Quick Dialler application for Gradwell VoIP Customers

Some time ago I produced an add-in to Outlook that enabled the calling of contacts directly from Outlook using Gradwell Call API. The app worked pretty well but I have recently redeveloped it into a standalone application and I think it works much better in this format. It still integrates with the Outlook contact database but the functionality is much easier to use in this format.

Introducing Quick Dial for Gradwell VoIP

So what does it do and how does it work?

Essentially the application allows you to initiate a call to your gradwell extension directly from your desktop without having to input the digits manually on your handset. Personally I find dialing the number manually quite a chore.

To support the quickest possible dialing it also:

  • Maintains a list of previously dialed numbers so you can quickly redial a previously dialed number.
  • Monitors your clipboard for a number so if you copy a number from another app it will be instantly available for you to call.
  • Queries the Outlook address book so that you can call any Outlook contact with a telephone number stored and automatically filters out e-mail only contacts.
  • When calling an Outlook contact will display the name and number of the contact being called on your handset.
  • Allows you to reverse the call order so that the call is only connected to you once the destination number has answered the call.

How to setup and use Quick Dial for Gradwell VoIP

Once you have downloaded and run the installer you will be prompted to enter your Gradwell authentication settings which you must do in order to use the application.

Dialog box prompting user to enter Gradwell Call API settings

The settings are quite self explanatory and if you need more information on how to setup your Call API Authentication token then please read this document from the Gradwell website:

https://support.gradwell.com/entries/23136221-How-use-the-call-API-functionality

Once the settings have been saved you would be forgiven for thinking the app had closed down, but it is still running and it is accessible via the notification area:

Picture showing notification area and availability of Gradwell Dialer

I suggest that you change your notification area settings so that the Icon is always available, and then it will appear like this:

Gradwell Dialer pinned to notification area

Now you can get started making calls. A single left click on the icon will bring up the main call window:

Initiating a Gradwell call using the quick dialler application

Once you place the call the status bar will show the status of the call and hopefully you will be quickly connected to the destination.

Calling Outlook Contacts

Right clicking on the application notification area icon will allow you to exit the app, change your settings on call an Outlook contact:

Notifcation area menu for Gradwell Dialler

Choose “Call Outlook Contact” and as long as you have Outlook running and some contacts you will come to a dialog with a drop down, auto-complete enabled list from which you can quickly dial any Outlook contact.

Calling an Outlook from the Gradwell Quick Dialer

Simply click on the hyper linked numbers available for your selected contact and the call will be placed. In addition, if your handset supports it, the contacts name will be displayed on the handset.

Let me know what you think of it, I’ve been find it very useful and saved me quite a bit of time/hassle.

Please note: I do not work for Gradwell and this application is entirely unsupported by them and I wrote it for my own use and I am just sharing.

 Download here

How to Add USB 3.0 capability to a 11th Generation Dell Poweredge Server with UASP Support

You would have thought, that adding a USB 3.0 PCI Express Card to provide USB 3.0 capability to a Dell Poweredge Server would be easy, and it turns out that it is quite easy really, but there is a lot of confusion about the subject.

No internal power connectors for a USB 3.0 PCI Card

The problem that most people come up against is that nearly all of the USB 3.0 cards require either a SATA power cable or a 4-pin Molex connector to enough power to drive host powered devices.

Many of these cards require additional internal power to drive host powered devices, such as portable USB drives etc. The PCI card itself, in terms of the chip-set will function just perfectly without the additional power.

The problem is that all of the Dell Rack mount servers I have seen have no spare power facility inside the machine so you cannot easily satisfy the extra power requirement. I spent quite a long time trying to figure out a way to provide a SATA power connector on a Dell Poweredge R310 before I realised I was wasting my time, you just don’t need to.

So what if you want to use host powered devices that require the additional power? Easy, don’t power them off the host!

Many of the USB 3.0 cards list the extra power requirement as optional, and while it would be nice to connect it, it just isn’t practical. It is far easier to connect the working USB 3.0 card that you have added to an externally powered USB 3.0 Hub and let that provide the power required to your USB devices.

Having said all of the above, I was able to power a portable USB enclosure with a 2.5″ 7,200 RPM drive installed no problem.

Here is the Startech USB 3.0 card installed inside the Dell PowerEdge R320:

Startech USB 3.0 PCI Expresss Installed into Dell Poweredge R320 without optional SATA power connected
As you can clearly see, the SATA Power connector is unused

Installing a USB 3.0 Card into a Dell Poweredge R310

So, for the sake of clarity I will list the kit that I used that worked well for me.

The reason that I selected this particular Startech kit is that it is UASP compliant which gives USB 3.0 optimal performance. As you can see from the screenshot below, both the drives I connected with these enclosures were detected as UAS compliant:

Device manager showing UAS Enabled USB 3.0 Devices on a Dell Poweredge R320

 

Please note that I ran these tests on Windows Server 2012 r2, which has native support for UASP devices, I don’ think Windows 7 has this capability.

I did some really basic testing by copying some data out to the both the external 3.5″ Seagate drive and also to the external Intel SSD. I was pretty impressed by the performance. This server only has SATA drives internally so I wasn’t expecting to break any records:

Copying Data to external Seagate drive with USB 3.0 with UAS support

The Seagate hard drive topped out at around 75MB per second, which is well below USB 3.0 capability, but still significantly better than USB 2.0 and not too shabby.

Transferring data to an external Intel 530 SSD via USB 3.0 with UAS support on a Dell PowerEdge R320

The Intel SSD was probably limited by the internal drives on the server, but still managed to write at around 130MB per second, which is really quick.

Having read quite a lot of forum posts on how to add USB 3.0 to a Dell rack server I expected to come up against more difficulty, but it’s actually a ten minute job.