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TELECOM Digest     Sun, 13 Nov 2005 18:15:00 EST    Volume 24 : Issue 517

Inside This Issue:                             Editor: Patrick A. Townson

    Getting the 411 on 911 Service (Aoife M. McEvoy)
    Moving Your Phone Number to VOIP (PC World RSS Feed)
    Expedia Pricing Error Irks Several Users (Kyle Peterson)
    Spinners and Bloggers: Political Communication in Digital Age (M Solomon)
    And the Emmy for Best Actor on iPods Goes to ... (Monty Solomon)
    For 'CSI,' Press A1 (Monty Solomon)
    Comcast, Verizon Wage Licensing War/Towns in Cable Crossfire (M Solomon)
    Crunching Metadata/What Google Print Tells Us About Books (Monty Solomon)
    Most Viewers are in Dark About Digital Television (Monty Solomon)
    NYC Taxis Prepare to go Wireless With a Backseat Upgrade (Monty Solomon)
    Re: MIT's 5ESS: (was: NNO Central Office Codes) (Tony P.)
    Re: MIT's 5ESS: (was: NN0 Central Office Codes) (Garrett Wollman)
    Re: Can You Still Build a PC For Less? (Thomas A. Horsley)
    Re: "Soft Dial Tone" on Unused Lines (Michael Chance)
    Re: Replacement for Siemens Gigaset (CharlesH)
    Re: If You Want to Get Away From ICANN Oversight; Registrars (Dave Garland)
    Re: Infone to Shut Down (DevilsPGD)
    Online Small-Scale POSTAL Mailing Firms? (AES)

Telecom and VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) Digest for the
Internet.  All contents here are copyrighted by Patrick Townson and
the individual writers/correspondents. Articles may be used in other
journals or newsgroups, provided the writer's name and the Digest are
included in the fair use quote.  By using -any name or email address-
included herein for -any- reason other than responding to an article
herein, you agree to pay a hundred dollars to the recipients of the


Addresses herein are not to be added to any mailing list, nor to be
sold or given away without explicit written consent.  Chain letters,
viruses, porn, spam, and miscellaneous junk are definitely unwelcome.

We must fight spam for the same reason we fight crime: not because we
are naive enough to believe that we will ever stamp it out, but because
we do not want the kind of world that results when no one stands
against crime.   Geoffrey Welsh


See the bottom of this issue for subscription and archive details
and the name of our lawyer; other stuff of interest.  


From: Aoife M. McEvoy <> 
Subject: Getting the 411 on 911 Service
Date: Sat, 12 Nov 2005 17:40:39 -0600

                       Net Phone Zone
Senior Editor Aoife M. McEvoy explores the exciting new
world of Internet telephony, from hardware and services to government
                        The 411 on 911

Access to 911 emergency services is one of the most controversial
issues in VoIP today. Here's what it's all about -- and what it means
for you.

I hope I never have to dial 911. I hope you never have to, either.

However, in emergency situations, you'd like to know that the first
phone you grab -- no matter where you are -- allows you to dial 911
without any problems.

In the case of a traditional landline phone, in which the phone number
is tied to a physical location, you're hooked up to the national 911
network. When you dial 911, your call is automatically routed to
emergency response personnel at your local PSAP (Public Service
Answering Point or Public Safety Answering Point). In most areas of
the country (exceptions include remote parts of Alaska), the
dispatcher who picks up your call also sees your phone number and
street address pop up on screen.  This "location technology" is known
as Enhanced 911 or E911.

When it comes to Voice-over-IP phone services, though, it's a very
different (and scary) story. For one thing, your VoIP phone number
does not have to correlate with the area where you live. As long as
the area code is available, Jane Doe in San Francisco, for instance,
can sign up for a Miami Beach-based area code. These so-called nomadic
or out-of-region phone numbers can wreak havoc with the 911 system;
the last thing you'd want is for your emergency call in California to
get routed to the east coast. Also, 911 dialing on a VoIP service is
not usually set up by default. To make it happen, you need to register
your street address with your VoIP provider. This involves filling out
a form on the company's site.

Right now, if you dial 911 using a service such as Primus
Telecommunications' Lingo, which doesn't offer E911, you're tapping
into a workaround for emergency service: Your call goes to an
administrative telephone line at the PSAP in your area, which is more
like a switchboard of sorts. The operator or receptionist who picks up
your call may or may not be a trained emergency agent; this operator
cannot see your street address, and may not even see your number, so
you have to relay this information verbally -- wasting precious,
precious time. (Let's not even think about an emergency situation in
which you can't speak.) Based on the information you provide, the
operator then handles the dispatch portion by contacting the
appropriate public service agency, such as the fire department, the
police, and so on. After normal business hours, the situation can be
even more troubling: Depending on where you live, your 911 call may
end up at the switchboard or an answering machine at your local
sheriff's office. And you know the drill: "Thank you for calling. Our
offices are now closed. If this is an emergency, please hang up and
dial 911."

