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

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  • 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 1 of 17 , Mar 30 7:24 PM
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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 2 of 17 , Mar 30 10:22 PM
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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 3 of 17 , Mar 30 10:49 PM
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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 4 of 17 , Mar 30 11:30 PM
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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 5 of 17 , Mar 31 6:28 AM
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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 6 of 17 , Mar 31 7:47 AM
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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 7 of 17 , Mar 31 7:58 AM
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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 8 of 17 , Mar 31 12:43 PM
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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 9 of 17 , Mar 31 6:07 PM
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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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