March 30, 2004

Baby Sitting?

Wendy walks in with a pet carrier -- dumps out a "dog", or what she claims is a dog. Says it's a Shih-Tzu puppy, about eight weeks old, that just came off a plane from Idaho. The claim is that it needs to be quarantined for a couple of weeks away from the puppies at the kennels where Wendy works.

I figure it is really some sort of mutant rodent, seeing as it is no bigger than Chi-Chi, our old Chinchillla. It's about ankle high to Pepper, who wants to snarf it down like a small snack -- but she knows she is not allowed to. Cory, Teresa's dog, is curious enough about the new visitor as to get him to come within six feet of 'Big Scary Man'.

Posted by at 07:37 PM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2004

Washing the Car

Today The Valkyre and I washed the car.

Posted by at 04:40 PM | Comments (1)

March 19, 2004


We finally managed to get a Crew Lunch with everybody, including some of the old retirees:

Cordel Lamar Don Borne Don Brown
Don Wood Doug Wingo Doug and Don Grace Williams Joe Baca John Crocker John Graham Kathy Richardson Lee Swearinger Loretta Smith Mike ANdruschak Pete Talaro Phil Wentworth Aso Tokunaga

March 17, 2004

Wendy is 40

Last year's birthday cake on the left, the road leading up to the Great Wall. On the right, this year's birthday cake, the wall shattered and Wendy tooling into middle age in her mid-life crisis car.

Posted by at 10:23 PM | Comments (4)

March 15, 2004

Home Networking

click for larger image

Sometimes I serve as a consultant. In this case my Client originally had an ISDN line and a Fax line we installed in her downstairs office. The Fax line picked up DSL, the Client went with VPN over the DSL to replace the ISDN. More speed and cheaper. Client added a wireless router to supply the two computers upstairs in the family room.
click for larger image
But the upstairs computers were a bit too far away for a reliable signal, it is a very large house. Since not having a High-Speed Internet connection was unacceptable, the Client ran a Home Network using a rather long Cat-5 patch cable (pointed out in the pictures by the blue arrows.)

Not acceptable.

Talking with her Vendor, we decide upon a 2Wire DSL modem/router/hub upstairs in the family room, to feed the two computers there via wireless, with the connection to the downstairs computer via phone-line-networking. My part of the job was to get the DSL phone line upstairs. Which I did. Vendor will get the 2Wire portal and network the computers.

Why not me? It's Verizon DSL.

Posted by at 09:35 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2004

Going Quackers

These pictures are from Valkyre, Since I have to work I only get pictures and a story. Sigh. All pictures were taken from the house, through the french doors with Wendy's Fuji Finepix 2800 with it's 6x optical zoom lens.) Seems that after I left for work, Wendy gets up, glances out the back windows and sees something floating in the pool. Looks like the chlorine dispensing floating duck, except that was retired and is now a decoration in the front flower bed. Did one of the girls repaint it? Nope. It is a mated pair of Mallard Ducks. The landed in our pool to take a short break from flying. After a brief rest they walk the rim of the pool, checking out the neighborhood. They return to the water. Pepper Anne notices them, stands on the pool deck level with them and barks. The ducks glance over, see she is not about to touch the water, and ignore her. She loses interest and returns to the house. They float around a while more. Finally, satisfied that the pool is safe they tuck their bills under their wings and take a nap.

We thought they might have been migrating and just used us as a rest stop. On the other hand, I did not know that Los Angeles was on any duck migration route. I could be that these are a couple of local escapees from some breeder.

It will be interesting to see if they ever return, or if this was just a one-shot deal.

Posted by at 07:43 PM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2004

Not My Problem!

All I do is provide connectivity. It is really all that I have ever done in my whole career. The media may be wire, glass, or air; the signal may analog or digital; but my sole job is to connect that signal from yon to hither.

The Verint thing has a channel that they cannot record the voice therein or thereon. It's an ISDN ST interface, a digital signal. Digital is neat, it is either there or not there. I verified the correct phone terminal is connected to correct VAM port. I unplug the phone and can connect at the 66 block and log in and call out -- it is electrically the exact same point as the phone on the desk.

