1ОЋCЃH——˜™™šs SLAMMING, slammed by AT&T, telephone slamming, AT&T, Teleport,..
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June 2003
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August 2003
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SCAN    Tues. 10th of June 2003:--    ===TESTING     This is only a test link===
   VERIZON RESIDENTIAL: Is my bill right?

   My VERIZON RESIDENTIAL telephone bill came. I glanced at the bill fast, before putting it into my "Monthly Bills To Be Paid" folder. Later, I realized the bill showed an unusual-sized credit balance. (I sometimes round-up to the nearest dollar when paying ongoing utility bills.) The first inkling that something was truly wrong were the words FINAL BILL written on it. I called VERIZON. They said, "Well, you're no longer our customer. You signed up with TELEPORT, didn't you?" I told them I didn't even know what a Teleport was, or what they did, ...and I never "signed up" with them for anything. VERIZON said my line was "switched physically" on May 3rd (Long Distance service) and again on May 21st (Local & Regional service.)

NOTES    Tues. 10th of June 2003--

   Internet computers at the local library show me that Teleport may now be a subsidiary of AT&T as of 1998...? The Staten Island "Teleport" complex that New Yorker's tax dollars once subsidized may be the same company. Their Colorado number is disconnected. Once worth a real cool $$-half-a-billion-$$ it was then ranked number 2 on a list of local CLEC operators, ...emerging to rival the regional "Baby Bell" and GTE (= Verizon) monopolies. It was listed on the NYS-PSC "SLAMMINGS' table as company #5845 with no complaints in 2001 or 2002. Are they still in business?

AUDIO    Weds. 11th of June 2003, 11:46am -- 58 sec. -- 641 KB TP-01a.wav
   ===TESTING TP No. 01a    This is only a test link===
   AT&T BUSINESS ...I have FINALLY tracked down AT&T's Customer Service number!

1-877-321-4792 is the "Executive Complaint Offices for BUSINESS Services" number.

   Text here....

AUDIO    Weds. 11th of June 2003, 12:16 pm -- __ min., __ sec. -- __ KB TP-01b.wav
   ===TESTING TP No. 01b     This is only a test link===
   AT&T BUSINESS     AT&T assigns me a Case Number

   A new "call-back number" is assigned for my case: Toll-free 1-800-829-0527. But why is AT&T's BUSINESS department handling my RESIDENTIAL account?

   Text here....

AUDIO    Mon. 16th of June 2003, 12:14 pm-- 55 sec. -- 617 KB TP-02.wav
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   Text here....

AUDIO    Tues. 17th of June 2003, __:__ pm-- 7 min. 6sec. -- 4,707 KB TP-03.wav
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   Text here....

AUDIO    DAY___th of June 2003, __:__ pm-- 2 min. 5 sec. -- 1.389 KB TP-04.wav
   ===TESTING TP-No. 04     This is only a test link===

   Text here....

OTHER    19th of June 2003

   Sent an E-mail to the slamming@fcc.gov address. Subject: Slamming...
(There is also a toll-free FCC number: 1-888-CALL-FCC)

FAX    Fri. 20th June 2003, 8:44 am--    ===TESTING     This is only a test link===
   Faxed Complaint to NYS-PSC 1-518-486-7868

   Filled out and faxed the COMPLAINT FORM from New York State Public Service Commission's web site: http://www.dps.state.ny.us/form.html I attached a printout of my e-mail to the FCC.

AUDIO    DAY___th of June 2003, 11:12 am-- 42 sec. -- 470 KB TP-05.wav
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   Text here....

AUDIO    Mon. ___th of June 2003, 11:43 pm-- 33 sec. -- 371 KB TP-06.wav
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   Text here....

SCAN    DAY ____ received letter dated June 26, 2003:--    ===TESTING     This is only a test link===
   Form-letter mailed from NYS-PSC

"We have instructed TELEPORT COMMUNICATIONS to contact you..."

AUDIO    Fri. 27th of June. 2003, 11:54 am--
   AT&T BUSINESS confesses that they made a mistake!... (TWICE??)

   "Someone" at AT&T's subsidiary company, Teleport, hit the wrong digit... on TWO separate dates?? ...first in early May, then in late May 2003? Wow! ...What's the mathematical probability of that happening in one lifetime? Maybe I should go buy a Lottery ticket?

AUDIO    Fri. 27th of June 2003, 11:54 am-- 2 min.57_sec. -- 1,961 KB TP-07.wav
   ===TESTING TP-No. 07     This is only a test link===

   Text here....

AUDIO    DAY___th of June 2003, __:__ pm-- 27 sec. -- 301 KB TP-08.wav
   ===TESTING TP-No. 08     This is only a test link===
   AT&T BUSINESS -- Hmmm,.. Let me TRY that other "wrong-slammed" number

   Very in-ter-est-ing!... That "other" number that AT&T gave me,... the one that Teleport was supposed to have mis-keyed(?)... that business, or number apparently DOESN'T EXIST-!!

AUDIO    DAY___th of July 2003, __:__ pm-- 3 min. 20sec. -- 2,210 KB TP-09.wav
   ===TESTING TP-No. 09     This is only a test link===

   You will have to re-apply as a NEW customer... We don't send any pricing or information IN WRITING to anyone.... (Cut-off with music playing...)

AUDIO    DAY___th of July 2003, __:__ pm-- 5 sec. -- 60 KB TP-10.wav
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   Text here....

AUDIO    DAY___th of July 2003, __:__ pm-- __ min. __sec. -- 3,069 KB
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   Text here....

AUDIO    DAY___th of July 2003, __:__ pm-- __ min. __sec. -- 1,629 KB
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   Text here....

AUDIO    DAY___th of July 2003, __:__ pm-- 22 min. 41sec. -- 15,014 KB
   ===TESTING TP-No. 13     This is only a test link===
   NYS-PSC -- Mr. R____ P____

   Text here....

SCAN    Mon. 14th July 2003 Received letter dated July 11, 2003:--
   ===TESTING     This is only a test link===
   VERIZON RESIDENTIAL Form-letter from Mr. R____ P____ of NYS-PSC. 1-800-342-3377 or 1-212-290-4171

"We have instructed VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS to contact you directly to resolve the concern you brought to our attention."

(This "Verizon concern" is now Case Number 3_______.)

AUDIO    Mon. 14th of July 2003, 1:43 pm-- 1 min. 17 sec. -- 855 KB
   ===TESTING TP-No. 14     This is only a test link===

   Text here....

AUDIO    Tues. 15th of July 2003, 9:55 am-- 58 sec. -- 646 KB
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   Text here....

SCAN    DAY ___ received letter dated 16th July, 2003:--    Letter from VERIZON "Customer Advocate"

FAX    Wed. 23rd July 2003, CA. 3:00 pm--    ===TESTING     This is only a test link===

..."And, by the way, I am no longer "amused."
ALL I WANT IS "TO BE MADE WHOLE" AGAIN. I want the mistake fixed.

FAX    Wed. 23rd July 2003, 10:03 pm--    ===TESTING     This is only a test link===
   Faxed 1-518-486-7868 to NYS-PSC re. TELEPORT

FAX    23rd July 2003, 10:04 pm--    ===TESTING     This is only a test link===
   Fax to NYS-PSC re. VERIZON

AUDIO    Fri. 1st of August 2003, 10:55 am -- 28 sec. -- 318 KB
   ===TESTING TP-No. 16     This is only a test link===

   Text here....

AUDIO    DAY___th of August 2003, __:__ pm-- __ min. __sec. -- 938 KB
   ===TESTING TP-No. 17     This is only a test link===
   AT&T RESIDENTIAL -- "Adam The Shy"

   Adam ______ , manager of "Residential Returnees" said he wouldn't give me his last name "for security reasons." (And I thought I was paranoid.) I guess "Adam The Shy" doesn't give out too many of his AT&T RESIDENTIAL business cards either. (I hope AT&T provides its employees with a good psychiatric health-care plan.)

AUDIO    DAY___th of August 2003, __:__ pm-- __ min. __sec. -- 516 KB
   ===TESTING TP-No. 18     This is only a test link===

   The AT&T BUSINESS "Executive Complaints Office" fax number is 1-888-288-1851.

AUDIO    Mon. ___th of August 2003, 1:30 pm-- 36 sec. -- 403 KB (edited down)
   AT&T BUSINESS -- 1-800-452-2248... Automated threats of "Collection Activities"

   ...and, by the way .."thank you for CHOOSING AT&T"...

