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.

Telephony 101: On Voice Mail

Some people love voice mail, many just hate it. Many are apparently so egotistical, they think it’s not worth listening to 2 minutes of a voice based message than a generic email.

People also think email is better, but do you know the history of voicemail?

if the answer is no, lets go down memory lane of Voice Mail.

Voicemail is often assumed to be an electronic answering machine on a server. While it’s true, its origins was almost similar to sending a letter or an email, just with spoken word.

The first indication of such language was in printed publications in 1877. A famous man named Thomas Edison with an invention called the phonograph. For the Gen-X audience and older, this is basically a record player. Millenials are probably familiar to just be cool for the latest trend. While it was well known for songs, the ability to record spoken word, as a way to replace letter writing had the possibility. The “voice mail” language was in the lexicon by the 1910s.

While the answering machine was invented in the 1960s, the ability to install these would be so cost prohibitive, and worse, a wiring nightmare. In the early 1970s, Motorola introduced pagers that provided one way voice messages that would be answered by an “answering center” (this in 2017 is completely archaic with the advent of digital telephony, automated attendants, in fact the size of these answering centers were the size of contact centers, which was not existent at the time.) These pagers used UHF signals and were often used for volunteer fire fighters, etc. In this sense, this could be considered as a voice message.

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Definity AUDIX Failure, part never!

The AUDIX never failed. Apparently it was me who didn’t realize he didn’t have a “null” modem cable. Once I figured that out, and some questioning around the person who gave me the system, I got it to function. Wasn’t that complicated.

The confirmation that things were working was the infamous prompt.

Welcome to AUDIX. For help at any time, press star-H. Please enter in extension and pound sign.

No I don’t want to go back to a VOIP system that I was doing to replace the broken Cisco CME system. The Avaya was supposed to be “temporary”. Well let’s just keep that as long as I can! 😀

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The AUDIX board is now working!!!

If you can recall, I had a series of issues when I received this around late February. It turns out it needs a “null modem” cable because it’s basically a modem connection to in basic terms make the keyboard and monitor acting as a terminal session to work. I thought I had such cable, but apparently a null cable is thicker than a typical RS232 cable, which was what I only had until recently, I bought an ol US Robotics modem (that’s the supported modem for ether the PBX or AUDIX box) at a thrift store.

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Rants: Governor Paul LePage’s Stupidity in Unified Messaging

I live next to Maine. I love the state so much I wished the whole state could be flooded into the Atlantic.

I’m not kidding.

I’d say 90% of the 1.5 million residents (roughly) collectively have an IQ at freezing temperature.

If that’s statement worth backing up, let me share you a link to the Governor, Paul LePage that is NOT SAFE FOR WORK.

This dummy Republican governor left an OBSCENE message to a Democrat lawmaker in that state. He acts respectful in the beginning, but by his sixth word, he uses a vulgar word. Don’t get me started with compliance violations and human resource complaints and possible lawsuits for this kind of disrespect.

LePage even had the audacity to give the lawmaker permission to “record” the voicemail. Excuse me? Today in 2016, there is this nice little innovation called “Unified Messaging” that your voicemails can be sent via email by your Modular Messaging (something that dates far back in the early days of AUDIX), that the state government has used for many, MANY years, (since it’s a sister state to Massachusetts you know!)

But I bet LePage’s NT credentials are often barred because if he swears and uses vulgarity in traceable voicemails in default .WAVE formats, who knows what he sends on his Outlook.

If this was a Democrat, I’d probably say the same thing. A WikiLeaks drop of emails from Mrs. Anthony Weiner having to explain to Hillary Clinton how to pick up a telephone handset and couldn’t understand the concept of a handsfree call/speakerphone.

What hurts me is the level of discourse in society. It’s one thing to name call, or wish a state flooded by the ocean, but when you use vulgarities, or wishing one dead or actually going forward to put other’s lives in danger, that’s crossing a line. So many people on both sides are doing it.

My only beef was the actual voicemail and the concent to “record” despie it already being recorded electronically assuming the State of Maine is using the latest and greatest Avaya solutions (confirmed in marketing materials using the 1600 IP sets as of a few years ago.)

NSFW link

Telephony Art: AUDIX Cabinet, circa 1985

As a standard operating procedure at the Museum, I typically send thank you cards to certain people who have helped contribute to the site. As you have read earlier in February, I did the profile of the voice of AUDIX, the voice mail application for Avaya Red Systems.

I don’t want to show the entire card, since it was addressed to Lorraine Nelson herself, but I did a sketch (yeah I’m an artist) of what I believe was the first hardware based system, that was basically half a carrier, I’m assuming because you know AT&T lacked documentation back then and Avaya likes to not live off their heritage. I mailed this card about a couple weeks ago to her Connecticut operations.

Since I’ve not been in constant updating the site, as we approach Mother’s Day, my mother recently was exposed to this site. She has enjoyed a lot of what I posted. I can’t help to say that her perspective of logging into her AUDIX has changed because your humble Curator has been in contact with the legendary voiceover.


My Collection: A Definity AUDIX Board!

Update: 02-23-15 at 9:20 pm We’ve gots some problems… Presently tried to follow all the instructions but the board appears to be booting up but the ASA and even TUTTY (Putty + AT&T Terminal) clients are stuck in the BSOD. According to historic documentation, the LEDs are working as they should after boot, so maybe something failed at the connector side. I sure hope I didn’t “break” it…

So I got another surprise gift from Jason that was sent on President’s Day. I just received it a couple hours ago. This Definity AUDIX board is an integrated voice mail system for the Definity platform. These are no longer available and were designed in small environments. It was on the market for most of the 90s and probably up to 2001. The replacement would be an external PC or now a Modular Messaging running on a server class PC or an Aura virtual appliance. The beauty of this tiny board is it gave customers in small sites the power of the bigger AUDIX system. And hopefully I can hear the AUDIX lady once I get into the thing!

So much for that cutover back to the Cisco huh?

Exclusive: Profile of the Voice of AUDIX!

Welcome to AUDIX. For help at anytime, press star-H. Please enter your extension and pound sign.

Default AUDIX Login prompt

 In today’s special post, in continuing series of the early history of modern day Avaya PBX systems, you humble curator had actually reached out to the “Voice of Voicemail”, Lorraine Nelson. I would like to thank her for her cooperation with the project.

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A Tribute to AUDIX (I Hope!)

Part of the then System 75 package was it’s voice mail system known as AUDIX. AUDIX stood for Audio Information Exchange, and early on supported UNIX email and faxing integration. AUDIX was basically designed for voice mails. It’s early history is very vague. It’s early existence goes as far back as 1985, though documented reports by tech papers claimed AUDIX was ready for market in 1986, but was generally on the market in 1987.

For more on this placeholder information, its on it’s own page.