NAEO Newslinks

January 2019

Featured Articles

Scholarship Recipients Announced

A-B Communications and the Paradise Fires

True Lies

Amtelco Contracted Services


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Register Today: 2019 NAEO Annual Conference


Amtelco Annex

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Scholarship Recipients Announced

Dear NAEO Members,

I am pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 NAEO William and Eleanor Curtin and Christina Collins Scholarships. NAEO received many outstanding applications that made the selection process a difficult one and all applicants should be applauded.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the NAEO Scholarship Committee, our congratulations are extended to Justin Wiggins with Main Line Telecommunications, on being selected to receive the 2018 William and Eleanor Curtin Scholarship and to Kelly Shaver with Alliance Wireless Communications, on receiving the 2018 Christina Collins Scholarship.

Thank you to all those members who applied or had co-workers apply for these scholarships. NAEO looks forward to receiving many more applications in the fall of 2019.


2018 Scholarship Committee
Tifani Leal
Joann Fussell
Ian Cooke

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A-B Communications and the Paradise Fires

Jeff Farber, A-B Communications

This is a story about the A-B Communications office located in Paradise, CA, and the employees who lost their residences or were displaced...

This is what what happened on Thursday, November 8, 2018 on the day the CampFire started. Our Office located in the Sierra Nevada foothill town of Paradise was lost Thursday, November 8, 2018 in the wildfire. More importantly than our office burning down, seven employees lost their homes, their family heirlooms and treasurers, and most everything except what they carried.

One of our employees, Dana was in the office when the dire evacuation order was given. Dana called our manager who was working from home at the time and asked what to bring with her - our manager said "Just get out." If she had stayed another five minutes to pack, she wouldn't have gotten out. She made it to safety but drove so close to the fire that her left front tire had blistered severely. 

Another employee Sean, who had moved in with his parents to help them, stated that she witnessed the car next to him, a relatively new one with a lot of plastic, melt as the lady was driving it, tail lights, bumpers, etc. The traffic was so bad, it took Sean six hours to drive out of the immediate fire area, a total of about five miles.

There is another harrowing stories of our employee Tina. Tina ad her husband were having a normal morning getting their kids ready and then off to school. Tina was separated from her husband who had just left to drop off their kids at school. while he was gone, the firestorm hit. He was not allowed to return back to their home where Tina was. He was ordered out of the area and she was trying to pack the car when he called her to tell her to get out NOW. She rescued her dog but couldn't get her two cats. Down the main street from her house, the Police stopped her with other cars and the group of people were told to stand in the middle of a store parking lot. The firefighters protected them by spraying water around the small group and their cars for an hour, then led them to safety. Tina's phone battery died and her husband had no way to talk each other for six hours. Each of them feared the other would not have made it to safety for those harrowing six hours. Tina didn't know what was the status of her kids, who were safe with her husband.

Our main programmer, Andy, whom a few of you may have met or spoken to, lost his house while on vacation on a cruise. He'll miss his tech equipment the most I'm sure, especially the beast of a PC he built. While on the cruise, Andy did not know that his house was lost for three days, until he checked his email. Our trainer Levi and his wife got out and traveled over 100 miles to family.  Shelly, Escaped to Los Banos California where her sister lives. Abby and her family escaped to Loomis where her grandparents live. Brissa and her family traveled to Palm Springs. Each of these people had their residences burn down. Our manager Kathy headed to San Jose where her sister lives. Kathy lives in Magalia, just north of Paradise and of these employees, she is the only one that does not yet know the status of her home.

These employees showed incredible dedication to our clients and their businesses. The displaced employees worked from family homes, and our work-from-home employees took calls from their home to keep our business running. Only about 10% of our clients have heard we were burned down. Although we have had some periods of long waits due to staff shortage on a few of our days, we have managed quite remarkably.

Luckily, about four years ago, we moved our Infinity and Servers to a Data Center in Sacramento. If we had any equipment in Paradise other than local PCs, we would be hurting much more significantly, and be in full recovery mode.

Next week I will assist our employees with applying for grants from the NAEO Emergency Relief Fund.  In addition, I have started to spread the word to communities and friends in an attempt to fund raise on a grander scale with hopes I can obtain at least $5000. for each of these employees, and some lesser amounts to those who did not lose homes but had to evacuate to hotels in outlying cities for a few days due to smoke.  It is anticipated that insurance will cover about half of the losses, and primarily just for major items.