AUDIO    DAY___th of August 2003, __:__ pm-- __ min. __sec. -- 640 KB
   ===TESTING TP-No. 20     This is only a test link===
   AT&T BUSINESS --     "Thank you for using the automated system."

   Automated book-keeper wants all 13 (unknown to me) digits.... 10 public + the secret 3-digit PIN code.

BUT... will it "settle" for the 10 public digits published in all phone books? (Hey, surprise! ...The answer is YES!) How's THAT for security? Call up, and screw up all your business competitors that use AT&T BUSINESS "service," why don't you?... How did I do it? I'm yust another dumb stubborn squarehead, I guess. (Or, maybe it was just luck.)

No wonder AT&T's "Adam The Shy" won't give out his last name "for security reasons."FAX    Tues. 12th August 2003, 2:49 pm--    ===TESTING     This is only a test link===
   Fax to NYS-PSC 1-518-486-7868

SCAN    15th August 2003:--    ===TESTING     This is only a test link===

   You can find a lot of interesting things on the Internet:
AT&T Business Services revises their year 2000 handbook. It contains LOCAL NUMBER PORTABILITY (LNP) issues, AT&T's position on LNP, processes & procedures, etc. between rival Local Service Providers (LSP) using Interim Local Number Portability (ILNP) or Location Routing Number (LNR) technologies. (WTN = customer's Working Telephone Number.)

AUDIO    Weds. ___th of August 2003, 3:30 pm-- __ min. __sec. -- 542 KB
   ===TESTING TP-No. 21     This is only a test link===
   VERIZON RESIDENTIAL -- 1-212-395-2641 Exec. Office

   Text here....

AUDIO    Fri. ___th of August 2003, 1:21 pm-- __ min. __sec. -- 441 KB
   ===TESTING TP-No. 22     This is only a test link===
   AT&T BUSINESS -- Automated System

   Text here....

NOTES    Weds. 1st of Sept. 2003
    FORTUNE Magazine     Page 43: "Fighting Over The Phone"

    In an article by S.N. Mehta about the spat between telecom rivals, "Fortune Magazine" says, "What it says about the industry is truly ugly." ..Heck, I could have told you that months ago!

AUDIO    Tues. 2nd of Sept. 2003, 9:02 am-- 23 sec. -- 261 KB
   ===TESTING TP-No. 23     This is only a test link===
   AT&T BUSINESS -- Telephone = "KAPUT"

   Can't dial out... not even to AT&T Operator!

   "We are sorry, your call cannot be completed as dialedx....."

OTHER    Mon. 29th of Sept. 2003, 04:34PM--
   Mailed registered letter to DAVID W. DORNAN, CEO of AT&T. Bedminister, NJ

   "I do not want AT&T as a service provider now, and I do not want AT&T service in the future either."

NOTES    Tues. 30th of Sept. 2003
   "Mixed Signals"   FCC has no "switching" rules yet for Nov. 24th deadline?

   An article in the highly esteemed information technology magazine "Baseline" (October '03 issue, page 22) tells how the wireless industry is preparing to meet FCC regulations regarding LNP or "Local Number Portability." Travis Larson of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association said the process could be held up by simple things, like street address abbreviations. Cingular says the FCC has no established rules yet, but they are ready for a last minute scramble. Sprint said it's spending "hundreds of millions of dollars" to comply.

   What about AT&T and Verizon plans? ...They didn't even return "Baseline's" calls!

   ALL numbers go into a "virtual numbers pool" where "Telcordia" (Morristown, NJ software provider) ..manages the number pool for many of the wireless & landline service suppliers.

NOTES    1st of OCT 2003, :    ===TESTING     This is only a test link===
   The telemarketing "DO NOT CALL LIST" starts today.

   The federal mandated"Do Not Call List" goes into effect today. Ironically,.. I was very early to sign up on this list, but now I have no dial tone whatsoever! Maybe the gods are playing with me? (Especially that Loki character, I betcha!)

Telephone Consumer Protection Act, DO NOT CALL
($1,500 reward? .. $11,000 penalty/incident?)

NOTES    3rd of OCT 2003, 3:00PM--
   My calls from sidewalk public phone to NYS-PSC, and AT&T.

SCAN    Date, time:--    ===TESTING     This is only a test link===
   Scanned in image of

AUDIO    Weds. 8th of Oct. 2003, 9:06AM-- 4 sec. -- 44 KB
   The phone came back to life!...

   A voice on the answering-machine said "Testing the line, thank you." ...whatever THAT means? ...(Apparently, what it means is that AT&T BUSINESS wants to continue billing me until The End of Time !!)

FAX    Weds. 15th October 2003, 6:39 am--    ===TESTING   This is only a test link===
   Fax to NYS-PSC

FAX    Weds. 15th October 2003, 7:02 am--    ===TESTING   This is only a test link===
   Fax to NYS-PSC

FAX    Mon. 27th October 2003, 11:18 am--    ===TESTING   This is only a test link===
   Fax to NYS-PSC

FAX    Mon. 27th October 2003, 11:20 am--    ===TESTING   This is only a test link===
   AT&T BUSINESS:     Fax to AT&T's CEO Dorman

FAX    Tues. 28th October 2003, 8:00 am--    ===TESTING   This is only a test link===
   Fax to NYS-PSC

FAX    Weds. 29th October 2003, 8:12 am--    ===TESTING   This is only a test link===
   Fax to NYS-PSC

SCAN    Thurs. 30th October 2003 RECEIVED Letter dated 24 Oct. '03
   ===TESTING     This is only a test link===
   Letter from NYS-PSC's Manager, Consumer Services

   Manager B___ E. B____ writes that AT&T BUSINESS has reduced their "convert" claim to $0.oo balance, BUT... AT&T BUSINESS will continue future billing if I fail to "migrate" BACK to VERIZON.

FAX    Fri. 31st October 2003, 04:15 am-- Halloween
   ===TESTING     This is only a test link===
   Fax to NYS-PSC's Manager, Office of Consumer Affairs

No! No! No!...    No means NO!

   No...    I do NOT want AT&T.
   No...    I do NOT want VERIZON.
   No...    I do NOT want a hard-wired telephone.

I WILL NOT pay for something I do not want.
I WILL NOT pay for something I never ordered.

NOTES    Fri. 31st of OCT 2003, ca. 12:40PM--"Halloween"
   Called from sidewalk public phone to NYS-PSC. (Nice phone weather.)

   Talked to B__ B____ , Manager, Office of Consumer Affairs. I asked if he'd gotten my latest fax sent 4:15 am early this morning. (Yes, 4:15 am... My sleeping patterns seem to have been affected by this nearly half-year long bureaucratic "AT&T Slamming" battle, and by AT&T's continuing ominous threats of "Collection" activity... and the imminent collapse of years spent building up a good family credit rating.)

He hunted up the fax and we reviewed, point by point, my major immediate concerns:

   1. No! No! No!... I don't want ANY kind of "land-locked" or "hard-wired" or "wire-line" telephone. I don't want AT&T BUSINESS. I don't want VERIZON RESIDENTIAL. I've told NYS-PSC "officialdom" for months that I totally despise the so-called "customer service" of BOTH companies, and I want nothing more to do with either company! In fact, I want to be free of ALL "BIG BROTHER" type monopolies (Big Business, Big Unions, Big Government)... and I will probably wind up with an anonymous pre-paid "throw-away" type cell-phone. (Maybe I'll go live in a remote cave! ....But, that will be MY CHOICE, not AT&Ts!!)

   2. Manager B______ promised to contact AT&T this afternoon to try to get AT&T off my back before today's end-of-month billing cycle ...as I required in my fax of 27th of October '03 to AT&T's CEO David W. Dorman. Hopefully, I will soon no longer have a dial-tone with an irritatingly over-automated "AT&T Operator" recording on it. Hopefully, AT&T will FINALLY send me a final bill, IN WRITING, showing that I owe them $0.oo... Null-komma-nix!... Nothing!... Zip!... Nada!.. and that they promise to GO AWAY forever! (Still, it's a bit sad that AT&T was able to "steal away" this telephone number the family's had for 30+ years...)

   3. The NYS-PSC doesn't handle cell-phones... The FCC rules mandating cell-phone to cell-phone PORTABILITY between rival telephone companies starts the end of November, but there will probably be initial problems before everything gets worked out. Mr. B___ said that portability between wire-LESS and wire-LINE companies will come next, starting maybe in the Spring of 2004? Prices should drop dramatically if earlier results from other countries also happen here too.... (He may get a cell phone for his kid?) ....I guess, in any case, it might be too late by then for me to claim "portability" of THIS NUMBER. ...Or, maybe not? The portability rule is about 7 years old already. The industry has had plenty of time to get ready.
[CLICK HERE: My note on the "AT&T Handbook" ...then use BACK button to return here.]

