Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt
swashbuckler332

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Holy Crackers!!!

The phone company has desired its field technicians to use an electronic method with which to perform the basic dispatching functions for years. The first attempts were with the CAT, which was a clunky computer built for phone company stuff. While the CAT would allow a tech to download their work in the morning and perform simple functions, it was big, heavy and didn't really outperform the other equipment that we had to do the same tasks. There were some unsuccessful attempts afterwards with stripped-down laptops. All of these efforts came to naught, and the company has decided that the reason that they have not as yet been able to convince their technicians to use these tools is because of a fault with the tools themselves. Therefore, they have decided that their approach was the problem and have decided to issue new laptops. The fact that the techs were never interested in adapting to the equipment, it was decided, was because they had no personal stake in doing so, as there was no clear advantage to doing so. As a result, the company has decided that the field techs would be issued laptops that were not completely useless for personal use.



The first batch of these are Panasonic CF-73 Toughbooks with 75 gig hard drives, 504 MB RAM, 1.86 gig Pentium processors, CD-R/RW & DVD ROM, USB 2.0 ports, ethernet cards and touchscreens, and the company will be adding air cards soon (future batches will be somewhat more stripped-down versions of the same equipment). Access to the internet has been completely unrestricted via a proxy server. Of course, the main purpose of these laptops will be the statusing and testing of jobs, which is a very nice prospect (there's nothing worse then getting a reading from a dispatcher who has no technical knowledge of T-1s, and misreads the information to you, which you don't find out until you get to the job site).

The next big purchase I was planning upon was a laptop. That a $3400 machine should just appear like this is insanity. Add to the fact that we are being given free internet access via dial-up or ethernet now, and a wireless T-1 speed connection in a few days, and you have a pretty happy Swashbuckler. That means that I have no reason to reinstate my cable modem. I have no idea how this will effect my blogging addiction, but one thing is for sure, and that's that I now have the ability to work on Ecology at any time during the workday.

The touchscreen is one of my favorite aspects of the computer. Normally, laptops have either the touchpad or that little joystick or track ball in the middle of the keyboard. I loathe the joystick/track ball approach because of the size of them, and the touchpads have limitations. This machine has the touchpad as well, but the touchscreen - which, in order to keep finger grease off of the image is operated with a stylus - is the best type of interface for a portable PC. The keyboard is nice and springy, too, which I like; I type very fast, so sticky keys can be a real problem for me.

In addition to having been issued this beautiful new toy, and the possibilities that it opens up (this entry was partially written on my way home from work), we also have just been given access to a myriad of discounts available to Verizon employees through our eWeb. I'm actually quite surprised; I may be planning an weekend trip to Boston in the not-too-distant future, as our rates for the air shuttle are really, really low. There are more advantages to this job than even I thought. For all the shit that they've put me through, sometimes it seems like it really is worth it.
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