Tuesday, May 24, 2016

early then late now

I believe I’ve gone from an early adopter to a late adopter. Setting up the latest fast speed dialup modem at home gave me feeling cutting edge decades ago. Now I’m late to the trendy party of cutting landline service. Not too far in the future and most people will not know or care what a landline is. Many have already.

I had to look up the number for the phone company's customer care number online since their billing went paperless years ago. After a series of automated questions I got the dreaded "all agents are currently laid off  assisting other customers...". I suspect they route you that way all the time since you are probably calling to cancel their service anyway.

a wall phone above my brother and me

Landlines were and still are slightly more dependable than mobile phones but of course not nearly as versatile. Some of you can remember spotty cellphone service and dropped calls. Now fewer and fewer people today even use their smartphones to talk.

Recently when dropping landlines became popular I was reluctant because of its dependability and the fact that the telephone industry provided me a great career. The telephone system provided me a living.

We have had our house power go out and called the power company over the still working landline. It wasn’t until cordless phones with batteries that you ever worried about phone power.

I recall the accomplishment of wiring the phone lines in our house as it was being built. I even planned ahead, putting in wiring that would support multiple phone lines in the future (that never happened).

Most young adults today will never have a landline. It was one of the first services to get when you moved out on your own. Even a rented apartment that included other utilities would not include phone service. I first talked on corded rotary dial phone that was attached to the kitchen wall. Later the cordless pushbutton ones seemed so “cutting edge” advanced when they came out. Today most young people don’t know jack about a telephone jack.

I started learning the engineering of the telephone system when I was in the Air Force. I was involved in a project to upgrade Air Force bases with new digital telephone switches. Then I worked at telecom equipment manufacturers. I worked on the phone in the airplane (Airfone).

Are you old enough to remember back when there was just one company offering phones and phone service? Ma Bell controlled the service and the devices that used the service. There were a few same independent companies and the GTE company. None of them competed in the same area. Your phone service choice was simple - the phone company. Of course that was when your device was wired to just one physical location.

The timing of the Ma Bell breakup in the 1980’s and my engineering career lined up. I found myself working for telecom manufacturer with strong growth fueled by feeding the new competitive telecom companies equipment.

if you recall this character you used a landline

I found this youtube clip very interesting and entertaining. It’s a longer one and I think the good part doesn’t start until about the 4 minute mark. After I watched this I was wondering if my smartphone could call 0. I tried it. I just tapped 0 and the call symbol. It rang a few times and then a pre-recorded message came on telling to call 911 for an emergency, 411 for information, etc.

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