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The Telecom Digest for May 9, 2014
Volume 33 : Issue 78 : "text" Format
Messages in this Issue:
Re: at&t-to-Frontier handover in CT (Garrett Wollman)
Slightly OT: how to retrieve a "clean" URL from a Google search (Thad Floryan)
UNWANTED CALLS (Quinn, Michael J.)
Re: UNWANTED CALLS (Pete Cresswell)
Re: UNWANTED CALLS (Arnie Goetchius)
history of telephone sets (news)
Court Dismisses TCPA Charges Brought Against Telecommunications Provider (Neal McLain)
FCC nods itself awake, fines a "robo-caller". Well, maybe. (danny burstein)

====== 32 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======

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Date: Thu, 8 May 2014 01:40:02 +0000 (UTC) From: wollman@bimajority.org (Garrett Wollman) To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: at&t-to-Frontier handover in CT Message-ID: <lken9i$2io2$1@grapevine.csail.mit.edu> In article <536ACC61.6010402@thadlabs.com>, Thad Floryan <thad@thadlabs.com> wrote: >Fast forward 30 years to 2014 and I receive some small dividends from both >Comcast (which must have acquired some splintered company(ies)) and a $0.22 >check from Frontier which costs them more to mail the check to me than the >value of the dividend Comcast acquired Mike Armstrong's cable TV investments (ex-TCI and ex-Continental Cablevision, for the most part) from AT&T. I have a (now somewhat) dated Web page with the details of everything that happened to AT&T shareholders from 1970 to 2010 at http://bimajority.org/~wollman/t . There have been a couple of additional corporate transactions since the time I stopped updating it (notably Qwest-CenturyLink), so it's no longer accurate, but it does include the Verizon-Frontier deal that gave you that minuscule dividend check. (I'm about to update it to reflect the CenturyLink deal, so this may be fixed by the time the moderator approves this message.) -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
Date: Wed, 07 May 2014 18:33:29 -0700 From: Thad Floryan <thad@thadlabs.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Slightly OT: how to retrieve a "clean" URL from a Google search Message-ID: <536ADEE9.5060207@thadlabs.com> A correspondent asked me how I get "clean" URLs using Google Search. For those unaware, until several years ago Google would provide clean URLs as part of the search results. For example, if you Googled using the following search term: MAPUG you'd receive this result along with this URL (via right-click and a "Copy link location" in the context menu in Firefox and similar in other browsers) as the first hit: Archive of Mapug-Astronomy Homepage ... http://thadlabs.com/MAPUG/ Today you'd receive a 219-character-long URL embedded with tracking info and who knows what else that looks like this unholy mess: 2014.02.02 20:11 Archive of Mapug-Astronomy Homepage ... http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1& ; ... I write a lot of technical papers and I cite references via URLs so folks can corroborate my writings. What Google has been returning for several years now is totally unacceptable for writers who need "clean" URLs to their sources. So I wrote a kwik'n'dirty C command line program that accepts the mangled Google URL and returns a clean version per this example: $ fug http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source= ... http://thadlabs.com/MAPUG/ whose output, " http://thadlabs.com/MAPUG/ ", could be copy'n'pasted. The fug program worked fine but became extremely tedious to use 100s of times a day. And then I "stumbled upon" a Firefox addon that does the same cleaning of both Google and Yandex mangled URLs (noting Yandex is Russian search: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yandex ). The Firefox addon is named "Google/Yandex search link fix" as you can see in these 2 small screenshots (Linux and Windows): http://thadlabs.com/PIX/CentOS_Firefox_addons.png 91kB http://thadlabs.com/PIX/Firefox_addons.jpg 107kB I don't know if the add-on is available for other browsers since I only use Firefox on my *BSD, Linux, OpenIndiana, Solaris, UNIX, and Windows systems. For Firefox the plugin is available here: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/google-search-link-fix/ If you've been pulling out your hair in frustration of Google's mangled results, this add-on should allow you to keep what hair is left. :-) Thad
