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... [Feb. 17th, 2012|08:25 pm]
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AT&T Sabotage [Jul. 24th, 2010|03:24 pm]
Wow, two posts in a short period of time from me. Fascinating!

There was some discussion of bombings of some AT&T microwave sites in the 1960s on a mailing list I frequent. Here's some URLs with photos of the damage:

http://www.long-lines.net/places-routes/WendoverNV/index.html
http://www.long-lines.net/places-routes/CedarMtnUT/index.html

The damage was done by the "American Republican Army". I was curious about what this group was but couldn't find any good information quickly so I searched around a bit. Here's what I found.

Apparently this "Army" was actually just two guys. The leader, a
self-styled two-star general, was Bernard Jerome Brous who was 52 at
the time (1961) and his "lieutenant" was Dale Christian Jensen aged
23. They claimed they "advocated political overthrow of the United
States" and that the Army was "similar in some respects to the
militantly conservative John Birch Society, but more active". Brous
also said they supported the nationalization of the United States
utility companies. [1]

They were both arrested on June 18, 1961, about three weeks after the
blasts, in Ensenada, Lower California, Mexico on a 47-foot two-masted
yacht named the Monsoon. [2] Brous seemed to have some serious issues
with AT&T. He claimed that Southwestern Bell had given maintenance
and emergency services to a competitor which forced him out of
business. [3] He also was quoted as saying "We planned blowing up the
communication equipment as a spectacular effort to bring notice to the
organization. It has been said we would kill for our cause, but this
is not true. We do not support violence. It was just a scare." [1]

In addition to Brous and Jensen, Brous's second wife, Minnie Brous was
arrested along with a Reno, NV gambling house dealer, Robert Gerald
Bartoli. [4] On Aug. 29, 1961 Minnie Brous committed suicide by
overdosing on sleeping pills in San Diego. [5]

Brous and Jensen pleaded innocent when they were brought back to the
US and were held in Reno after being unable to post $300,000 bail
each. The FBI investigated and found that the army was in fact just
the two men. When asked how large the army was Brous reportedly
pointed at Jensen and said "it's pretty slim right now, just me and
Slim here." [5]

It seems that one of the things that lead to FBI to the pair was a
number of letters Brous had written to government officials protesting
telephone company "cartels". He was diagnosed by psychiatrists as
having a persecution complex but was found fit to stand trial. He and
Jensen pleaded guilty on Oct. 15, 1961 to charges of conspiracy and
destroying and obstructing vital communications. A grand jury
declined to charge them with sabotage which would have carried up to a
30 year sentence. In the end they were sentenced to 8 years in
federal prison and not fined. However AT&T did file a $2.75 million
civil suit against them for damages. [6]

There are some other interesting details I dug up. Apparently when
Brous was found on his boat he was standing on the deck with an M-2
rifle in his hand, a pistol in his belt, and two hand grenades on a
table next to him. Jensen arrived shortly after police officers
arrived carrying a bag with two more hand grenades. Police also found
two .50 caliber machine guns, three carbines, three rifles, a shotgun,
1500 rounds of 22 mm and .30 caliber ammunition, a bundle of TNT and
as one of the Ensenada police said, "a great big bomb". Brous also
claimed to have sent 19,000 letters from various places in Mexico to
people in the United States in an attempt to gain sympathy for the
American Republican Army. [7]

Interestingly, it seems like in the following years the name "American
Republican Army" was taken up by a number of other people from time to
time. It's hard to say if they were referencing Brous and Jensen or
if they were completely unrelated. One was a group of neo-Nazis with
a notable member who was convicted in the early 1960s for arson and
defacing Jewish graves [8] and was eventually convicted of murdering a
17-year old girl and given life in prison in the 1970s. [9]

I guess the moral of the story is, if you meet someone who claims to
be in the American Republican Army, stay away!

