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



Aastra/Nortel 390 Unboxing

It’s been a while since I have been updating the site. In fact, I haven’t logged in for a while ether. While I have some time catching up on things, I thought I’d share the unboxing (albeit sound only) of an Aastra 390 screenset, received by Joe the UCX Guy earlier last month. Joe: I’ve tried to reach you for acknowledgment and my email has  been acting very moody. Future correspondences can be sent via steven@vanitydomain (see banner). I have not forgotten you.

I’ll have stills and hopefully a video portion sooner than later.

Anyways back to some emails and other things I have to follow up. Been a busy summer for me, hence the silence here.


The Makings of a Telephone Museum

In this ten minute video you can see me build out the museum that took nearly six months from vision to completion. This timelapse video of nearly two full hours during two days in January and earlier this month showed how much work it took to put in the hardware  bought from the local Home Depot using a Closetmaid solution as well as swapping out the telephone sets and finalizing the look.

More to come.



Phun: “Rejected by 7 Different Technologies”

Since answering machines had such an important role before voicemail, and even when voicemail began in commercial markets in the mid 1980s, it was designed almost as a fancy answering machine and it’s Saint Valentine’s Day, why don’t we just have some fun and quote movies like He’s Just Not That Into You and relive the days of romantic rejections 25 years ago

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Video: My Mitel IP Telephony System

From an earlier post, I showed you the unexpected surprise of my new Mitel system, here is the video. (Now from the looks of it, the video is very blotchy, and the video goes in and out. I have done mock news productions with Lego minifigures with Final Cut just fine, just when I do things on telephones, does FCP just want to flake out…I may need to be retrained on it anyways, or find the notes from my former cable access center to figure out why it’s doing what it does.)

Lorraine Nelson – The Lady Behind AUDIX!

Thanks to Jason who gave me this link a while back but took me a while to catch up on emails.

In the mid 1990s, the Lorraine Nelson was featured in a The Wall Street Journal Report (that syndicated weekend show) on the subject of voice prompts. (Don’t let the cheesy visual effects in the intro mistake you from the 1980s!)

This video came from her own profile on YouTube, but I’d suspect this was recorded in the mid 90s. In the shortened video, the report stated that she worked for AT&T and a decade before, came up with the idea for the voice of AUDIX. (So with that, it would indicate AUDIX was released sometime between 1986 to 1987 – there is no official record of a specific date or year when the system actually came out to market in 2015.)

Nelson came up with a vision of being the “nicest secretary” for others to hear and provided all the voice prompts for AUDIX (and later Merlin Mail, Merlin [Magix] Messaging, and Partner Messaging.) All of her voiceovers had “a smile” to them.

Years gone by, she lives in Connecticut, and according to list-serves a few years back she does the announcing for the Connecticut Lottery, and 7 years ago she mimicked an AUDIX like prompt for a promo at CNBC when they pre-empted Larry Kudlow’s show during the 2008 Bejing Olympics. The promo ended almost like an AUDIX with the signature “Please Wait.”

While you can still hear her in other places, Avaya seems to be doing what Nelson didn’t want the voice to be. Again I’ve read comments in the list-serve in the past, and there was an indication that her voice was being mimicked with a synthesizer instead of finding her number (or find her profile on YouTube) so she could provide new prompts.

If you ever heard of IP Office’s voice mail system, one would suspect that was roboticily produced. Unless some disease hit Nelson, I can’t get why it’s so robotic!


Video: Nortel Ad – Circa 2000

I was on a walk in my town for the first time in many months (feels like years in this long summer that never ends.) I passed by a biker going against me on the sidewalk who had a T-shirt that said  “What do you want the Internet to be?”

The T-shirt was by Nortel during the late 90s, the turn of year 2000. These ads ran from 1999 to 2000 when Nortel actually made their first major mainstream ad campaign that was outside the traditional trade papers. (I also bet The Beetles made some nice royalties beyond the typical SESAC dues!) This also followed after a major acquisition of Bay Networks, once located at the headquarters where Avaya is today in Santa Clara, California. Bay Networks had a large presence in Massachusetts (where the biker probably worked for or a friend of his or his spouse.) If you go on US Route 3 South before  Interstate 95 Route 128  you’ll see Avaya’s offices there. Prior to the Nortel acquisition Avaya got out of most of their New England offices and or plants.

This campaign didn’t help much because the rise of Cisco (I think in retrospect, the “rise” was inflated, through a lot of backroom deals, long lunch hours with CIOs and other weird things that made Cisco go to the top.)

Sadly, even though I dislike Nortel 9 times out of 10, it was watching a Greek tragedy that destroyed the company; first having a top heavy headcount (always a bad sign), second was a very rough transition from a mainframe type of technology (TDM) to less hardware dependent business (IP.) For whatever reason Cisco was able to sell tons of boxes and make a killing, allegedly in the first decade of the new Millenium. (Cisco’s success outside of IP Telephony is yet to be challenged publicly outside of niche blogs.) Factor in Enron-like accounting scandals and the infamous bankruptcy, Nortel had a lot of issues.

I’m not sympathizing with Nortel, many legacy telecom companies were unable to make the same profits in an IP/Internet based world. Well not until the concept of “cloud” based services where they could get a reoccurring revenue stream. Services were cut among all companies and even in the last 15 years, hardware maintenance was still needed, but good luck if you had a major bug and dealing with the vendor directly.

It was interesting to see still see things, like the biker in the Nortel swag in 2015.

Video: AT&T Merlin Cordless Solutions

I miss the days when phone systems would get ad time on network TV.

I found this commercial from AT&T promoting their Merlin cordless/wireless systems from a block of commercials that aired on WCBS-TV in New York in early 1990. This commercial ran during a CBS Sports coverage of an NBA game. This was AT&T’s first wireless offerings for non landlines, as most metal buildings didn’t go to well with consumer grade cordless technologies. Not only was this cordless, but it could support multi lines, take out two buttons for intercom, you can have up to 4 trunk lines.

The ad also stated it was also compatible with System 25 systems, which unlike Systems 75 or 85, was totally separate and resembled some functionality of those larger PBXes but ran on the Merlin code.

From the looks of the ad it looks like an MDW-9000 which could theoretically work on the larger systems. Even more interesting was the Partner would be released in the same year, but AT&T kept adding more hardware to the Merlin. It would be safe to say that about 1990, AT&T would put an End of Sale-like practice (i.e. end of marketing) because AT&T  and Lucent and even Avaya(!) would continue to sell refurbished models or replace like hardware on the Merlin line of systems. You can find on eBay an Avaya branded Merlin set that was likely refurbished as late as 2002/03. That showed how much commitment they had to their systems even when other systems were rage at the same company.

As crazy as it appears, enterprise voice systems once upon at time, was worth a 30 second ad. When the Merlin first came out in 1983, AT&T ran a 60 second ad!