NOTES    Sat. 1st of NOV. 2003
   NEWS MEDIA: AT&T is Hit With a $780,000 Fine.

   No, the $780,000 isn't going into my pocket. (I wish it was !) Actually, the U.S. Federal government is fining AT&T for violating the DO NOT CALL telemarketing orders of hundreds or thousands of consumers, just in one month. I have PERSONALLY found out about the lack of respect AT&T shows consumers, ...or regulators, so I'm not too surprised at all.
[CLICK HERE: To review my "Do Not Call" note... then use BACK button to return here.]

NOTES    Mon. 3rd of NOV. 2003
   Estimate of AT&T's "SLAMMING" costs so far, on this one case.

   I don't even want to start estimating what this "slamming mess" has cost ME emotionally, financially, or in terms of time WASTED, or my "opportunity cost" (=other things NOT done, that should have been done)... or my now "dead" telecom equipment,.. but, roughly speaking, here's what I figure AT&T's expenses are running:

    1. It costs about $400 to 500 to gain each new customer. (They lost this one forever.)
    2. They have had to reduce THIS "slamming" to $0.oo
    3. They have gained a fanatic ANTI-AT&T campaigner (me) until death. That WILL cost them!!
    4. It cost telecom companies about $5 to $10 per minute for "human intervention" or a live "service representative" to talk on the phone. (Automated web service = less than $1/min.) Since I've supposedly been dealing with AT&T's "Cream of the Crop" Executive Complaints Office, I assume it costs maybe $10/min. X 45? minutes = $450 so far... plus their talks with the NYS-PSC, meetings, etc.
    5. Automated paper bills cost only $2 to 3 to distribute & process... so, add just $15 or so.
    6. They lost the opportunity to sell me new DSL or any other AT&T add-ons...
    7. Added yet another "complaint" to those lodged with regulatory authorities. I doubt there is any penalty at all for this, but who knows? (Probably just automated bureaucratic paperwork.)
    8. Receiving & distributing faxes (or probably, "direct filing" right into the garbage can?) cost unknown,... lets just say, $250?
    9. Union-paid electronic-technicians to slam, un-slam, and re-slam the line... and finally, to disconnect, or switch off this line. My guess: $50? $100?
   10. Ongoing lease-payments to Verizon, taxes, fees, etc., for this unused "slammed" line.... Maybe $1/month?
   10. Diverse,... ongoing overhead, lost profit, etc.... guess 10%,.... = over $250 to 300?

    Grand total... A cost of about $3,000.

    So why didn't AT&T BUSINESS just concede before? They'd already confessed that they'd made a mistake. They understood I didn't want them. They also understood I didn't want to be "returned" at a TRIPLE PRICE back to Verizon. And, they also understood that I no longer wanted ANY telephone, and told them it had been TERMINATED. The NYS-PSC is a witness to this. I even have RECORDINGS.... So why did they persist?.... Why did they continue to aggrevate me like this?... Just why did they do it?...

I guess they did it... just BECAUSE THEY CAN.

NOTES    Weds. 5th of NOV. 2003
    VERIZON ..another "slamming" case.

    Your telephone bill contains a lot of hidden taxes and surcharges. It's a nice almost secret "slush fund" for politicians. The "Portability Surcharge" ..what is that supposed to pay for? Who gets that? Is it a kickback to the telephone companies? (Sort of like the hidden VHS-tape surcharge that Congress gave Hollywood for my own home movies?) ...And, what about that little extra fee that was added years ago to "computerize" libraries & schools...?? By now, we should have computers filling these institutions up to their rafters. (Add up your "fees" for how many years?..then figure in falling prices of computers, broadband, etc.)

    So,.. I'm sitting at an old battered library computer (with missing keys) updating this web site, and a curious stranger stops by to ask, "Whatcha doin'?" ...So,.. I told him about my home phone getting slammed over to business status by AT&T BUSINESS. (I tell EVERYBODY.) He said, "I got slammed a few months ago too, but by Verizon." ...Now, that's the 2nd complete stranger I ran across that got "slammed" since it happened to me. I wonder how many other "cases" are out there, and if this is a rapidly growing problem?

AUDIO    Thurs. 6th of NOV. 2003, ca. 3:40 pm -- 1 sec. 12 KB    TP-25.wav
   Called from sidewalk public phone to NYS-PSC. (RAIN, lousy phone weather)

   I asked for the Manager, Mr. B____ B_____, but Mr. M___ said he was out, up in Albany today. I told him I still had a dial-tone on my copper wireline. M___ said "That shouldn't be," or words to that effect, and conferenced us over to AT&T. Ms. ___ of AT&T also repeated "That shouldn't be," and checked her records. No, I was no longer an AT&T customer she confirmed, to my delight.

   But, having become a seasoned AT&T sceptic by now, I did not start cheering, "Hurra!, Hurra!, Hurra!"...

   Mr. M___ asked me if I was satisfied now... "Well, who is supplying the dial-tone?" I asked. AT&T told me: "Call 1-700-555-4141 to identify the new dial-tone carrier." I said: "But I don't WANT a dial-tone!" ....I wondered aloud to them, "Can I have been SLAMMED YET AGAIN?" They both answered, singing in sweet harmony together, repeating the phrase: "Call 1-700-555-4141 to identify the new dial-tone carrier."

   So I went back home and dialed "O" for Operator. (I never was very good at following orders.) So who answered?... "AT&T" said a cheerful recording, complete with chimes for back-up music. Well, since I was told I am definately NO LONGER an AT&T customer, ... what happened? Maybe I was newly slammed again by AT&T BUSINESS in the very few minutes it took me to get back home to check the dial tone? Does AT&T BUSINESS have technicians on "Stand-By Alert" just waiting to re-slam my number?

Just who is AT&T BUSINESS kidding? ...Not me!! (Maybe it's the NYS-PSC that they are playing as the fool?)

AUDIO    Fri. 7th of November 2003, ca. 9:00 am -- 5 sec. 59 KB    TP-26.wav
   AT&T BUSINESS:     Called 1-700-555-4141 Carrier Identifier Number

   I was pretty disgusted yesterday, but before complaining YET AGAIN to the NYS-PSC that nothing seems to be getting done, and that the endless games of "stonewalling" and runarounds are still continuing... I figured I'd at least TRY their "identifier number." As suspected, it said "Thank you for CHOOSING AT&T... Are these people for real? Is this how they get there kicks over there in the AT&T bureaucracy? Let's all hope and pray to the gods... that the whole over-paid AT&T "Customer Service" gang soon gets "outsourced" (= replaced) by much more willing and competent college educated workers over in India or Taiwan or maybe in the Phillipines!

   I couldn't go out to the public phone booth today. My kitchen sink pipe sprung a leak again, and I had to arrange getting it fixed, bailing water, etc. So, "The AT&T Fun & Games" will just have to wait until next week.

SCAN    Mon. 10th November 2003 Received new AT&T bill
   ===TESTING     This is only a test link===
   AT&T BUSINESS:     The "adjusted" bill is NOT $0.oo !!

   Text here

NOTES    Mon. 10th of November 2003, ca. 3:20 pm
   Called from sidewalk public phone to NYS-PSC. (Sunny and cold. Phone weather = OK, but chilly..)

   Talked to a Ms. (or Mrs?) L_____. Told her AT&T BUSINESS is still sending a dial-tone, and that I'd received a brand new "adjusted" bill. AT&T BUSINESS is at it again!

   They refuse to be TERMINATED! They are starting all over again... the bill is NOT $0.oo.... it's almost $30... and I told Ms./Mrs. L____ ...it WILL NOT be paid!! And no, I do NOT want to "conference over" to AT&T with her. It seems obvious that the AT&T people there are either incompetant, or liars, or ....!!

NOTES    Weds. 12th of November 2003, ca. 11:30 am
   Mailed copy of AT&T's bill to NYS-PSC.. Costs: $0.91, thank you!

