Mangler A Ventrilo Compatible Client for Linux

If you’re working with Ventrilo, you will learn quickly that there’s no Ventrilo client for Linux. It has been under development since 2005. Seven years later, it still hasn’t happened.

Good news, bad news. Bad news first. The bad news is I don’t think there will be a Ventrilo client for Linux ever. But, don’t fret. There’s good news. There’s a Ventrilo compatible client for Linux called Mangler. You can download the client from Mangler’s website.

Just download the appropriate version for your desktop. I’m using the 64-bit Debian-based package for Ubuntu 10.04. I downloaded it and ran the install via Gdebi Package Installer. The Mangler icon will be added under the Internet of the Gnome 2 menus, the default Ubuntu 10.04 desktop manager.

By the way, Mangler works great. I was able to transmit and receive signals from a Mangler client to a Ventrilo client and vice versa. Awesome app!

Install Ventrilo Server on Ubuntu 12.04

Ventrilo is a VoIP group communications software used by business users, gamers, or anyone needing group communication. A typical setup usually requires a Ventrilo server and some Ventrilo clients connected to it. The client software is available on Windows and the Mac.

Ventrilo server is available on many platforms such as Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD and NetBSD. Ventrilo server is available in two versions: (1) the public version which defaults to port 3784 with up to 8 users, (2) and the pro version that is configurable that can run on multiple servers and thousands of users.

This article will show how to install Ventrilo Server on the latest version of Ubuntu Linux, currently version 12.04. Credit goes to Ben Wagner for his article on installing Ventrilo server on Ubuntu 10.10.

Download

First, download the latest Linux version of Ventrilo Server from Ventrilo’s website.

Upload and Unzip

FTP the tar file to the home directory of your web server. Unpack the zipped file.

$ tar -xzf ventrilo_srv-3.0.3-Linux-i386.tar.gz
$ cd ventsrv

Create Ventrilo user

$ sudo useradd ventrilo

Move Binaries

Move the binaries to /usr/bin and make them executable.

$ sudo mv ventsrv/ventrilo_srv /usr/bin/ventrilo_srv
$ sudo mv ventsrv/ventrilo_status /usr/bin/ventrilo_status
$ sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/ventrilo_srv /usr/bin/ventrilo_status

Move config file

$ sudo mkdir /etc/ventrilo
$ sudo mv ventrilo_srv.ini /etc/ventrilo/ventrilo_srv.ini
$ sudo chown -R ventrilo:ventrilo /etc/ventrilo

Create the Start/Stop scripts

Insert the contents of this script into the ventrilo file. Make the file executable. Add the scripts to the boot sequence.

$ sudo nano /etc/init.d/ventrilo
$ sudo chmod 755 /etc/init.d/ventrilo
$ sudo update-rc.d ventrilo defaults

Start Ventrilo

$ sudo /etc/init.d/ventrilo start
* Starting VOIP server ventrilo
8931 (process ID) old priority 0, new priority -5   [ OK ]

Stop Ventrilo

$ sudo /etc/init.d/ventrilo stop
* Stopping VOIP server ventrilo   [ OK ]

Customize Config

Edit the Ventrilo config file.

$ sudo nano /etc/ventrilo/ventrilo_srv.ini

The contents will look similar to this.

[Server]
Name=ServerName
Phonetic=Servername
Auth=0
Duplicates=1
AdminPassword=password
Password=password
SendBuffer=0
RecvBuffer=0
Diag=0
LogonTimeout=5
CloseStd=1
TimeStamp=0
PingRate=10
ExtraBuffer=0
ChanWidth=0
ChanDepth=0
ChanClients=0
DisableQuit=0
VoiceCodec=3
VoiceFormat=18
SilentLobby=0

Pay attention to VoiceCodec and VoiceFormat. I’m using 3 and 18 respectively, so it’s compatible with the Mac OS clients.

Firewall Rules

The standard default port for Ventrilo server is port 3784. With the public version, you can connect up to 8 users concurrently. If you have a firewall installed such as iptables, you will need to open up port 3784 for both TCP and UDP. Here are the rules you will need to add to /etc/iptables.firewall.rules.

#  Allow Ventrilo
-A INPUT -p tcp --dport 3784 -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -p udp --dport 3784 -j ACCEPT

Apply the new rules.

