Signal 2017

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I am probably going to put a version of this into my blog site

[Signal 2017 was a conference May 24-25 for Twilio, a virtual telecomm company. I say "virtual" because they don't own server farms or cell towers, they use Amazon Web Services and... make deals with carriers I guess. Never been clear on how they do that. :-) The thing is, it all works!

You have probably never heard of Twilio, but they power the comms for some big companies, this is not an ad, go to and find out for yourself.

I got interested in Twilio when I was designing the Vastra phone system and going again this year was still interesting, and I can follow trends in industry by going to the conference.

I currently use Twilio "Elastic SIP Trunk" to power my Vastra home phone system, and (currently) forward calls to my mobile too through Twilio. Twilio enables SMS messages for my home phone number; this works by forwarding messages to my mobile.

With a few lines of TwiML code I can change the configuration - for example I could redirect the SMS messages into email.

I use a Twilio number and an IVR set up to direct calls for Geo-CEG to either my or Christian's phone. When calls come to my house they flow over SIP into my home Asterisk server just like my personal number. When they go to Christian they are forwarded to his cellular phone. The code to accomplish all this is about 10 lines of TwiML and it is hosted in a TwimlBin at Twilio.

Total cost for my home phone runs around 5 dollars a month and for Geo-CEG? It's free because Twilio graciously gave me a $500 credit as a grant. I am trying to cook up a project for Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation now, to use the same program for their outreach people.


v1 was a Cocoon backpack with a Littlebits Arduino and a Nulsom Neopixel display.

v2 was ... something from Seeeed Studios that I missed out on

Hackpack v3 is a Particle Electron and neopixel display

v4 2018 - did not go and missed out on a Raspberry Pi Zero + a little LCD display


Last year Python was popular, along with a bit of PHP and a little javascript.

This year every demo I watched was using node.js and javascript.

Best sessions

I particularly enjoyed these two sessions, the entire conference is available online now. Go to

[Lucky] Saron Yitbarek

[At-Home Batphone] Lauren Leto. Lauren basically has a mission of alleviating information pain.