   I must now give up on faxing to the NYS-PSC. Apparently, faxes sent to the state regulatory authorities only goads AT&T BUSINESS into thinking they can continue billing me. One of the items on their "adjusted" bill was a fax to Albany supposedly lasting 56 minutes and 54 seconds! (Since I MANUALLY feed the fax pages, disconnect the fax AND physically disconnect the copper wire-line plug by hand myself, I KNOW that item must be totally FALSE. At no time could I have a near ONE HOUR fax... or maybe, it's yet another AT&T BUSINESS "mistake" perhaps?)

   I no longer feel protected by New York State enforcers. (The NYS-PSC had claimed that all faxes & calls to them regarding this "slamming battle" would not be owed by me to AT&T.)

OTHER    Fri. 14th of November 2003 -- 3:25pm -- 15:25:48 -0500
   NYS-PSC ~~~ E-MAIL @ dps.state.ny.us

   Sent an e-mail to Manager B_____ E. B_____ asking if he'd done what was promised... Had he finally gotten AT&T to TERMINATE THE DIAL-TONE off the line?

OTHER    Fri. 14th of November 2003 -- __:__ pm
   ===TESTING     This is only a test link===
   Must I try calling in some old politicial favors?

   Sent an e-mail to the Senator...

AUDIO    Fri. 21st of November 2003 -- ca. 3:25 pm    TP-2x.wav
   ===TESTING T.P. -2-X d    This is only a test link===
   NYS-PSC: Talked to Mr. J____

   Bought a new Sony portable tape-recorder... specifically to use on outside phones with lots of (traffic) background noise... it should be good for recording AT&T's latest promises ..even on a street corner phone.

   Mr. J____ said something like: "Just keep plugging away at them. It may take many more months. ...Just don't give up or go away. Every time you get a new bill, just start over again with your NYS-PSC complaint. Keep your case alive".... etc., etc. Somehow, I had THOUGHT that was the job of the NYS-PSC? ...So, now maybe I can look forward to many more months of uncertainty & "Collection Activity" threats due to AT&T's slamming? ...HAPPY NEW YEAR 2004!!

   I wonder how many "happy customers" AT&T manages just to grind down in defeat...after months of uncertainty? What will happen after the "Portability Law" goes into effect on the 24th of November... when these "happy customers" are finally freed? (Contract Slaves, isn't that almost the same as being voluntary Indentured Servants? You know,.. from back in the 1600s or 1700s?)

OTHER    Fri, 21 Nov 2003 16:13:44 -0500
   From NYS-PSC ~~~ E-MAIL @ dps.state.ny.us

   Received e--mail from Manager B____. He insists that I am no longer an AT&T BUSINESS customer, and should not be getting bills from them. Apparently, he has not yet received the copies of the bills I mailed to him on the 12th of November.

NOTES    Mon. 24th of NOV. 2003
   "PORTABILITY" starts today,... maybe.

   Starting today, one can finally switch "landline" telephone numbers over to ANY wireless carrier. ...Actually, I've heard that the telephone monopoly's association has already gotten a judge to stop "portability" from starting today,... but only until Wednesday. Hey, THAT might be a good solution to my problem. I could even keep the same number... BUT, maybe my number has finally already been truly cancelled by AT&T? (Murphy's Law.) ..In any case, I've started "shopping around" at the local phone dealer stores. A beeper/pager costs $60 for a one-year fixed-price period... An "Emergency Plan" contract for a basic cell-phone costs exactly the same, with 50 minutes/month, free long-distance, caller ID and voice-mail included. Difference? I guess it's possible that I could keep the old family-phone number?.. but I would have to sign in blood with a cell-phone contract ...since I could possibly use "excessive" minutes/month.

   Another option is the "throw-away" anonymous Pre-Paid cell-phone. I sort of doubt I can transfer my home number to it,... but I'm researching Trakfone, VirginMobile, etc., anyway.

   Somewhat exotic, are the VoIP phones (IP telephony) from Net2Phone, Vonage (of New Jersey), 8x8, SpectraLink, Skype, etc. Unlimited calling-minutes for local and/or international calls cost only $15/month. That's less than what I paid Verizon for very "basic" service... But, I might need a cable-TV, satellite, or fiber optic ISP setup first (except with Nextel's iM1100 wireless modem system?..) And yes, interfaces to connect "old" analog fax, answering machines, and other analog devices are available, from Cisco. But I don't know if they're compatible with any OTHER VoIP system except Cisco's own.

   Even MORE exotic,.. coming soon (sooner or later) is Wi-Max. It's a wireless broadband system that transmits a distance of 30 miles and is much faster than either cable or DSL. (Spec. = 802.16) The age of roaming laptops with VoIP telephone headphones & video-conferencing is guaranteed! This would be sort of a super video-cellphone? It also sounds like something they already have, but of shorter range, now offered free to "Starbucks" coffee house customers, in "Marriott" hotel's (courtyard.com) lobby system, and other free or low-cost "hot-spots" in some areas... But, I wonder how "secure" the sendings are? Thirty miles is a pretty big neighborhood for snooping around by nosey neighbors "listening in" on your frequency...

   Yes, new communication options are unfolding rapidly now. I get the sense that the old "Past-Monopoly" phone companies are quivering in a state of shock.

   One thing I'm sure of:
   I never want to be a forced "Contract Slave" again. The painful bureaucratic process of getting out of this "slamming" from residential-to-business "thing" has been an eye-opener. I never ever even signed any legal contract with AT&T, and yet I was treated like dirt by them! Can you imagine how limited my rights would be if I'd signed one of their lawyer-infested contracts?

NOTES    Mon. 24th of NOV. 2003
   "ALTERNATIVES" Checking around...

   Some alternatives...
~ nextel.com ~ Phones and rates...
~ nextel.com WLNP ~ Eligibility for Wireless Local Number Portability... Hey,.. my LANDLINE number IS eligibile. It CAN be moved away from AT&T BUSINESS.
~ Vonage.com ~ Just to be sure, I checked my number eligibility with another web site... and confirmed it.

AUDIO    Tues. 25th of NOV. 2003, 11:12 am -- 1 sec. 12 KB
   AT&T BUSINESS:     Checked my dial-tone carrier again.

   Just in case,... maybe I really can switch over to a Pre-Paid wireless carrier?.. (Interim Local Number Portability - ILNP carrier?) Well, I spliced together my cut-off wires. Guess what Operator answered? (Take a wild guess before you try this link.)

NOTES    Weds. 26th of NOV. 2003
   "MORE ALTERNATIVES" Checking the Internet...

   OK, so I DO have alternatives to being a "Contract Slave" to AT&T... but, what are they? Well there are VoIP phones. But, of course, you need to hook your computer up with an ISP first to get on the Internet,.. I'm sure. Or maybe all you need is a cable or satellite TV connection? There are about 100,000 VoIP telephone subscribers now.

~ skype.com ~ FREE DOWNLOAD, and unlimited FREE worldwide P2P (peer-to-peer) telephony similar to "Instant Messages" except it's voice, not just text. Skype claims to have "perfect quality better than phones." ..Also, it's 100% ad-free... Secure encryption.
~ net2phone.com ~ FREE DOWNLOAD... Can also use regular residential analog and/or PBX business phones? Is system similar to Skype? (according to competitor Skype: Net2Phone has advertisements? ..is not secure? ...less quality?)
~ packet8.net ~ Residential "Freedom" Plan with FREE unlimited domestic calling in USA?... "Outgoing" international rates FROM USA =? ($20/month?) VIDEO-phone is also $20/mo. PSTN = What's that?
~ spectralink.com ~ Wireless telephone system w/international resellers... ? 1-800-676-5465 info@spectralink.com ...Seems to have lots of "partners"...
~ mitel.com ~ Sells a VoIP desktop phone set with a web browsing screen...

NOTES    Thurs. 27th of NOV. 2003
   HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY"    ..Harvest Feast..

   Ein god haust fest alle sammen...

NOTES    Fri. 28th of NOV. 2003
   "CHOICES, choices... "Trakfone? VirginMobile?...

   Talked to Mike (no last name) at VirginMobile... 1-888-322-1122
~ Virgin Mobile USA ~ This company was started by that bearded Englishman (Branson?) who's always riding around the sky in balloons... same self-made billionaire guy as the Virgin Records music label, Virgin airlines, etc... Talking to their "Central Intelligence" today, it seems the Virgin people are not quite as "stressed" to talk to as either Verizon or AT&T... Maybe they are having "fun" at work?