With Verizon's VoiceWing plan, for example, which offers limited 911
access, the company clearly states that in some areas of the country,
your 911 call may simply not go through.

Of the ten VoIP companies I looked at -- most of them offering
nationwide service -- only America Online and 8x8 offer E911 service
 -- meaning that when subscribers dial 911, their phone number and
physical address appear on the screen of the operator answering the
call.  AOL offers E911 for free, but 8x8 charges you for the
privilege: $10 to activate E911 service and a $1.50 monthly fee. With
AT&T's CallVantage VoIP service, you might get E911 at no charge, but
this depends on where you live; otherwise, you will have access to the
typical 911 workaround. Vonage, meanwhile, has rolled out a free trial
version of E911 service for customers in Rhode Island.

All this is about to change thanks to the U.S. Federal Communications
Commission's recent approval of regulations that require all VoIP
providers to offer E911 service by the end of the year. Once the new
rules are published in the Federal Register, which should happen by
mid-July, VoIP providers will have 120 days to deliver the goods, so
VoIP customers should have E911 available by October or November. For
more details, read "FCC Requires VoIP Providers to Offer E911

Behind the Scenes

The FCC's mandate is great news for VoIP users -- peace of mind, at

You may already know about some of the tragedies that have unfolded as
a result of VoIP's 911 shortcomings. In these terrible life-or-death
situations, people were unable to dial 911 from their home
phones. Instead they were forced to rush out to neighbors' houses to
make the calls. And in the case of an emergency involving an infant
girl in Deltona, Florida, it was too late.

In my opinion, the FCC's action is long overdue. Sure, the new
requirements will help prevent future tragedies, but it's a shame that
families had to suffer because of VoIP's known failings before
something was done. These limitations have been well documented for
quite a while.

While most of us rejoice about the FCC's action, VoIP players have
their work cut out for them. Because VoIP calls are not routed through
the conventional phone system, service providers need to find a way to
connect calls to the national 911 network, which is controlled by the
local telephone companies around the country, including BellSouth,
Qwest, SBC, and Verizon.

So how are VoIP providers going to comply with the FCC's mandate? In
the case of the bigger companies with VoIP offerings, like Verizon and
AT&T, it's not such a tall order: These companies already have
infrastructures in place. Other VoIP companies will choose to work
with the local phone companies, competing communications carriers like
Level 3 Communications, or third-party systems such as Intrado. For
example, Level 3 provides the behind-the-scenes infrastructure for 8x8
and AOL that enables the two companies to offer E911 capability (among
other services) to their customers.

In the past, as far as I can tell, some of the Baby Bells
have been reluctant to allow VoIP companies -- essentially direct
competitors -- access to their infrastructures. That's changing, bit by bit.
For example, Vonage recently bought access to BellSouth's, SBC's, and
Verizon's networks. And SunRocket got a head start on planning for E911 by
working with competitors of the Baby Bells, including Global Crossing, for
instance, to obtain access to local 911 infrastructures.

Whether VoIP providers work with local phone companies or competitors
to link to the 911 infrastructures, there is potential for trouble --
which isn't good news for consumers. "The difficulty would be in the
integration between the VoIP providers' systems and these
[infrastructure] links, and the testing to make sure that it all works
as expected," says John Muleta, former chief of the FCC's Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau and currently group co-chairman at Venable
Communications. Of course, such testing will be critical before E911
is rolled out -- one huge thing that VoIP providers will face as they
brace themselves for the FCC's deadline. Muleta knows firsthand about
these things: During his tenure at the FCC, Muleta was responsible for
ensuring that wireless carriers offer 911 services.

The FCC requires the Baby Bells to grant 911 system access to direct
landline competitors -- companies such as Global Crossing or Level 3,
for example -- but does not require the Baby Bells to offer similar
access to VoIP providers; nor does it put any limits on what they can
charge for such access. So essentially, the FCC is making demands on
the VoIP companies to get their E911 act together, but isn't giving
them any assistance.  Consequently, complying with the FCC's ruling is
likely to be a huge financial undertaking for any VoIP company, and
it's possible that some of the smaller providers will disappear -- or
services that are in development now may not see the light of day.

The New Ruling and You

As of this writing, the compliance deadline is several months
away. Only a handful of companies I contacted had details on their
E911 rollout plans; most of them indicated that they would not charge
for the service. 8x8 said that it will probably continue to charge its
Packet8 subscribers, but the company did not have specifics at this

BroadVoice expects to implement 911 in stages across its coverage
area, and it hopes to meet or beat the FCC's deadline. The company is
currently testing E911 services in some areas. And BroadVoice reports
that it will have to charge customers for E911, when the time comes.

