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Volume 28 : Issue 16 : "text" Format

Messages in this Issue:
  Nortel Seeks Bankruptcy Protection
  A Text Arrives. Oh, It's Just an 'Idol' Ad. 
  Re: AT&T drops Appleton, WI time/temp service - local guy picks    it up  
  Re: AT&T drops Appleton, WI time/temp service - local guy picks it up 
  POTS Announcing Hardware -- What's It Called? 
  Re: AT&T drops Appleton, WI time/temp service - local guy   picks it up 
  Cell Phone Clock Inaccuracy 

====== 27 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======
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against crime.   Geoffrey Welsh


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and the name of our lawyer, and other stuff of interest.

Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 01:37:08 -0500
From: Monty Solomon <>
Subject: Nortel Seeks Bankruptcy Protection
Message-ID: <p06240829c595db54e603@[]>

Nortel Seeks Bankruptcy Protection

The New York Times
January 15, 2009

OTTAWA - Nortel Networks, the Canadian telecom equipment maker, filed 
for bankruptcy protection from creditors Wednesday but analysts said 
its troubles might be too severe for it to recover and survive.

Unlike other companies, notably airlines, that have used bankruptcy 
protection to renew their businesses, Nortel, which began this decade 
as one of the world's largest makers of telecommunications equipment, 
is probably headed for liquidation, several analysts said.

"I don't think it's going to exist," said Mark Sue, an analyst with 
RBC Capital Markets, a unit of the Royal Bank of Canada.

If Mr. Sue and others are correct, the end of Nortel would be one of 
largest failures in the telecommunications equipment business. During 
the 1990s, Nortel designed and built much of the fiber optic 
equipment that now carries most of the Internet's data.

Along with the company now known as Alcatel Lucent, it computerized 
the operation of telephone networks during the 1980s. Nortel 
pioneered the development of equipment and software that brought the 
world wireless phone networks.

Nortel's demise would also be among the biggest business failures in 
Canadian history. During the zenith of the technology boom, Nortel's 
market value accounted for about a third of all equity traded on the 
Toronto Stock Exchange.

Nortel's shares peaked at 124.50 Canadian dollars in July 2000 in 
trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. On Wednesday, Nortel closed at 
a market price of 12 Canadian cents, or 1.2 cents after adjusting for 
a stock consolidation. While the current economic slump contributed 
to Nortel's decision to file for protection in both Delaware and its 
hometown, Toronto, the company's problems began in 2001, when it was 
hit by the technology stock price collapse and became mired in an 
accounting scandal that led to criminal charges against three of its 
former executives.



Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 01:39:45 -0500
From: Monty Solomon <>
Subject: A Text Arrives. Oh, It's Just an 'Idol' Ad. 
Message-ID: <p0624082ac595dbe20753@[]>

A Text Arrives. Oh, It's Just an 'Idol' Ad.

The New York Times
January 14, 2009

Some AT&T Wireless customers have voted an emphatic no on a promotion 
for "American Idol" that popped up on their phones this week.

AT&T, a sponsor of the show, said it sent text messages to a 
"significant number" of its 75 million customers, urging them to tune 
in to the season premiere on Tuesday night.

But some recipients thought the message was a breach of cellphone 
etiquette, and gave it the kind of reaction that the "Idol" judge 
Simon Cowell might give an off-key crooner.

The online service Twitter had a steady stream of complaints. "AT&T 
just sent me a text message advertisement about 'American Idol.' 
Evil," a Twitter user named Joe Brockmeier wrote on Tuesday. "The 
economic downturn definitely means a spam upswing."

Another user named Nick Dawson wrote: "Seriously AT&T? Did you just 
text me twice during a meeting to tell me about 'American Idol?' Very 

Mark Siegel, a spokesman for AT&T Wireless, said the message was 
meant as a friendly reminder. "We want people to watch the show and 
participate," Mr. Siegel said. He added, "It makes perfect sense to 
use texting to tell people about a show built on texting."

Because AT&T is a sponsor of "American Idol," only its customers can 
use their cellphones to vote for their favorite singers via text 
message - so viewer participation means more revenue for AT&T.

In the advertisement, AT&T told recipients to "Get ready for American 
Idol" and pointed them to a company Web site promoting an 
"Idol"-related sweepstakes. It noted that recipients were not charged 
for the message, and that they could opt out of future advertisements 
by responding with the word "stop."

