Wednesday, November 30, 2011

History of the telephone

I researched this information a while ago, and it was sitting in my Google Docs folder. It is a work in progress and is not all inclusive. I tried to keep with most of the major events surrounding the history of telephone communications.

Free DNS service providers.

EDIT: I made a spreadsheet of the DNS servers posted on this page, may add to it in the future. For now I am just going to provide a link to the spreadsheet instead of publishing it on here, since it is the same information here, minus the source links. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjMbManptfxfdDd2RzBEWHRaU29PUGhDZGg1QmtlcEE

Last night Optimum Online had major issues with their DNS servers leaving many people with out "internet" access. While it was true that most people were not able to use their internet connections during this disruption in service, it is misleading to claim that they lost internet connection. What they did lose was the ability to resolve domain names to IP addresses.

Changing the DNS servers that your computer or network uses to resolve host names resolves issues like the one experienced by Cablevision last night. I do not know why Optimum does not have a contingency plan for an event where their DNS servers go down. Obviously the DNS1 and DNS2 servers that they use must be at the same data center - and quite possibly even on the same server if an outage took out all of their DNS capabilities. This is a major problem for a large internet service provider. They should have redundant servers at multiple data center locations, and should have had the ability to shift traffic from one data center to another almost instantaneously when one or more servers go down. Perhaps they need to take the advise from my post on the importance of network redundancy

Here is a list of DNS servers that you can input into your network adapter settings on your PC, or into your router that are available for free to anyone on the internet regardless of ISP:

These are provided by http://www.opendns.com

These are provided by http://code.google.com/speed/public-dns/

not quite sure who runs it now-a-days, but this one is also pretty easy to remember some links claim owned by level 3

http://www.dnsadvantage.com/ provides these two

http://www.resolvingnameserver.com/freerns.html provides these for you

http://www.scrubit.com/ provides these DNS that is family friendly and filter out pornographic websites

someone over at claims that these are from level3 (could not find the page where they are listed on level 3 website)

https://dns.norton.com/dnsweb/huConfigureRouter.do offers several options
security: blocks malware sites
security+pornography, blocks malware and porn
security+porn+non-family friendly, sounds like a rated G experience (perhaps useful for those with small children)

http://www.opennicproject.org/ has many DNS servers to choose from

I could continue to go on forever, I may end up making a spreadsheet of all of these to post at a later date. 

Refer to your routers user manual for information on how to change the DNS servers inside of your router, or if you just want to change the DNS on one of your windows computers go to control panel>network and internet connections>network connections and then right click on your LAN adapter and select properties. Scroll to Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) then click properties. Leave the top setting alone which will likely say obtain an IP automatically (do not change this setting, skip over it) instead check the use the following DNS servers, and enter one of the above IP addresses as the primary and one as the secondary. You may need to reset your adapter after making changes before your PC is able to resolve domain names. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Updates 11.28.11

I finally added the image of the mounted door phone for the wire snaked thru brick post. You can view it by clicking HERE and scrolling to the bottom of the post.

I added an image of someone using a payphone @ trainphones.nyphonejacks.com  that post can be viewed HERE.

I added an image of a sign that I found on a building somewhere in midtown Manhattan that seems to have been inspired by OWS/Zuccoti park @ funnycellpix.blogspot.com which can be found HERE.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

People, please install your low voltage wiring BEFORE walls go up!

UPDATE: I returned to this customer to neaten up the patch panel and install the router/switch. An update post can be viewed by clicking HERE 

I arrived at this job to install several VoIP phones, and possibly do 1 or 2 CAT5 runs. When I arrived, I found that the restaurant on the first floor  was nearly at the final stage of construction. No drop ceilings, laminate walls, and marble floors. The electrician had pulled some low voltage wiring but almost none of it was located anywhere near where they wanted their phones located at.

Unlike most other jobs, most of these photos are photos taken before, not after.

There was a CAT5 run in the ceiling above this post.
It was supposed to be used for an IP camera, but the electrician said I could use it.
I extended the CAT5 from the ceiling and stapled behind this post for the VoIP phone.

