Phone of the Day: ROLM phone at the Local Bob’s Stores

a picture of a ROLM telephone on a post at a local Bob's Stores in Nashua, New Hampshire

This was taken at a local Bob’s Stores when the day after the New England Patriots won their fifth Super Bowl. (Roger That! Heh, heh, heh.) For this chain, ROLM is alive and well, to use the cliche. Because ROLM predates the Internet and modern day documentation, I have no idea what type of PBX or KSU it lives on. The set themselves is the 1990s generation, before they became German looking (possibly mid 1990s.) When ROLM was fully sold to Siemens, a few years later, they stopped selling their systems to America and incorporated ROLM features and their modernest designs. I’m not the expert in ROLM so forgive me.

Video: Avaya 302C “Attendant Console” (or just a Switchboard) Unboxing

Good Morning!

Courtesy of a somebody in the 406 area code who sent me their decommissioned console that is worth almost a $1,000 on the thirdhand market. Remember, this used to cost about $2,100 back in 1988, with an inflation adjustment of over $3,000 today (for sure!) The video is hosted by my social media platform, The Clickford Zone

Enjoy!

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International Women’s Day – Tribute to Lorriane Nelson (aka “Audrey Audix”)

I know this is a day old, but earlier today, I was thinking of an empowering woman related to my site. I am not a big believer of social trends via a hashtag; but I thought in a world of people becoming more and more “bossier”, more and more emotional, and always have a grudge against some “bossy” figure; especially in technology; I thought of all the women in the world, should be the voice of AUDIX. Below is a snopysis of a previously posted article of the email interview of what Avaya sometimes described her voice as “Audrey Audix” in the Modular Messaging platforms.   I guess I could also classify this post as a belated/redefined “Woman Crush Wednesday” even though I am a MUCH younger guy.

(BTW: that static page of AUDIX within the Tribute to System 75 has been finally taken down since we have new stuff since.)

With the decline of voicemail boxes and Avaya’s questionable future, I have to interject some editorials; I’ve used and heard other voicemail systems, and let me say some of the prompts are often rude, crude or just plain condensing. Women sounding like men, ordering you to hang up at gunpoint, etc. Lorriane is far from the competition.  Remember, she always recorded the prompts err, fragments with a smile.


This investigative project is mostly the background to the voice behind the legendary voice mail system, that has been branded AUDIX (the acronym known as Audio Information Exchange), Intuity, Modular Messaging and smaller systems like Partner and Merlin Messaging. Technical information or specific dates or years is not part of the narrative because she doesn’t have that information. Regardless, the early days of the enterprise voicemail system has some interesting history in itself.

 Despite her claim to fame, she was not the first voice of Audix.  According to her, a woman with a Texan drawl (the person’s name is unknown) had done the prompts for at least Release 1. The Bell Labs team wanted the voice to sound more New York, however they didn’t know where to go. Hey I wouldn’t blame them too. In the world of business, if you had a Texan (or heck someone from the West Coast) giving you prompts, would you go asleep or a loose a prospective customer? Especially when a product of AT&T was about to evolve into the competitive marketplace during the time Divestiture?

A man who had once worked on a Bell Labs project of a system with an A/V interface that could bridge such equipment in various rooms or classrooms through a telephony system; was tasked to find the voice. The said project is believed to never gone to market. This manager called a film producer in the Yellow Pages and asked he knew any voice over talent. The film producer had recommended a radio talent to the Bell Labs manager. They spotted a radio news reporter in the Denver market who worked at KADE in Boulder, then KADX going by the name “Lauren Hendricks.”

You can read more by clicking here.

AT&T Merlin, part two

The Merlin systems were basically from the beginning designed to be a workgroup phone system to compare it to the computer networking world. While the Merlin phones look so big business, and in some cases they were. Small Key units like the Merlin were installed in large environments against existing Centrex and electromechanical or analog/digital PBX systems. Because those systems already had 8 or 9 for the outside line, this would be redundant and therefore the Merlin did not have this feature. For small setups it was easy to pick up the phone and make a call. However this one and succeeding phone systems, many central offices would get quick off/on hook statuses because the users would be making an internal call. One trick was to hit the Intercom on hook then pick up the set.

 

A picture of the AT&T Merlin Operator Console

A picture of an AT&T Merlin Receptionist Console that looked almost like a BIS 34D with the BLF console fused in together with an interesting display. It was supported on a Merlin II, System 25 and Legend systems only.

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