August 30, 2004

Next Move

Been busy at work -- the next section will be moving Wednesday evening. The area they were moving to was short of communications cables. Had to run eight pairs of cat5 cables. Back to the terminal room. About eighty feet. During working hours. Without disrupting the workers. Without overtime. Your typical OCS mission impossible.

Looking around under the floor I spotted an inch and a half flexible plastic tube -- one of the old tubes that carried fiber from the ODS 241 hubs to the 8-port (AUI ports!) Ungermann-Bass hubs that connected the 286 computers that went in back in the late '80's. Trim the end out on the floor, place it up to my laptop speaker and ran up Winamp and some Oldies. In the terminal room, over where the ODS 241's were racked over a decade ago, listen to each tube 'til I find the one with the Tunes -- pull back to the cat5 patch bay and trim.

I go back the barn at noon, pick up four boxes of blue and four reels of pink wire, a snake, some blocks and jacks, and out evening man, Doug. Doug has a couple fo troubles to take care of first, so I head back to Western. I snake the tube from the teminal room to the floor. Pull and cut four pairs of cables, 80 feet, lay out in a zig-zag ready to feed into the tube. Connect the next four pairs, tape all eight pairs to the snake. Doug has shown up by then and he feeds while I pull. And it's done -- cables run without having to open the floor in three places and pull foot by foot. Leave Doug to place the cables in each box.

This morning I arrive to find that the construction people have finished up -- the cloor is closed and the carpet has been replaced. I check the boxes -- all the cables are in place. Except there is no box for the south end of the In-Charge desk. Found it! It was under the carpet -- the box was there with no cables. The cables were no problem, I had existing cables under the floor for the two In-Charge positions. Grace is back, she stopped by and put the biscuits on the floor ends of the cables. I put the jacks on the pink cables in the terminal room. Put my Pinger on the floor end, found the room end, place in the jack panel.

End of day -- all of the floor ends of the cat-5 cables are in and terminated and labled. The red (pink) cables are in identified and teminated and labled.

Tomorrow -- ID and terminate and lable the blue cables. Get the list of from and to of the 'phones that will be moving and pre-lim the jumpers.

Posted by at 08:45 PM | Comments (1)

August 26, 2004

Spaghetti Western ReRun

A year ago I had my boots resoled. They seem to only last a year, so it was another trip to the Shoe Doctor. Again an excelent job -- the boots look almost like new. And again I have an Italian Sole.

Posted by at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2004

Stealing Dial Tone

Had a trouble ticket for the Airport Central Office -- one of the Spectralink wireless phones on the frame is not working. This system was put in by Grace and Lee. Lee retired, Grace is on vacation, I am up a creek.

May not know anything about it, but I grab the book and go to fix it anyhow. Fortunately it was already fixed by Doug. Unfortunately he didn't fix their other trouble, a no dial tone. They said Doug had left off tracing in the basement. Mumbled something about a short, not that I was paying attention. Go down to the basement, find the line, verify the number, trace to pair two of a tie cable going upstairs. Upstairs I find the tie cable, jumper lifted off pair two. Verify number. Punch down the jumper. Try to verify again but the jumper has a short on it. Lift it off again.

This jumper is not really a jumper, it is not the cross-connect wire used by OCS. It is four conductor frame wire. Instead of being a jumper from one block to another it is run up the cables to the overhead cable racks. Secured by twists of more frame wire. Noone in OCS would ever do such a poor job -- this was run by someone else in violation of company and union rules.

Tracing the wire up on the rack it runs a hundred feet or so and disappears. Ladder handy, I climb up and find a wad of frame wire -- the cat-3 that I had been tracing and the newer cat-5 replacement. spliced together with old-style beans. Trace this new frame wire about eighty feet more where it drops down to this cable test position that is sitting near the frame. Whoever owns this is the one who stole the Frames' dial tone and who has cost the company a few hundred dollars in OCS time trying to find and correct their theft.

Head upstairs to the second floor, find the SpectraLink equipment, find the installer's note and configuration sheets. Cannot find my telephone number I am working on. This is one of the lines that did not move to the wireless phones. Back to the frame, look at an old KTS 10-button set, find my line. With no dial tone.

Return to the backboard, scan the KTS equipment, find the unit marked with my telephone number. Has a jumper to feed it dial tone -- hanging loose. It reaches to the tie cable, I punch it down on pair two, clip to pair one and call the frame. They answer, trouble fixed.

Except to finding out who stole my dial tone and filing a grievence against them. I don't need to have people trying to do my job and screwing up and causing the frame to lose thier phone service. And causing many hours of needless needless work for the trouble reporting center and our dispatch center and me and my crewmates.

Not to mention I really have work to do at the Torrance Call Center that I have been putting off -- checking a position on the Verint system and moving another.

Posted by at 09:57 PM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2004


Catching up -- Saturday was a madhouse. I am supposed to move 53 telephones and lines but I have this:

to contend with. A pile of people are moving and unpacking boxes of personal stuff at each position. The electricians and construction people were still there finishing up the last few items.