There was no CAT5 run behind the bar here, so I had drilled down behind the sink drain,
and ran the wiring on the surface underneath the counter top. 

This is some of the low voltage wiring that the electrician left for me.
I stole 2 of his CAT5 drops at this location.
One from the FiOS modem to the network downstairs,
and one from the network downstairs back to the VoIP phone.
I may end up returning and placing the router here, and putting a switch downstairs.

More low voltage wiring installed by the electrician.
Unfortunately the customer did not want a phone at this location. 

Steps going down to basement.
Floors are poured concrete between basement and 1st floor. 

Tiled walls in basement. Customer wanted a jack at this location. 

Another image of the same wall as previous photo.
I ended up taking the face plate off of the electrical outlet.
luckily their was enough space for me to drill thru to the other side of the wall underneath the outlet.
Wire is run on the surface in room on other side of wall. 

This is where the electrician brought all of the low voltage drops. 

I had to repair these CAT5 jacks in the ceiling.
One is either broken, or going somewhere that I can not trace,
which happens to be the one that I needed to use.
The other goes from the network closet to somewhere that I was unable to trace.
I just swapped the one that I needed to re-route it to the network room.
The other one I just did in case the electrician actually knows where it was going. 

Terminating the existing wires that the electrician installed to a 12 port panel. 

Existing wires installed by the electrician punched in from top.
New wiring that I had to install on the surface punched down from bottom.

My 12 port panel in the center of the image.
Then all of the existing wiring that the electrician installed all over the place.

My 12 port panel.
Existing wires on top.
My new wires on bottom.

Close up of my 12 port panel installed. 
Surface mounted CAT5 wiring.
I really recommend AGAINST stapling CAT5 wiring,
but in this case there was little choice.
I was not about to go out and buy wire molding for this.

Since the wire goes straight down in the panel,
it would  not look good with the extra slack on the wall by the panel.
This loop was added so there is slack in the CAT5 wiring
in case changes or repairs need to be made at the panel.
This is the wall directly behind the panel. 

Please people, remember your low voltage wiring during the construction phase of your project. Do not think of where you are going to put your phones, computers, cameras, etc after all of the walls have gone up, Especially if you are installing special laminate walls, and marble floors over a poured concrete floor.

I do not like surface mounting wiring, especially not on a new construction, and I do not think that you want to see wiring all over the place after you have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars constructing a new building.

Rethink having the electrician run your low voltage wiring. The electrician is not going to ask the right questions, or have the proper intuition that you are going to want or need wiring at certain locations.

If I were to have had the opportunity to run the wiring when the walls were out there would have been much more CAT5 runs done. I would have pulled 2 drops to each location where they would have possibly needed a phone. I would have also pulled access control wiring to each of the outside doors, and any interior doors leading to offices. I also would have considered the possibility for an overhead paging system in the basement.

What should have been a quick install of 7 VoIP phones and a router - to wiring that should have been installed during the construction phase took 2 long days. (2-8pm day 1 +  11-6pm day2)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I don't do just wiring - replacing drainage in my kitchen sink

My wife called me in a panic the other day. There was a flood under the kitchen sink. So When I arrived home I found that the drainage pipe was corroded and needed to be replaced. I have lived in this apartment for 5 or 6 years, and this has been replaced at least once since I moved in. Due to the fact that the drainage runs almost horizontally from the strainer to the trap I decided that I would replace it with plastic instead of brass. This should eliminate the potential for the pipe to rot out again. 

Hole clearly seen thru top of drainage elbow.

The rotted out brass drainage elbow.

Replaced strainer, tailpipe, and drainage elbows. 

Another view of newly installed plastic drainage piping. 

Not that it was needed, but I replaced the strainer with a plastic strainer
while I was replacing the drainage pipes.

Old drainage pipes and strainer basket. 

I also replaced the washers inside of the sprayer since there was a small drip 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bank of America puts hold on life insurance check and charges overdraft fees even though the life insurance company released the money to BoA

Bank of America sucks. Here is the story, my wife gave me a check to deposit into our joint account that was drawn off of the life insurance policy she received from her mother. Initially the check was deposited into an ATM machine at Bank of America, but my wife forgot to sign the front of the check. When the charges in the account were initially reversed I went and spoke with the branch manager near where I work. He advised me of what the problem was, and assured me that I would not be responsible for any overdraft fees associated with this check because of the confusion, as long as the check was redeposited once we got it back in the mail.

