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A few thoughts on modern systems survivability
#26339 10/11/11 11:14 AM
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Hi,

As one might assume by my handle, I am into Teletype machines. Most who get into TTY started out as phone collectors. I actually came into phone collecting long after I was interested in and actively collecting/using TTY machines. Though I am admittedly quite ignorant of telephone technology, I feel quite comfortable being up to my elbows in a TTY. Indeed, it was a master TTY engineer/guru who gave me my first 1A2 KTU when I visited him. It was sitting in his junk box, and sat in my garage for three years before I looked at it. Now it serves as my "main telephone system" in my house.

I belong to a Teletype mail server called Greenkeys, where several days ago, there was a thread started about a computer printer tech who made a snide comment about "all of that crappy old stuff" when he was on a service call to a TTY museum in CA. The museum owner is quite involved in the TTY world, and he started the thread. Below is my response (one of many, but I only posted my own response.)

Enjoy. Also, as always, if this does not belong here, please move to the appropriate place or delete.

Thank you,

Joe

Here is my own thoughts...

I do not trust solid state anything. Be they lamp dimmers to space shuttle computers. Silicon is simply too fragile and vulnerable to EMP and ionizing radiation.

I love the old TTY machines, because I love mechanical things. I love old switchboards, because it represents (to me) a time when there was an actual human being who could respond to you if you needed something. That human being in a small town would often know you personally, and if you were in need of assistance, she (or rarely he) would move heaven and earth to get that help to you. Of course, the flip side, is that you never made a call after her bedtime unless it was an emergency.

That said, I am someone who worries a lot more than I should about the survivability of our society. We have built not a house but a skyscraper of cards on non-hardened, packet switched non-sense and I-pods. One medium solar flare directed our way and crash goes the comms. Then the power grid (controlled by the silicon comms). Then the water. Then the transport systems. Then there is disease because the sanitary sewer systems no longer work. There is famine, because the average person has two days worth of food, and the grocery stores have three days worth. Then the winter comes, and people freeze to death because there is no heat, and very few people know how to survive in the cold. Horses will suddenly become quite valuable (for those who know how to care and use them), as will a wood lot.

Now if we as a society did not give in to the computer geeks of the seventies and eighties, (Yeah, the now departed and overly lionized Steve Jobs; as well as Steve Wozniac, Larry Ellison and Bill Gates) and demanded that our comms remained direct switched, tube based and direct wired (or microwave linked via hardened longlines stations), we would not be in this situation.

I can now hear the screams of protest already. 'How will I download the next episode of Sex in the City' with that old crappy stuff? Well, my answer is that 'Sex in the City' is not a vital commodity for the survival of society. Being able to call the EMS is. Being able to turn on the lights is. If you want 'Sex in the City' via digital packet distribution, fine, build an internet. Just do it on a seperate system, don't connect our missle defense network to it, (or anything else of import for that matter) and all will be fine. Oh, and by the way, let those who use the packet switched system pay for it... don't subsidize it.

I can make a reasonable bet that if our world is blasted by the sun or (God forbid) a direct hit from a nearby gamma ray burst, that my old hollow state radios, TUs, TTYs, 1A2 systems, and "BELL SYSTEM NOT FOR SALE" telephones will still work. I will also bet my next month's salary that your supper dupper I-phone 4S that cost 500.00 USD will be nothing more than a desk paper weight.

And that nasty computer printer tech with his rude comments about that "crappy old stuff"? He will be too busy looking for his next meal to even think about what he said.

Just my two yen worth.

Joe Herdler


Real comms took 200lb teletypes, hand keys, sounders, operators and cranked phones!
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Re: A few thoughts on modern systems survivability
#26340 10/11/11 12:04 PM
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I agree on everything you said except the "horse" part.

It should read:

"Horses will suddenly become quite valuable (for those who know how to COOK them)..."


Arthur P. Bloom
"30 years of faithful service...15 years on hold"

Re: A few thoughts on modern systems survivability
#26341 10/11/11 12:26 PM
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Ick. I have eaten horsemeat, and I found it to be tough and stringy. Actually, I found it to be the definition of 'tough and stringy'. Maybe it was simply the way it was prepared, but it was nasty. However, if I were to have to eat horsemeat, I would either want some um, 'fillymignon' or a nice juicy 'Belmont steak'.

Sorry about those...

Joe


Real comms took 200lb teletypes, hand keys, sounders, operators and cranked phones!
Re: A few thoughts on modern systems survivability
#26342 10/11/11 01:14 PM
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I find this a fascinating subject. Ma Bell built for survivability. I don't think anyone can really build a case against their engineering.

The bigger problem, Joe, is that we as a society have been "sold on" the bells and whistles of life, rather than the necessities. Our gadgets indicate our social status and our self image. I'm not saying that is a good thing, simply life as we know it now.