Brooke Schulz, senior vice president of communications and government
affairs at Vonage, says that the company hopes to have E911 available
to the majority of its customers by the end of the year--as long as it
has the necessary access to the Baby Bells' 911 systems. "If our
current agreements with Verizon, SBC, and BellSouth fall apart, we
will need to seek regulatory help in gaining access to those
networks," adds Schulz.  In addition to E911 availability in Rhode
Island, Vonage plans to roll out the service in New York City in
July. 8x8 expects to have 90 percent of its customers covered by the
end of the year.

SunRocket is ahead of the rest of the pack. The company says that it
plans to provide E911 service to customers in its territories within
30 days of the FCC's original ruling -- it isn't waiting for the
actual publication date. The company also says that it no longer sells
any VoIP numbers that cannot be mapped to a physical address. In
addition, SunRocket will stop offering nomadic numbers, reports
spokesperson Brian Lustig.

Once your VoIP provider offers E911, as with the workaround 911
process, it's not something that happens automatically. You will still
need to activate the service by registering your street address with
your VoIP provider. If you move or if you take your VoIP hardware with
you to a temporary location, you need to go to the company's site and
update your street address. Later this month, Vonage plans to offer
new customers the chance to turn on 911 service while they're signing
up for a calling plan. Currently, 911 activation is a separate thing;
you have to turn it on after you've signed up for service.

If you already have a VoIP service and are anxious about the lack of
proper 911 service, the October-November deadline for compliance with
the FCC's new regulations may certainly feel like a long way off. If
you still have a landline up and running, then at least you have a
backup phone system.

If your VoIP phone is your only fixed line, there are a couple of
things you can do to help prepare yourself for a worst-case scenario:

 a.. Make sure that your VoIP provider has your current street address.
 b.. Find the phone numbers for your local police department, fire 
     department, and hospital emergency room, and program them into 
     your VoIP phone (if feasible) and your cell phone. Better yet, 
     set them as speed dial numbers if your phone has this function.

E911 for VoIP services is all very well, but remember that if you're
in the middle of a power outage or your broadband connection goes on
the blink, you can't dial 911 or any other phone number. Period. To
get around the power loss, you can plug your telephony adapter and
broadband modem and/or router into a universal power supply -- and
that will keep the juice going for a little while. But if your DSL or
cable service fails, you're seriously out of luck. That's often enough
of a reason to cling to a landline service and your old analog phone.

Copyright 2005 PC World.

NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the
daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at . Hundreds of new
articles daily.

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understanding of literary, educational, political, and economic
issues, for non-profit research and educational purposes only. I
believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material
as provided for in section 107 of the U.S.  Copyright Law. If you wish
to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go
beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright
owner, in this instance, PC World. 

For more information go to:


From: PC World Communications RSS Feed <> 
Subject: Moving to VOIP But Keeping Same Phone Number
Date: Sat, 12 Nov 2005 17:41:35 -0600

PC World

Changing cell phone companies? You can keep your number. Changing
local phone companies? Same deal. Switching over to Internet phone
service?  Well ...

Over the last several years, consumers have become accustomed to
retaining control of their phone numbers -- specifically, being able
to transfer them when switching cellular or local landline
services. But the situation is less clear for relatively new
Voice-over-IP services. The Federal Communications Commission has yet
to decide whether and how number portability -- be it to or from a
landline service, a cell phone service, or another VoIP service -- and
other telecom regulations should apply to VoIP.

Meanwhile, some of those consumers who venture into the brave new
world of Internet phone service are discovering that even when no one
challenges their right to hold on to a phone number that they've had
for years, red tape can make implementing a transfer much more
time-consuming than they expected.

Jerry Gerlach, technology director for the town of Biddeford, Maine,
says that while he's happy with his Vonage VoIP service, he was
frustrated that it took more than four months for Vonage to transfer
his phone number of 13 years from his previous VoIP provider, Time
Warner. (Time Warner took only a few hours to get the number from
Gerlach's landline service in 2001.)

Gerlach says that he became "fairly aggressive" after two months,
going so far as to track down a Vonage vice president's e-mail address
and to file an online complaint with the FCC. He says a Vonage
official finally told him the problem was the company's lack of a
number-transfer agreement with Time Warner. (A Vonage spokesperson
said the company doesn't comment on these agreements.)

Why are transfers so problematic? Stand-alone VoIP firms such as
Vonage must partner with traditional landline carriers to give
customers any phone number -- new or existing. To transfer an existing
number, a VoIP company must also possess an interconnection agreement,
which spells out how a transfer will be handled, with the phone
company that has been servicing the number.  Then the VoIP company's
landline partner can arrange the transfer.

The customer is usually not even aware of these arrangements, but they can
seriously prolong the transfer process.

Sound complicated? It is. "It's a complex industry," says AT&T
CallVantage spokesperson Gary Morgenstern. Even AT&T, which can offer
its VoIP customers phone numbers from its own huge pool, is limited in
its ability to provide number portability. The company still lacks the
interconnection agreements necessary to transfer cell phone numbers,
Morgenstern says.

