Volume 28 : Issue 94 : "text" Format
Messages in this Issue:
Re: To Bury or Not to Bury
Any Decent Bay Area Voice Mail Providers?
followup on US Mail decline
Historical question--payphone-bank attendants
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Date: Sat, 04 Apr 2009 07:06:43 -0600
From: Neal McLain <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: To Bury or Not to Bury
On: Thu, 26 Mar 2009, Shawn <email@example.com> wrote:
> Even laying underground telephone cable / fiber or even CATV
> coax in an existing neighborhood has it's issues. You can use
> plows to put the cable underground without too much work, but
> you have to directional bore at each paved driveway, sidewalk,
> or road crossing. That's time consuming and expensive. Imagine
> a line of 20 houses, each with a driveway and sidewalk going
> from the house to the road.
Not to mention working around abandoned coal bins, bike racks, bollards,
bus stop shelters, catch basins, cable TV pedestals, culverts, drainage
ditches, fences, fire hydrants, galvanic protection monitors, gas
laterals, guy anchors, irrigation ditches, Jersey barriers,
lawn-sprinkling systems, mailboxes, manholes, newspaper vending-machine
platforms, power pedestals, power switching cabinets, power
transformers, raised planting beds, retaining walls, secondary water
laterals, signs, storm drains, streetlights, survey markers, telephone
cross-connect panels, telephone pedestals, traffic signals, trees and
tree roots, utility poles, water laterals, or xeriscaped yards.
***** Moderator's Note *****
Don't forget the Fire Alarm Premise or Auxiliary Loops, Steam Mains,
and POPT (Privately Owned and Placed Telegraph) circuits. As if that
weren't enough, there are also non-government rights of way,
non-registered government rights of way, and Allowances for
Non-anticipable Sovereign Change Demands.
Bill "I Love This Job" Horne
Date: Sat, 4 Apr 2009 12:56:50 -0400
From: Randall <firstname.lastname@example.org>
On Apr 1, 1:09 am, MC <for.address.l...@www.ai.uga.edu.slash.mc>
>In a discussion of this issue on the roads newsgroup, several people,
>apparently journalists, were all for this sort of information
>sharing. They claimed it was "public" years ago and "public" today
>and computerization is irrelevent. I disagree. Years ago adverse
>information would lay in the bottom of a single filing cabinet, hard
>to find, hard to access, and hard to transmit. Computers have changed
>all that and that MUST be considered in public policy and privacy
>***** Moderator's Note *****
>IANALB ISTM such databases would sued out of existence in short order.
>Any attorneys want to weigh in?
IAAL. Been out of the biz for years but rejoining now.
That said, Choicepoint exists. It claims to be something other than
a Credit Reporting Agency, thus it claims exemption from the Consumer
Protection provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. After a
period of time, negative credit information ages off your Credit
Report from any Agency that abides by federal law. Choicepoint
claims not to be a Credit Reporting Agency, so negative credit
information does not age off their reports.
Federal law gives all persons the right to one free credit report per
Reporting Agency per person per year. (Pay no attention to those
annoying kids on teevee - the report available from "Free Credit
Report Dot Com" isn't free. Go to http://www.ftc.gov and follow the
link to the Free Credit Report and you will get what you seek,
without having to enroll in any "triple advantage plan" -- but I
If you go to Choicepoint's web site, they used to offer the ability
for people to PURCHASE their own report. Cost something like
fifteen dollars, last I noticed, if I recall correctly.
Regarding the possibility of suing these loathsome creatures out of
existence - good luck with that.
The Government is for the most part no longer on your side.
Thanks to what Chuck Brown calls "the Corrupt Nexus" between
regulators and regulated, and between lawmakers and those wealthy
entities which donate to lawmakers, laws are rarely enacted and
regulations are rarely written and almost never applied against the
interest of donors - plus of course for most of the last forty years
we've had our federal judges appointed by people who believe
Government *can't* work - is it any wonder when it doesn't?
Date: Sat, 4 Apr 2009 13:16:59 -0700
From: "W" <email@example.com>
Subject: Any Decent Bay Area Voice Mail Providers?
