Authorizing Webhooks with Cisco Spark API

With the Cisco Spark API, creating a webhook is a core part of the interaction. The webhook allows the API to notify our applications when an event occurs. This is needed due to the interactive nature of the Cisco Spark Client.

A concern among security professionals was how do we know a webhook is actually from Cisco? A common request was for Cisco to provide a list of IP Addresses the webhook calls orignate from so that they could be whitelisted. However, due to the nature of cloud apps, this becomes very unwieldy if not impossible. Previously, short of obfuscating and/or regularly randomizing the callback url or perhaps dropping some hash in the name field of the webhook, there were few options. To solve this security concern, Cisco recently introduced a method that allows us to authenticate an incoming webhook.

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AudioBook Review: The Goal

What is the Goal of a company? What is the best way to achieve that goal? "The Goal" is a book about thinking on complex problems and their solutions from a different angle. It introduces the "Theory of Constraints", a management paradigm that views any manageable system as being limited in achieving more of its goals by a very small number of constraints. It's not a new book, but it is still applicable in many ways. The concepts in this book can apply to any industry or complex process in life. In addition, this may be one of the best audio books I have listened to. Normally, I'm not into audiobooks presented with multiple voice actors, but this one was done amazingly well. Even if you don't learn anything from the topic, it is a very fun listen.

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Cisco UCCX Improved TAPS Application

Before I started working on a way to use TAPS without the need of UCCX, I partially re-wrote the Cisco TAPS application. It started as a means to get e.164 support, but ended up in mostly a complete rewrite once I looked under the covers of the Cisco TAPS "aef" file. Today, I finally got around to posting this on github.

ITAPS - Improved TAPS App for UCCX

ITAPS is a modification of the Cisco TAPS application used for phone registration on UCCX. This version adds some additional features and cleans up the code in the Cisco ".aef" file.

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Cisco TAPS CLI Interface

This is a little project I have been working on to build an interface to TAPS without UCCX. Tapdance is a Cisco TAPS CLI interface to associate BAT DN with an Auto Registered DN. This has been rested with JRE 1.7 and CUCM 10.5.X.

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Book Review: The Phoenix Project

This is another great book I've had the pleasure in reading recently. It is a great representation of the issues that affect I.T. and how common problems can be solved with a bit of creative thinking and common sense. It's enlightening and entertaining at the same time.

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Book Review: The Power of Habit

I just finished The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

I was very reluctant to start this book, but once I did, I could not put it down. This is one of those books that I immediately wanted to read again. I would easily place it in my "Top 5 most important books I have ever read" list.

Duhigg does a great job explaining the topic. He dives into a complex subject with a very clear way of explaining it while also applying it to everyday events. The stories and the way he biographies various people and companies makes the topic very relatable and also demonstrates the validity of the research and practices he is describing.

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Cisco VCS Expressway Licensing

This has been a sore topic for many. Hopefully this can save others some time and heartache spent with licensing TAC by doing this correctly the first time. On new deployments, you will likely get 3 PAKs (Product Authorization Key) across 2 PDF docs (when delivered electronically). If not, don't worry, just look for the part numbers below. This is broken up by release keys and option keys.

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