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The Telecom Digest for October 16, 2010
Volume 29 : Issue 278 : "text" Format

Messages in this Issue:

Re: IVR Hell(Fred Atkinson)
The Intimate Social Graph(Monty Solomon)
Re: No dial tone, no service, no respect -- not even for Alexander Graham Bell descendant (Sam Spade)
Farewell, GOOG-411(Monty Solomon)
Re: IVR Hell(Garrett Wollman)
Re: IVR Hell(David)
Re: IVR Hell(David Clayton)
Re: IVR Hell(Marc Haber)
Re: History--old MIT dial-up directory(Richard)
Re: What is a "female-specific mobile handset"?(Joseph Singer)
Re: Giving out your phone number(Randall)
Re: Happy anniversary cellphone!(Michael G. Koerner)
XM Radio and Serius merger(Joseph Singer)
Old directory covers(Joseph Singer)

====== 28 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======
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Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2010 18:11:25 -0600 From: Fred Atkinson <fatkinson.remove-this@and-this-too.mishmash.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: IVR Hell Message-ID: <20101015001232.62827.qmail@gal.iecc.com> At 02:42 PM 10/14/2010, you wrote: >And one service that has developed this to a fine art is satellite >radio, XM and Sirius, now a monopoly. It's easy to add a service, >but nearly impossible to stop or change a service and/or billing. > >Fortunately, satellite radio is not a necessity of life. > >-- >Paul > >***** Moderator's Note ***** > >XM and Sirius have combined? What did they do with the spare >satellites? > >Bill Horne >Moderator Paul, Not quite. Though they are now both owned by the same company, they are still operating as separate systems. They intend to merge them but not as yet. You can't activiate a Sirius radio from an XM account or vice versa. They are working towards changing it so it doesn't matter which type of account or which type of radio. I just purchased a new Honda Fit. The Dealer promised to put an aftermarket XM Radio in it. I specified XM. He had heard about the merger and assumed that there was no difference between XM and Sirius. Not quite. So guess what was in my new car when I arrived to pick it up? You guessed it! Sirius. I had to explain to him why it was a problem as I had an XM account and not a Sirius account. He let me use his office phone. I called Sirius to see about getting an account (they are more expensive, by the way). When they told me that they required auto pay, I told them that I wouldn't subscribe if that was required. The radio never got activated. I've had problems with auto pay in the past. Additionally, the installer obviously wasn't a true professional and I didn't find that out until the next morning. When I drove through the window service place where I get my decaffeinated and bagel on the way to work the next morning, I tried to put the coffee cup in the cup holder. The control head was mounted so that it completely blocked use of the cupholders on the transmission hump. I spilled coffee all over my pants on the way to work because I had to hold the coffee cup in my hand while driving. I emailed the salesman and told him that radio had to go. I also told him that a true professional wouldn't have performed an installation like that. I recommended that he not let that installer put radios in his customer's vehicles again. He told me to go to Best Buy and get what I wanted. He let me return the Sirius radio to him and he sent me a check in refund. I activated XM in my car that evening on my existing account. By the way, XM gives discounts for multiple radios on your account. So if you have other family members that want one, you save money per radio. I don't know if Sirius does that or not. Fred
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2010 01:50:10 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: The Intimate Social Graph Message-ID: <p06240822c8dd9b0bcfc8@[]> The Intimate Social Graph How private are the most private communications you have on social networking sites? by Keith Dawson October 14, 2010 For a number of years I have had a privacy concern that is just now beginning to peep into view on the Internet at large. Around 2001 I spent some time in a casual multiuser game hosted by PopCap. It featured a way that two players could chat in a private space while playing the game. The game was centrally hosted: each user's local Java applet talked with a PopCap server, so every keystroke typed in those private conversations was sent up to the server and back out to the other party's client. I wondered at the time: were those conversations being stored? How about the metadata describing which players talked privately with which others, and how often? If so, then from what I observed, the resulting log files could have kept an army of divorce lawyers gainfully employed for years to come. Fast-forward to 2010. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace each sit on a rapidly expanding treasure-trove of data about the users who frequent their services. Aspects of this data have value to different audiences. Knowledge of users' interests, likes, and enthusiasms clearly is coveted for targeting advertising. Knowledge of the users' "social graphs" -- who connects to whom and in what manner of relationship -- may be of interest to social science researchers, and occasionally to law enforcement. But what of the "intimate social graph?" All these services allow users to communicate privately with one another. The social networking services store not only the graph metadata (who communicates with whom and when), but also the content of these private communications. What happens when government agents -- or divorce lawyers -- come calling? ... http://www.itworld.com/legal/124032/the-intimate-social-graph
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2010 01:01:14 -0700 From: Sam Spade <sam@coldmail.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: No dial tone, no service, no respect -- not even for Alexander Graham Bell descendant Message-ID: <s-2dnYryvunXlyXRnZ2dnUVZ_sOdnZ2d@giganews.com> GlowingBlueMist wrote: > > Later when my father called to have the power restored to the house four > truck loads of people arrived on site. All but two were just standing > around watching while two technicians actually did the work... > Sounds like the model for California state government.
