Tag Archives: government

Parking Availability, Team Forrest, and Asterisk

Ann Arbor Parking

Recently, Fred Posner of Team Forrest, assisted Edward Vielmetti with a simple idea — help make information accessible. In this case, the information was the availability of Parking Spots in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (A2DDA) publishes data regarding parking spot availability on the web, however, when you’re driving to the garage navigating to a web site is the least of your worries. So, an idea was born to make parking information readily accessible — and with that, Team Forrest’s Fred Posner built a quick prototype to demonstrate how Asterisk (by Digium) can help rethink how data can be accessed.

In the prototype, a caller can select which garage to query. The system will then speak to the caller the remaining number of spaces and offer 3 options — select another garage, exit (and hear the local weather), or choose to be notified if there are fewer than 10 spaces remaining. If the caller selects the notification option, the system will automatically check once a minute (for 30 minutes) and initiate a call out to the user. The call will remind the user which garage they selected and inform them of the current number of available spaces.

The prototype for this project can be accessed from the Team Forrest main line, at +1 (212) 937-7844. Then, choose 6 for check local Ann Arbor Parking availability.

About Team Forrest

Team Forrest offers complete Internet Consulting services, specializing in VoIP and Asterisk solutions. Team Forrest has one simple goal: Help the client. Whether you need emergency assistance or if you are planning a deployment, Team Forrest is here to help. With over 15 years experience, our team can quickly assess your needs and help deploy the most appropriate solution.

About Asterisk

Asterisk (by Digium) is the world’s leading open source telephony engine and tool kit. Asterisk empowers communication with it’s flexibility. Asterisk is released as open source under the GNU General Public License (GPL), and it is available for download free of charge. Asterisk is the most popular open source software available, with the Asterisk Community being the top influencer in VoIP.

Related Information:

FBI and Asterisk Security? Relax, Breathe, and Read

Recently, the FBI issued an advisory warning users that Asterisk (the open source VoIP / PBX software) could be compromised and then used in vishing attacks. First, If you are running an old verison of Asterisk, you should upgrade to the newer one. Any Team Forrest client that is concerned should contact helpme@teamforrest.com for a free evaluation. If you’re not a Team Forrest client, email, call, or contact us to check your platform for you— free of charge.

Secondly, don’t worry. From what we can tell, this is an old bug fixed in March of 2008. But, as always, you should run the most recent stable version of Asterisk. Not for the FBI warning; but mostly because it resolves other issues discovered. The nature of software is to find, fix, and update. Not a big deal. Again, if you’re concerned, contact Team Forrest today for a free evaluation.

For more info, please check out:

Asterisk (created and maintained by Digium) is free, open source software provided under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Asterisk is the most popular open source VoIP software available, with the Asterisk Community being the top influencer in VoIP.

FEMA voicemail system hacked

A hacker used an old-school technique to hack into the FEMA voicemail system and make $12,000.00 worth of calls to the Middle East and Asia. FEMA, which is under the Deparment of Homeland Security, should be very thankful to Sprint; it was Sprint that noticed the calls and stopped long distance access.

Lessons learned? If you’re allowing your voicemail system to initiate outbound calls, its a good idea to lock it down. Use good password. Require passwords to be changed from the default. And, really only allow outbound calls when absolutely required.

Read more about the FEMA incident at VoIP Tech Chat.