Radiac's Tips for Christmas Day

This is the last working day before society dictates that we all have to take half a day off to be with family, so I thought now would be the perfect time to share with you my top tips for a productive Christmas Day.

Plan your day

There are certain activities on the day itself which are marginally enjoyable - the meals are often above par, and while we all find the unwrapping of presents to be tedious at best, the activity often produces many useful items, such as pens or socks. Once you have decided which activities you wish to attend, you can then start to plan how to optimise your time.

Schedule some automated alerts

This can be a great way to cut short an activity to get back to work. For years it was sufficient to surreptitiously send yourself a text message, but these days family members are increasingly wise to this ruse, and with the proliferation of touch-screen phones, it is quite difficult to send the message while your phone is still in your pocket.

However, do not fear, technology to the rescue! Just install asterisk, hook it up to a PSTN gateway, and schedule your call with a simple:

echo "asterisk -rx \"originate SIP/mobile extension 1@angryclient\"" | at 11:17am Dec 25
At the appointed time, your computer will ring your mobile SIP client and connect it to your angryclient extension context, which you should configure to play a recording of a client with an urgent complaint.

For added efficiency, answer the call by "accidentally" putting it on speaker phone - your family will hear the whole thing, thereby avoiding any unnecessary conversation with them - you can get back to work with a simple "You finish unwrapping the presents without me, I'll be back as soon as I can".

Charge your laptop

When all else fails, although societal conventions mandate that you physically have to be with family, it is perfectly acceptable for you to be there while using your laptop. Any complaints of "I hope you're not working, it's Christmas Day!" can be dispelled with the trusty old alt-tab from your text editor to Solitaire - "No no, see, I'm having fun like the rest of you."

Additional resistance can be anticipated from certain relatives when you set your laptop upon the dinner table, but one of my favourite tricks is to load it up with some cheerful Christmas songs - everyone loves those! When asked "Why are you typing?" simply explain that you are queuing up songs for the rest of the meal.

There are, of course, many more techniques for turning the day into a productive paradise, but these simple steps should be enough to get you going this year. Christmas day no longer needs to be the ocean of boredom and dispair that it once was!


+1 for creative asterisk uses.

It's sitting alongside vim and gcc in my top ten list of "pieces of software that will eventually become so useful, all other software will become obsolete"

Asterisk is pretty good, at least now I've got it working - it took a while! I've got a Cisco SPA 303 and a couple of sipgate numbers, and have been making some calls in and out over the past few weeks to check it all works. I think I'll start giving the number out in the new year.

I'd like to get an FXO card to hook up the landline, but I've only got a PCIe slot spare, and those are just too expensive to make it worthwhile for the handful of calls I get on there :)

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