Volume 28 : Issue 168 : "text" Format
Messages in this Issue:
Re: 5XB arcana
Re: 5XB arcana
Re: Pulse dialing overhead, was: ANI vs. Caller ID
Re: 4-/10-party lines
Re: 4-/10-party lines
Re: Touch Tone Charges - Bell Canada Still Charges Extra $2.80 a month
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Date: Sat, 20 Jun 2009 05:38:24 -0700
From: "Fred Atkinson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Re:
It just seems to me that we have too many replies and not enough in the
way of new topics. That is clearly evidenced by the number of 'Re: *****' in
the Subject lines.
Truthfully, I rarely read anything headed be 'Re: ' any more because
usually it is just comments that beat dead horse to death.
We've got a lot of people in the industry that could provide more
information that is new and fresh [and enlighteningly useful]. They should
have somethign interesting from time to time.
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 2009 12:10:36 -0500
From: Jim Haynes <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: 5XB arcana
On 2009-06-19, firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com> wrote:
> In the IBM history, there is mention of "wire spring relays" as being
> a big improvement, and _possibly_ invented by IBM. I'm not sure what
> they are and why they are superior. But apparently they allow
> equipment to be smaller and work faster.
The IBM and Western Electric wire spring relays were quite different
from each other. Indeed the whole logic of relays was different
between the two companies. IBM didn't have a relay contact open or
close while carrying current - they had big contacts like automotive
distributor breaker points that were activated by cams on shafts and
did all the circuit making and breaking. The relays just steered the
signals. What makes this possible is that in punched card machines
everything is under control of the card position as it moves through
the machine, hence is related to shaft rotation. In the telephone biz
everything was asynchronous. Because they didn't make and break
currents the relay contacts could be quite delicate in IBM equipment.
The IBM relay is a beautiful thing to behold. They were made in
widths of 4, 6 and 12 contacts. The only contact arrangement was
SPDT, with the wire springs forming the moving contacts. The fixed
contacts are molded in to the insulator, also serving as connector
pins to make the relay pluggable. The wire spring moving contacts
could be quickly pulled out and replaced. There were various coil
arrangements, and also a latching model with separate coils for
operate and release. Very typical was a low-resistance coil to make
the relay operate quickly and then a higher-resistance coil used to
hold it operated. The wiring side of the relay sockets used tapered
pin connections rather than soldering. The only soldered connections
on the relay itself are the winding connections to the base pins.
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 2009 20:29:59 EDT
Subject: Re: 5XB arcana
In a message dated 6/20/2009 2:10:35 AM Central Daylight Time,
> I visited the CEntral CO in Topeka, Kansas around 1970. That was a
> huge Stroger SXS office, with the auxiliary line finders in wooden
> cabinets with glass windows. I forget their actual name, but they
> appeared to oscillate back and forth, left to right, with contacts
> somehow stopping and held to terminals when a subscriber went ROH.
Are you sure that those weren't line switches instead of line finders?
had some of those in in the office named "North," later "JAckson" in
Oklahoma City, added to many times with W.E. SxS switches to
accomodate growth. The line switches were part of the oroginal
Strowger (A.E.?) switches installed when the office was built in 1920.
They continued in service for the original A.E. part until the entire
office was cutover to ESS in a new building built next to the original
in the 1970s or 1980s, and renamed again, this time to "University."
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 2009 13:54:25 -0500
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Bonomi)
Subject: Re: Pulse dialing overhead, was: ANI vs. Caller ID
In article <email@example.com>,
>On Jun 19, 4:08 pm, bon...@host122.r-bonomi.com (Robert Bonomi) wrote:
>> Lets run some numbers for a big switch. 10,000 lines per prefix,
>> the switch handles 5 prefixes, (50,000) lines. To reliably detect
>> 20PPS dialing requires a minimum of 80 samples/line/second, [or]
>> 4,000,000 samples/second. scan logic resembles:
>FALSE TO FACT: Here's why:
>1) Please explain how switchhook flashing is detected, and determined
>to be a flash, not a new call. By your logic merely scanning for
>flashing would overload the switch. Obviously it doesn't.
I always maintained switchook flash is detected by -hardware-, just like the
on-hook/off-hook transitions. It's a simple, *cheap* differentiator, doesn't
require 'real-time' reactivity. *ALL* it does is detect continuity changes
that occur on the line, with a simple hysteresis function to suppress 'very
short duration' false positives. By simply adding about 3 instructions to
the interrupt service routine that responds to a DC-continuity change, one
can make a decision as to whether the circuit was 'on hook' "long enough" to
constitute a 'hang up', or whether it was only a 'flash'.