Got most of it done, and finished up the rest by 1pm today. Have a few more items, three printers, two fax machines, a couple of supervisor desks that I will get to tomorrow. Assuming that I do not have other things such as trouble tickets to work on.

Posted by at 06:02 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2004

Paperwork done

Greg drove the Savage from Laguna Hills to Gardena -- can't ask for a better vouchsafe of reliable running bike.

Here we are, passing the papers -- ownership of the bike to me and a wad of cash to Greg. I am now officially the proud owner of a 2000 Suzuki Savage.

Posted by at 06:32 PM | Comments (0)

Pre-Internet Rates

Cleaning space in the garage for the bike, found some old electronics and realized that after being stored a decade and a half it is not likely that I will ever be using them. So they are being tossed. Which included my sign-up package from The Source. Which included the Rates:

Using these rates for my present serviceStorage -- I have hosted and am presently using 117.62 MB of storage. Storage rates are $1/4K, so my storage costs would be another $30,000 a month.

Which is nothing compared with my connnect charges. I am on DSL and connected 24/7, so connect charges would be about $1000 a month. Except I am at about 600Kbps, not 300 bps, so the monthly connect charge would be well over a million dollars a month.

DSL for under $30/month is a pretty good deal compared with 1981.

Posted by at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2004


I won the auction on E-Bay! This bike was on for $2500 and I was considering getting it from there. Then he went and put it on eBay for a quicker sale. What could I do -- it looks to be a good deal. I talked him into one last 45 mile ride and he'll be delivering it tomorrow about 3 pm.

Posted by at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2004

OCS is ready

To move 50 or so phones from existing locations to the desks in the area we have been working on for the last two weeks. Talked to the boss and we have OT approved for the whole crew (all three of us) for 4 hours Friday evening and 8 hours Saturday.

I'm not too sure about everyone else.

As of right now the place looks mostly the same as it did on the 7th. The big change from yesterday is that the electrical is complete. The 3"x3" runs have been closed. Each and every outlet box for each and every desk has a coiled up ground wire ready to ground the desks.

But all of the furniture is still over in the north half, the south half still has carpet tiles and floor tiles off. There are also stacks of drywall, metal studs, and insulation. Unless they remove the stacks, replace the tiles, and move and place the partitions and desks tonight we will be bumping with the movers Friday evening.

Posted by at 08:41 AM | Comments (0)

Cable Run II

Part of the rebuild of the Call Center involved removing a section of hallway and adding that area to the open office, which allowed two more cubicles to be placed. In a spot that never had cables -- so I have to run new communications cables.
I pull the floor tile and look around under the floor -- as expected, no loose cable ends. The terminal room is close, just the other side of the wall and down a ways.

I pull a tile along the backboard and find a cable hole; remove the firestopping and place my flashlight to shine into the underfloor space of the open office on the other side of the wall. Return to the hole, look under the floor, and I see the light!

For reaching under floors and over ceilings I have a collaspible measuring pole, refered to as a lay-up-stick. I extend it under the floor toward the light. Further, further, the pole is sagging as I near the opening, a lift/bounce/push and I place the end of the stick into the hole in the wall going into the terminal room. A measured 22 feet, saving me from lifting the carpet and unscrewing and lifting 11 floor tiles.

Return to the terminal room and the end of the stick is clearly visible in the hole. Reach in, bend and pull the end into the room. Tape on the connector end of a 25-pair telephone cable. Push back into the underfloor space. To the 25-pair cable I tape on four cat-5 four-pair cables. Call for backup, Doug Wingo comes to help on the actual pull. As Doug shortens the lay-up stick, pulling the cables into the office area, I am in the terminal room pulling slack out of the boxes of 4-pair cat-5's and keeping the 25-pair cable from twisting and kinking. As these are all stiff plenum cables they need constant foot by foot attention. A few minutes later Doug stops pulling. He coils up the slack at the office end and I lay the cables out in the terminal room, the 25 pair to the backboard and the cat-5's to the patch panel; and replace the fire-stopping.

Posted by at 04:51 AM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2004

Caught You!

Stopped by the Training Center (the one that will be moving into the Western Call Center) to pay a surprise visit on my LAN implementor, Lillian Honma. I quietly sneak in, hold my camera over the partition to catch her goofing off playing games. No such luck. She is actually working and her monitor is showing Outlook instead of Solitaire.

Posted by at 07:15 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2004

My Sweet Wife

Wendy, AKA The Valkyrie, has changed the picture in her BLog to one from a Futurerama episode. Our sweet daughter Helena sent it to her and said it was a good resemblance. As anyone can see from these two pictures lifted from her site -- no resemblance whatsoever.

Posted by at 09:23 PM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2004

Floor Cables

Friday I finished half the area -- two offices and 19 desks in the open office area.

Today I am working on the other half which consists of 27 desks and a printer/fax position by the window. This is the area where there is no great movement of desks so I am mostly just checking to verify each and every desk has it's communications cables.

Each cubicle has a six inch by six inch power/communications box. Lift the lid to find four 120vac power outlets and, hopefully, the communications cables. At this originally had a desk, but it had been removed, and is now being put back.

