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TELECOM Digest     Fri, 7 Oct 2005 00:04:00 EDT    Volume 24 : Issue 456

Inside This Issue:                            Editor: Patrick A. Townson

    Re: Electric Powerlines to be Used For Broadband (John Hines)
    Re: Electric Powerlines to be Used For Broadband  (John Stahl)
    Re: U.S. FTC Sues New Hampshire 'Spyware' Operation (David B. Horvath)
    Re: U.S. FTC Sues New Hampshire 'Spyware' Operation (Barry Margolin)
    Re: 2L-4N, 3L-4N, 2L-5N Numbering (Neal McLain)
    Re: United States Says No! Internet is Ours! (George Mitchell)
    Re: Disaster Recovery in 1871 (Norm)

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
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Addresses herein are not to be added to any mailing list, nor to be
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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.  


From: John Hines <>
Subject: Re: Electric Powerlines to be Used For Broadband
Date: Thu, 06 Oct 2005 15:18:21 -0500

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: A couple things I do not understand
> about voice communication over electrical power lines: Some say it
> will not work; others say it is okay.

My understanding is there are two different electrical systems in the
world, the 220v version the rest of the world uses, and the 110v the
US uses. In the rest of the world, a fairly large number of residences
are run off a single transformer, where in the USofA, a much smaller
number are run.

For example, in my neighborhood, each block of houses (8-10) has its
own transformer, which would require a fiber run, or some way to
couple it to the 12kv 3phase line that drives the transformer.

Multiply by millions and millions of these things all over the place,
and it is easy to see why, even though it is being reported in the US
media, the actual action is taking place in a foreign county, in the
article, it was Japan.


Date: Thu, 06 Oct 2005 18:17:07 -0400
From: John Stahl <>
Subject: Re: Electric Powerlines to be Used For Broadband 

Previously published:

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: A couple things I do not understand
> about voice communication over electrical power lines: Some say it
> will not work; others say it is okay.    <clip>

The real bottom line measurement for potential deployment is probably
cost.  The existing technology of "transmitting" broadband over a
medium to/from the end-user is pretty mature technology (for example
DSL, broadband over cable, wireless, etc.) and therefore probably able
to offer much lower costs than BPL will ever offer.

The following article indicates that one of the major power companies
(Pittsburgh Power and Light, Allentown, PA) in field testing phase of
BPL (Broadband Over Power Line) technology has decided to
"pull-the-plug" and not pursue widespread deployment.

Full article at:

> custlogo.gif
> 10/04/2005
> PPL Corp.ditches Internet program

> Intense competition and the high cost of a full-scale rollout prompted PPL 
> Corp. on Monday to ditch a year-old pilot program that offered residential 
> customers Internet service over the electric company's power lines.

According to earlier published articles about this technology, the
basics of design came from research and development of European power
companies.  But their usage differs from potential US deployment from
the basic differences in end-user voltage of 240 VAC (Europe) vs. 120
VAC (US). The European distribution system normally connects something
like 200 - 300 end-users into one (last link) transformer distribution
point while the US power system has something like 4 or so end-users
connected to the (last link) power transformer. This big difference
makes the US proposed BPL system design more expensive than other
deployed methods of supplying broadband to end-users.

Don't be surprised to see many more of the BPL testing power companies
to similarly end their testing and plans for deployment.

John Stahl
Telecom/Data Consultant
Aljon Enterprises


Date: Thu,  6 Oct 2005 16:54:59 -0400
Subject: Re: U.S. FTC Sues New Hampshire 'Spyware' Operation
From: David B. Horvath, CCP <>

PAT -- please mung return address, real name is fine.

On Date: 6 Oct 2005 09:19:43 -0700, wrote:

> It's too bad the programming profession never developed widely
> recognized codes of ethics and professional standards like CPAs or
> PEs.

Actually there are, unfortunately too many people have the mind set
"the kid down the street can do it, why should I pay more for you
because you're certified".

Check out  or  or even

I will mention that I volunteer with the ICCP.

> I think the programmers ought to be prosecuted as accomplices in
> creating of fraud.  Likewise for those who create spam systems.

That's a tough one. If I write some generic code for the company that 
they later add into the larger spamming package, would I also be 
subject to prosecution even though I had no way of forseeing the final 
use of that code?  

Should car dealers go to jail as accomplices for selling cars to
habitual drunkards? Should gun manufacturers and dealers go to jail as
accomplices for selling guns to someone with a clean record who goes
and commits a crime with that gun?

> Can anyone make a case to defend the programmers who do such garbage?

Because they are unemployed and the alternative is their kids going
hungry/homeless (or nearly so while trying to live on McDonald's
wages)?  Or because they're on H1 visas and will be kicked out of the
country if unemployed. Or they're really sitting in Russia or India or
Karjackastan which don't have laws against such activities?

