December 31, 2006

It's "found money", right?

click to supersizeWe upgraded phones with Cingular a while back, got rebates. The rebates come as a debit card, good anywhere. Since this is "found money" it gets spent on unnecessities. So we went out to Parker's Lighthouse last night.

They have a very nice view of the harbor, not to mention that the Christmas Lights were up, such as the ones making trees of lights on the buoys. Used my new camera, no flash, full zoom, balanced on a menu since the shutter stayed open a few seconds. Got a good shot, with a reflection of the bar in the center (you can make out the bottles and hanging glasses.) This is from the third floor, the one with the best view. Also the more casual, no reservations, just seat yourself.

Shannon, our waitress, hands us our menus. A quick glance saw no jambalaya -- which was the reason for coming in the first place. The jambalaya at the Lighthouse is quite spicy -- well beyond warm or anyone elses that I have tried (not that I have tried many.)

"Excuse me, but there is no jambalaya on the menu"
"That's only downstairs, we have a smaller kitchen."
"That's a stopper."
"Let me see if I can bring some up."

She could. So we had the lobster whatever appitizer and our jambalaya while the girls has otherwise and watched the boats going past all lit up for Christmas. A pleasant evening out, service well worth the 25% tip.

Posted by Paladin at 12:03 PM | Comments (1)

December 20, 2006

Printer Swap

Had a workorder last week to swap out a printer, an HP8150 for an HP8150. Yeah, like for like, but the W/O said it was a lease roll so that is understandable. Told the client that my area of responsibility ends at the Ethernet jack. They are responsible for printer setup (or they can get standard desktop to do it). But hey, if you need help you can call me. (OCS is notorious for going above and beyond the call of duty -- as I say it, my job is to spoil the client so they do not want anyone else touching the equipment.)

So they called just a few minutes ago. I pop open a web browser on the company laptop, set the address to the printer's IP, BAM! I'm in looking at an HP8150. Client says the new printer is a Xerox Phaser 5500. Oh..... "OK. You can pull the connection from the old printer and put it into the new." He does, I lose my connection, the IP is not set on the new. Talk him into the menu on the printer, he is compentent and gets to the network settings, it's set for DHCP and is displaying an address. He gives me the last byte, I put it into the browser, BAM! I'm looking at a Xerox 5500. Turn off the DCHP, save. Still in, so I set the IP address to the correct fixed address, save. No connection. Set the browser to the fixed IP address -- ha! There you are! "The printer is set correctly -- let's check the print server...."

I also have access to the print server, at least to the extent of being able to look and change IP addresses (for LAN upgrades where the subnet changes.) I see his printer, the driver is for the HP. "You need to call corporate helpdesk to change the driver in the server -- I don't have access to that part." I give him the phone number and wish him luck.

Waited a half hour -- the server is still the same. It's bugging me so I go to set up to print direct. Set up a TCP/IP port, need to set the print driver, hit the Xerox site.... hmmmmm.... seems it uses PCL6, same as the HP. Cool, I have that already set up. Tie it to the just created port, send my test page ("If you can read this you are connected to the network and OCS is good. If you have a problem printing it is neither a network nor an OCS problem.") Call the client, she has the page I printed. She has a trouble ticket opened to Standard Desktop. I tell her that the HP driver will likely work. She tries. It does. "You're up -- but still need the correct driver installed so don't close your ticket with standard desktop."

Posted by Paladin at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2006

I would hope that most people already know about Google Earth -- which allows you to view any part of the earth's surface using aerial or space photos. This is not always a "good" thing. I took a look at the old neighborhood where I grew up:

My elementary school (A) is still there on the northwest corner of Littlebridge and Kercheval. The north end of the school yard (a) had a very tall chainlink fence -- tall to stop baseballs from going out of the school yard. The homeowners on the other side of the fence had planted honeysuckle. I remember climbing that fence, 10-15 feet off the ground, to pick honeysuckle blossoms to sip on the sweet nectar.

