Help Wanted in Engineering and Oppression Prevention! uh

I’ve addressed some pretty out there engineering job openings in the past, but this one is the strangest I’ve ever seen. Please go ahead and grab a glass of water and drop a couple of Alka-Seltzer in it, because you may need it. I’m going to inline my comments in a nice shade of cyan reminiscent of P2 phosphor.

KBOO is Hiring: Chief Engineer

Published date:
Thursday, February 7, 2019 – 11:59am

Please submit resume and cover letter with the answer to the question “Why is KBOO Important” by March 4th, 2019 11:59 pm to engineerhire@kboo.fm 

I’m sorry but what— this is one of the strangest, most pretentious things I’ve ever seen on an application. This is not a standard cover letter by any means. This is just W E I R D

or mail/bring your resume and cover letter to: Station Manager 20 SE 8th Ave. Portland OR 97214

KBOO Community Radio Department: Operations

Job Title: Chief Engineer

Reports to: Station Manager Employment

Status: Exempt

danger, will robinson

Hours: 40 hours per week

Positions Supervised: Live Events Engineer, IT Systems Admin Contractor, Transmitter / Translator / STL / EAS Contractor, and Volunteers

Revised: January 2019

General Description: To oversee and maintain the technical operation of KBOO’s studios, its transmitters and translators at an optimum level.

Qualifications

  • Broadcast engineering and electronic experience necessary.
  • Ability to work with, train and assist a diverse group of people and the ability to explain technical matters to non-technical beginners.
  • Experience in installation, modification, maintenance and repair of broadcasting equipment, including but not limited to: CD players, digital audio equipment, cassette recorders, computer hardware and software, audio mixers, microphones and telephone systems.
  • Driver’s license and vehicle for travel to transmitter / translator sites.
  • Ability to improvise and achieve results with materials and resources on-hand.
  • Knowledge and experience working with analog and digital equipment.
  • Computer skills.

So far, so good….. though I worry about this being an exempt position. This gets REALLY nasty when you’re required to work more than 40 hours a week, but do not receive any compensation for it. But now, all aboard the WOO TRAIN

Essential Functions

  • Identify and address institutional and individual acts of oppression at KBOO. Ensure there is interruption of the oppression, follow-up and support for those impacted as well as documentation/record keeping of the incident.

I’m sorry.

What? This is very strange, but it continues—

  • Work to implement KBOO’s affirmative action policy in recruiting, training and maintaining volunteers.

This is a very strange task for an engineer – serving as a volunteer coordinator, but at least it’s not asking one to fight oppression…. whatever that implies….

  • Maintain signal and audio quality.
  • Act as Chief Operator in maintaining FCC logs and required documentation.
  • Maintain broadcasting equipment in good working order, including studio equipment and system phones, transmitters and translators.
  • Coordinate with staff for the station’s audio equipment and studio needs, including purchasing and soliciting bids.
  • Supervise the IT/Systems Admin Contractor.
  • Supervise the Transmitter / Translator / STL / EAS Contractor.
  • Supervise and provide support and backup for Live Events Engineer.
  • Work with other staff to coordinate training for engineering volunteers.

So are you coordinating volunteers or are you not coordinating volunteers?

  • Guaranteed 24-hour emergency engineering support for the station, either in person or by delegation to qualified engineering volunteers and contract engineers.

oh, that’s where the “exempt” part gets ya.

  • Coordinate with staff to plan and implement engineering budget, including long-term strategic planning for engineering needs.
  • Coordinate facilities maintenance at tower and translator sites.
  • Participate in engineering projects as assigned by station manager (i.e. production room remodels).
  • Oversee engineering aspects of new transmitters / translators (i.e. planning and project implementation).
  • Lead/staff the engineering committee meetings. Generate agendas each month and ensure there are committee minutes that are put up on the web within 5 days of the meeting.
  • Attend technology operating team and staff meetings.
  • Other duties as assigned.
  • Keep KBOO in compliance with FCC rules and regulations relating to engineering and technical issues.

Salary

This is a full-time position with a starting salary $31,426.38/year. The employee shall be eligible for annual step increases subject to conditions in KBOO’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Okay, wait. 24/7 on call…. salaried exempt… under 32k a year…. in PORTLAND? How do they expect one to live like that?

Probationary Period

Any person hired will be required to join and pay dues to CWA Local 7901 after 90 days. There is a six month probationary period. This period is not to be construed as a contract.

Wait, this is….. union…..

WHO APPROVED THIS COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT AND WHY ARE THEY NOT ON FIRE? Please make them be on fire. Thanks.

