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Archive for the tag “AT&T”

Use technology correctly to make friends (unless they’re Commies)

I realize that the word “friends” is overused when talking about social media, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be friendly. When mastering a new social media platform, it’s important to not only understand how the platform operates, but also the conventions that are associated with the platform.

It’s especially important to remember that communicating via a social media platform is NOT like communicating to someone standing next to you. I don’t care what social media platform you’re using – if the person is distant from you, then the person isn’t getting all of the communication that you’re providing.

That’s why, when using these newfangled social media techniques, it’s important to do things such as placing the receiver close to your mouth. Oh, and don’t slam the receiver down when you are done.

What, did you think I was talking about Pinterest?

Contact Sheet has shared a digital copy of a booklet entitled “How to make friends by Telephone.” Yes, the Bell System even used the word “friend” that Pinterest and Facebook and Google and just about everyone else is using.

When reviewing the book, Richard Darrell observed:

[I]t seems no matter how advanced we make things, the format for making friends will always leapfrog into whatever we create.

The same thing happened back in the 1940s. When the phone first became a household item, people started to question if we would even need to get out of the house anymore (just like we did when the television and the Internet became household names). However, history has shown us that we still need that physical interaction. We want to keep all our friends and still go out for a coffee or a movie every once in a while.

And of course the Bell System wanted to help. Certainly they had self interest in mind, since they wanted to encourage people to use telephones – especially for long distance calls. (Well, as long as you don’t call those Commie places like Russia.)

But the tips were certainly helpful, and despite the vast changes in the technology landscape, some of the tips are still helpful today. For example:

Shouting distorts your voice and is not pleasant.

And the existence of the book reminds us that social networking didn’t start with Twitter. Steven Hodson goes as far to refer to the telephone as “the original social network.”

Although frankly I’d hand that title to the old U.S. Post Office.

When “a little company in Chicago” invented the cellular phone

Loren Feldman reshared a Verge interview on Google+, and as a former Motorola employee it was certainly interesting to me. In the interview, Chris Ziegler talked with Marty Cooper, who was involved with the creation of two notable phones – the DynaTAC, and the Jitterbug.

In this post, I’ll talk about the former. Even though back in 2010 I promised that I’d write a follow-up on the Jitterbug.

Cooper discussed a number of topics in the interview, but this is (some of) what he said about the DynaTAC:

I’m proud of having conceived of the first cellphone, but the idea of why that was done was much more a sense of pride. That was we had to beat AT&T — we had to beat the monopoly. And remember, that wasn’t the same AT&T as today. We took on, this little company in Chicago, took on the biggest company in the world by every measure. And we beat ’em. If AT&T had won and they would still be a monopoly — by the way, that’s starting to happen again, and I hope that doesn’t happen….

[H]ow could you ever imagine that in my lifetime there would be tens of millions of transistors in a cellphone? And doing all the things you could do with that computing power. It happened gradually enough so that I don’t think there was any moment of surprise, but I’m still amazed….

So we had been struggling with this drain thing, and even with that, the DynaTAC had a battery life of 20 minutes, 20 minutes of talking. And it took the best technology available to make that happen, and now we complain if you can’t get two days, and instead of running a couple thousand transistors, you’re running 10 or 20 million transistors. Quite incredible.

I strongly encourage you the read the rest of the interview, which includes more AT&T bashing (both the old and the new AT&T), some pre-cellphone stuff, and observations on Bob Galvin, Chris Galvin, Sanjay Jha, Google, and others.

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