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Analog Cell Phone Network Shuts Down Monday

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the end-of-an-ear-a dept.

Cellphones 205

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "AT&T and Verizon will be shutting down their old, analog AMPS networks next Monday, and AT&T will also turn off its old TDMA network, with smaller providers expected to follow thanks to a sunset date set by the FCC. After these old networks are shut down, the networks will be all digital. Of course, if you have one of those old fashioned 'just a phone' cellphones and it happens to be analog, you'd best enjoy the last few days before it becomes useless."

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Analog has its place (4, Interesting)

ClaraBow (212734) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440732)

I think that there are still areas that benefit from having analog signal, especially rural area. So isn't there any benefits of keep a least one analog network alive? I'm jut curious.

Re:Analog has its place (3, Interesting)

DMCBOSTON (714393) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440870)

I can take mine into jury duty because it's old. No camera, no need to leave it in an unsecure location (like the car). So I guess I'm screwed.

Re:Analog has its place (3, Informative)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440980)

Not every digital phone has a camera. Not even every new phone has a camera.

If your old phone meets your needs and you're happy with it, then that's great. It's about to stop meeting your needs, though, so you might as well get over the assumption that nothing new will be able to meet your needs. If you shop around a bit (and it probably won't even take much of that), you'll find that assumption to be false.

Re:Analog has its place (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440996)

It's kind of annoying how it's nearly impossible to get any sort of a decent phone without a camera built in. I mean, sure, it's convenient for some, and a nifty feature, but is it really -necessary-?

Re:Analog has its place (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441170)

Most of the features, except making and receiving calls, aren't "necessary". Camera, text messages, contacts, voice dialling, GPS, web browser, ringtones, games, java, bluetooth, video calls, video camera, sound recorder, voicemail, ...

But I think it won't be long until there are "business" phones without cameras, for security/privicy etc.

Re:Analog has its place (2, Informative)

slazzy (864185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441562)

Blackberry already makes "business" versions of their camera phones without cameras just for that reason.

Re:Analog has its place (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441822)

Someone below mentioned blackberrys. HTC phones also have this (AT&T offers the Tilt and 8200 without a camera, for instance).

Re:Analog has its place (0, Offtopic)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441542)

It's kind of annoying how it's nearly impossible to get any sort of a decent phone without a camera built in. I mean, sure, it's convenient for some, and a nifty feature, but is it really -necessary-?
depends on what you mean by "decent" but there're a good many camera-less phones still made. my cell provider offers no less than 3 (4 if you count the bag phone).

Re:Analog has its place (5, Funny)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441212)

So I guess I'm screwed.

I mean, aside of course from a Samsung M210, LG LX-160, Nokia 2610, Kyocera MARBL, Motorola C168i, Sanyo SCP-7050 or maybe your into NextTel iDen Push-To-Talk in which case the Motorola i570 or i690 would fit the bill or maybe you need a PDA... the new RIM BlackBerry 8800's including the 8800, 8820, 8830 all don't come with a camera either.

So lets see ... you've got options on multiple networks, all major manufacturers, with devices from 'entry level budget' to 'work horse phone' to 'executive PDA' are available to you.

Oh wait... all the Apple iPhones come with a camera.

Yeah, I guess your screwed.

Re:Analog has its place (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441430)

I can take mine into jury duty because it's old. No camera, no need to leave it in an unsecure location (like the car). So I guess I'm screwed.

Honestly, how much of your time do you spend in jury duty? Is that really your biggest concern over losing the analog cell phone network?

Re:Analog has its place (1)

zermous (1196831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441958)

Clearly you have never been on the receiving end of this. You will never be as pissed off again in your life as when they kick you out at the door and make you walk back to your car to drop off your phone and then come all the way back.,

Re:Analog has its place (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 6 years ago | (#22442048)

I actually had that experience two weeks ago when I went to drop off some papers at the federal courthouse on my lunch break. I walked 5 blocks from my office in temperatures hovering around -10 F, got inside the courthouse entrance and realized that I had my cell phone with me and would not be allowed inside to do what I'd come to do. I guess my face was too numb from the cold by the time I got back to my office for me to worry about being pissed off at people for having a policy that makes sense.

But the question stands - how much time does a person spend in jury duty out of a given lifetime? Is that really a reason to keep analog cell phone networks alive, especially when non-camera digital phones are widely available, as has been pointed out elsewhere in this thread?