As someone with a lot of "crappy old stuff", that will be working long after I'm dead, I can say that I understand your values and (for the most part, anyway) share them. What I don't understand, is how to convince people younger than myself that life existed before the iPad, before the cell phone and before the [email protected]#$% internet. Once we can accomplish that, we can build a resiliant society. A resiliant infrastructure will naturally follow.


Dylan. SATUBAW (Some American techs use BIX as well)!
Re: A few thoughts on modern systems survivability
#26343 10/11/11 01:50 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by TeletypeJoe:
Hi,
I can make a reasonable bet that if our world is blasted by the sun or (God forbid) a direct hit from a nearby gamma ray burst, that my old hollow state radios, TUs, TTYs, 1A2 systems, and "BELL SYSTEM NOT FOR SALE" telephones will still work. I will also bet my next month's salary that your supper dupper I-phone 4S that cost 500.00 USD will be nothing more than a desk paper weight.

Just my two yen worth.

Joe Herdler
All things electrical will be no more than paper weights as the power grid will be gone. When that happens the dominoes will fall or in your case the house of cards!

Re: A few thoughts on modern systems survivability
#26344 10/11/11 02:02 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by jwooten:
Quote
Originally posted by TeletypeJoe:
[b] Hi,
I can make a reasonable bet that if our world is blasted by the sun or (God forbid) a direct hit from a nearby gamma ray burst, that my old hollow state radios, TUs, TTYs, 1A2 systems, and "BELL SYSTEM NOT FOR SALE" telephones will still work. I will also bet my next month's salary that your supper dupper I-phone 4S that cost 500.00 USD will be nothing more than a desk paper weight.

Just my two yen worth.

Joe Herdler
All things electrical will be no more than paper weights as the power grid will be gone. When that happens the dominoes will fall or in your case the house of cards! [/b]
This is quite true. However, a number of folks have either gas or Diesel powered generators. Now I admit that I need to build a Faraday cage for mine, but I also have a small Coleman generator that I have keep in the next best thing to a faraday cage... a clean, grounded (with welded ground straps)galvanized trash can with a tight fitting lid that is also connected to the ground with a welded ground strap. That contraption is itself resides in a metal barn that is also well grounded. I doubt that I could run a TTY off of it, but I can very well run my tube radios with it. I know, because I have done it. I also keep a number of packages of batteries, flashlights, a wind up radio, and a small solar battery charger. Granted, if such a scenario happens, that we will be living with a lot less electrical things, but we will not be completely without comms.

The main point I am trying to make is that we have set ourselves up for disaster. This is a complete shame and is unexcusable, as it is relatively simple to harden our infrastructure as it is being built, but now that we are so over built, it would take decades of intense retrofitting and sheilding to make a difference in our survivability.

Best,

Joe


Real comms took 200lb teletypes, hand keys, sounders, operators and cranked phones!
Re: A few thoughts on modern systems survivability
#26345 10/12/11 11:07 AM
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Joe,
I was told to use metal mesh (like from window screens) between the lid and the can to make sure contact was consistant around the perimeter of the opening. My last house had a cage and my next one will. As an apartment dweller right now, I guess I just take my chances.


Dylan. SATUBAW (Some American techs use BIX as well)!
Re: A few thoughts on modern systems survivability
#26346 10/12/11 11:33 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by SwedaGuy:
Joe,
I was told to use metal mesh (like from window screens) between the lid and the can to make sure contact was consistant around the perimeter of the opening. My last house had a cage and my next one will. As an apartment dweller right now, I guess I just take my chances.
That is an excellent idea and I will (this evening) do just that.

Joe


Real comms took 200lb teletypes, hand keys, sounders, operators and cranked phones!
Re: A few thoughts on modern systems survivability
#26347 10/12/11 05:24 PM
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They need to revise that 'Evolution' shirt and add a kid with his head at a 90 degree angle to his body texting.

But truthfully I find myself doing it. Texting, sending emails on my phone. I'm not a gadget guy myself but I'm being forced to because that's how business' operate these days. "Have a great lunch, but I'll be emailing you something important to your phone as soon as you sit down to take that first bite". Or while I'm driving (in CA it's illegal to use phone & drive), I'll receive 15 texts and emails, people want to be responded to right away these days. You oldtimers are gonna laugh but I miss good old 1999.

Unfortunately you're right, society is dependent on the 'cloud'. I mean, how am I typing right now?!

By the way, horse meat done right is delicious...


Aaron
Re: A few thoughts on modern systems survivability
#26348 10/13/11 04:42 AM
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Joe, Unfortunatly we live in a society where all the answers are a mouse click away and if you can't find it on the internet then its not worth knowing.


Forty six years and still fascinated with Telecommunications!

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