WireShark to the rescue

If you have been faced with the task of debugging a SIP call then you know how daunting that can be. You make the call (to MSS 2007 in my case) but all you get is a busy signal. Or the phone just rings and rings.

What’s wrong? You start checking your setup. Everything is configured correctly (or so it seems) but the call won’t go through. So you try again. Look at things some more and try again. Have you ever done this? I have. It’s like we expect the call to magically work on the second or third attempt. Well it doesn’t work that way for me.

To debug a SIP call you have to do some digging and that is where WireShark comes in to play. WireShark is a network analyzing tool and it is a free download. I’ve started using it to debug SIP calls so I thought I would show you how I use it. Note that there may be other ways of using WireShark but this is what works for me.

After starting WireShark you have to tell it to start monitoring network traffic. You do that by clicking the leftmost button on the tool bar and clicking the Capture button as shown below.

Once you start the capture you will be presented with the capture screen and you can make your call. The capture collects a lot of data so I wouldn’t advise going for a cup of coffee while the capture is running. The capture screen looks like this. Simply click the stop button after placing your call.

After stopping the capture you will be presented with the data from the capture. You may be surprised by the amount of data that is collected but don’t worry. WireSHark allows you to filter the data so all you have to do is filter out all but the SIP traffic. You do that by clicking the Expression button to set the filter or choosing it in the download if you have set it previously. WireShark will remember the last setting when you start it up.

After clicking you can choose SIP as shown here –

Now your data should only show the SIP traffic as shown in the image below.

By clicking on a row you can drill down to see your data like this –


 You can even save the data off to a file in several other formats so as the text file shown here.

As you can see there is a lot of data about the SIP call. I’ll let you interpret the data as a homework assignment. I will go into more detail in a later blog post on how to anyalyze the data and explain what is happening with the call.

Note: If you have problems viewing these images you can find larger versions by clicking on the image.

Windows Vista Coach Tour Coming to Jacksonville

The Windows Vista Coach Tour is coming to Jacksonville, Gainesville and Orlando on Sunday January 21st.

I don’t have the locations or times yet but I’m working to get them and I’ll post them as soon as I obtain them.

In the meantime you can read about the tour on the Vista Team blog or if you are already running Vista you can get the Bus Tour Gadget and you can track the bus yourself. That and the blog may be the only sure way to know when and where.


The gotspeech guy has a new Zune

My new Zune arrived yesterday and I am stoked. My son has had one since the first week they were available and I had to settle for his old IPod Nano. Not anymore. I’ve got my own Zune now.

The only problem is that I have 30 gigs to fill and that will take some time. I’ll try to at least get some Waylon Jennings on it tonight.

My first exposure to music was on LPs. Then came 8-Tracks and cassettes. Next I moved to CDs and each time technology improved I wittled down my library and only repurchased the stuff I liked. Now I’m excited about being able to take my music with me anywhere I go. I especially like the fact that the Zune has built in FM stereo so my listening opportunities are limitless.

From my first LP (Led Zeppelin IV) to my Zune – not bad for 35 years of technology growth.

Now that I’ve got a Zune does that mean I am hip and cool? Are those even the right words?

Nah, probably not. I’m just some old fart with a young person’s toy.

Vista Rocks but…

I’m still happy to be up on Vista but I did run into a few problems so I reinstalled Vista as a clean install instead of an upgrade.

I had Live Onecare on the box before the upgrade and Vista requires a different version that is still in beta but is scheduled to go live with the Vista Launch later this month. The beta won’t install without first uninstalling the previous version. No problem, right?

Wrong! For some reason the old version would not uninstall. I spent some time talking with Microsoft technical support but we were unable to get the uninstall to work.

I also had some problems with Daemon Tools. It wouldn’t run and wouldn’t uninstall. Don’t know why but it just wouldn’t.

Then I developed a problem with Outlook 2007. It would start, download one email then exit with an exception. Nothing I did fixed the problem. I finally decided that the problem had to do with the Vista upgrade. Upgrades are almost always problematic so I decided to bite the bullit and do a clean install. Yes I would loose some stuff but that was okay.  Some of the stuff was beta and had expired anyway. Besides the way developers load so much stuff on their machines its probably not a bad idea to wipe the drive every so often.

The new install went faster that the old one and about an hour and a half after starting I was up again. Next I reinstalled Office 2007 and configured Outlook. But the problem was still there. Now what? Well after attempting to start Outlook several times I noticed that it was downloading the same email each. Strange. So I brought up my browser and hi the web interface for my email. After deleting the emails using the web interface Outlook started working and has worked fine since. Maybe I didn’t need to reinstall after all.

My final step was to try and get my old email back. The install created a directory called Windows,old that had my old “Documents and Settings”  folders so it was a simple task to move the .pst file to the new Vista location.

I’ve still got some software to install the get everything back to normal but that is okay. It’s nice to have a clean hard drive and registry.

Vista Rocks!!!

I’ve already mentioned that I would be speaking at the local Vista Launch event. I will also be at the local CompUSA store on Feb. 3rd in support of the Vista Launch. Since these events are on my schedule I figured I should at least install the software and become familiar with it. So, I downloaded Office 2007 over the weekend and installed and played around with it. I like the new look though there are still some things I can’t seem to find on the ribbon bar.

