TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Buyouts of AT&T, MCI Sign of Long Distance's Demise

Re: Buyouts of AT&T, MCI Sign of Long Distance's Demise
28 Feb 2005 13:35:07 -0800

Dave Close wrote:

> I don't think the parallels are very close. The impact of telco
> changes are almost purely economic, the cost of carrying a call keeps
> going down, but the impact of cheap computer memory has been sloppy
> programming. Yes, it gets done more quickly, but it often doesn't work
> quite right and no one knows it well enough to fix it.

Sloppy programming is an altogether separate issue. Indeed, it was
easier to make mistakes under the old way due to tracking the many
little bits that could have multiple meanings in different scenarios,
and programs that did fancy tricks to save memory and CPU cycles.

The stuff I referred too is mostly technical but doesn't hurt code
quality. For instance, on the mainframe a data field would be
specified in various classes of numeric to maximize efficiency. We
don't bother with that today (unless the files and processing are
really large and complex) because the computers handle millions of
records so very quickly. (PCs support some of that too but I doubt
many use PC's packed decimal fields).

Cheap computing has allowed things like spreadsheets and word
processing to be freely available to individuals. We used to do that
stuff on the mainframe, but it was very wasteful to tie up a big
expensive mainframe as a typewriter or adding machine.

> Of course, "long distance" may be dead, but we still have those, some
> of them on this list, who continue to insist on toll-alerting. Any
> possible value of that system gets less every day. I say to the
> advocates: isn't it about time to admit toll-alerting is a dead-end?

Unlimited long distance is available reasonably cheaply for
residential customers, but I think business customers still have to
pay pretty high WATS rates. It's much cheaper today, but for
businesses the meter is still running, so some controls make sense.

Remember today business controls are much less than in years past. In
the past, only big bosses would be able to dial outside, and still had
to place toll calls with the PBX operator who would write up a toll
ticket. Not like that today.

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