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Volume 28 : Issue 52 : "text" Format

Messages in this Issue:
  Re: TeleTrap from TelTech Systems 
  Low-Tech Fixes for High-Tech Problems
  Re: Low-Tech Fixes for High-Tech Problems 
  When your files are online and you aren't
  The Cellphone, Navigating Our Lives

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Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2009 21:32:12 +0000 (UTC)
From: danny burstein <>
Subject: Re: TeleTrap from TelTech Systems 
Message-ID: <gnkj4s$s98$>

 [snip, regarding how "trapcall" works]

While I have no firsthand knowledge of their system, I'll
take a guess based on the info on their web page.

What they claim to do is enable a recipient _on some
cellphone accounts_ (that's part of the key here), when
receiving a call that has CNID blocked, hit a few keys,
route the call back to Teltech (Trapcall), and
then get the call re-re-routed back to them, this
time with a CNID stamp.

There are two tricks here which let it work. At least
from a technical side. I'm not sure of the legalities..

a: When the cellular customer first "gets" the call and
then hits the "deny" button, the call is redirected to
the server at teltech. This is the same situation as if
the original recipient bounced it to v-mail or... as
in many cases, to their landline office or home phone.

In these situations the call to the third party is treated
just as the original one would be, and the caller ID, if 
present, gets sent forward as well.

In other words, if you're at home (and you've got a landline
with caller ID display) and you've got your cell phone set
up to "bounce" to your home phone (either automatically or
when you hit a key), and a call comes in, you'll see the
first CNID on your cellphone. Then, when you bounce it
over, it'll show up on your land line.

The original caller doesn't get any obvious indication
that the call has been kicked over to a different phone.

Now if the CNID is blocked, then neither your cell phone
nor the land line will show it. 


b: now we get to the magic trick. In reality standard CNID
is, indeed, sent from the original caller along with the
call initiation itself. If it isn't "blocked", then it gets
transmitted to the recipient's phone. If the caller has
chosen to block it, then the CNID string makes it "all the way"
to the "central office" (term used a bit loosely) that's
just before the recipient. That CO, instead of continuing
to pass the CNID, sends along a "private" or "blocked" message.

Keep in mind, again, that the CNID _is_ making it right to
that last central office.

What I suspect TelTech is doing is simply grabbing that CNID
on the "bounced" call, and instead of dumping it onto
the side, they've decided to pass it through.

As to the legalities: On the one hand the FCC is pretty
strict with CNID blocking. On the other, and this is where
I suspect TelTech is hanging their hook, if the recipient
is paying for the call (as in an "800" number), then 
they're allowed to get the info.

(Usually it's via ANI rather than CNID, but the concept
is the same).

Since cellular customers pay for incoming calls, then
a good case could be made (and I've made it in the past,
but never pushed it through...) that cellular accounts
should be able to similarly see who's calling.

Knowledge may be power, but communications is the key 
[to foil spammers, my address has been double rot-13 encoded]


Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2009 09:20:29 -0500
From: Monty Solomon <>
Subject: Low-Tech Fixes for High-Tech Problems
Message-ID: <p06240819c5c46bce36ca@[]>

Low-Tech Fixes for High-Tech Problems

February 19, 2009

BEHIND the cash register at Smoke Shop No. 2 in downtown San 
Francisco, Sam Azar swipes a customer's credit card to ring up 
Turkish cigarettes. The store's card reader fails to scan the card's 
magnetic strip. Azar swipes again, and again. No luck.

As customers begin to queue, he reaches beneath the counter for a 
black plastic bag. He wraps one layer of the plastic around the card 
and swipes it again. Success. The sale is rung up.

"I don't know how it works, it just does," says Mr. Azar, who learned 
the trick years ago from another clerk. Verifone, the company that 
makes the store's card reader, would not confirm or deny that the 
plastic bag trick works. But it's one of many low-tech fixes for 
high-tech failures that people without engineering degrees have 
discovered, often out of desperation, and shared.

Today's shaky economy is likely to produce many more such tricks. "In 
postwar Japan, the economy wasn't doing so great, so you couldn't get 
everyday-use items like household cleaners," says Lisa Katayama, 
author of "Urawaza," a book named after the Japanese term for clever 
lifestyle tips and tricks. "So people looked for ways to do with what 
they had."

Popular urawaza include picking up broken glass from the kitchen 
floor with a slice of bread, or placing houseplants on a water-soaked 
diaper to keep them watered during a vacation trip.
Today, Americans are finding their own tips and tricks for fixing 
misbehaving gadgets with supplies as simple as paper and adhesive 
tape. Some, like Mr. Azar's plastic bag, are open to argument as to 
how they work, or whether they really work at all. But many tech home 
remedies can be explained by a little science.

Cellphone Losing Charge

If your cellphone loses its battery charge too quickly while idle in 
your pocket, part of the problem may be that your pocket is too warm.