$ sudo iptables-restore < /etc/iptables.firewall.rules

Just connect the Ventrilo clients to the server.

That’s it.

Changing Password Affects Google Talk

I recently changed my GMail password since I was changing passwords for all my other email accounts in light of the Yahoo password leak the other week. Little did I know, changing my GMail password also affected my Google Talk setup at Obihai.

A few months ago, I bought an analog terminal adapter (ATA) called the Obihai 110 from Amazon. This tiny little device allows me to configure my Google Talk number to the device and connect a regular analog phone to it.

The reason I choose Google Talk is, because it’s free. I can make phone calls to any cell or landline phone in the US and Canada for free. So, when I changed my GMail password, the Obihai setup with Google Talk got all screwed up as well.

Of course, I should have expected that. Somehow, I didn’t cross my mind until I realized I couldn’t dial out. I’m making a mental note. If I ever change my GMail password again, I need to head over to Obihai and update my Google Talk setup.

Google Voice on Ubuntu Desktop

This article will show you how to use Google Voice on your Ubuntu Desktop. If you don’t have a Google Voice yet, you can sign up for free and get your own local number. I’ll assume you already have Google Voice, and your computer has a soundcard. In addition, you will also need a headset with a microphone.

Once you have those requirements squared away, you will need to download the Linux plugin for Google Voice. By the way, the plugin is also available for Windows and Mac users. Once the Google Voice plugin installed on your system, you can then start making phone calls.

Here’s a screenshot when dialing out with Google Voice. With Google Voice, you can call any landline or mobile phone in the US and Canada for free. Google Voice has competitive international rates as well, for those wanting to call outside of the US.

I recommend that you do an actual test with your cell phone before calling friends, clients and others. This is just to make sure you can actually hear voices on both ends of the line.

Porting From Vonage To Google Voice

If you want to port your phone number from Vonage to Google Voice, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I will explain the process that I went through porting my number. Just to be clear, you can’t port your phone number directly from Vonage to Google Voice. However, it is possible. Porting a Vonage number to Google Voice require two steps. First, you need to port your number to a wireless provider. I chose AT&T. Second, once the number is transferred to the wireless provider, you will need to port it again to Google Voice. Unfortunately, there is no other easier way.

Vonage to AT&T

You can go with any wireless provider that you prefer. I chose AT&T since I’m already a customer.  The porting process usually takes anywhere from 7-10 days.  Since you are only doing this temporarily, I suggest you get yourself a prepaid GoPhone. Getting a prepaid phones will not require you to be tied to a 2 year contract. You just pay as you go, but AT&T require that I purchase a prepaid card.

So, I went to a AT&T store, and told the sales guy exactly what I was going to do. He did not have a problem with it. He asked me for my Vonage phone number, account number and ID. After a few minutes, I received a SIM card in return. I also had to purchase a $25 prepaid card, but there is no need for me to get a GoPhone. The cheapest GoPhone was $20. Unless you need one, you can probably skip purchasing one.

AT&T to Google Voice

Once the porting process is cleared with AT&T, I ported the number again to Google Voice. You can only port once to Google Voice. The porting fee is $20 payable via Google Wallet. Google will check if your number is available for porting. It will then go over the several porting conditions that I detailed below.

The cost of porting is $20.00 (payable through Google Wallet). Your mobile phone service plan will be terminated when you port your number to Google Voice and your carrier may charge you an early termination fee. Once porting is complete, you will not be able to receive calls to your mobile phone until you complete the following steps: Google Voice is not a mobile phone service provider, so you must setup a new mobile phone service plan (with your existing carrier or a new carrier) and request a new number. Once you’ve secured a new mobile service plan and a new number, you will need to add this new number to your Google Voice account as a forwarding phone. You may be unable to receive text messages for up to 3 business days after the porting process is complete. Your Google Voice number will be replaced by the number you are porting. It will remain on your account for 90 days(you will be able to make it permanent for a one-time $20.00 fee).

Google will also ask you for more details, like the wireless account number, phone number, address, etc. The porting process usually takes about 24 hours. Once you have confirmation from Google that the porting process is complete, your Vonage number should now magically work with Google Voice.

Total Cost

I spent $25 for the prepaid card and $20 for Google Voice port fee. The total cost to port from Vonage to Google Voice was $45. It was worth it, if you really want to hold on to your old number. With Google Voice, I can now call any US or Canadian mobile or landline phone for free.

