34 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
Copyright © 2015 E. William Horne. All Rights Reserved.
telecom digest Sat, 21 Nov 2015
Volume 34 : Issue 210 : "text" Format

Table of contents:

* 1 - Re: [telecom] Encrypted Messaging Apps Face New Scrutiny Over Possible
  Role in Paris Attacks - Ron 
* 2 - Re: [telecom] How one couple beat the cable company - Barry Margolin
* 3 - [telecom] Invention Factory (Bell Labs 1931) - Fred Goldstein
* 4 - Re: [telecom] History--Bell system PBX marketing literature - HAncock4
* 5 - [telecom] Road hazards reaching the AARP's tollfree phone number - tlvp


Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2015 21:17:45 -0500
From: Ron 
Subject: Re: [telecom] Encrypted Messaging Apps Face New Scrutiny Over
 Possible Role in Paris Attacks

Monty Solomon  wrote:

>Encrypted Messaging Apps Face New Scrutiny Over Possible Role in Paris
>The attack has revived vitriolic arguments between American
>intelligence officials and Silicon Valley over whether the government
>should be given the keys to decode "end-to-end" encryption technology.

Yeah, except it seems no encryption was involved, just voice over cell


Plus, it's clearly an attempted excuse for more surveillance:


(user telnom.for.plume
in domain antichef.com)

Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2015 11:09:57 -0500
From: Barry Margolin 
Subject: Re: [telecom] How one couple beat the cable company

In article <59e388d8-2c6f-4865-8be7-ee6ca699c4ca@googlegroups.com>,
 Neal McLain  wrote:

> But the article doesn't specify the authority that prohibits outside dishes.
> FCC rules generally prohibit restrictions on the installation satellite
> antennas imposed by local governments, building owners, or homeowners
> associations.  Exceptions apply only in specific circumstances such as
> permanent damage to the building, or preservation of the appearance of
> historic buildings.  In such cases the burden of proof lies with the entity
> that imposes the restrictions.
> http://tinyurl.com/consumer-owned-antennas

>From that article:

"In the case of condominiums, cooperatives and rental properties, the
rules apply to 'exclusive use' areas, like terraces, balconies or
patios. 'Exclusive use' refers to an area of the property that only the
renter and people allowed by the renter may enter and use. If the area
is shared with others or accessible without the renter's permission, it
is not considered to be an exclusive use area."

So unless they have a balcony with view of the satellite, they're
screwed. They can't put a dish on the roof or the outside walls without
the condo association's permission.

Barry Margolin, barmar@alum.mit.edu
Arlington, MA
*** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me ***

Message-ID: <564F7284.1050403@ionary.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2015 14:20:36 -0500
From: Fred Goldstein 
Subject: [telecom] Invention Factory (Bell Labs 1931)

The New Yorker keeps an archive of old articles on line. One I found
particularly interesting was called Invention Factory, from the November
28, 1931 issue. The Reporter at Large, Malcolm Ross, visited the main
Bell Labs building in New York City. The Labs was working on many
technologies at the time, including better magnets, vacuum tubes,
transatlantic radiotelephony, movie audio, and of course the telephone
network itself. I hope it's okay to post this full paragraph, which I
particularly enjoyed, describing what I suspect was a predecessor of the
crossbar tandem:

      Most research, in fact, is endless patience geared to an
   objective.  For thirty years hundreds of workers have been at the
   job of perfecting an automatic switchboard. They have an approx-
   imation of perfection now in the person of a robot they call
   suburban tandem. If it isn't a person, it acts like one. Operator
   dials an out-of-town number for you.  Suburban tandem - in appearance
   surpassing Rube Goldberg's worst nightmare - stores up the dial
   pulses and decides whether the terminus is manual or automatic. If
   manual, it selects a suitable trunk line, flashes the operator on
   the other end, and, by means of a film voice-record stretched on a
   revolving drum, announces to her in human tones that New York wants
   Summit 0001. When something goes wrong with suburban tandem, it
   rings a bell for the repairman, and spends the waiting minutes in
   typing out a diagnosis to show him when and where its indigestion
   began. Suburban tandem, said our guide, is the smartest piece of
   remote control of our times.

