Update: The Back Story to Acquiring my Avaya PBX, part two

This is the second part of a 2 part story

By March 9th (nearly a week and half after he offered the system) the package made its way from Montana to New Hampshire. The next challenge? Trying to be home on the day it would arrive and then try to get (what was clearly over 80 pounds) into the house at least in one piece for it to work. And do this so the UPS Guy doesn’t trip and fall on the ice. That would be tragic for both the Brown guy and the PBX. Well it came on time at my normal UPS Ground route for my neighborhood (and stalking the package with my iPhone with its tracking number.)

How did I get this bad boy in the house?

Thankfully the 9th had milder weather as opposed to a cold February (where only one day was above freezing.) I was making some dollars on that day just clearing out the ice on the walkway. Sliding on the ice was already dicey (my grandmother is not getting any younger) and obviously this had to be cleared out so the PBX could be in one piece. I lugged it from the deck somewhat dragged it gently to the other deck steps because we have a pool and the steps to the deck are built for security/insurance purposes. Then, brought it down to the doghouse (the access point to the basement which is underground. However some have bulkheads – if say the basement/ground is exposed.  Some Cape houses are exposed full 3 stories, ours is underground. In this entryway, we have a full height entry space as I descend down a dozen steps.)  Without railings I got it situated in the laundry room. Thankfully, this individual named Jason had put these foot long circuit boards in actual Avaya boxes that typically are packaged with, and the administrative software was stuck on tape to the PBX unit itself.


I stripped down the box on basically all fours and then carried the cards, the phone and everything else one by one. My grandmother was going to a doctors appointment (my mother would drive her there), which gave me more time to “clean up” the mess. (for fun, the scarecrow I made – the VAX 7/1180, was actually made from this box…)

Some broken pieces to the side doors, but didn’t let it bother me for long.








I had the G3 CMC sitting on top of my first PC for a little while before I drilled it to a board on the wall in the “wiring closet”

I did not fire the system up till the following day. Given its operating system, the Oryx/Pecos being basically idiot proof (and NO, it’s NOT a derivative from Unix, which has been an urban legend’s-urban legend for ages), I didn’t want to be one of “those people” who crashed a PBX without much skill. Regardless if I’ve used Avayas for years, and knew the system somewhat inside out, but not in the practical sense. It was best to “sleep on it” literally because I was overtired.

I did an unboxing and a test on my then YouTube platform, and I’ve remained in contact, even though we haven’t communicated outside of email. He contributed to the site when I was unable to do so, he had a background in radio, and works mostly as server admin with his telephony passion coming to play when needed (mostly on the hardware side.)

* * *

My theme today is how I was able (given my conditions) of the ability to communicate with a stranger, allow a two-step human authentication, pay the individual (it was to cover shipping) after the fact, and continue to walk on broken egg shells and have an overall Internet relationships. Now emails between that individual and myself, are now coming off his “work” email account. A gmail he used was a “disposable emails”, which for human cyber security isn’t a bad idea.

This is one of the very few positives that have happened in my life, and the few positives in cyber communication I can say proudly. And continuing to keep this as a secret thing is just fun!

In this sense, I can say given my vulnerabilities and as of this writing, I wasn’t taken advantage and this type of communication can be possible if you remain skeptical and keep a watchful eye to your back, even if your back may be your modem or wireless device to the outside world.


DECEMBER 2015 UPDATE: Since this narrative was originally posted, I’ve had an Instagram account since the summer. As I might have mentioned, the Instagram account was created out of random because I had a compatible release of iOS to run Ig. Originally the Ig was actually claim ownership of the “message in the sand” at Hampton Beach. Over time I thought Ig was a great platform to spread the love of telephony. Some of the images were embedded onto The Museum because it was just easier to copy and paste a URL then to upload an image that was taken from my iPhone originally. The backstory to acquiring this system was linked to showing my G3 box on Instagram, and the individual found this page that way.

The story to that began in early December, I was about to be surprised with a Christmas present of yet another phone system. Warning or not, it was still a good surprise! He expected nothing in return…well, we’ll see about that… This time it was a Mitel IP system from about a decade ago. (ICX 3300 to be exact.) I didn’t address the intended audience that well, as he apologized, because he had seen the original post and sincerely apologized at least several other times. (The “Server guy” reference – was him.)  I replied and said I appreciate it and I took it and I’ll keep it, because who wouldn’t want a Mitel system? (And why should I “be a gift horse in the mouth”?  Speaking about idiom/metaphor, today I’m using it in the proper sense, but back when I was younger, it was a total cliche back when I was in my preteens. I’d just ramble that phrase over and over!)

I was so caught off guard when reading the email from that Tuesday morning, that I did get time to set up the system and believe or not I was up and running within minutes. This Mitel was decommissioned from an acquisition that replaced the Mitels with Avayas.  After seeing how much the once #1 enterprise PBX vendor dating back to Ma Bell falling apart (yup I compare this to a “relationship status”), I actually prefer the Mitel sets, the user interface, etc. In short it was meant to be. And there is no reason to be “a gift horse in the mouth” at all.

I went into a semi detailed reply the following day or so and he told me that he didn’t know anyone personally with autism but did say his mother worked in the system specifically in Medicaid Waivers and understood the challenges in dealing with that.

The other thing was when I got the Avaya system it was going to be a secondary system and was going to teach myself how to link the Cisco and Avaya together because the Avaya has no VOIP abilities without licenses, and therefore the Avaya was a straight up non IP system. The Cisco on the other hand was supposed to be the house phone system. I’ll discuss this at a later point. My side job was going to have its own phone system and I thought I’d bridge the two together. I did, through analog lines, but digital is better, but it’s not in my priorities. Another example was if I was going to move out, the Cisco would stay at my mothers and say my new digs would have the Avaya, a case example is to have the system linked through a VPN and calls could be placed on-net without jamming up the phone company. But the naive of me thinking I can live reasonably on my own with no friends for a significant other was so far from dreamy; regardless designing such systems to integrate would be an awesome business case for taking an old PBX.

I’m in process of building a private museum of all my telephones I own. The Avaya Definity R9 ECS PBX supports rotary, touch tone, the proprietary DCP, and ISDN sets, and I have a bunch of sets, sans ISDN so basically all my 20th century sets can be tied into this system. The Definity will become a real life, usable museum. But I will keep my lips sealed so all of you can be surprised and please follow and give real positive, online feedback if you really like what I publish.