open SIP ports thru the pfSense Firewall rules to open RTP ports thru the pfSense 1. Add a Virtual IP Click on Firewall -> Virtual IPs Select IP Alias Add the extra static IP address assigned by your ISP Add a meaningful description 2. Add 1:1 NAT for the Asterisk Virtual IP Click on Firewall -> NAT -> 1:1 Add the VOIP server’s public IP under External subnet IP Internal IP is the Single Host with the private IP or your Asterisk or Avaya VOIP server Provide a good description and click Save 3. Firewall rules to open SIP ports through the pfSense Open SIP ports thru pfSense to the Asterisk server Click Firewall -> Rules...
letsencrypt.com changes the Internet forever!

letsencrypt.com changes the Internet forever!

Last week SpaceX changed space flight forever by launching, and then subsequently landing, a 15 story tall booster rocket on a moving platform in the ocean.  In a similar (but less dramatic) launch, letsencrypt.com has changed the Internet forever by offering free SSL certificates for everyone! SSL is the protocol that encrypts web traffic between your web browser and websites, making it a lot harder for the bad guys to listen in and steal your data. Let’s Encrypt is a non profit foundation funded by many of the biggest names in technology and their goal is to encrypt all web traffic.  To achieve this goal, Let’s Encrypt offers SSL certificates for free to anyone who asks. The process for getting the free certs is 100% automated with free tools available on Git Hub.  Back in the day, getting SSL certs was expensive and tedious so it is a welcomed pleasure to easily deploy certs for free to all our clients. Outside Open has committed to converting all the sites we manage to SSL by the end of Q2, 2016....
Apple will speed up your home or work network for $20

Apple will speed up your home or work network for $20

Even if your company (or home) doesn’t officially support Apple devices, it’s likely that there are dozens of BYOD Apple devices (BYOAD?) on the network.  When a new OS update or patch is released, all those devices clamor for bandwidth which can have a big impact on your Internet connection. Apple has released a fantastic tool that seamlessly supports all Apple devices on a network, even if they are totally unmanaged BYOD iPhones, MacBooks or iMacs:  Enter the OS X Server app available for $19.99 from the App Store! This is also a great tool in areas where bandwidth is metered or limited – updates or apps are downloaded and cached the first time they are requested and then all future devices that attempt to install that same update or app from the App Store will receive a copy from your local caching server. See the video below demonstrating the massive speed increase downloading a 6GB Mac OS X upgrade from a caching server in under 1 minute! How to set up caching in the OS X Server app Install the OS X Server app on a Mac that is likely to be powered on 24×7. Open the app and select local computer. Scroll down to the Services menu and click on enable Caching. Toggle the service to ON. Set Cache Size to a number that makes sense given available disk space.  80GB – 100GB is recommended. Permissions (this is really powerful) For most simple networks the default of “only local subnets” and “matching this server’s network” are perfect. If you use VLANs with a single outbound NAT IP, select “all networks” and “matching this server’s network”....