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Newton's Telecom Dictionary

Newton's Telecom Dictionary

by Harry Newton, Steven Schoen, Gail Saari (Designed by)

This is a business dictionary of 29,019 defined technology terms — covering the latest in telecommunications, computing, the Internet, The Internet of Things, networking and social media. It's a complete dictionary/encyclopedia of today's information technology. It is used by everyone from salesmen to lawyers, from corporate trainers to college educators, from


This is a business dictionary of 29,019 defined technology terms — covering the latest in telecommunications, computing, the Internet, The Internet of Things, networking and social media. It's a complete dictionary/encyclopedia of today's information technology. It is used by everyone from salesmen to lawyers, from corporate trainers to college educators, from corporate users to engineers. It is set as a required textbook in colleges teaching telecommunications and information technology. As the cover says, the massive 1450-page book covers everything in voice, data, images, apps and video. The book is written for businesspeople in non-technical language.

Newton and his team expand and update the dictionary every day of the year, which makes it about as up to date as you can get. No other dictionary/encyclopedia is updated as regularly as this one is. This is the 30th edition. No other dictionary in the entire history of publishing has gone through 29 editions — each one improved, expanded and updated. We skipped the 29th because we wanted to highlight the enormous improvements, fixes, updates and additions in this new 30th edition. There are 4.4% more definitions (1,214 more) in this 30th edition.

Several reviewers (and customers) refer to Newton's Telecom Dictionary as the industry "bible." Originally just telecommunications, it now covers computing, networking, and all the newer allied technology fields.

A feature of the dictionary is that many of the definitions are not just an explanation of the technology, but also a primer on how the technology is used. Do's and don't about using the technology. Tips from personal experience. What works and what doesn't. What to watch out for. Warnings.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Few industries offer as many bewildering terms and acronyms as telecom. But few industries have a book as remarkable as Newton’s Telecom Dictionary. Harry Newton’s done everything, knows everything, and can explain all of it. His unique sense of humor actually makes this stuff fun. And he’s kept on keepin’ on, through divestiture, deregulation, dot-coms, and now 21 annual editions.

Whatever you want/need to know, it’s here: wireless, Internet, broadband, VoIP, GPS, RFID, even the money side of telecom (Among other things, Newton’s now a venture capitalist). You’ll find 22,000-plus definitions. And many of them go way beyond what you’d expect, telling why things work the way they do (or why they don’t work the way they ought). Whether you’re a telecom engineer, a marketer, or “just” a customer, Harry’s written your one indispensable reference. Again. Bill Camarda, from the April 2005 Read Only

Compared to Harry Newton, Alexander Graham Bell knew nothing about phones. A decade before telecom got “hot,” Newton was writing about it, and showing buyers how to get the most for their money. Since then, telecom’s been ice cold, warm, and everything in between. But Harry’s still here, sharing what he’s learning, via Newton’s Telecom Dictionary.

His new 22nd edition offers up 22,400 polished (and occasionally hilarious) definitions: from traditional telecom to wireless, VoIP, even RFID. Want to know about WiMax? Fixed-mobile convergence? “Slamming?” Whatever: it’s here.

If you’re a network, telecom, or computer engineer, marketer, PR type, salesperson, or customer, you need this book. You’ll justify the purchase on Harry’s 963 pages of definitions. But check this out: 15 small-print pages of dollar-saving tips, covering everything from telecom to stock picking. Something in here will save you a bundle. Bill Camarda, from the March 2006 Read Only

Business Week
Mystified by terms such as pink noise, pure aloha, Gorizont? . . . Newton can help.
PC Magazine
An essential resource.

Product Details

Telecom Publishing
Publication date:
Edition description:
Thirtieth Updated & Expanded Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

The following definitions show a few of the amusing and offbeat terms and explanations scattered throughout the dictionary.

Baby Bills A term for the numerous companies formed by ex-employees of Microsoft. A play on the "Baby Bell," the reference is to Bill Gates, co-founder and chairman of Microsoft.

