AT&T Sourcebook – Spring 1988

Last week, I got a nice steal on eBay, a Spring 1988, AT&T Sourcebook. This was once a catalog that you could get and theroretically a nobody could acquire an AT&T phone system. This was the companion sales channel to nobodies to the AT&T Phone Center Store.

This was a surprise. I thought it would be a small little thing, turns out it’s a full catalog. For the next few days, I’ll post reasonable sized images of the catalog. And in the future pictures in this catalog will be used in other subjects involving Avaya Red systems of the time.

$8 for this thing!

Of course the inset cover page is touting the AT&T Merlin product.

Inset featuring a sketch of the AT&T Merlin phones with the tagline "That Merlin of King Arthur's Age Would weep with envy if he knew The ease of telecommunication AT&T invented just for you.

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Remembering Avaya: Robin and the Vectors

Per to the YouTube description of Martin Askinazi

Robin and the Vectors was a group that started in the mid 90’s at AT&T. We created song parodies about the call center products developed by AT&T/Lucent Technologies/Avaya and created these videos to present and the User Group each year. The band consisted of Robin DeLorenzo (lead singer), Marty Askinazi (Guitar/Vocals/Producer), Zack Taylor (Lyrics), Walter Bier (Sax) and Alex Fattorusso (Bass)

If you couldn’t tell by the name of the c-rated band, this was most likely a marketing ploy for their call center offerings. This was the time in the mid 1990s when AT&T and Lucent was behind in the lucrative market of call centers. The Definity PBX had out of the box support for call centers in enterprise accounts; and it wasn’t too long after they dominated (for all the right reasons!)

This video is a series of several posts.

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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8520 ISDN Voice Terminal


These sets of JPEGs I acquired over a decade ago. I’m posting these photos because to clear things up with these sets. These 8500 sets was marketed by AT&T, then Lucent then Avaya. They are ISDN sets. Open standards telephones that worked on BRI supported lines. So this set could theoretically work on a Nortel PBX or carrier switch, or a 5ESS central switch or a Definity/Communication Manager PBX. But when Avaya was spun off, who had the rights?

It seems to be Avaya, because Lucent marketed a 202x series of ISDN sets post spinoff. Prior to the 8500s, there was the 7500 (mimicked the 7400 DCP/7300 Merlin sets) and the 6500 (mimicked the Spirit line) essentially giving Avaya the legal right-of-first-refusal perhaps.

8520t_b 8520t_c 8520t_d 8520t

The Museum of Telephony doesn’t give a crud about style and aesthetics unless it hampers on performance. The reason why these sets were boxy, may had been internal processes, as commented recently; or the fact according to a list-serve post related to sets used in the Oval Office, was the sets had ribbon connector inside to support daughter-cards for encryption. While the ISDN sets were used for interoperable purposes, ISDN brought something proprietary hybrids couldn’t, use end to end digital signals to prevent any types of eavesdropping beyond the handset.

A previous post on the 8434 actually opening the case of the proprietary DCP set kinda confirmed the possibility on the PBX side of products, but no known “adjuncts” would support “VIP” styled security.

These open BRI sets were in the White House’s Oval Office until a few years ago when Cisco slowly made it’s way. And after Donald Trump’s latest remarks against Avaya, one can’t feel hopeful that any ISDN, digital telephony or Avaya in any way or all will return. This is one of the few places where one can’t just believe VOIP can be fully secure.


My Collection: Polycom SoundStation


Hey Polycom from 2012, I’ve been looking all over my network for you! How have you been? 

This supposed to be the original photo for my SoundStation but decided to take a picture of late. This one taken in 2012 was more picture-esque and now I found it, I can move it over to the static page of my collection. This model was a private label for Lucent and is an analog set that can be used in POTS or analog lines in a PBX or Key setups.