The same hardware _could_ be used to detect dial-pulses, *but* on a
DTMF-enabled line, where a 'hard real-time' task is already slotted to
sampling the audio channel it is much more efficient to add the handful
of instructions to -that- task, to sample the continuity state *without*
the overhead of the interrupt. (This software-scanning over hardware-
interrupt benefit exists _only_ because the scanning is _already_ being
done for DTMF recognition. _One_ scan with two functions is generally more
efficient than one scan plus one interrupt-service, even when the 2nd function
is infrequently needed.)
>2) Not all lines of a switch can dial at the same time, only a small
*PROVING* that it is not done by software scanning all the lines -- like you
have claimed as being done for off-hook detection.
Thank you for making the point, for me.
>3) Testing for dial pulses would be done only for subscribers actually
>dialing a call.
That runs counter to your claim that it is done by *same* routine that
detects on-/off-hook -- which,it should be obvious -- must be scanning
It's worth noting that I have asserted from word one that pulse handling
would be done _only_ during call set-up.
You've previously claimed that it is part of the routine that
continuously scans all lines for on-/off-hook detection. [Have you]
changed your mind on that?
>4) Some sort of scanning is still required for Touch Tone entry to
>collect the digits.
To be technically accurate, software-based DTMF detection requires
frequent _sampling_ of the particular line, during call set-up. *Or* a
hardware-based digit decoder to be switched onto the line for the
>5) If scanning (polling) is done, it is done by a separate signal
>processor, not the CPU.
It still takes 200+ million instructions/second of secondary processor
capacity, be it one 200+ million instruction/sec processor, or 20 10+
million instruction/second one. However you do it, that much
processing power costs non-trivial money.
>6) As the other poster described, probably scanning isn't done, but
>processing handled by interrupts when either a switchhook or dial
>pulse is transmitted.
That is _exactly_ how I have claimed switch-hook detection was done,
and that you've been insisting is wrong.
>7) Your description describes what a switch does _not_ do.
The fact remains that that is what is _necessary_ to do things the way
you claim they are done.
>I don't understand what point you're trying to make with all of this.
>As mentioned before, so few people make dial pulse calls the issue is
The point *IS* that 'few people use pulse dialing', [and] that it
_does_ require a "disproportionate" amount of switch resources to
handle pulse vs tone dialing, [and] that those resources _do_ cost
money. Distributing that increased cost burden over the *small*
number of people who 'may' use it *DOES* justify a 'surcharge' for
>> If one assumes that off-hook is detected by hardware, which
>> generates an interrupt, and that the pulse scanning logic is
>> activated only then, and stays active for 20 seconds , with a
>> switch-wide average of 20 outgoing calls/day/line, the scanner is
>> active for a total of 400 seconds/line, instead of 86,400.
>If interrupts are used, as we believe they are, there is no need to
>scan at all.
"Surprise, surprise, surprise!!" <grin>
That's exactly what I've been asserting the entire time.
> ... Generate an interrupt for each DC signal event. This _must_ be
> done now to handle flashing and supervision.
That's exactly how I've been claiming on-/off-hook detection is done.
For that detection it is desirable to have hysteresis in the detector
so that it does -not- false-positive on short-duration events. (It's
easier/quicker/cheaper/simpler to do that in hardware than filtering
those spurious events in software.)
When one gets out of the call set-up phase, it is trivial to 'flip a
bit' on a configuration register, and change the hysteresis constant
to respond to flash-type signals, while still ignoring (in hardware)
>> Assume that the interrupt service overhead is 40 instructions
>> (_way_ high), and you've reduced the CPU 'overhead' load from 20%
>> of capacity to 0.20% of capacity.
>Interrupts need not be handled by the CPU. Full sized ESS had signal
>processors independent of the CPU to handle that. IBM mainframes have
>channel processors independent of the CPU to handle Input/output
>devices, and they handle I/O interrupts and intefaces. (Low end ESS
>and mainframes intended for light duty had the CPU handle that stuff
>to save money.)
I'm not going to debate 'who does what' within the 'committee' of
processing elements inside a large computer system. You've still got
to have 200+ million instructions/second of capacity at whatever level
of processor is doing the line scanning, *if* comprehensive
line-scanning is, in fact, being done per your claims. Plus, there
are additional 'overhead' instructions at that level for (a) the
interrupt service overhead, and (b) communicating the data to the
'higher level' processor.
Note: I was *deliberately* over-estimating the overhead of doing
things via interrupts, to make a point. WITH _overly-expensive_
interrupt-driven logic, it is still one thousand times 'cheaper' in
CPU requirements to use interrupts over pure scanning. Using
'realistic' costs for interrupt- driven overhead, the advantage only
>***** Moderator's Note *****
>The ILEC's didn't dump party lines: they simply withdrew the tariffs,
>and then offered the same service as "Ringmate". This is a win/win: it
>uses the equipment that would otherwise be idle, and gives parents a
>chance to have a separate number for the kids at minimal cost.
