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TELECOM Digest Tue, 29 Mar 2005 16:30:00 EST Volume 24 : Issue 135 Inside This Issue: Editor: Patrick A. Townson Plan to Merge MCI, Qwest Has A Sour Ring (Marcus Didius Falco) Anatomy of a Techno-Myth -- Economist.com (Marcus Didius Falco) Divide Grows on Treatment of Students in Online Breach (Monty Solomon) As Verizon Hikes 411 Cost, Rival Offers a Free Tryout (Monty Solomon) Sony in Dispute Over Digital Projectors (Monty Solomon) Vonage Move a Jobs Bonanza (Ankur Shah) Horrible Voice Quality on Skypeout (John Levine) MCI Takes Revised Verizon Offer (Telecom dailyLead from USTA) SecuPress; a Good Source of Security News (Sandra) Internet Telephony - Please Help My Dissertation (MJBarlow@gmail.com) Telecom and VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) Digest for the Internet. All contents here are copyrighted by Patrick Townson and the individual writers/correspondents. Articles may be used in other journals or newsgroups, provided the writer's name and the Digest are included in the fair use quote. By using -any name or email address- included herein for -any- reason other than responding to an article herein, you agree to pay a hundred dollars to the recipients of the email. =========================== Addresses herein are not to be added to any mailing list, nor to be sold or given away without explicit written consent. Chain letters, viruses, porn, spam, and miscellaneous junk are definitely unwelcome. We must fight spam for the same reason we fight crime: not because we are naive enough to believe that we will ever stamp it out, but because we do not want the kind of world that results when no one stands against crime. Geoffrey Welsh =========================== See the bottom of this issue for subscription and archive details and the name of our lawyer; other stuff of interest. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 01:06:02 -0500 From: Marcus Didius Falco <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Plan to Merge MCI, Qwest Has A Sour Ring http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A5750-2005Mar27.html By Jerry Knight Monday, March 28, 2005; Page E01 As a long-time advocate for investors, it pains me to say it, but MCI Inc.'s board of directors ought to tell shareholders who oppose merging with Verizon Communications Inc. to take a hike. It's true that Qwest Communications International Inc. is offering stockholders more money for MCI than Verizon -- $8.45 billion vs. $6.75 billion -- but merging with Qwest would be one of the dumbest deals in the history of Washington investing. MCI already is co-champion in the D.C.'s Dumbest Deals competition. Merging with Qwest could turn out to be an even bigger mistake than MCI's decision to sell out to WorldCom Inc., a blunder matched only by Time Warner Inc. selling itself to Dulles-based America Online Inc. The same "take the money" mentality that produced those two disastrous mega-mergers is behind the support by many of MCI's biggest stockholders for combining with Qwest. Unless the bids are raised -- and they may well be -- investors would get stock and cash worth $26 a share if MCI hooks up with Qwest and $20.75 if MCI goes with Verizon. While the higher price might arguably be in the best interest of shareholders, this is one of the rare instances when the interest of the shareholders and the interest of the company are not the same. It's doubtful that a merger with Qwest would be in the best interest of MCI, its customers, its employees or the Washington region -- even if it is good for the shareholders. There are shareholders and then there are shareholders. The vast majority of the investors who own MCI stock are not individual investors. Nor are they the mutual funds, insurance companies or pension funds that make investments on behalf of ordinary Americans. Most of those folks were wiped out by the bankruptcy reorganization that was necessary when the WorldCom/MCI merger was turned into a train wreck by accounting fraud, flawed business strategies and incompetent management. Those former shareholders are going to get a small part of their money back, thanks to a series of lawsuits (more about that later.) Today's MCI stockholders are mostly hedge funds -- private pools of money, managed for the ultrawealthy by the ultrawealthy with the goal of making as much money as possible as fast as possible, damn the risk or the consequences. "By our estimation, hedge funds make up two-thirds to 70 percent of the ownership of MCI," Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group Inc., the Arlington investment firm, said in a recent report on the MCI maneuvering. "It is quite reasonable," the FBR report noted, "that the majority of hedge-fund investors would prefer to cash out quickly in a Qwest-MCI deal rather than wait for potential upside from a Verizon-MCI combination." Reasonable for hedge funds, perhaps, but not for anyone else with a stake in MCI. Most independent evaluations of the competing offers agree with the implicit premise of the FBR report: There is more long-term potential for the company that would be created by merging MCI and Verizon than for the one that would be produced by combining MCI and Qwest. Verizon is the biggest and strongest of the regional Bell companies, Qwest the smallest and weakest -- burdened by $16.7 billion in long-term debt and so fragile that it may not be able to survive unless it finds a partner. Qwest is willing to pay more than Verizon for MCI because it needs MCI more. Qwest, of course, doesn't put it that way. Its executives argue that they can pay more because Qwest makes a better partner for MCI than Verizon, because they can fire more MCI employees than Verizon and because their deal is more likely to be approved by government