Re:Analog has its place (2, Insightful)

zermous (1196831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22442230)

Alright, you win. But heres a reason: analog works reliably out in the country where my parents live, and digital doesnt. When my father's truck breaks down way back in the woods and his cell phone doesnt work until he treks 5 miles to the highway, I am a little irritated.

Re:Analog has its place (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22442304)

Honestly, how much of your time do you spend in jury duty? Is that really your biggest concern over losing the analog cell phone network?

I didn't realise the United States was so stone age with technology.

I haven't seen an analogue phone since the 90s

Re:Analog has its place (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22442032)

Well, you're obviously happy with your current provider, having stayed with them for so long. Just commit that satisfaction to writing for two years and they'll give you a phone with no camera for "free." You can probably even get it for actually free if you just bitch at them a bit. Explain you've been a customer for ten years, and if they won't replace your phone with one that works, without forcing you into a contract or changing your plan in any way, you'll be happy to change carriers.

Re:Analog has its place (2, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 6 years ago | (#22442286)

Uhm, so ... You can take your phone into jury duty because doesn't have a camera ... great So, rather than worrying about doing your job as a jurior, you're worried about getting calls on your cell phone? And what do you do when the judge gets extremely pissed off at you cause it rang in the middle of the trial? Cell phone with no camera: Free with 2 year contract. Jury duty at some trial you obviously don't care about: + $12/day Price of living somewhere so bad that you're worried about someone breaking into your car to steal your free cell phone: $0, even the homeless people left that area Paying for the criminal that went to jail because of your carelessness as a jurior: $2 million per year, for 25 to life. Going to jail for contempt because your so self absorbed your brought your phone to a trial and had it ring 8 times during the process: priceless (Especially when we see it on the front page of ./) You aren't so important that you need to be that connected to the rest of the world, really, let it go. You will survive without having a phone on you all the time. It may be hard to believe, but just a few short years ago, people didn't have cell phones ... and ... the human race still survived without being accessable no matter where they were! Its a shocking concept, but I saw it in a cave drawing once. The fact that you have to get a new phone isn't the problem, you are.

Re:Analog has its place (3, Funny)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440890)

Going to be lots of complaints from the rural areas next week...assuming they can make it into town and find a phone, anyway.

Re:Analog has its place (1)

ACMENEWSLLC (940904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440932)

Several of my relatives live out in BFE. The only signal they get in places is Analog, or first generation digital. They have ancient phones which they've never upgraded, or newer (not new) phones with support for both.

If you look on several of the carriers maps which show full state coverage, then look at what they mean by that, much of the rural coverage is 1st generation only.

If I'm readying this information correctly, I'm going to have some unhappy relatives. I'm on quad band GSM only, so it doesn't affect my end of the call.

Re:Analog has its place (1)

kpainter (901021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441918)

Heck, I know folks that scoff at those new fangled cell phones. They still have a box on the wall that they have to turn a crank and talk to an operator, by cracky.

Re:Analog has its place (2, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22442022)

those lazy gits with the crank phones should use the time-honored town criers and carrier pigeons.

Re:Analog has its place (2, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440942)

Possibly. But I doubt the bills of those few remaining analog users wouldn't be enough to cover the cost of keeping the network up. And all those frequencies are valuable; if they're not being heavily used, it makes not sense to not repurpose them.

Re:Analog has its place (1)

HartDev (1155203) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440974)

As long as someone can still use the analog, I mean it is not like it gets outdated, it works and will always work unless the laws of physics or something change.

Re:Analog has its place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22441738)

It uses too much bandwidth. Switching to all digital frees up some frequencies. When those frequencies start being used, your analog phone WILL NO LONGER WORK.

Re:Analog has its place (1)

greed (112493) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441122)

I found, here in Canada anyway, that when they put CDMA digital on the frequency band used by AMPS, that worked just fine. The lower frequencies give you larger cell sites per tower, but with all the goodies of digital. It was much easier to get a usable phone call with my Yagi antenna, as the digital protocols were able to compensate for the weak signal.

So dual-band digital is what I like now.

Re:Analog has its place (1)

POTSandPANS (781918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441326)

I guess the network will still exist for a while in Canada? For my job, we are often working way out of range of cell coverage, We use a set of trunked analog two way radios. They're heavy, but indestructible. One survived falling off my belt when I was up on a 68 foot tower, another was totally submerged in water and worked fine.