Benefits

Benefits include medical and dental coverage, disability and life insurance, and credit union eligibility. This position also offers paid vacation, sick leave, and 11 paid holidays per year, in accordance with KBOO’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. FSLA-exempt employees receive paid compensatory time off. Eligibility for the pension plan is one year after the date of hire.

Nice benefits under that Collective Bargaining Agreement, but WTF IS WITH THAT SALARY?!

Working Conditions

KBOO has over 150 hours per week of local programming, produced by volunteers who need to be trained on studio equipment. KBOO is a union shop and all (non-management) staff are members of Communications Workers of America (CWA) – Local 7901. All employees are expected to provide time to answer questions and to help volunteers learn. The engineer is called upon on a daily basis to help volunteers with using the studios and equipment. The engineer conducts workshops to train people as engineering volunteers. The engineer will work, coordinate efforts, and learn from contract engineers on special projects. KBOO’s environment is hectic and stimulating. You must enjoy working with a wide diversity of volunteers.

Funny, it sounds like most of your time as the salaried engineer will be volunteer too after those 40 hours a week. I really wonder what the collective bargaining agreement says about that. Then again, it really sounds to me like it’s the most watered down piece of junk ever. Alas…..

We have an air studio, three production rooms, multiple digital editing stations, and other rooms used for live public affairs and music. The engineer’s office also doubles as a workshop and contains some of the transmission and phone equipment. We have two STL’s (station links) to our tower with main and backup transmitters.

There are other engineers in Portland with a wide range of experience, both volunteers and contract hires, which you may work with and learn from.

And they might take pity on your predicament and try to find you jobs in their far better organizations, I’d like to hope—

KBOO has regular membership drives. They require an intense amount of time and coordination. The engineer must provide technical assistance as necessary during these drives.

BAHAHAHAHAHA AND HOW. My experience with these at another station was pretty much that it was two weeks of 14 hour days.

Workplace expectations at KBOO radio include: effective verbal and written communications; conflict de-escalation; skillful volunteer relations and utilization; capable project management; work-area organization; response to phone calls and correspondence; teamwork and cooperation with other employees, volunteers, and Board members; furtherance of KBOO mission, goals and values; meeting attendance and participation; capable departmental budgeting; and punctuality.

Equipment Used

KBOO equipment ranges from vintage analog audio player/recorders, 40-year old transmitters and mixing consoles to state of the art, networked digital broadcast consoles. There is heavy usage of all this equipment. You must repair as necessary and ascertain the need for new purchases within a somewhat limited budget.

Keep in mind…. at under $32k/year…. and the maintenance and repair is probably 40 hours a week in and of itself.

KBOO is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer, Women and People of Color are encouraged to apply. Discrimination because of age, race, religion, color, sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender presentation, class, creed, physical or mental disability is prohibited.

Meanwhile, I just can’t even. This position will HOPEFULLY remain unfilled until they refine it severely to actually make it worth someone’s time and effort to fill it.

picture unrelated

Spam, patience, and the things that test it

As of about 5 AM the shittening happened again. Sorry to anyone who got hit with the same dumbass redirect. I’ve reverted to the WordPress default theme just in case the issue was the theme I was using before allowing SQL injection…

security like a maladjusted microflect entry panel, broski.
the description tag was full of javascript garbage too, wow! (i’ve replaced all references to the offsite script with calls to a dummy file onsite here to sanitize it all quick and dirty.)

Here’s what I know so far…

The whole attack seems to be straight outa China.

When it happens, I’ve seen something basically start hammering on mysql (tons of login failures are produced) which is only open to localhost, so I feel like something is kinda being exploited in a roundabout manner to brute force a password and get in. I’ve changed the passwords to stuff that looks like line noise for now.

No idea what it is but I’ve hidden the old Gallery install for now in case that’s the point of entry.

I’ll be doing the good ol’ nuke and pave soon then reimporting all the content. For now, knock on wood, maybe this will just stay up and uninfected for a couple days until I can get around to that.

Maybe the domain name in use for the JavaShit script – getmyconfigplease -dot- com – is a silly clue, like they’re somehow getting hold of the WordPress config file for this attack? I mean, if that’s obtained by an attacker, they’ve got the database credentials handed to them on a silver platter. If that were the case though I wouldn’t expect to be seeing tons of login failures, just a quick and easy in, spam, and out.

I fucking hate computers 😀

Mmm, Galvanic Corrosion Burger

I don’t know where they came from but somehow this facility was ~blessed~ by having some aluminum transmission line adapters in use.

