Converting your BT landline to VoIP

About a year ago I moved to a different area and BT could not transfer my old London number to an address that belongs to a different area code.

I liked my number and I didn’t want to get yet another number, so I decided to convert it to a VoIP number. To do this, I had to change provides, as BT didn’t have this as a service. I joined Voipfone and I’m very happy with their service. To port your number to Voipfone, you just need to create an account with them and then follow these instructions:
http://www.voipfone.co.uk/PB_Porting_Numbers.php

It’s very straight forward, but you have to do this as late as possible before you move, as you will lose your telephone service after the number has been ported and, more crucially, your internet connection, if it is tied to your number (which usually is).

Then, when the number has moved to your new VoIP provider and your internet connection is active you need to get a VoIP base, like this one:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gigaset-N300-DECT-VoIP-Station/dp/B0063QY4NY/
Gigaset is a spinoff of Siemens and its quality, stability and ease of use is fantastic. The N300 connects to both your telephone line (if you have one) and the voip line and both (or more lines) ring on the same phone. We currently have 4 voip numbers on our Gigaset N300. I haven’t bothered connecting the land line on it, as we don’t really use it. The N300 has a simple web interface, similar to the one you get on your broadband router. Setting it up takes less than 30 mins.

I use a mix of these phones:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gigaset-C620H-Additional-Cordless-Handset/dp/B00DM7IL86/
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gigaset-C430H-Additional-Cordless-Handset/dp/B00F5V2FJ8
You can connect any other DECT phones you may already have to the N300 base though.

You don’t really need the Gigaset handset and VoIP station, if you are happy to install a VoIP app on your phone/tablet/computer. When you travel, the landline comes with you!

With Voipfone, you pay approx £2.40 per month for the line and you just add call credit. I think that, for a whole year I paid about £29 line rental in total, £20 to transfer the line and £20 for call credit. We do most of our calls through skype and mobiles nowadays… Including the equipment cost, it’s still a fraction of what BT would cost on line rental alone for a year!

Originally I had Virgin as my internet service provider and no landline. I wasn’t very satisfied with their service though, so I moved back to Zen, opting for their fast unlimited package with a landline. Not as fast as Virgin, but more consistent service and no outages!…

Hacking an IKEA mirror [part 1]

In a recent trip to IKEA, I found an interesting and very “hackable ” item: the TYNSES mirror:

hackable mirror from IKEA

hackable mirror from IKEA

[link to IKEA]

I wasn’t really interested in the actual mirror. I was after the nice metal frame. I removed the mirror, which was held in place by 6 stickers and I’m planning on making it a panel on which I will add 8 buttons connected to a raspberry pi. Then the panel will be clamped on my desk, allowing me to run things by pressing a combination of the buttons.

The buttons will be at the bottom part, in two rows. I’m thinking of having an old Nexus at the top, as a mini screen connected to the Raspberry Pi.

I will post more on this later on, as I build it.