The most important thing is, they work nearly anywhere. I could have a conversation in places where you couldn't even get a partial signal on a cell phone.

I guess they'll try to sell us satellite phones once they turn off analog in Canada..?

Re:Analog has its place (1)

urbanriot (924981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441672)

Yea... what's going on in Canada? I know in many areas northern ontario I have zero digital signal, but analog is decently coveraged.

Re:Analog has its place (1)

Smokeshow (1232692) | more than 6 years ago | (#22442170)

As far as I know, up here in Canada, Telus is shutting down their Analog network in September of this year.

Re:Analog has its place (1)

police inkblotter (1228830) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441484)

911 prank calls? I've heard that they can't be traced to analog phones, but I personally have no idea whether that's true or not.

Re:Analog has its place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22441556)

depends on whether the network is using a base-station location system, or a handset-based location system. in most places, they can't trace an analog call. if your analog mobile is invalid, it can still make 911 calls, and is even less traceable.

Re:Analog has its place (3, Insightful)

jhobbs (659809) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441808)

What about the 500,000+ first generation OnStar equipped GM vehicles with analog cellular radios? Is GM going to offer a free retrofit? How about ADT and Brinks, are they going to retrofit home security systems for free? Sounds like a possible boon to companies with customers still using legacy equipment.

Re:Analog has its place (3, Informative)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 6 years ago | (#22442064)

What about the 500,000+ first generation OnStar equipped GM vehicles with analog cellular radios? Is GM going to offer a free retrofit?

No [onstar.com].

How about ADT and Brinks, are they going to retrofit home security systems for free?

ADT is subsidized [adt.com]. Brinks does not sell systems, they only lease them so they've already switched over.

Re:Analog has its place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22442046)

AMPS is better than no service at all. Even though it kills your phones battery life, sounds like crap and is trivial to intercept. I don't really care as long as theres a digitial replacement avaliable with the same coverage area.

Come to think of it.. EVRC and 13k sound like crap and GSM is trivially cracked. All of the real improvements nowadays seem to be technologies to maximize carrier profit rather than improve the quality of basic services.

And good riddance. (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440736)

Poorly maintained, bad coverage, iffy signal, rotten roaming (and occasional charges), it's ready to go.

Re:And good riddance. (3, Interesting)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440772)

Poorly maintained, bad coverage, iffy signal, rotten roaming (and occasional charges)

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Bloody hell (1)

Walzmyn (913748) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441166)

I've got one of those "just a phones" that is tri-mode and I can talk where no one else can around here with their all-digital phones. I specifically asked the company to get me a tri-mode when my old one died for this reason. All my co-workers are jelious that I can talk when we're out on our routes.

AMPS has FAR more coverage than GSM. (4, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441192)

Poorly maintained, bad coverage, iffy signal, rotten roaming (and occasional charges), it's ready to go.

You may have a point on most of those issues. But AMPS has FAR more coverage than the digital alternatives.

AMPS was deployed back when the phone companies thought the point of a cellular phone system was to be able to use the phone virtually anywhere. It covers nearly all of the continental US except for some very remote locations.

The digital alternatives were deployed late in the game, installed initially in large population centers and with the rural cells installed or converted largely after the telecom crash, when the tellcos were having trouble getting capital and were cutting costs wherever possible to keep their competitors from eating their lunch. The result is that cells that exist to fill in rural holes but don't generate enough calls to pay for themselves directly didn't get converted - and even some of the more suburban cells didn't get upgraded until the last few months.

If AMPS really goes dark now, much of rural America (at least the part not adjacent to an interstate highway) would have no cell service at all. That would mean that, even if you paid for a digital upgrade for your OnStar it would not work.

AT&T FINALLY converted the cell that covers my retirement home, just a couple months ago. So I just converted my cellphones to GSM. But I do a lot of traveling and vacationing in AMPS-only country - nearby that site and otherwise. In those areas the new handset is just a paperweight, while a car breakdown can be a death sentence if help can't be called. So I'm hanging on to my old AMPS-capable handset in the hope that at least some of the AMPS-only towers will stay alive.

