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Old 02-11-2014, 02:55 PM   #19661
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Joe rides PATH, not the subway - huge difference(or at least there was back then).
I do use the Subway when it's raining / snowing too hard to bike across Manhattan (B/D/F/M from 33rd & 6th to 42nd / Bryant Park, and then 7 to Grand Central), but yeah, the PATH is a totally separate system from the Subway, and it's my everyday ride into and out of the city.

The PATH system is, in fact, astoundingly clean and nice. The rolling stock have all been completely replaced with Kawasaki PA5s (2008-2012), which are quiet and smooth-running.





(Yes, they actually DO look like that on the inside- they take good care of 'em.)



Similarly, the new WTC station is huge, airy, well-lit, and just altogether amazing.









And mind you, this is just the temporary station that they threw together in a hurry to replace the one that got flattened when a large, heavy thing fell on it. The permanent station is going to be a friggin' Colosseum.






And, actually, the 33rd st station and Hoboken terminal are also quite nice. In fact, all of the terminating stations on the PATH system are fabulous.

Which is ironic, as PATH is a very small system with only a dozen stations and four routes:





By comparison, the NYC Subway diagram is slightly larger:





That said, the NYC Subway has improved tremendously over the past 20 years. It doesn't look like those photos Brain posted anymore. Most (but not all) of the trains have been upgraded or replaced over the past decade or so, graffiti is extremely rare and always quickly removed, the trains are fairly clean, and while a lot of the stations themselves are kind of old and run-down, they hose out the urine on a pretty regular basis, and rat attacks are extremely rare.

Some of the Subway lines (like the E train, for instance) are every bit as nice as PATH.
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Old 02-11-2014, 04:10 PM   #19662
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When there were problems on the IRT's, I used to take PATH from WTC to Hoboken, then over to 33rd(Pavonia wasn't an option back then). It made me very jealous of the Jerseyites.

Those pictures in that article don't convey the sense of depressing hopelessness of the 80's subways. There used to be homeless families living in the Shuttle passageway under GTC, and the Times Square side was just squalid. And it all reeked of hygiene-challenged humanity.

As a plus, only about 10% of the IRT cars had working air conditioning.
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Old 02-11-2014, 04:23 PM   #19663
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Ah PATH. Their substations may look nice but there telephones don't work.

Who would have guessed you need to install surge suppression on digital electronics in substations that switch millions of watts?
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Old 02-11-2014, 04:32 PM   #19664
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:05 PM   #19665
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Originally Posted by xturner View Post
When there were problems on the IRT's, I used to take PATH from WTC to Hoboken, then over to 33rd(Pavonia wasn't an option back then). It made me very jealous of the Jerseyites.
Man, that's a hell of a detour. And here I was pissed when the 33rd line went down a few weeks ago and I had to take NJT out to Seacaucus and then turn around to Hobo.



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Those pictures in that article don't convey the sense of depressing hopelessness of the 80's subways. There used to be homeless families living in the Shuttle passageway under GTC, and the Times Square side was just squalid. And it all reeked of hygiene-challenged humanity.
Well, that part hasn't changed much. During the winter months, the homeless still move underground. Pretty much any non-access-controlled portion of the public transit system is a bedroom / bathroom for them. Grand Central, Penn, Times Square Station, the PATH 33rd St station, portions of PABT, even a lot of regular subway stations. You'll find folks camped out on cardboard at all of 'em.






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Originally Posted by Davezorz View Post
Ah PATH. Their substations may look nice but there telephones don't work.
Yeah, we still have signalling problems rather more frequently than they do on MTA. I spent the better part of an hour sitting at the bottom of the Hudson river a few weeks ago because of this.

Ironically, I feel partly to blame.

I worked for Harris back when WTC went down, and in the aftermath, we got the contract to re-build part of the comms infrastructure that was lost, and in the process did a general upgrade on the system as a whole. Lots of multiplexed T1 stuff- nothing fancy, but the infrastructure itself seemed quite fragile... We didn't exactly half-*** anything, but some of the design could have been more fault-tolerant...




So much interesting transportation infrastructure here...



The NJT terminal at Penn on a bad day:






The NJT / Metro North switchyard at Hoboken Terminal:






"Stand Clear of the Closing Doors" (or, there's always room for one more.)

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Old 02-11-2014, 05:39 PM   #19666
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reminds me of parasites.
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:20 PM   #19667
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OK, small thread deflection-

Joe, since there is a female in the picture of late - have you taken her to the Campbell Apartment for after-work drinks yet? I understand it's still one of the best expensive drink spots in midtown. I'm planning on going Saturday after a lively Guggenheim romp - it's been many years.
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:18 PM   #19668
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Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
reminds me of parasites.
May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpit.