- David


From: Barry Margolin <>
Subject: Re: U.S. FTC Sues New Hampshire 'Spyware' Operation
Organization: Symantec
Date: Thu, 06 Oct 2005 19:23:18 -0400

In article <>, 

> Reuters News Wire wrote:

>> Those infected with Odysseus' spyware have their search results
>> corrupted as well, the FTC said. When they try to use a search engine
>> like Yahoo or Google, they are steered to a look-alike page that
>> prominently lists Odysseus clients in the results.
>> Those who use an Odysseus software tool to remove the spyware only
>> draw more unwanted programs on to their computers, the FTC said.

> The practices described are outright fraud.

> I wonder what kind of people work as programmers for these kinds of
> outfits.  I used to think -- obviously incorrectly -- that computer
> programmers had some level of ethics and would use their skills and
> gifts for good, not evil.

Why would you expect programmers to be different from the rest of
humanity?  There are evil people in all walks of life.  I'd expect
priests to be the epitome of morality, yet we have all those child
abuse scandals.

> It's too bad the programming profession never developed widely
> recognized codes of ethics and professional standards like CPAs or
> PEs.

Organizations like ACM do publish codes of ethics.  Buta code of
ethics has little force if the profession doesn't require licensing.
And even if it does, why would a malware company care whether their
employees are licensed?  It would be like not hiring an assasin
because he couldn't get a proper gun license.

> I think the programmers ought to be prosecuted as accomplices in
> creating of fraud.  Likewise for those who create spam systems.

> Can anyone make a case to defend the programmers who do such garbage?

I could be wrong, but I assumed these programs were written by the bad
guys themselves, they didn't hire programmers to do it.  Then they
sell their programs to other bad guys.

Barry Margolin,
Arlington, MA
*** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me ***


Date: Thu, 06 Oct 2005 20:45:42 -0500
From: Neal McLain <>
Subject: Re: 2L-4N, 3L-4N, 2L-5N Numbering

During the 1952 presidential election campaign, the Democratic
candidate Adlai Stevenson had complained about "the mess in
Washington," apparently referring to the ongoing war in Korea and
alleged corruption in the Truman administration.

The Republican campaign adopted a strategy of ignoring Stevenson, and
concentrated its efforts on discrediting Truman while positioning the
Republican candidate, Dwight Eisenhower, as the candidate who could
clean up the mess.

While this was going on, C&P Telephone converted the Washington DC
area (including suburbs in Maryland and Virginia) from 2L-4D to 2L-5D.
An example that comes to mind: Bethesda's OLympic XXXX became OLympic

That change really did create a mess in Washington, as contemporary
commentators and cartoonists noted.  One memorable newspaper cartoon
featured a telephone operator speaking with a customer, noting that
"that number has been changed to (some NNX code)-OOU2."

Neal McLain


From: George Mitchell <>
Subject: Re: United States Says No! Internet is Ours!
Date: Thu, 06 Oct 2005 14:33:21 -0700
Organization: Posted via Supernews,

Kenneth P. Stox wrote:

> Am I the only one who is ROFLMAO about this? There is nothing
> preventing other nations and/or organizations from setting up their
> own root servers. [...]

Anybody who wants to can set up their own name servers, and they don't
have to ever connect to the current root name servers.  But few people
are inclined to do this.  Ninety-nine percent of users will simply
configure their systems to use their ISP's name servers by virtue of
doing nothing: DHCP, the same protocol by which they receive their IP
address assignment, will also tell them the IP address(es) to use for
domain name lookups.  Ninety-nine percent of ISPs will use the root
name server hints which were packaged with their own name server setup
packages, and guess where those hints will send domain name requests
for the root zone?

Various people have tried on more than one occasion to set up meaning-
ful alternative root name servers.  None achieved wide acceptance, and
no one I know of has even tried in the last five years.

-- George Mitchell


From: Norm <>
Subject: Re: Disaster Recovery in 1871
Date: Thu, 06 Oct 2005 15:11:19 -0400
Organization: Posted via Supernews,

Nice item, thanks!  I've looked for something you posted a dozen years
ago, that happened during the initial A- bomb testing, where they
couldn't make phone calls and someone drove out and traced the
telephone lines to the "central" office in a house and woke the
operator.  Is that still around somewhere?  