regulators and approved quickly. That last claim is challenged by Blair Levin, a Washington-watcher for Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc., the Baltimore investment company. Levin, a former chief of staff of the Federal Communications Commission, says either transaction could win regulatory approval. As for the timing, neither is likely to be cleared until after regulators make a decision on AT&T Corp.'s plan to merge with SBC Communications Inc., a bigger and more precedent-laden merger. "It's probably going to be true that they are going to look at both deals together and when one [decision] comes out, the other will come out at the same time or shortly after," he said. Neither Verizon nor Qwest has gained much traction arguing that its offer is better from a regulatory standpoint, he added. "I don't think policy is going to tip the MCI decision one way or the other." Levin approaches the merger from a regulatory and policy point of view, but analysis based on business fundamentals generally comes down on the side of Verizon. It is a financially stronger company with a stock market value of $96.28 billion compared with Qwest's market capitalization of $6.87 billion. A $96 billion business that makes a $6.75 billion acquisition is making a modest investment. A $7 billion company that makes an $8.45 billion deal is betting the ranch. To make that bet pay off, Qwest plans to slash expenses at MCI. Many telecom analysts are skeptical of Qwest's claim that it can cut as many as 16,000 jobs -- and do so without hurting the quality of service to customers. That "promise" alone argues that the interests of the employees and the public would better be served by a merger with Verizon, which claims fewer than half as many job cuts will be needed. Absolutists on the issue of shareholder rights argue that neither the employees nor the customers matter. Nor does the risk that the combined company will founder down the road. If one offer gives stockholders more money today, then it should be accepted, they argue in support of Qwest (and in support of the hedge funds that are pressing MCI to take the money.) MCI board members so far have taken a broader view of the choice. After all, they got their jobs because their predecessors were ousted during the bankruptcy and ultimately forced to pay millions in damages out of their own pockets for not stopping the accounting fraud. But a merger decision must be ratified by stockholders, and with two-thirds of MCI's stock in the hands of quick-buck artists, that could be difficult. The worst thing that could happen -- and it's a real possibility -- is that the hedge fund stockholders hook up with Qwest and a stage a hostile takeover by voting out MCI's management. While the future of MCI hangs in the balance, the final act of its tragic marriage to WorldCom is playing out. Today, court proceedings are scheduled to begin in lawsuits filed on behalf of stock and bond holders against the accounting firm of Arthur Andersen LLP, which signed off on the fraudulent bookkeeping that ultimately destroyed WorldCom. All the other defendants in the cases have settled, including the investment banks that sold WorldCom stocks and bonds based on phony financial records and the former WorldCom board members who allowed the fraud to occur. Together, they have agreed to pay $6 billion in damages, $4.8 billion to bondholders and $1.2 billion to shareholders. Add the $433 million in restitution wrung out of Wall Street by the Securities and Exchange Commission in another case, part of which goes to WorldCom investors, and shareholders stand to get back more money than the victims of any other corporate fraud ever. The deadline for claiming a piece of the settlement was March 4, but the courts have the authority to sweep in investors who file belated claims, said a spokesman for New York State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi, who is supervising the cases because the state's employee pension fund was the biggest loser in the debacle. Anyone who bought WorldCom stock or bonds between April 29, 1999, and June 25, 2002 is potentially eligible to get some money back. Details on eligibility and how to file a claim can by found at www.worldcomlitigation.com. Copyright 2005 The Washington Post Company NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at http://telecom-digest.org/td-extra . Hundreds of new articles daily. *** FAIR USE NOTICE. This message contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This Internet discussion group is making it available without profit to group members who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information in their efforts to advance the understanding of literary, educational, political, and economic issues, for non-profit research and educational purposes only. I believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright owner, in this instance, The Washington Post Company. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 01:06:27 -0500 From: Marcus Didius Falco <email@example.com> Subject: Science and Society: Anatomy of a Techno-Myth -- Economist.com http://economist.com/printedition/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=3D3786384 The debate over the safety of mobile phones has little to do with science. DO MOBILE phones cause explosions at petrol stations? That question has just been exhaustively answered by Adam Burgess, a researcher at the University of Kent, in England. Oddly, however, Dr Burgess is not a physicist, but a sociologist. For the concern rests not on scientific evidence of any danger, but is instead the result of sociological factors: it is an urban myth, supported and propagated by official sources, but no less a myth for that. Dr Burgess presented his findings this week at the annual conference of the British Sociological Association. Mobile phones started to become widespread in the late 1980s, when the oil industry was in the middle of a concerted safety drive, Dr Burgess notes. This was, in large part, a response to the Piper Alpha disaster in 1988, when 167 people died in an explosion on an oil platform off the Scottish coast. The safety drive did not apply merely to offshore operations: employees at some British oil-company offices are now required to use handrails while walking up and down stairs, for example. So nobody questioned the precautionary ban on the use of mobile phones at petrol stations. The worry was that an electrical spark might ignite explosive fumes. By the late 1990s, however, phonemakers having conducted their own research realised that there was no danger of phones causing explosions since they could not generate the required sparks. But it was too late. The myth had taken hold. One problem, says Dr Burgess, is that the number of petrol-station fires increased in the late 1990s, just as mobile phones were proliferating. Richard Coates, BP's fire-safety adviser, investigated many of the 243 such fires that occurred around the world between 1993 and 2004. He concluded that most were indeed caused by sparks igniting petrol vapour, but the sparks themselves were the result of static electricity, not electrical equipment. Most drivers will have experienced a mild electric shock when climbing out of their vehicles. It is caused by friction between driver and seat, with the result that both end up electrically charged. When the driver touches the metal frame of the vehicle, the result is sometimes a spark. This seems to have become more common as plastic car interiors, synthetic garments and rubber-soled shoes have proliferated. A further complication was the rise of the internet, where hoax memos, many claiming to originate from oil companies, warned of the danger of using mobile phones in petrol stations. One e-mail contained fictitious examples of such explosions said to have happened in Indonesia and Australia. Another, supposedly sent out by Shell, found its way on to an internal website at Exxon, says Dr. Burgess, where it was treated as authoritative by employees. Such memos generally explain static fires quite accurately, but mistakenly attribute them to mobile phones. Official denials, says Dr Burgess, simply inflame the suspicions of conspiracy theorists. Despite the lack of evidence that mobile phones can cause explosions, bans remain in place around the world, though the rules vary widely. Warning signs abound in Britain, America, Canada and Australia. The city of Sao Paulo, in Brazil, introduced a ban last year. And, earlier this month, a member of Connecticut's senate proposed making the use of mobile phones in petrol stations in that state punishable by a $250 fine. For Dr Burgess, such concerns are part of a broader pattern of unease about mobile phones. There is a curious discrepancy, he notes, between the way that such phones have become indispensable, and the fact that they are also vaguely considered to be dangerous. This is particularly noticeable in Britain. The country that led the way in banning mobile phones at petrol stations is also the country that has taken the strongest line on the safety of mobile-phone use by children. In January, Sir William Stewart, the government's expert on the subject, warned that while there is no evidence that mobile phones are unsafe, as a precautionary measure children should use them only when absolutely necessary. The safety of mobile phones would appear to be not so much the province of the hard science of physics, as of the soft science of sociology. Copyright 2005 The Economist Newspaper and The Economist Group. NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at http://telecom-digest.org/td-extra . Hundreds of new articles daily. *** FAIR USE NOTICE. This message contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This Internet discussion group is making it available without profit to group members who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information in their efforts to advance the understanding of literary, educational, political, and economic issues, for non-profit research and educational purposes only. I believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright owner, in this instance, Economist Newspaper. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2005 20:27:21 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Divide Grows on Treatment of Students in Online Breach By Robert Weisman, Globe Staff A small backlash has formed against the business schools of Harvard and some of the nation's other most prestigious universities for denying admission to more than 200 applicants who used a loophole devised by a computer hacker to peek at their admission files. Last week, Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business, dissenting from Harvard's stern reaction to the digital trespassing, said it had accepted at least a few of the electronic intruders. For administrators at Harvard, MIT, Duke, and Carnegie Mellon, the attempts to view confidential data this month were the electronic equivalent of breaking and entering, wholly unworthy of the future captains of American commerce. But others see the online breaches as a victimless crime by overeager young people accustomed to copying and pasting links onto websites. The contrasting reactions may expose not only a generational divide in Internet etiquette but also increasingly divergent mores in the physical and virtual worlds at a time when free downloading of music and open-source software is commonplace. http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2005/03/28/divide_grows_on_treatment_of_students_in_online_breach/ ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2005 20:29:24 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <email@example.com> Subject: As Verizon Hikes 411 Cost, Rival Offers a Free Tryout By Peter J. Howe, Globe Staff | March 28, 2005 As Verizon prepares to nearly quadruple the price for calling 411 Friday, to $1.25, a North Carolina company that sells a discount directory-assistance alternative plans a big promotion: free calls for everyone in Massachusetts for the day. Starting Friday, barring a highly unlikely last-minute intervention by state regulators, Verizon is raising the price for calling 411 to $1.25 from 34 cents. Customers will, however, continue to get 10 free calls a month before they start paying the fee. In response, 411Saver, a company based in Maggie Valley, N.C., plans to offer unlimited free directory assistance calls to Bay State residents between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday. It is setting up a special number for the day: 1-866-MASS-411 (1-866-627-7411). http://www.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2005/03/28/as_verizon_hikes_411_cost_rival_offers_a_free_tryout/ [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Here at the Digest, we offer a directory assistance alternative which is quite affordable and easy to use. Plus which, the Digest benefits from your use of the service. DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE JUST 65 CENTS ONE OR TWO INQUIRIES CHARGED TO YOUR CREDIT CARD! REAL TIME, UP TO DATE! SPONSORED BY TELECOM DIGEST AND EASY411.COM SIGN UP AT http://www.easy411.com/telecomdigest ! Just as an example of how it works, at the above link, you register the telephone number or numbers you normally call from. Then ANI is used to capture that number each time you use the toll free number. It is a real, live, up to date service bureau, meaning changes and new additions are updated at least once per day. To hear a sample directory assistance call, listen to http://www.easy411.com/Easy411_call.wav. You just dial the 800 number (maybe assign it to a speed dial position) then give your one or two requests. Your credit card (based on the information you give them when you register for the service) gets billed 65 cents each time around, in reasonable billing increments with no minimum charges of any kind. Instead of dialing '411' for directory, you use our 800 number. And, the Digest gets a few cents 'commission' on each call you make. No equipment or any changes needed to your phone system, except you may with to put it on a speed dial entry. Let me know how it works for you if you choose to use it. PAT] ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 09:19:15 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Sony in Dispute Over Digital Projectors VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) -- There's a showdown brewing at the local movie theater, but it's not playing on the screen. It's in the projection booth. Sony Electronics Inc., a unit of Sony Corp., last week demonstrated a projection technology for digital cinema that displays images at twice the resolution of existing digital projectors. Sony plans to begin shipping the system in July, setting up a race with Texas Instruments Inc., whose technology is at the heart of digital projectors already on the market. The competition is emerging at the same time Hollywood is looking to work out a fair way to roll out digital cinema nationwide to replace the ubiquitous 35mm film projectors. Critics question how well the eye can distinguish between the 2,000 lines of resolution that current digital projectors have and the 4,000 lines Sony's new projector promises (by comparison, high-definition TV sets show up to 1,080 lines). They also question whether color separation and contrast are any better with a higher line count. Regardless, Landmark Theaters, owned by entrepreneur Mark Cuban, announced it would be the first to use the projectors, giving Sony a high-profile partner in the quality debate. - http://finance.lycos.com/home/news/story.asp?story=47961533 ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2005 17:20:46 -0500 From: Ankur Shah <voipuser@withheld on request> Subject: Vonage Move a Jobs Bonanza [Pat, please remove my email address from all postings] http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050325/NEWS/503250331/1001/NEWS01 Published in the Asbury Park Press 03/25/05 By DAVID P. WILLIS BUSINESS WRITER Vonage Holdings Corp., the nation's largest Internet telephone company, expects to move its offices to Holmdel, where it hopes to employ about 2,000 workers by the end of the year, a company spokesman said. The move would make Vonage one of the Shore's largest employers. The company, which now has 1,000 employees, has outgrown its offices on Route 27 in Edison, Vonage spokesman Jamie Serino said. "We are working right on top of each other," he said. The company is "close" to signing a lease for an office building in Holmdel, Serino said. He would not identify the location, but he said it would have space for another 1,000 employees the company expects to hire this year. Joseph Sarno, senior director at Cushman & Wakefield of New Jersey, believes Vonage will move into the former Prudential Property & Casualty Insurance Co. building, a two-story 358,932-square-foot office building on 88 acres on Route 520. "This is a big shot in the arm for the Monmouth County office market and also for the businesses and community of Holmdel to say the least," said Sarno, a Holmdel resident. "That building was looming as another big empty building in the Monmouth County market." Charlie Morrison, a Holmdel resident who worked for Bell Laboratories for more than 40 years, agreed. "Well, I'm sure that some of the people that are unemployed these days would be