[1] New York Times, June 19, 1961, p. 8, Col. 4
[2] New York Times, June 19, 1961, p. 8, Col. 1
[3] New York Times, June 19, 1961, p. 8, Col. 3
[4] New York Times, June 19, 1961, p. 1
[5] New York Times, Aug. 27, 1961, p. 5
[6] Los Angeles Times, Nov. 3, 1961, p. 7
[7] Chicago Daily Tribune, June 19, 1961, p. 1
[8] New York Times, Feb. 26, 1975, p. 84
[9] New York Times, Apr. 24, 1975, p. 75
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Bell System Copyright [Jul. 20th, 2010|12:38 pm]
I never post here. Sorry about that. I wrote this today during a boring meeting in response to a question about copyright of Bell System Practices on a mailing list I'm on. Figured I'd share it here as well.

Short answer: It's insanely complicated.

Long answer:

Some insight to this can be gained from reading various issues of Section
000-010-010. In Issue 5 from April 1964, Secion 4.03 states:

In some cases, usually occurring during the early development of a new
system, a practice cannot be copyrighted because of patent reasons. In
these cases only the section number and issue number are shows and the
rating and date are omitted. The copyright notice is omitted, and in
its place is a restrictive notice stating that the practice is not a
publication. [...] If the patent situation has been cleared when the
practice is reissued, it will be rated AT&TCo Standard or Special. In
such cases a statement will be made in the text regarding the removal
and the application of the rating.

Issue 6 was released in November 1975 and reflects a change in various
BSP distribution practices (for instance, the use of AT&TCo Special
being discontinued). In specific regard to copyright, Section 4.05 is
informative:

Most issues of BSPs, regardless of rating, which contain proprietary
technical information will no longer be copyrighted but will carry the
restrictive notice indicated in Fig. 3(a). The use of any other form of
restrictive notices is discontinued. Issues of remaining BSPs will
continue to be copyrighted [Fig. 3(b)].

Figure 3(a) contains the following notice:

NOTICE
Not for use of disclosure outside the
Bell System except under written agreement.

Printed in U.S.A.

Figure 3(b) is:

(c) American Telephone and Telegraph Company, 1975
Printed in U.S.A.

Issue 7 was a substantial re-write of the section but the language is
essentially the same. It's now contained in Section 7.01 though.

So it's clear from this that while some BSPs were copyrighted, others
weren't.

With regard to post-divestiture notices, it depends on the type of
practice. It seems that practices that would have had the restrictive
notice in Figure 3(a) have had that replaced with (layout changed by me):

NOTICE: This document is either AT&T - Proprietary, or WESTERN ELECTRIC
- Proprietary. Pursuant to Judge Greene's Order of August 5, 1983,
beginning on Janual 1, 1984, AT&T will cease to use the "Bell" and the
Bell symbol, with the exceptions as set forth in that Order. Pursuant
thereto, any reference to "BELL" and/or the BELL symbol in this document
is hereby deleted and "expunged".

Documents that were copyrighted were changed in a different way.
Generally underneath the normal section heading there is a note in the
form of "Reprinted November 1984**". The double asterisks refer to a
note at the bottom of the page that says "** Reprinted to comply with
modified final judgment." The copyright was updated to say "Copyright
(c) 1984 AT&T Technologies - All Rights Reserved".

The lengthy proprietary notice isn't necessarily used everywhere though.
For instance, I have a copy of 320-235-105, Issue 1, September 1943
which has a note saying "Reprinted March 1985**". It has the same
footnote as I mention in the prior paragraph, but only says "AT&T
TECHNOLOGIES, INC. - PROPRIETARY".

And of course, some documents carry no restrictive notices or copyright
notices. Perhaps an oversight.

Now, as far as who owns the copyrights, that's also not entirely clear
without extensive research. For instance, while it was possible to buy
many BSPs from Lucent's CIC website, that doesn't necessarily mean that
Lucent held the copyright. It's entirely possible that AT&T licensed
BSPs to them for resale.