Here’s one (a gas block with pressure fitting) sandwiched between flanges made of brass and nickel plated(?) brass…. similar to about 99% of all these fittings I’ve seen in service.

But wait, aren’t those a little far apart in galvanic potential?

Maaaaybe.

To the tune of Sisters Of Mercy – This Corrosion

Gack. Note the first inner lip around where the polymer insulator is seated. This is where the RF connection is actually made. The well around it only holds the sealing ring.

No thanks.

Broadcast Engineer: (n) A person who fixes all the shit the manufacturer fucked up by design.

The MP Select Mini cooling fan, or, why Malyan clearly has no clue what they’re doing.

The 3D printers made by Malyan for Monoprice.com are just silly. There, I said it.

The Mini Delta takes a lot of work to get good results from, and the Cartesian type Select Mini printers need a lot of mods for stability and reliability.

One issue I was having on my Select Mini, aside from the one where it spontaneously emits cats*…

… was that I was getting poor print cooling, leading to things getting slumpy and generally Jacked Up.

Object above is part of an improved fan duct to use a 50mm blower.

So the stock fan is a mystery wrapped in an enigma of misengineering.

It’s a 30mm fan rated for 9vdc. What? Arrggh! If that were a 12v fan you’d have options as to what to use as a direct replacement. With it being 9v, your options are…… whatever sleeve bearing folderol one manufacturer casts on their badly worn injection mold.

In all honestly, I broke the fan, but by doing things that should not have broken it.

I was getting poor cooling as I’d mentioned above, so I was setting Slic3r to run the fan at 100. The resulting g-code is M106 S255

After a couple of prints like this, I heard scary noises from the fan, and upon removing it I discovered the 9v label and a ring of oil it had thrown out of its bearing. Yuck. They didn’t even leave a way to get in there and oil the bearing.

I found this all suspicious. M106 S255 ran the little fan louder than the firmware default settings did. Normally if you send no g-code to override it, the fan will always run at a low speed any time the hotend is heated. It does not automatically stop.

Out of curiosity I measured the voltage using a true RMS meter. I set the temperature to 190C from the front panel and the fan started shortly into the preheat (much better after changing that stupid heat block). Voltage was about 8.7v.

I then sent M106 S255 and it jumped to 12.6vdc and the fan sounded……. lovely.

It broke as I was trying to reinstall it so I put in a 12v fan that came on a $10 eBay E3D V6 clone.

The result… The fan still runs at any speed I ask it for, so stalling isn’t an issue, but now it doesn’t self destruct at 255 / 100%.

When the new blower gets here I’ll have better luck with bridges.

*This is a feature, not a bug

Joe Jobbed…!

Well not exactly but

At the stroke of the new year, the 20 or so robocalls I was getting each day starting at 8 AM Eastern stopped. Blissful silence! I could leave my phone set to ring again!

Oh wait. This morning some text spam started going out as group texts with a huge number of recipients. Fellow victims all started clicking reply aaaaand I turned my phone off for a couple hours so it’d stop vibrating constantly and getting hot

It looks like I got about five of the messages, but each has a thread of dozens of replies!

Can I have an AMPS StarTac please?

AT&T Smeg-O-Net User Experience

Fuck You AT&T

After three hellish days of having dispatchers lie to me and tell me to stick around waiting for a tech that’d never come, waking me up at 5 AM and insisting I stick around until after midnight, all sorts of broken promises, and an overseas call center keeping THE ACTUAL TECHNICIAN waiting on hold for hours and hanging up on him repeatedly, our office has phones and almost half the internet speed we’re paying for!

This is still an improvement…. SADLY…. Now we’re no longer stuck with this clusterfuckery as our only link to the outside world. In case you ever find yourself shopping for business Internet and managed VoIP telephone services, LOOK ELSEWHERE and do yourself a favor. As janky as Comcast’s business fiber / metro ethernet / VoIP offerings are, with the vile potentially self-destructing phones, THEY ARE STILL BETTER ABOUT UPTIME… SORT OF. You know, when they aren’t having failures due to having installed everyone’s stuff to a fiber patch panel somewhere with dodgy uxcell brand fiber jumpers that arrived in a beat up China Post epacket. (I’m not even kidding here one bit)

sharecropping in cyberspace

Too cheap to pay a graphic designer for what their talent’s actually worth to come up with your company’s branding? Two for one special on Fiverr!

…..fuck this noise, angry reacts only

What in the electromagnetically radiant fuck

“completed” installation by a local WiSP

Let’s get that mystery battery charger board (?) off the metal framed switch

What’s on the other end of that zip cord?

