February 28, 2004


Lilian wants the swapout of the Cisco 2924 switches completed by the end of the week. They were supposed to be done 30 days after we got the replacements, last year. Just about when Joe retired and my workload tripled.

So this week I come in early and work late, including Saturday. With, as usual, a little help from my friends.

Posted by at 08:31 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2004

Antique Power

About noon I get a call from Dispatch, have an escalation. Seems that some 48 positions lost dial tone Saturday. Why the trouble ticket was not on my load at 7 am today I don't know.

Big troubles are generally easy to find, this was no exception. A blown fuse in a power supply feeding the NIU cards. Naturally I have no spare fuses. Fortunately Lovelady's Hardware is around the corner, I buy a five-pack of 3 amp fuses. Replace fuse. POP! Unplug load, replace fuse. POP! Unplug backup battery, replace fuse. POP!

OK, it is not the fuse or a short on the load side; the power supply is bad and needs to be replaced. It's a 1988 vintage. I think this site is the last one to still use this model. Scrounge in the corners of the terminal room and find some boxes under boxes under boxes that contain *two* spare power supplies.

Posted by at 08:03 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2004

Valkyre's Volkswagen


Wendy's New Beetle had the air bag system warning light on for several weeks. Since we were not planning on having an accident we were not very concerned. We had it taken care of a couple of days ago at the 3,000 mile oil change. (This was one of the options that they sold us -- something like 5 years of oil changes every 3,000 miles. We don't care about the price of oil going up, and having already paid for it we have the nudge we need to bring the car in. Every 3,000 miles is overkill, but I want a quarter million miles out of this car. The Old Beetle has well over a third of a million miles on it.)

Two days later the right rear turn signal light doesn't. Unlike the older cars that go solid when a bulb goes out, the New Beetle flashs the remaining lights very fast -- and very annoying. Not to mention that we do use our signals and that I consider telling others my plans as to lane changes and turns to be a safety issue. The service department opens at 7am, even on President's Day, I called and checked and am now sitting in the waiting room, typing this on the laptop. They said I have about a two hour wait.

"May I use the 'phone?"

I can go on-line and post this while waiting!

Unfortunately, it's on an electronic PBX of some sort, with an 800 Hz dialtone rather than TelCo standard 400 Hz -- my modem does not recognize the 800 Hz as dialtone and will not dial the '9' required to access an outside line.

No playing online.

9:20 am:

Car is done, they're giving it a bath and a brush before returning it.

Posted by at 11:32 AM | Comments (1)

February 14, 2004

Long week

Been too tired to post.

At work I'm still trying to do the jobs of three technicians. Had a call from the Aximinister office (just off of Western Ave, just south of the I-10 -- the Barn is just a bit north and east of the junction of SR-91 and I-110) that my conduit was in for the LAN connection to the power room. I leave Tuesday first thing, drive thru the moring rush/crush, arrive to find that the conduit is a single run stubbed 12 feet above the floor, over the cable rack over the equipment rack. I had asked for a junction and a continuation of the conduit about another 50 feet to the equipment that controls the card readers at the doors -- it's on a 4w 9600 baud data circuit but is going to be cut over to a LAN connection some time this year. Save the company some money, will ya? ....no.... *SIGH*

Measure out the run, pull enough cat-5 cable from the box, cut and lay out on the floor. Pull more, lay on floor. Tape to the pull string. Go upstairs, pull the two cables up and terminate on the cat-5 patch panel. Patch the first cable to the hub. Back downstairs loosely wrap-tie the cat-5's down to the cable rack, terminate one on a jack and coil up a few feet of extra wire for the second/spare. Connect my laptop to the jack with a short patch cord, link up, send an e-mail to the client, move the patch cord from my laptop to the lan connection on the power monitoring thingie.

Wednesday saw me return to Axminister on a trouble that normally would have been handled by Don Bourne. A dumb terminal is dead. Arrrive, find, it's an AT&T 705 -- buzzes slightly, dark screen. Tell the client the ticket is JU'd (Job Unfinished) for parts. Order a replacement. As of Yesterday it is still JU'd.

Thursday I played musical chairs with eight or so phone lines -- following people as they change offices and desks.

In between times I'm replacing older Cisco 2924's (some minor hardware bug) with new Cisco 2924's. About 30 of them. Figured how to do normal business hours. Hang an old UB2400 24 port hub in front of the patch bay, connect to a spare port. Swing the patch cables from the hub-to-be-replaced to the hanging spare -- maximum of a second or two interruption in the one client's LAN connection, and ethernet will simply retry. After everyone is moved call the NMC (network management center, the guys who monitor all of the switches) and inform them I am working on the LAN -- at which point I pull the fiber connections. The stack of hubs are fed from each end from routers in separate buildings -- a break in the fiber does nothing but bring in an alarm at the NMC.

Depower the hub, unscrew from rack, put the new hub in, run the power for the new hub down to the new power from the UPS, connect up the fiber, test for connectivity, swing the 24 client connections back off the hanging hub. Inform the NMC that all is now normal.




have a bunch more to do.....

Posted by at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2004


I'm at my desk at work, busy doing the normal three things at once. I get up and trip over the power cord to my laptop, pulling it off the desk and crashing to the floor. Quick check, is working fine.

Or so I thought. A while later it shuts down -- battery low. Hello? You're plugged in! No..... seems that the power connection broke, internally. Would need a new motherboard or a new power connector soldered to the existing motherboard. Fixing a P-300 is not worth the cost of having a Tech look at it.

*SIGH* Take the HD out and install it in an older laptop -- a P-133 with no USB port. Wouldn't boot. Load a win98 startup floppy, looks good. Back up vital data from the C: partition to the D: partition. Re-install win98. On-line!

Note: at this time anyone with the sense of a rock would back up vital data to some place, any place, off the computer.

What can I say, I'm male.

Windows asked to run scandisk, did so for a few hours (40 gigs in a p-133 is *S*L*O*W*.) Finally the drive started going *clunk* *clunk* *clunk* and the computer says there is no hard drive.

My file with all my passwords -- gone.
My text files I've had since 1995 -- gone.
Pictures from my digital camera -- gone.

It was a bad weekend.

Posted by at 06:29 AM | Comments (1)