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The Telecom Digest for January 19, 2011
Volume 30 : Issue 18 : "text" Format

Messages in this Issue:

Re: Wireless, but Leashed(John Mayson)
Re: RE Pay phone unplugged after costing Davison County $69 per call (John Mayson)
Of cell phones and freedom(John Mayson)
Re: Of cell phones and freedom(John Levine)
Auto(in)correct(Monty Solomon)
Re: Your most dangerous possession? Your smartphone(Sam Spade)
Re: Pay phone unplugged after costing Davison County $69 per call (Wes Leatherock)
Re: RE Pay phone unplugged after costing Davison County $69 per call (Wes Leatherock)
Re: Pay phone unplugged after costing Davison County $69 per call (Adam H. Kerman)
Re: Pay phone unplugged after costing Davison County $69 per call (Robert Bonomi)
Re: ZIP Codes and barcodes(Adam H. Kerman)


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Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2011 12:47:58 -0600 From: John Mayson <john@mayson.us> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Wireless, but Leashed Message-ID: <AANLkTimNeawrq3Pi4wUU=EmjS0nK=XbuN+2pQLh5r7oo@mail.gmail.com> Moderator's disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the perfect truth dictated by the secret world government. On Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 11:39 AM, Richard <rng@richbonnie.com> wrote: > > Reminds me of the debacle in the US with stereo AM broadcast radio. > Three competing systems, each compatible with standard monaural AM, > but incompatible with each other. ¬ The FCC decided to not choose a > standard, but to let the three systems fight it out in the > marketplace. ¬ No system got enough traction with the public to emerg e > on top, and so now there's almost no stereo AM. This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. I'm as libertarian and laissez-faire as anyone, but there are times when it's appropriate for the government to mandate a standard. I would've voted for Reagan had I been old enough, but his FCC killed AM stereo with their decision to let the market decide. Whenever I complain about our lack of a cell phone standard in the US I hear, "that's because we have freedom". Uh, no we don't. In Europe handset manufacturers, wireless companies, and governments put their heads together and created a standard. Consumers have more freedom than we have here. And are we any less free because the government forces us to drive on the right? Are we less free because wifi is a standard? Or television channels? What if we needed four different television sets for Fox, NBC, ABC, and CBS? Without standards radio and television would never have gotten off the ground. I think we've lost the ability to think critically in this country. Too often I come across binary thinking. Things either have to be 100% government controlled or 100% free-market controlled. Reality isn't like this. I think the VHS/Betamax and HD-DVD/BluRay battles were best left to the marketplace. But infrastructure decisions I believe we need a national consensus and a single standard. But somehow this equates to socialism. John -- John Mayson <john@mayson.us> Austin, Texas, USA
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2011 12:51:08 -0600 From: John Mayson <john@mayson.us> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: RE Pay phone unplugged after costing Davison County $69 per call Message-ID: <AANLkTi=MqVe9dxND=uRub0XdTZaAejx6RbMg9-nF1D5z@mail.gmail.com> On Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 12:24 PM, Lisa or Jeff <hancock4@bbs.cpcn.com> wrot e: > On Jan 17, 10:20¬ am, Curt Bramblett <curtbrambl...@cfl.rr.com> wrote : >>. . . With the PBX we were able to simply install an extension that >> allowed 800- and local calls, but not L D. Everyone was happy and >> the cost was almost nothing because it shared a line with >> something else in the building. > > Years ago, most businesses had a pay phone for visitors and for > employees to make and receive personal calls. Making companies > were very strict about employees making even local calls from their > business lines, though others were more flexible. It wasn't all THAT long ago. I started work for a company in Florida in 1992. There were pay phones in the hallways and we were instructed to use them for any personal business, the phones on our desk were for business purposes only. Of course that was widely ignored and the only time I ever saw the pay phones being used was when a hurricane was approaching and the PBX was tied up and people were forced to use the pay phone. I left that company in 1998 and if I recall correctly most, if not all, the pay phones were gone. John -- John Mayson <john@mayson.us> Austin, Texas, USA ***** Moderator's Note ***** I'd bet that payphones disappeared from business offices because someone had an attack of common sense, and figured out that the time employees spent walking to and from the phone covered the cost of a call from their desk. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2011 13:40:23 -0600 From: John Mayson <john@mayson.us> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Of cell phones and freedom Message-ID: <AANLkTi=y-Q_o_7Cxu1VCmzBYAhpk+9wVw3FKN-mZ=6Ps@mail.gmail.com> Perhaps others can set me straight. Maybe the situation in the US isn't quite as bad as I'm making it out to be. But when I see articles like this one: Study: U.S. Cell Phone Rates The World's Highest http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/73611/20101019/cell-phone-carriers-att-verizon-t-mobile-sprint-data-ctia.htm or http://goo.gl/kZHgd I tend to think I'm right. I bought my first cell phone in 1995. I was your typical American cell phone consumer who didn't think twice about the technology behind it. I was happy as a clam to take the free phone, or slightly nicer phone at a drastically reduced price, and pay my monthly bill. I started to hear from others how much better the situation was in Europe. They didn't settle for cheap low-quality phones. Consumers there bought the phone outright and owned it. They then could take it to any wireless company in the country and if