I'm betting on the little carriers to keep theirs going and maybe even buy up some the big carriers are abandoning. But I wouldn't put it past the bean-counters at the big carriers to shut down their own low-traffic AMPS-only or AMPS-TDMA cells rather than spending the bux to convert them. (IMHO if they were really interested in keeping the coverage up they'd have ALREADY converted them (rather than just running ads about what great coverage they have), and their coverage maps show they haven't.)

Re:AMPS has FAR more coverage than GSM. (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441286)

CDMA vs AMPS? No contest.

I've tried T-Mobile's GSM, and simply put, in the US in the urban areas I travel, it stank, uniformly. I have friends with new iPhones that bemoan the day they plunked down lots of $$$ on them specifically because of AT&T's coverage problems, and the fact that AT&T is only now starting to roll out sufficient digital coverage to catch the larger moaners.

Certainly there's an immense geography that isn't sufficiently covered by digital/CDMA or GSM. I wonder if fiber will get there first; you can never tell with those crazy carriers.

Re:AMPS has FAR more coverage than GSM. (3, Insightful)

MCZapf (218870) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441834)

...while a car breakdown can be a death sentence if help can't be called.

AMPS or not, I'd keep a CB radio in the car too.

Re:And good riddance. (1)

funkyloki (648436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441516)

Actually, as far as coverage went, the old AMPS and TDMA networks beat the crap out of GSM (not necessarily beating CDMA though). The reason as far as I can tell is the radial throw of the signal from the analog was much farther than digital networks. That is why people in the rural areas still have these old phones, it is the only that works where they are.

Re:And good riddance. (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441752)

While there's something to that, a lot of the quality issue had with who had how many cells on what topology. The radial difference also had other difficulties, like multipath tower switch offs to dead air, broadband RF interference and noise cancellation, as well as cell switch-back/hand-off problems from hell. Higher freqs diminish weather cut-through, have an affect on antenna gain, and yet EV-DO (and predecessor 1xRTT) could do data so much faster than any analog system that there is just no comparison (except where 1xRTT behaves like an ISDN line). Stationery connections could be good for voice on analog, but mobility issues are simply not the same.

I feel for anyone that gets left behind (think HD in about a year and two days), but even with analogies like what NTSC vs HD TV is, dropping analog is a wise move. For those left behind, I feel for you. Call your carrier and scream--- like you should've done three years ago when the termination date was proposed.

Careful with the cheering (5, Insightful)

Besna (1175279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440746)

Digital is not the end-all solution. Notice how your digital broadcasts take longer to change channels--deltas must be accumulated in the compressed stream. Notice how long your cellphone takes to connect. I like binary as much as the next geek, but I think the elegance of the bit can be slightly overrated.

Re:Careful with the cheering (2, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440810)

I've had analog, I've had digital. The difference is stark, and in the favor of digital. Digital has better overall sound characteristics, better cell hand-offs, digital data at better than 9600 baud (!!), and has the added benefit of consistent connection, be they good or bad ones (mostly good in my experience).

Re:Careful with the cheering (3, Insightful)

adminstring (608310) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441066)

Digital is more energy-efficient, too... I always know when I've strayed into an analog-only area when my phone heats up and my battery starts draining at an alarming rate.

Hopefully the death of analog will inspire the carriers to finally put digital towers up in rural areas so everyone can enjoy the benefits of digital (rather than merely enjoying the benefits of not being able to call or be called!)

When analog is better (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441412)

A friend of mine kept analog service for a few years after everybody else had switched to digital. He liked driving around the hills, where coverage was still spotty, and while digital is better when the signal's good, if the signal's bad, analog is noisy but digital won't connect at all. It's not a universal problem, but it worked for him. These days he's got some little digital set with data functions and a camera, of course...

What about the "forbidden" bands? (3, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440758)

I have a radio that scans from 30 MHz to 1.3 GHz, except for the analog cell phone frequencies. I suppose there will be no objection for selling radios that scan all the frequencies now, right?

Not that there would be anything interesting in those frequencies now, but it always bothered me in a way that my radio had holes in its coverage.

Re:What about the "forbidden" bands? (4, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440814)

Have you not learned, young one? Once laws are passed, they do not easily un-pass.

The frequency ban will stay in effect. It even affects us ham operators, unless we buy receivers from out of the country.

Re:What about the "forbidden" bands? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22441160)

... or make/modify it yourself? ... and your sig is annoying - plus it doesn't even work under the defaults.

