October 31, 2005

Bad Penny

Joe Baca stopped by with his laptop -- he needed help getting Norton installed, and he couldn't log onto the Verizon home page. I took care of him, and to make up for me not working at what I was supposed to be doing Joe was doing what I was supposed to be doing -- punching down cable.

Which is fair. When I first met Joe I was helping him at an office on Compton Blvd, punching cable.

Posted by at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2005

I hate advertizing!

Heading from the barn to first job, via the Doughnut Shoppe, see a gas station and remember I'm almost out of gas. It is the Shell station at 911 W. Carson, Torrance CA. They have new pumps. New Very Annoying Pumps. They are equipped with a large video display and large stereo speakers. When you start pumping they start blaring advertisements. Quite loud. Even in the cab with the windows rolled up.

I am NOT going back there again.

Didn't even get a discount for having to listen to the blather. I will be on the watch for such pumps in the future and I will not patronize any gas station that has them.

Posted by at 01:04 PM | Comments (1)

October 24, 2005

M66-50 M66-25

Mini 66-type punchdown blocks come in two main types: The M66-25 which provides four connections on 25 pairs; and the M66-50, also known as a split-50, which provides two connections on 50 pairs. Above is a picture of both. On the left is a split-50. It is being used as a demarcation point between the Avaya equipment that is maintained by Avaya, and my wiring which I maintain. They connect on the left, I connect my cross connect on the right, and the demarcation is a pair of removable/replaceable bridge clips.

If you look closely you can see that on the split-50 the left two lugs are notched to be connected from the left, the right two are notched to be connected from the right. The left and right pairs are separate. The M66-50 is used to connect ONE thing to ONE thing.

The M66-25 block, on the right, has all four lugs made from a single piece of metal. The leftmost lug is notched to be connected from the left. The right three lugs are notched to be connected from the right. This allows multiple connections. ONE thing may be connected to one, two, or three things. Such as connecting the Avaya switch to a telephone set AND a monitoring circuit.


15 months ago I had this Avaya system installed in the '41 building. (Picture on the Left.) It moved to the '81 building. Since the BackBoard was already cabled, I unmounted it from 21241 2.1, with cables still attached, and remounted it in the 12181-1.1. (Picture on the right, except that some blocks have been moved by unauthorized persons.)

The day Avaya came out to connect their cables I was at 911 school. I was not there to supervise. I had the UPS beside their box, ready to provide AC power. I had the fiber connections to the Cisco 8540's coming out of an innerduct next to the cables from the backboard.

But they added four more cards and ran four more cables.

Rather than use their own split-50's, they grabbed the M66-25's that I had on MY backboard for me to tie MY cables onto and used them.

This accomplished two things. I am short four M66-25 blocks. And I have NO DEMARCATION between the Avaya equipment and my wiring.

Avaya, would you mind coming back to fix your mistakes, and give my my blocks back?

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

October 21, 2005

Club 33

November 22nd is my 35th Service Anniversary with the Telephone Company. Originally Pacific Telephone and Telegraph. Later Pacific Bell. Now SBC Pacific Bell.

Yesterday I went to my Anniversary Dinner with my wife, two daughters, and my boss, "Tok" Tokanaga. For Retirements and Anniversaries >20 years we may utilize the Telephone Pioneers' membership in Club 33. So we did. The Entrance to Club 33 is a door right beside the entrance to the Blue Bayou Resturant. The Blue Bayou does not accept reservations. CLub 33, with it's 400 memberships, must be reserved far in advanced. It is quite pricey, and I had to pay the excess above what SBC will pay for my Anniversary Dinner. But worth it -- the food is excelent, rated in the top five Resturants in California.
360 degree view of the Club 33 dining room:

Posted by at 06:18 AM | Comments (1)

October 17, 2005

I Hate Mondays

They predict rain, but when I am leaving the house it's dry so I ride the bike into work. Arriving at work I roll up to my van, drop off my laptop, helmet, jacket, gloves, glasses; pick up keys, ID card, hat; ride helmetless (it's private property!) into the garage where I chain the bike to an inside post.

Pick up my company laptop and workload, get in the van and head over to the Torrance Call Center where I need to continue the restack of the rack. Arrive, grab my personal laptop, get out of the van, walk to the side door to get the company laptop. It's locked. The key is still in the ignition. Cab doors are locked also. I'm sitting outside waiting for Vehicle Maintainance to stop by with the spare key.

Posted by at 08:27 AM | Comments (1)

October 14, 2005

Bike Night

Every Thursday, 7pm-8:30 or so: it's Bike Night at Ricky and Ronnie's (closed forever as of December 2008). Last night I went to check it out:

Somewhere between 50 and 80 bikes, about a 50-50 split between V-twin cruisers and road-hugging sport bikes. With a sprinkle of three Boss Hogs, a Yamaha RD350 2-stroke twin, an old Shovelhead, and a single Thumper.