>I doubt a switch owner would remove equipment once installed, including
>party line capabilities, but especially dial pulse: after all, there's
>no telling when someone with a 554 set on the wall of their bomb
>shelter will lock themselves in ...
*OR* the TT generator in the 'modern' set dies, and you can't
hook-flash 10 or more times to reach the operator in a life-and-death
situation. <evil grin>
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 2009 14:11:51 -0500
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Bonomi)
Subject: Re: 4-/10-party lines
In article <db70b$4a3c6526$4aded8bf$9907@EVERESTKC.NET>,
>***** Moderator's Note *****
>Even now, the Ringmate offering (which _is_ two party lines in one
>home) comes in handy to tell "friends" apart from "everyone else",
>so "party" lines will be with us for a while yet.
Sometimes there are alternative solutions... Just out of college, I
would befuddle my roommate when the phone would ring, and I'd just look
up, and say "it's for you". And it was. Or I'd just answer it myself
when it was for me.
After a few weeks of this, the phone rang one evening, and I didn't answer,
nor tell him it was for him. He looks at me and challenges "who's that call?"
I shrugged, and said "wrong number." He answered, and it _was_.
About all the explanation I could give at the time was "I could tell by the
sound of the ring." <grin>
What was really going on was some below-the-conscious-level pattern
recognition. Both my friends, and his, tended to call at somewhat
predicatable times of day. Our families were in different time-zones,
so an "after-dinner" call, from them, for example, occurred at different
times, depending on who it was for.
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 2009 18:58:24 -0500
From: "John F. Morse" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: 4-/10-party lines
Robert Bonomi wrote:
> In article <db70b$4a3c6526$4aded8bf$9907@EVERESTKC.NET>,
>> ***** Moderator's Note *****
>> Even now, the Ringmate offering (which _is_ two party lines in one
>> home) comes in handy to tell "friends" apart from "everyone else",
>> so "party" lines will be with us for a while yet.
> Sometimes there are alternative solutions... Just out of college, I
> would befuddle my roommate when the phone would ring, and I'd just look
> up, and say "it's for you". And it was. Or I'd just answer it myself
> when it was for me.
> After a few weeks of this, the phone rang one evening, and I didn't answer,
> nor tell him it was for him. He looks at me and challenges "who's that call?"
> I shrugged, and said "wrong number." He answered, and it _was_.
> About all the explanation I could give at the time was "I could tell by the
> sound of the ring." <grin>
> What was really going on was some below-the-conscious-level pattern
> recognition. Both my friends, and his, tended to call at somewhat
> predicatable times of day. Our families were in different time-zones,
> so an "after-dinner" call, from them, for example, occurred at different
> times, depending on who it was for.
Robert, I too used to work the old below-the-conscious-level control.
But mine was for outgoing (originating) calls. Nobody ever wanted to
call me. :-(
I could simply think of someone who I wished to call, and the dial would
The major problem was the fingerstop was absolutely no help, so I often
ran the selectors to tell-tale! ;-)
***** Moderator's Note *****
Those of us who knew the Hayes command set were able to perform
similar feats of telekinesis: I could start a script in my terminal
program, walk out to where my wife was sitting, and pick up the phone
just in time to "voice activate" the call. It was a mixed blessing:
she'd always get mad when it didn't work for her, and when I finally
fessed up, she didn't talk to me for three days!
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 2009 23:52:54 GMT
From: Mike Spencer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Touch Tone Charges - Bell Canada Still Charges Extra $2.80 a month
jwillis <email@example.com> wrote:
> Fast forward to 2009...
> Bell has grandfathered all rotary dial lines - if you dont move you
> dont have to pay the $2.80 a month for Touch-Tone, they put a filter
> on the line so that Touch-Tone will not dial out. If you move then
> Bell will start charging the $2.80 extra a month.
In the late 80s we (in Nova Scotia, with then Maritime Tel & Tel) were
upgraded from a rural party line to a single line. We discovered tha
touch tone was enabled. We had rotary phones but our computers could
use tone. After a few weeks, they somehow disabled it and we were
back to pulse dial only.
The coda was that about 6 years ago, we had 60hz hum on the line and
the tech workers were on strike. After three different fruitless
visits from teams of various marketing, accounting and management
guys, one of them drove off in the truck to the electronics cabinet a
couple of miles away and (so he said) stuck in a new circuit board.
The hum went away and we were converted to tone dial. Since I'd been
collecting up 2500 sets for years, we just plugged them in as were
good to go with no arguments about whether or not we should pay for
The downside was that we had been paying a buck or so a month to rent
the dial phones for decades. Ho hum. :-)
Mike Spencer Nova Scotia, Canada
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