Date: Thu, 8 May 2014 14:44:45 +0000 From: "Quinn, Michael J." <mquinn@mitre.org> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: UNWANTED CALLS Message-ID: <5E50D6DF9C4E074CA597625E527A05402EC2D3DE@IMCMBX02.MITRE.ORG> I'm onboard with the recent initiative to eliminate unwanted calls (and exterminate the callers with drones). There was a time when we could use (pay for) Anonymous Call Reject, but the robo-callers now send CLID (faked?), so that's no longer effective. Even our local schools (including my wife's employer) call us with recorded messages about PTA meetings and such, and I don't know how to stop them. I'm about ready to unplug the landline. Mike Quinn Springfield VA quinnmj@verizon.net
Date: Thu, 08 May 2014 14:32:29 -0400 From: Pete Cresswell <PeteCress@invalid.telecom-digest.org> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: UNWANTED CALLS Message-ID: <d6jnm99h65vd1phbc5jmo0f57hifsf75gv@4ax.com> 4Per Quinn, Michael J.: > Even our local schools (including my wife's >employer) call us with recorded messages about PTA meetings and such, and I >don't know how to stop them. I'm about ready to unplug the landline. Seems to me like Challenge-Response is the simplest and hardest to defeat approach. "Press 1 for Joe, Press 2 for Sue, Press 3 for Fred....." I'm getting close to implementing this myself. I already have all our non-800/non-911 calls going out via a VOIP provider. It's just a matter of porting my phone number to the provider to get incoming over the phone number. My only reservation is that I'd lose what I perceive to be a more reliable 911 connectivity. Also, there seem to be boxes available that can be hung on to an existing POTS system. I looked at a few, but did not find one that met my own specs. But that was over a year ago. -- Pete Cresswell
Date: Thu, 8 May 2014 13:27:47 -0700 (PDT) From: HAncock4 <withheld@invalid.telecom-digest.org> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: UNWANTED CALLS Message-ID: <78876695-ea11-474b-bee4-810cb415e72d@googlegroups.com> On Thursday, May 8, 2014 10:44:45 AM UTC-4, Quinn, Michael J. wrote: > ... Even our local schools (including my wife's > employer) call us with recorded messages about PTA meetings and such, and I > don't know how to stop them. I'm about ready to unplug the landline. Nowadays we can't eliminate all 'robocalls' as such, as robo-calling is used by governments and other important organizations* (like your employer) to announce critical information. This would include impending flood warnings, office and road closures, and recovery of suspended systems (such as power outage recover status reports). For instance, I think most of us would want to receive a robo-call from our employer announcing a day off on account of they workplace being closed for some reason. Or, parents needing to know that school closed early and they have to pick up their kids. IMHO, the problem with unwanted phone calls is mostly that of policy, not technology. The real technology problem is the masking of the caller-ID number by the caller, which I believe is already illegal, but not enforced. In a previous discussion on this newsgroup, it was said, quite emphatically, that the cost of modifying the existing infrastructure to prevent illegal caller-id masking (and certain other abuses) would be too high and the phone carriers would never do it voluntarily. (IMHO, caller-ID should simply be ANI, without an option by the caller to modify it, but everyone said that wouldn't work.) Anyway, regarding policy, the problem is that (1) there are too many allowances for unwanted calls to legally come through, and (2) the authorities are unwilling or unable to effectively prosecute those who send illegal calls. IMHO, survey and political calls should be blocked by the DO NOT CALL list. I think we can assume politicians won't let that happen as they love robo-calling us during the election season, and also conducting opinion polls. As to prosecuting illegal callers, some years ago the government drastically cut back on its white collar enforcement agencies (eg the SEC, FTC, etc). Part of this was part of the business de-regulatory movement, and part was a shift of resources to anti-terrorism. IMHO, those resources ought to be shifted back, but there seems to be very little public feeling for that to happen; lots of people are making too much money off the present system. * A condo association used robocalls to notify residents of things like pool parties, but resident complaints forced an end to that. Now, the community only uses robo-calls for emergency announcements. It seems that a school should do likewise--not use robocalls for PTA meetings or bake sales, but restrict them to genuine school emergencies. In this way, when such a call comes in, people will know it is important and pay attention.
