Your Office with Asterisk: Soothing the Savages with Hold Music
One of the more fun aspects of running an Asterisk server is choosing your own hold music. Hopefully your callers are not sitting on hold for long periods of time, but as long as they are it's nice to give them something pleasant to listen to. It can be music, inspirational speeches, comedy routines—even Internet radio.
Linux comes with all the tools you need to record sound files and convert them to the Asterisk-friendly .gsm format. Audacity is an excellent sound recorder and editor that runs on Linux, Macintosh, and Windows. As fun as it is, we're not getting into sound recording today, though, just managing existing sound files.
Asterisk versions 1.2 and later includes their own music player, so you can ignore all the documentation that tells you how to add one. Asterisk can handle several different sound file formats on its own, but decoding and encoding sound files eats up CPU cycles, so it's more efficient to convert them yourself.