34 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
Copyright © 2015 E. William Horne. All Rights Reserved.
telecom digest Sat, 21 Nov 2015
Volume 34 : Issue 210 : "text" Format
Table of contents:
* 1 - Re: [telecom] Encrypted Messaging Apps Face New Scrutiny Over Possible
Role in Paris Attacks - Ron
* 2 - Re: [telecom] How one couple beat the cable company - Barry Margolin
* 3 - [telecom] Invention Factory (Bell Labs 1931) - Fred Goldstein
* 4 - Re: [telecom] History--Bell system PBX marketing literature - HAncock4
* 5 - [telecom] Road hazards reaching the AARP's tollfree phone number - tlvp
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2015 21:17:45 -0500
Subject: Re: [telecom] Encrypted Messaging Apps Face New Scrutiny Over
Possible Role in Paris Attacks
Monty Solomon wrote:
>Encrypted Messaging Apps Face New Scrutiny Over Possible Role in Paris
>The attack has revived vitriolic arguments between American
>intelligence officials and Silicon Valley over whether the government
>should be given the keys to decode "end-to-end" encryption technology.
Yeah, except it seems no encryption was involved, just voice over cell
Plus, it's clearly an attempted excuse for more surveillance:
in domain antichef.com)
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2015 11:09:57 -0500
From: Barry Margolin
Subject: Re: [telecom] How one couple beat the cable company
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Neal McLain wrote:
> But the article doesn't specify the authority that prohibits outside dishes.
> FCC rules generally prohibit restrictions on the installation satellite
> antennas imposed by local governments, building owners, or homeowners
> associations. Exceptions apply only in specific circumstances such as
> permanent damage to the building, or preservation of the appearance of
> historic buildings. In such cases the burden of proof lies with the entity
> that imposes the restrictions.
>From that article:
"In the case of condominiums, cooperatives and rental properties, the
rules apply to 'exclusive use' areas, like terraces, balconies or
patios. 'Exclusive use' refers to an area of the property that only the
renter and people allowed by the renter may enter and use. If the area
is shared with others or accessible without the renter's permission, it
is not considered to be an exclusive use area."
So unless they have a balcony with view of the satellite, they're
screwed. They can't put a dish on the roof or the outside walls without
the condo association's permission.
Barry Margolin, email@example.com
*** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me ***
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2015 14:20:36 -0500
From: Fred Goldstein
Subject: [telecom] Invention Factory (Bell Labs 1931)
The New Yorker keeps an archive of old articles on line. One I found
particularly interesting was called Invention Factory, from the November
28, 1931 issue. The Reporter at Large, Malcolm Ross, visited the main
Bell Labs building in New York City. The Labs was working on many
technologies at the time, including better magnets, vacuum tubes,
transatlantic radiotelephony, movie audio, and of course the telephone
network itself. I hope it's okay to post this full paragraph, which I
particularly enjoyed, describing what I suspect was a predecessor of the
Most research, in fact, is endless patience geared to an
objective. For thirty years hundreds of workers have been at the
job of perfecting an automatic switchboard. They have an approx-
imation of perfection now in the person of a robot they call
suburban tandem. If it isn't a person, it acts like one. Operator
dials an out-of-town number for you. Suburban tandem - in appearance
surpassing Rube Goldberg's worst nightmare - stores up the dial
pulses and decides whether the terminus is manual or automatic. If
manual, it selects a suitable trunk line, flashes the operator on
the other end, and, by means of a film voice-record stretched on a
revolving drum, announces to her in human tones that New York wants
Summit 0001. When something goes wrong with suburban tandem, it
rings a bell for the repairman, and spends the waiting minutes in
typing out a diagnosis to show him when and where its indigestion
began. Suburban tandem, said our guide, is the smartest piece of
remote control of our times.
Fred R. Goldstein k1io fred "at" interisle.net
Interisle Consulting Group
+1 617 795 2701
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2015 07:26:21 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: [telecom] History--Bell system PBX marketing literature
On Thursday, November 19, 2015 at 11:35:50 PM UTC-5, David Scheidt wrote:
> I was at a resort in Wisconsin this summer that had a still installed
> (but disused) 555 at the front desk. The main building was built in
> the early 50s, so it's probably original. It had instructions taped to it,
> including some phone numbers (police, fire, hospital). The numbers
> had 920 area codes, which meant it was in use until the late 90s.
> That's a pretty good run for a manual switchboard.
Until dial systems and computers became really cheap, the economics
favored manual switchboards in modest sized motels and hotels:
1) The desk clerk handled the switchboard as an adjunct to his other
duties. There wasn't much telephone traffic, so it wasn't a
burden. Also, the desk clerk was the best person to answer general
inquiries from rooms.
2) All outgoing calls from rooms were billed, so the desk clerk had to
manually place them and record the charges.
3) A modest sized motel/hotel often didn't have many premium guest
services, so there was little internal telephone traffic, such as
requests for room service or a valet.
4) In the 1970s and even early 1980s, electronics were still expensive
(consider what a high-end PC cost in 1983 in today's dollars.) So,
a dial system would've been expensive as compared to a manual
switchboard. By the late 1980s, the economics changed, and manual
5) Even in larger hotels, sometimes manual telephone service was seen
as a guest service; the operators were trained to answer common
questions and assist guests. In a larger hotel, the telephone
switchboard could be quite large with many operators serving the
6) The hotel/motel market was significant for Bell, and Bell developed
systems and features for them. Some larger hotels did get dial
service. An instruction card would be fitted around the dial, and
the guest could dial a single digit for room service, valet, and
other services. There were registers to count local calls, and an
arrangement with toll operators to return guest toll call time &
charges back to the hotel.
P.S. While 555 was popular, another popular model was the No. 608
cord switchboard, which was a more modern version. This had a beige
jackfield instead of a black, and an overall more modern appearance.
Certain features (like ringing and flashing) were automated or simpler
than older models. For instance, on an older switchboard, the
attendant pressed a ringing key to ring an extension and the caller
heard only silence. On the 608, ringing was automatic and the caller
heard a ringing signal.
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2015 20:16:39 -0500
Subject: [telecom] Road hazards reaching the AARP's tollfree phone number
The American Association of Retired Persons, aka AARP, maintains an
easy-to-remember toll-free phone number: OUR-AARP = 687-2277. Ah, yes,
you do need to remember *which* toll-free 8xx AC to prefix before
OUR-AARP -- is that to be 1-800? 1-855? 1-866? 1-877? 1-888? Or do
they all work?
[The answer is that] only 1-888 is correct. The others (all but one,
(i) Thank you for calling and warn you to pay close
attention because their "menu options have changed", or
(ii) Congratulate you for having just won ... [sort of "prize"
irrelevant] ... . (The one outlier is unclaimed and still up for
grabs, according to the toll-free number merchant offering it to
the errant caller -- or was so when last I called it.)
No rules in place to prevent this sort of blatant exploitation of
innocent mistakes, I guess? All is "caveat emptor" and "bamboozle the
(Sigh!) Cheers, -- tlvp
Avant de repondre, jeter la poubelle, SVP.
End of telecom Digest Sat, 21 Nov 2015