How's Pat? [Telecom]

Hi Bill,

I'm curious, as perhaps others on the list may be, as to why there is *no* occasional information on the status of Pat Townson?

Over the years on the list we heard *so* much about his personal life...Maple Street, Elm Street, the cab service, meals on wheels, the bank, the Wal-Mart, the local phone company, etc, that some of us felt we 'knew' him. Although sometimes his 'concerns' over things business and politically related sometimes entered the discussions to possible excess, it is indeed a different place without him.

After he was most recently stricken, the list has returned to *nearly* strictly business. It would be nice to hear from time to time what his status might be. For instance, does he still read the list? Although I certainly don't miss his politics, I do miss his occasional fact-filled stories from the "telcom past".

An occasional status report or a transcribed message from him might be nice, other than the message we all know will come some day in the future that simply states he is no longer with us.

On another note, and perhaps more importantly, bravo on your efforts to keep the list alive, relevant, and politically neutral. You are doing a fine job!

Last, an extra bravo on your increasingly frequent remembrances from the telecom past. You are more and venturing into such historic data, and I applaud it. I think it should be encouraged here on the list, for we can get CURRENT data almost anywhere. The stuff from the past will be lost if not recorded, and the archives here are perfect place for doing so.


Ken Hoehn

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


Thanks for your compliments: one sentence like that is enough to keep me going for a year!

Pat's phone has died, and Mike Sandman is working on the issue, but he's out of touch for a few days. My thanks to Mike, who has been funding Pat's cell phone.

Pat has told me that he rather not have details of his conditions published, and I've avoided the issue. As I said last year, recovering from a CVA is long, long process. There will come a time when Pat is able to resume his stewardship, but I can't say when that will be.

I'm glad you enjoy my trips down memory lane: I had the good fortune to be hired by Ma Bell just at the end of the electromechanical age, and I got to work on Panel, #5 Crossbar, #1 ESS, and, finally the #5 ESS in addtion to N carrier, L carrier, and a whole lot of T carrier. I also did a stint on the "Radio board", which included the air-to-ground system, the paging equipment, the IMTS mobile phones, and the ship-to-shore terminals as well: I even got to read the weather reports on the air! I can tell you all you'd ever want to know about Signalling System 7, and how I was present at the creation of the Internet.

I wish I'd had more time to learn microwave, and less putting in 236 repeaters, and a lot more time to help younger techs learn the craft: if I could, I'd put on a toolbelt and do it again. Such is life.

Bill Horne Temporary Moderator

(Please put [Telecom] at the end of the subject line of your post, or I may never see it. Thanks!)

Reply to
Ken Hoehn
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Bill, I certainly agree with Ken... Your work here at C.D.T. is just great. And, like Ken, I enjoy and learn from your snapshots into "Telephoning from the Past"! Keep those stories coming!


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


Thank you. It's nice to hear your feedback!

Someday, I'll tell the story of how _not_ to troubleshoot a T-1 span ...

Bill Horne Temporary Moderator

(Please put [Telecom] at the end of the subject line of your post, or I may never see it. Thanks!)

Reply to
Al Gillis

I too want to express my appreciation for the job you're doing. I know it's a lot of work to filter through the junk.

I appreciate the historical feedback from people. But talking about the old Bell System days is more than mere nostalgia. The old Bell System, being a regulated monopoly, was very service oriented, which translated into high reliability and ease of use for customers. It wasn't perfect, but came close. We can learn a lot from their efforts to maintain service quality. We can also learn much from their mistakes, too.

In addition, the Bell System was an integrated _system_. Every part-- from the transmitter element in a plain phone to complex microwave repeaters--was designed to work in harmony with all the other parts as a system. This was a lot harder to accomplish than we think. On the one hand, the Bell System was constantly making improvements, but on the other had to maintain backward compatibility. The designers of the Panel Switch or SxS never dreamed of modulated data transmissions going over dial up lines, but that came about and had to be accomodated. A review of old Bell Laboratories Records and Technical Journals reveals the incredible variation in applied ressearch. They worried about lead poisoning and developed a portable quick test kit for a recycling plant. Once again, there's a lot we can learn from this.

As a telephone user, I am frustrated by modern turret and PBX systems that often leave me "high and dry", a situation that was deemed intolerable by Bell System designers. Manuals of operation for PBX switchboards always included a chapter of "Tips for Better Telephone Service", and those tips are forgotten today. For instance, in the old days if an extension was busy or didn't answer the operator was supposed to come back on the line and offer try another extension; now they forget about you and you get cut off. Operators were supposed to know how to reach people in an organization or a substitute. Today you get a voice mail that is filled up so you can't leave a message or talk to an alterative.

I do appreciate when people post items about service quality, not just technical details and PBX programming.

(I must admit I find it troubling when a supposed expert has to come to a public forum to ask for advice on how to install a PBX he sold.)

Reply to

An old book which is fairly easy to obtain

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for example) is "The Bell Telephone System" by Arthur W. Page, 1941. This is admittedly partisan, but the author sets forth just the idea expressed above, and attempts to answer all the attacks that were made on the Bell System as it was then.

Reply to
Jim Haynes

Not only that, a lot of the Sci/Tech books from Bell are there too. Oh, some additions are getting made to my library!

Reply to
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