Decoding Geek Speak in time for AstriCon

By Julie Webb

For one glorious week of the year, I am able to spend quality time with the Asterisk software engineers. Granted, they might not be so thrilled about mingling with the marketing hacks, the muckety-mucks and the other non-software geeks, but for the most part these highly intelligent, polite ladies and gentlemen of the Asterisk project, put aside any hesitation and gladly welcome me into their fold.

Astricon 2016As I do most every year, I populate the AstriCon web site with the amazing schedule David Duffett works so diligently to create. This year I noticed some very creative and compelling talk titles. But it quickly reminded me that I need to brush up on the ‘geek’ vernacular so that I can hopefully hold my own during the AstriCon “hallway” tracks – those very informative discussions that happen during breaks, lunch and in the hallway.

With the help of one of my fellow dog-loving, software engineer, Joshua Colp aka <file>, I have been able to come up to speed with some of the most popular terms. Here they are, in no particular order of need-to-know importance:



My definition – A fancy name for a baby bib; or a man’s beard

Real definition – This is a piece of software for monitoring VoIP calls and figuring out their quality/what went wrong. It’s doubtful you’d hear it standalone.


My definition – Article of clothing (if PJs are deemed clothing) worn while drinking; or Panama Jack Shorts.

Real definition – PJSIP can actually be two things. PJSIP itself is the implementation for VoIP (more specifically SIP) that we use in Asterisk and Digium IP phones. You may also hear it as “Asterisk PJSIP support” which refers not just to that implementation but our specific usage of it (we have features on top, and it’s tied into Asterisk). It’s what we are supporting going forward. For example:  “For all new deployments you should use PJSIP and not chan_sip, as that is what Digium is supporting.”


My definition – Slacks one might purchase at Sears®

Real definition – Docker is the current “hawtness.” It’s a way of taking a program and creating a self contained universe that has everything it needs to run, that is isolated from other stuff, and can be run across multiple computers. It can provide a guarantee that across all those computers what is running is the absolute same (including how it is configured). For example: “I created a Docker image of Asterisk and ran 20 copies of it. It worked great!”


My definition – Condition similar to “RBF” (Resting Bleep Face)

Real definition – ARI is a way for developers (in particular web developers) to write telephony applications. It makes complex things simple and uses the same stuff that a browser uses to talk back. It works by having simple operations, which can be invoked on calls (answer the call, play a sound to them) and then events (the call was hung up, they hit keys on their phone). The developer reacts to the events and executes the operations in their application. “I created an ARI application to prank call marketing, whenever they answered I played the howling monkeys sound to them!”


My definition – Greek Poet

Real definition – HOMER is part of the SIPCAPTURE stuff, it’s likely you’d just hear about it and not SIPCAPTURE. We have native support for publishing the useful bits it wants from Asterisk. For example: “I was monitoring this call in homer and noticed that it had audio loss.”


My definition – A child’s first try at spelling “Daddy”

Real definition – DAHDI is just the name of ye ol’ software which drives our hardware cards. Digium Asterisk Hardware Device Interface. For example: “Throw out your DAHDI card! Get a Digium SIP trunk!”

In all seriousness, AstriCon is one of the highlights of my year in that in brings together the Asterisk Community from all over the globe like one big, crazy family reunion! Looking forward to seeing everyone next week! (And if you have any other Geek speak you think I should brush  up on, please post it here in the comments.)

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About the Author

Julie Webb

Julie Webb is the Marketing Communications (MARCOM) Director at Digium. She joined the company in January 2005 after spending many years in the telecommunications industry. Julie and her team are responsible for corporate branding and events, most notably AstriCon.

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