Saturday, May 28, 2005

Mars Network Monitor Plugins

I've written a couple of plugins for the Mars Network Monitor, Mars is a small java application that allows you to monitor certain types of web-services (http/https/jdbc etc) and trigger alerts via emai/popup etc when a service cannot be contacted.

A couple of years ago I wrote a plugin to allow the notification of a problem to be sent via Jabber which was added to the release.

The new plugins are for notification of problems via AOL instant message or SMS message. A couple of people have asked for copies of the source on the Mars discussion forum so I have made them available here.

As with the Jabber stuff last year I'm happy for them to be included in the core Mars framework if they fit into the projects goals.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Olympia DECT/ Skype Cordless Phone/Dual Phone

Back in March I bought one of these Dual Phones to see how they worked out. Its a normal DECT phone that also connects to Skype through a PC. The phone rings when a Skype call comes in, and you can talk wirelessly for the range of the phone.
The phone also keeps you informed of users coming online/offline and allows you to make SkypeOut (calls to landlines), normal Skype and landline calls from the same handset. It works as described, right now it lacks the ability to pickup voicemail messages with it, but I suspect that is something that will be added to the software over the next few months. Searching the contacts can also be a little tricky with a 2 lines of 6 characters. The killer feature is the 50m range, you can make/receive calls unteathered from a PC - it won't be long before people are making hardware that allows this to be done without a PC at all.

Skype In/Answerphone

I've mentioned Skype before, and things just get better and better with this service. Around three weeks ago I took out the 30euro option to get on the beta of SkypeIn/answer service. This gives me an ordinary London based telephone number which will divert to any location that I am logged into Skype. If I'm not logged into Skype then the call gets directed to an answer service and they get the option to leave a message (this is also the case for normal Skype calls to).

All in all I've found it great - I work in several locations at the moment and have been experimenting with it. Most of the people I work with directly already use Skype so for them calls to me are free, those who don't now have the option of either my mobile number or the SkypeIn number - in terms of costs SkypeIn is *much* cheaper (local or national rates) than calling my mobile provider.

The only minor niggle I have is that you cannot tell if you have a voicemail left for you from the Skype website. The ability to listen to these messages from just a web-browser would be helpful in certain circumstances.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be doing a fair amount of traveling including the US (JavaOne here I come) some time in Germany, and hopefully some time in Brussels if a new contract comes off. I'll report back on how SkypeIn works for this - in theory the savings should be huge.