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2010 09:22:03 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Farewell, GOOG-411 Message-ID: <p06240828c8de0592db95@[]> Farewell, GOOG-411 David Pogue OCTOBER 14, 2010 Oh, it's a sad day in techland. On Nov. 12, Google will turn off 800-GOOG-411 forever. It was one of the best, juiciest, most useful services in all phonedom. It didn't cost anything. It didn't require a smartphone. Its accuracy was uncanny. In case you missed it, GOOG-411 is a free, voice-activated directory-assistance service. You say the business name or category you want-"Freestyle Gym," "taxi," "Sakura restaurant," "hospital," whatever - and the city and state. In one second, the guy's voice starts reading a list of the best eight results. You interrupt him by saying, "number two" or whatever. Then you can say "details" to hear him read you the address and phone number. Or you can say "text message" to have him text you the information. But if you just hang on, he connects your call for free. You never actually hear the phone number. But why should you care? You just want to call the place, right? It's like having a little assistant dude back at HQ connecting your calls - and if you're driving, which you often are when you use this service, never once did you take your eyes off the road. Or even write anything down. People who knew about GOOG-411 adored it. But Google is about to turn it off forever. The blog gives no explanation. Instead, it simply says "Goodbye to an old friend" and suggests that you use one of Google's voice-driven tools on an Android cellphone instead. Well, that's great if you have an Android cellphone. What about the 95 percent of us who don't? I asked Google why Google pulled the plug. The PR person's (non)-reply: ... http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/14/farewell-goog-411/ ***** Moderator's Note ***** I don't think it's that great. The service requires that you give it a lot of info, and often requires repeats, and then runs down a list of "the top eight possibilities" - but once you choose one, there's no way to go back and try another without redialing and repeating all the info again. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2010 21:50:58 +0000 (UTC) From: wollman@bimajority.org (Garrett Wollman) To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: IVR Hell Message-ID: <i97u02$29ee$1@grapevine.csail.mit.edu> In article <Xns9E11A9FA7D931Senex@>, Bill Horne wrote: >***** Moderator's Note ***** > >XM and Sirius have combined? What did they do with the spare >satellites? There's nothing spare about them. Both of the XM satellites are required to operate the "XM" service, and all of the Sirius satellites (there are more of them as they are in a non-geosynchronous orbit) are required to operate the "Sirius" service. In Canada, the company is in two different partnerships with Canadian companies to provide service there. They never made good on the legal requirement to have "interoperable" receiver designs back when the services started, so to shut down one set of satellites would orphan half their customer base (and their churn is bad enough as it is). They have different sports programming on the two systems: XM has baseball and hockey, Sirius has football and NASCAR, IIRC. Selected games from each service are available on the other for and additional subscription fee. -GAWollman -- Garrett A. Wollman | What intellectual phenomenon can be older, or more oft wollman@bimajority.org| repeated, than the story of a large research program Opinions not shared by| that impaled itself upon a false central assumption my employers. | accepted by all practitioners? - S.J. Gould, 1993 ***** Moderator's Note ***** I didn't know that Sirius was using Low Earth Orbit satellites: how many birds do they have in their constallation? And, why did XM decide that the Clarke Belt was "close enough"? Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2010 09:18:44 -0500 From: "David" <someone@somewhere.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: IVR Hell Message-ID: <i99nsb$8b5$1@news.eternal-september.org> > ***** Moderator's Note ***** > > I didn't know that Sirius was using Low Earth Orbit satellites: > how > many birds do they have in their constellation? > > And, why did XM decide that the Clarke Belt was "close enough"? For Sirius, they have three. Look up 'Tundra orbit' for details. As to your second question, I have no idea, but the Clarke Belt is a long haul and I do not know how they get enough signal from there for it to work with the tiny receive antennas they use. David