[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: The story goes like this ... in the
early to middle 1960's I was employed as a telephone operator at the
University of Chicago. I lived in an apartment hotel on East 56th
Street, 56th and Hyde Park Blvd. to be precise. Another resident of
the hotel was Mrs. Laura Fermi, widow of the late Enrico Fermi, of
atomic bomb fame. Mrs. Fermi was a typical, 'well-to-do' widow. She,
on various occassions 'invited' me, a Young Man to join her for dinner
and cocktails at 'The Anchorage', the hotel's dining room and cocktail
lounge. I almost always accepted her invitation. In those days, forty
years ago, the Windermere Hotel (phone FAIrfax 4-6000) was not only a
very good place for a Young Man to live, but the bar and restaurant
was very 'cozy' also. Of course dinner and drinks were on her on-going
always-open tab at the restaurant/bar/hotel. I understand now that
maybe 20-25 years ago, UC bought the property and converted it into
faculty housing. I understand the bar, restaurant, front lobby, etc
have, like much of Hyde Park these days lost their luster, if in fact
The Anchorage is even still open, which I sort of doubt. Anyway, this
would have been in 1962-63 or thereabouts. Mrs. Fermi told me a very
interesting story which I will relate to you. After I first related
this here in the Digest, middle to late 1980's there were some readers
who discredited it to varying degrees. The discredits ranged from
polite attempts to set the record straight, to more crude replies
about older ladies spending forty dollars (in 1960's money) to
entertain and amuse a Young Man with food and drink for whatever
reason, once or twice weekly.  Most readers did not discredit the
account, nor me, nor Mrs. Fermi however. Certainly, as a telephone
operator at a prestigious university, and a salary to match the
cheap standards of UC (i.e. 'you should be glad to be allowed to
work here, do not bother us asking for still more money') I certainly
could not afford to eat/drink at The Anchorage, although I did live in 
the building. The Hyde Park Coffee Shop up the street was more my
speed. Anyway, Mrs. Fermi was good friends with Doctor and Mrs. Beadle,
(in those days _he_ was president of UC) so it just seemed 'prudent'
IMO, for this Young Man to do what was expected of him. 

With this preamble in mind, Mrs. Fermi told me this acccount of the 
closing days of World War II:

"Enrico and several fellow employees in his lab were asked to go out
to Alamagordo, NM, to monitor one of the test explosions. It was all
very hush-hush, secrecy was still in effect and quite widely
enforced. He took me along, and was to report to a certain place about
forty miles out in the desert about 3 AM that day. We  checked into a
motel outside Alamagordo, then drove out to the place where Encrico
was to set up his observation equipment. As luck would have it, it
started raining, a very hard drenching rain. We sat in the car and
waited until the rain stopped, then he sat up his testing gear. The
test explosion was to happen at 4 AM, but 4 AM came and went; no bomb

"Finally Enrico got to thinking it out and he said that maybe because
of the heavy rain the test had been called off. He would need to check
with the other scientists and see what was going on. He packed up all
his equipment and we drove back toward Alamagordo. The only place that 
was open at that time of night was the motel we were staying in, so he
drove the car up and stopped next to the public phone in the parking
lot.  He put a nickel in the phone and waited and waited and waited
for an answer from the operator; which never happened. He finally
slammed the phone down in disgust and said 'I am going to find out
what is going on here.' We got back in the car, and starting from that
payphone booth, he began driving slowly down the street, all the while
stickihg his head out of the car window studying the overhead wires.
We went down one street, then the wires turned another way and we
started going down that street. I know why he put the nickle in the
phone; all the scientists on this mission had agreed that if anything
went wrong they would talk in code to each oher; him in Alamadordo,
the other guys elsewhere. Anyway, driving down the street he suddenly
saw what he was looking for; there was this one house and out of the
sky from various directions came bunches of telephone wires; all the
wires went in through a hole on the side of this lady's house. A bunch
of wires as thick as your wrist; all came out of the sky from various
directions and went into this house. 

"It just looked like any regular house; but the front porch light was
turned on, the front door was open but the screen door was latched. In
the house itself sat a telephone switchboard, with bunches of lights
blinking off and on. A radio was playing soft music in the background
and there was a sofa nearby; stretched out on the sofa was a woman who
was sound asleep.  

"Enrico banged and pounded on the door for a couple minutes, then the
lady must have woke up; she sat up sort of startled, looked over at
Enrico by the door, then turned and looked at the switchboard all
glowing with people waiting for service. She looked back at Enrico and
literally jerked to her feet, stood up, walked over to the switchboard,
sat down and began taking the calls as fast as she could. Enrico said
to me as he got back in the car, let's go back to my observation
point. And we drove out there right away; Enrico set up his test gear
once again, and about eight or ten minutes after we got there, the
test explosion went off. 

"We found out later that all those guys had been trying to get in
touch with one another since a few minutes after 4 AM, but the
central swithboard for that area was going unanswered while this woman
had her nap. I cannot blame her, really, yes, she should have been
awake and alert, but given that she worked nights and had to sleep in
the daytime, it was a 'mere' 115 degrees the day before, too hot to
sleep during the day when she should have been, and then that night it
rained, blessed cool air and she fell asleep. I doubt if on a typical
night there were ever more than one or two calls through the board all
night (there was a 'night bell' and a 'flashing light' which should
have woken her up in those cases) but somehow they did not do so. 

"I seriously doubt to this day that the lady knows the reason the
atomic test explosion was delayed for an hour and fifteen minutes was
because _she_ was asleep. Enrico said to me 'I am not going to tell on
her and get her in trouble.' She looked to me like just a teenage girl


Now that was the story as told by Laura Fermi, eighteen years after it
happened, and twenty-five years (my first relaying of it) after I
heard it and now forty years (my second relaying of it.) Is it a true
story or not?  Or was Mrs. Fermi a wee bit forgetful that night?  Or
did I have too many shots of brandy or some other after-dinner liquor
in me?      PAT] 


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