Obi110 With Google Talk

I ordered the Obi110 from Amazon last week. Today, it finally came. For those not familiar with the Obi110, it’s an analog terminal adapter (ATA), from Obihai Technology. It allows you to use old analog phones to make free phone calls to anyone via the Internet using Google Voice.

With the Obi110, I can use Google Voice or any SIP service or provider such as Callcentric, Sipgate, Vitelity or Voip.ms to make phone calls anywhere. Any old analog telephone will work. There is no need for a computer or a softphone.

The Obi110 is a standalone device that’s connected to your home network. When you make a call, your call will be routed via your network and out to the internet. Pairing the Obi110 with Google Voice is ideal, since Google Voice allows you to make free phone calls to any landline or mobile phone in the United States or Canada.

When I received the device about an hour ago, all I had to do was register the device at Obihai’s website. I added Google Voice in the configuration. The setup was relatively easy. The Obi110 costs about $50.00. It’s one time fee. There are no monthly fees, no taxes, no surcharges.

Google Voice is currently free, until Google changes its mind. If you’re not convinced about Obi110, check out the great reviews of this product at Amazon. In addition, here’s a couple of great Youtube videos for your viewing pleasure.

Obi110 Review

This is a great review of the Obi110 device. It contains all the info you need to familiarize yourself with the device. The reviewer doesn’t really start talking about the Obi110 until about 4:15. You can probably skip the first 4 minutes.

How to Setup the Obi110

The Setup of the Obi110 was super easy. It’s intuitive. I didn’t even read the instructions. Less than 5 minutes later, I was making phone calls.

What’s next?

I will probably cancel my Vonage and MagicJack subscriptions. Vonage is great, but not at $30 a month. I also have the old MagicJack model which I will not renew. The older MagicJack I have still needs a computer, plus it’s about $40 a year.

With Google Voice and the Obi110 ATA, my monthly phone service cost me nothing. The price is right, it’s zero, zilch, nada, as long as Google keeps their end of the bargain.

The real challenge is trying to port my Vonage number to Google Voice. It’s going to be a lengthy process to port my number. I have to port the Vonage number first to a wireless carrier, then port it again to Google Voice. I can’t port directly from Vonage to Google. Google charges $20 to port a wireless number.

Sign Up for GMail Google Voice

This past week, Google released the integration of GMail and Google Voice which allows GMail users make free phone calls to anywhere in the US and Canada. At this time, the service is only available to US and Canadian users. Making international calls however, is subject to low rates which can be purchased online.

With GMail Google Voice, users can now make and receive free phone calls to any landline or wireless phones in the US and Canada until the remainder of the year. Google plans to make this service free as long as international calls can support the service. To sign up for Google Voice, go to http://voice.google.com.

You will be asked to choose a local telephone number from a list of numbers available. Once you secured a number, you will need to open up GMail to activate Google Voice. Click Settings -> Labs and enable the Google Voice module. To make a call within GMail, you will need to login to Google Chat.

The green phone will light up underneath your user name when it is ready. Dial a number and make your free phone call. GMail Google Voice works best with a headset with a built-in microphone. Enjoy.

Finally, here a video tutorial on how to make calls in GMail Google Voice.

Magic Jack 2.0

I’m not exactly sure what the next version of the Magic Jack will be called, but the latest iteration of the popular phone device has a feature that will make the Magic Jack device work with cell phones. It basically works like a mini cell tower. The Magic Jack device recognizes cell phones within 8 feet. You punch in a special code and it connects your cell phone with the Magic Jack. You can then place unlimited calls via internet for free. The new Magic Jack works with any GSM phone from AT&T and T-Mobile. The bad news is most phones from Verizon and Sprint will not work.

Read More

Gnome 2.28 Reviewed

TuxRadar reviews the latest Gnome 2.28 which comes standard with Ubuntu’s latest release Ubuntu 9.10 codename Karmic Koala. Gnome 2.28 comes integrated with Bluetooth support. You can now pair up your mobile device or bluetooth headset with your desktop or laptop. Gnome 2.28 also comes with Empathy which replaced Pidgin. Empathy is capable of VoIP as well as chat. The video program called Cheese has an new interface. There are a few other features which you read the rest of the review here.