The good news is that if the agreements are already in place,
transferring your phone number to VoIP service can be speedy and
smooth. For instance, two other Vonage customers, Dan Bahr of
Bellport, New York, and John Painter of Lewiston, Maine, both say that
their transfers took less than the 20 days Vonage estimated for the
process. However, both men transferred their phone numbers from
Verizon, which has an agreement with Vonage.

If you're thinking of taking the Internet-phone plunge and you want to
retain your current number, you can do a few things to help smooth the
transition. For starters, contact your prospective VoIP service (see
our September review, " Net Phones Grow Up ," for suggestions) and ask
whether it has an agreement with your current phone company. If it
doesn't, you might want to wait until it does -- or shop around for a
different company that has an agreement.

Also, be very careful when filling out any forms: Even making a simple
mistake like transposing two letters in the name of your street could
stop the whole process and force you to start from scratch. 

Copyright 2005 PC World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved

NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the
daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at . Hundreds of new
articles daily.

*** FAIR USE NOTICE. This message contains copyrighted material the
use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright
owner. This Internet discussion group is making it available without
profit to group members who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information in their efforts to advance the
understanding of literary, educational, political, and economic
issues, for non-profit research and educational purposes only. I
believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material
as provided for in section 107 of the U.S.  Copyright Law. If you wish
to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go
beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright
owner, in this instance, PC World Communications, Inc.  

For more information go to:


From: Kyle Peterson <> 
Subject: Expedia Hotel Pricing Error Irks Some Travelers
Date: Sat, 12 Nov 2005 19:01:57 -0600

By Kyle Peterson

Online travel agency said a glitch last week allowed some
travelers to book hotel stays in Japan at stunningly low prices and
that only some of these reservations would be honored., run by Expedia Inc., posted incorrect prices for two
Hilton International hotels in Japan. Some customers reported prices
as low as $2 a night.

The agency blamed the mix-up on an "isolated processing incident" at
Hilton.  A hotel spokeswoman described it as a "technical glitch" on
Hilton's side.

Expedia said on Friday that Hilton would honor some of these bookings
and that other customers would get a $250 coupon for a package trip to

The company also said it notified some customers offering to confirm
the original booking at the correct price or cancel the booking with a
full refund.

Randall Besta, who had booked stays for 11 nights in Tokyo and Osaka
next year, said that option was unacceptable. The 43-year-old Toronto
marketing consultant had already booked flights for himself and a
friend to Tokyo.

He said he has received confirmation from Hilton saying the rate would
be honored but that Expedia told him the rate was incorrect. Besta
said he would think twice before booking on Expedia again.

"If they come clean on this, then yes," said Besta, who booked his
rooms for $3.48 a night.

Expedia said that bookings for this month would be honored at the
quoted price. But later bookings would be canceled at Hilton's
request. The exception is for package deals booked on Expedia. Those
also will be honored.

Expedia said it was offering customers who booked rooms at the wrong
rate a $250 coupon for a package trip to Japan booked prior to
December 31, 2005.  Travel must be completed by December 31, 2006.

Bill Scannell, who plans to fly with his family to Osaka, Japan, next
year, said Expedia agreed to honor his booking after he called several
times to complain.

"You can't weasel out of something like this," said Scannell, a
41-year-old publicist in Washington. "With travel you make plans. You
buy tickets. I've been busy mapping out frequent fliers to get my
family there."

He said he had been considered legal action if his September 7-20,
2006, reservation at a Hilton in Osaka was not kept at the price he
was promised.

Scannell booked the room on November 4 for a total of $46.57. Expedia
later told him the correct figure was $2,079.57.

Expedia said one reason it was canceling the bookings was to prevent
people from reselling the cheap bookings to travelers at higher
prices. Expedia bookings are nontransferable.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited. 

NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the
daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at . Hundreds of new
articles daily.


Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 10:52:15 -0500
From: Monty Solomon <>
Subject: Spinners and Bloggers: Political Communications in Digital Age


For decades, perhaps for as long as independent newspapers have
existed, political operatives have used "spin" to shape the way the
news media respond to candidates and their policies. Spin can be
understood as a kind of top-down power that depends on the social
network linking political leaders and the news media. Some have argued
that weblogs or blogs have emerged in recent years to disrupt this
culture of spin. They see blogging as a grassroots movement that also
tries to shape or control public perceptions of important events and
issues. Others have claimed that the blogosphere has merely enhanced
the influence of traditional interest groups, giving ideologues of the
left and the right even more power to "spin" the world as they wish to
see it. How can we understand the interplay between spin and blogs?
How do each shape, some would say manipulate public opinion? How are
each subject to abuse? Is the culture of spin and blogging
contributing to the polarization of American political discourse?


Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 11:31:06 -0500
From: Monty Solomon <>
Subject: And the Emmy for Best Actor on iPods Goes to ...


LOS ANGELES, Nov. 11 - The newest award in broadcasting excellence
gives new meaning to the line Gloria Swanson made famous in "Sunset
Boulevard": "I am big. It's the pictures that got small."

