Tuesday, October 13, 2015

My Creepy IVR

I'm so proud, I finally got Asterisk/FreePBX up and running on a Raspberry Pi with a Google Voice trunk. I used Incredible PBX and a lot of Google searches. It's taken weeks of on-again, off-again effort.

If this sounds like your idea of fun be prepared to take two steps forward and three steps back. I've had innumerable false starts and it really still isn't working right. Mainly the network config is boogered up. But it's functional enough to make a backup image of the SD card as a milestone image.

I couldn't wait to show it to my coworkers and generate some traffic to see how it would behave. We work in the telco industry so I wasn't out to impress anyone, just more of a hoot as far as anyone else is concerned.

I was completely unprepared for the reaction. About ten people have called in and listened to the IVR and to a person they describe the voice as 'creepy'. I used the stock install of Flite. Like the page says, it's fast and free. What they don't tell you is that the default voice apparently freaks everyone out, too.

Except me.

And that's the part that kinda' bothered me. One person said she wasn't surprised by that fact and it didn't bother her that I wasn't bothered by it. (She's that kinda' grrrl.)

Another friend said she thought it was saying her name. 'Sincerely' came out close enough to 'Kimberly' to make her wonder.

I've got a lot of work to do. Another buddy is planning on setting up an Asterisk server and wants to network the two together. I still need to suss out the network tangles and figure out how to get a packet capture going. I'm not sure the RPi has the horsepower to run tcpdump on top of everything else. I'll probably end up scrounging a managed switch somewhere.

And that voice. Flite has some other voices that I'll have to check out. I just don't want to use my own voice.

Because that would creep me out.

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