Something About Me…

My name is Jeff Whiteside and I am currently living in Spokane, WA. I recently moved here from Portland, OR and have been enjoying it since I’ve been here. I have a broad variety of interests including photography, cooking, Northwest microbrews, wine, music, hiking, camping, candle making, travel, and other typical and atypical interests. An interesting thing about me is that I don’t watch television and haven’t done so for over seven years. What do I do with my time? Well, I spend a lot of my time studying and learning new things via print and internet based mediums. My studies vary quite widely and it’s hard to say that I focus on a particular subject matter – though I do spend a large amount of time in the area of technology. Although I do have somewhat a serious demeanor, I am known to kick back and have fun on more than one occasion.

I work for a company called Cerium Networks, also in Spokane, as a telecommunications engineer. I design, implement, and service high-level voice and data communication networks with a specialty in a technology called voice-over IP (VoIP). You’ve probably heard of this through companies like Skype – but at the commercial level, this technology allows multi-site businesses to communicate using traditional telephone technology over an existing data network infrastructure. This eliminates long distance charges and also creates an efficient communication flow between business locations. I also have a sub-specialty of call center implementation which focuses primarily on the design and optimization of medium and large call centers. Through this job I get a lot of contact with enterprise level corporations that use some of the most advanced communications equipment available today. I get a lot of exposure to new technologies and the company strives to be the most highly certified and educated network providers in the industry. Cerium is a platinum level Avaya (formerly Lucent and before that AT&T or Ma Bell) dealer which is the highest level business partner that can achieved – one of less than 25 in the entire world. We are also a silver level Cisco dealer and are working with both traditional routing/switching hardware and the latest technological breakthroughs such as IP-TV and network access controls. We also have a heavily vested interest in video technologies – implementing public and private video conferencing networks using Polycom and Tandberg technologies. Some of my recent customers include Washington Trust Bank, Isothermal, Pitney Bowes, Itron, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, and Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories.

Many people ask me how I got into the field of work that I am in. To be honest, I have been interested in communication (telephones & computer networking) since I was about 13 years old. The “thing” that peaked my interest was a somewhat subversive sub-culture of what are called “phreakers” – also known as phone hackers. I was a member of the group called “2600“ which was not interested in causing damage typically associated with the term “hacker” – but more interested in educating themselves about the technology behind telephones, cellular technologies, and data communications. We would use what are called “BBS’s” (bulletin board systems), privately owned modem based communication servers, as our primary means of communication & interaction. This passion evolved into a career in the communication field and the skills of hacking I learned are regularly used to optimize communication networks and tweak equipment to it’s limits. I was on the internet long before Internet Explorer and Google existed and heavily used a Unix based program called “Lynx” to surf the web before graphics were the mainstream on the ‘net. I have been involved with VoIP technologies since it’s inception and have a broad background in voice, digital, and wireless networks.

So that’s some basics for you.  You’ll find much more to come, I’m sure.

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