Now what about Vista? Well, my latest MSDN shipment arrived yesterday and in it was the release version of Vista. So I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade my main PC. After all Andrew Connell was telling me at lunch last week just how easy his upgrade so it shouldn’t be a problem for me. Right?

After obtaining the Product Key from MSDN I stuck the DVD into the drive at 7:30 PM. The install offered to run a compatibility utility to see if my machine would support Vista so I let it. It found a few problems with some obscure stuff I have (i.e. the WinRadio) and the Nvidea drivers. Since i read recently that the Nvidea drivers were available now I wasn’t too worried about that. I just figured I would run in a lower resolution until I could download and install the new drivers.

So I charged blindly ahead in upgrading my main PC. My development PC. My lifeline to the world. My connection to the Speech community and to GotSpeech. My everything. Are you starting to get the picture that I bet the whole farm on the install going smoothly?

Well, things really went very smooth and by 10:00 PM I was up and running on Vista Ultimate. As I surmised the installation ran in a lower resolution but when everything was finished Vista was running at my normal 1280×1024 and it even recognised my dual monitor setup without me having to do anything.

I did have one “heart stopping ” moment about an hour into the upgrade. The system rebooted and came up with the normal Bios screen with the words “Boot from CD” at the bottom and a flashing cursor. There was hard drive activity but nothing else seemed to be happening. This went on for about 10-15 minutes before it rebooted again. After that it was smooth sailing the rest of the way.

Once I logged in I encountered a problem with something that wanted to drop me into the VS debugger. I’ll have to track that down but that was really the extent of the problems I encountered. I really like the new interface and I am excited about discovering all the new stuff that Vista offers. Perhaps I’ll get a few hours to play with it this evening.

It’s nice to know now that I won’t look like a complete idiot at the Vista events.

Jacksonville Vista Launch Event

I posted previously that I would be speaking at the local Vista Launch. In addition to Vista you can learn about what is new in Office 2007, SharePoint Server and Office Communication Server.

Registration is now open and the Agenda and location info has been posted.

If you check the agenda you will find that almost every speaker is either a Microsoft employee or an MVP. Pretty impressive for Jacksonville.

So, if you are anywhere near the Jacksonville area then go ahead and join us.

Note: this blog entry was posted using Microsoft Word 2007.

The NDA Curse

The LCSKid had a recent post on entitled “How do I determine what I post” that I found very interesting. Tom normally blogs about things to do with Live Communications Server (the predecessor of Office Communication Server) but in this post he talks about blogging on beta software topics.

I totally understand where he is coming from. When dealing with beta software such as the next version of Speech Server you have to be careful what you say. Or at least some of us do. I’ve been using the pre-beta and beta bits for Speech server for over a year now. That means that most of my time is spent working with things that I can’t talk about because I’m under a Non Disclosure Agreement. That means that I can’t blog about the really neat Workflow activity I created. I can’t discuss how I handle things differently than I did in MSS 2004 R2.  I can’t really tell you what the programming experience is like in 2007 other than to say I love it.

To make matters worse, as I understand it the beta users don’t sign NDAs and thus aren’t restricted in what they can say. Some are even blogging about things that I’m not allowed to blog about. That can be very frustrating. I hold back and they let it all loose.

Someone (I won’t say who but they read my blog) said that I should just blog it anyway. Their philosophy was that “its easier to get forgiveness than permission” but I won’t operate that way. Microsoft has been to good to me for me to use that approach in my blog. I’ve had a great ride with the beta versions of Speech Server and I really enjoy getting a heads up on the new stuff. If I’m not on the bleeding edge of development then I get bored. I won’t do anything to jeopardize my relationship with the Speech Server team. I’ve got some great friends there and I’ll just have to wait for a while before I can blog some things. They will tell me when I can blog.

I’m not really complaining but I just wanted you to know why I don’t blog more about Speech Server 2007 and OCS. Its just that I’m limited in what I can say.

Now about that really neat Workflow activity….


Jacksonville has another MVP

I’m excited to announce that Vinay Ahuja has been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in the Visual Developer – Visual C# category. Well done Vinay – you really deserve it.

It is great to see another MVP added in the Jacksonville are. We have an exciting and active community here in northeast Florida and the number of MVPs (5?) just goes to show how strong the .NET community is locally.

Now if we could just get Microsoft to open up an office here.

Also, my good friend and MVP mentor Bill Ryan got re-awarded for 2007.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone. I think this will be a breakout year for all of of Speech Server developers.

My New Years Resolutions:

  1. Spend more time with my family (i.e. away from work and the computer)

  2. Eat more healthy and exercise more

  3. Loose weight – #2 should help with this

  4. Blog more often – I would like to do 2 or 3 blog entries a week

  5. Promote Speech Server and GotSpeech every chance I get

  6. Do more speaking engagements and appearances

  7. Get published

  8. Get Certified

That’s my list for the year. I think it is important to set goals and then check back on them throughout the year.

I have to go work on #1 now. See you later.