Posted by at 08:36 AM | Comments (0)

October 13, 2005

How not to Pack Equipment

(as often is the case, click on an image for a larger one)

We are not allowed to maintain spares, nor are we allowed access to program switches -- so any replacement switches have to be sent to the switch programming people first and then shipped to us for installation.

John has been waiting for about a month for a Switch for the Airport Central Office. It came yesterday, with the bottom of the box falling apart. We continued to open it from the bottom and found it packed as photographed. The switch against three sides of the box with bits and pieces of packing on the other three sides (top/bottom count as sides.)

FWIW, the proper way of packing is with fitted foam that suspends the unit at least an inch from any outside surface of the box -- so a sharp rap to the box is not transmitted into the unit possibly damaging it. We will not know if this unit sustained any damage until we try to put it on-line.

Posted by at 07:57 AM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2005

Restack, 2nd floor

On the second floor, since I do not have routers or servers, the plan is a lot simpler. I've mounted the new Foundry switches in the nearly empty rack with the fiber patch panel. You will notice it is a lot cleaner than the first floor.

After the LAN is alive I will cut over the workstations on the first floor, freeing up piles of long patch cables. As well as allowing me to remove the old switches and the temporary rack that is making the first floor so ugly. The long patch cords will then be brought upstairs and used to cut the second floor workstations to the new switches. This will make the upstairs ugly, with many dozens of long patch cables draped between the racks.

Once cut, I'll remove the old Cisco switches from the patch rack, clearing space for the new Foundry's. Then, some weekend when the customer is not around, I'll physically move the new switches into the patch rack and replace the long cords with the short one, making it neat enough for inspection by Joe Baca.

Note: There is a requirement for a minimum length for patch cables. This requirement is from switch to device and includes the floor cable. There is no real requirement for a minimum length for the patch cables in my patch racks. Having the vast majority of patch cables 9-12 inches in length makes troubleshooting a far easier task.

Posted by at 02:40 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2005

ReStack continued

Click image for larger annoted image:

Yeah, it's a total mess now. I have all of the old Cisco switches moved into the temporary rack, the neat 12 inch jumper cables replaced with 6 to 8 foot cables. I have three of the seven new Foundry switches mounted, jack fields moved slightly to snugly fit the 1.5 RU height of the Foundry versus the 2 RU height of the old Ciscos. The seventh Foundry switch will be placed in the router rack.

On the other side of the room I have a cabinet for the file servers, and their patch jacks will terminate on a new panel at the top of the switch rack. Interspaced with the new Switches I will be mounting 192 new voice jacks for the new Avaya telephone system.

For the next few months I'll be sitting with two complete LANs existing in the space designed for one. I will REALLY like it when the cut is complete and I can remove that extra rack.

Posted by at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2005

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Everyone keeps telling me how dangerous motorcycles are. But they neglect to cite any statistics. So here are some statistics for the year 2002 from the Statistical Abstract of the United States.

135,921,000 automobiles
4,963,000 motorcycles

Miles traveled:
Automobiles: 2,856,000,000,000
Motorcycles: 9,200,000,000

Automobiles: 18,300,000
Motorcycles: 190,000

Miles traveled per registered vehicle:
Automobile: 21,012
Motorcycle: 1,854

Accidents per registered vehicle:
Automobile: 0.135
Motorcycle: 0.038

Accidents per 100,000 miles traveled:
Automobile: 0.641
Motorcycle: 2.065


Automobiles are three and a half times more likely to be involved in an accident than a motorcycle. Because of the fewer miles riden versus driven.

Per mile, a motorcycle is three and a quarter times more likely to be involved in an accident. Because of ???

Looking at the miles driven/riden -- 20K plus for cars, 2K- for bikes. I ride a mere 4 miles one way to work so I only put on 5,000 this past year. To get an average of 1,854 miles a year three other bikers have to average only 800 miles a year. You are *NOT* going to maintain profiency on a motorcycle riding only a few hundred miles a year. That low mileage is a large risk factor for a motorcycle accident.

Plus.... that low mileage means recreational riding rather than commuting. Recreational as in speeding thru the twisties on your high performance sport bike. Or doing the proverbial biker bar runs and ending up riding under the influence. From other sources I seem to recall that excessive speed is a factor in well over half of all motorcycle accidents. From other sources I seem to recall that alcohol is a factor in well over half of all motorcycle accidents. In other words, the vast majority of motorcycle accidents involve excessive speed and/or alcohol.

On average a motorcyclist may expect an accident every 50,000 miles. Assuming you don't speed and don't ride under the influence and maintain profiency, your risk will be far less.

Posted by at 08:19 PM | Comments (6)