Sometimes you run into problems. The communications cables are not in the box.
Time to do some actual work. Pull up a section of carpet tile to expose the raised floor system. Unscrew the four corners of the floor tile, lift off, and set aside. Take a look under the floor to se if I can find any communications cables -- they should be nearby since this once was a working position, but as with anything in life, it is not guaranteed. Today I am lucky, the cables were just outside of the box.

This is just a minor matter: reach under the floor with one hand, reach over the floor and into the box with the other hand, pick up and pass the cables thru the slot and into the box.

My work for this section is almost done. All that is left is to place the cables in the boxes that should appear about where that curtain (upper left of the picture for last Friday) is. I cannot check until the construction is further along. Maybe Thursday.

Posted by at 08:59 AM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2004

Raised Floor Open Office

The floor on the south quarter is done, as far as communications wire is concerned anyhow. The last two positions, roughly center toward the curtain, had no biscuits (block with two cat-5 cables/jacks.) I was afraid I would have to run new from the terminal room, which would require working tomorrow so I could open up the raised floor where the workers are still working, even on Saturdays.

I got my flashlight and searched under the floor and found two unused biscuits. AND the cables were run so that I could pull them over to those last two positions. Had to open the floor in a few places, but got it done without overtime. (I believe I have said before that I do not like overtime.)

Anyhow, as of about noon yesterday, that half is all done, ready for the partitions and furniture to be moved back. Where is it now? Why the north end. Just turn about and there it is.

I have marked the new floor plan, for the southeast corner, with the cable numbers that exist as of now. I need to do the same for the northeast, where all that furniture is. They are not rearranging the electrical/communications boxes, but I do need to verify that I have communication cables everywhere a desk is going to be. A couple of desks are being added to where desks were originally but had been removed over the past. Comm cables may have been 'borrowed' from those locations and need to be replaced or new cables run. Will start that Monday.....

Posted by at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2004

No Dial Tone

No kidding.

Had a trouble report a couple of days ago -- no dial tone. On a ISDN telephone, part of an ACD (whatever that is!) group. They have a set on the desk, and it is dead as a doornail. Look at the jack it is plugged into, go to the backboard to check the cross-connect. There is none. Go back and ask the client where the phone came from. A box of phones that they swiped from the other side of the office (which, by the by, caused my NIU rack to light up like a Christmas tree -- two dozen red lights marked "terminal error." That happen when the set gets stolen.)

I explained that this should be a service order, a move of an existing phone. It is not a trouble report as there is no line assigned to this desk. I further explained that the ACD group that this particular set came from is not their ACD group and will not work *with* the rest of the telephones in their group. I further explained that what they want to do if find an unused phone in their group and place a service order to move that phone to this desk.

Today I got another trouble ticket -- no dial tone. Same desk.

Explained to the girl at the desk that is in trouble. Maybe she can get her supervisor to understand that I cannot pull dial tone out of thin air to fix their trouble; that I need a service order to either move an existing dial tone or have a new line built.

I cannot fix it if it is not broke.

I cannot fix it if it does not exist.

Posted by at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

Snaking a conduit

When you have an empty conduit and want to pull a wire thru it you need to place a pull string into that conduit. Nowadays we use a long (50-100 feet) skinny (1/8 inch diameter) flexible fiberglass 'snake'. Prior we used a metal snake, same lenght but steel with a rectangular cross section of about 1/16 inch by 3/16 inch.

The term, snaking a cable, actually predates these modern tools. The old technicians kept a trained garter snake. They would tie a light pull string to the snake's tail and point him into the conduit. A small mouse would be secured at the far end as both encouragement and as a reward for a job well done. Unfortunately, this only worked if the snake was hungry and limited the number of pulls to about three a day.

Posted by at 05:36 AM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2004

Raised Floor and Cabling

Been a busy week. Along with my regular workload I have to rearrange a few cables. Above you can see a section of the open office that we are rebuilding.
I have the original floor plan, the floor plan of two weeks ago, and the new floorplan. I need to place a biscuit with a pair of cat-5 cables and the 25-pair connector of an old KTS (key telephone system) cable in each underfloor box for each of the new positions. Like on the left here the box outlined in red needs both cables. There are building walls and have the sticky floor covered with black plastic so as to not make it unsticky with dust and stuff. So I open a panel to the side, find some cables, and push them to the box with my lay-up stick. With a good eye and practice you can place the end of the cable practically in the opening of the box.

Posted by at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2004

Garage Remodel

Actually just the door. When I bought the house it had a 7 foot by 8 foot swing up door. This was replaced in '87 with an aluminum roll-up door. Which I immediatelt backed into with the truck and dented. Thing is, the garage has a peaked roof and I had no access to the upper part of the garage when the door was open. I need that space for storage of large bulky items such as bug fenders, seats, etc.
So I ripped off the old door. Went and bought four 24" wide six-panel wood doors and hung them as a pair of bi-fold doors. Cut and reused part of the roll-up door track along the top front to keep the ends of the doors on the line of the opening. Worked out nearly perfect.

Since I had the access to the upper reaches of the garage I built, along one side and under the peak of the roof, a 32 inch wide shelf, the bottom of the rail being 6'3" off the floor so that even Wendy can walk under it.

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