Re:What about the "forbidden" bands? (2, Funny)

nsaspook (20301) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441330)

The only thing I hear on the analog cell bands are pimps telling their hookers to get back to work or dope deals going down.

Ahh the memories! (1)

teddaman (854135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441378)

I remember the old GRE PRO-2006's from Radio Shack. All you had to do was clip a diode to enable those forbidden frequencies. Many a night I sat up after the bars closed (2AM here in Tallahassee) and swept 871-896 MHz. You never knew what you would come across. People screwing around on their spouses, lawmakers swapping votes for sex or ordering hookers, or the owner of a popular bar with a very recognizable voice due to his radio ads buying coke. Those were the days!

Re:What about the "forbidden" bands? (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441502)

Scanner dealers used to stock books that listed the modifications necessary to enable those frequencies, and the modification usually consisted of clipping a jumper. On Radio Shack products, the jumper was often raised an eighth inch above the board for easy clipping...


Long Overdue (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441538)

Just like cassette tapes, analog phones are long overdue for a proper burial. It also opens up a nice bit of the spectrum for other uses, which is always a good thing. AND, it makes phones a little bit less expensive as they no longer are required to have an analog fall-back mode(which rarely if ever worked anyways).

Re:What about the "forbidden" bands? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441742)

Not that there would be anything interesting in those frequencies now, but it always bothered me in a way that my radio had holes in its coverage.

My Radio Shack had a 'magic resistor' you could move from point a to point b. I never got around to it - I guess there's no point now...

Don't toss them in the trash - send to 20500 (-1, Offtopic)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440786)

It would be better to mail them to the White House
to demonstrate contempt for their spying on the citizens.

Here's the address:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Yes, it will cost a few bucks to make a point.

Refurbished Junk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22440798)

In a way, I find it sad that all those millions of handsets and related "back end" equipment will be going to the dump. On the surface, it would be great to have these devices land in some place that could actually use them for good - you know, as telephones for poor lonely grandmas in the 3rd world or something.

But I think I understand that if we don't want this stuff, then the people who "need a phone" likely won't be able to afford them - it's likely more economical, and therefore more efficient and less wasteful to buy and install new equipment - instead of testing and refurbishing old stuff.

But that still seems counter-intuitive to me.

So off to the nasty smelter, you old analog phone, where hopefully some good can come out of you. And hopefully, your resulting irreclaimable pollutants won't be too deadly.

Re:Refurbished Junk (4, Interesting)

Skater (41976) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441016)

3rd world Grandmas are probably using digital networks. The odd thing is that a lot of 3rd world countries that didn't have phone service at all got digital wireless phone service because it's relatively cheap to build out, while the US (for example) was slower to adopt wireless service because we had landlines.

But analog phones - ugh. I remember the three hours of standby battery life, and 30 minutes of talk time, or having a phone the size of a brick. My first two cell phones were dual-mode or tri-mode; they'd work on analog networks as well as digital, and I remember that if it had to use the analog network, the battery life would drop from a day or two to hours.

Re:Refurbished Junk (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441250)

The electronics for those frequencies DOES age. The batteries die, too, and replacements aren't readily available.

When new stuff becomes cheap enough it's actually cheaper to replace older stuff than try to keep it alive.

Okay, I don't believe in imaginary submitters (3, Interesting)

MrPerfekt (414248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440874)

Honestly, 1-3 times a day there's a story approved from I Don't Believe In Imaginary Property. Thankfully, unlike Beatles Beatles Beatles, he's not using his URL to boost his search engine results but it does beg a question, how does that happen? Or are other submitters just submitting crap lately?

No reasoning behind this, just curious.

Re:Okay, I don't believe in imaginary submitters (2, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440960)

Possibly a sock puppet for Zonk.

Re:Okay, I don't believe in imaginary submitters (0, Offtopic)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440972)

You can change which stories you can see in your preferences. If you don't want to see one of the common submitters, you can block any stories from 'em.

(I personally don't care about who submits the article; I'm just interested in the content.)

Re:Okay, I don't believe in imaginary submitters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22441134)

Sigh... see http://begthequestion.info/ [begthequestion.info] . I know there's a current trend towards incorrect usage, but it still makes the writer look unschooled in logic. Just letting you know.