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2010 13:52:05 +1100 From: David Clayton <dcstar@myrealbox.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: IVR Hell Message-ID: <pan.2010.> On Thu, 14 Oct 2010 20:21:22 +0100, Stephen wrote: > On Thu, 14 Oct 2010 10:37:19 -0400, Randall > <rvh40.remove-this@and-this-too.insightbb.com> wrote: > > [Moderator snip] > >>In my experience the companies providing the worst "IVR Hell" experience >>are those with monopolies either de jure or de facto. >> >>If Wal*Mart makes it too much trouble to buy groceries from them, >>there's a Meijer next door who'll be happy to have my trade. If I have >>an issue with my electrical bill, I can't really give my business to >>their competitor. > > The UK has a deregulated electricity (and gas) market. You can do > exactly that. > > The companies all have to deal with the specific regional common carrier > that still own the distribution network though. Same in my state in Australia, and the customer service the various retailers provide is a factor in people choosing (and staying with) them. Any company treating their customers poorly with bad phone support soon gets bad publicity and their competitors benefit. I thought that the USA was the home of competition, why isn't this sort of thing available? -- 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, 15 Oct 2010 07:27:58 +0200 From: Marc Haber <mh+usenetspam1002@zugschl.us> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: IVR Hell Message-ID: <i98op0$180$1@news1.tnib.de> Randall <rvh40.remove-this@and-this-too.insightbb.com> wrote: >IVRs have two purposes. One is to assist callers with easy >solutions to common problems to avoid having to pay Rajiv^H^H^H^H^H >"Roger" to talk with them, and the other is to adversively condition >callers so they'll be more reluctant to call for help the next time. They're doing the latter pretty well without IVR. I recently called Lenovo for assistance since I didn't find any BIOS file for my wife's Ideapad on the Lenovo web site (no, not even the one that was on the unit when it was delivered), and wanted to know whether I was too stupid to search. The hotline agent told me that the only resource he had would be the same web site that was also accessible to me. >Call centers are run on statistics, and one "good" statistic is the >percent of callers who hang up before speaking with a CSR, minus the >percent of callers who hung up once and called back in a short period. Another experience I had recently was the call center of a bank, which had me in an IVR for two minutes and one second before automatically hanging up on me (billed by the minute, of course). >If Wal*Mart makes it too much trouble to buy groceries from them, >there's a Meijer next door who'll be happy to have my trade. If I >have an issue with my electrical bill, I can't really give my >business to their competitor. Then we're one step further. In Germany, you can choose your provider of electricity from a vast range. However, the company owning the wires in the streets still gets a more than fair share of the money you pay. Greetings Marc -- -------------------------------------- !! No courtesy copies, please !! ----- Marc Haber | " Questions are the | Mailadresse im Header Mannheim, Germany | Beginning of Wisdom " | http://www.zugschlus.de/ Nordisch by Nature | Lt. Worf, TNG "Rightful Heir" | Fon: *49 621 72739834
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2010 17:32:19 -0700 From: Richard <rng@richbonnie.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: History--old MIT dial-up directory Message-ID: <gk6fb614tiiit0am41c71l8bm56vani4le@4ax.com> On Thu, 14 Oct 2010 11:16:52 -0700 (PDT), Lisa or Jeff <hancock4@bbs.cpcn.com> wrote: >On Oct 13, 1:02 pm, Richard <r...@richbonnie.com> wrote: > >> I worked for AT&T at the time of divestiture. Employees were given >> at no cost up to 2 Western Electric phones currently in their >> homes. I received stickers to put on the bottoms of my phones to >> denote that they were now my property. I don't know if the offer >> included all employees, or just management and engineers (I was one >> of the latter). > >Thanks for the historical insight. > >The old Bell System gave its employees discounts on phone service*. >I don't know if the baby Bells or LD carriers do so. My recollection is: Before divestiture, AT&T gave free long distance (inter-operating company) to employees of the AT&T mother company and Long lines. The operating companies (New England Tel, etc.) gave free local service and toll calls handled entirely within their territory to their employees and retirees.