Lucent definitely did hold some copyrights. For instance, the 4ESS
documentation that was published in the 1990s and early 2000s has a
Lucent Technologies copyright notice on it. Interestingly, by the early
1990s in the pre-Lucent world (Lucent was spun off in 1996) some BSPs
have both a proprietary and copyright notice. For instance,
234-090-163AC has an "AT&T - PROPRIETARY - Use pursuant to Company
instructions" notice on the first page and a "Copyright (c) 1992 AT&T -
All Rights Reserved" notice on the second page. This is actually
somewhat interesting because the AC suffix on the BSP section number
indicates that the BSP wasn't intended for use anywhere outside of AT&T,
including the BOCs. Further it would most likely have been considered
AT&TCo SPCS (Stored Program Control Switch) documentation prior to 1984.
So the copyright notice wouldn't have been allowed.

Lucent spun Avaya off in 2000 and it took a number of business systems.
A lot of documentation that's available on their support website still
uses the plant series BSP numbering scheme. There are lots of documents
in the 555 Division and the 585 Division. Many of these documents date
back to the 1980s, though for the most part they seem to have been
transcribed into PDF format either by Lucent in the late 1990s or by
Avaya in the early 2000s. Some still contain either AT&T or Lucent
copyright notices. Others contain an Avaya, Inc. copyright notice.
Some have a note that explains that documents published prior to 2000
might refer to Lucent but all references should be read as Avaya.

Avaya didn't take everything from Lucent of course though. The 4ESS,
5ESS, 2NCP, 2STP, and other systems stayed with Lucent. Documentation
still seems to be available from Alcatel though unlike Avaya it's not
available for free.

Another place where BSPs ended up was Telcordia (formerly Bellcore).
Most of the CLLI related BSPs were transfered to Bellcore and became BRs
while retaining the BSP numbering scheme. These numbers are still in
use by Telcordia and don't just cover CLLI related things. I've seen a
number of outside plant and safety BSPs that were given BR designations.
For instance, 631-400-102, Issue 3 from September 1984 had at that point
been transfered to Bellcore.

Bellcore and Telcorida documents contain both copyright notices and
proprietary notices. An interesting thought that occured to me while
writing this is "What about copyright on BSP issues that had been
superceded that were published prior to 1984?" A hint to this can be
found in BR 795-100-100 from early 2000. BSP 795-100-100 predates
divestiture by at least a few years. I have a copy of Issue 5 from 1982
for instance. Interestingly, the issue from 2000 states "Copyright (c)
1986-2000 Telcordia Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved." Not being
very well versed in copyright law, I can't say for sure, but it seems
like the copyright for the earlier issues may have stayed with with
AT&T.

This has gone on long enough at this point. I'll just point out two
more things. Copyright for BOC issued practices would have stayed with
the BOC after breakup. I don't see any reason they wouldn't. I'm
guessing Long Lines practices (LL suffix) would have stayed with AT&T.

And finally, this only covers BSPs. There's piles of other documents
that may or may not have copyright notices on them that came from all
over the place. AT&T re-published a number of Teletype documents as
BSPs for instance. There's all sorts of entities like AT&T Information
Systems (IS suffix), AT&T Business Systems (AB suffix) etc. In some
cases they used BSP numbering. Other times, not at all. I even came
across some references to NCR documents when reading some practices
related to the 3B21 computers recently. AT&T only owned NCR from 1991
to 1997. Who owns those copyrights? I don't even want to go there.
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Senate diversion [Mar. 27th, 2009|01:12 am]
I was listening to Russ Feingold's speech during the debate on S.J. Res. 12 during the 109th Congress on my way to work this morning. As I'm sure all my readers know, this was the flag burning amendment that missed being sent to the states by a single vote in the Senate in June 2006. It had squeaked by the House five days prior. Something that popped into my head was a curiosity about where things stood with the individual Senators two Congresses later. How did those who voted for or against this fare over the next few years? I'm sure we've all wondered this from time to time. No need to be curious anymore. The stats are:

Republicans voting yes replaced by a Republican: 5
Republicans voting yes replaced by a Democrat: 13
Republicans voting no replaced by a Democrat: 1
Democrats voting yes replaced by a Democrat: 2
Democrats voting no replaced by a Democrat: 4
Independents voting no replaced by an Independent: 1