Back Hoe Fade The degradation in service experienced when a backhoe cuts your buried fiber optic cable. Called fade because sometimes not all communications are cut off. Also, when they are all cut off, the term becomes a euphemism. Better to report a back hoe fade to your boss than to say, "We've just lost 158,000 circuits between New York and Washington. Our cus-tomers are not pleased."

Bozo Filter Imagine that you're receiving zillions of emails from MotherInLaw@aol.com. You don't want to receive. Simple. You set up a "bozo filter." This piece of software automatically deletes any incoming emails from MotherInLaw@aol.com. Bozo filters are best set up by your email provider at this site. You don't want to set them up on your machine. See Mail Bomb.

Cable Dog Slang expression. In the West, lifelong cable installer who seeks no upward mobility. In the East, worker who deals with underground cable.

Christmas Tree Lights The first electric Christmas lights were created by a telephone company PBX installer. Back in the old days, candles were used to decorate Christmas trees. This was obviously very dangerous. Telephone employees are trained to be safety conscious. The installer took the lights from an old switchboard, connected them together, strung them on the tree, and hooked them to a battery. Then he spent the next 40 years looking for the one burnt bulb...

Crapplet A poorly written or totally useless Java applet. "I just wasted 30 minutes downloading this awful crapplet!"

Drunken Swede A way of describing the sound of a computer doing text-to-speech conversion. "Why, he sounds like a drunk-en Swede." This great definition from Stuart Segal of Phone Base Systems, Inc. in Vienna, VA. Says Stuart, "Our people think that a drunken Swede has recorded this message." It is possible to have a computer generate speech that doesn't sound like a drunken Swede if you throw sufficient horsepower (MIPS and memory) at it. Throwing sufficient horsepower, however, has been expensive, until recently. Drunken Swedes are going to get less and less common as horsepower gets cheaper and cheaper.

Goats People in our population whose voices cannot — under any circumstances — be recognized by voice recognition machines. No one seems to know where this term came from.

Going Cyrillic Going cyrillic is when a graphical display (LED panel, bit-mapped text and graphics) starts to display garbage. "The thing just went cyrillic on me."

Jane Barbie The electronic "Voice With A Smile" on most tele-phone company intercept recordings. Ms. Barbie does her work for the Electronic Telecommunications Inc., Atlanta, GA.

Microspeak A term coined by James Gleick in The New York Times Magazine of June 18, 1997 to refer to the language of euphemisms Microsoft Corporation often indulges in. For exam-ple, Mr. Gleick referred to Microsoft's seeming unwillingness to use the word "bug" and use words such as "known issue," "intermittent issue", "design side effect," "undocumented behavior," or "technical glitch."

Pocket Bongo Picture a group of people. Suddenly, something on someone beeps. But the someone doesn't know (or pretends not to know) which of the many wireless devices he's carrying that is bleating. Is it the cell phone? Or the pager? Or the PCS phone? The person starts patting himself all over, with mock embarrassment. But his look screams, "I'm wired and I'm proud.” His behavior is called "pocket bongo." I read about pocket bongo first in an article by Joan Hamilton in the February 15, 1999 issue of Business Week. The article was headeed, "We've got a bad case of digital gizmosis."

Shoulder Surfing You're standing at a pay phone. You punch in your credit card numbers to make your long distance call. There's a fellow standing behind you. He's carefully watching what you're doing. He is memorizing the digits you have punched in. When you are through, he will write them down and sell them to someone else, who will use them to make fraudu-lent long distance phone calls. Our friend is indulging in a new "occupation." It's called "shoulder surfing."

Squirt the Bird To transmit a signal up to a satellite. "The crew and talent are ready; when do we squirt the bird?"

