Wazoo Posted October 9, 2005 Share Posted October 9, 2005 Was thinking of the "no-one is responsible" aspect, being a touch sardonic (old cartoon comes to mind - computer hardware, software, telecoms, moon and astrology progressively blamed) 33869[/snapback] flashback ... Government office in Virginaia, Prime Contractor in California, sub-contractor on Long Island, New York. Someone came up with the idea of setting a Teletype machine to help handle the timezone difference. Building full of 'engineers' but the job came to me, as none of them had a clue beyond coming up with the idea. I had a BBS running at the house, so I "must know" something about hooking up a Teletype to the phone line, right? <g> Tried talking to one of the phone guys (this is back when Ma Bell ran the show in the U.S.) My question: what do I need to specify in my request. Answer: just tell us what capabilities you want. My follow-up: what capabilities exist? Answer: That's Bell proprietary information, you just tell us what you want. Time went on, three other phone guys were approached, conversation repeated. However, one of those guys and I got along well, and on a trip to the 'snack bar' the next day, he had 'accidentally' left his tool box open and there was this big book laying right on top .... he asked me to 'watch' his tools while he went to the room down the hall <g> Took some notes, read some more, and hightailed it to the office when he came back. Submitted the request, thought I had it all handled. This Government office was on a little base that most folks had never heard of, and it turns out that the local phone office didn't have anyone on-hand that knew the first thing about "data lines" (another point of reference, we're talking 300 baud here <g>) .. so they brought in someone from a Washington, D.C. office. (Prime Contractor had no problems at their end and had had their end up for at least two weeks prior, just waiting for us/me) Guy said he was done, I placed a call, and traffic started flowing ... signed off on the workorder, and everybody was happy ... until the next morning <g> Contractor called, but our machine wasn't answering. Got the guy back (days later of course) ... he looked at it, checked his notes, looked at it some more and said it was good. I placed another call, traffic flowed, everyone was happy .... until the next morning <g> Same problem. Turns out that the Security Office had 'handled' my request. My timing sucked, as it turns out <g> There was a black, female Captain that had only been on the job like three days (more on her later) .. and when she read the request, she changed the order on/for me. Thus, I'm working with what I had asked for, the phone guy was working with the job order he'd been given, but neither of us caught on that there was that small difference. (Don't forget that the 'technical data' was proprietary, thus he wasn't offering up many details beyond "it's working as requested") The "change" was based on that Captain's view that there was no way in the world that she was going to authorize a phone within a secure building/compound to actually go off-hook (answer) all by itself. Thus the "I could call out with no problem" but ..... Based on all the fallout from that situation, she decided to really go over the line and 'handle' some other issues "by the book" .... a number of phone company folks showed up one day and started disconnecting phones and throwing them into a box .. all over the building. Storyline there was that none of these phones had a "push-to-talk" switch on them, so they also were not secure. Problem was that she was only an O-3 in the Army, but GS-15 civilians in charge of multi-million dollar projects now had no way to contact anyone .... That young Captain had a "new" job in less than three hours <g> ... and the phones managed to get re-installed the same day! Back to the TTY (Teletype) .. things ran great for quite a while, then came the day of a new hire of a new secratary, office move / reorg came up ... some complaints made about the DAA (Digital Access Arrangement) looking like crap, bolted to a piece of plywood which had been bolted to the wall. Turns out that with a bit of cutting, that piece of wood actually fit inside the bottom of the TTY in that sloped lower front panel (where the typist would have his/her knees) ... Connection problems were noticed within the next few days. I'd tear the machine apart, could find nothing wrong, send some stuff out, receive some stuff ... put it back together and move on to the next challenge. Repeat this a few days and I'm going nuts, folks are getting ticked, ... get the D.C. guy back in .. he's not much help, repeating everything I'd done with the same results ... on his third re-visit, he brought in an older guy (either already or very near retirement) who diagnosed the problem in all of 30 seconds. Turns out that some of the relays on the circuit board were mercury-wetted ... so while the machine was torn apart (and the cables only being so long) the board was 'vertical' .. everything worked .. when the machine was put back together, that 'slope' came into play and thus all the mecury ran off to one side, so the relays no longer worked. I mean, there's 'electronics' and then there's 'electronics' <g> Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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