  Fred R. Goldstein      k1io     fred "at" interisle.net
  Interisle Consulting Group
  +1 617 795 2701

Message-ID: <00096472-f645-4ea7-a798-11624cad10a2@googlegroups.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2015 07:26:21 -0800 (PST)
From: HAncock4 
Subject: Re: [telecom] History--Bell system PBX marketing literature

On Thursday, November 19, 2015 at 11:35:50 PM UTC-5, David Scheidt wrote:

> I was at a resort in Wisconsin this summer that had a still installed
> (but disused) 555 at the front desk.  The main building was built in
> the early 50s, so it's probably original.  It had instructions taped to it,
> including some phone numbers (police, fire, hospital).  The numbers
> had 920 area codes, which meant it was in use until the late 90s.
> That's a pretty good run for a manual switchboard.

Until dial systems and computers became really cheap, the economics
favored manual switchboards in modest sized motels and hotels:

1) The desk clerk handled the switchboard as an adjunct to his other
   duties.  There wasn't much telephone traffic, so it wasn't a
   burden.  Also, the desk clerk was the best person to answer general
   inquiries from rooms.

2) All outgoing calls from rooms were billed, so the desk clerk had to
   manually place them and record the charges.

3) A modest sized motel/hotel often didn't have many premium guest
   services, so there was little internal telephone traffic, such as
   requests for room service or a valet.

4) In the 1970s and even early 1980s, electronics were still expensive
   (consider what a high-end PC cost in 1983 in today's dollars.)  So,
   a dial system would've been expensive as compared to a manual
   switchboard.  By the late 1980s, the economics changed, and manual
   switchboards disappeared.

5) Even in larger hotels, sometimes manual telephone service was seen
   as a guest service; the operators were trained to answer common
   questions and assist guests.  In a larger hotel, the telephone
   switchboard could be quite large with many operators serving the

6) The hotel/motel market was significant for Bell, and Bell developed
   systems and features for them.  Some larger hotels did get dial
   service. An instruction card would be fitted around the dial, and
   the guest could dial a single digit for room service, valet, and
   other services.  There were registers to count local calls, and an
   arrangement with toll operators to return guest toll call time &
   charges back to the hotel.

P.S.  While 555 was popular, another popular model was the No. 608
cord switchboard, which was a more modern version.  This had a beige
jackfield instead of a black, and an overall more modern appearance.
Certain features (like ringing and flashing) were automated or simpler
than older models.  For instance, on an older switchboard, the
attendant pressed a ringing key to ring an extension and the caller
heard only silence.  On the 608, ringing was automatic and the caller
heard a ringing signal.

Message-ID: <186ct59tdmtmy.1dnhjl3y7wy0a$.dlg@40tude.net>
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2015 20:16:39 -0500
From: tlvp 
Subject: [telecom] Road hazards reaching the AARP's tollfree phone number

The American Association of Retired Persons, aka AARP, maintains an
easy-to-remember toll-free phone number: OUR-AARP = 687-2277. Ah, yes,
you do need to remember *which* toll-free 8xx AC to prefix before
OUR-AARP -- is that to be 1-800? 1-855? 1-866? 1-877? 1-888? Or do
they all work?

[The answer is that] only 1-888 is correct. The others (all but one,
anyway) either

  (i) Thank you for calling and warn you to pay close
      attention because their "menu options have changed", or

 (ii) Congratulate you for having just won ... [sort of "prize"
      irrelevant] ... . (The one outlier is unclaimed and still up for
      grabs, according to the toll-free number merchant offering it to
      the errant caller -- or was so when last I called it.)

No rules in place to prevent this sort of blatant exploitation of
innocent mistakes, I guess? All is "caveat emptor" and "bamboozle the

(Sigh!) Cheers, -- tlvp

Avant de repondre, jeter la poubelle, SVP.



End of telecom Digest Sat, 21 Nov 2015