they weren't happy could go across the street and get service from a competitor. Sounded too good to be true. It was only last year when I was living in Malaysia that I saw what was going on. Much like Europe, Malaysia has a single standard. Because they use what is the closest thing we have to a a global standard, they have a HUGE selection of phones. Handset manufacturers can do this because they can easily sell these products on five of the six inhabited continents. Yes, they are pricey thanks to Malaysia's steep import duties. A Samsung Galaxy S Android handset was running close to USD $800. But service is far less. I had a pre-paid SIM and was paying approximately USD $33 per month for 3 GB of data, a lot of talking, and SMS. I paid $200 for my Samsung Captivate (i.e. Galaxy S) but I am paying more for service and have a two-year contract. While I'm quite happy with my provider, if I weren't it'd be very expensive for me to switch. And I'd likely have to get a new phone. And I like my phone, I wouldn't want to switch. Is this a case of the grass is always greener? Or am I on to something? When I was getting my SIM card over there the employee was surprised that as an American I knew to unlock my phone first and talked to me about how messed up things are in the US. This is a sentiment I heard from my co-workers over there. Over here attitudes seem to be anything that is good for the consumer is bad for capitalism and will cost jobs. John -- John Mayson <john@mayson.us> Austin, Texas, USA
Date: 18 Jan 2011 16:46:24 -0000 From: John Levine <johnl@iecc.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Of cell phones and freedom Message-ID: <20110118164624.56292.qmail@joyce.lan> >Perhaps others can set me straight. Maybe the situation in the US >isn't quite as bad as I'm making it out to be. Comparing phone usage in the US to other countries is complicated since we are mobile-pays and everyone else is caller-pays, i.e., inbound calls are "free" to the mobile user. The last time I checked, if you talk a whole lot, US phones are pretty cheap, like $45/mo for unlimited talk and data from America Movil's Straighttalk. If you talk less, or you want a fancier phone, not so cheap. I agree that it was a mistake not to mandate a common digital standard, but in fairness it wasn't totally evident at the time how dominant GSM would be. R's, John
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2011 01:52:46 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Auto(in)correct Message-ID: <p06240824c95ae8c7362f@[10.0.1.2]> Auto(in)correct By BEN ZIMMER January 13, 2011 Pity poor Hannah, who received a startling text message on her cellphone, sent from her father: "Your mom and I are going to divorce next month." After Hannah registered her alarm, her father quickly texted back: "I wrote 'Disney,' and this phone changed it. We are going to Disney." Welcome to the world of smartphone autocorrection, where incautious typing can lead to hilarious and sometimes shocking results. With the rapid success of Apple's iPhone and Google's Android phones, more and more people are discovering the pitfalls of tapping on a virtual keyboard. Just as the spell-check feature in a word-processing program tries to save you from your own sloppy typing, either by politely suggesting alternatives or by automatically replacing egregious errors, the latest mobile devices are supposed to take care of your typos - but often fail with comic results. Back in June, The Times's technology columnist, David Pogue, blogged about some "autocorrect follies" sent to him by his readers, full of howlers like "Sorry about your feces" when "Sorry about your fever" was intended. Pogue sagely advised, "Especially when your boss, your parents or your love interest is the recipient of your e-mail or text message, it's worth taking an extra moment to proofread." These vast new opportunities for social embarrassment are now being charted by the Web site Damn You Auto Correct! (D.Y.A.C. for short), where victims of autocorrect are invited to submit screen grabs of their most inglorious gaffes. Though D.Y.A.C. wasn't the first to exploit this concept (a Tumblr feed with an unprintable twist on "iPhone" came first), it has quickly become an online sensation. Within days after Jillian Madison, co-founder of the Pophangover Network, set up the site in late October, D.Y.A.C. started getting a million daily page views, with hundreds of submissions every day. And now Madison has parlayed that success into a D.Y.A.C. book, due out in March. ... http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/magazine/16FOB-onlanguage-t.html
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2011 04:33:57 -0800 From: Sam Spade <sam@coldmail.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Your most dangerous possession? Your smartphone Message-ID: <Y_ednRONoaQrFajQnZ2dnUVZ_qKdnZ2d@giganews.com> Monty Solomon wrote: > Your most dangerous possession? Your smartphone > > By Blake Ellis, staff reporter > January 11, 2011 > > NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Forget what's in your wallet -- beware your > smartphone. It's becoming one of your most dangerous possessions. > > If your phone was stolen a few years ago, the thief could make prank > calls and read your text messages. Today, that person can destroy > your social life -- you said what on Facebook?! -- and wreak havoc on > your finances. > > Now that smartphones double as wallets and bank accounts -- allowing > users to manage their finances, transfer money, make payments, > deposit checks and swipe their phones as credit cards -- they are > very lucrative scores for thieves. And with 30% of phone subscribers > owning iPhones, BlackBerrys and Droids, there are a lot of people at > risk. I guess it's easier to be a victim than a responsible person. It is actually possible to possess one of those gadgets without any sensitive applications on it whatsoever. I've had an iPhone for 25 months now. If it were lost or stolen it would be a big yawn. Let's see...oh yes, I would have to change the security code on my wireless router at home.
