TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Bell Divestiture

Re: Bell Divestiture
21 Jun 2005 14:03:51 -0700

Robert Bonomi wrote:

> You apparently know more about DTSS than _Dartmouth_ does. I checked
> the Dartmouth history before posting that. Yes, Dartmouth invented
> time-sharing, I acknowledged that. Development _started_ in 1963, but
> it wasn't operational until May of 1964. (It supported an entire *TWO*
> terminals in its original form.)

Thank you for being ever so precise. We'll come back to this later.

> Your opinion does not agree with the official rulings of the Illinois
> regulatory authorities. Thus, it is safe to say that in the
> jurisdiction where the events occurred, you are quite wrong.

What were the rulings of all the other states? How was it handled
in Canada?

> Putting a bigger engine in a Corvette will let it "go faster"; it is
> utterly irrelevant, however, to increasing the number of passengers
> that that car can carry.

Yes, it does. For one, the car could make multiple trips. The
passengers might spend the same amount of time doing their shopping or
whatever, but a faster car will cut down the travel down.

Further, if roads are blocked, a fast car can make more choices to get
around the blockade, perhaps go way out of its way to get through.

> You've never seen tracks for two competing railroads running
> side-by-side? Tell me, in 1950, say, who had the 'monopoly' for
> passenger service between New York City, and Chicago? Or for freight
> between those locations, for that matter?

There are certainly tracks running side by side, but NOT for the
entire distance from origin and destination points or the route via
intermediate points. For your example, there were multiple railroads
between NYC and Chicago, but all took their own routing and began and
ended in different places. (Some railroads used tracks or terminals
of another).

> This was a "short-term" expenditure of money now, to maximize
> "long-term" benefits.

That's very. But earlier you made it sound as if that practice was
somehow 'bad' i.e., "the Bell System never did anything unless it was
forced to". Well, I don't see anyone forcing Bell to go Touch Tone,
but I see a business becoming more efficient. What's wrong with that?
How is that different from any other business?

>> In 1970 I guess, I do not remember for sure, they brought around
>> terminals, sat them on the desks and told people 'Do not Touch These'
>> until we explain what to do, which was about a month later. We were
>> told these would be replacing some of the job functions that had been
>> done manually before. PAT]

> Probably '71 or '72. After upgrade to a S/370 gave them the
> horsepower to run 'online' CICS. The 360 didn't have the speed/power
> to do all the records work that SO threw at it, _and_ handle the
> overhead of on-line processing.

Some corrections: Do you know _exactly_ when Standard Oil upgraded
their mainframe and operations units? Otherwise you are making some
incorrect assumptions:

1) CICS was not IBM's only online terminal processing system. There
were and remain others*, too. CICS evolved to be the most common.
[*for extra large and extra small online processing.]

2) A System/360 could and did handle online transactions. It wasn't
as fancy as the S/370 CICS 3270 system, but it did so. The high end
S/360s units were quite powerful. We had a low-end S/360 that handled
both online and batch processing. It's possible SO may have had
multiple computers for different tasks.

3) It would seem strange to post the credit card transaction clips
Pat mentioned via CICS data entry when the slips were already
machine readable.

> That would be generally considered "late" in the decade. Typically,
> x0-x3 was 'early', x4-x6 was 'mid', and 'x7-x9' was 'late. Sometimes
> people would blur things, and do things like call x6-x7 'late mid".

> The data-line growth at that time was the proverbial 'drop in the bucket'
> compared to a decade later.

"Typically"? "Drop in the bucket"?

That doesn't sound very precise. Are you referring to some

What is a "drop"? What is a "bucket"?

Yes, I'm intentionally being snarky here because you're constantly
citing some obscure standard for this or for that. To be consistent,
you should be quoting _exactly_ how many total lines the Bell System
had from 1967 through 1983 and exactly how many of those lines were
used for _any_ kind of dial-up data transmission, Teletype, or BBS
service, so we could see the growth of both.

I don't know the specific numbers. However I do know back in those
days (late 60s, whatever you want to define that as) that lots of
businesses and schools were getting Teletypes and getting hooked in.
Into the early 1970s other faster terminals (300 speed) made their
appearance as well. These hookups were getting widespread publicity.
At the same time, many computers were getting dialup to connect remote
data centers to a central one.

The point is that this was a clearly growing business and the Bell
System was gearing up for it. Early on it added the # and * to TT
keypads. Teletype itself was developing faster terminals.

> Is Judge Greene, or the FCC, enough of an authority?

What exactly did he say? What exactly did the FCC say and when did
they say it? Was this a long established intentionally established
policy or did it sort of evolve?

As to Judge Greene, not everbody agreed with him. The history of
Mountain Bell clearly demonstrates the incredible waste of splitting
up a tightly integrated infrastructure and I'm sure that went on in
other Bell units as well. Oslin, the author of the Western Union
history, noted many deficiencies of Greene's decisions from a
telecommunications point of view.

For us everyday consumers (who no one obviously cares about), we saw
our short-distance toll charges GO UP. We found ourselves paying 25c
a minute for a cross LATA phone call that AT&T previously charged us
5c a minute. We found ourselves paying $25 a minute unsuspectingly at
pay phones. The few people who called cross country often came out
ahead. Of course our local rates went up, too.

Then there were the scams of cheap rates but under a $5 monthly "fee".
Well, if you weren't even making $5 worth a toll calls, they the new
plan would cost you MORE money.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: They used CICS data entry because they
did not have equipment to read them directly in the early years, and
some of the cards were readable by a human eye (using some imagination
and thought) but were not readable by a machine eye with any degree
of accuracy. You know, like make your digit '2' just like so, and only
in the little box allocated for it, and use a certain kind of pencil
or marking pen. It was hard to train the dealers properly. PAT]

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