Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wireless is cool.

I've completed the third day of Motorola iDEN training, so I'm getting a really solid idea of how all the features of currently deployed cell phone technology have been bolted onto the old stuff.  It is intriguing how the big iron phone switch makers have held their place in the wireless world.  The writing is on the wall for the old DMS-100 family and Lucent 5ESS switches to become completely edged out of the MSO picture, as more and more of the functionality is being replaced by packet and frame technology.  That's job security for me.  I can see how Motorola is engineering their way around the DMS-100 for their next iDEN system release.  B'bye Nortel.  Hello softswitch.  They've already incorporated the Cisco MGX 8850 into their Push-to-Talk (dispatch) offering.  It's not that big a step to plop a wireless softswitch into the picture and eliminate the bulky old circuit switched elements for making regular calls.  I don't even see that Nortel has a wireless softswitch offering.  I wonder if Lucent or Cisco or TELOS will win that market share.  Even Samsung has one now.  SONUS, Tekelec, and Spatial are the new wireless softswitch players.  I'm guessing that if one of them gets ahead, Cisco will buy 'em.  My biggest curiosity is if the Lucent Softswitch could eliminate the Nortel presence  in the wireless world altogether.

NOTE:  I found later that Nortel doesn't call it a wireless softswitch.  In true old school telecom form, they have created an acronym which is completely meaningless, P-MSC.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Fridays don't mean as much when you're on a rotating shift schedule.  It's my Wednesday, but it still feels like a weekend a little, because I don't have anything on my calendar for tonight.  I can watch a hockey game on TV or read a book.

I want to say what a pain it is to work with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage when they misapply your payment.  I have four different login names on their website and depending which one I use, it might say I'm current or behind.  They have no way to tie all my accounts together with one login.  It's a similar pain if you call them.  I invariably get about four menus deep in their IVR before their system realizes there are multiple accounts and puts me on infinite hold-for-a-representative music.  The most aggravating part about that is that they routinely apply my payments to the wrong loans, and I have to send them my bank statement to prove that I sent them money and beg them to reverse any late charges or correct any default situations.  If you have a loan with Wells Fargo, don't ever get a second one, or a third, or a fourth like I did.  They officially suck at treating you like one person if you have multiple accounts.  If it weren't costly to refinance, I would do so in a heartbeat just to save myself the time of dealing with those bubbleheads.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Crazy week.

Monday evening, I took video of a bartender stepping outside of a Plaza bar and blowing fire, which is a stupid bartender trick, but the ensuing fireball was so large that I briefly thought we were all going to die.  Not a hair on his head was singed, so he knew what he was doing.  A group of people at the bus stop across the street yelled for him to do it again, but I think I was startled enough to just skip Halloween this year.

Speaking of danger, I applied for an interesting job in Iraq.  I like to think that they're not backfilling for some tragic reason.  There are a lot of personal and/or testosterone driven reasons why I would try for this job, even for the short term.  Plus, about a hundred thousand of them with no Federal withholding.  I don't have all the skills they're asking for, but I have most of them, and the rest can be attained by reading some books and some OJT.  It could be the adventure of a lifetime, or it could really suck for a while and set my resume apart somewhat.  It might make me wealthy.  Or, I could be maimed or killed traveling around that Allah-forsaken place fixing wonky network issues.  Maybe I could get a similar fix by skydiving, but I think braving a war where my skills are in demand might be more intense.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The past week.

I had some really great barbecue last weekend at the American Royal Barbecue, then I had a very busy week.  I got my 401k rolled over, showed a house to some potential new tenants, got to check out some radio controlled car racing, worked on a mid-term project for school, and managed to play hockey three nights, worked out four mornings, interviewed for a fat job at Accenture in Lenexa, and visited the doc for a checkup.  Once my 401k was rolled over, I borrowed some money from myself to pay off some higher interest debt and have some cash on hand.  So much for changing jobs.  Now I'm paying interest to myself instead of some predatory credit card company.  At 140,000 miles my '96 Jeep started having engine problems and burning oil, so I traded it for an '04 and paid cash for the difference.  So much for having cash on hand.  My blood test results were great.  >800 CD4  and <400 copies/mL VL.  So, it was a roller coaster kind of week.  My potential tenants may move in on the 20th, so I have some work to get that house ready to move into, like getting the utilities turned on and a few items fixed.  Plus, it needs a new garage door opener.  I paid a 24-pack fine for missing my hockey game last week.  I didn't play as well this week, because I didn't get enough sleep.  School is going well.  Making time to do homework is a challenge to the detriment of my sleep schedule.  I don't have time to watch TV any more, although I caught part of the UFC fights earlier. . . and dozed through most of it.  It was nice to show my newer Jeep to my brother and take him for sushi at Domo, the sushi bar in Brookside, which is my favorite now.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Ice time.

I was happy to learn that I get free admittance to the 27th Annual American Royal Barbecue on Oct 7 by showing my Sprint badge.  I was happy to finally get to play hockey tonight, and we won!  And I got plenty of good food, sleep, and a chest workout done earlier.  That adds up to a good day.


The biggest challenge of being nocturnal is setting aside plenty of time in the day to sleep and still making time to interact with diurnal people.  I find myself oversleeping for things for which I would previously have never considered setting an alarm.  The work/life/school balance is better when I try to put everything in my PDA, so it wakes me up in time.  The downside of that is that my PDA is also my phone.  If I don't ignore the phone when I'm supposed to be sleeping, it will invariably ring, I'll wake up, acknowledge the daylight, and have great difficulty dozing back off.  I'm going to start turning the phone portion off and cranking the volume on the calendar alarms.  I haven't really had the same energy level this week that I had last week.  I have to attribute it to sleep interruptions, a sleep deficit, and some poor diet choices.  I've been eating a lot of pizza delivery and Halloween candy and not getting to sleep before noon.  I can remedy the diet problem by preparing meals in advance and keeping good food around.  I'm going to have to consciously set an alarm clock for daytime activities every time I close my eyes for a "nap".  Sometimes, I'll doze off before going to the gym and wake up hours late for my appointment with my trainer.  It's no sweat for her, she gets paid anyway, but I feel terrible for multiple reasons.  Missing out on the exercise makes the sleep problem worse.  The more I think I'm settling into the nocturnal lifestyle, the more challenges emerge. 

All that being said, I've had a busy busy week.  I enrolled in a half dozen benefits at work.  I did a 401k rollover which involved researching the investment options, making phone calls, and doing the leg work to fax forms and FedEx checks.  I'm working on a project for class as well as preparing for a midterm exam.  I attended a birthday party, but I skipped hockey.  And that must be the root of my fatigue problem.  I'm an order of magnitude happier, more energetic, and more productive when I get some ice time.  :-)

On the subject of ice time, I was supposed to play hockey last night, but I woke up with no time to eat before the game, so I rushed around and grabbed work clothes because I would have to go directly from the game to work. . . I got all the way to the rink and realized my hockey bag, skates and all, was still on the back porch.  If I made the round trip I would only get to play for about 15 minutes, so I just ate dinner.  Later, at work, I received a "what happened to you?" email, so I sent a self-deprecating explanation, which I'm sure I'll hear all about at the next game.  Not enough defrag time, and my brain just shuts down.  I doubt that I would have played well, anyhow. <shrug>