   Mike (no last name) promised me that my number was "still available" for portability, but that I needed to buy a real physical VirginMobile cell phone first (with an identifying serial number) to start the process of LANDLINE transfer to their WIRELESS system. No,.. I do not have to sign ANY contract, neither signed in blood, nor otherwise. And, yes,.. I should still be able to hook into my fax, computer, answering machine, somehow... I told Mike (no last name) that AT&T BUSINESS had already driven me over the edge into complete insanity,... so if he didn't want some crazy Brooklyn guy hunting down a Mike (no last name) over there in Spokane, Washington,... Well, he'd better not be pulling my leg!

AUDIO    Sat. 29th of NOV. 2003, 11:24 am -- 1 sec. 12 KB
   AT&T BUSINESS:     Checked my dial-tone carrier YET AGAIN...

   Checked my dial-tone again... No change.

NOTES    Sat. 29th of NOV. 2003
   VIRGIN MOBILE USA:     Decision time...    Bought a Virgin...

   Walked to the Brooklyn "Best Buy" store to look at VirginMobile phones on sale. But first, I stopped off at the library to update this web site, to review & compare sale prices on Model 2119b phones for $30... and to fire off an e-mail to VirginMobile... Then a stroll over to the mall. But, when I got to "Best Buy" they were all sold out of Model 2119b phones for $30, and would NOT re-stock those again. ("NEVER" said the Wireless Dept. Manager.) I told the manager, in a frenzy: "So rip down that sales label posted over there. I've been looking all over the store for that model number." (He knew when a frothing at the mouth "AT&T slam-crazed" person was confronting him, so he speedly ripped down the false advertising!)

   So, I settled for the other Virgin that was also on Christmas Sale, the Kyocera "K-7 Rave," and paid out my hard-earned 40 bucks with cold cash. (I want no credit card paper-trail for AT&T to follow!!) This model came with $10 airtime included,.. plus a free $15 gift certificate from "Best Buy." (I guess the FINAL PRICE could be considered only a $15 outlay then?) ...Apparently, this model is both WAP-Internet enabled or capable, with GPS-locator possibilities too?... The rest of the day would be spent trying to open up the heavy-duty plastic package wrapping... then reading through the extensive 48 page User Guide instructions to try to figure out "What's the catch?"

AUDIO    Sun. 30th of NOV. 2003, 2:12 pm -- 1 sec. 12 KB
   Checked my dial-tone ONCE MORE...

   Yes, I checked my dial-tone again... (Yes, I'm going NUTS!!) ..Still no change with the dial-tone.

NOTES    Sun. 30th of NOV. 2003, about 2:30 pm     Toll-free 1 - 888 - 322 - 1122
   "Activation... porting to VirginMobile.    Goodbye AT&T BUSINESS...?

   Maybe this will be my last time using the corner phone booth because of this AT&T BUSINESS "slamming" thing? (WINTER: It's getting cold & windy!!) Even if I take this brand new cell phone.. once the "ported-over number" is FINALLY finalized... and I just sink the cell phone into the middle of NYC harbor,.. (Come to think of it, I have some good Mafia friends in the concrete business that specialize in that sort of thing.) ...it willl still be worth it, ..just to FINALLY get rid of AT&T BUSINESS, their false promises/incompetance, and their monthly billing threats.

   Called 1-888-322-1122... I talked with Kristy (Kersti or Christi?) of VirginMobile in Colorado Springs. ..Sounds like a very upbeat woman. (She's getting married soon. That might be the reason?) Anyway, she sweetly grilled me repeatedly (due to New York traffic noises) for all kinds of my very personal secrets. (Now I know why Virgin calls their Customer Service system "Central Intelligence.") I had to make up both a PIN number and a "code word" for my new Virgin cell phone, which I wrote down on the back of my hand. (I'll have to remember to transfer that code and PIN number onto a wall or something when I get home, before I wash my hands.)

   I told Kristy(?) about my home phone being slammed by AT&T's Teleport over to a "business" status... (Hey!.. I tell EVERYONE!!) For my portability authorization, she "mined" me for all my AT&T BUSINESS account information. But, since I'm not a business, there was no way to give her my company's Federal Tax ID Number. And, since I've been telling AT&T BUSINESS for almost half-a-year to "Go take a flying leap,.." I knew I had never ever even thought of giving those sort of people my Social Security number. That's for ding-dong sure!! The ONLY PIN-type of number AT&T BUSINESS could possibly claim for me was the last 3-digits of my 13-digit AT&T BUSINESS account number... Remember that AT&T computer fiasco back in August?

   But Kristy(?) gave a soothing impression to me that "all's well" and not to worry,.. and that within 4 or 5 days my new wireless cell phone will call me automatically,... and simultaneously the AT&T BUSINESS dial-tone will disappear from my copper landline... and from my life forever.

Yeah,.. Here's hoping!...

In my youth, I too was an optimist.

   Anybody want to buy a slightly used new answering machine? I have an older one too that I once planned on re-adjusting with a hammer. Need any phone-sets? Fax? Computer modem? How about 1,000 feet of loose copper wiring, or a flock of phone jacks, etc?... (Yeah, my apartment is truly "wired" ...with temporary wiring.)

   And, just in case you're still wondering:

AUDIO    Sun. 30th of NOV. 2003, 3:07 pm -- 1 sec. 12 KB
   AT&T is still providing my dial-tone... Dial-tone check.

   I ran right back home after authorizing "nyforlovede" Kristy(?) to "port" me over from AT&T BUSINESS to Virgin Mobile... So OK now, VirginMobileUSA.com & fellow cohorts,... do your stuff! ...In 4 or 5 days (hopefully before) you will have wrestled away my dial-tone from the clutches of the allmighty AT&T BUSINESS "past-monopoly." ...I'm rooting for you. You KNOW I'm cheering you on! ...Come on, Come on-!! Just DO IT-!!!!

   On bended knees,... PLEASE HELP ME SOMEBODY !!!

AUDIO    Tues. 2nd of DEC. 2003, 1:16 pm -- 1 sec. 12 KB
   COPPER LANDLINE...    Dial-tone check..

   It's 2 days since I authorized "porting" over to VirginMobile. There's no change with the dial-tone. (No VirginMobile dial-tone on the cell phone either. So far, it only makes a nice alarm clock, calculator, game-player, flashlight, etc. .. oh, and a paper-weight.) ...By the way, FCC rules REQUIRE "portability" without any interference or hindering from the previous dial-tone carrier.... even if there are billing, or other disputes.

   Hey,.. we got some snow today! ...Yule-tide nears.

AUDIO    Weds. 3rd of DEC. 2003, 3:13 pm -- 1 sec. 12 KB
   VIRGIN MOBILE USA:    DAY THREE...    Copper landline dial-tone check..

   "Day Three" since I authorized "porting over" to VirginMobile... MAYBE I should get a flu shot? However, I've been told that THIS particular vaccine is not very effective against the deadly flu version we may have going around here in New York this season. (Hmm, can flu germs survive on outdoor public phones in this cold weather?)

   Oh yes, ...the automated AT&T Operator... Yes, she's still in there, hiding like a roach, clawing herself on, hanging in there tight,.. somewhere, somewhere,.. somewhere within my copper phone lines.(I wonder if they'll let her out for Christmas?)

AUDIO    Thurs. 4th of DEC. 2003, 10:53 am -- 28 sec. 280 KB     TP-28.wav
   DAY FOUR...    "E.T. Phone Home?"     I call myself up from an outside phone.

   "It's Day Four" after giving Virgin my porting authorization. Since I'd had to re-hook up my wires to check if AT&T's dial tone really was truly gone, (it isn't) I figured a double-check would be to phone home. (Just like in E.T. the movie.) Yep. Call myself. They got me talking to myself!.. I went outside to call myself up, even though I KNEW I wasn't at home to answer... and I'm calling to a "dead" phone line that has absolutely positively NO TELECOM CARRIER anymore, according to the telecommunication experts at AT&T BUSINESS, and also by the regulatory commission of that great state ("The Empire State") of New York. Now, how CRAZY is that? I have to be "certifiably nuts" not to believe the experts..Right?

   According to AT&T BUSINESS (and repeated by the NYS-PSC) my forced relationship with AT&T BUSINESS is over long ago, ..and so I obviously have NO dial tone!!. So IF I happen to THINK I HEAR a dial tone, why then, I guess I must just be hearing "a very articulated buzzing" in my ears ...way beyond my already diagnosed tinninus buzzing problem. Maybe I'm hearing "voices" now too? Maybe I could even be having a religious experience? (AT&T doesn't like using the word "slammed." ..They say "converted.") I've been "converted." So, maybe it's spiritual voices I'm hearing on the line? (Unearthly electronic AT&T Operator "spirit-like" voices?) ...I think that ye good olde "Saint of EuroLand" Emperor Charlemagne could have learned a modern conversion lesson or two from AT&T. They didn't even have to chop my head off to "convert" me!