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, best known for
handing out the Daytime Emmy Awards, is expected to announce on
Tuesday that it has created an award category to recognize original
video content for computers, cellphones and other hand-held devices,
like the video iPod and PlayStation Portable.

The category is to have its debut at the academy's next Sports Emmys
presentation, and ultimately be added as a category for other Emmy
presentations as well, including those for news and documentary,
business and financial reporting and daytime television. The category
will not be included in the prime-time Emmy Awards, which are overseen
by a sister organization.

The academy already hands out a technical achievement award for new
media. But this will be the first time the group has recognized
original content for cellphones and other devices, which have gained
some acceptance among media-hungry consumers.

Already several studios are experimenting with creating serials for
mobile phones, many derived from programs already shown on
television. The academy hopes the new category will draw attention to
a rapidly growing business that is expected to expand even more as
consumers, largely teenagers, adopt new technology quickly.


Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 11:53:15 -0500
From: Monty Solomon <>
Subject: For 'CSI,' Press A1


Don't touch that dial. A video-on-demand venture that CBS announced
this week was just one part of an urgent plan by the nation's most
watched television network to prove to investors that a media company
built around broadcast television has legs in the digital world.

Most radically, Leslie Moonves, the chairman of CBS, is also pursuing
a strategy that is sure to stir up cable and satellite operators:
pushing to charge them for access to CBS, as they do for cable
networks like TBS and USA Networks. He is also creating spin-off
channels and expanding the network's presence on the Internet.

On Tuesday, CBS and the Comcast Corporation, the nation's largest
cable operator, unveiled a plan to sell reruns of four top CBS shows
 -- including "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and "Survivor" -- within
hours of their broadcast. The shows will cost 99 cents each, and will
be available in areas where CBS owns TV stations and Comcast provides
digital cable. The deal bears some similarity to recent agreements NBC
and ABC have struck with DirecTV and Apple Computer. All are meant to
adapt the business model of a broadcast television network to changing
technologies and viewer habits, and find additional ways to be paid,
beyond the advertising that has been broadcasting's sole source of


From: Monty Solomon <>
Subject: Comcast, Verizon Wage Licensing War / Towns Caught in Cable Crossfire
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 14:52:54 -0500

By Keith Reed, Globe Staff  |  October 30, 2005

Comcast Corp. wants to make sure Verizon Communications Inc. hears its
message: The cable giant is not about to cede its prized turf to the
phone company quietly.

Comcast earlier this month sent letters to about 20 municipalities in
Massachusetts warning them it expects Verizon to be held to the same
terms spelled out in its contract with those communities. Verizon is
getting into the lucrative cable business and could pose to a big
threat to Comcast if its service gains a foothold.

In one letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Globe, Comcast
reminded Winchester's board of selectmen of a clause in its cable
license that guarantees a 'level playing field' with a newer
competitor; that is, Verizon or any other competitors' licenses should
be similar, if not identical, to Comcast's, or Comcast would be put at
a disadvantage.

Already one Massachusetts community has inked different terms with
Verizon. Early this month, Woburn granted Verizon a cable license but
gave the phone company an escape clause that the city does not have in
its contract with Comcast. The cable company worries that the Woburn
deal will set a precedent that will allow communities to negotiate all
manner of special deals with Verizon.

Comcast spokeswoman Shawn Feddeman said the letter to the other
Massachusetts communities reinforces 'our expectation that any new
provider seeking a video license should operate under the same set of
rules as Comcast.'

Comcast acknowledged that it cannot stop Verizon from becoming a
competitor. Moreover, communities generally cannot refuse to license
any new cable competitor unless they have some compelling reason.

But Woburn gave Verizon a clause allowing the phone company to pull
out after three years if it decides it doesn't have enough video
customers.  Comcast has complained that the clause is unfair because
its licenses don't include the same escape provision.

Mayor John Curran acknowledged Woburn's other licensed cable firms --
Comcast and RCN -- don't have such a clause, but said it isn't a big


Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 16:20:05 -0500
From: Monty Solomon <>
Subject: Crunching Metadata/What Google Print Tells us About Future of Books

By David Weinberger

IN RECENT MONTHS, we've heard that Google is digitizing the libraries
of several major universities and making the text searchable through
its Google Print search engine-bringing cries of copyright
infringement from publishers and author groups. Meanwhile, Microsoft
says it will provide online access to 100,000 books in the British
Library, and Amazon, which already sells digital versions of books,
will soon sell individual chapters, too. But despite the present focus
on who owns the digitized content of books, the more critical battle
for readers will be over how we manage the information about that
content-information that's known technically as metadata.

We've been managing book metadata basically the same way since
Callimachus cataloged the 400,000 scrolls in the Alexandrian Library
at the turn of the third century BC. Callimachus listed the library's
contents on scrolls, Medieval librarians used ledgers, and we use card
catalogs, now mostly electronic. But until information started moving
online, the basic strategy has been the same: Arrange the books one
way on the shelves, physically separate the metadata from them, and
arrange the metadata in convenient ways.

