January 25, 2004


I'm idly surfing and find a link to one of the many "Which ______ are you?" sites:

You are Form 0, Phoenix: The Eternal.

"And The Phoenix's cycle had reached
zenith, so he consumed himself in fire. He
emerged from his own ashes, to be forever

Some examples of the Phoenix Form are Quetzalcoatl
(Aztec), Shiva (Indian), and Ra-Atum
The Phoenix is associated with the concept of life,
the number 0, and the element of fire.
His sign is the eclipsed sun.

As a member of Form 0, you are a determined
individual. You tend to keep your sense of
optomism, even through tough times and have a
positive outlook on most situations. You have
a way of looking at going through life as a
journey that you can constantly learn from.
Phoenixes are the best friends to have because
they cheer people up easily.

Which Mythological Form Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2004

Trouble shooting

I went into work early again -- it's a great advantage to be able flex time as required by the job. Grace had fixed all but four troubles in the '81 building. Of the four left one is an unplugged phone, one is a vacant position, and the last pair are side by side -- often a sign of common trouble. So I go to work on that pair.

Remove the floor cable from the CPC (dropping 12 circuits which is why I haave to off-shift), the pigtail from the equipment, and undo my addition. Both sets are still down. Bypass the line fuses at the desk, one comes up, the other is still bad. Replace the telephone set of the bad one and it comes up. Trouble number 1: terminal went bad.

Reconnect through the fuses,set is down again. Pull the fuse pack (8 fuses, one for each wire of the RJ48 connector), use my VOM to find and replace the blown fuse, on both positions. Both up. Trouble number 2: blow fuses.

Pull the cable off the equipment, connect on CPC. Connect pigtail from equipment to CPC. Ten sets good, the same two go bad again. Remove the CPC from the picture. Still bad. Replace the fwo foot long 25 pair telephone cable (the pigtail.) Sets good. Put CPC back in, still good. Trouble number 3: a bad extension cable (first I can recall in 36 years.)

Posted by at 05:25 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2004

Mission accomplished

Mostly. The cables are all run. The cross-connects are all run except for a dozen or so that are to positions that were not designated on the ISDN equipment and which will have to be tracked down from one by one by getting the associated telephone number, calling it, having the person answering wave their hand so I can find them, unplugging their phone to see which line card goes red.

Came in at 6am to move all of the cables on the ISDN equipment in the '41 building to half-tap the terminals. Lost about 4 positions. *SIGH* Then the reps came in and starting working so I cannot work on the broken positions without knocking down the rest of the dozen that ride the same 25-pair cable.

Looks like I'll be working 6-2:30 for a while so I can get to these troubles early morning.

Posted by at 10:36 PM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2004

Mission Impossible, day 7

Get an e-mail, they want three of the call center phones in the equipment room for test purposes. This is no problem, just unplug the phone from the desk, bring it into the equipment room, slip a 66-block to RJ48 adapter on the floor cable and plug the phone in. Piece of Cake!

They want the cross-connects done today so they can start testing tomorrow. Forget that the plan I got in e-mail last week gave me 'til Thursday. So I work more overtime. Did I mention that I hate overtime? When I was in the Switchroom in the '80's I was in a competition with Jim Paterson for who could turn down the most overtime. Never could catch 'im.

So I get the assignments, position to vam port, then sit in the '41 building for about six hours straight running 139 two-pair cross-connects. 1112 punches.

They have a neat toy in the VAM cabinet. Most people just place a keyboard, mouse and monitor on a couple of shelves for connecting to the servers.
This thing has a one rack unit high pullout with everything!

Posted by at 09:54 PM | Comments (0)

January 17, 2004

Mission Impossible, day 6

Saturday is a day of rest, for most people. We finished up the cabling. Tomorrow is an off day, the Verint people will arrive Monday....

Posted by at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2004

Mission Impossible, day 5

Backside of the VAMs -- 50 pin female AMP connectors, with Velcro ties along the sides. Got about half done running the cables. Will finish the cabling tomorrow, leaving just the cross-connects to be run next week.

The back door of the cabinet has a three inch gap at the bottom for the cables to pass through. Looks to be a reasonably well engineered system.

Posted by at 10:44 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2004

Mission Impossible, day 4

The VAMs (Voice Acquisition Modules) arrived:

Shown above is the VAM in the crate on the truck, end view and side view, moved onto the lift gate, lowered to the ground and crate ripped open, cabinet stood upright, rolling out of the elevator, and in place in the '41 building and the '81 building.

Call Kent, "can we rip the plastic off?" "No, should wait for the Verint people on monday." Hang up. Look at the timeline and work still needed. ummph. Call Kent back, "I need to see how the cables attach, I'm ripping the plastic off." "OK." One of the perks of being a Technician is that not many people argue with you about how you do your job.