   Guess who answered my call at home? I did!... Well, actually, my answering machine did. Check the link above for the message that was recorded... Or, maybe I really AM hearing things? Hmm,.. I might need confirmation from a neutral party!! ..If you happen to be a psychologist, call me at my home phone: 1-718-833-______... (If you hear no dial tone, or no answering-machine,.. well then Doc, you've just gained yourself a brand new patient!)

AUDIO    Thurs. 4th of DEC. 2003, 3:45 pm-- __ min. __sec. -- ____ KB     TP-29.wav
   ===TESTING TP-No. 29     This is only a test link===
   My phone line & answering-machine still works!..     Too bad Doc.. you lost a patient.

   AT&T BUSINESS says that I have no dial tone, but yet Ms. A___ was able to call me and leave a message on my answering-machine! Maybe I should contact the "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" people?

AUDIO    Fri. 5th of DEC. 2003, 11:22 am -- 1 sec. 12 KB
   DAY No. 5...    My usual daily copper landline dial-tone check..

   "Day Number FIVE" ...(I'm losing hope again.) I have to make my way out through the snow to the phone booth to call Virgin, and New York's commission, etc... Having a cell-phone that isn't connected to a wireless service, doesn't help much. But, it is a pretty paper-weight though.

AUDIO    Fri. 5th of DEC. 2003, ca. 3:00 pm -- __min. __ sec. __ KB    TP-30.wav
    ===TESTING TP-No. 30     This is only a test link===
   NYS-PSC...    Keeping the case "alive." ..

   At about 3 pm I got through to the NYS-PSC from the phone booth outside the Post Office and talked to a Mr. C___. I told him I'd authorized VirginMobile WIRELESS to port me away from AT&T BUSINESS last weekend and I didn't want any problems with AT&T because of it... and also that, since the local NYS-PSC doesn't handle cell phone cases, I understand that I may now have to go through Washington's FCC (starting from scratch). I also let him know I reconnected my wires and found out that my dial-tone is STILL ALIVE, and he could call me up anytime and leave me a message, if he wanted to check. Obviously AT&T is still connected as my dial tone carrier. "Any day now, I suspect that I'll get a new illegitimate bill from them." I said.

NOTES    Fri. 5th of Dec. 2003, about 6:10 pm     Toll-free 1 - 888 - 322 - 1122
   VIRGIN MOBILE USA     "Virgin... where are you?"   Activation?... porting?

   Hey, it's a blizzard a-coming!! Using the corner phone booth is no longer much fun!... Fortunately, I found a somewhat covered telephone "stall" outside the food market, under its well lit entry-roof overhang. But the wind is frost-biting cold!

   Having bought the VirginMobile cell phone in a plastic-sealed "Cat In A Sack" kind of a way, I was very much heartened to see that it was not a dead cat I'd bought. That's to say,.. an icon on the phone's glowing blue screen tells me that my apartment location should be able to both receive & send full-strength voice, text, and WAP-Internet services... if the phone ever gets activated.

   VirginMobile has an "automated-operator " too. "Amber" (?) the "virtual advisor" is a bit more cheery & bubbly than AT&T's automatron,... but she's still a computer. By the time I got a real live person, who sent me off to a "techie" to help me, I was getting frozen. Final result: The techie said, "There WERE problems,".. and that he'd contact me... via e-mail.. and then we got disconnected. ...But wait!! ...I'd just gotten an e-mail a few hours before at the library that said VirginMobile would only handle "account stuff" over the phone with a "live techie."...??... Rather than go through "Ms. Cheery Automatron" again, I opted for clutching my snow-covered food bags to my chest, and waded home again through the blizzard... mumbling & grumbling something to myself about "Where the heck is a Starbuck's cyber-cafe when you need one?"

   I discovered that New York is a very quiet city in the new falling snow,... probably like it was 100 or 200 years ago or so? Very little traffic. All the sane people were at home.

   When I finally stumbled into my own home base, I found that "Orlando" had rung up my pearl-onions as garlic, more than doubling the price. He also forgot to give me the free jar of spaghetti sauce due me for the "Buy One, Get One Free Sale." That gave the store (or Orlando?) a nice 15% extra profit on just that one shopping trip of mine. Orlando would do well at AT&T....

   I must be wearing a sign on my back that says "Kick Me!" on it, or something. Maybe the gods are toying with me? I bet it's that "Loki" character again,.. he's up to some pre-Yule pranks?

AUDIO    Sat. 6th of DEC. 2003, 6:32 pm -- 1 sec. 12 KB
   DAY No. 6...    My daily copper landline dial-tone check..

   "Day Number SIX" ...Still no change-over from AT&T.. (Sick in bed.)

AUDIO    Mon.. 8th of DEC. 2003, 10:21 am -- 1 sec. 12 KB
   DAY No. 8...    My daily copper landline dial-tone check..

   "Day Number EIGHT" Yeah, I skipped a day.. Sick at home with some sort of head infection... In bed the whole weekend.

NOTES    Tues. 9th of Dec. 2003, ca. 11:40 am
   "Old News = VoIP    Cable TV to offer phone service...

   FOX-5-TV News reports that Time-Warner (AOL?), Sprint, and others will start offering UNLIMITED CALLING using the Internet ANYWHERE for $40 to $50/month. They'll be using their TV cable and fiber-optic networks.

   Doesn't Fox know that this is already "old" news? I believe you could have ALREADY had unlimited VoIP phone service for years now,... much of it FREE. (See my entry above for the 26th of Nov. 2003.) But this, ..the bringing in of major "Big Money" Fortune 1000 players, might shake up the old telecom "past-monopoly" even further! It might also shake up "youngsters" like Net2Phone, Skype, etc. too. Here's a pretty good guess: Expect a falling-price war in phone plans!.. or, maybe lots of lawsuits? Lawyers love industry shake-ups.

NOTES    Wed. 10th of Dec. 2003, ca. ___ pm     Toll-free 1 - 888 - 322 - ____
   "VirginMobileUSA -TSG...    Porting.

   Talked to "John" (?) again....

AUDIO    Thurs. 11th of Dec. 2003, ____ pm -- __ min. __ sec. -- ___ KB -- tp-33.wav
   ===TESTING TP-No. 33     This is only a test link===
   AT&T BUSINESS -- "Porting" over (again) to VirginMobileUSA.com

   Called "John" toll-free at Virgin's TSG (Tech. Support Group) from my home WTN (Working Telephone Number).. I'm pinning my hopes on the NYS-PSC rules and their assuranses that I won't have to pay for any "slamming" related calls... including toll-free service calls to transfer away from AT&T to Virgin... Apparently, AT&T is NOT RESPONDING to Virgin's porting requests from EVERYONE, not just me. ...Why? Is it arrogence? ..or incompetence? ..or are they overwhelmed with the amount of transfer orders? Maybe it's a "technical" problem? (Blame the computers, that ALWAYS works.) Even Bill Gates said recently, "What if the customer opts to dispute a thing? Well, that's completely not in the computer's process model." [Business 2.0 magazine, Dec.'03]

OTHER    Mon. 15th Dec. 2003 issue, page ____.
   ===TESTING     This is only a test link===
   "The New Yorker" magazine    Cartoon... commitment...

   Cartoon shows 2 guys at bar, one saying: "I'm not sure if I'm ready to commit to one phone number for life."...

FAX    Tues. 16th Dec. 2003, 5:40 pm     FAX to VirginMobileUSA
   ===TESTING   This is only a test link===
   VIRGIN MOBILE USA - TSG     Sending "porting" info. & my OK in writing.

   Sent a toll-free FAX speeding off to "Techie John" at Virgin TSG giving him my blessings in a formal LETTER OF AUTHORIZATION for porting my WTN (Working Telephone Number) over to VirginMobileUSA away from the clutches of AT&T BUSINESS.... But will it work THIS time? (NOTE: This fax is sent from my home WTN.. As always, I'm pinning my hopes on the NYS-PSC rules and their assuranses that I won't have to pay for any "slamming" related calls... including this toll-free fax to transfer away from AT&T to Virgin. Using the WTN also proves that, yes indeed, the copper wire into my home is still "alive" in spite of what AT&T BUSINESS insists. I "terminated" them months ago!!) A copy is sent via "snail-mail" to NYS-PSC in Albany, NY.. since I don't have their toll-free fax number.