Re:Okay, I don't believe in imaginary submitters (0, Offtopic)

ddrichardson (869910) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441214)

You're not alone in noticing this - I've also noticed recently that these submissions invariably appear around 10 to 15 minutes after the same story on Ars or Wired. Not saying right or wrong - just saying is all.

They're nowhere near that fast... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22441788)

Usually, I do this for a bit in the morning, before I have anything to do. Wired & Ars are both good sources, so yeah, I do use them a lot (maybe too much; I now try to trace the story back further unless their coverage really adds something).

But most of my submissions take about a day to get accepted. Probably because there's no real news at times, so they take the best of the 'leftovers' they have saved up. If anything, there's a slight bias against my submissions, I'd say. The editors seem to prefer the more unique stories. Once or twice, I've even lost attribution and been bumped down to 'an anonymous submitter', but it's no big deal. Heck, once I even asked them to do it for that story if they felt it would detract from the news, but they didn't publish that story at all.

On the whole, I'd say that they usually post the best submission they have at the time. Sometimes, they do make that decision a little early for the 'big' news, though, and you'll see plenty of better submissions in the Firehose that probably weren't there when they scheduled it to run in a few hours. They usually prefer to add an update to the bottom of the story in that case, per my observation.

In the mean time, though, all this submitting has given me an appreciation for how hard it is to find decent news. Sometimes, there's nothing out there that's worth reporting and I don't submit very much, if anything, on those days. But there's almost always at least one or two stories, though they're just not exciting ones. I keep trying to expand the number of sites I check, but there are only so many that have anything worth reporting on.

I tried submitting some other things like the latest malware trends, but Slashdot only rarely posts things about new virus trends or the latest patches and exploits, so I mostly don't bother. Articles on space get accepted pretty often, but there aren't that many big or interesting discoveries, though we've had a few good ones lately (like that 'spider' crater). I probably do best in law, though, because I've learned a number of legal terms via Groklaw and I try to explain them properly in my submission. But big stories from Groklaw are submitted fast, so I'm usually too late to get them these days. Rob Weir's blog has good insight on OOXML most of the time, but honestly, not all of the posts are that newsworthy.

In other words, appreciate it. It's damn hard to find good stories, especially considering that I'm working for free here. I mean, if it wasn't for the crazy name I used, no one would notice :-) I think that this is why the editors take the submissions they do: as you can see from the Firehose, there really ISN'T that much in there that's good, and I spend time trying to make my submissions worthwhile, though it isn't always perfect.

Oh, and BTW, I *do* have a real account. It's not Zonk or any other editor. It's old, but not a very low UID at all, though I do sometimes get mod points. I have a bunch of friends, several freaks and foes as well as excellent karma and approximately a dozen accepted submissions. So that explains why I 'just appeared' out of nowhere submitting lots of stories: I already knew what I was doing when I took up the cause, I just hadn't bothered to dig up so many beforehand. I almost wish that I used it from work at times. Being behind a censor/proxy that even intercepts SSL connections with a bogus cert, the timeout on posting comments anonymously is REALLY annoying at times, so I have to choose them carefully. And sometimes I spend parts of the hour or more I might have to wait revising what I was going to say.

Anyhow, I'm more surprised no one has noticed that other guy, the user 'pickens [slashdot.org]' who submits as "Ponca City, We Love You" all the time. It's him that I wonder about :-)

I submit a lot, that's how. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22441392)

Those 1-3 submissions come from 5-6 submissions per day as you can see in the Firehose. Sometimes, you'll have some I submitted yesterday mixed with those submitted today as you can see right now. I submitted the earlier story about printers yesterday, but this one was submitted this afternoon. Again, you can see all this on the Firehose, which date stamps them when I submit them.

Although someone replied to you that I was Zonk's sock puppet, I have no link to any of the Slashdot editors as far as I know. Heck, I'm not even in the top 10 [slashdot.org] submitters or all that close. As you can see, there are many who have even less of a life than I do (or something) and have hundreds of submissions. New York County Lawyer keeps flirting with the #10 spot, and I think you guys know how much he posts.

As for my motive, well, it's mostly just for fun while I slack off from my work as a sysadmin for a place that makes windows (the glass kind, not the Microsoft kind). Sure, I have an agenda to push, but I'm just some guy who fits entirely too many Slashdot stereotypes, which is why I link to the EFF donate page, or to that "I Wouldn't Steal" page the EU folks made. I should probably link to the US Pirate Party [pirate-party.us] more often, too.

