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I still have the old skills! - Paint It Black
Living the American dream one heartbreaking piece at a time
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I still have the old skills!
Yesterday after work I picked up lady_curmudgeon and we went over to see our friend H.K., who lives only a few miles away. Our purpose was two-fold: first, to see how she's recovering from her surgery and give her some company. Second, to rescue her sanity! It seems H.K. has been without Internet service for quite some time now, as the last time the local Bell technician paid her a visit they managed to rewire her NID (Network Interface Device, the place where the telephone company's wiring is cross-connected to the wiring inside your house/condo/apartment complex), ostensibly to address some signal quality concerns. Ever since then? No DSL service and no dial tone anywhere in the house. How nice is that?

It didn't take me too long to figure out what the problem was -- the installer was a wank and he cut out pretty much everything she had wired in herself, replacing it with only a connection to the standard red/green wires of pair #1 -- a pair that is not used anywhere in her house. What did take me a while was identifying the wires that served her office and kitchen, then figuring out how everything was supposed to be connected -- the Bell technician made a right mess of things, interconnecting two or three pairs with lots of button crimps. I hate button crimps.

It's been a long time since I worked with telephone service but it felt good to get back to the basics, as it were. Telephones (especially the push-button multi-line telephones) were fascinating to me when I was young and they are what eventually sparked my interest in networking. It was a happy coincidence for me that computers were moving in that direction as well. When I started college for my B.S. in Telecommunications and Management, my first classes focused around voice communications and the various laws and theories that drive this ubiquitous service. In fact, that's how H.K. and I first met -- she was the TCom Lab supervisor who helped set up my first class's lab final. It was a "practical" exam where I had to troubleshoot and repair 3-5 different problems that were keeping an analog telephone from working (a cut phone line, cotton in the receiver, a disconnected Tip line, etc). Funny how 12 years later I'm coming full circle, isn't it?

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Current Location: The Tallest Failure Between Chicago and St. Louis
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Comments
yakko From: yakko Date: July 18th, 2008 12:01 am (UTC) (Link)

My NID is full of stupid

Wait... were these button crimps inside the NID? Wasn't the whole purpose of the NID to do away with the rat's nest and put a clear demarc point between customer and telco?

I'm glad I invested in some good tone/amp test equipment to keep my sanity when tracing small wires around...

(my "NID" is a 66 block locked in a closet that only the maintenance guy has the key to. Apartment living sucks.)
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