July 30, 2004

Bathroom Remodel

Part of the rearrangement of the Call Center is to balance the restroom space with the genders of the workers. The restrooms were of equal size, but we have more female workers than male. So they are doing a bathroom remodel. Not quite as simple as your typical home bathroom remodel. Here is a picture of the work being started -- the fixtures ripped out, the wall between the two restrooms removed, the concrete slab floor cut and removed to exposed the sewer lines.

Posted by at 06:52 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2004

Working Early

Need to talk with the contractors, who, to not disturb the clients, work 6pm-6am. I've changed to a 5am-1pm (no lunch) shift. It is a very nice drive at <5am -- hardly any traaffic. And when I get to work, an empty parking lot. (you can just see the rear end of the Camaro beyon my van.) They actually get a little more work out of me as there is no one to distract me. I go into a deserted office and stop by my desk to see if anything is in my inbox. But I am not entirely alone. Our supply person, Kathy Richards, beats me in and already working as I arrive. I say 'hi' as I get in my van to drive off to the call center to continue the re-cabling.

Posted by at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2004

Moving People

The training center on Vermont is in a leased building, we own the two buildings at the Torrance Call Center. They are dropping the lease and moving the training to the first floor of the 41 building. The people currently occupying the first floor are being moved into the 81 building. The 81 building is being re-arranged to accomodate them. They have finally the actual work. A quarter of the first floor of the 81 building was cleared Wednesday. To the left is my cut sheet. The people at the high-lighted positions were off so I could start cutting in the morning.

Procedure:

Locate existing cube.
Log onto ISDN phone, verify telephone number and ACD position number, record on cut sheet, log off.
Crawl under desk, get cable number, record on cut sheet, disconnect set.
Carry set to new cube. Which may or may not have an existing set.
Crawl under desk, get cable number, record on cut sheet. Disonnect any existing set.
Go to the telephone room, check the new cable, if connected to an NIU verify that the NIU shows a terminal error and disconnect.
Swing jumper off the old cable onto the new cable. Or remove and run new if the old jumper is too short.
Return to new cube.
Connect set. If it doesn't light up figure out why.
Log onto ISDN phone, verify telephone number and ACD position number are the ones recorded on cut sheet, log off.

Repeat 21 times.

Five of the positions have analog telephones, POTS. On those the procedure is slightly different, but basically it is verify numbers and cables, move phone, swing jumpers, and verify that the numbers moved.

Counting windshield time to and from the barn I worked 7 am to 9:30 pm. Went home, ate, slept, got up at 4:30 am so that I could be at the barn by 5 and on the job by 5:30. Naturally, even after verifying that everything worked after I had moved them there was trouble, whcih is why I had to be in early. Mostly the movers having knocked phone connections loose.

Except....

One position was on the wrong cable. I had written down and jumpered to cable 71. It as actually on cable 77. It would have been impossible to to verify. That one I don't understand. Must have been a mental lapse during the 14 hour workday.

Posted by at 09:59 PM | Comments (1)

July 17, 2004

Wire Pro

Order WirePro from SBC Since I'm on the subject, the Inside Wire Protection Plan, WirePro, is another service that is worthwhile. Unless you are able to crawl your house (or whatever it takes to work on the telephone wire) AND are willing to do so, the three bucks a month is well worth the piece of mind that comes from being able to call 611 and not worry about whether the trouble is inside or outside -- it will be fixed by the gentleman (or lady) who comes out from the telephone company.

The best recomendation for WirePro? AFAIK, the majority of the Technicians who get paid to fix telephone line problems have it on their own lines. If they have a problem one of their co-workers can do the work, crawl under the house, bat the cobwebs away.....

FWIW, I do not have it. I'm too much want it MY WAY to allow another tech work on my wiring. It is bad enough at work.

Addendum in 2011: AT&T has the price up to $7.50 a month, $90 a year. If you have a problem *inside your wire* it will be easier and cheaper to either get a little help on the Internet or have someone else on the wire.

Posted by at 02:38 PM | Comments (0)

Caller I.D.

