30 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
The Telecom Digest for October 29, 2011
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Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 15:50:27 -0700 From: Thad Floryan <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Edison's powrer network (Was Re: Telegraph turns 150 Message-ID: <4EA9E033.firstname.lastname@example.org> On 10/25/2011 7:37 AM, Wes Leatherock wrote: > [...] > With all due respect, I don't think Edison envisioned a commercial > power network, because it could not be achieved with his direct > current system. Nikola Tesla laid the groundwork for long distance > power transmission by conceiving alternating current, especially > polyphase A.C. which became the basis for a national power network, > along with many other advantages. > > ***** Moderator's Note ***** > > I meant "system", but it was a network in the sense that any > commercial company needs to have a combination of people, plan, and > ability that makes it into a "network" of commercial interests. > > I know that Edison didn't envision a power grid: he once said that the > only way to move electricity from city to city was to charge batteries > and load them onto railroad flatcars. My point was that he used the > same voltage he was familiar with from his days as a telegrapher, and > we in the U.S. are still using it, although it has been converted to AC. > > Bill Horne > Moderator I'm really reaching back (I must have been only 2-3 years old or so), but I seem to remember one of my Grandads telling me that their power [would have had to be Baltimore MD] was DC for awhile and then switched to AC. That would also have been circa early 1900s (the power, not me!). High-power long-distance DC transmission is now feasible: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-voltage_direct_current The first picture there shows "Long distance HVDC lines carrying hydroelectricity from Canada's Nelson river to this station where it is converted to AC for use in Winnipeg's local grid." ISTR there were/are a lot of HVDC long-distance lines in Russia; I believe those were described in a 1970s IEEE Spectrum article.
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 18:50:48 +0000 (UTC) From: danny burstein <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: DC vs. AC grids in NYC, was: Edison's power network (Was Re: Telegraph turns 150 Message-ID: <email@example.com> In <4EA9E033.firstname.lastname@example.org> Thad Floryan <email@example.com> writes: >I'm really reaching back (I must have been only 2-3 years old or so), >but I seem to remember one of my Grandads telling me that their power >[would have had to be Baltimore MD] was DC for awhile and then switched >to AC. That would also have been circa early 1900s (the power, not me!). Parts of NYC continued getting DC feeds until about a decade ago. No new customers since 1965 or so, but legacy folk were grandfathered in. These lines were used for elevator motors (perhaps some other commercial ones, too), as well as some of the lighting equipment on Broadway. Con Edison strongly encouraged these customers to switch to "regular" AC circuits, using a combination of positive (so to speak) incentives such as chipping in for AC ->DC converters  or subsidizing the cost of new motors. They also kept increasing the basic monthly fee for the DC feeds. While in most buildings the DC lines were physically separate from the "regular" circuits, only going to the elevator room, there were some buildings where you'd find half the outlets in an apartment carrying standard AC, but half providing DC. I have no idea whatsoever how this passed NYC's building code, as the outlets were all the same standard we've been accustomed to for decades.  And yes, if you plugged in pretty much anything other than a regular incandescent fixture, you'd run into lots of trouble.  I helped drag a motor-generator from the top floor up to the rooftop elevator shack in 1980 or so.  I suspect that another key historical figure involved in electricity was involved, namely Mr. Benjamin Franklin. - for a mid 1900s reference, check out the following scans from a Lionel Train instruction booklet: http://www.dburstein.com/lionel/cvr-a.png http://www.dburstein.com/lionel/pg-001.png http://www.dburstein.com/lionel/pg-038.png http://www.dburstein.com/lionel/pg-039.png -- _____________________________________________________ Knowledge may be power, but communications is the key firstname.lastname@example.org [to foil spammers, my address has been double rot-13 encoded]
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 11:19:18 -0700 (PDT) From: HAncock4 <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Edison's powrer network (Was Re: Telegraph turns 150 Message-ID: <email@example.com> On Oct 27, 6:50 pm, Thad Floryan <t...@thadlabs.com> wrote: > I'm really reaching back (I must have been only 2-3 years old or so), > but I seem to remember one of my Grandads telling me that their power > [would have had to be Baltimore MD] was DC for awhile and then switched > to AC. That would also have been circa early 1900s (the power, not me!). Having a DC local network was common in many places, and could've lasted a long time. An IBM catalog of the 1930s listed equipment in both AC and DC versions. Somewhere I heard that Philadelphia's City Hall was DC until 1954, don't know if true. In the early 1900s, it was common for local trolley companies to generate their own electricity to run the streetcars. Many companies had a side business and sold power to the town, and that was probably DC at first. Streetcars tended to use 600 V DC power and many light rail and subway elevated lines still do to this day (though many use slightly higher voltages, such as 650-750). Some power companies had streetcar systems, too, notably Public Service in New Jersey and New Orleans Public Service. In the early part of the 1900s, 25 Hz AC was common. Apparently in those years it was a good frequency to use on electric motors of that era (perhaps someone could explain the technical reasons for that.) In the 1910s-1930s, several railroads electrified with that frequency and it's still used to this day on certain Amtrak, SEPTA, and NJT lines. At some point in the 1930s or shortly later, the commercial power grid became reliable enough to use the 60 Hz as a means to run clocks accurately. This led to the loss of pendulum regulator clocks and Western Union time signals. In the old days, to convert frequency or convert between AC-DC, giant spinning "rotary converters" were used. These have been replaced with solid state components, though some old units may still be in service in an old substation. William Middleton's "When the Steam Railroads Electrified" is an excellent resource. Sadly, Mr. Middleton, an expert engineer and author, passed away recently. I wonder if any fledging local power companies also got into telephone service as well. Both were public utilities and required line poles.