"Cellphone batteries do indeed last a bit longer if kept cool," says 
Isidor Buchanan, editor of the Battery University Web site. The 
98.6-degree body heat of a human, transmitted through a cloth pocket 
to a cellphone inside, is enough to speed up chemical processes 
inside the phone's battery. That makes it run down faster. To keep 
the phone cooler, carry it in your purse or on your belt.

This same method can be used to preserve your battery should you find 
yourself away from home without your charger. Turn off the phone and 
put it in the hotel refrigerator overnight to slow the battery's 
natural tendency to lose its charge.



Date: Sat, 21 Feb 2009 12:11:37 +1100
From: David Clayton <>
Subject: Re: Low-Tech Fixes for High-Tech Problems 
Message-ID: <>

On Fri, 20 Feb 2009 18:51:50 -0500, Monty Solomon wrote:

> Low-Tech Fixes for High-Tech Problems ........
> This same method can be used to preserve your battery should you find
> yourself away from home without your charger. Turn off the phone and put
> it in the hotel refrigerator overnight to slow the battery's natural
> tendency to lose its charge.
And if you keep "normal" batteries at home as spares, keep them in the
freezer to slow the natural discharge/aging process. They may not work
correctly until they have thawed out, but they will be there for you with
more capacity left in them than those stored at room temperature for the
same time.

Regards, David.

David Clayton
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Knowledge is a measure of how many answers you have, intelligence is a
measure of how many questions you have.


Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2009 11:12:02 -0500
From: Monty Solomon <>
Subject: When your files are online and you aren't
Message-ID: <p06240835c5c486a280cc@[]>

When your files are online and you aren't

By Hiawatha Bray, Globe Staff  |  February 19, 2009
The Boston Globe

Funny thing about cloud computing - it's useless at 35,000 feet.

In cloud computing, you rely on applications running on the Internet 
instead of on your personal machine. So rather than write a file in 
Microsoft Corp.'s Word or Excel, you might use Google Docs. This 
online suite from Google Inc. features word processor and spreadsheet 
programs and stores your documents in the Internet cloud.

But online documents aren't much use when you're disconnected from 
the Internet - like when you're flying. Airline companies are 
beginning to deploy on-board Wi-Fi service, but it'll be a couple of 
years before it is generally available. And even on the ground, you 
can't always find an Internet connection.

With earthbound copies of critical files, you can work on them as 
needed and upload any changes to the Net, first chance you get. And 
if you work on multiple computers, you can share updated files with 
all your other machines.

If you're a Google Docs user, get a copy of Gears. This free program, 
available at, lets you download your 
Google-generated documents onto your computer. Work with them even 
when you're offline, and when you log in again, Gears uploads your 
modified documents to the Google Docs Internet server, so your 
up-to-date document is available on any Internet-connected machine.

Gears isn't just for Google Docs fans; it works with other cloud 
computing services, including Zoho, a rival online document editing 
service, and Google's Gmail messaging service. You can plow through 
your e-mail on the plane, write up replies, then transmit them once 
you're back online.

But Gears has its limitations. For instance, you can edit your 
existing Google Docs when offline, but you can't create new ones. 
Besides, Gears gives you no easy way to share multimedia files, like 
video, audio, and digital photographs.


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

When I find a document stranded "in the cloud", while I'm
incommunicado, I resort to coding in HTML on Notepad. It works fine,
and is always portable.

Bill Horne
Temporary Moderator


Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2009 22:35:43 -0500
From: Monty Solomon <>
Subject: The Cellphone, Navigating Our Lives
Message-ID: <p0624084ac5c526d70df9@[]>

The Cellphone, Navigating Our Lives

The New York Times
February 17, 2009

The cellphone is the world's most ubiquitous computer. The four
billion cellphones in use around the globe carry personal
information, provide access to the Web and are being used more and
more to navigate the real world. And as cellphones change how we
live, computer scientists say, they are also changing how we think
about information.

It has been 25 years since the desktop, with its files and folders,
was introduced as a way to think about what went on inside a personal
computer. The World Wide Web brought other ways of imagining the flow
of data. With the dominance of the cellphone, a new metaphor is
emerging for how we organize, find and use information. New in one
sense, that is. It is also as ancient as humanity itself. That
metaphor is the map.

"The map underlies man's ability to perceive," said Richard Saul
Wurman, a graphic designer who was a pioneer in the use of maps as a
generalized way to search for information of all kinds before the
emergence of the online world.

As this metaphor takes over, it will change the way we behave, the
way we think and the way we find our way around new neighborhoods. As
researchers and businesses learn how to use all the information about
a user's location that phones can provide, new privacy issues will
emerge. You may use your phone to find friends and restaurants, but
somebody else may be using your phone to find you and find out about

Digital map displays on hand-held phones can now show the nearest gas
station or A.T.M., reviews of nearby restaurants posted online by
diners, or the location of friends. In the latest and biggest example
of the map's power and versatility, Google started a location-aware
friend-finding system called Latitude in 27 countries early this



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