QueTwo's Blog

thouoghts on telecommunications, programming, education and technology

Monthly Archives: August 2007

Top of your game…


Don’t mean to sound pretentious, but…

Have you ever been in a position where you were truly in the top of your game?  Were you ever ‘the’ resource for a particular subject?  Fortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case with many of the Adobe technologies, as we have an excellent community, and very helpful people at the top that don’t mind sharing their experiences with others.

In the telephone world, that is not always the case.

Every vendor will tell you they know the world, and they have implemented every product every possible way.   I used to work with one of these vendors supporting Avaya, Nortel, Adtran, Extreme and Cisco products, and was pretty damn good at it.  Since I left that particular company and stated at Michigan State University, I’ve found that getting experienced people is a real pain in the rear.

Avaya recently introduced a product (when I say recently, I mean about a year ago) which is meant to be a SIP proxy between the phone system and the rest of the world.  A SIP Proxy is a device that is meant to take registrations, and keep track of users.   When a user registers with an IP address of, and the user is to receive a phone call, the proxy says “Oh, I know user X!  He is at!  Let me send him a RING command!”  Because the SIP moniker is so popular with the other vendors (which is interesting because nobody has really figured out how to make it work well with the feature sets they already had), Avaya has been pushing the ability to do SIP as their current marketing campaign.

So, we go out and buy one and try to implement.  Heck, all their marketing material talks about SIP, so it’s gotta be good.   Simple questions about the newly implemented product such as “How do I add a new user” come back from our entire vendor community as “Uh… I don’t know.. Call Avaya”.  I found one guy at a vendor that seems to know ‘something’ about this product, but his queue is over three weeks long for simple questions.  

I call Avaya.   Tier-1 supports comes to a screeching halt.  “Oh, the SIP Server?  You will need to talk directly to Tier-3.”  Damn.  Tier-3 is the group at Avaya who helps you when your system is very, very, very broken.  If there is no fire, they take about three to four weeks to get back to you (which normally I don’t care if these would be such simple questions).   When it comes to more complex problems, such as “How do I put a firewall in between this device and the Internet?” everybody comes to a screeching halt.  Avaya says “Uh, why would you want to do that?”  The Vendor says “Uh, I never thought of that before…” I silently scream. 

It’s hard to come from the position where you knew everything about product X, but when it comes to product X.1, you know not the simplest thing, and all your normal resources have no clue either.  It’s just the mind game of being help-less in an area where you used to know it all…

Don’t worry, soon I’ll have more information, and hopefully more help as I figure out this stuff..  SIP?  Yeah, your going down!



Well, I figured I would relaunch my blog.   Different location, different software, but what the hell. 

About me….  Well, I work for Michigan State University as a Telecom Manager in the Telecommunications Systems Department.  I am responsible for the Telephone and Cable TV networks on campus (our department also handles the Fiber Optics, 2-Way Radios, Cellular and licensed Wireless on campus).   I deal a lot with Avaya telephone systems, and am just starting to get my feet wet with different cable-tv hardware.

I do quite a bit of Flex and ColdFusion programming in my day job.  We run lots of different systems, and I use ColdFusion as middleware to have them all talk with each other.   If a customer sees it, Flex is probably the front-end they are dealing with.  I’m not a fan of AJAX, and Flex has just been intriguing me to no end.

I am also very connected to the community.  I sit on the board of directors for LINC (the Lansing IT Networking Club) and the Mid-Michigan ColdFusion User’s Group.  I also am the manager of the Michigan Flex User’s Group, and seem to do most of the presentations.  I’ve also written articles for various magazines (FAQU, Avaya Users, etc), and do quite a bit of forum answering, etc.  I also help out with the MSU Bike Project, which takes broken bikes that would normally be thrown away and recycles them into working bikes.  We pain them an ugly green and rent them out to students for almost nothing. 

Spare time?   Hardly have any anymore since I bought my house in April.  But, I enjoy mountain biking (with my sweet Specialized Stump-Jumper!), watching the Simpsons, and working on websites…  I used to be all into BBSes, running my own for almost 15 years, but after a while I felt like I was the only pillar still holding up the old-school mentality. 

This blog will be about my experiences in the Telecom world, tips and tricks regarding Flex and ColdFusion, and some general rantings.   I’m not the best at grammer or spelling, but I noticed that this editor I’m working in has a spell checker, which should at least help one of the issues I normally have. 

Welcome!  Pull up a chair and stay for a while!