This technique works so well for organizing physical books that we've 
long overlooked its basic limitation: Because books and their 
metadata have, until recently, been physical objects, we've had to 
pick one and only one way to order them in defined, stable ways. When 
Melvil Dewey introduced the Dewey decimal classification system in 
1876, it was an advance because it shelved books by topic, making the 
library's floor plan into a browsable representation of the order of 
knowledge itself. But no one classification can represent everyone's 
way of organizing the world. You may file a field guide to the birds 
under natural history, while someone else files it under great 
examples of the illustrative art and I file it under good eating.

The digital world makes it possible for the first time to escape this 
limitation. Publishers, libraries, even readers can potentially 
create as many classification schemes as we want. But to do this, 
we'll need two things.


Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 16:37:59 -0500
From: Monty Solomon <>
Subject: Most Viewers Are in the Dark About the Future of Digital TV

By Bruce Mohl, Globe Staff

As the nation prepares to make the leap to digital television,
Congress is trying to decide how many billions of dollars it's going
to spend to make sure no TV viewer gets left behind.

Unbeknownst to most Americans, TV stations across America currently
broadcast shows in both digital and analog formats. Roughly three
years from now, Congress intends to shut off the analog signals and
complete the transition to digital TV, which offers the potential for
much sharper pictures, more programming options, and interactive

But not everyone is ready to make the jump. Americans own an estimated
70 million TV sets that rely on free over-the-air analog signals. 
Without converter boxes that are expected to cost $60 apiece, those
sets will go dark when the analog signals are shut off.

Those converter boxes will add up. So here's the billion-dollar
question: Is this government-mandated transition to digital TV the
equivalent of an eminent domain taking? By shutting off the analog
signals, is the government required to pay for the converter boxes
that will allow analog TVs to keep working?

The House has proposed paying a portion of the cost, setting aside
$830 million to subsidize the purchase of converter boxes, plus
another $160 million to administer the subsidy program. The Senate is
willing to go further, budgeting nearly $3 billion for subsidies and
administrative expenses. The branches are trying to reconcile their


Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 16:42:44 -0500
From: Monty Solomon <>
Subject: NYC Taxis Prepare to go Wireless, With a Back-Seat Upgrade

By Lisa Kassenaar, Bloomberg News

NEW YORK -- For those who hate battling for a taxi on a crowded New
York corner and then fumbling for the fare, relief may be just around
the corner.

The city's 12,766 yellow cabs are scheduled to get wireless
connections next year that will track drivers and help alert them to
waiting customers. Riders will be able to pay by credit card, to check
flight data, or to buy movie tickets. The New York City Taxi and
Limousine Commission, after gathering ideas from 70 companies, such as
Bank of America Corp. and Sprint Nextel Corp., may announce this month
the companies selected to add the services.

"This will bring a dinosaur industry into the 21st century," said 
Michael Levine, owner of Ronart Leasing Corp., a taxi company based 
in Queens that has 350 cars, and that Levine's grandfather started in 
1937. "It's about time something happened."

Yellow cabs, the only taxis in the biggest US city allowed to pick up
people who flag them down, carry 238 million passengers a year and
bring in about $1.5 billion. In Manhattan, where people in three of
four households do not own a car, cabs carry babies home from
hospitals, move furniture, and shuffle visitors between appointments.

The link from taxis to cellular networks and satellites would follow
last year's 26 percent fare increase, the city's first in eight years,
to increase the average driver's pay to more than $12 an hour.


From: Tony P. <>
Subject: Re: MIT's 5ESS: (was: NN0 Central Office Codes)
Organization: Ace Tomato and Cement Co.
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 16:12:44 -0500

In article <>, says:

> In article <>, Joe Morris
> <> wrote:

>> Thread drift question: how common are successful hacking (old
>> definition of the word "hack") attempts against MIT's 5ESS?

> I've never heard of one, although that doesn't necessarily mean
> anything, since I don't know the people who manage it.  According to
> the first hit on Google, it's located in E19, with extensions in 24
> and NW12 (i.e., the usual places for network gear).  I have no idea
> where in E19 it is, or how well-secured those locations are -- but
> phone blocks are exposed in a whole bunch of locations that are
> probably easier to access.  There's also the additional challenge that
> many lines, particularly "class A" lines with unlimited access, are
> ISDN lines using the AT&T proprietary BRI signalling to communicate
> with 7506 desk phones.  But telephone equipment is ancient history;
> who would want to mess with that when there are *computers* around?!

I'm not sure but don't most AT&T switches have INAD ports built into
them? AT&T's method of security is a prominent notice that
unauthorized access is illegal. Not to mention that newer gear (or
updated for that matter) has IP access.

And actually the 5E probably has some serious horsepower and there are
still those who might want to phreak it.