On the northeast corner of Littlebridge and Kercheval (B) was the soda/candy shop. A double dip icecream cone was only 8 cents. It's gone, just an empty field as is most of the old neighborhood. Going east we cross St. James and there on the northeast corner of St James and Kercheval was a city park -- with a public swimming pool. They had showers -- you had to shower and pass inspection before being allowed in the pool. It's gone, and the park; replaced by a bridge over the railroad. Which railroad isn't supposed to be there -- it ran along the righthand edge of the photo, between Hart Street and Conner Lane.

The east side of Hart had a lumber yard. Weekends we would play among the lumber and on the tracks. All gone -- there is a Chrysler-Daimler assembly plant there. Grew up at 2227 Hart, Apartment 4, right there in the middle of the Plant (X). The apartment, gone; the crabapple tree in the front yard, gone; the street itself where we would roll crabapples under the wheels of moving cars, gone; the sidewalk where I learned to ride a bicycle, gone; Lycaste, the next street west of Hart, where my brother stabbed me with his knife, gone; Vernor, the street north of Kercheval, where I was struck by a car (F) and knocked 100 feet, gone.

Going south to Jefferson, it looks like the bar at Hart (D) is still there. Figure that a bar would survive in the neighborhood where a soda shop was razed. As was the movie theater, somewhere on the south side of Jefferson (E). Hot summer days we would take our 25 cents allowance and head for the theater. That got us entrance and a bag of popcorn. You could walk in anytime, right in the middle of the movie. Sit and watch the end, the next movie (all theaters ran two movies -- the A featured movie and the short B movie,) the newsreel, the cartoon, and repeat. None of this modern nonsense of lights on and clear out! We would go in just after noon and not come out until dusk -- it was bright and HOT outside, dark and air-conditioned in the theater.

But is it gone. All Gone.

You can't go home again -- home is no longer there.

Posted by Paladin at 09:47 PM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2006

The Frozen North

Has friends of mine. They are enoying a White Christmas. I was sweating as I mowed the lawn, now have to ride to pick up a new extension cord to replace the one nailed by the mower. Ciao!!

Posted by Paladin at 02:52 PM | Comments (1)

December 13, 2006

Friday the 13th

Right smack dab in the middle of the week! Ruint the whole thing. I was wondering why everything was going worng.

Wednesdays jes' gotta be the worstest day of the week for a Friday the 13th. Got into work this morning and John is looking to pawn off another trouble ticket onto me. "Trouble proven into Carson" "can't hear" AND it has a circuit ID rather than a telephone number. It's a ring-down point to point private line.

Now, back in the good old days of mechanical switching, a point to point private line was just that -- you had a dedicated circuit from point A to point B. With that circuit taking it's share of the bandwidth even when idle. Nowaday we sinply give people a pair of pots lines and program the switches to autodial the other end.

But these PL circuits are for use by the switching control people when (more like if ever!) the switch goes down -- so you really don't want to use the switch to fake a PL circuit. You run an actual point to point PL circuit on it's own dedicated channel. Problem being this is now something few people run into, let alone run into trouble on. So I get ready or a long sit down with ears glued to two phones as we try to isolate the trouble. I'm camped on one end of the circuit; Lee, my counterpart in San Diego, is on the other end; Miguel, the tester in L.A., is on my second phone.

I'm talking to Lee, no problem, line is just fine. Miguel steps away for a moment and Lee announces she can no longer hear me. Being a Tech, I don't believe her so I start singing -- my singing is prohibitted under the Geneva Conventions as extreme torture.

OK, the trouble actually exists. Lee notices that the trouble comes and goes as she moves. Ends up being a bad handset on the phone in San Diego.

Sometimes the troubles are far easier to fix than you expected.

Posted by Paladin at 06:40 PM | Comments (1)

December 06, 2006

Movie Car Found!

