May 27, 2006

Memorial Day 2006

For me, this is the beginning of summer, the beginning of barbeque season. It's not that I don't BBQ all year long, but it is moreso in the summer with the daylight extended late and not wanting to heat the house up with cooking. And again, a good reason for saddlebags -- a large tub of potato salad and six USDA Choice T-Bones fit.
Memorial Day is also splurge day -- go for the King of Steaks -- Porterhouse/T-bone. Stop by Costco -- no porterhouse, but the T-bones are $8 pound in three packs with several of the packs having pairs of steaks that are real close to being porterhouses.

Wendy asked I also check out Omaha Steaks, in the shopping center at Crenshaw and PCH. So I did. Very much disappointed. The steaks are USDA inspected (as if you are legally allowed to sell anything else) but no mention of the grade the meat received. For $20 a pound -- on sale -- I would expect USDA Prime. Looking at the steaks I would judge merely choice -- looked no better than the Costco steaks. Not to mention that they are individually wrapped and hard frozen. Would need to defrost for at least a day in the 'fridge. Which would interfer with....

I like to marinate my steaks in teriyaki sauce. These will have spent 44 hours in the marinade by the time they get tossed on the grill.

Posted by Paladin at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2006

I didn't see you!



Motorcycle accidents tend to involve other road users who often claim not to have seen them in time to avoid a collision. The traditional explanation for such accidents is that the motorcyclist is relatively inconspicuous compared with other road users. Therefore the way to reduce motorcycle accidents is to make motorcyclists more conspicuous. However, database studies and those accidents involving highly conspicuous police motorcycles tend to question if this hypothesis is the only explanation available.

The age of the ‘offending’ driver in motorcycle accidents does not have the customary peak associated with young inexperienced drivers. Experience appears not to teach the car driver much about motorcycles. Motorcyclists tend to have the right of way when a vehicle emerges into their path. Just because a motorcyclist is highly conspicuous this is no guarantee that another road user will see them. Evidence from fatal accident records implies that the use of conspicuity enhancers do significantly reduce the chances of a serious accident.

The Transport and Road Research Laboratory coined the phrase ‘looked but failed to see error’ referring to a set of circumstances where a driver accounts for an accident in the terms of failing to see. A prototypical form of such accidents involves collisions between motorcycles and cars. Motorcycle accidents tend to involve another road user who often claims not to have seen them in time to avert a collision. Research into the causes of motorcycle accidents has tended to make two basic assumptions: firstly, that the offending driver actually looks but then fails to see the motorcyclist; secondly, that this failure can be explained in terms of the relative lack of conspicuity of the motorcyclist.

This laboratory experiment suggests an alternative explanation for such accidents. Experienced and inexperienced drivers viewed video tape clips of approaching traffic at intersections. Subjects' eye movements were recorded in response to different search instructions. Under the conditions of this experiment, experienced drivers appear to use ‘pre-programmed’ search patterns directed towards areas of the road environment which are rich in information; there was little evidence of these in the eye-movements of inexperienced drivers. Experienced drivers appeared to start their search at a midpoint in the scene whist inexperienced drivers started their search nearby. One consequence of this was that experienced drivers took longer to detect motorcyclists who were nearby. (i.e. to the left of the initial point of fixation.)

Drivers’ visual search at junctions can be very rapid. Models of human object recognition, such as Biederman's Recognition By Components (RBC) theory, provide a theoretical account for how we can rapidly comprehend a scene, despite short display times. Can such theories account for failures in driver's search at junctions? Inspired by RBC theory, this laboratory study attempts to understand changes in search behaviour by drivers at differing levels of experience. Each subject watched video clips of an approaching vehicle in a traffic scene, as viewed from the perspective of a driver at an intersection. In one of the clips, the vehicle was replaced by an animated shape. This was either a vertical bar moving in the same way as a motorcycle; a horizontal bar moving in the same way as a car; or a pixelated “rippling” distortion. Drivers’ decision times were recorded in response to differing search instructions: they were asked to search either for a motorcycle or for any motor vehicle.

Experienced drivers - but not non-drivers or inexperienced drivers - treated the animated shapes as vehicles, provided the search instructions matched the shapes orientation. Thus if the shape was a vertical bar and the instructions were to search for a motorcycle, experienced drivers were more likely to believe that a vehicle was present than if they had been asked to search for any vehicle.

An unexpected finding was that police traffic officers treated the “rippling” distortion as a cue to a vehicle’s presence; possibly movement is all that is required by such highly trained drivers. We suggest that with experience, drivers may develop shorter search times at junctions and may extract from complex traffic scenes only a minimal amount of information, based on prior expectancies about what they are likely to see.

The moral is quite apparent. If you drive a car, look harder. If you ride a bike, assume that the driver will look but might not see!

