Make Money

Month: January, 2008

Have you got the password?

by niteshift

I’ve got the password, boy let me tell you how I’ve got the password, I’ve got loads of them floating around here.  I’ve got them by the bucket loads.

Every system I work with has a different password.  We’ve even got a web page where you login to request your passwords be given to you, or to reset them if you commit the sin of forgetting your password.  Of course you need a password to access this web page, but what happens if you forget the password to the password web page?  I don’t even want to know.

It has gotten to the point that I have a word doc on my laptop just to try and keep track of all my passwords (don’t tell the IT security goblins).  It didn’t use to be this way, but now every box I work on has a different password, some of them have multiple passwords depending on what kind of work I have to do.  I know why it is this way, but when you’ve got two pages of passwords I think I’ve had enough.  Some passwords expire if you don’t use them every week, some every month, some change every month regardless.  Passwords that have to be changed, but you can’t use anything that is close to the last six dozen passwords you have used before.  I’m running out of combinations of words and numbers that I can use.  HELP ME.

I think that most all of my co-workers have a file like mine, but I’m not sure.  If they don’t I can’t figure out how they keep them all straight.  One of the other guys on night shift showed me his file, it’s got over 150 different systems and passwords, and only a handful of them are the same.  Most of these systems won’t let you change your password.  How’s that for some crap?

You wouldn’t think it would be that hard for them to come up with one master password that will grant you access to every web page and system out there.  Just let some IT group turn your permissions on and off as needed for your job functions, we’ve already got a group that generates passwords (that are always different of course) why not just turn permissions on and off as needed.  Guess that would just be too hard huh?

Stinking passwords.


911 may I help you?

by niteshift

Lawdog recently wrote a post about 911 calls and cell phones, the short version is that you can always dial 911 with your phone, regardless if you have an active account with that carrier or not.  Case in point, I have a old phone in my Jeep from the last company I worked for that has not been turned on in a few years, but if the battery were good I could turn it on and make a 911 call with that phone even though I’m 3 states away from that phones home network.  You can get the full version here, look around that site if you haven’t already been there before.

Now when I first started in my line of work (for wireless phone carriers) I didn’t know this either.  I had to learn it the hard way, but that’s just about the best way (or the only way I learn according to Nurseschatzie).  The company I worked for at the time had changed the way our test phones were billed and our group ended up not paying our bill and all of our phones were turned off (two states worth of inside and outside techs worth of phones).  I was at a cub scout meeting talking up my phone system when it was shut off and all I could call was 911.  Made me, and the company I worked for at the time look real good, ‘bout par for the course I say.

Here is the skinny on 911 services for those of you who don’t know.  A few years back the Fed mandated that all carriers would have X percentage of 911 calls routing to what is known as Phase II 911.  This means that the helpful 911 operator can pull your GPS location within 10 to 20 meters or so.  Sounds great right?  Well getting to that place took some work on everyone’s part, even yours.  The carriers usually ran to a Phase 0, or Phase 1 line when this started.  Phase 0 was just a straight pipe to the 911 center for the county the site was sitting in.  There wasn’t any information passed along with this call.  Phase 1 was when the operator could see your phone number, the phone number assigned to what ever sector you were connected to, and the GPS location of the tower (so they would know your very general location).  Phase 0 required one kind of routing that was very simple, Phase 1 required a special line to the 911 center.  Phase 2 required yet another special line to the 911 center, as well as a couple of people in between who crunched data and figured out where in the world you were for the GPS stuff.  The carrier had to pay for all these new lines, as well as paying for the people in between, not to mention paying people like me to built these routing systems in the offices that connect cell towers to Ma Bell.  The 911 centers for each county (most large cities have their own separate from the county as well) had to shell out for new equipment to read all this data as well.  What did you have to do for all of this cool new big brother knows where you are kind of stuff?  You had to buy new high speed low drag phones with GPS chips in them or else none of it works anyway. 

With all that money being paid out the carriers begged and pleaded with the Fed time and time again and the deadline got pushed out a few times.  I’m pretty sure that everyone is up to standard now at least as much as they can be, there are still some smaller counties that have not upgraded enough to use Phase II yet.  The penalty for a carrier that is non-compliant is pretty stiff (I think the little mom and pop I worked for a couple of years back shelled out half a million for being late).

