Friday, 20 July 2012

Resistance is futile?

It is becoming increasingly difficult to resist getting a Nexus 7 tablet.

As our institution is a Google Apps for Education user almost all our data is on Google now. Added to this I have had Android phones since the G1, so most of the apps I use are either linked to my smartphone or I use them on there (or in Chrome on my netbook).

It is currently only £159 (not that much for a tablet running the latest flavour of OS) and you get £15 credit to spend in the Play store (that now includes movies and books as well as apps and games).

It also seems it could be immune to my accident prone nature:

I came across a mildly funny video too that pitted Siri against Google Voice (the contest starts around the 3.30 mark):

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Creating more work than they actually do

I had an 'interesting' afternoon.

We had a report that a users phone had stopped working. I tried all the usual things, resetting the line, checking the handset and the cables, checking the socket. When I couldn't get anything out of the socket I then went back to where the digital and analogue cards feed onto the voice frame. I tried a phone straight off the frame and it worked, so nothing wrong with the phone system or the wiring on the frame.

As the socket had been working I went and had another look at it. I thought maybe the ring capacitor on the strip that sat between the the LJU socket and the incoming wires had gone.

This socket has the capacitor attached on the rear of the socket, but you get the idea.

Of course the socket had to be in the most difficult to get to part of the office (isn't this always the case fellow techs?). So after many minutes crawling around on the floor under and behind desks I managed to bypass the capacitor using Jelly Crimps.

Some Jelly Crimps - In case you wondered what they looked like.

Still nothing. Unfortunately this meant doing something I hoped I wouldn't have to do. The location of the phone distribution panel for these houses is in the basement of an empty house. So I got some security folks to let me in.


Fantastic! After getting a torch I made my way down to the basement and located the DP. I had stuck a tone generator in the socket so after a while of wand wavering I managed to trace the wires from that socket. Low and behold, someone had pulled them off!

Not only had someone pulled them off, but a new line had been put in. Coincidence?

I put everything back as it should be (after a while of running backwards and forwards between buildings to see what numbers should be on what sockets and from what cards) and finally got everything working.

Back at the office I searched for this other number on our helpdesk software and found that some of my colleagues had set it up yesterday morning, the same time the user reported his phone had stopped working.

I investigated a little further until one admitted that they hadn't jumpered it correctly so they couldn't use the tone generator to find out which one it was. Instead they started PULLING WIRES OFF THE PANEL UNTIL THEY FOUND IT - AND DIDN'T PUT THEM BACK. sigh.

So they spent maybe ten or fifteen minutes patching a number through, and because of them I spent nearly a whole afternoon trying to solve the problems they created. If they hadn't been so lazy to have done the job properly it maybe could have taken another five or ten minutes, instead of the couple of hours it took to put everything back as it should be.

A case of colleagues causing more problems than they solve.