Mr. Siegel said the message went to subscribers who had voted for 
"Idol" singers in the past, and other "heavy texters." He said the 
message could not be classified as spam because it was free and 
because it allowed people to decline future missives.


***** Moderator's Note *****

Yes, AT&T, it _WAS_ spam.

Unsolicited and commercial = spam. "Opt out" is _NOT_ a defense.

Bill Horne
Temporary Moderator


Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 01:31:37 -0600
From: Dave Garland <>
Subject: Re: AT&T drops Appleton, WI time/temp service - local guy picks    it up  
Message-ID: <99idndj0Gtbzqu3UnZ2dnUVZ_ojinZ2d@posted.visi> wrote:

> Would anyone know of such time/temp services still available elsewhere
> in the U.S.?  Bell made a half-hearted effort to standardize them at
> 936-1212 but many places had their own number.  Later, some companies
> charged extra for it and it was a 976 number.

There must be.  There's at least one company selling rackmount gear to do just that.



Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 03:50:50 -0800 (PST)
From: David Kaye <>
Subject: Re: AT&T drops Appleton, WI time/temp service - local guy picks it up 
Message-ID: <>

On Jan 15, 8:51 am, Wes Leatherock <> wrote:

> In flat-rate exchanges, there is no revenue stream to the telco for
> providing the service on its own behalf.

In the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas, Pacific Telephone (later
aka Pacific Bell, prior to becoming SBC and AT&T) offered time service
on flat rate service.  They offered weather local to San Francisco and
Oakland, and to LA.  They ran these services for decades.

It was only when the curmugeonly SBC/AT&T came along and decided to
squeeze every nickel out of their network that they discontinued these


Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 04:39:40 -0800 (PST)
From: David Kaye <>
Subject: POTS Announcing Hardware -- What's It Called? 
Message-ID: <>

I'm trying to figure out what to call the hardware that takes an audio
feed and puts it out on multiple POTS lines.  The equipment has
hardware that talks to each line independently, answers the call,
takes the audio and puts it out onto the phone line, and times out
after X number of minutes, drops the call when the caller hangs up,

I can't buy the equipment if I don't know what it's called.  I'm not
really talking about voice cards such as Dialogic cards, but a self-
contained unit such as Automation Electronics of Oakland used to make.


And vendor recommendations?


Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 09:28:54 -0500
From: John Stahl <>
Subject: Re: AT&T drops Appleton, WI time/temp service - local guy   picks it up 
Message-ID: <>

On Thursday, January 15, 2009, Wes Leatherock <> wrote:

>On Thursday, January 15, 2009 8:53 AM wrote:
> > On Jan 14, 5:40 pm, "Michael G. Koerner" <> wrote:
> >
> >> A Darboy businessman saved a 59-year-old Appleton institution.
> >
> > Would anyone know of such time/temp services still available
> > elsewhere in the U.S.?  Bell made a half-hearted effort to
> > standardize them at 936-1212 but many places had their own number.
> > Later, some companies charged extra for it and it was a 976 number.
>In flat-rate cities Southwestern Bell never provided free time
>service.  That was practically all, maybe all, of Southwestern Bell
>Time service was available in most cities of any size in SWBT
>territory, sponsored by some local company which probided an
>advertising message along with it.  In Oklahoma City, the Audichron
>machine was on the main banking floor of the First National Bank and
>Trust Company, with blinking lights to show which lines were in use
>and handsets so customers and visitors to the bank could pick up on
>the spot and listen to the message.  The bank was, of course, the
>advertiser sponsoring the service.  Before divestiture the telco
>leased or purchased the machine from the Audichron Company and
>furnished it to the customer as a tariff item or special assembly.

The actual name of the company who has been making the Audichron (TM) 
"systems" since the beginning of telephone voice announcements is 
named ETC and is located just around the corner from Appleton, WI, in 
Waukesha. This is still a family owned company (Danner family) who I 
believe is in its third generation since opening back in 1949. I 
worked with this company back in the 90's for a couple of years. I no 
longer have any association with them so this info is purely from 
memory and from their web site.

Their business through these almost 60-years has always been audio related.

As I recall, ETC "owned" most of the Time and Weather telephone 
numbers (WE-6-1212 and ME-6-1212) in most MSA's and leased them to 
either the local Teleco or to a local business who sponsored the 
services. There were all sorts of sponsors (including the bank 
mentioned) like car dealers and so on.

According to their web site describing this "service" 
( they currently call the 
Time/Weather service, "WeatherTel®".

