The Telecom Digest for January 04, 2011
Volume 30 : Issue 4 : "text" Format
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Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2011 04:40:48 +0000 (UTC)
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Garrett Wollman)
Subject: Re: Google As A Carrier?
In article <email@example.com>,
John Levine <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>Ahem. Let's look at some annual revenue figures:
Um, people in finance would probably prefer to look at market
capitalization or price/earnings ratios:
I might as well add:
Q 13.26B (63.42)
Google could easily afford to buy both money-losing Sprint Nextel and
barely profitable Qwest, at the same time. I would be surprised if
they did either, as the legacy telco culture at those companies is
likely a toxic combination with Google's Silicon Valley culture. At
the moment, there is almost certainly more money to be made in playing
the three big players (plus Deutsche Telekom) off each other, and
Google also has to be concerned about how changing its relationships
with U.S.-based carriers would affect its carrier relationships in
other countries with different market structures (particularly where
Vodafone and/or DT operate).
Garrett A. Wollman | What intellectual phenomenon can be older, or more oft
email@example.com| repeated, than the story of a large research program
Opinions not shared by| that impaled itself upon a false central assumption
my employers. | accepted by all practitioners? - S.J. Gould, 1993
Date: Sun, 02 Jan 2011 22:03:15 -0600
From: Neal McLain <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: USA broadband isn't broadband per FCC report...
David Clayton wrote:
>>> That is the issue I keep banging on about, it is a specific
>>> technical term that has been hijacked by so many fools that it
>>> is now almost worthless.
>> But was it a "specific technical term" in 1972 when the Madison
>> city council "hijacked" it?
> AFAIK the term was used decades before that to describe any
> telecommunication media that carried multiple disparate channels.
Well, by that definition of "broadband", I guess it was broadband. The
distribution network carried numerous signals, but they were all related
to the delivery of cable TV and FM services:
-- VHF TV channels 2-13 (54-88; 174-216 MHz downstream)
-- A couple dozen FM signals in the FM band (88-108 MHz downstream)
-- AGC Control carrier (108.25 MHz downstream)
-- "Sniffer" leakage-detection carrier (downstream)
-- Microwave pilot carrier (73.95640 MHz downstream)
-- One or more video or audio return signals (5-30 MHz upstream)
> I don't know the technical details of the Madison City Council
> service, was it actually still an accurate use of the term back
> then in comparison to slapping any data service that has above 56K
> dial-up modem speeds with it these days?
There were no data services in the '70s. If memory serves, the first
carrier carrying data would have been the addressable converter control
carrier added circa 1982. I don't recall the data rate, but it was
faster than 56K.
This carrier cycled to every converter on the network every few minutes
to update its list of authorized services (premium signals and/or upper
tiers). If a converter didn't get updated every few hours, it would
This reminds me of a story. A certain bar owner advertised that sports
events would be shown in his establishment. Many of these events were
not available to commercial accounts, and especially not at the same
price as residential accounts.
A bit of investigation revealed that the bar owner was taking his home
converter to the bar and using it for the sports events. After
cease-and-desist letters from the cable company and the company's
lawyers were ignored, the chief tech took the situation into his own
hands. He sent a tech out to install a trap in the drop feeding the
bar. But the trap didn't block the video signal; it blocked the control
carrier. Halfway through the sports event, the converter timed out and
Some of the techs were watching from an unmarked car. They reported
that it "looked like somebody poked a hornets' nest."
Date: Sun, 02 Jan 2011 22:25:45 -0500
From: tlvp <tPlOvUpBErLeLsEs@hotmail.com>
Subject: Q.: T-Mobile handset-based Account Access shenanigans
I've asked this on alt.cellular.t-mobile, but allow me to tap the T-Mobile
expertise here as well, please.
Back on Dec. 29 my Nokia 6610 handset spit out the "File format unknown" error
when trying to access t-zones. The tech CC rep who wrote up a ticket on that
issue never did get back to me with any status, as he'd promised.
But this evening about 90 minutes ago t-zones was working again, seemingly,
offering access to, among other things, My Account, and from there also Bill
Summary, Current Activity, Plan and Services, etc.
Trouble is, the My Account data is for someone else's T-Mobile account, not
mine! What's more, it changes from one access to the next. First, it showed
1181 minutes remaining, with New Minute Start of 01-11-11; the next time it
showed 1013 minutes remaining, with New Minute Start of 01-20-11. The Plan and
Services descriptions also had nothing to do either with each other or with my
actual T-Mo plan.
A call to T-Mo CC to resolve that question resulted in an agent finally
coming on line after I'd been on hold for 58.5 minutes; after getting "the
picture," said agent in turn put me on hold while consulting someone/something
and, 10 minutes later, my music on hold went dead -- no, the PBX hadn't quite
dropped the connection to a fresh dial tone -- and 10 minutes after that I
gave up on the possibility that my call was still in a live T-Mo queue and
just hung up.