NOTES    Thurs. 18th of Dec. 2003, ca. 8 pm NYC time
   "VirginMobileUSA - TSG...    Called "Scott" again, from corner phone booth... "Just the fax, please!"

   Scott said he'd NEVER GOTTEN MY FAX over at Virgin's TSG (Tech Support Group) and that it's probably "somewhere in Corporate." ....So bureaucracy at Virgin does exist too! But, he said: "I DON'T NEED IT ANYWAY." (So what in blazes did I waste my time writing it up ..and faxing it over on the disputed line for then?) "Although,.." he said, maybe it might be nice to see the past bills." But, in any case, he will start the re-PORTING of it again.

NOTES    Sat. 20th of Dec. 2003, ca. 7:45 pm NYC time
   "VirginMobileUSA - TSG...    Talked to "Beth" from P.O. tel. booth...

   Tried to get hold of "Techie John" at Virgin TSG but he was out to lunch, and the other "John" wasn't there either. (There are only 2 "johns" in Spokane?...)

Anyway.... "Beth" said (that "John" had said) that AT&T HAD CONTESTED MY PORTING AWAY from them. Oh my, ...they don't want "our forced relationship" to end. I hope AT&T doesn't turn into a "stalker" or something.

   So,.. here we go again! The AT&T computer may not recognize something on the account address setup... zip code, street spelling, etc... Any quirk in layout. I told "Beth" that was why the fax was sent. But that fax has apparently "vanished" at Virgin Corporate headquarters. "Beth" tried a few different address combinations, but they too were rejected by AT&T's computer. FINALLY one "went through" ..but we'll have to wait until Monday to see what kind of reaction AT&T's humans will have, if they feel like getting around to it on Monday over at AT&T..

NOTES    Tues. 23rd of Dec. 2003, ca. 8:25 pm
   "VirginMobileUSA -TSG...    Checked porting update with "Phil"...

   Text here....

NOTES    Wed. 25th of Dec. 2003

Ho, ho, ho... God jul alle sammen..

NOTES    Sat. 27th ? or Sun. 28th ? Dec. 2003     What happened ?? 1-888-___ -___
   "Verizon? AT&T? ...    The landline went dead... So did my cell-phone.

   Quite strange.... Did Virgin finally get permission from AT&T to port me away? I no longer have the AT&T Operator or dial tone on my landline... It's dead!... Did Virgin send out a signal to my cell phone "zapping" it by mistake? Why is my usually blue-lit cell phone screen now blank and dead-gray?

   On Sunday I tried calling Virgin's main toll-free number for answers (from a few public phones) but all I got was a busy signal,...or Ms. Happy Computer, ("Amber") then canned music.... Freezing & late for other things to be done,.. I gave up. Close to an hour in the cold.. wasted, all calls totalled!

OTHER    Mon. 29th December 2003 -- 17:29:27 pm -- PORTING-OVER
   ===TESTING   This is only a test link=== a:// virgin12.txt
   VirginMobileUSA ~~~ E-MAIL @ "Our Team"

   E-mail from Virgin's TSG... They need more info. re porting.

NOTES    Mon. 29th of Dec. 2003, ca. 8:30 pm Greek Deli pay-phone...
   "VirginMobileUSA -TSG...    Talked with "Timmy"...

   "Timmy" helped me get the Kyocera cell phone "alive" again.... It was easy. Take out & replace the battery, then push the red button, and everything re-set itself as I'd set it up, even my alarm clock and game scores. (I sort of suspected that much, but the Kyocera instruction booklet never mentioned it.)

   Figuring out why my Verizon - AT&T landline went dead was another story. "Timmy" will now flag my "case" as a TOP PRIORITY INVESTIGATION. I guess I'm testing the new Portability Law as an "early victim."

NOTES    Tues. 30th Dec. 2003, ca.10 am?
   "Banks...    The telephone = "status" as a "real" human being?...

   Stopped off at a bank.... As part of the ID verification process, they asked for my home number... I had to "explain myself" that I "didn't know" if I HAD a telephone number or not, as my dial tone had disappeared... The bank official was VERY SUSPICIOUS !!... until... a very pretty, very pregnant bank employee in the same office said: "I overheard what you just said. Do you know, I too just lost my dial tone. It's been gone for days." Apparently there is some sort of a Verizon "line outage" in our mutual neighborhood. (So, maybe my dial tone will suddenly "reappear" again some day?) Hopefully, the pregnant lady will get her line back again before she needs it to call an ambulance. As for me, up until now, I have just been "tickled pink" that FINALLY that dad-blasted AT&T Operator was off my line and out of my life... but now, maybe she (like Arnold Swartzenegger) is warning, "I'LL BE BACK."

OTHER    Wed. 31st December 2003 -- 11:43:33 pm -- PORTING-OVER
   ===TESTING   This is only a test link=== a:// 2virgin6.txt
   VirginMobileUSA ~~~ E-MAIL @ "Our Team"

   Sent a HAPPY NEW YEAR e-mail to Virgin telling them I'll get back to them some time after the New Year celebrations are over...

OTHER    Wed. 31st December 2003 -- 11:47:24 pm -- PORTING-OVER
   ===TESTING   This is only a test link===     a:// 2fcc-007.txt
   FCC ~~~ E-MAIL "SLAMMING" @ fcc.gov

   Sent an e-mail to the Feds about this portability case... I want to STOP any possible HINDERING of the PORTING-over of MY specific HOME landline NUMBER to wireless.

OTHER    Wed. 31st December 2003 -- 16:40:40 GMT -- PORTING-OVER
   ===TESTING   This is only a test link=== a:// virgin13.txt
   VirginMobileUSA ~~~ E-MAIL @ "Our Team"

   E-mail AUTO-REPLY... Auto-Acknowledgement message from computer.. in England?

SCAN     31st Dec. 2003 ca. 1:00 pm Received letter postmarked 29 Dec '03.
   ===TESTING     This is only a test link===
   NYS- PSC:     Passing the buck to another NYS agency...

   HAPPY DAYS FOR THE NYS-PSC... A letter from S___ J___ of the Consumer Services Division, of New York State's Dept. of Public Service (NYS-PSC) informs me that CELLULAR service falls outside of their jurisdiction. They are now forwarding all my "stuff" over to the NYS Dept. of Law, Attorney General's office. (Hey, I saw that one coming... Remember, I've unfortunately had LOTS of dealings with LOADS of bureaucrats before in my daily work.)

NOTES    Thurs. 1st of Jan. 2004

Best wishes for a peaceful 2004 everyone..

NOTES    Mon. 5th of Jan. 2004, ca. 9 pm
   "VirginMobileUSA -TSG...    Checked porting update with "Phil" again...

   Yeah, second time I got a "Phil" ....but apparently not the same "Phil." He looked up my "case" and told me that there are "still problems" with the main problem being that Virgin's computers and AT&T's computers are not playing nice together. I guess it's sort of like playing "Goldfish" or "Battleship" (or "Cat & Rat" maybe?) Virgin's computer asks "Is the way you placed Customer X's last name in THIS position?" Then AT&T's computer answer's "Nope! Too bad dummy! Goldfish,.. try again." Virgin trys again: "How about 2 spaces to the left?" And again AT&T answers: "Sorry sucker! Goldfish,.. try again."

   And so it goes,... When you think of the possible combinations of locations of names, street addresses, abbreviations, etc., the problem is staggering. Phil advised me to call up AT&T and ask them for my customer information, any special customer codes ("secret handshakes"?) or whatever... "Play nice with them, or you may NEVER get your number ported. If they place your number into the 'Telecom Number Pool ', you will NEVER get it back.." I told him this problem was FORESEEN and that was exactly why I faxed my AT&T account statements to Virgin.. "Hey Phil, remember, the fax that got lost at Virgin Headquarters?"...

   So, I guess I'll have to call "the nice people" at AT&T Headquarters again?... Maybe they will give me the RIGHT time of day THIS TIME of day? (Ha Ha!!) ...At best, I might possibly trick them into sending me a written statement saying that they are FINALLY out of my life. THAT alone will be a very major accomplishment! I wonder if they're allowed to put anything in writing? (I check almost every day to see if their dreaded AT&T Operator dial tone suddenly re-appears again on my line. Maybe it really is only a temporary local outage?)

   ...Hey, any illegal Mexicans migrants or Arab terrorists.. or tourists, want to buy a prepaid cell phone??

