Operator? I’d Like To Make A Long Distance Call…To Hell

Posted Tuesday, 20 June 2006, 4:00 pm

After that silly foray into get-rich-quick schemes, we (still with my longtime biz partner), hooked up with a CLEC. A CLEC? Is that the present-pluperfect of Cluck? "If Roger The Rooster were to CLEC, it would wake ever’body up". (I have no idea whether that’s a genuine example of present pluperfect, mind you).

CLEC, translation: Competitive Local Exchange Carrier. That’s hilarious. That’s no translation, that’s a hairball! Real translation: a telephone company.

I grew up with a hard black plastic dial telephone. There was just "the phone company". Bell Telephone. Period. End of discussion. You leased the phone from the phone company, you paid whatever they charged. Period.

In 1986, there was some court ruling that broke up the phone companies, in order to create competition in the marketplace. Apparently, in 1998, a particular phase of that occurred, either due to new legislation or just the maturation of the technology, and so these CLECs started popping up all over the country.

The one we hooked up with turned out to be one of the largest venture capital, uh, ventures in history. More seed money was raised to start the company than had ever been raised in a single round of financing before. This company was going to provide business telephone and internet access bundles. And that’s where i came in. I was the internet guy. I’d have never had a chance at the job if not for my business partner. He engineered it all so that I could have autonomy as the Unix systems administrator, build the systems as I saw fit, and make it all happen.

It was a thrill, albeit with some intense bumps early on. But after I’d built all the servers, and gotten everything really running, it ran smoothly. It was a dream system, dual-failover load balancers, dual main servers – enterprise class (Sun E4500’s), and a redundant Netapp cluster for storage. It was sweet.

Those servers are still running to this day in fact. They’re not doing nearly as much as they used to – they’re gradually being decommissioned – but I’m damned proud the stuff ran and ran and ran and ran long after I left.

Next secret code for the word weary: ephemeral connection!


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