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Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2011 22:57:48 -0500
From: "Neal McLain" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Video conferencing phone booth
danny burstein <firstname.lastname@example.org> in Message-ID:
> In <email@example.com> firstname.lastname@example.org
> (Scott Dorsey) writes:
>>> I just want to sit down and begin seeing and talking to
>>> some people on the opposite coast, for about an hour,
>>> right now, without having to fly there, and without having
>>> to install and learn still another Mac app (especially
>>> when networking is involved).
>> Twenty years ago there were a lot of places where you
>> could do this. Many business incubators, PBS stations and
>> the like had small conference rooms equipped with the
>> Tandberg teleconferencing systems. The organization I work
>> for had one of them at each one of its sites.
> Kinkos, as in the copying and business service chain,
> offered video conferencing between many of their
> storefronts into the late 1990s. A friend and I queried
> their rates which were in the hundreds per hour, and
> decided against it...
Holiday Inn built a teleconferencing network known as "Hi-Net" during the
1980s. According the New York Magazine, Hi-Net was once largest
privately-owned satellite network in the Continental United States.
A former friend of mine, Richard Gall (now unfortunately deceased), was a
technical consultant for Hi-Net. He once described the system to me in some
detail. It carried teleconferencing signals and HBO (or Showtime) by C-Band
(4-GHz downlink) satellites to fixed TVROs located at Holiday Inn hotel
A few of the hotels that wanted to subscribe to Hi-Net were unable do so for a
variety of reasons -- signal blockage from nearby buildings, zoning
requirements, or interference from existing ground-based microwave links in
the 4-GHz band. In such cases, Gall's company was contracted to design and
install point-to-point microwave links to deliver the signals from one hotel
I happened to be involved in a repair job at one of these point-to-point
networks. It involved two microwave links in the Los Angeles area:
- Holiday Inn/LAX to Holiday Inn/Brentwood.
- Holiday Inn/Brentwood to Holiday Inn/Santa Monica
All three Inns subscribed to Hi-Net, but only the Inn at LAX had a suitable
site for a TVRO. Both the Brentwood and Santa Monica properties wanted to
receive the signal, but it was not possible to establish a microwave link from
LAX directly to Santa Monica due to signal blockage, so the signal went first
to Brentwood, thence to Santa Monica. The roof of the Brentwood building was
well suited for this: a multistory building in the foothills of the Santa
Monica Mountains. The two antennas (one receive and one transmit) were
mounted on the elevator penthouse.
Hi-Net didn't last long. Higher-power satellites using Ku-band transmission
permitted the use of small rooftop antennas at much lower cost. By the
mid-1990s, Hi-Net had ceased to exist, and all the old point-to-point
microwave systems were abandoned in place. The LAX/Brentwood/Santa Monica
system is long gone now, but believe it or not, the two antennas on the
penthouse of the Holiday Inn in Brentwood are still there. While writing this
post, I tracked them down on Google maps, and there they are:
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 17:09:40 -0800 (PST)
From: Wes Leatherock <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Video conferencing phone booth
--- On Wed, 2/9/11, Neal McLain <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
[ ... ]
> ... The roof of the Brentwood building was well suited for this: a
> multistory building in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains.
> The two antennas (one receive and one transmit) were mounted on the
> elevator penthouse.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Brentwood several years ago when most
of the floor they assigned us to was under renovations--jack hammers
and other power tools going all day. We were on vacation and
intending to use the hotel for a base for points of interest in the LA
area and often coming back during the day to rest or for other
We left after one or two days.
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 16:52:00 -0800
From: Sam Spade <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Telephone humor on TV and Touch Tone calling
Lisa or Jeff wrote:
> In the 1980s Touch Tone was a premium charge service*. I discovered
> back then that even if a phone line was not equipped for Touch Tone
> sometimes a TT phone would work on it, sometimes not. If memory
> serves, a rotary line served by a No. 5 crossbar supported TT, but a
> line from an ESS did not. I suspect in the xbar it was easier just to
> wire everybody in rather than bother to make a distinction while in
> ESS it was controlled by computer.
> *Most telephone services in regulated days were based on value to the
> customer, not necessarily cost to provide. The idea was that very
> basic telephone service would be cheap and affordable while premium
> options would be profitable to offset basic service costs. Originally
> Touch Tone receivers for the central office were expensive but by the
> 1980s with ESS the cost dropped.
Indeed, with SxS and XBAR the entire office was either "on" or "off" for
DTMF. With ESS it could be by line, but here in California at least,
Pacific Bell elected to turn the entire office "on" in ESS offices,
because of liability issues of denying origination service in an emergency.
The then Western Electric advised the BOCs that it cost more in ESS
origination equipment to service dial pulse origination time than to
equip for 100% DTMF. So, that's the way a lot, if not all, BOCs bought
ESS, then digital switches.
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 17:43:04 -0800 (PST)
From: Lisa or Jeff <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Phila Inqr assesses Verizon iPhone 4
The Phila Inquirer had a detailed article discussing the phone.
For full article please see:
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 18:15:38 -0800
From: Sam Spade <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Gladwell, Google, Twitter & Egypt: Social Media's Revolutionary Mystery
Monty Solomon wrote:
> Gladwell, Google, Twitter & Egypt: Social Media's Revolutionary Mystery
> Posted by John Wihbey on Friday, February 4, 2011
> Here's an intriguing subplot lost amid all the press coverage on
> Egypt and the Middle East this week.
Ah, increase the pay of government employees to help maintain the status
Sounds like California.
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