I opened a bank account for the employee fire victims. With very little word being spread to date, we have raised $2500 of the $35,000 we seek, from family and friends. To contribute to the fund, Mail a check made out to A-B Communications and mark Employee Fire Fund on the memo line. As we are not a non-profit, donations given through us are NOT tax deductible.  Mail the check to A-B Communications, PO Box 1165, Novato, CA 94948.

Residence Lost - Tina, Andy, Brissa, Sean, Rachele, Levi, Abby
Unsure still - Kathy

A picture of our office in Paradise:

Paradise Fire

Respectfully submitted,

Jeff Farber
A-B Communications
415-561-9101

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True Lies

Kevin Procter

The world around us is filled with truths and lies.  The inside of a computer is filled with things that are true, and with other things that are false;  but no lies.

A computer is constantly calculating things and telling us whether a condition is true or false.  The programmer can then tell the computer to make a decision based on that true or false state.  And you can be sure a computer wouldn't lie. Or so this programmer thought.

I was making a change to a script: A customer requested, that when taking the caller's information, if the city the caller provides is one of three cities, then we are to change to a sub account to dispatch the message.  It seemed pretty straight forward:  I made a constant that contained a string of cities, separated by the cute little tilde character.  If the city the caller provided was within the string of cities – separated by that cute little tilde character – the result was true and we would switch to the sub account.  If, however, the caller's city is NOT within the string of cities – separated by the cute little tilde character – then the result is false.  It worked great! 

Along comes my mild-mannered programming partner, Shamus, who runs a test where the caller's city is left empty.  Again, a pretty straight forward calculation:  Since the city field is empty, it won't be found in the string of cities - separated by the cute little tilde character – thus it will return false.  Shamus’ test report indicated there was a bug in the script.  I was stunned!  I looked at the code and could only come to one conclusion: The computer had lied!  It HAD to be a mistake.  I discussed it with some other NAEO programmers, who explained to me that the computer was correct.

True lies

Of course, being a programmer, with a somewhat binary outlook on all things computer-ish, this didn’t sit well with me and I could not accept their explanations.  Instead, I turned to another computer language: PHP.  I wrote the same code in that language - and guess what?

<?php
$thiss="Punkydoodles Corners~Tuscaloosa~Montrose";
$thatt="";
$x=stripos($thiss,$thatt);

if($x === TRUE)
            echo "It's true???";
                        else
            echo "It’s WAY false!";

#This will return "It’s WAY false!"
?>

The computer didn't lie this time!

Now, who's correct here?  I am, of course! 

Boastful postulations aside, however, who is truly correct, I realize now, is dependant on which language is used to make the computer "think".  Just as you ask a Canadian computer to spell the word "colour" – which is of course correct; and then an American computer spells the word "color": in fact both spellings are correct.  Thus, the computer's many programming languages may well interpret the same question differently. 

This tells us that whatever calculation is going on inside the computer may differ based on the programming language used.  How do we get around this from one language to another?  My advice: Just don't take for granted how you think the computer will see a calculation.  What you’re thinking may not be what the computer is “thinking”.  Test everything!  But don't get TOO testy (or angry) with the computer.  After all, it's not the machine's fault that it may not know how to correctly spell colour.

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Amtelco Contracted Services

Brad Swift

NAEO 1CallIn response to customer feedback about their growing needs for reliable project management and quicker access to the newest Amtelco software features, Amtelco and the 1Call healthcare division are now offering Contracted Services.

When a large communications project or merger is on the horizon, call centers are oftentimes unsure about the cost and liability that comes with hiring temporary in-house or contracted employees to complete the venture. Amtelco's new Contracted Services option provides trusted resources, expertise, and trained personnel.

Amtelco Contracted Services can provide assistance when call centers need to update technologies, are involved in projects such as acquisitions and department mergers, are looking for advice about best practices, need guidance related to growth and future development, and more.

 

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Register Today: 2019 Annual Conference

Don't miss our Annual Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico taking place March 10-13, 2019! Check our website for more details and to register today!

Register Today!

 

Early bird deadline February 7

Book Your Hotel Room

 

Hotel cut-off February 5

 

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