Our company recently looked at giving up on running our own voice mail
system internally, and handing over that responsibility to a phone
company. We are in the South San Francisco Bay Area. To our
amazement, we could not find any company that offers a rich
multi-level-menu voice mail offering. Can it be true?
We looked at AT&T Centrex, but it appears this system simply puts
several separate phone numbers (at one or multiple locations) onto the
same phone system. It has no integrated voice mail capability as an
option (amazing that a company the size of AT&T would overlook that).
AT&T offers a "Universal Messaging" product, but this appears to be a
joke: it is really just a voice mail extension for very small
companies with a few employees. There is no ability to build
multi-level menus, such as extension 1 for sales, and then under sales
three extensions for different products, and then under one of those
products, two extensions based on customer type, etc, with many
options for call routing at the final voice destinations.
AT&T offers a DSL based voice mail product as well, but this also
looks like it is geared to very small companies. And I don't have
confidence in DSL's ability to sustain a 24x7 operation with perfect
reliability, which is what we expect from our desk phones. If there
were a real T-1 in place and VOIP over that, it might be a different
If you want a rich, robust multi-level voice mail system that can
integrate well with many phone extensions, and you want to buy this as
a hosted service instead of running the server yourself, what are your
options? We would obviously prefer to find a vendor in the Bay Area
since forwarding from the voice mail system to our extensions would be
a local call, but at this point we will consider anything viable.
Date: Sat, 4 Apr 2009 21:42:11 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: followup on US Mail decline
In our recent discussion of the decline of US Mail as a communication
medium, I forget one factor:
Many organizations (public and private) now discourage unsolicited
mail. At one time an organization always prominently displayed its
mailing address and encouraged letters from the public for use as
feedback. I notice now many do not show their address prominently any
more, if they even show it at all. They strongly encourage the use of
email or forms on-line for feedback.
I once wrote to a TV show and the postcard was refused and returned.
The refusal stamp referred to the web page. So much for "keep those
cards and letters coming in".
I presume there are two reasons for discouraging conventional mail:
1) cost, 2) safety.
A letter requires someone of reasonable skill to read it, analyze it,
take action, and write a letter back. That's expensive. Web page
forms have check off boxes and subject selections to speed handling.
A response can be quickly banged in on a terminal, and the email
forwarded electronically to the proper dept, or tallied automatically
I also suspect companies simply aren't as interested in what the
general public thinks, especially unsolicited comments. They depend
on specially chosen focus groups and marketing studies which
admittedly are probably more accurate than a random receipt of written
Secondly, I recall the anthrax scare of 9/11. Organizations were very
nervous of mailed dangers. Other countries suffered with mail bombs.
>From the consumer point of view it certainly is easier to bang out an
email from an on-line form on the Web. But is it as effective? Well,
I wrote two traditional letters and we'll see what kind of response I
Date: Sat, 4 Apr 2009 21:49:24 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Historical question--payphone-bank attendants
In the 1940s and 1950s, places that had large banks of pay phones,
such as military bases and train stations, often had Bell attendants
working a switchboard on site to assist callers. (Several are
pictured in the Knappen book on payphone history).
One would see the attendant and give her the call request. When the
call was placed, the attendant would direct you to a booth and you'd
have your call.
Would anyone know more details of what the attendants did?
Long distance calls in the 1940s and 1950s required two separate
steps: 1) connection of the call by routing over various toll trunks
indirectly or directly; and 2) calculation of the initial period toll
charge, collection, and monitor of the length of the call and
collection of overtime minutes. (Non pay phone calls involved writing
up a toll ticket with the data; pay phone calls involved asking for
and collecting coins.)
That is, did they collect the toll charges personally, make change, or
did the caller deposit them in the phone in the usual manner?
Did the attendant have direct access to toll trunks to place the call
and time it, or did they act merely as a PBX to regular toll
Any info would be appreciated. Thanks!
P.S. I recall a payphone attendant in Pennsylvania Station in the
1970s. By then I think all they did was make change and assist in out
of town directories and dialing instructions. Since they had TSP by
then they didn't really need an attendant, but it was helpful in a
busy place like that.
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End of The Telecom digest (5 messages)