Order Caller ID from SBC Caller ID is one of the few services I can wax enthusiastic about. (with DSL and WirePro being the others.)

The telephone rings, I glance at the display -- "out of area" -- a call from an office that is not connected with CCS7 signaling (AKA tele-marketer). Ignore, the answering machine tells them "Leave a message" and they hang up. ...or....

The telephone rings, I glance at the display -- "private" -- the calling party has Calling Number Delivery Blocking (I do not want you to know who I am!) Okay. You don't trust me, why should I trust you? Ignore, the answering machine tells them "Leave a message." Clue: "Hello? Is Mike there?" is not a message. I do not answer such a call. A message consists of a name, call-back number, and a brief description of what you wish to talk about.

Addendum 2011 -- I.D. is still a good idea.

Posted by at 02:18 PM | Comments (2)

July 15, 2004

Aerial Terminal

Click to enlarge 4xWent to breakfast at the Gardena Bowl this morning, spotted an interesting aerial terminal almost on the pole behind the building. The original pole had been replaced. The new pole is about three feet to the side of where the old one was. The terminal, which had been mounted to the old pole, remains where the old pole was.

I would think I would want a cherry picker (an "aerial lift" or "bucket" truck) if I had to work on this one.

It has been reported. No one is out of service, so it is not a high priority. A new terminal with a longer stub cable will have to be spliced in, as the old one is too short to reach the pole. The drop wires stretching to the left will also have to be replaced, as they are also too short to reach the new pole. It will be a full day job.

Posted by at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2004

DSL dies when 'phone is used

One of the ladies who work for the 'Phone Company went and got herself (her son actually) DSL. Finally -- I had mine since December '99. They opted for the self-install. Put it together, modem synch'ed up, worked fine. Except when they tried to use the telephone -- the DSL crashed and the line was noisy. Called tech support several times for a week, no help. About to give up on DSL, complaining at work, overheard by my friend, Mary. "Call Mikey!" she says, "Mikey can fix it!"

So they call. I do a line test, a tad over 14K feet, no MTU shown. Ask a few questions. Given that tech support bounced did not expect the obvious to have been overlooked and doubted I could fix over the 'phone. Lady's house is only a half mile dogleg on my drive home so I stop by after work to look. The micro filters were all properly placed, the modem correctly installed. Looked in the NID, not too ugly, no obvious errors.

Tell her I'll have to come back with a Splitter, am walking away, realized I made a mistake. I trusted the MLT (mechanized line test) when it did not find an MTU (maintenance test unit.) I go back and open the teleco side of the NID. Sure enough, there is an MTU sitting there.

The MTU is a little device that the MLT can access to disconnect the premise wiring from the outside plant. It kills DSL. I remove it, reconnect the IW's and close up the NID.

Test the phones -- all have dial tone (I didn't break any wires!) The DSL modem is all green. Lady calls out, no noise, and the modem stays green. Trouble fixed.

Lady thanks me.

Posted by at 07:22 PM | Comments (0)

The last of the 144 cross-connects are in place and my patch jacks are now match the Avaya equipment one-on-one. The telephone numbers are in numeric order from Jack 2 to Jack 141. (jacks 1 and 142 are test lines, 143 and 144 are vacant but wired anyhow.) My floor jacks, in the adjacent rack, are also in numeric order. You want a specific phone at a specific desk? Just plug one end of a modular patch cord into the telephone line and the other to the desk. Done! (About 5 seconds work.)

The cables to the desks are numbered 1 to whatever. The position numbers on the desks were based upon the ACD (whatever that is) position numbers of the ISDN telephones -- which claim to be in downtown L.A.. The new 'phone system has a different set of position numbers and claim to be in San Diego. The map on the wall has the new position numbers and I will add my floor jack numbers to that map.

Posted by at 06:08 AM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2004

Dear WebServer Spammers

www.jaguarpc.com I keep getting offers in E-Mail for hosting my site. As low as $5 month for a pitiful offering. Heads up people. You need to beat my current host on two fronts.

