Phones @ “Work”: Donald Trump’s (Oval) Office

Thank you Joe, the UCx guy for reminding me to do an update with Trump.

If you were on the ether hashtag campaign of “#MakeAmericaGreatAgain” or “#MakeAvayaRedGreatAgain” or “#MakeAvayaGreatAgain”, don’t be hopeful on the latter two hashtags after recent events from our new President and the incumbent phone vendor in the White House.

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Phone of the Day: Cisco 6841 | Local School


I spotted this overpriced telephone in an elementary school during a late fall craft fair. It had a nice turnout, to the point I want to be a vendor and sell geeky fashion items! I say overpriced because this is located in a community where it’s ultra-conservative. The town I live in is extremely frugal in finances and keeps the government small. On the town government, the board would zero-out any proposals to their IT department, which is lead by a “coordinator” that grew up in the days before IP, Windows Servers, etc. In the world of compliance and technical adherence, they run the town side like a mum and pop shop.

The school district’s offices (a seperate agency) is housed in two ranch houses, near the local high school that are commercially zoned. This is most likely where their CallMangler (I can’t help to resist) is located. I’ve spotted a 7900 series in one of the offices when I walked by in that same school.

I’ve seen on the town side using Cisco 7940 sets and 7960 sets since I moved in 2010. The town to kinda leak my location is the largest single voting place that got national attention during the primaries last winter  if people who don’t know where I live.

I do not follow municipal matters as much anymore, but a cutover to VOIP in the school system occurred sometime in the range of fiscal years 2011 to 2013 because the previous phone systems were end of life. I do not know the systems prior to because I didn’t attend school here. What’s ironic is there is an Aruba wireless access point shown here plugged on the PC jack. The town’s fire department had a consumer grade Linksys plugged into their PC port on their Cisco sets…

In the town I did grow up, we had TIE systems in the late 1980s-late 90s then went to Telrad in the school district. The elementary school that I went to got their Telrad in 2002. The Telrads were still there when I moved out of town in 2010.

PSA: Please Hug your Phones and Phone Systems



In my Instagram world, I found this sad picture from a mutual follower. The picture says a lot of words simply put.

Anyways optics is everything. For those nitwit IT admins (or subcon vendors) who think phones aren’t in their scope of services or support; users of any organization are not stupid. This type of visual is common in many VOIP deployments. Whether the telecom is in house or outsourced or IT runs it; a lot of times you see similar sets with a  system malnourished of current firmware updates, often abused, and of course left tangling.

Doesn’t this phone remind you of your VOIP deployment from yesterdecade? The same exact phone with the same exact cables, etc? When Bush was still president?

Hug your phones, kiss your softswitch. Give it some love.

Please, donate a dollar to your telecom budget. One dollar a day can fund basic necessities such as 20 handset cables that are in need. Your users will be so happy that they will be untangled.

Thank you.

(This was a Public Service Announcement from the retired and laid off Telephony Professionals of the World.)


Phone of the Day: LEGOLAND Discovery Center | Boston, Massachusetts

Located just north of the Boston city line, in Somerville, Massachusetts, the LEGOLAND Discovery Center is located in the Assembly Row neighborhood. Unlike the LEGOLAND in California, or Florida, this place is an indoors given the climate of Boston, hazy hot summers, and very cold winters (honestly more of the former than the latter in recent years.)

Anyways these sets of pictures is a workspace of lady named Megan, whom builds little things shown in the Miniland section of the attraction. According to their Facebook page, she is a certified through Lego’s Master Builder Academy.  Things such as characters from The Lego Movie, Wally (and his galpal) from the Boston Red Sox, the four colored puzzle Autism Awareness, etc. I actually met this lady at the Red Sox game that was Lego themed on the 31st. See telephony related post. In fact I found out that this was her work space after I snapped the picture of the notorious Cisco 6921. She came up to me about a few minutes later asking if we met at Fenway. I felt somewhat flattered that someone could recognize me among thousands that come there.

As you can tell, sadly Lego is on the “dark side” of telephony…:(

I was only able to come because the indoor park is only open to adults if you have kids. On the third Wednesdays of every month, they open it to adults for only a couple of hours, despite them selling adult beverages and closing time is bedtime for a 10 year old. (Nine o’ clock.)