* I didn't get any discount because I worked for Bell Labs and Bell Labs was not an operating company. After divestiture, I got the following discount off my AT&T phone bill: first $25 free, plus 50% off the remainer up to $100 bill (max discount $67.50). After I retired in 1990, I still got the discount. Later, AT&T spun off Western Electric to Lucent. Because I had worked at the Merrimack Valley, MA labs doing design for manufacture, my pension and health coverage was assigned to Lucent. Lucent, not being an operating company, could not give me a discount on phone service. But they did increase my pension by $25/month to compensate. It appears on my pension stub as a separate item "Special Benefit." * For example, my aunt was retired from NE Tel and lived in Massachusetts. She could make free toll calls to me in New Hampshire, because it was all NE Tel territory. Dick ***** Moderator's Note ***** That's long gone in New England: as a Verizon retiree, I get a ~$20 credit for my phone bill each month, but it doesn't cover any calls outside my LATA, and the credit is limited and can't be applied to any of the "discount" plans that would include a wider calling area. I had the line restricted to my _contiguous_ calling area, and I use Google Voice for everything that Verizontal would usually charge me for. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2010 15:21:26 -0700 (PDT) From: Joseph Singer <joeofseattle@yahoo.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: What is a "female-specific mobile handset"? Message-ID: <669088.46455.qm@web52701.mail.re2.yahoo.com> Tue, 12 Oct 2010 19:59:45 -0700 Richard <rng@richbonnie.com> wrote: > Apparently marketers think that women would like an item colored > pink. They even make guns with a pink color: > http://www.thegunsource.com/category/2580_Pink_Pistols.aspx?w=%2BCJWDALnoPg Well, bringing this back to telecom there's this: Hello Kitty Lineman's Handset Telephone http://www.kittyhell.com/2009/01/27/hello-kitty-linemans-handset-telephone/ or: http://goo.gl/aRyP
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2010 11:47:27 -0400 From: Randall <rvh40.remove-this@and-this-too.insightbb.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Giving out your phone number Message-ID: <6158C1C3-0EF0-4FA5-852C-4D2AE386E762@insightbb.com> > From: Randall <rvh40.remove-this@and-this-too.insightbb.com> > To: redacted@invalid.telecom-digest.org. > Subject: Re: Giving out your phone number > Message-ID: <73BAD020-B2DC-4106-807B-F293190BABAA@insightbb.com> > > On Oct 14, 2010, at 3:20 AM, Telecom Digest Moderator wrote: > >> ***** Moderator's Note ***** >> >> Give me a little credit: this is, after all, a telecom forum. >> >> I give out the busy-test number at a Boston-area CO. > > (502)555-1212 works, too. > > ***** Moderator's Note ***** > > 502-555-1212 is an "automated directory assistance" number. And it has hte additional advantage of being a toll number, caller pays. Sortof the same idea as the old trick of taping postage-paid return envelopes to bricks, to be sent back to junk mailers at their cost. (I'm told that this no longer works. More's the pity). ***** Moderator's Note ***** And did the envelope contain a note saying "You deserve a brick today"? Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2010 13:40:58 -0500 From: "Michael G. Koerner" <mgk920@dataex.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Happy anniversary cellphone! Message-ID: <_eqdnZGZ6Y2rPSXRnZ2dnUVZ_rOdnZ2d@ntd.net> On 2010.10.14 13:03:53, Lisa or Jeff wrote: > On Oct 13, 12:38 pm, Joseph Singer<joeofseat...@yahoo.com> wrote: >> First commerical cellphone service launched October 13, 1983 by >> Ameritech in Chicago. (Was it Ameritech or had it already changed from >> being Illinois Bell?) > > Would anyone know how much it cost for the equipment, installation, > and service back then, and how did the prices compare to traditional > mobile phone service? > > I think "brick" and "bag" cell phones were out fairly early, but I > believe most initial cellular phone installations were in-car units, > just like the older mobile units. I remember a Bell Atlantic store > had a garage as part of it for car installations. > > It didn't take long for the prices to drop to very reasonable levels. > My first cell phone account gave me a Motorola flipset for free