The check arrived back from BoA, and was signed and redeposited into a BoA ATM machine. It was immediately put on hold for 10 days. (banks love holidays, even though the rest of us have to work) This caused several overdraft fees. Sure I could add funds to cover the negative balance - but I refuse to do so, and should not have to since the money is in the account. My wife called to have the fees reversed, which they did - BUT they turned around and charged another fee the same day that they credited her for the previous overdraft fee. Since I could not reach anyone on the phone the following is what I had to deal with. No information has been changed, the conversation is completely intact - only some personal information has been removed and replaced with bold text indicating what has been removed.

Chat InformationWelcome to an online chat session at Bank of America. Please hold while we connect you to the next available Bank of America Online Banking Specialist. Your chat may be monitored and recorded for quality purposes. Your current wait time is approximately 0 minutes. Thank you for your patience.
Chat InformationThank you for choosing Bank of America. You are now being connected to a Bank of America Online Banking Specialist.
Jennifer : Hello! Thank you for being a valued Bank of America customer! My name is Jennifer.  
Jennifer : How may I assist you with your personal savings and checking accounts today?
You: i would like to know what kind of games you people are playing?
Jennifer : I regret the inconvenience whatever the concern may have caused, however, I will do my best to assist you on that.
Jennifer : Before I can go ahead,  can I have your full name as on your bank statement and the last 4 digits of your account number?
You: you hold a check for over 2 weeks that was drawn off of a life insurance policy account - and are continuing to charge overdraft fees to my account when the money is in the account
You: Personal details removed
You: do not understand why i can not get past your IVR to speak with an actual person on a telephone like a civilized person either. .
Jennifer : Thank you for the information, name removed.
Jennifer : Thank you for bringing this to my attention.  
Jennifer : I would like to take a moment to review your account  to determine the reason behind this deposit hold.
You: what about the overdraft fees? my wife called yesterday to get them removed, only to get assessed another charge the same day.
Jennifer : I understand that getting an unexpected fee can be frustrating, let me review your account.
You: unexpected? what is unexpected is that you hold this check for so long, i have never experienced anything like this before it is completely unacceptable
Jennifer : Please allow me a few moment while I check the information.
Jennifer : I apologize for the delay, please allow me a few more moment to check  the information.
You: ok
Jennifer : Thank you.
Jennifer : Thank you for being with me online.
You: don't really have any other choice
Jennifer : After reviewing your account, I can see here that when the funds were deposited on 10/24/11 there was an adjustment or deposit correction made on the account.
Jennifer : I can also see that we have refunded one of the Overdraft fee that was assessed on the account.
You: right, the front of the check was not signed at that time, it was signed and redeposited.
Jennifer : The refund was processed 11/10/11.
Jennifer : Yes, you are correct, I can see that it was deposited on 11/7/11.
You: the branch manager @ branch temporarily removed said i would not be responsible for any overdraft fees associated with this check if it was redeposited
Jennifer : Right now, I can see here that there was a hold place on the deposit for $amount removed
You: what refund was processed on 11/10/11? i see only ONE refund for a previous overdraft fee... then a NEW overdraft fee
Jennifer : Your funds will be available on 11/17/11 by 9 a.m.
You: this whole experience is completely unacceptable...
Jennifer : I apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused you.
You: i still have an overdraft fee that i am not responsible for on my account and i have never heard of such a thing that a hold would be placed for so long for a deposit
Jennifer : The refund I am referring to was the one for the previous Overdraft fee and it was processed on 11/10/11
You: you people should be paying me
You: right then you just turned around and added another overdraft fee on top of that
Jennifer : I completely understand that, holds are placed on checks deposited to protect both our customers and the bank from losses in the event that a check is not honored or is returned unpaid from bank on which it is drawn.
Jennifer : The bank follows the Federal Reserve hold guidelines, which were designed to provide time for the check to reach the paying bank and to be returned in the event the check is unpaid.
Jennifer : Let me see what I can with that Overdraft fee.
You: it is a life insurance policy that is in my wifes name going into this bank of america account that she is a joint owner of - insurance company name removed has already released the funds to bank of america
Jennifer : There is no specific dollar amount that will avoid a hold.
Jennifer : The decision to delay funds availability is based on many factors, including your relationship with the bank, the length of the relationship, the combined account balances, the dollar amount, type of check being deposited and the overdraft history on the deposit account.
Jennifer : I suggest that you set up direct deposit in order to prevent holds on a check issued.
You: so you get a lot of bounced life insurance policy checks do you?
You: it is a FUCKI
You: FUCKING life insurance account
Jennifer : I regret the inconvenience this may have caused you, I will do my best to assist you on the Overdraft fee, however, for the check availability, we have to wait for the date mentioned in the system.
You: do not understand how you expect me to direct deposit funds from a life insurance policy that was stupid
Jennifer : That is one way of avoiding hold on a check deposit.
