30 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
The Telecom Digest for February 26, 2012
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Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2012 14:54:44 -0600 From: email@example.com (Robert Bonomi) To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Supermarket shop by mobile phone Message-ID: <DpmdnS5_9PSJZNrSnZ2dnUVZ_oydnZ2d@posted.nuvoxcommunications> In article <email@example.com>, there was a > >***** Moderator's Note ***** > >Good point: I remember using some of those sets. I'd really like to >know why the "Asterisk" (or is it "Star"?) and Octothorpe keys were There were _lots- of names for that symbol. Those with a background in typography called it 'asterisk', telco documentation often used 'star', as in 'star sixty nine' for a particular CLASS feature, hip-types were known to call it 'splat' -- especially when rendered in a 'mod' typeface (see the 'asterisk' graphic at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asterisk) >added, and when. They were used for "Class" services, of course, but >were also important for IVR systems, so that date might be a good >anchor point for the introduction of IVR technology. Thee original spec for Touch-tone was the 16 button 'architecture', although many early sets had only the 10-button panel -- probably a 'cost-driven' decision vs. a 12-button one. Why add buttons on the (telco provided) phone when there weren't, yet, any (telco provided!!) services that used them. One can probably look to the Carterfone decision -- leading to the vast increase in numbers of 'answering machines'; and the 'advanced' models that implemented 'remote access', with features for call playback, deletion, etc. Early such machines used proprietary remotes with their own signaling -- almost invariably 'tone based' audible signaling of some sort -- because that was the only thing that one could reliably pass over a voice-grade telephone circuit. Various 'types' of tones were used -- maybe just a single one, maybe multiple simultaneous ones, maybe several 'in sequence' (a la the 'two-tone sequential', aka '1+1', as was used in many voice-messaging radio paging systems). There was an eventual shift to using DTMF signaling for the answering- machine functions, as it made possible a 'remote-less' machine -- assuming you were calling from a Touch-Tone phone, that is. DTMF 'button boxes' were still needed if you called from a pulse-only set, or a pay phone that disabled the keypad when the call was connected. Probably the commercial availability of the aforesaid 'button boxes' would give a good marker point for the 'widespread' usage of DTMF by 'far end' systems. The two biggest 'early adopter' uses were probably answering machines and 'alternative' long-distance calling services.
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2012 12:24:36 -0600 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (PV) To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Supermarket shop by mobile phone Message-ID: <Yeadnfc96-35utTSnZ2dnUVZ_jmdnZ2d@supernews.com> firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Bonomi) writes: >There were _lots- of names for that symbol. Those with a background in >typography called it 'asterisk', telco documentation often used 'star', as >in 'star sixty nine' for a particular CLASS feature, hip-types were known >to call it 'splat' -- especially when rendered in a 'mod' typeface (see >the 'asterisk' graphic at >http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asterisk) That's backwards I think (or maybe regional). In hot type typography, it was always called a "splat" in the places I worked (I learned printing in the 70s in high school, and ran a linotype and press for several years while getting my compsci degree). My mom, who was a professional typist (in the days where if you made a mistake on a page, you typed the whole thing over), says they called it an asterisk, or sometimes "bullet". Typography had things they called bullets too, but the splat wasn't usually one of them. Bullet matts fell down the "pi chute" on a linotype and you dropped them into the line by hand when you needed one . Similarly, # was a pound sign, because on invoices, that's what you typed when charging out something by the pound. I didn't come across "star" and "hash" until some years later when I first encountered hacker speak. I refuse to use "hash" though, it's just sounds dumb and doesn't mean anything. *  Dang, sometimes I miss that machine - you don't even see them in museums anymore. It was the most like a Rube Goldberg contraption as you'll ever see in real life, except that it WORKED every time. Well, if it didn't decide to spray lead in your lap because you didn't tighten the line enough anyway .  I guess I can't talk about printing without creating at least one hanging indentation. That's actually what bullets were for (as they are now in everyone's boring powerpoints); to start a hanging block of copy. -- * PV Something like badgers, something like lizards, and something like corkscrews.
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2012 08:59:41 +1100 From: David Clayton <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Supermarket shop by mobile phone Message-ID: <email@example.com> > ***** Moderator's Note ***** > > Good point: I remember using some of those sets. I'd really like to know > why the "Asterisk" (or is it "Star"?) and Octothorpe keys were added, and > when. They were used for "Class" services, of course, but were also > important for IVR systems, so that date might be a good anchor point for > the introduction of IVR technology. > > Bill Horne > Moderator I do recall that in Australia the then monopoly telco originally came out with their first ever DTMF handset and it only had the digit keys, a little later (mid 1980's) they came out with the full 12 digit version: http://www.bobsoldphones.net/Pages/Telecom/touchfone.htm -- 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, 24 Feb 2012 13:51:31 -0800 (PST) From: HAncock4 <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Supermarket shop by mobile phone Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> ***** Moderator's Note ***** > > Good point: I remember using some of those sets. I'd really like to > know why the "Asterisk" (or is it "Star"?) and Octothorpe keys were > added, and when. They were used for "Class" services, of course, but > were also important for IVR systems, so that date might be a good > anchor point for the introduction of IVR technology. FWIW, a wikipedia article says the 12 key tonepad came out in 1968. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_500_telephone While the #* keys are certainly helpful for computer inquiry applications they are not absolutely necessary. Older inquiry applications were usually quite simple as compared to today. The fields were probably fixed length and delimited by timing (which is still done sometimes today). Back in the 1960s callers got used to time-dependent dialing when TSP/ TSPS came out: To dial an operator assisted call, one dialed 0 followed immediately by the area code and number. If the caller dialed merely zero, after a timed pause the switch would connect the caller to the assistance operator. Some literature from the 1960s shows 10-key telephones being used as inquiry terminals. (Back in those days often times the keypad was a separate box associated with a rotary telephone set.) In January 1964 IBM announced its 7770 Audio Response Unit which allowed a computer to answer telephone inquiries with an audio response. The following documentation suggests a push-button telephone or adjunct keypad is required, but the pad shown is only 10 digits. http://www.computer.org/portal/web/csdl/doi/10.1109/AFIPS.1965.120 Here is a college paper from 1969 that researches telephone inquiry as applied to a medical inquiry system. http://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/14079/23589583.pdf?sequence=1
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2012 13:56:37 -0800 (PST) From: HAncock4 <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Supermarket shop by mobile phone Message-ID: <email@example.com> On Feb 24, 2:10 pm, T <kd1s.nos...@cox.nospam.net> wrote: > The same was true in Providence, RI. Every line had DTMF enabled. To > my knowledge they never went through the motions of installing > dial-pulse- only here. In 1982 my residence was served by a No. 5 crossbar switch and Touch Tone was supported even if the subscriber didn't pay for it. But later in 1984 my new residence, served by ESS, supported Touch Tone only if the subscriber paid for it. (Presumably it was easier to administer in ESS than in crossbar). I stuck with rotary service to save money. In those days we used dial-up BBS's, and sometimes we modified the command code string to our modems (the "AT" command set). I discovered I could set the modem's dial pulse speedup to 20 pulses-per-second instead of the standard 10 pps, and my calls went through more quickly. (One could also change the make/break ratio for foreign service, but I didn't mess with that.) When I was young, some kids figured out how to modify their telephone dials to operate at 20 pps. I don't know how they did it. But apparently the registers in the panel or No. 1 crossbar swiches which served us accepted digits at that speed. Some PBX switchboards had 20 pps dials.
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