Hurk

SUPER JACKPOT!!! 10,000,000 FAIL BONUS. EXTRA BALL IS LIT

That poor tripp-lite

Yeah that’s just some outdoor CPE setup (?) lying on top

Custom… Power… Thing?

I agree with this cat

Sync Pulse of Horror

Copied from where I wrote about it on Facebook…

Let me take a moment to tell a tale of horror. Sorry, I missed Halloween with this one….

The Evertz 7700ADA7: A wonderful piece of hardware. Truly wonderful, I have nothing but glowing things to say aboutAAAAHH HELL IT’S A PIECE OF CRAP.

https://evertz.com/products/7700ADA7

Look in its manual and you’ll see a big contradiction. The block diagram says it has buffers on every output. The text says it has three output buffers. In reality, best I can tell from physically inspecting the card, it has ONE and all the outputs are just paralleled… maybe in pairs or something? Look closely and you can see the ICs at the right where the outputs come off. Everything to the left of center or so on the card is the power conversion and fault detection circuitry.

The input can be set with 75 ohm termination onboard or hi-z. This is like the inputs on the old Grass Valley Group analog video DAs, except that those had a far more convenient setup with two BNC spigots on the back – you used it either as a loop thru (short BNC jumper to the next DA card in the frame if you needed more ouptuts) or popped a terminator on the unused one.

Evertz says you can use BNC tees to do the same thing on theirs, except… there’s no physical space for the tee to fit back there… and if you do somehow manage to physically connect the cards up this way it’s obvious their idea of “hi-Z” loads the line down BADLY after connecting two or three cards.

So, someone who came to that facility before me wired the cards with the black burst coming from the Evertz GPS locked sync generator and switch unit of HORRORS (more on this later!) to the input on the first of like six 7700ADA7’s, then a short jumper from output #7 to the input of the next… and so on…!!!

I mean, luckily, by some grace of Farnsworth’s ghost himself, this still managed to work… HOWEVER…

Please note that I said the outputs are not individually buffered.

The DA outputs were all full up when I had to connect a long cable to a new video playout system, except for one output on the first in the chain that went to some long abandoned weirdness halfway across the building.

I will state the following now that the statute of limitations is over and I am several thousand miles from anyone who would want to throw things at me for what happened.

We were in a newscast and a break was rolling at the time. I disconnected the mystery cable and there was no excitement. I connected the cable that went about 100′ over to the new playout system, and I heard screaming.

Apparently when I connected the new cable, a glitch occurred on the output of that DA, and since it had no buffers, it propagated down to all the others and effectively to every other piece of equipment in the plant. The people in the control room were treated to the sight of every source suddenly melting down and laaaazily reclocking and coming back one at a time.

At the same time, this lit the FU Cracker on each of our Ericsson satellite receivers. See, this model.. I think it was RX8400? … if you paid for a ton of extra option codes you got an internal frame sync/converter. This was EXTREMELY FRAGILE, though– if you caused any problem with the black burst sync, the FU Cracker’s 45 second fuse was now lit and there was not a thing you could do about it. Once the fuse burned down, BANG!!!! The video and audio were gone. It’d sometimes come back after an agonizing 15 seconds or so, but if it did, this would keep recurring until you rebooted the receiver.

You could practically hear the hissing.

Fortunately no sat feeds were used in the remainder of this newscast and I was able to go around and do the mass reboots once it ended.

So, as for that Evertz failover switch unit that fed the stack of DAs with blackburst… boyy that thing had a … failure mode… about it.

So the way that unit worked was it took the output of two independent GPS locked timecode generators that I think put out SMPTE timecode and trilevel sync. This fed into the failover box which would “seamlessly” take over if one of those went invalid or failed, I guess, and it also generated blackburst with VITC, had a small DA for the trilevel sync (4 ports or something), and also generated a 10 mhz reference signal and some other stuff I’ve long since forgotten.

The chief engineer needed trilevel sync for something near it, so he removed the terminator from one of the taps on that DA.

“Tick tick tick tick tick tick”, responded the failover unit.
Cue MASSIVE screaming from every corner of the facility. Bad sync hit HARD, all the satellite receivers puked their guts up instantly, just about the only thing that survived it was the Omneon playout boxes and the Kahuna switcher. No more live shots as the receivers decoding their ASI streams died. Yes, we were in a newscast. Recorded packages were frantically bumped up the schedule as the Omneons, Grass Valley K2 playout and cameras were the only thing left alive.

The Omneons and K2’s were really good about sync loss, if the sync went invalid they just switched to free running without any further ado. Everything else was just a fecking drama queen.