So, here is how your 911 calls should work now if you’ve got a newer phone and aren’t way out in the sticks somewhere. 

 You: dialing 911 to report seeing an axe murderer stealing a case of bud light 

911: Operator: 911 what is your emergency?

You: I need to report a murder and theft please.

911: (typing in the background) Sir/Mam, are you in the location where this occurred?

You: Yes I am, I’m in the parking lot and the axe murder is inside going to town on the beer cooler now.

911: Please stay on the line while I dispatch the police.

All this time the operator has been pulling information off of your phone call such as your phone number, carrier and GPS location.  They use mapping programs that match your GPS location with a local street map so they know where to send the cops.  In this case they know that you’re sitting in the parking lot of the local 7-11 on Main Street.  It’s pretty cool stuff, but most folks don’t have any idea of how much work goes into that phone call, now you know a little about it.  Go You.

I’ve talked to 911 operators all over the south and most of them are pretty cool about things.  Bigger cities are harder to work with, but they have real calls to take care of.  Most little counties hardly ever get calls, and we would all like to keep it that way.  I have made test calls at night to some places and I will be the only call they get all night.  These folks are usually the best to talk to because they are not rushed and they will take the time to find all the info on the call so I can make sure everything is set up right.  They are also the ones that will sometimes give me a hard time for not pronouncing the town, or counties name correctly.  After they find out that I’m actually on the other end of the state they are a little more understanding, and we all get a laugh out of it.  They laugh at me for not knowing where in the world they are, even though my phone call looks like I’m just down the street from them, and I get a kick out of them trying to figure out how I can sit in a large city in NC and make my call look like I’m sitting in the middle of Myrtle Beach.

One last thing, if you ever have a 911 calling issue on your cell phone don’t hesitate to call in a trouble ticket.  These tickets get all kinds of attention.  They are very high profile for every carrier that I have ever worked with.  No one wants to be on the 5 o’clock news being the scapegoat for something being murdered because they dialed 911 on the cell, but it was sent to the wrong county.  Trust me on this, these call routing tickets are important to everyone.

A tangled mess

by nurseschatzie

I am convinced there are creatures living under my daughters bed.  Every night they come out to torment her in her sleep, but they are so sly and quiet that she doesn’t even notice them.  Occasionally she will wake up, but they are so tiny  she doesn’t realize they are in her bed.  I haven’t determined yet if she does something specific to irritate them, or if they just prefer little girls.  They do not seem to have any effect on the boys.  She calls them “Da Nassy Nauts”.  During the day, they collect carpet lint and other fuzzes and hold them until the attack.  Then, while she slumbers they massacre her beautiful curly hair.  Armed with the carpet fuzz, a very small teasing comb, and some kind of adhesive, they creativly weave themselves with the fuzz into her locks. 

I have tried several tactics to ward off “Da Nassy Nauts”, all unsuccessful.  I have tried leave-in conditioner, a pony tail, letting her go to bed with wet hair, damp hair, dry hair, brushed hair, messy hair, silky pillow, cotton pillow, no pillow. Nothing seems to help. 

In the morning it’s anyones guess as to how her hair will look.  And how long it will take to brush out all those “Nassy Nauts”.  Undoubtedly there will be tears, screams, and profanity under breath, and of course, I get upset too.  The Nauts are very intricate weavers, and cannot be undone with just a good shampoo and conditioner.  That helps, but you must first brush them all out.

I know Princess and I will come though this together.  After all, I once dealt with “Da Nassy Nauts” as well.  Although I refuse to follow the route my parents took with me…….they cut my long beautiful curly hair off!  I will be stronger than this, Princess will be stronger than this.  WE WILL OVERCOME DA NASSY NAUTS!

But, it is getting difficult.  The longer her hair is, the harder they work to destroy it.  And more time consuming and painful the solution becomes.  Often Princess wants me to stop before all of the offenders are out, but luckily she still trusts my judgement when I tell her “Da Nassy Nauts” will just multiply if not quickly taken care of.  So remember Princess and her daily struggle with Da Nauts and say an extra prayer on Tuesdays and Wednesdays – they days Mommy goes to work early, and (cue dramatic music) DADDY fixes our hair!

The evidence of their destruction is below, even on Christmas Day, “Da Nassy Nauts” wreak havoc!

Nassy Nauts work of art