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2011 17:02:23 -0800 (PST) From: Wes Leatherock <wleathus@yahoo.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Pay phone unplugged after costing Davison County $69 per call Message-ID: <918511.94714.qm@web111703.mail.gq1.yahoo.com> --- On Sun, 1/16/11, Robert Bonomi <bonomi@host122.r-bonomi.com> wrote: > In article <igvdpg$o8d$3@news.albasani.net>, Adam H. Kerman <ahk@chinet.com> wrote: > >John Mayson <john@mayson.us> wrote: > > > >>http://www.siouxcityjournal.com/news/state-and-regional/south-dakota/article_2e232f62-20b1-11e0-82e6-001cc4c03286.html > >> > >>MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) - A pay phone in the county courthouse in Mitchell > >>will be unplugged after officials discovered it cost the county $69 > >>per call last year. > >> > >>County Maintenance Supervisor Mark Ruml told the Davison County > >>Commission that he'd never seen anyone use the phone in more than > >>three years and money to pay for it was coming out of his budget. > > > >>It cost the county $763 a year to have the phone. Ruml said records > >>showed only 11 calls were placed on the phone in 2010. I would guess that in most courhouses many of the people are familiar with the people and offices in the courthouse and when they want to use the phone and don't want to use or don't have a cellphone they just step into an office and ask "Can I use the phone??". Hence no reason to use the pay phone. Wes Leatherock wleathus@yahoo.com wesrock@aol.com
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2011 17:13:00 -0800 (PST) From: Wes Leatherock <wleathus@yahoo.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: RE Pay phone unplugged after costing Davison County $69 per call Message-ID: <281299.98673.qm@web111718.mail.gq1.yahoo.com> --- On Mon, 1/17/11, Lisa or Jeff <hancock4@bbs.cpcn.com> wrote: > On Jan 17, 10:20 am, Curt Bramblett <curtbrambl...@cfl.rr.com> wrote: > > > >. . . With the PBX we were able to simply install an extension that > > allowed 800- and local calls, but not LD. Everyone was happy and > > the cost was almost nothing because it shared a line with > > something else in the building. > > Years ago, most businesses had a pay phone for visitors and for > employees to make and receive personal calls. Making companies were > very strict about employees making even local calls from their > business lines, though others were more flexible. > > In my area, the cost of a business local phone call is one message > unit, about 7 cents, and has been that for decades. In the early > 1970s seven cents meant much more than today. In itself it wasn't > much but it would add up in volume. In many places most business service is flat rate, and there is no incremen tal cost to the business for letting a visitor use the phone. As someone h as noted, may businesses have a phone out for the use of visitors. I still see quite a few pay phones being used, although not nearly as many as in the past. Wes Leatherock wleathus@yahoo.com wesrock@aol.com
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2011 19:32:28 +0000 (UTC) From: "Adam H. Kerman" <ahk@chinet.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Pay phone unplugged after costing Davison County $69 per call Message-ID: <ih25gc$mre$2@news.albasani.net> Robert Bonomi <bonomi@host122.r-bonomi.com> wrote: >Adam H. Kerman <ahk@chinet.com> wrote: >>John Mayson <john@mayson.us> wrote: >>>http://www.siouxcityjournal.com/news/state-and-regional/south-dakota/article_2e232f62-20b1-11e0-82e6-001cc4c03286.html >>>MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) - A pay phone in the county courthouse in Mitchell >>>will be unplugged after officials discovered it cost the county $69 >>>per call last year. >>>County Maintenance Supervisor Mark Ruml told the Davison County >>>Commission that he'd never seen anyone use the phone in more than >>>three years and money to pay for it was coming out of his budget. >>>It cost the county $763 a year to have the phone. Ruml said records >>>showed only 11 calls were placed on the phone in 2010. >>>The Daily Republic newspaper said the county commission voted to remove it. >>Have they ever heard of the concept of competitive bidding? They might >>have found a payphone services provider willing to place a phone there. >With -that- volume of calls, nobody's going to be interested -- UNLESS >the county pony's up for all the costs. The owner of the office building doesn't guarantee a minimum number of calls. >They might find a cut-rate COCOTS operator to put one for a somewhat lower >cost, but I really doubt they'd be able to get it to under $25/call, given >the indicated traffic level. It's still cheaper than installing an extension for emergency calls, something you are really going to want available in a court house.
