Newton's Telecom Dictionary

Newton's Telecom Dictionary

Paperback(31st Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780979387395
Publisher: Telecom Publishing
Publication date: 03/09/2018
Edition description: 31st Edition
Pages: 1450
Sales rank: 115,843
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Harry Newton has 30 years in telecommunications. He founded LAN (now Network) Magazine, the first networking magazine. He founded three leading monthly telecom magazine - Call Center, Computer Telephony, and Teleconnect. He also founded the enormously successful trade show, Computer Telephony Conference and Exposition (CT Expo). He is (of late) a successful angel (early venture capitalist) in telecom, networking and Internet ventures. Recently he started a monthly newsletter, Harry Newton's Technology Investor. For a subscription go to Newton holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an Economics undergraduate degree from the University of Sydney, Australia. He is not an engineer. But he knows enough to be dangerous in front of them. And that, he says, is the ultimate thrill.

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 You don't want to receive. Simple. You set up a "bozo filter." This piece of software automatically deletes any incoming emails from 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...

Table of Contents

Terms are laid out in normal alphabetical order. But the dictionary begins with a section called Dates, covering important happenings in the industry's history. Next section is Numbers, detailing the industry's standards and numeric conventions. Third is a short chapter called "Thingees," which defines the industry use of "thingees" like # and *. Then the main industry begins — over 1400 pages.

The book also contains what the team refers to as four "bonuses" — essays on The Best Money-Saving Tips, Foolproof backup techniques, The Hottest Telecom Career Opportunities, and Tips on How to orient my precious IT and telecom budget.

There are also diagrams and tables which explain how things work and the evolution of concepts like speed and standards.


I love this industry. I love writing this dictionary. My wife says, "Come on, 20 years is enough already. I'm sick of seeing your back bobbing up and down as you get excited by yet another concept, another idea, another invention, another word. How many words can you keep adding? Get a life." Sorry, wife, I love doing this. I'll keep updating this dictionary until I die and then, my poor children will take over, maybe... well, that's their problem.

I wrote this dictionary for those of us turned on by this wonderful industry, for those of us desperately trying to keep up, for those of us new to the industry and for those of us who simply want a respite from life for a few moments. Dip into this book. Dig around. You'll find something interesting, something relevant, something amusing, something warming. If I have fun writing this dictionary, you should have fun reading it.

Most technical dictionaries define terms tersely, often in other technical terms. As a result they leave you more confused. This dictionary is different, deliberately so. My definitions tell you what the term is, how it works, how you use it, what its benefits are, what its negatives are. I tell you how it fits into the greater scheme of things, and I occasionally sound warnings or issue buying checklists. And sometimes I include a few fun definitions — mainly to amuse myself, but hopefully to give you some pleasure. Skim. You'll find them.

Which words get defined? These are my rules: All the important terms in the field. No proprietary products, i.e. those made by only one firm. No proprietary terms. My rules are not precise. Writing a dictionary is very personal. I read over 100 magazines a month. I study. I cogitate. I try to understand. Eventually, my wife calls, "Enough with the words, already. It's 2:00 AM. Time to sleep."

If I've left any definitions out, or if some of my definitions are unclear, contact me on

--Harry Newton

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