That having been said, I happened across a crashed turnstile recently at the Hoboken terminal. I was honestly a bit surprised to see that they run on an apparently plain-vanilla x86 platform, based on the P3 architecture. (I'd have expected an ARM / RTOS sort of system)









Quote:
Originally Posted by xturner View Post
Joe, since there is a female in the picture of late - have you taken her to the Campbell Apartment for after-work drinks yet? I understand it's still one of the best expensive drink spots in midtown. I'm planning on going Saturday after a lively Guggenheim romp - it's been many years.
I actually didn't even realize that this place existed, which is odd since I work on East 42nd, pass Grand Central every single day (my evening Citibike station is Pershing N, which is immediately outside the main GCT entrance), and go through it at least once every few weeks. The food market that they have on the Lexington Ave. side is pretty baller.


That being said, we spend relatively little time together in the city. Our main hangout is up in Catskill, an environment much more convivial to... well... you know.
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Old 02-12-2014, 07:56 AM   #19669
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... we spend relatively little time together in the city. Our main hangout is up in Catskill, an environment much more convivial to... well... you know.
Gotcha. Manhattan is no place for co-ed Parcheesi.
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:09 AM   #19670
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I worked for Harris back when WTC went down, and in the aftermath, we got the contract to re-build part of the comms infrastructure that was lost, and in the process did a general upgrade on the system as a whole. Lots of multiplexed T1 stuff- nothing fancy, but the infrastructure itself seemed quite fragile... We didn't exactly half-*** anything, but some of the design could have been more fault-tolerant...
Do I have you to thank then for all my POTS experience? I worked for a consulting firm that was hired to do analysis on their phone system. Every time there was a thunder storm or a switching event 1/2 of their POTS cards would blow up. I believe the Hoboken terminal was the one we visited for our on site analysis.

The design failure was twofold: Whoever designed it spec'd a system that was designed to distribute phone calls in a large office building, and not building to building. Then whoever wired the surge suppression system took a look at the "good grounding practices" manual and did the exact opposite.
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:33 AM   #19671
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Do I have you to thank then for all my POTS experience? I worked for a consulting firm that was hired to do analysis on their phone system. Every time there was a thunder storm or a switching event 1/2 of their POTS cards would blow up. I believe the Hoboken terminal was the one we visited for our on site analysis.

The design failure was twofold: Whoever designed it spec'd a system that was designed to distribute phone calls in a large office building, and not building to building. Then whoever wired the surge suppression system took a look at the "good grounding practices" manual and did the exact opposite.
Hahahaha. I seriously just LOLed at "took a look at the "good grounding practices" manual and did the exact opposite. Mostly because I contributed to that document about 10 years ago (for serious) back at Broadcast Division. (My part was mostly about why grounded shields should be completely eliminated from all audio and data cabling in the studio environment.)

But I totally get what you mean. People make the mistake of thinking that ground is ground. Same **** that causes problems with analog sensors in the automotive environment, just scaled up by many orders of magnitude.

No, we didn't do any POTS work- our stuff was all trunking, multiplexing, etc. If you see any black, 3RU boxes that say "Intraplex" on the front, those are ours.



I honestly have no idea why we got that contract. We specialized in studios and remote production trucks, not railroad infrastructure.
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:50 AM   #19672
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You're right Brain. There is no hate in this thread. My bad.
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Old 02-12-2014, 10:24 AM   #19673
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You're right Brain. There is no hate in this thread. My bad.
two wrongs make a right.
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Old 02-12-2014, 10:46 AM   #19674
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speaking of POTS...

what is the current great, cheap small business phone system? we currently use a dying TalkSwitch and it sucks. It emails WAV files for voicemail...

Boss is considering moving up to the direct replacement (now Fortinet) but it has basically the same features (WAV for voicemail...)

There are 5 incoming lines and about 10 people/phones using it. We are ok using analog or digital lines. We use both now.

Anyone have any recent experience?
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Old 02-12-2014, 10:52 AM   #19675
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Does anybody even still manufacture POTS-based PBXes? I ask seriously.


Just out of curiosity, when you say "We are ok using analog or digital lines. We use both now," do you have an incoming PRI, or are you using multiple BRIs, or...?
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:14 AM   #19676
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We use a Shoretel system. It's pretty good.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:27 AM   #19677
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Does anybody even still manufacture POTS-based PBXes? I ask seriously.
I work for the power utility, and we use meters with modems to collect billing data from our larger accounts. The meter manufacturers use the cheapest, shittiest modems that they can possibly find to keep their costs down. The end result is that the only reliable phone lines we can use are analog POTS lines. Any kind of digital or VOIP system is used and the meter will not communicate. It was so bad that when Cell phones went digital (certain meters we use cell phones for) we had to get meters with an Ethernet card and an Ethernet output cell phone in order to get them to communicate.

If you twist their arm enough, you can still get the phone company, like Verizon to install a POTS line for you. I believe that scada circuits (from substations to control center) are a 4 wire duplex variant of the POTS system as well.


Quote:
But I totally get what you mean. People make the mistake of thinking that ground is ground. Same **** that causes problems with analog sensors in the automotive environment, just scaled up by many orders of magnitude.
I can forgive gearheads for not understanding grounding, or non-electrical people in general. But an EE should know better. A electrician should definitely know better, as it can put them in danger since they are the ones who must work on it.