First: while I only have 300M/15G they offer 1000M/45G for the same price of $8 a month. (I'll switch later, no rush -- I am no where near my limits yet.) But that $8 month isn't exactly correct, and I'm not talking about a nickle. It is $10 a month on a month to month basis. On a one year pre-pay it is $8 a month. But if you go with a two year pre-pay it is only $6 a month. You want my business you will have to beat 1G storage 45G monthly transfer with all the bells and whistles for $6 a month. AND

Second: I subscribe to a service that accesses my domain once an hour and reports back. Actually they check the main domain and a co-hosted domain -- I figure the site is down only if both are down and I cannot get in either (different routes.) Ain't been down for quite a while. How can some newbie soliciting me in E-Mail beat the proven reliability that I have?

Posted by at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2004

The final few feet

The Avaya system is working. Actually two separate systems extended from a master switch in San Diego. Each system rides an OC3 to a Cisco 8540 switch to a fiber to the Avaya box. The Avaya Tech installed the purple board, split 50 blocks, ran and terminated the cables from the Avaya box. the block on the left side of the picture. A split-50 block has two lugs for each of 50 pairs. The Avaya cable terminates on the left ("A") Bridging Clips ("B") span the pairs on the left with the pairs on the right. The lugs on the right ("C") hold the cross connect wires that run to my blocks ("C" prime.)

The Bridge clip is the demarcation. In the event of a trouble the clips are lifted and a test set is connected directly to the Avaya side of the block. If the trouble remains, it is Avaya's trouble, not mine. If I have good dial tone at the Avaya block the trouble is on prem and it is my responsibility to fix.

The block on the right is my block, an M66-25. This is the 25 pair un-split version, all four lugs are a single piece giving me four connecting lugs instead of the two of a split-50. My cable ("D") goes to the patch jacks in the data racks. I used the -25's so that IF they want to add a monitoring system such as the Verint trial ("mission impossible") I will have the lugs available to connect to it without having to re-engineer the connections.


Avaya ran 8 cables, each carrying 24 single pair circuits. I ran 8 cables, each terminating on an RJ-11 wired single pair jack. Shown is the test position on Avaya box 24, card 5, port 21. There are three digital cards in each box, each cross-connected pair for pair to my patch panels. Each patch panel is mapped one to one to each card. Since 24A0521 is the 141st port provided by Avaya it is mapped to the 141st jack -- jack 21 on the 6th panel.

Any port can be patched to any desk -- total flexibility. In this case they want this line at a test position. A glance at the floorplan says it is floor jack number 49. The floor jacks are paired, red and blue. The red jack carries the LAN connection. The blue will be used for the Avaya telephone. (For back-up I still have the old 25-pair KTS floor cables available -- on the main backboard which is why I wanted the Avaya and patch blocks on that same wall. Not that they will ever be needed, we tested and fixed any problems when we installed the cables in the first place.)

The pairs of patch jacks in the data racks are cabled to a two-jack biscuit that attaches magnetically to the desk. A standard modular telephone cord connects the jack to the Avaya test set.

Posted by at 09:37 PM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2004

Vacation over

Vacation over, back to work. Spend the morning clearing out my voice mail and e-mail. Check the GCAS, have three work orders due. Call the contact for the requested LAN connection at the Adams office -- she's on a two week vacation. Call the Adams Frame, she goes looks, the conduit is not yet in. Cannot run a Cat-5 cable in the C.O. without a conduit. (I asked why not, just run it in the cable racks. Nope -- has to be laced/wrap-tied into the rack and the lace/warp violates the cat-5 specification. Not allowed to pinch the cable or bend with less than a 1" radius. So the client has to go thru Real Estate to have a conduit run placed from my hub to where they want their connection.) So I kick that order out another two weeks. Two more orders at the Western Ave. Call Center, already completed.

All caught up, head for Western and punch down the last of the cables on the backboard. While I was gone, Avaya tested dialtone to their 66 block and I will meet with them tomorrow to sign off.

Posted by at 10:24 PM | Comments (0)