Jennifer : The decision to place a hold is based on many factors, including the account history and overall customer relationship.
Jennifer : Although there is no guarantee holds will be avoided in the future it is less likely when you:
You: i never experienced such problems with checks before
Jennifer : Have an established Account history
You: this is one of the worse experiences that i have ever had to deal with
You: i have been a customer for many years this is absurd
Jennifer : I regret the inconvenience which I understand the fees are causing and we value your business over the years.
Jennifer : Some deposit alternatives such as wire transfer can help you avoid holds with future transactions.
You: or you could just release the funds that have already been released from the account which they were drawn on - this makes on sense.. this is 2011 - everything is interconnected, not like you need to get in a horse and buggy and go to the bank where the check was drawn upon to pick the cash up
Jennifer : I apologize, I am unable to release the hold on the check.
You: look i know that you are not going to do anything about the hold, i am only waiting here to know what you are doing about these ees
You: i think that i have been more than patient
Jennifer : I double checked your account and process the refund, however, we understand things come up from time to time and during those instances we have refunded previous fees on the account.
Jennifer : I apologize, I am unable to provide additional fee refund.
You: what are you saying? i have only disputed fees that should have not been charged in the first place
You: so you are saying that you are not reversing the fee that you are responsible for?
You: hello?
Jennifer : I can understand that you are not happy about the fees. However, the fee was charged due to the recurring debit card transaction that was posted to your account.
You: and the money is in the account so what is the problem?
Jennifer : Please allow me some more moment to check the information.
You: besides the branch manager @branch temporarily removed advised me that i would not be responsible for any fees associated with overdrafts due to this check as long as it was redeposited into the account
You: you are starting to make me feel like i am wasting my time here
You: i do not know what takes so long to click a button on a computer and reverse a fee that should have never been charged
You: hello?
Jennifer : I apologize for the delay, please allow me a few more moment to check  the information.
You: with all of the excuses and amount of time that you are wasting i am close to telling my wife to just cancel that check and write a new one to put into my chase account
You: what are you doing over there that is taking so long... i could have wired an entire offices network by now..
Jennifer : I apologize for the delay name removed, I am trying my best to process a refund for the Overdraft fee that was assessed to your account due to the Netflix recurring debit card charge.
You: i really do not understand what is taking so long
Jennifer : I apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused you, the system is not allowing me to process the refund as we have refunded Overdraft fees before.
Jennifer : There are several things we can do to avoid the situation in the future, like having an Overdraft Protection and Alert set-up on your account.
You: so so you are wasting my time? so how do i get these unauthorized fees removed
Jennifer : Thank you for your patience, I will be right with you.
You: i really do not have any more patience
Jennifer : I recommend that you visit the Bank of America banking center and request from the Manager if they can override the Overdraft fee that was assessed to your account.
You: i will do that when i am closing out my account
You: this whole experience is unacceptable...
Jennifer : I apologize for the inconvenience, however, we have several ways to avoid the hold and the Overdraft fee.
Jennifer : For the hold it is either you set-up a direct deposit or process a wire transfer.
Jennifer : To avoid the Overdraft fee, you can set-up an Overdraft Protection and alerts on the account.
You: i would like to put in a dispute for unauthorized charges to my account... the fees assessed to my account by your bank
You: i think you are just wasting my time because nothing is different from the time i started chatting with you until now.. and a lot of time has passed....
Jennifer : If you wish to submit a dispute for a certain transaction, we have a Specialized Claims department who will be more than willing to assist you.
Jennifer : Please contact our Specialized  Claims department at 1.800.432.1000.
Jennifer : We are available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday - Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday - Sunday your Local time.
You: except today
You: i tried calling - you think i would prefer dealing with someone on the internet than a live person on a phone?
Jennifer : I apologize, it is closed because of the holiday.
Jennifer : However you can contact tomorrow.
You: this was useless and a huge waste of time
Jennifer : I apologize for the delay. I'll be with you shortly.
Jennifer : I regret the inconvenience this may have caused, I have done my best to check if I can refund the fee.
Jennifer : Apart from this, are there any more questions or anything that I can help with?
You: you didnt even help me with this what else could you possibly not help me with ?
Jennifer : I do apologize that we were not able to assist you further with the Overdraft fee.
Jennifer : We do appreciate your business here at Bank of America.
Jennifer : Thank you for choosing Bank of America's Online Chat Service!
Jennifer : To safeguard any personal information, please close this window,  by clicking the "Close" button in the upper right corner of this chat window.
Chat InformationThank you for chatting with us. We value your feedback and would like to invite you to take a moment to complete a survey and tell us how we did today. The survey takes only a few moments to complete and will be presented to you upon closing this window.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Door phone + keypad install