Here's the specifics:

R(Y) -> R

ID: Craig -> Risch
MS: Lott -> Wicker
NE: Hagel -> Johanns
TN: Frist -> Corker
WY: Thomas -> Barrasso

R(Y) -> D

AK: Stevens -> Begich
CO: Allard -> Udall
MN: Coleman -> Franken
MO: Talent -> McCaskill
MT: Burns -> Tester
NH: Sununu -> Shaheen
NM: Domenici -> Udall
NC: Dole -> Hagan
OH: DeWine -> Brown
OR: Smith -> Merkley
PA: Santorum -> Casey, Jr.
VA: Allen -> Webb, Jr.
VA: Warner, J. -> Warner, M.

R(N) -> D

RI: Chafee -> Whitehouse

D(Y) -> D

CO: Salazar -> Bennet
MN: Dayton -> Klobuchar

D(N) -> D

DE: Biden -> Kaufman
IL: Obama -> Burris
MD: Sarbanes -> Cardin
NY: Clinton -> Gillibrand

I(N) -> I

VT: Jeffords -> Sanders

I only provide these as data points of interest to me. Not trying to make any statements here. I'd look through the House but that's really painful.
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New coins [Dec. 25th, 2008|03:47 pm]
One of the last bills signed into law from the 110th Congress is America's Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008. [1] Taking after the 50 States Commemorative Coin Program Act, [2] it directs the Secretaries of the Treasury and the Interior, in consultation with the executive of each state and territory, to select a "national site" [3] to be placed on the reverse of quarter dollar coins starting in 2010. [4] Like the 50 States Act, there will be one for each state and territory. [5]

National sites can be a variety of things including National Parks, National Monuments, National Battlefields, National Military Parks, National Historical Parks, National Historic Sites, National Lakeshores, Seashores, Recreation Areas, Parkways, Scenic Rivers, Trails, and any sites in the National Wildlife Refuge System. [6]

The coins will be released five per year in the order that the national sites were designated. [7] Interestingly, after the initial release of coins is completed, the Secretary of the Treasury can decide to do it all over again with another site selected from each state. [8]

Once the entire program is finished, the reverse of the quarter dollar will change to an image of General Washington crossing the Delaware River prior to the Battle of Trenton. [9]

The last paragraph of the new subsection is also interesting. It states in full:


(10) APPLICATION IN EVENT OF INDEPENDENCE.—If any
territory becomes independent or otherwise ceases to be a terri-
tory or possession of the United States before quarter dollars
bearing designs which are emblematic of such territory are
minted pursuant to this subsection, this subsection shall cease
to apply with respect to such territory. [10]


Finally, the Act also creates a program for Silver Bullion Investments. [11] The Secretary will strike exact duplicates of each coin created by this act in .999 fine silver, each with a diameter of 3 inches and a weight of 5 ounces. [12]

I have to say I think this is a really cool idea. From a purely economical point of view it stands to make a decent amount of money for the government in seigniorage. The 50 States Quarter Program is estimated to have generated about $3.5 billion of seigniorage since 1999. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this program would generate about $785 million over 10 years. [13]

More important though, I think it's a great idea to celebrate our National Parks and other resources. This is a wonderful way to do it, and there's a good chance that the public will learn about some of the lesser known national sites around the country. I'm looking forward to the final list of sites when it gets published.