Black Scorpion, a TV show that ran over 20 episodes in 2001. Described by Faena ( in the IMDB:

"This is probably the stupidest thing I've ever seen on television. After watching the first episode, I suddenly realize why people drive around with "Fight Prime Time, Read a Book" bumper stickers. Black Scorpion is sooo bad...."

OK, I didn't say it was a FAMOUS movie car. Last weekend we checked up on the camper in it's storage lot, and noticed one of our neighbors:

Has to be the original -- no one would make a clone.

Posted by Paladin at 10:16 AM | Comments (1)

December 02, 2006


Yesterday.... well actually it started a couple of weeks ago....

Seems that an order for one of MY clients was misdirected to the regular installers, the guys that work the cash-paying customers, outside. Those guys are good -- have to be since they are customer facing. They keep up with all the latest offering and equipment and rules -- which I don't.

But internally the job is far different, enough so that many years ago they split off a group to do internal only -- OCS, where I was lucky enough to land nearly 20 years ago. And after 20 years I'm still learning some of the quirks of our old buildings. (Think about it -- how many 80-year-old buildings have been continuously occupied by the original group?)

The client was being kicked out of her 1st floor office, moving her two lines to her desk in the upstairs supply room. The single line there to be moved to the first floor to for the person taking over her desk. No problem -- for OCS.

Anyhow, the Tech arrived, did a "say what?" and called his boss. His boss said, paraphrased, hearsay, "no, we are not giving the job to OCS where it belongs. We are going to violate the contract and business ethics and YOU WILL DO IT!" So he did. AND I must admit I'm impressed at how far he got. This was at the Birch C.O., which has inventoried house cables. Meaning that our internal connections look to the system as if they are outside. With separate cables to the first floor and the second floor. He managed to get the second line re-assigned to and cut on the frame to go to the second floor, arriving on a 66-block on the backboard. Cross connected the dial tone to the correct 66-block to feed the cat-5 patch panel and ran a patch cord to the correct floor jack. Where he ran into a little trouble seeing as while the phone LOOKED like a two-line phone it wasn't.

Meanwhile.... that line recieved the calls from the building entry doors, where suppliers make their delieveries (hence the desk in the supply room.) Since it could not be hooked to the desk phone, it was not working in the supply room. The OOPSie came with the wireless phone. We have installed a Nortel box and a Spectralink wireless system in the Central Office -- people get a phone that they can keep with them. The wireless system is wired in parallel to the antique Key Telephone System with the 40-year-old pushbutton desk phones. Client had her lines on her wireless phone so she would not miss a call from a delivery person standing at the front door wanting to deliver things that people are waiting for -- for our cash paying outside customers. When the line was moved to the second floor it was removed from the first floor -- and the wireless system.

House Cable One (A) is the original lead-sheathed terminating on the original screw-down wood blocks (B). The KTS (Key Telephone System) equipment (D) terminates on the pink boards (C) and is cross connected to the 25-pair 'floor' cables going to the various desks and rooms. Somewhere along the line they required KTS lines to appear on the second floor as well as the first, so a tie cable was run between floors. Likewise to the third floor. This is the 1.3 closet, there is similar 1.1 and 1.2 closets. As the house cable terminated here, the KTS was mounted here. When we added the Wireless there was no room in the 1.3 the wireless is mounted in the 1.2. It is not easy to trace out, and if you don't know about the wireless being a separate but equal system it is not unexpected that you will overlook it.

Bottom line: people standing at the front door with packages to be delivered were now unable to deliver. Needed supplies didn't get to the outside techs, jobs were delayed, money lost. Escalate up, comes back down to my boss -- "Who did this order" "Not me" "Not me" "Not me" . . . .

Long story short, I fixed it all up yesterday. Would have been easier if I had gotten the order in the first place, two weeks ago.

Posted by Paladin at 07:06 AM | Comments (3)