Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Gospel of Saint Thomas

I have been faithfully following Beth's Blogging right along and have been blessed by many of her posts. She and Ross have recently started a couple more. I was especially intrigued by the Forgotten Texts Blog-Site she started with the Gospel of Thomas, which you can easily get to through the Link I provided in the title of this Blog. I have known about this Gospel for many years along with some of the other Coptic texts and the Nag Hammadi Scrolls. Beth has recently discovered them and is devouring them with a Passion, much as I did 20 some odd years ago. It brings back memories. I have always thought of Thomas as the Alternative Gospel and it is interesting to note, that He apparently made it as far as India, where a different form of Christianity thrived until the Catholic Portuguese arrived and "straightened them out". Ron might remember when we made this discovery quite a long time ago. It is with a good deal of sadness that we note how the Catholic Church has managed to squelch and bury whatever religious aberrations they encountered in their conquering of the New World.

I urge you all to make at least an occasional trip to Ross and Beth's WebSites to stay abreast of the many good things they are bringing to light.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

What a blessing a cat is!  Posted by Hello

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Please help me update my address book on Ringo

Add yourself to Rick's address book! I am looking to update my Address Book and this goes out to the World Wide Web. Anyone who wants to join Ringo and become part of an Online shared Address Book, go to the link I have given below.
Sign Up With Ringo

Friday, April 08, 2005

The Work of a Communications Technician

When I am doing menial work, by mind races. I do a lot of that, it seems. Today, when my mind was racing, I thought up this Blog.

Some of you may not have any idea what a Communications Service Technician does in life. Some of you may not even care. For those who do, the following is a brief description of the kinds of work I am apt to be doing on a given day.

In general, our work starts with a new piece of equipment that needs to be bolted to the floor and cable racking brought to it. This is called iron-work, in the trade. Most bays nowadays are free-standing, that is to say, they are bolted to the concrete floor, usually with four bolts, one at each corner and all the supporting equipment is mounted one way or another to these line-ups of free-standing bays. Let's say this one is a Cisco Router. That is pretty common new equipment. This Bay will be seven feet tall and about two foot square. There may be as many as three routers in a bay, each approximately two foot by two foot. There will be anywhere from a half dozen to 20 cards in each router. The very top portion of the bay is usually a power panel for powering the routers in the bay. We practically always have to bring power in via a designated Power cable rack. Usually nowadays, there will be Fiber Optic. In most cases, that will come in ducts or at least a special fiber cable rack. Then, any copper cables, T-1s, for instance need to come on a Switchboard cable rack. If there is a modem for monitoring service, there will be a single Ethernet cable, Cad-6E with RJ-45 plugs on both ends. In many instances, you will have a single Switchboard Rack with raised horns, front and back for the Fiber and Power to come in separately from the Switchboard cable, but attached to the same rack.

Then we run whatever cable needs to be run. To get T-1s, we go to a Distribution Frame somewhere, usually on lower floors, so, typically, we may have to go across and down vertical racks several floors and then across again to where-ever they are. What we are installing right now, these cables are in the neighborhood of 300 feet long. Usually, we employ four people or more to run cable, as you need assistance to feed it around the tight spots.

Next, they need to be sewed to the rack every 9 inches on the vertical runs and not more then every 18" on horizontal runs, depending upon what type of containment system there is. The Fiber Optic also needs to go down to a Fiber Distribution Frame, also usually on a lower floor. When you sew fiber, each point of contact needs to be wrapped individually with protective sheet fiber before tying. This is like a heavy paper. There must be two layers, or a double wrap of this fiber. Fiber Optic cable also needs to be secured more consistently to protect it. (It's glass, after all.) The Power cable usually goes to a Power Distribution Frame nearby, so the runs are usually much shorter.

The power is always sewed and usually every 18" on the horizontal runs and 9" vertical. Needles to say, we do a lot of sewing. Sewing cable is done using one of several stitches, usually what we call a Kansas City Stitch is a running stitch, where you add cable under the same string and only tie it off when you are done running cable. Since we are only running a few cables anymore, quite commonly, we use another stitch, especially on Power and Fiber, called a Chicago Stitch. This is a single stitch on a single bundle of cable. For instance, if we are running four fiber Optic cables with 12 fibers per cable, all four cables can be placed under a single stitch. On these applications, I usually use a "Double Chicago Stitch", which holds them more securely. Clicking on the Title of this Blog will take you to a Communcations Service Technician, connecting major power in a Verizon Switch in Elgin, Illinois.

The cord we use for sewing is 9-ply waxed rayon, which is very strong and must be cut with a sharp knife or a good pair of scissors. Every Installer carries a belt pouch containing a Power Knife and a pair of scissors. Since I am right-handed, my pouch is always on my right hip and frequently goes with me on vacation, as it has become such a necessity to every day life for me. Since my right hand does the cutting, my left has to take over a lot of the knot tying, and I have become aware lately how that hand is actually my most dexterous. It is usually working blind, that is to say, when the right hand naturally goes for what can easily be seen, the left has to work with that part of the picture more likely out of sight, on the back side, etc. If you are still with me, you might read the Poem this observation has inspired.

After the cable is run and secured, they need to be tested for continuity and the fiber has to produce light at a sufficient level to pass the test we place on it. It is simply amazing to see the red light of a tiny penlight shining out the other end of a 300 foot fiber cable that you know is finer than a human hair inside the protective sheath. Power up the you slide in whatever Circuit Packs are provided, then you plug in your preconnectorized cables and integrate the new system into the existing network, without causing any interruption in service. Then you clean up, and pack up and move on to the next job.