happy to hear" about the move, said Morrison, 83. *550,000 customers* Formed in January 2001, Vonage jump-started a hot new market that, while still small, is providing an alternative to traditional telephone service. Co-founded by Brielle resident Jeffrey Citron, the company offers local and long-distance telephone service over the Internet using a new technology called Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP for short. The technology gives customers who have a high-speed Internet connection a less expensive way to make telephone calls. Now telecommunications giants, such as AT&T Corp., Verizon Communications and Cablevision Systems, are offering their own service. Vonage, which has run ads on television and the Internet, has grown to more than 550,000 lines in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, up from about 130,000 as of March 31, 2004. "The company is growing very, very quickly. We are signing up over 15,000 customers a week," Serino said. The company estimates it will have 1 million customers by the end of the year. "As that number grows, we are going to have to have more people to serve that customer base," he said. "Every single week, we are bringing more and more people on. We are looking forward to recruiting in the area." The jobs will include customer care, technical support, and software development positions, Serino said. The new location in Holmdel will encompass the company's corporate offices, call center, network operations, research and operations and other functions, Serino said. "By the end of the summer, the majority of the company, if not the whole company, will move over," he said. Holmdel Mayor Larry Fink said it is good to see vacant office space used. "It should be especially exciting for residents of Holmdel and Monmouth County municipalities who formerly worked for AT&T, Lucent, Agere and Avaya, many of who are still looking for employment in the telecom industry," Fink said. "That might bode well for them." *Prospective employee* Mark P. Horvath, an electrical engineer who lives in Holmdel, said he was thrilled by news of the Vonage relocation. He's been looking for work since his former employer, Lucent spin-off Agere Systems, closed its area offices last year. He hopes maybe he'll be one of the local people the company hires when it moves here. "I'm glad to have them as a neighbor," said Horvath, 49. "It's nice when a company moves in; something sizable with a new direction like Vonage. It makes it a very impressive draw for other companies, as well." Sam Shramko, who moved to Holmdel in the early 1960s when his employer, Bell Laboratories, opened offices there, said the move would be a win-win situation for employers and employees alike. "I think (Holmdel) is the ideal place for a company, a technical company, because of the past communications and facilities that are around here," Shramko, 70, said. "They'd have a good labor force." ------------------------------ Date: 29 Mar 2005 15:19:30 -0000 From: John Levine <email@example.com> Subject: Horrible voice quality on skypeout Organization: I.E.C.C., Trumansburg NY USA My new USB handset showed up so I tried a couple of Skypeout calls to regular phone numbers. Ewww. It sounded really awful. Is this the USB handset, Skypeout, or am I just unlucky? R's, John ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 12:49:30 EST From: Telecom dailyLead from USTA <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: MCI Takes Revised Verizon Offer Telecom dailyLead from USTA March 29, 2005 http://www.dailylead.com/latestIssue.jsp?i=20418&l=2017006 TODAY'S HEADLINES NEWS OF THE DAY * MCI takes revised Verizon offer BUSINESS & INDUSTRY WATCH * Cablevision may join investment firms in bid for Adelphia * Kuwaiti telco enters fast-growing African market with buy * Alltel launches EV-DO in three new markets * Comcast looks to telephony, VOD to power growth * VeriSign likely to maintain .net domain control USTA SPOTLIGHT * VoIP 101: How to Rapidly Roll Out VoIP, March 31, 1:00 p.m. EST EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES * New chip merges electronics, fiber optics REGULATORY & LEGISLATIVE * Public comments as regulators consider lifting cell phone ban Follow the link below to read quick summaries of these stories and others. http://www.dailylead.com/latestIssue.jsp?i=20418&l=2017006 ------------------------------ From: Sandra <email@example.com> Subject: SecuPress: A Good Daily Source of Security News Date: 29 Mar 2005 04:39:07 -0800 SecuPress is a daily updated hacking and security relatedwebsite. We provide news and headlines from thousands of news sources worldwide. Visit us : http://www.secupress.com - Hacking & Security News ------------------------------ From: MJBarlow@gmail.com Subject: Internet Telephony - My Dissertation Date: 29 Mar 2005 08:36:09 -0800 Hi, I am in the final year of my MSc Computer Science at APU in Cambridge. I have designed an online questionnaire which examines the call habits of those that use software phones: www.mayshack.com Please complete the questionnaire it only takes 5 mins and will really help my dissertation. Matt Barlow ------------------------------ TELECOM Digest is an electronic journal devoted mostly but not exclusively to telecommunications topics. It is circulated anywhere there is email, in addition to various telecom forums on a variety of networks such as Compuserve and America On Line, Yahoo Groups, and other forums. It is also gatewayed to Usenet where it appears as the moderated newsgroup 'comp.dcom.telecom'. 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Any organizations listed are for identification purposes only and messages should not be considered any official expression by the organization. End of TELECOM Digest V24 #135 ******************************