Known T-Mo New Year's issue? other? advice?
TIA; and cheers, -- tlvp
Date: Mon, 03 Jan 2011 13:29:18 -0600
From: GlowingBlueMist <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Q.: T-Mobile handset-based Account Access shenanigans
On 1/2/2011 9:25 PM, tlvp wrote:
> I've asked this on alt.cellular.t-mobile, but allow me to tap the T-Mobile
> expertise here as well, please.
> Back on Dec. 29 my Nokia 6610 handset spit out the "File format
> unknown" error when trying to access t-zones. The tech CC rep who
> wrote up a ticket on that issue never did get back to me with any
> status, as he'd promised.
> But this evening about 90 minutes ago t-zones was working again,
> seemingly, offering access to, among other things, My Account, and
> from there also Bill Summary, Current Activity, Plan and Services,
> Trouble is, the My Account data is for someone else's T-Mobile
> account, not mine! What's more, it changes from one access to the
> next. First, it showed 1181 minutes remaining, with New Minute Start
> of 01-11-11; the next time it showed 1013 minutes remaining, with
> New Minute Start of 01-20-11. The Plan and Services descriptions
> also had nothing to do either with each other or with my actual T-Mo
> A call to T-Mo CC to resolve that question resulted in an agent
> finally coming on line after I'd been on hold for 58.5 minutes;
> after getting "the picture," said agent in turn put me on hold while
> consulting someone/something and, 10 minutes later, my music on hold
> went dead -- no, the PBX hadn't quite dropped the connection to a
> fresh dial tone -- and 10 minutes after that I gave up on the
> possibility that my call was still in a live T-Mo queue and just
> hung up.
> Known T-Mo New Year's issue? other? advice?
> TIA; and cheers, -- tlvp
If it were me, I'd be contacting a local investigative reporter at
either a major TV station or Newspaper. Show them what your phone is
doing and then turn them loose on T-MO's total lack of customer
account confidentiality. I'm sure your problem will soon be a thing
of the past.
The lawyers and publicity departments really hate for negative things
like this to go "public" and will do just about anything to "fix"
them, especially if federal charges might turn up due to their
seemingly total lack of control over which customer accounts you are
given access to with out the permission of the account holder.
Don't wait too long in case they actually do fix this and get around
to hiding the evidence...
Date: 3 Jan 2011 10:15:43 -0500
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Scott Dorsey)
Subject: Re: USA broadband isn't broadband per FCC report...
In article <4D1F4FD7.email@example.com>,
Neal McLain <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> >> As for "Broadband," Great Thinkers of the cable TV industry (and their
> >> regulators) have for years been using that term to describe analog
> >> distribution networks.
> > Yes, but in the context of the cable carrying multiple disparate
> > services that did not affect each other on the same media, "Broadband"
> > is 100% accurate.
> > That is the issue I keep banging on about, it is a specific technical
> > term that has been hijacked by so many fools that it is now almost
> > worthless.
>But was it a "specific technical term" in 1972 when the Madison city
>council "hijacked" it?
It was certainly in 1943 when Terman used it. I don't know where it actually
came from but I would not be surprised if, like most of the modulation
research, it came out of RCA or Bell Labs.
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2011 19:20:51 -0500
From: Monty Solomon <email@example.com>
Subject: Bug Causes iPhone Alarm to Greet New Year With Silence
Bug Causes iPhone Alarm to Greet New Year With Silence
By NICK BILTON
January 2, 2011
Pat Kiernan, a morning anchor on NY1, the New York City cable news
channel, is no stranger to alarm clock problems. That's why he
usually relies on several clocks, phones and other devices to wake
him in time for his early newscasts.
That redundancy paid off for Mr. Kiernan on Saturday when his primary
alarm, the one built into his Apple iPhone, failed to go off because
of a programming error in the phone's calendar software.
"Before I went to bed I set two iPhone alarms, and both completely
failed to go off," said Mr. Kiernan, adding that he uses the iPhone
as his alarm clock when he travels. "Luckily I had an Android phone
with me as a third backup alarm, and it woke me up in time for my
Many people weren't as lucky as Mr. Kiernan, voicing frustration
online after they overslept on the first morning of the new year.
By Sunday morning thousands more people were posting angry missives
about the iPhone problem on Twitter, Facebook and other social
networks, noting that they had missed a breakfast meeting or were
running late for work or church.
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2011 19:23:03 -0500
From: Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: After Apple Says Otherwise, iPhone Alarm Still Remains Silent
After Apple Says Otherwise, iPhone Alarm Still Remains Silent
By NICK BILTON
JANUARY 3, 2011
If you use your iPhone as an alarm clock, it might be time for a
On Sunday I wrote an article about an iPhone programming bug that
failed to activate the phone's built-in alarm, leaving a lot of
customers upset, confused and late. In the article, I noted that
Apple had acknowledged the problem existing but said it would
automatically fix itself by Monday, Jan. 3.