I had fun regardless and hope I run into these fine folks again next month. The neighborhood is a wonderful attraction with it being setup as an outdoor mall. Click below the phone to see more Lego related pictures of the workspace.

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POTD: Whole Foods Market Bedford, New Hampshire

In recent weeks, the world’s newest Whole Foods Market opened in Bedford, NH. Built on top of the legendary Wayfarer Inn (known more during the Primary Election years), it’s also within hundreds of feet of the now torn down Macy’s.

As proof from Joe the UCX Guy from Chicago, many Whole Foods stores are Cisco shops. Interestingly, the WFM in Nashua, just miles on the Everett Turnpike, is wired for TDM telephony using Toshiba’s Strata system (opened in 2014 to replace a former Market Basket.) Building was totally gutted and rebuilt mostly from the ground up.

The store in Bedford is mixed with 7942s and the 6902s at the cashier’s lane. Paging works, as teenage girls don’t know how to lower their octaves and learn how to page professionally.

The 7900s are still in the market, despite the more cheaper quality sets being deployed more and more. The 7900s are in a depreciation mode. Current generations are all multi lines, Java based and/or colored displays and I was surprised to see a 7942 because I believe its End of Sale.

I snapped two pictures, one showing how much characters you can use to describe your telephone extension. If the characters can’t fit on the top black colored indication bar, it will break the description up in two screens

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Personally, these devices are just “endpoints” – they are PCs acting as telephones. Sure Mitel, and Avaya and others sell the same thing (and acts the same way), but for sales people or the accountants, its just another device attached to the Internet and it shouldn’t be treated special like a office telephone. These phones are not easy to manage outside of expensive Cisco solutions or if you like to code and reverse engineer – be my guest! I feel like the 7900s were always a 2554 with Internet connectivity and a great audio quality of its SCCP signaling.

Other than that, Cisco just keeps on winning on selling “free” gear and report them as “profits” by smooching up to the CIOs and heads of IT departments at the Fortune 500 companies. You think I am kidding???

Dev Notes: SIP Expierences

Today’s writings is the memories I’ve forgotten without regrets (or whatever party animal line is) about personal runins with the Session Initiation Protocol better known as SIP.

These runins were not done when I was drunk, nor were these done professionally, and if I had a LAN party related to telephony maybe these stories would be more funny.

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Phones @ Work – Local Walgreens


This was a recent photo of a Cisco 7961 taken at a local Walgreens. Once a Norstar shop, I’ve been told by someone familiar with the company had cutover to Cisco company wide. Apparently since the last time I visited (which could’ve been a couple years now) they are using them.

It appears to be a Cisco Unified Communications Manager tied to some corporate data center (notice the “system message” stating “Your current options”) and if an event it can’t get through  to the data center, then you get some different message such as a fallback warning on that same screen. The paging does loudspeakers, but I’m not so sure on the sets, because the larger CM does not support set paging. (I could do a post on the lack of features in UCM 10, but then I’d start a religious war and be framed as a Cisco hater, and stuff like that.)


Phones @ Work – Museum of Science in Boston

Living on the outskirts of the 617 area code; I believe I’ve never been to the Museum of Science in Boston. (long story, not worth going into detail.)

My mother and I wanted to see the Pixar exhibit yesterday (which is closing on January 10th) and thought we’d have the city to ourselves since Boston is like D.C. North with the top heavy government population between the city, federal and Commonwealth. And kids being in school. Well we thought going there at 9 (got there around 11 getting lost) then leaving at the rush north was a pretty dumb idea. And kids were there – apparently local school do these field trips on Thanksgiving week…because when we went to Boston, we went when the weather was warmer – like April.

Regardless, I’m going to assume MOS previously used some Centrex type of service. If you follow other sites, some cities are very vendor heavy, down in North Carolina, almost every business has a Cisco, if you live in Chicago, it’s a pretty heavily Avaya Blue town, and New York is pretty diverse if you take Cisco out of the equation. (Remember me spotting a Comdial in April?)

So from my travels in Boston, many places seemed to be a Centrex town, except for the large for profits, the Massachusetts state government, etc.

So the Museum of Science appears to have been the early adopters of Cisco IPT, because many of their sets seemed to be the first or second generation. I am going to assume that this set is a Cisco 7912 (because it came before the 7911) because many of the multilines are 79x0s…My gawd, are those sets antiques!