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2011 15:56:00 -0600 From: bonomi@host122.r-bonomi.com (Robert Bonomi) To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Pay phone unplugged after costing Davison County $69 per call Message-ID: <BpadnSUzqdJtJ6nQnZ2dnUVZ_o-dnZ2d@posted.nuvoxcommunications> In article <03360669-cd8e-41b9-ba75-34774fe340bb@z9g2000yqz.googlegroups.com>, Lisa or Jeff <hancock4@bbs.cpcn.com> wrote: >On Jan 16, 1:41†am, John Mayson <j...@mayson.us> wrote: > >> MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) - A pay phone in the county courthouse in Mitchell >> will be unplugged after officials discovered it cost the county $69 >> per call last year. > >It didn't really cost "$69 per call". That implies each time someone >used the phone the county was billed $69, and it wasn't. Any accountant will confirm that the amortized cost of maintaining the phone there was in fact, $69+ for each call made. The "unit cost" for -anything- is the total cost divided by the number of items that that total cost bought. And is always expressed as an amount of money 'per {item}'. Your 'stated as fact' assumption that such a statement 'implies' a particular billing-rate/structure has no basis in fact. >Like everyone else, the county paid a fee to have a pay phone in >service (though their fee seems high). Had enough people used it the >"per call" amortized cost would've been much lower. This is correct. >I suspect there are a many payphones on private property still in >service but rarely used because the property owners, perhaps a large >business, get a large overall phone bill and aren't aware of the pay >phone component. Some organizations pay bills as presented without >verifying or thinking about them. Very unlikely. Classically the vast majority of pay phone contracts provided a pay-out to the 'location owner' from the phone operator, either in the form of a fixed amount per month, or a 'split' of the generated revenues (usually after a fixed amount, for 'operating overhead' went to the phone operator). >As mentioned, several transit carriers pay to have a pay phone at >their stations so to have an emergency phone available for >passengers. Some _government_ (and the occasional privately-funded "public-service" agency) agencies do this, on occasion. It is extremely rare for a 'for profit' commercial entity do to so. A business almost invariably has employees, with communications capability (either phones, or two-way radio by which they have immediate contact to a telephone-equipped employee), that are 'immediately' accessible to the public, for a true emergency (i.e. '911') communications need. When one sees a pay-phone at any location, it is impossible to tell -- simply by examining the phone -- what the financial relationship is between the phone operator and the location owner. I've never known a pay-phone operator to disclose which, if any, of it's phone locations were being 'subsidized' by the location owner. Generally, this information is available only if the location owner, itself, discloses it. Los Angeles Union Station is a somewhat unusual situation in that it is, at least currently <grin>, privately owned. Does anybody know if there are pay phones at that facility, and IF the phone operator is paid to put them there?
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2011 22:19:00 +0000 (UTC) From: "Adam H. Kerman" <ahk@chinet.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: ZIP Codes and barcodes Message-ID: <ih2f8k$7bb$1@news.albasani.net> Adam H. Kerman <ahk@chinet.com> wrote: >The POSTNET barcode is a 2-state barcode made up of 62 bars, 2 frame >bars plus sequences of five bars representing 11 digits plus the check >digit. The bars themselves are full and half bars above a baseline. The >baseline is significant as the tall bars have ascenders and there are >no descenders. >Starting in May, 2011, unless it gets delayed again, Intelligent Mail >Barcodes will be required on letters and flats claiming automation >discounts, and the POSTNET barcode will no longer be used when preparing >mail. These are 4-state barcodes, encoding 31 digits and comprising 65 >bars. As the bars come in four flavors (four states) instead of two, >more information may be encoded. The four states are tracker (short bar), >tracker with ascender, tracker with descender, and full bar (tracker with >ascender and descender). The barcode will be used to encode data from a >number of different programs in addition to the Delivery Point ZIP Code, >some of which currently use a second POSTNET barcode in the address >block. Yes, it can include a serial number assigned by the mailer to >the mailpiece. >More information than you want to know is here: >https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=intellmailmailpieces As I anticipated, the post office has delayed sunsetting POSTNET barcodes yet again. On January 13, it was announced that mail with POSTNET barcodes will still be eligible for automation discounts indefinitely. http://pe.usps.gov/DMMAdvisory.asp?Dest=DMMAdvisory011311a.htm
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