It was interesting in that I remember they had a small museum of 
sorts at their headquarters in WI where they had early models of 
their Audichron announcers and other products including an early 
telephone answering/announcing device which attached (in the days 
before the BellSystem would "allow" direct electrical connection) to 
the phone via a an electro-mechanical unit. This unit, in which the 
phone set (remember the 500 Sets?)  took the phone "off-hook" via a 
hardware device (would lift up allowing the "hook switch" buttons to 
rise) operated by a magnetic solenoid which was activated by a 
listening device which "heard" the bell ring and turned on. The 
handset was placed in a holding fixture which looked like the early 
mechanical modem connection "hood" so the ear-piece was placed 
adjacent to a microphone and the mouth-piece was placed next to a 
speaker. Thus the unit with a tape recording device in it, both 
recorded the caller's message and announced what ever the owner desired.

They are also one of the two sources for the Telco's switch 
controlled Voice Intercept systems. These are the CO switch 
mounted/connected voice responders which speak the special voice 
announcements we have all heard like, "I'm sorry but the number you 
have dialed has been changed or disconnected...." The units take 
their cue from the switch for all the necessary voice output. All of 
their units have had history of on-the-job 25-year life spans which 
Ma Bell required of anything they purchased. Early units (before 
digital technology) didn't use conventional tape or wire playback 
machines but had the phrases mechanically stored (too long a story 
for this space!)

The company's history is additionally quite interesting in that they 
had in their employ for many years the two persons' who voiced all of 
the messages, both male and female, which were heard on just about 
every Bell company system (RBOC's) and even later on many of the CLEC 
switches too. Over the years all of the words numbers and phrases 
have been recorded and digitized but are still the same people's 
voices today. The modern technology has made it such that the output 
of these systems sounds as if a human is doing the speaking while it 
is all digital from a "box"!

Perhaps if one were interested in how many Time/Weather systems ETC 
has out there, they might give them a call. I'm sure that ETC would 
give a pretty good "ball-park" number of how many are in service 
(it's a marketing thing!)


Telecom Digest Temporary Moderator wrote:

>Even in flat-rate environments, the telco could earn money from the
>time signal: it was allways leased to the FAA, police, fire, etc., for
>use as an independent log signal that was recorded under airport tower
>transmissions, police dispatchers, etc. I don't know how much they
>charged for the service.

As I recall, the CO switches (#5's and Nortel switches) all had 
pretty reliable time standards built into them for PSTN 
synchronization. Without the extremely accurate time, the signals 
between switches would be out of sync. Believe in later years, this 
time signal was derived from GEOS satellites (the ones which we get 
GPS signals from).So the Telco's could "sell" their time sync to 
customer's but it did not come from the Audichron device.

In fact the time accuracy for the Time/Weather system is sync'ed each 
time ETC uploads new weather data (via the phone line) to the 
customer located unit (see their web site.)


Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 13:29:28 -0600
From: Frank Stearns <>
Subject: Cell Phone Clock Inaccuracy 
Message-ID: <tO2dnUBg84qFfe3UnZ2dnUVZ_srinZ2d@posted.palinacquisition>
Keywords: cell phone clock inaccuracy
Summary: why doesn't a cell phone show the correct time of day?

And all this time I thought cell phones were
networked-synched for their time-of-day displays.

For the 10 years I've carried a cell phone (two qualcomms
and now a Samsung), the time-of-day has been reliable and

That ended on Christmas eve day, when I temporarily lost my
phone, decided to get a replacement (another Samsung) and
discovered that its clock was 4-6 minutes slow. The
T-mobile store people assured me this "happened all the
time" -- some clocks were on, others were off. "That
doesn't make any sense," I said.

They shrugged. My old phone was found and returned a few
days later. I disliked the new phone for many reasons
besides the slow clock, so I took it back, reactivated my old
phone. And now it too was 4-6 minutes slow. I can travel to
different areas and compare my phone to others' with the
same carrier. They're on, I'm off.

I can manually set the clock in the phone, but within a few
moments it is  updated back to the wrong time. I went back
to the store, checked maybe 18 display phones. Three were
running 4-6 minutes slow, two were more than five hours
off, the others were accurate, far as I could tell.

So now I'm trying to understand just how this is happening,
assuming a network time sync signal, and moreover, how it
can be fixed. (T-Mobile Tech Support said they wouldn't
even consider generating a trouble ticket until "enough"
people complained.)

Any ideas?



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