Date: Thu, 08 May 2014 20:12:26 -0400 From: Arnie Goetchius <arnie.goetchius.remove-this@and-this-too.att.net> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: UNWANTED CALLS Message-ID: <lkh6h7$btj$1@dont-email.me> Quinn, Michael J. wrote: > I'm onboard with the recent initiative to eliminate unwanted calls (and > exterminate the callers with drones). There was a time when we could use (pay > for) Anonymous Call Reject, but the robo-callers now send CLID (faked?), so > that's no longer effective. Even our local schools (including my wife's > employer) call us with recorded messages about PTA meetings and such, and I > don't know how to stop them. I'm about ready to unplug the landline. > > Mike Quinn > Springfield VA > quinnmj@verizon.net > I stop most robo calls (but not all) with software (PhoneTray Pro) on a Windows computer with a modem that recognizes CID. Over the last 20 months that I've been using the program, I have the following stats: 1. Total calls received: 2348 (Family of two - Retired) 2. Total calls blocked: 528 3. Total Callers place on the Blocked List: 158 4. Number of high frequency callers making more than 15 calls: 5 Most of the high frequency callers are charities wanting to pickup clothing that we don't need any more. When the call is blocked, I have the option to select one of a number of WAV files which is played to the caller. Normally I use the WAV that imitates the tone you hear when you dial a disconnected number.
Date: Thu, 08 May 2014 15:44:00 -0400 From: "news" <news@fx29.iad.highwinds-media.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: history of telephone sets Message-ID: <3dnnm913gmkds5fpdqehou0bv8f4cglcch@4ax.com> Folks, Just an FYI, the IEEE in it's Proceedings Journal as part of the STARS history series, just published an artilcle on the history of telephone sets. It can be accessed at: http://www.ieeeghn.org/wiki/index.php/STARS:Telephones E. Tappert
Date: Thu, 8 May 2014 18:48:09 -0700 (PDT) From: Neal McLain <nmclain.remove-this@and-this-too.annsgarden.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Court Dismisses TCPA Charges Brought Against Telecommunications Provider Message-ID: <51802be2-176f-4125-89a2-14e8bceeb881@googlegroups.com> By Paul J. Feldman, CommLawBlog, May 8, 2014 Federal judge: Telecom carriers (1) not routinely liable for telemarketing violations committed by customers and (2) not subject to private suit for alleged violations of Truth in Caller ID Act. Increasingly, telephone carriers may find themselves unexpectedly on the wrong end of lawsuits alleging violations of the telemarketing laws. Fortunately, at least one federal judge has recognized that such suits are off the mark. Unsolicited marketing calls are like weeds -- nobody likes them, they seldom do any good, and they're almost impossible to get rid of. But Congress tried. In 1991 it enacted the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which perhaps most famously created the "Do Not Call" list. T he TCPA also created a "private right of action" that allows consumers -individually or, increasingly, as an entire class -- to sue telemarketers who break the rules. That right to sue can be effective when directed against the proper targets (i.e., the wrongdoing telemarketer), but it can also be misdirected toward blameless parties, with unhappy results -- much like a flame thrower which is effective at killing the occasional dandelion, but which wreaks havoc when pointed at the rose bushes. The universe of innocent bystanders in the TCPA context includes telephone carriers. You might think that no penalty could legitimately be imposed on carriers whose only involvement is the happenstance that a telemarketer used the carriers' services. But aggrieved consumers (and their deep-pocket-seeking counsel) probably think otherwise. Continued: http://www.commlawblog.com/2014/05/articles/cellular/court-dismisses-tcpa-charges-brought-against-telecommunications-provider/index.html -or- http://tinyurl.com/mrfyag7 "Probably" think otherwise? Neal McLain
Date: Thu, 8 May 2014 17:56:11 -0400 From: danny burstein <dannyb@panix.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: FCC nods itself awake, fines a "robo-caller". Well, maybe. Message-ID: <Pine.NEB.4.64.1405081755520.15069@panix5.panix.com> [FCC press release] FCC PLANS $2.9 MILLION FINE AGAINST ONLINE COMPANY FOR MAKING POLITICAL ROBOCALLS TO CELL PHONES Wash DC - The Federal Communications Commission plans to fine Dialing Services, LLC $2,944,000 for allegedly making numerous illegal "robocalls" to mobile phones. These robocalls contained artificial or prerecorded voice messages on behalf of political campaigns and candidates. The Commission had previously cited Dialing Services for making more than 4.7 million robocalls to mobile phones without consumer permission during the 2012 election cycle. ===== rest: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-fine-online-co-29m-political-robocalls-cell-phones-0 _____________________________________________________ Knowledge may be power, but communications is the key dannyb@panix.com [to foil spammers, my address has been double rot-13 encoded]
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