[EDIT: Wiring diagram to connect PAP2 to RC2a and E20B doorphone can be foundHERE]
Customer had already installed the wiring to the door.

Door phone and keypad mounting brackets installed.

Door phone installed, wiring keypad.

Wiring the keypad. 

Door phone and keypad installed (opps! the bracket for the keypad is upside down)
The reason the bracket was initially installed  upside down is because
the hole for the wire is on the bottom of the mount, not the top.

RC2A relay installed for door release via phone. 

Wiring everything up to the relays, dial tone and power supply. 

RC2A mounted and wired. 

Everything is done - keypad mount now mounted properly.
Hopefully the wire does not get damaged, since the hole for the 
wire is located at the bottom of the mount, and the wire is
run behind the bracket to the hole on the surface of the brick.  
Not shown is the Linksys PAP2 that was installed to connect dial tone to the E20B door phone and RC2A relay.

Here is a diagram that I put together that is close to how it is wired (all splices are actually done at the RC2A as you can see in photo above) **upon review of the above image, the solid green wire is going to the door strike not the striped green)***

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Unlimited cell phone service for less than $20/mo

Republic Wireless has just announced a service that will offer cell phone service for about $19 per month with unlimited talk, text and web. They use WiFi as much as possible to keep the costs down. Check the site out at http://www.republicwireless.com/join

Unconventional CAT5 terminations

Using a single CAT5 wire to terminate 2 data jacks. Since the Orange and Green pairs are only used in a CAT5 cable (not counting PoE or 10/100/1000 installs) the blue and brown pairs are not used, so they can be used to connect as a second "orange" and "green" pair on a second jack (as long as you terminate them both the same way on both ends of the cable). This should be avoided whenever possible, but can help to bring a second CAT5 jack somewhere that would be nearly impossible to pull a

This one is a little bit more creative. I needed to install push buttons for 3 door releases. My company did not want me pulling new runs. There was a CAT5 run near where the buttons needed to go to, but the fax line was connected to it. I installed a 8p8c connector terminated normally (568B) and split off the blue/white pair to a surface mount jack to connect the fax machine to. The remaining 3 pairs each went to a separate door release button. If needed to add more, I could have used a common wire for each button, to increase the amount of push buttons to a maximum of 5 + the fax dial tone. (or 7 if I did not need to have the dial tone working there.) Best thing about this installation, it is easily removable - or its concept can be used for other temporary applications using existing CAT5 wiring.