SUT 1. An ATM term. System Under Test: The real open system in which the Implementation Under Test (IUT) resides. 2. Stupid User Tricks. Also called ESO, or Equipment Superior to Operator. When closing help desk tickets, it describes situations where the problem was user stupidity, such as the power cord not plugged in, the monitor unplugged, the keyboard not attached, etc.

Threshold Of Pain 1. The present price of local telephone service. 2. Unbearable noise.

Zen Mail Email messages that arrive with no text in the mes-sage body...

Meet the Author


Newton works on this dictionary every day of the year, He adds new terms. He updates old terms, He sees this "dictionary" as a combination dictionary/encyclopedia/history/story of the industry. He wants the dictionary to be the definitive record of the industry's progress. Newton entered telecommunications forty six years ago. He started consulting and quickly learned that the industry lacked up-to-date information. (The Internet had not yet been invented.) He went on to create six successful telecommunications magazines — Teleconnect, Call Center, Computer Telephony, Imaging, LAN (later called Network Magazine), and Telecom Gear. He also founded the immensely successful shows Call Center Demo, and the Computer Telephony Conference and Exposition, which at its peak attracted 26,000 people to the Los Angeles Convention Center. He also published over 47 books on networking, imaging, telecommunications and computer telephony.

Newton has an economics degree from the University of Sydney and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Technical Editor

Steve Schoen began working in the telecommunications industry in 1984, the same year that the first edition of Newton's Telecom Dictionary was published. Steve has worked in a variety of senior telephone company positions over the years, first at GTE, then at Verizon Communications, and now at Hawaiian Telcom. He started out working for one of GTE's local phone companies in Hawaii, and in 1989 moved over to one of GTE's international business units, also located in Hawaii, which became part of Verizon Communications following GTE's merger with Bell Atlantic. He is now Senior Manager Market Research at Hawaiian Telcom, which was formed when Verizon sold off some of its Hawaii operations.

On nights and weekends since the late 1980s, Steve has been moonlighting as an instructor at colleges and universities in Hawaii and on the mainland, teaching C, SQL, database management, and e-business classes, both on-ground and online. He also is a technology columnist for Pacific News Bytes magazine. In prior existences, he taught math in England, worked for a federally funded project that developed textbooks in the native languages of Micronesia, and served four years in the U.S. Army.

Artistic Director

Gail Saari has been the designer, artist, production manager, and associate editor for Newton's Telecom Dictionary, 22nd to 30th editions. That means she edits, designs, and produces the dictionary. The pleasure that you get from holding, reading and enjoying this book is directly due to Ms. Saari's superb professional efforts. For an artistic director, she brings a unique skillset to her job. She has an M.A. Summa Cum Laude in International Affairs from Ohio University and a B.A. in English literature from the University of Tennessee. Along the way she developed extensive artistic and technical design skills, having spent almost two decades designing and producing books and monthly print magazines.

Her publications have received the highest accolades from readers and, most importantly, from her clients. Harry Newton says of Ms. Saari, "She is the only artist I've ever worked with who understands the material she's working with, and questions what she sees as problems (she's always right). She makes constructive suggestions, which I always follow. I love the fact that she has a sound grasp of computer and information technologies-their use, their meaning, and their application."

Ms. Saari has worked most recently as Publications and IT Director for The Independent Institute where she oversaw production of books, periodicals, and all things electronic. Previously, she worked as Managing Editor for CMP/Backbeat Books and as Publications Director for the Malaysian Nature Society.

She lived in Malaysia for fifteen years, working as an editor and translator (from Malay to English) for many clients, including Technical and Linguistic Services, the Malaysian National Museum, National History Museum of Malaysia, and the 1998 Commonwealth Games. She has contributed articles on the environment, travel, and culture to Salon.com, Men's Review Magazine, Marie Claire, the Insight Guide to Malaysia, and other publications.

Ms. Saari lives in Berkeley, CA and runs G. Saari Productions, an independent design and production studio, which you can hire, whose clients include The Yoga Room and this dictionary.

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