SCAN     Sat. 10th Jan. 2004 Received Verizon advertisement in mail.
   ===TESTING     This is only a temporary test link===
   VERIZON:     Hey, do we have a deal for you...

   Another silly ad from Verizon... Again, they are pleading with me to "SWITCH BACK" again to Verizon for ONLY 3 TIMES what my original service rate was when I was slammed! ..and, they're willing to throw in what they claim is a $60 phone for "free." (Read wee tiny little fine print.) Of course, all of the super-duper (hardware) features of this special (made in China?) Verizon phone ONLY works if you add on extra monthly (software?) special services with Verizon.

   Why do I have this nagging suspicion that Verizon and AT&T are working together "behind the scenes" to jack up their price bases by slamming each others customers back and forth, tit-for-tat,.. in a friendly sort of way? Of course, I have no proof. It's just a nagging sort of "feeling" I have.

   It's the same nagging suspicion that Verizon and AT&T have friendly politicians and bureaucrats "looking the other way" to help yet another ailing American industry gain a bit of competitive edge. Of course, I have no proof. It's just a nagging sort of "feeling" I have.

SCAN     Sat. 17th Jan. 2004 Received letter dated 8th Jan. postmarked 12th Jan.'04
   ===TESTING     This is only a temporary test link===
   NYS - ATTORNEY GENERAL :     Here's some "make-work" paperwork for you..

    Remember the "buck-passing" by the NYS-PSC?... Well, the wheels of the bureaucracy grinds exceedingly slowly but surely, so today I got a computer generated FORM LETTER from a "Mediator" at the Attorny General's office stating "we do not understand your complaint".. Then they attached THEIR standard complaint form... asking for receipts, bills, etc., etc.... and a 20 day time limit. So, apparently NYS-PSC is forwarding my "stuff" by Pony-Express? ...or not at all?

    MY complaint?... I never sent THESE people any complaint... YET.

    I don't know,.. is it worth another half-a-buck in stamps and copying costs? I've been sick. If followers of the "New Age" religion are right, AT&T is probably partially at fault for my malaise.

    Can the NYS Office of the Attorney General get me a definite "Quit Claim" signed by someone at AT&T? ..I doubt it. It's easier to get a Quit Claim statement from the Federal IRS-!!! Maybe just for the heck of it,.. I should continue this silly business? Oh yes: I got myself ANOTHER "Case Number" now, from the Attorney General this time. I guess everyone is "just another number" to a fat bureaucracy. (Wasn't that the Tsar's problem too? ..and later, the Shah? Where are they now?)

OTHER     Tues 27th Jan.'04 -- 16:59 pm -- YOUR PORT-IN REQUEST
    VirginMobileUSA ~~~ E-MAIL from TSG     virgin14.txt

   YOUR PORT-IN REQUEST... We need you to call us.... need more information from you....

NOTES    February 2004
   "KIPLINGER's...    "Simple Cell Switch" pg. 89...

   February's issue of "Kiplinger's" magazine... says that 50 million Americans will switch cell phone carriers in 2004. MyRate.com compares the various plan offerings. A company called WireFly.com (CEO David Steinberg, InPhonic Corp.) will help telephone consumers, for a fee, to resolve "problems" with phone companies.


NOTES     1st Feb. '04 -- I've had a very bad cold since Saturday the 10th of January.     Personal UPDATE to friends/family ~~~

   Hey, I'm still here,.. alive and kicking.. and feeling a lot better than a few weeks ago.

   Yeah, .. I communicate to friends/family through this website now.


NOTES     Wed. 4th Feb.'04 -- ? -- ACTIVATED PHONE
   VirginMobileUSA ~~~ Activated new cell phone..

   Talked to "Chris" of TSG and asked him what the possibility was of getting AT&T to port the old number over... (They'd just tried AGAIN recently.) ...the odds seem against me.

    Sick, and in desperation, I told him to just give me a new number.

   "So it was written. So it shall be done." (Chris gave me an extra $10 in calls for my troubles.)

Note to AT&T and to Verizon: "I am NOT a Happy Camper-!!"

OTHER     Tues 4th Feb.'04 -- 13:52 pm -- virgin16.txt
   VirginMobileUSA ~~~ E-MAIL from..

   YOUR NEW CELL PHONE NUMBER... and phone programming instructions.

   "It's nice to have you with us."

SCAN     Weds. 4th Feb.'04 Library print-out of local Virgin Mobile stores..
   ===TESTING     This is only a temporary test link===
   VirginMobileUSA:     List of local Virgin Mobile stores..

    The VirginMobileUSA.com website gives two affiliated store locations within a 5 minute walk of where I live. One is a "Sprint" outlet.That's great-!!     (Opps.. see 10th Feb.'04 )

NOTES     Mon, 9 Feb 2004 17:39 -- TESTING OUT NEW CELL PHONE
   VirginMobileUSA ~~~ Testing TEXT messaging..

   Sent a text-message to my e-mail address FROM my new cell phone. It works-! The e-mail header said "From: _(my number)_@vmobl.com"

...Now I have to figure out why I can't get a text-message TO my cell phone.

SCAN     Sat. 10th Feb. 2004 Received AT&T advertisement in mail.
   ===TESTING     This is only a temporary test link===
   AT&T:     Hey, here's 90 dollars for you... (Read fine print.)

   Another silly ad, this time from AT&T's "Long Distance" branch office... They're pleading with me to "SWITCH BACK" again to AT&T Long Distance. They're willing to throw in a $90 check for "free." (Read wee tiny little fine print.) Apparently, they STILL don't know our residential number was slammed by their AT&T "Business" branch office.

   Yes ..This "switch back" offer is for our over 30 year old family telephone number,.. you know, the one that is now possibly in a virtual-world "Number Pool Purgatory" somewhere in cyber space. So does this offer confirm that AT&T believes that number really is still ours? So why did they keep stopping its porting over to Virgin Mobile?

"One hand does not know what the other one is doing."

   Why didn't they put the AT&T BUSINESS department up on the auction block too? ...If I was a British VodaFone shareholder, I'd wonder if the current AT&T "Wireless" stock purchase deal will be a good one for them.

NOTES     Weds. 10th Feb.'04     Inquiry at local store..
   VirginMobileUSA:     Local Virgin Mobile service ?..

    Walked into one of the 2 local VirginMobile affiliate stores on the list, and asked about buying "top-up" minute cards... "Oh" she said, "I didn't even know that we were their distributor. I'll have to check into this further."     (Hmm.. This is not a good sign.) Later, I tried "Eckerd" (formerly "Genovese" drugstores) since they advertise Virgin Mobile cards in their weekly sale flyers... "No, I don't know this card." said the helpful, heavily accented, Pakistani man at the counter. "..But, I know this TrakFon other card, yes."

    Well, there's still that Sprint store a few blocks over...

NOTES    11th Feb.'04
   "RADIO NEWS FLASH...    Killed by train to rescue cell phone...

   A 19 year old girl dropped her cell phone which then fell down onto the subway tracks. She jumped down, trying to retrieve it before the train came, but failed.

NOTES     Fri. 13th Feb.'04 - 16:44 pm     Cash purchase at local store..
   VirginMobileUSA:     Local Virgin Mobile service at "SPRINT"..

   There was no problem buying a 20 dollar "Top-Up" card from "Roni" at Sprint's local store.

   Thought all the hidden taxes, fees, surcharges, etc. were already included?.. Nope, an extra 3 percent Federal Excise Tax got added on, on TOP of the "$20 Top-Up" making the total $20.60.

NOTES     Sat. 14th Feb.'04 - 5:17 pm    Toll-free number 1 - 888 - 322 - 1122
   VirginMobileUSA:    "Rave-7" Kyocera phone.. TEXT MESSAGE glitch?

   Called up "Amber" (Virgin's computer voice) on Saint Valentine's Day..

   There is a possible software problem inside the cell phone I bought at Best Buy, according to "Jack" (?) the VirginMobile techie on duty. He tried sending my cell phone 2 or 3 TEST text messages while I waited at a public coin phone (toll free) ...but to no avail. He will now put my problem on their Technical Service Group INVESTIGATION list, trying to get my phone's software glitch fixed remotely (if possible) from their Seattle area office. He set a target of next Thursday to have it fixed. So, I should check back again after Thursday if I haven't received any text messages.

   I said to him, "The amazing thing is that every time I've tested my text-receiving function, using your VirginMobile website, the TV news then mentions that NASA's Mars robot had unexplainedly gone astray... Coincidence?"

Go back to the top of this page (..the beginning of these notes.)

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