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Re: [midatlanticretro] Semi-OT: history of phone phreaking

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  • Evan Koblentz
    Whoa, I just found a mistake in the book. On page 233, Lapsley discusses Bell Labs transition from relay-based switching stations to transistor-based ones. He
    Message 1 of 17 , Mar 30, 2013
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      Whoa, I just found a mistake in the book.

      On page 233, Lapsley discusses Bell Labs' transition from relay-based switching stations to transistor-based ones. He wrote that by summer/fall 1955, the decision was made to build a computerized system. However, there was an obstacle: "Bell Labs had never built a computer before and its engineers had never written a line of computer code."

      That's wrong. Bell Labs developed TRADIC starting in 1954 and announced it to the public on March 14, 1955:
    • Evan Koblentz
      ... On page 233, Lapsley discusses Bell Labs transition from relay-based switching stations to transistor-based ones. He wrote that by summer/fall 1955, the
      Message 2 of 17 , Mar 30, 2013
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        Oops, I clicked "send" too soon. Full message follows:

        >>> Whoa, I just found a significant factual mistake in the book.

        On page 233, Lapsley discusses Bell Labs' transition from relay-based switching stations to transistor-based ones. He wrote that by summer/fall 1955, the decision was made to build a computerized system. However, there was an obstacle: "Bell Labs had never built a computer before and its engineers had never written a line of computer code."

        That's wrong. Bell Labs developed TRADIC (Transistorized Digital Computer) starting in 1954 and announced it to the public on March 14, 1955: http://thisdayintechhistory.com/03/14/bell-labs-announces-tradic/.
      • Jeff Jonas
        ... I stupidly traded away the contents of the box but I donated the empty box for a Novation Apple Cat modem which did blue-box and other tricks:
        Message 3 of 17 , Mar 30, 2013
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          --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "Evan Koblentz" wrote:
          > While reading this book (I can't put it down!), I keep thinking, "Our museum should have a blue box on display."

          I stupidly traded away the contents of the box
          but I donated the empty box for a Novation Apple Cat modem
          which did blue-box and other tricks:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novation_CAT

          Now that the significance of that device is clear, perhaps MARCH will laminate or frame the Novation poster I can bring?

          So that links the Apple ][, Woz and phone phreaking all together.
          As well as the 3B1/Unix PC per Degnan's HOPE exhibit.

          -- jeff jonas
        • Evan Koblentz
          ... It wasn t * not * clear. ... Sure. One day, when we get more space, there are * many * things we can add to our DIY/homebrew exhibit. Bell Labs was of
          Message 4 of 17 , Mar 30, 2013
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            >> Now that the significance of that device is clear

            It wasn't * not * clear.

            >> perhaps MARCH will laminate or frame the Novation poster I can bring?

            Sure.

            One day, when we get more space, there are * many * things we can add to our DIY/homebrew exhibit. Bell Labs was of course an NJ-centric organization, and we need to acknowledge that in the museum. (I have an idea of how to do so * without * waiting until we get more space. Stay tuned...)
          • Evan Koblentz
            ... Finished reading the book. I still highly recommend it, despite the mistake about Bell Labs computer experience, and despite some storytelling repetition
            Message 5 of 17 , Mar 30, 2013
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              >>> Whoa, I just found a significant factual mistake in the book.

              Finished reading the book. I still highly recommend it, despite the mistake about Bell Labs computer experience, and despite some storytelling repetition in a few of the middle chapters.

              I emailed Lapsley to compliment him, politely inform him of the error (and offer to put him in contact with some TRADIC people, re: were they consulted by the telephone network engineers?) and invite him to next year's VCF East (he's already done VCF West and HOPE).

              G'night all.
            • Systems Glitch
              ... Did Jen/polishsputnik et al ever get anything off the ground in Blacksburg? Last time I talked to her, VT s CS department was interested in helping fund
              Message 6 of 17 , Mar 31, 2013
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                > The hackerspace is a whole other deal. Basically I funded anything that
                > wasn't paid by members, members didn't pay that often, my employer has
                > only been cutting partial paychecks for the past 3+ years, and others are
                > trying to claw into the membership and hackerspace idea for their
                > for-profit places. So the whole thing is a huge mess, and I'm kind of
                > burned out on it all for a bit. There is some thoughts about taking it
                > private and just really driving towards making new things.

                Did Jen/polishsputnik et al ever get anything off the ground in Blacksburg? Last time I talked to her, VT's CS department was interested in helping fund it.

                Thanks,
                Jonathan
              • B. Degnan
                ... switching stations to transistor-based ones. He wrote that by summer/fall 1955, the decision was made to build a computerized system. However, there was an
                Message 7 of 17 , Mar 31, 2013
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                  -------- Original Message --------
                  > From: "Evan Koblentz" <evan@...>
                  > Sent: Saturday, March 30, 2013 10:53 PM
                  > To: "MARCH Yahoo Midatlanticretro" <midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com>
                  > Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Semi-OT: history of phone phreaking
                  >
                  > Oops, I clicked "send" too soon. Full message follows:
                  >
                  > >>> Whoa, I just found a significant factual mistake in the book.
                  >
                  > On page 233, Lapsley discusses Bell Labs' transition from relay-based
                  switching stations to transistor-based ones. He wrote that by summer/fall
                  1955, the decision was made to build a computerized system. However, there
                  was an obstacle: "Bell Labs had never built a computer before and its
                  engineers had never written a line of computer code."
                  >
                  > That's wrong. Bell Labs developed TRADIC (Transistorized Digital
                  Computer) starting in 1954 and announced it to the public on March 14,
                  1955: http://thisdayintechhistory.com/03/14/bell-labs-announces-tradic/.
                  >
                  >

                  What about the 1944 Bell Labs Model 3? Assuming that the Model I, II, III,
                  IV, V wereanalog computers that one did not program with coded input, he
                  should clarify that he was talking about an electronic/digital computer.
                • Evan Koblentz
                  ... He did. Specifically he meant a transistor computer, which TRADIC was, and which the new signaling system was.
                  Message 8 of 17 , Mar 31, 2013
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                    >> he should clarify that he was talking about an electronic/digital computer.

                    He did. Specifically he meant a transistor computer, which TRADIC was, and which the new signaling system was.
                  • Evan Koblentz
                    Phil responded to me this morning and acknowledged the mistake. He said he ll add it to the errata list at http://explodingthephone.com/errata.php. He also
                    Message 9 of 17 , Mar 31, 2013
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                      Phil responded to me this morning and acknowledged the mistake. He said
                      he'll add it to the errata list at http://explodingthephone.com/errata.php.

                      He also said he's glad to speak at VCF East 9.1 next spring, pending
                      schedules.

                      Related: I found this two-part article about Bell Labs' earlier
                      electromechanical computers: http://tinyurl.com/cjmh9fp.
                    • Evan Koblentz
                      ... Update ... he did as he promised, and gave me a hat-tip: http://explodingthephone.com/errata.php
                      Message 10 of 17 , Mar 31, 2013
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                        > Phil responded to me this morning and acknowledged the mistake. He said
                        > he'll add it to the errata list at http://explodingthephone.com/errata.php.

                        Update ... he did as he promised, and gave me a hat-tip:
                        http://explodingthephone.com/errata.php
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