Posted by Paladin at 04:42 AM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2006

Eight DSLs on one cable

We left work yesterday with the new cable assignment in the system but not yet worked. This morning I stop by that C.O. and the frame attendent Facillities Technician had my jumpers in the wood. She didn't tie them down 'cause there were workers on two of the pairs. I write down the numbers, check the other end. No workers, those numbers not to be found. Write down what I do have, go back to the C.O. -- where the Fac.Tech. had tied down the jumpers, other than the two with the conflicts. I find the numbers, and thus the actual location of my cable -- about five feet above where she tied down. Both locations are labled as HC01 1-100.

To recap: MLAC assigned to wrong cable, to which the Fac.Tech. dutifully ran the jumpers. Manually reassigned to the correct cable, to which the Fac.Tech. dutifully re-ran the jumpers. Except the frame block is mis-labled. I located the correct block and the Fac.Tech. dutifully ran the jumpers a third time.

With the dialtone appearing in the building where it is to be used, I get to close out the workorders. The N- order for the eight lines, and seven of the eight C- orders to put the DSL on the lines. Search the system for the last C- order. Find it. It is assigned to Tech.# 304. -- Don Borne.

Don Borne RETIRED in 2003. As I didn't think he'll be closing out his assigned work order I had it transfered to my workload.

Why is a tech that retired over two years ago still being assigned work?

Posted by Paladin at 06:28 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2006

The Bat Cave

The basement equipment room. Back in the dawn of time operator services required a room full of central office equipment to support their phones:

The equipment is retired in place. The racks of wet-cell batteries are gone. The MDF (to the right in the picture) still holds /enamel coated / cloth covered cross connect wires. The building is a block away from the Central Office, but the cable connecting the two is considered to be a "house cable" -- the two buildings are electricly one even to the point of a common ground buss

The cable is terminated on old style blocks. Connections are made by wrapping the cross-connect wire around a lug and soldering it into place.

I'm there 'cause they are adding eight telephone lines, with eight DSL circuits riding them -- for training purposes. I get to wire from the house cable to the jacks in the training room.

Unfortunately, the order was written with the telephone lines assigned to the wrong cable. My dial tone showed up next door at the back of a restaurant. Tried to move them myself with the GCAS, but the cable I needed to cut them to doesn't exist as far as my access went. Drop back to plan B and call the Line Assignment Center. Judy says my N- (new) order has been completed; which is why I was having trouble doing anything with it. The eight C- (change) orders are still alive, but that means she has to do each line separately.

Unfortunately by end of day my dialtone hasn't shown up on the house cable, so the orders are JU'd (job unfinished) until tomorrow. I can't complete the paperwork until the dialtone is at the jacks in the training room.

Time wasn't wasted. I ran the cross connects on the MDF in the Bat Cave to the tie cable to the first floor terminal room. Feed wire to the vertical side, terminate, solder. Walk around to the horizonal side, terminate, solder. Repeat seven more times. Once the dialtone is extended to the first floor it's just a matter of a couple of punches on 66-type blocks to extend to the training room.

Posted by Paladin at 10:47 PM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2006

Not My Job!

But I'm a "nice guy" and will probably do it.....

The wires involved on a modern desk tend to messy, mainly because of the number and length. A too long cord is usable, a too short cord is not -- thus we end up with many too long cords: power to the CPU, power to the monitor, mouse cable, keyboard cable, monitor cable, LAN cable and telephone cable.

Of that list I am responsible for the telephone wire. The desktop computer with accessories is the domain of Standard Desktop. When it comes to the Desktop I provide LAN connectivity at the jack. The LAN cable is a part of the Desktop. Thus, the mess on the left is not my problem. And while messy it is not a safety issue as the cords are not in a traffic area.

But, being a nice guy, and 'cause Susan is a friend as well as a client, I dug up some 19" pieces of PanDuct. Need to buy some double-stick tape to attach to the desks, but this (on the right) should be ascetically acceptable .

Posted by Paladin at 12:18 PM | Comments (1)

May 03, 2006

Key Telephone System

KTS, Key Telephone System, supported businesses for a half century or so. It was obsolete 20 years ago. I'm finally getting to take it out of our offices.

But it is still a good system and people still use it. Which is why it bothers me that what I am removing will likely be junked out at ten cents a pound. It will cost the company more than that to get rid of it. I could sell it, but then I'd lose my job. So all you collectors of old telephone equipment can drool. At least what you do have will increase in value when they crush these perfectly good units. (Yeah, those are three Melco intercom units in the box, $30 easy, and a pile of 400 units, interrupters, 13 slot shelves, power supplies. *SIGH*)

Posted by Paladin at 06:29 AM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2006

Prostate Cancer

Not me, my co-worker of 33+ years and good friend, Doug Wingo, AKA Douglas Wingo. Douglas E. Wingo. (<- so search engines can find.):
Diagnosed with prostate cancer, T2. Went in this morning to have it cut out. Word is that they got it all, 100% recovery is expected. Doug will be out on benefits for a month, at least. Two months if he takes my advice. It'll be tough at work. There's only three people left on the crew and Doug did half the work.

He's in considerable pain in this picture, but between the morphine and a ton of faith he can still smile.

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