Also talked with the Electrician about providing me with my 20 amp twist-lock outlets. They will be back tomorrow and now that I've seen the VAMs I can place the outlets. Under the raised floor, sideways so the plug will not stick up over the floor.

Posted by at 07:50 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2004

Mission Impossible, Day 3

. .
. .

So we couldn't get the switches up. Not a problem, just run a patch cord from the rs-232 aux jack on the router to the console jack on the switch and let the NIC/NOC/Whatever configure it themselves.

Except the router and the switch are on different floors. Still not a problem. Have a couple of RJ-48 to 8 pins of an M66 block adapters. Run the patch from the Aux jack to a tie cable, out of the tie cable to the console jack.

Meanwhile find out the that 2'x3'x full or hald height server cabinets haave morphed into 80" tall equipment racks. Cabinets can sit on the floor. Racks have to be bolted down and earthquake braced. The racks may move from where I planned for the cabinets -- can't run the VAM cables until after the equipment arrives as I don't KNOW where the cables will be running to. Also informed today they need a 20-amp twist-lock outlet. I have 20 amp blade outlet in the '81 building and a choice of 20 amp blade or 30 amp twistlock in the '41 building. Have a call in for an electrician.

As I was quitting for the day I was told the switches are up. Will test them tomorrow.

Posted by at 08:40 PM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2004

Mission Impossible, day 2

. . . .

Halfway done running the cables from the ISDN racks, the '41 building on the left and the '81 building on the right. If you compare the picture of the LAN rack with yesterday's you'll see I mounted the new switch that the LAN implementor is busy trying to configure.

Posted by at 08:21 PM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2004

Mission Impossible, day 1

Day one. The plan was to use a CPC (an adapter to connect two cables to a third) to tap into the cable carrying the ISDN-ST interface to the backboard and to the sets on the agents' desks. Only problem, CPCs were used with the old KTS (Key Telephone System) which has been obsolete for a couple of decades. They are manufacture discontinued. Managed to scrounge 40 from odd corners of our junk room, along with what was taken off the trucks of our retirees.

So Grace attached them to the backs of the rack mounted ISDN NIUs with double-stick tape. The cable marked L is the line, the U interface, from the central office. The cable marked T is the ST interface to the terminal sets on the agents' desks. All we need do is swing the cable off the NIU to the CPC, run a short cable between the NIU and the CPC, and bridge on the cable to the new backboard and the VAM on the third connector of the CPC.

Then we ran the cables from the ISDN rack on the first floor up the pipe to the second floor and over to the backboards that I mounted while Grace was doing the CPCs. Tomorrow I have help coming to run the cables from the second floor ISDN rack to the backboard -- all of 10 feet away. Then he'll terminate the cables on backboard. Meanwhile I have to rack mount a switch in each building, connect the fibers to the routers, configure the switch, test with the NIC or NOC or whoever they are. Maybe even get the cables ran and terminated that will go from the backboard to the square hole in the floor to connect to the VAM, when it arrives, supposedly on thursday.

Meanwhile, over in the '41 building, the backboard is mounted just two feet from where the VAM will sit. In the background you can see the LAN rack and the ISDN rack. Grace also got CPC's mounted here, and hopefully we'll be running cables to the backboard tomorrow, or maybe Wednesday. We'll see. That's what a digital camera is for.

Posted by at 09:36 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2004

Mission Impossible

Your mission, Mr. Phelps, is to install two Voice Accquisition Modules in two days. Oh, we changed the plans this morning, forget the previous layouts.

The cheapskates want one module for both floors. In the '81 building I have slots for 156 positions on the first floor, and 144 on the 2nd floor. Didn't count 'cause it doesn't matter how many are in use -- they move so I have to wire everything. They will only be monitoring 161.

I have to mount the BBs and slap down 25 M66-50 punchdown blocks. I have to pull the 13 25-pair cables from the first floor thru a hole in the ceiling/floor to the BB and 12 cables from the 2nd floor rack to the BB and 24 cables from where the VAM will sit to the BB and then punch down all 1225 pairs.

Roughly the same in the '41 building, 'cept only one floor and about 2/3rd's the cabling.

Start Monday, ready Tuesday.

Oh, also need to install a new Switches, one in each building, in the LAN racks. With fiber connections from each switch to both routers, one in each building.

All this while continuing to carry Don's and Joe's regular loads since they upped and retired.

Fortunately, our regular customer is the 'Phone company and we can tell them they'll have to wait a week or two for their service.

Posted by at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2004

New Year

My brother went to school for a week, I get to care for his cats. I leave work, clean a half dozen litter boxes, check and refill a half dozen feeding dishes, wait for Wendy to stop by so she can shove a couple of pills down Conway's throat as I hold him. Will update their page later this month, assuming I survive the work overload.

Posted by at 08:05 PM | Comments (0)