Quote:
No, we didn't do any POTS work- our stuff was all trunking, multiplexing, etc. If you see any black, 3RU boxes that say "Intraplex" on the front, those are ours.
I seem to remember that T1 multiplexers was involved, but it was a while ago and I don't remember any equipment manufacturers specifically. Allegedly it was the same equipment that was in the world trade center. The equipment worked fine in there, because there was no exposure.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:50 AM   #19678
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two wrongs make a right.




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I work for the power utility, and we use meters with modems to collect billing data from our larger accounts. The meter manufacturers use the cheapest, shittiest modems that they can possibly find to keep their costs down.
Interesting.

Back in San Diego, the meters all have built-in telemetry, and they send the data back to the utility in realtime (or, at least, every hour or so) over the power company's own hardware. This is for everyone, including apartment-dwellers.

In Santa Clara, CA, the power company even went one step further. They have so much surplus bandwidth that they started integrating wifi transceivers into people's meters, and have blanketed the entire city with totally free wifi. Literally, the entire city of Santa Clara is one giant hotspot.

Santa Clara Free Wi-Fi | Powerd by SVP MeterConnect℠

Santa Clara 1st U.S. City To Use Utility Meters For Free Wi-Fi Network CBS San Francisco






Quote:
If you twist their arm enough, you can still get the phone company, like Verizon to install a POTS line for you. I believe that scada circuits (from substations to control center) are a 4 wire duplex variant of the POTS system as well.
Yeah, believe it or not, us broadcast folks still (very rarely) have a need for actual dry pairs. As in "You can pass a DC voltage across this line from one point to another." The COs hate doing these, and when there's a problem with them you basically gotta call up and say "let me talk to the man with the grayest beard who works there," but they do still exist.






Quote:
I can forgive gearheads for not understanding grounding, or non-electrical people in general. But an EE should know better. A electrician should definitely know better, as it can put them in danger since they are the ones who must work on it.
I'm not surprised.

Hell, even here at WPIX there are a couple of racks in one particular room that shock you when you touch them. (eg: the racks are floating, and there's a current leak somewhere that's raising them well above ground.)




Quote:
I seem to remember that T1 multiplexers was involved, but it was a while ago and I don't remember any equipment manufacturers specifically. Allegedly it was the same equipment that was in the world trade center. The equipment worked fine in there, because there was no exposure.
That would have been our stuff. Most Intraplex hardware of that era was used to mux all sorts of different audio and data down into T1/E1 lines, with various codecs available at either end depending on your needs for bandwidth vs. quality vs. latency.

We also had a wireless, bidirectional spread-spectrum radio system that you could use to shoot a T1/E1 from building to building up to 50km (given adequate elevation and good line-of-sight), at either 2.4 or 5.8 Ghz. That was pretty bitchin' stuff back in the late 90s.



I was just surprised that my particular division got chosen to do that project. We had other groups within Harris that specialized in **** like the FAA (Harris ties all of north America's air-traffic-control system together), military comms, utilities (including safety-rated systems for nuke plants), spacecraft comms, the actual Red Telephone that connects the White House directly to the Kremlin, etc., and they'd have been better suited to do a railroad project than us broadcast dopes.
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Old 02-12-2014, 03:54 PM   #19679
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Just out of curiosity, when you say "We are ok using analog or digital lines. We use both now," do you have an incoming PRI, or are you using multiple BRIs, or...?
OK let me rephrase: we have 5 actual analog phone lines.

We don't care what happens to them once they get into the office as long as any of a dozen phones can make up to 4-5 simultaneous calls and each phone has its own extension. Also voicemail is nice.

When I say digital phones, I guess they are IP PBX? I've done about 20 minutes of research on phones that aren't for my house so bear with me.

The replacement the boss is looking at is (I think) the FVC-70 here:
VoIP PBX phone systems, telephones and accessories for small and medium size business by FortiVoice
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Old 02-12-2014, 03:54 PM   #19680
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The meters you are referring to are generally known as "smart meters." They are considerably more advanced than the meters I am talking about, but could be considered the next evolutionary step. Smart meters are only deployed in mass in very population dense areas. The only I am aware of off the top of my head are Baltimore, California and Detroit (I am sure more exist, but those are the only I am cognizant of). PA law requires 100% smart meter use by 2020 or so.

Most of the rest of the country uses "interval" meters for their larger commercial/industrial customers. The meter has a dial reading, which is just a rolling register of KWH that was recorded, and also stores consumption in 15 or 30 minute "intervals". The intervals are used for more advanced billing practices. you can calculate the customers peak demand and charge them accordingly, or use the data for a Time of Use billing. A meter can typically store 30 days of data, and a modem is used to interrogate the meter and retrieve this information. Generally speaking, the newer the meter, the worse it communicates via modem.

To make a rough analogy, the difference is similar to comparing a MS1 to a MS3x. The interval meter works, but is a bit crude. The smart meter blows it away with functionality.

Sorry if I put you to sleep with that history lesson.
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