for > $20/month for low offpeak usage. For me it was a good deal, though > peak use was 75c/minute and roaming was $1.00/minute. I got for > urgent use and it worked fine for that. > > I recall watching a rerun of an old '90210' episode* and the character > was driving his car while talking on the phone. The handset was > corded and connected to the dashboard. It was strange seeing that > given what we have today. I also recall the scene in the movie Patriot Games (1992) where Ryan's wife was being pursued on a freeway and took a call on the car's corded cell phone. Anyone else recall being oooohhed and aaaahhhed by cell phones back then? Car phones were such a status symbol during the mid-late 1980s and into the early 1990s that I remember that at the time someone was selling fake cell phone antennae that could be mounted on the back windows of cars. -- ___________________________________________ _______________ Regards, | |\ | | | | |\ Michael G. Koerner May they | | | | | | rise again! Appleton, Wisconsin USA | | | | | | ___________________________________________ | | | | | | _______________ ***** Moderator's Note ***** Since AMPS ran at about 800 MHz, a quarter wave antenna would have been about 3.7 inches high. Of course, the first cellular antennas were much longer than that, with the now-famous "coil" in the middle that told everyone the car contained a cellular phone. Electrically, useless. For marketing, a stroke of genius. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2010 10:56:41 -0700 (PDT) From: Joseph Singer <joeofseattle@yahoo.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: XM Radio and Serius merger Message-ID: <812029.70255.qm@web52705.mail.re2.yahoo.com> Bill Horne, moderator of Telecom Digest/CDM exclaimed: > XM and Sirius have combined? What did they do with the spare > satellites? "On February 19, 2007, Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio announced a merger that would combine the two radio services and create a single satellite radio network in the United States." "The two parent companies completed their merger (technically the acquisition of XM by Sirius) on July 29, 2008." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirius_XM_Radio#Merger_history
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2010 11:28:48 -0700 (PDT) From: Joseph Singer <joeofseattle@yahoo.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Old directory covers Message-ID: <782607.94399.qm@web52703.mail.re2.yahoo.com> http://johngall.blogspot.com/2010/10/remember-phone-books.html
TELECOM Digest is an electronic journal devoted mostly to telecom- munications topics. It is circulated anywhere there is email, in addition to Usenet, where it appears as the moderated newsgroup 'comp.dcom.telecom'. TELECOM Digest is a not-for-profit, mostly non-commercial educational service offered to the Internet by Bill Horne. All the contents of the Digest are compilation-copyrighted. You may reprint articles in some other media on an occasional basis, but please attribute my work and that of the original author. The Telecom Digest is moderated by Bill Horne. Contact information: Bill Horne Telecom Digest 43 Deerfield Road Sharon MA 02067-2301 781-784-7287 bill at horne dot net Subscribe: telecom-request@telecom-digest.org?body=subscribe telecom Unsubscribe: telecom-request@telecom-digest.org?body=unsubscribe telecom This Digest is the oldest continuing e-journal about telecomm- unications on the Internet, having been founded in August, 1981 and published continuously since then. Our archives are available for your review/research. We believe we are the oldest e-zine/mailing list on the internet in any category! URL information: http://telecom-digest.org Copyright (C) 2009 TELECOM Digest. All rights reserved. Our attorney is Bill Levant, of Blue Bell, PA. --------------------------------------------------------------- Finally, the Digest is funded by gifts from generous readers such as yourself who provide funding in amounts deemed appropriate. Your help is important and appreciated. A suggested donation of fifty dollars per year per reader is considered appropriate. See our address above. Please make at least a single donation to cover the cost of processing your name to the mailing list. All opinions expressed herein are deemed to be those of the author. Any organizations listed are for identification purposes only and messages should not be considered any official expression by the organization.
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