[1] Pub. L. 110-456, 122 Stat. 5038 (Dec. 23, 2008)
[2] Pub. L. 105-124, 111 Stat. 2534 (Dec. 1, 1997), as amended
[3] 31 U.S.C. 5112(t)(3)(A)(i)
[4] 31 U.S.C. 5112(t)(1)(A)
[5] 31 U.S.C. 5112(t)(1)(C)
[6] 31 U.S.C. 5112(t)(9)
[7] 31 U.S.C. 5112(t)(4)
[8] 31 U.S.C. 5112(t)(7)(B)
[9] 31 U.S.C. 5112(t)(8)(B)
[10] 31 U.S.C. 5112(t)(10)
[11] 31 U.S.C. 5112(u)
[12] 31 U.S.C. 5112(u)(1)
[13] H. Rept. 110-748, 7 (Jul. 8. 2008)
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YouTube [Oct. 26th, 2008|02:08 am]
Best YouTube comment ever (seriously why do I ever read them?):

(¯`'•.¸(¯`'•.¸*♥♥♥♥*¸.•'´¯)¸.•'´¯)
♥(¯`'•.¸(¯`'•.¸*♥♥*¸.•'´¯)¸.•'´¯)♥
♥♥(¯`'•.¸(¯`'•.¸**¸.•'´¯)¸.•'´¯)♥♥
  ----==--McCain~Palin!!---==----
(_¸.•'´(_¸.•'´*♥♥♥♥*`'•.¸_)`'•.¸_)
♥(_¸.•'´(_¸.•'´*♥♥*`'•.¸_)`'•.¸_)♥
♥♥(_¸.•'´(_¸.•'´**`'•.¸_)`'•.¸_)♥♥
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Filter [Sep. 17th, 2008|01:07 am]
Apparently, to the TSA employee working the X-ray machine, this:



looks a lot like this:



One is a ceramic water filter, the other.. well. I think you can figure that one out. The TSA inspector did too. But if you're a hiker / backpacker, it's worth keeping in mind. Luckily the Billings, MT security check point is pretty quiet at 2pm on a Tuesday, and Montanans are pretty laid back.
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Flags [Aug. 16th, 2008|02:44 am]
I've been watching a lot of the Olympics recently. The Track and Field events started within the last day or so. And while I love the events, it also brings with it something that annoys the hell out of me: improper use of the flag. For some time now it's been standard practice for American medal winners to grab a flag out of the audience and run around the track with it. This isn't entirely a US phenomenon as I've seen athletes from other countries do it.

If this is a show of patriotism, I wonder if these athletes realize they're doing the exact opposite. I fail to see how wrapping your sweaty body in the flag is patriotic. I fail to see how dragging it or throwing it onto the ground and sometimes walking on it is patriotic. And I fail to see how wearing it around like a shawl is patriotic.

I'll readily admit I'm being something of a curmudgeon here, but then again, these athletes are representing their country on a world platform. If there's any time for patriotism, it's during participation in the Olympics. I wish more people would pay attention to the United States Flag Code which sums up a lot of these long understood rules. They'd find such pointers as...

4 U.S.C. §8(b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.

4 U.S.C. §(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel [...]

4 U.S.C. §(e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.

4 U.S.C. §(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.

Now of course these aren't really enforceable other than perhaps stern looks by the 1% of the population who cares. Well I guess if you're a post office or something they are. But post offices aren't running the 100 meter hurdles yet.

Maybe there should be an amendment to the section:

4 U.S.C. §(l) Don't wrap the flag around your sweaty body. We know you're patriotic. It says USA in big letters on your chest and you're dressed in red, white and blue. Don't worry, no one's going to confuse you for the French (who can't run to save their lives anyway).

As an aside, it annoyed the hell out of me when one of the fraternal organizations in Mountain View (whose members I'm sure consider themselves very patriotic) placed a flag pole on their roof and left the flag flying 24 hours a day with no illumination at night. They finally fixed this, but I sort of wish I'd sent them a letter asking them why they were ignoring 4 U.S.C. §6(a). I'm sure it was an oversight.

I guess in the end I'm just annoyed by the hypocrisy of the whole thing.
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Engaged [Apr. 12th, 2008|10:30 pm]
I never really talk about personal stuff here but figured I'd make an exception.

I went on a hike today with my lovely girlfriend Liz and ended it with my lovely fiancée Liz. FTW!
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Hmph [Mar. 4th, 2008|07:42 am]
Here's to 16 years of awesome. And hopefully not 16 years of suck. But it is the Packers.

Spoken like a true Wisconsin fan I guess.
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