As you can tell in this picture, the phone is about 6 and a half to 7 feet above the floor so no kid prank calls 911 or something stupid like that. If you’re a petite 5’1 woman, well good luck to you, hopefully your WiFi Cisco phone will save you to make a call!

I haven’t been to the MFA, I’ve been to the Children’s (and Computer) Museum and the New England Aquarium, I can confirm the latter had adopted Cisco from a Centrex (or a system that just hosted only 2500 sets) a while back too.

Cisco is pretty much a prettified Centrex or Analog Telephony service. And if you understood the Pixar exhibit of the needing to understand coding, well you will need to know IOS inside out; and of course telephony skills aren’t required because you know moving forward with “new solutions” often equates to falling backwards to the 1800s all over again, just it transmits on IP instead of copper electricity!

Phones @ Work – NBC Operations in New York

The Embedded photos were taken directly from the Flickr servers with no intention to violate any copyright. I do not own the rights of the content embedded. 

There is a large account of images taken at the NBC New York complex by a guy named Dennis Degan, a staffer for the network. He has a Flickr account where you can see tons of pictures from his day job, mixed in with some vintage NBC, and other stations he was affiliated with in his career.

He also has shown pictures from the competition, such as the new CBS Hudson Square facility for the CBS Radio stations, etc. This page would please any type of geek when it comes to engineering.

It appears more recently he has posted images of things that exist today. NBC had a very strict rules for no photo rules if you went on the NBC tours (I went there twice) and I think the rules even applied if say you wanted to meet with WNBC’s Chuck Scarborough, a visitor, friend of him. Pictures that you could see on his flickr was things that were torn down, relocated, etc. NY NBC seemed to do a lot of window-dressing in terms of edit rooms, control rooms because the album in itself is about 1000 photos, a vast majority was within the last 10 years, all of which is no longer what it looks like today.

As I digress, in today’s post, I wanted to show a few pictures with the phones NBC uses. Since the late 1980s, NBC was mostly an Avaya Red (dating from AT&T) for most of the properties they owned. Most of the flagship owned and operated stations and hubs used Avaya as well except for a few stations such as Florida, Philadelphia and some stations they previously owned. Those sites use Avaya Blue and Mitel. Nowendays NBC Universal, is owned by Comcast which they have their own mixed hardware setups in the cable biz.

Today, the fact is NBC has slowly been jumping on the Cisco bandwagon. They had recently built a facility for Dallas, which uses Cisco, their historic Burbank studios in LA had left their Avaya system behind in lieu of a Cisco IP Telephony system, and now 30 Rock is a victim (or lucky customer – depending on how you look at it.)  The fact if NBC in New York will go all Cisco is another unanswered question. (I obviously don’t use Flickr anymore and I’m not sure if he would know.)

Most of what’s based out of New York is the studios, offices and news operations for the Nightly News, MSNBC, WNBC-TV 4, the studios for Seth Myers, SNL, a small bureau for CNBC and all the other technical operations for the network.

NBC had all 3 generations of DCP sets, the 7400s, the 8400s and the 6400s, and VOIP wasn’t used that much. They had so much phone cabling, probably it was easier for the data network especially to pipe out HD video which can be about a gigabyte for each minute uncompressed. If you go and tour The Top of the Rock (like I did earlier this year), they use Avaya sets, and I’m presuming it was tied to the NBC system. Oh and NBC used tons of Avaya 8434s, the default set for mission control environments

Now back to the Cisco/Avaya, some pictures have Avaya, some have Cisco, like I said I don’t know if this is a slow transition or what. The newer control areas seem to have Cisco and some others. Another evidence of use of Cisco was in the infamous spoof of The Office Hobbit style on SNL last season. The skit apparently was taped in the building and many of the phones were the 8900 sets. Now granted, the show did feature Cisco phones, but I think these were the office phones used for NBC. I’ll post screengrabs on that later.

One other thing: NBC was the only NY-based network for a long time that had a PBX system for the entire building. That’s because first 7 floors in 30 Rock is all for NBC and ABC and CBS operations are in several different buildings – even in the same block. Those two networks appeared to have Centrex with many little key system for each show produced. West 57th is basically 4 buildings put together and the local ABC owned station is connected to the ABC headquarters by a firewall (as separate buildings) and the following post on the Ed Sullivan Theater shows the separate types of systems even in a single city for a company. In short, NBC had the most unified voice network.