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 19:55:11 -0400 From: tlvp <mPiOsUcB.EtLlLvEp@att.net> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Edison's powrer network (Was Re: Telegraph turns 150 Message-ID: <email@example.com> On Thu, 27 Oct 2011 15:50:27 -0700, Thad Floryan wrote: > I'm really reaching back (I must have been only 2-3 years old or so), > but I seem to remember one of my Grandads telling me that their power > [would have had to be Baltimore MD] was DC for awhile and then switched > to AC. That would also have been circa early 1900s (the power, not me!). No need to reach back nearly that far. In 1954 when I started college, there were two sorts of dorm rooms -- those with DC electric and those with AC. (There was a reason the electric desk fans of that era bore the markings "AC/DC" :-) .) One of the student agencies rented out inverters and converters for the semester to students who needed them (for running AC equipment in a DC room, or DC equipment in an AC room). The university power plant had for years been DC only, was at that moment in the throes of a not-yet-completed conversion to AC, and would in fact become AC only (much to the relief of student phonograph-turntable owners) in time for the next academic year. (Ah, bright college years :-) !) Cheers, -- tlvp - - Avant de repondre, jeter la poubelle, SVP. ***** Moderator's Note ***** What was Tom Lehrer's famous line? "Bright college days, oh carefree days that fly To thee we sing with our glasses raised on high! Let's drink a toast, as each of us recalls Ivy-covered professors, in Ivy-covered halls!" Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 13:52:28 +0000 (UTC) From: "Adam H. Kerman" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Review: Newfangled Nest thermostat is hot Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> >Review: Newfangled Nest thermostat is hot >... >Except that this is the coolest thermostat I've ever come across. >Nest smashes any preconceived notions of what a thermostat ought to >look like and how it should operate, whether you're in front of it or >accessing it remotely from an iPhone or iPad. It takes advantage of >cloud computing, and it learns from your behavior. Sigh. The once ubiquitous Honeywell round-dial mercury switch thermostat was a wonder of simple design. Its use was simple and obvious and, once installed and calibrated, required no manual to learn how to use. I don't necessarily know what my schedule is, and my apartment can just wait for me to return home without my giving it a specific time. In winter, when I go out, I can set the heat for a lower temperature. When I return, I turn up the heat, even though I have to wait a bit for it to warm up. Before I go to bed, I'd turn it down. My current apartment has an older model programable thermostat. Unlike typical Honeywells programable thermostats, its use is simple and obvious. Typically, I use the programable settings only for setting the heat to rise before I get up in the morning. Otherwise, I've typically overriden the programmed setting with the "hold temperature" button. Honeywells these days come with two thick manuals. A friend bought a townhouse with a programmable Honeywell thermostat but didn't receive the manual. I've looked at it repeatedly and cannot find the model number. He cannot figure out how to set it without the manual. Sometimes, like the mousetrap, the original designer just knocked it out of the park by making things easy to use. ***** Moderator's Note ***** The problem with new inventions these days is that it's no good building a better mousetrap: the world doesn't beat a path to your door if all you can do is tell it how to kill mice. The way to success in the online, cellular-connected, data-driven world is to build a mousetrap that reports on the exact date and time the guest of honor was dispatched, assures young cell phone users that it was done in an environmentally-friendly way, and automagically notifies the mousetrap cleaning service to come by and render the remains invisible. As for thermostats, the "old" is, well, "OLD". Out of date, not data-driven, subject to the whims of fashion and the insatiable need for Gen Z consumers to feel as if the whole world can be controlled from the palm of their hand. That kind of need usually arrises from being in charge of very little in one's life: the idea of a programmable thermostat that can be reset by commands from thousands of miles away strikes me as being something that a servant has use for; a device that can be manipulated again and again the same way that proto-yuppies who want to feel like they'll be in charge someday will find themselves manipulated by the whims of government and corporate managers who see fit to demand schedule changes and mission changes and loyalty changes on a regular basis. I think remote-control thermostats should come with a warning: "Cannot affect termperature outside your dwelling! Has no magical properties! Cannot make your life less confusing, your salary higher, or your boss more intelligent! DO NOT PLACE ON THE OUTSIDE OF A BUILDING! THIS DEVICE DOES NOT CONTROL THE WEATHER!!!" Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Sat, 29 Oct 2011 09:25:15 +1100 From: David Clayton <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Review: Newfangled Nest thermostat is hot Message-ID: <email@example.com> > ***** Moderator's Note ***** ......... > I think remote-control thermostats should come with a warning: "Cannot > affect temperature outside your dwelling! Has no magical properties! > Cannot make your life less confusing, your salary higher, or your boss > more intelligent! DO NOT PLACE ON THE OUTSIDE OF A BUILDING! THIS DEVICE > DOES NOT CONTROL THE WEATHER!!!" > In theory it may make energy use a little more efficient if it can convince those people that leave the heating/cooling on in their premises (even when they are not there) to remotely turn it on prior to their intended arrival time. However, if it is used by those people who currently only turn on the heating/cooling when they do arrive, then it will increase energy use as they will have things running prior to their arrival. -- Regards, David. David Clayton Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Knowledge is a measure of how many answers you have, intelligence is a measure of how many questions you have.
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 00:46:01 -0400 From: tlvp <mPiOsUcB.EtLlLvEp@att.net> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Please comment on my new blog [nfp] Message-ID: <email@example.com> On Thu, 27 Oct 2011 18:25:05 -0400, Telecom Digest Moderator wrote: > There's a company here in my neighborhood that is looking for experts > in a program called WordPress, so I'm looking for advice and how-to's > that will get me up to speed quickly with the "new" way that websites > are written. As a learning tool, I've started a blog using WordPress > as its foundation: please visit it and provide any advice you can > about the layout, look-and-feel, tips-and-techniques, and especially > about ways that I can use it to improve the digest. > > ob telecom: The blog might develop into a place to have opinions that > are a bit too outre for the digest. Let's see. > > > http://timesucker.homelinux.org:8003 > > > Bill Learning tool I'm sure it is. But as a diary of quotidian events, I hope you won't be offended if I say, it's not of much interest to third persons. It should, rather, be more than just such a diary. I will agree, though, that, sooner or later, there's nothing one has ever learned that doesn't turn out to be one's current lifesaver :-) . Cheers, and don't stop on my account, that's not what I'd want, -- tlvp -- Avant de repondre, jeter la poubelle, SVP. ***** Moderator's Note ***** I'll try to bear up under the strain! ;-) I didn't write that request very well, but I'll be more clear this time. Don't worry about what's in the blog now: as much as it pains any world-class writer to have a humdrum reception for a new work, I can take the criticism OK. What I'm looking for is knowledge, pointers, how-to's, etc. I want to learn a lot about WordPress, and quickly, so I put the offer to use the blog for telecom out there, and I'm hoping that I'll learn about the program and its management that way. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Sat, 29 Oct 2011 09:25:22 +1100 From: David Clayton <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: dugout telephones Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> On Tue, 25 Oct 2011 13:46:21 -0700, HAncock4 wrote: > On Oct 24, 10:25 am, Curt Bramblett <CurtBramblett.remove-t...@and- > this-too.cfl.rr.com> wrote: >> Can someone here add some insight to this: >> >> >> http://tinyurl.com/5wfr6mk >> ... > > "Eric Gagne, then the closer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, made the dugout > phone at Pac Bell Park in San Francisco an outlet for his frustrations, > snapping the cord in half while swiping at the receiver and in the process > earning himself a $500 repair bill from the Giants. " > > How does a cut cord and broken handset cost $500 to repair? ......... Maybe it was one of those "Vintage" phone sets - you know, from about 10 years ago..... ;-) - - Regards, David. David Clayton Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Knowledge is a measure of how many answers you have, intelligence is a measure of how many questions you have. ***** Moderator's Note ***** While wine may be considered "vintage" after ten years, phones are not. IMNSHO, telephones are not "Vintage" unless they are made with Bakelite. Bill, who is looking for his asbestos long-johns. Bill Horne Moderator
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