Yet on Monday morning the problem did not seem to have gone away. A
lot of angry iPhone owners wrote in to The New York Times complaining
that they had missed flights, were late for work or had failed to
drop their kids off for the first day of the 2011 school year - all
because the iPhone alarm didn't work again.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment asking if there was an
update to the programming error.
The problem seems to have affected so many customers that it became a
trending topic on Twitter by late Monday morning. Most were irate
that they had been assured that the phone would work properly for
their first day back to work but instead remained silent all morning
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2011 19:28:22 -0500
From: Monty Solomon <email@example.com>
Subject: Apple Cancels Press Conference on iPhone Alarm Glitch after Steve Jobs Oversleeps
POSTED JANUARY 3, 2011
Apple Cancels Press Conference on iPhone Alarm Glitch after Steve
'Really Embarrassing,' Says Apple Chief
CUPERTINO (The Borowitz Report) Apple, Inc. cancelled a press
conference today to address the glitch plaguing the iPhone's alarm
function when company chief Steve Jobs failed to show.
"I totally overslept," Mr. Jobs later told reporters. "I've got to
say this is really embarrassing."
Apple's engineers have been working day and night to fix the problems
with the iPhone's alarm, but so far have seen only limited success,
according to Jobs: "We've gotten the alarm to go off, but for some
reason it plays 'Never Gonna Give You Up,' by Rick Astley."
Mr. Jobs, however, did offer a temporary fix to iPhone users whose
alarms do not work: "For the time being, tape your iPhone to a
working alarm clock."
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2011 10:35:29 -0800 (PST)
From: Lisa or Jeff <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: History--panel and Step by Step switching
On Dec 28 2010, 8:08 pm, jsw <j...@ivgate.omahug.org> wrote:
> I always assumed that there would be something like that leaf switch
> to catch that all lines busy condition and return line busy to the
> caller, kind of like that 11th. step contact set on the other
> selectors. This explanation does make perfect sense.
I'm not sure how it was done, but every step switch had a number of
relays mounted on it for various logical functions, such as
controlling the hunt for an empty line or returning a busy signal.
One waste of step by step was that this "logic unit", though small,
was tied up on every switch for the duration of the call. If a call
required seven digits, that was seven logic units tied up.
> Is it possible on a Step office to have a hunt group with more
> than 10 (9) lines?
Please see the separate posts on this subject.
That undoubtedly had to be solved early because even in the early days
there were many organizations that had more than ten incoming trunks.
One other observation about step vs. panel in the early days: As
mentioned, step originally was not very sophisticated and required
certain manual operations on the part of the subscriber, such as
pushing a ringing key. Bell added some innovations to make the call
progress as automatic as possible from the point of view of the
subscriber--lifting the receiver initiated various actions and hanging
up initiated various restore actions. It also converted step from
local-battery to common-battery. (see the 1875-1925 history for more
details on this).
Bell felt manual exchanges were more appropriate for medium and small
sized cities cira 1910-1920. Operators were only on duty and paid
when needed, as opposed to expensive automatic switchgear which sat
idle when not needed. Manual switchboards were relatively cheap
compared to automatic switchgear.
Bell also felt the 10x10 step by step matrix would be inadequate for
city service due to the numerous exchanges, which is why they
For the most smallest of offices Bell did want automatic switching
since volume didn't justify having an operator on duty 24/7. But SxS
wasn't up to the task in its earliest days. (Later a "community dial
office" was specially developed and was a very popular offering.)
Bell and Automatic Electric agreed to share patents and Bell had AE
build switch units for it for many years.
I believe at its peak SxS handled 49% of the lines in the Bell
System. Interestingly, step was still strongly represented in the
late 1970s (both in central office and PBX) despite its limitations
and costs in handling DDD and Touch Tone*. But common control was
still very expensive and only cost-justified in large high volume
offices. Further, while SxS needed more routine maintenance than
later units, the skill and debugging level was relatively easy as
compared to crossbar which required more sophisticated training for
*For some reason, early step reversed polarity upon a connection.
This would screw up early Touch Tone phones which were polarity
sensitive (the tone pad). They had to change that. Also, adding a
Touch Tone receiver front end to a step office was cumbersome and
expensive, too. Bell found low-cost units that worked on PBXs weren't
good enough for CO use. (Hard for us today to think about that kind
of thing; we're so spoiled by high-grade electronics.)
The Bell System histories provide a good source of information for the
above. Old "Bell Laboratory Record" magazines would be great to
read. They're usually found in large urban or college library
archives and require a request. If you're lucky enough to find an old
set in open stacks, sit down and spread out and go through a bunch of
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