The 7506 -- I'm not familiar with that model so I googled. Looks very
much like a 7406 except the speaker, mute, etc. buttons are in the
wrong place.


From: (Garrett Wollman)
Subject:  Re: MIT's 5ESS: (was: NN0 Central Office Codes)
Date: Sat, 12 Nov 2005 20:58:39 UTC
Organization:  MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

In article <>, Diamond Dave
<dmine45.NOSPAM@yahoo.DOTcom> wrote:

> Most are probably worrying about hacking the campus computer system to
> change their grades.

We're talking about hacking, not cracking; if I were an MIT student
rather than a mere employee, those would be fighting words.  (Although
an MIT lifer might well be amused at your reference to "the campus
computer system" -- the last time you could say "*the* campus computer
system" would have been fifty years ago at least.  Forrester et al
invented core memory in 1949 and I don't think there's been a moment
since the early '50s when there have not been multiple computers on
campus.  I don't know anything about the systems that store private
student information -- that's about as far from my job as you can get
 -- but I do know that the Institute takes its FERPA responsibilities

Garrett A. Wollman    | As the Constitution endures, persons in every | generation can invoke its principles in their own
Opinions not those    | search for greater freedom.
of MIT or CSAIL.      | - A. Kennedy, Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003)


Subject: Re: Can You Still Build a PC For Less?
From: (Thomas A. Horsley)
Organization: AT&T Worldnet
Date: Sat, 12 Nov 2005 21:19:53 GMT

> The fact is, without cannibalizing half of your current PC's parts, you
> can't touch Dell when it comes to building a cheap PC.

But for me, this has always been the whole point. I don't need a new
keyboard and mouse and speakers and case and new copies of all the
software.  I've got all that on my old dead system -- that's why I'm
upgrading -- the old one died (I don't include disk drives in the list
because they are usually the main component that dies and gives me an
excuse to convince myself it is time for an upgrade :-).

 >>==>> The *Best* political site <URL:> >>==+
 email: icbm: Delray Beach, FL |
 <URL:> Free Software and Politics <<==+


From: Michael Chance <>
Subject: Re: "Soft Dial Tone" on Unused Lines
Organization: SBC
Date: Sat, 12 Nov 2005 22:46:38 GMT

In article <>, 

> Some other posters mentioned that an unused land phone line may still
> offer dial tone to provide for emergency 911 service.  Is this a
> recent offering?

It's actually relatively old.  "Soft Dial Tone" (also known as "Quick
Dial Tone") was trialed by most of the RBOCs back in the early 1990s
(I think that it was a Telcordia/Bell Labs brainstorm), but was mostly
abandoned due to the need for dedicated facilities (a completely
connected line for every address served) and TNs (SDT/QDT is
essentially a non-billed, restrictive voice type of service).  It also
proved very cumbersome to maintain, usually requiring two service
orders (one for the customer, one for the SDT/QDT service) for every
new connect and disconnect.  The historical telco provisioning models
don't have lines available for every possible address, since not all
of them will have paying customers 100% of the time, so they play the
percentages and only have lines available for the normal load of
customers.  SDT/QDT requires 100% connected lines all the time, and a
TN assigned to every one of them, with a large percentage that will be
non-paying facilities that still have to be maintained as if there
were someone paying for it.

In the SBC territories that I'm familiar with, the Midwest region (nee' 
Ameritech) it was completely abandoned, and is not currently offered.  
In the Southwest region (nee' Southwestern Bell), it was also mostly 
abandoned, except for Texas, where there is a similar product known as 
Service Ready Drop is sold as part of the SmartMoves package for rental 
property owners and developers.  However, when a live customer 
disconnects, it is not automatically re-installed, the way SDT/QDT is 
intended to work - the SmartMoves customer has to call in to have it re-
established.  It is also not available in SBC territory in Nevada (nee' 
Nevada Bell).

The one exception is California (nee Pacific Bell/Pacific Telesys).
The California PUC has not only mandated QDT, it's actually written
into CA law.  QDT must be provisioned at all residential addresses
"where technologies and facilities permit" (meaning that it's not
currently available everywhere), and it is a mostly automated process
of moving from QDT to customer voice and back again.  As with most
things the PUC's definition of "where technologies and facilities
permit" (which includes TN availability as well as central office and
outside line configurations) and SBC's tend to be very different, and
occassionally causes some disputes about whether it can be offered in
a given area or not.

I'd love to hear what the other RBOCs (Verizon, BellSouth,
Qwest/USWest) experiences with SDT/QDT were/have been, as well as if
any of the independents have experimented with it or are currently
offering it.

Michael Chance


From: CharlesH <hoch@exemplary.invalid>
Subject: Re: Replacement for Siemens Gigaset
Organization: SBC
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 02:52:29 GMT

Thor Lancelot Simon wrote:

> I would stay away from the 900Mhz phones for a few reasons.  First,
> the only multi-line phones available in 900Mhz are notoriously
> unreliable.  Second, eavesdropping on many 900Mhz phones, even modern
> ones, is trivial.