"Could it be the 10 feet of cable from the 66 block to the VAM?"

If *could* -- so I lift the 50-pin amp connector off the backside of the VAM and meter the pin that are going to my ISDN ST interface. There is 40 volts DC between T/R and T1/R1. I see that voltage on all four pins. My ISDN is connected to the backside of the VAM.

Am now waiting for the arrival of the Verint Technician. Last I heard, 4pm, was that he was snarled in traffic somewhere around the 101.

It is times like this that I am glad I'm a wage slave getting time and a half (from 3:30 on) rather than a salaried 'engineer'. (Hi Daniel!)

Slava Khusid, the Verint Technician, arrives. He opens the cabinet, depowers the box, pulls it out on it's rails, opens the top and replaces the card. Button up, test, seems that instead of one bad channel we now have 24 -- the new card and everything upcable from it is bad. (not physically, firmware.)

Did I mention that Slava also does not get overtime for tonight?

We work until 8 pm getting everything up. I drive back to the barn and get off at 8:30. I have to be back at 6 AM.....

Posted by at 09:26 PM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2004

Kitty Sitting

My brother is off to school for six weeks in Oklahoma and I'm stopping by to care for his cats -- 18 year old Conway, snobby Czarina, lovable MAx, and Good Golly Miss Molly Hestia (all 20 pounds or so.)

Conway is about 150 years old in people years, very thin and bony and frail feeling. But actually not as fragile as you would think. He is my main reason for taking on this task. He gets a capsule and a half pill every day. Czarina is mostly a keep to herself cat. Hestia and Max are quite friendly.

For the past three weeks I would come into the apartment to find Hestia on her heating pad on my brother's desk, and Max on his heating pad on the cat steps. Today I walk in to a bitterly complaining Max. Justly so. As you can see, Hestia is lounging on HIS heating pad.....

Posted by at 06:02 PM | Comments (1)

March 08, 2004

ISDN is Wierd!

LaGrace has no dial tone, again. She had no dial tone last week and I tried this and that and finally lifted the jumper at the VAM block (she is part of the Mission Impossible mess) and that gave her her dial tone back. They reassigned her to a different VAM. Workded for a day and then she died again. Hmmm..... Looks to be my trouble after all.

Add a 100 ohm termination block in series with the ST interface. Everything now seems to work. I don't understand ISDN.....

Posted by at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2004


Trouble report on a data circuit -- it's getting errors, the PCO tests it good end to end, they want me to find the trouble and fix it. Sure, why not. Where is it? 17200 Vermont, first floor. Good. Roughly where in the 20,000 square feet of floor space is it? It's associated with the DMS. THat's better, that's only about 2,000 square feet to search. Found it -- it's a GDC 553 rackmount. Looks good. Push the buttons on the modem, it passes self test, fails end to end self test. Pull it out, push it back in. Push the buttons on the modem, it passes self test, passes end to end self test. Call PCO, get his voicemail, tell him circuit should be good and head for the van. Get a call back just as I start the engine, he's testing with the client, client says the circuit is up but another just failed. Gives me the circuit number, I head back into the building.

Sure enough -- my circuit was slot 15, the latest is slot 5 of the same shelf. The SD led is flickering, mostly off. I pull and reseat, it lights up fine. Walk back to the office, talk to the client, a third circuit is down. Go back out, slot 3 the SD led is out. Merely touch the faceplate and it lights. Left to Right, pull and reseat all of the modems.

I dislike plug-ins almost as much as I dislike plastic. For the same reason. Both fail after a decade or two.

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

March 01, 2004

Aging Eyes

Lilian also want the asset tag numbers and serial numbers off the new switches....

20 years ago, in Step-by-Step switching, I could adjust a relay by eye. I could push the armature and eyeball whether I had a four thousandth follow or a five thousandth follow. Now I can't read the serial numbers on the tags without my reading glasses and a large magnifying glass.

Posted by at 08:49 PM | Comments (2)