How does one eavesdrop on a Digital Spread Spectrum (DSS) 900MHz
cordless phone? I would have thought that with the spreading code
being changed every time the phone is put into the base, they would be
essentially uncrackable, like CDMA cell phones.


From: Dave Garland <>
Subject: Re: If You Would Like to Get Away From ICANN Oversight and Registrars
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 01:29:50 -0600
Organization: Wizard Information

It was a dark and stormy night when Patrick Townson
<> wrote:

> or DHS International where you can register domains in
> the name of your choice in the '' top level and a few other top
> levels. 

".net" is the "top" level.

> or SMARTDOTS where you can register domains in the name
> of your choice in the top level '.tc'

I think that they actually own about 25 domains such as "" and
"", and offer subdomains. I have a few sub-subdomains there
myself, though I'm converting them to .com since Google doesn't seem to
index them.  ".tc" is the national top-level domain for the Turks &
Calicos Islands.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: You are correct; it is '.net' and not ''
which is the top level. 'n3' is one underneath it. I thank you for
telling me the geographic location of '.tc' and I believe that '.tf'
is somewhere in the southern part of the Indian Ocean. I do not know
where '.tt' is located, nor '.tv' although the latter is used by many
television stations/networks in the USA for their web sites. I think
the way Google gets around to indexing those is if you have approval
for (and install script) on your pages there using Ad Sense. As soon
as Google gets a call for ads on pages there, they also index those
pages. I do know that _identical_ pages referenced via (for example)
'' or '' get different Google ads than when the same
pages are called via '.com' or '.org'. You'll see this in action if 
you request '' instead of ''.
I think the hassle is you are in the USA, not in Turks & Calicos,
so you see (mostly) the index intended for USA viewers; I'll wager
if you were in T&C you would get a somehat different index also, but
I am not positve on that. How do you like being able to self-service
register your sites on '.tc'?  No fees, no registrar, no validation
of any kind required.  That's the part I think I like best about all
my sites there. You register a site, no propogation required; it is
immediatly available, that _instant_. PAT]


From: DevilsPGD <>
Subject: Re: Infone to Shut Down
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 03:17:28 -0700
Organization: Disorganized

In message <> J Kelly
<> wrote:

> On Fri, 11 Nov 2005 00:17:06 -0700, DevilsPGD <>
> wrote:

>> In message <> J Kelly
>> <> wrote:

>>> I remember a couple years back some posts about Infone, the Metro One
>>> "teleconcierge" service.  I got an email today from Infone telling me
>>> their service will be closing up shop on 12/31/05.  I used it a few
>>> times and was quite pleased with the service.  I hate to see it go,
>>> but I guess they only managed to attract about 83,000 subs after
>>> spending $70 million to promote the service.  Not a real money maker.

>> I signed up, but I never bothered to use it, I've just never made a
>> 411 call either.  The rest of their features looked interesting, but
>> not all that useful since it wouldn't save much time.

>> Sure I could call Infone and have them make a reservation for me, but
>> I could just call and do it myself in the same amount of time.

> So true.  I used them a handful of times from my cell mainly because
> it was cheaper than using US Cellular's 411 which costs "only" $1.50.
> USCC makes it out like they are doing me a favor by only charging a
> buck fifty.

Yeah.  If I ever had the need to call 411 I'd have called Infone, but
I simply haven't used 411 since I signed up with Infone.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: The best directory information service
I know of is the one the Digest sponsors. And it is the least
expensive also:  

Directory Assistance just 65 cents for one or two inquiries, charged
to your credit card. It is _real time_ from a telco-associated service
bureau. The way it works is that you register a few phone numbers
you will most always use to get your directory assistance. Then you
are assigned an 800 number to use. When you call that 800 number the
ANI is captured; the 65 cent charge is placed on your credit card
(usually, several accumulated calls, around a month's worth are
charged at one time) and you are patched through to an operator at the
telco service bureau to get the desired information. 65 cents is a
very good rate!  Try it for a few calls and see if you like it. There
are no deposits required, nor any minimum number of calls required. If
you like it, the program your phone system to take all calls dialed to
'411' or '555-1212' and translate them into the 800 number you are
assigned to use. If you don't like it, then quit using it.   PAT]


From: AES <>
Subject: Online Small-Scale POSTAL Mailing Firms?
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 09:25:37 -0800
Organization: Stanford University

Posting this query to these two groups because I suspect some of their 
readers may have the answer at their fingertips:

An organization I'm involved with has a medium-size email distribution
list (say 800 names) it uses for announcements and alerts sent at
random times.

There's a small residual set of hold-outs (maybe 50 names) who don't
have or won't get email and want these messages postal-mailed to them.

Are there online services that will accept a message, a few
instructions, and a small list of names and addresses online; print,
stuff, stamp, and mail the message to this list of names using some
low-end automated machinery; and bill the organization online -- at
low cost?


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