I use an unregistered account for a number of reasons. One is that I'm doing this from work. Another is that anyone who believes as I do is free to share the ID and post stories to Slashdot.

Unlike the others who dump as many submissions as they can, I try to cull what I think are the best stories of the day. I frequently ignore stories that later appear on Slashdot anyhow. An example from today would be how the UK ISPs put out a statement that they're against policing users. The statements are new, but the story isn't. I just covered it yesterday, so I felt it was too much of a rehash and ignored it. When I think there's something new, I try to link to the previous stories and give better coverage.

Also, you may have noticed that I try to be diligent in marking PDF (and .DOC) files, naming unnamed 'researchers' who discover things, giving you the original story where possible (rather than some sites re-re-re-report of whatever), linking to Wordpress and similar blogs via Coral Cache (and seeding the cache by visiting the site BEFORE I send it to Slashdot). Not to mention whichever other random ideas that come up periodically when someone writes a (+5, Insightful) saying "Why the HELL didn't you do X???" I've had to rewrite more than one headline to fit in the length limits without a damn ? at the end, bite my tongue to avoid hilarious and snarky quips I would like to add as the last line, and find those damn typos that manage to sneak past me even though I spell check my submissions.

So, that's it in a nutshell. If you don't like me, I'm sorry, but there's not much I can do about that, though I'm open to reasonable suggestions. I have no idea when I'll get too bored or busy to continue. I have no idea if people will ever take up posting in "my" name. But that's who and what I am and I'm always trying to find ways to make better submissions.

In other words, except for the attention-grabbing name, I'm a pretty typical Slashdotter.

- I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property

Re:I submit a lot, that's how. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22441774)

I'm a pretty typical Slashdotter.

I once knew a guy named Slashsen, do you think you might be related?

</obscure Scandinavian joke>

Re:I submit a lot, that's how. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22441832)

Although someone replied to you that I was Zonk's sock puppet, I have no link to any of the Slashdot editors as far as I know.

- I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property

Re:Okay, I don't believe in imaginary submitters (1)

jay-be-em (664602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22442014)

I've always just figured it was something people were using as their submited name, to make a statement. Not that it is one distinct person. I could be wrong.

Excellent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22440902)

Now ham fests will be full of the discarded AMPS equipment.

In Canada? (1)

Overkill Nbuta (1035654) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440904)

I know that the FCC doesnt have a hold over Canada, but usually it seems any trend that happens in tech slowly makes its way up here, Is there any notice to Canadian consumers to expect the analog network to be going out.

Re:In Canada? (2, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441726)

AFAIK, Rogers already got rid of their AMPS system early last year and both Bell and Telus are planning on following the FCC's lead. Here in saskatchewan, i dunno what sasktel is planning, though i'm pretty sure they already have CDMA2000 1X everywhere they have analog service (and in some places they don't), so i wouldn't be real suprised if they followed everyone else and axed the analog in the near future.

Radio Scanners now to be unblocked? (-1, Redundant)

zerobeat (628744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22440984)

I wonder if that old stupid law insisting US bought radio scanners be blocked from tuning analog cell phone frequencies will now be removed. The practice of having an analog receiver "blocked" from tuning into non-existent analog cell phone conversations is now completely redundant.

NOOOO! What will I do? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441076)

I haven't owned a cell phone since I gave away my analog cell phone to a women's shelter way back when!

How will I make urgent phone calls in bathrooms in a loud voice?

How else can I convince people I'm not crazy when I'm sitting on a bus talking so loudly everyone knows what color my undies are as I describe them in detail!

What will I do in movie theaters?

Re:NOOOO! What will I do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22441184)

I bet you're also proud of not owning a TV [theonion.com].

Re:NOOOO! What will I do? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441986)

No, but my TV is analog too!


I hear they're sending capons in the mail for that, but if I cook them, how will a TV dinner help me get HDTV on my 12 inch Sony black and white tube?

Great! (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441198)

Finally Americans will be able to get away from brick-sized analogue mobiles with a talk time of 20 minutes.

In all seriousness, has any mobile manufacturer made an analogue phone in the last ten years?

Re:Great! (1)

AaronW (33736) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441302)

Three years ago I got a LG VX6100 tri-mode phone. I have had places where the only signal I can get is analog and it came in handy. Due to the lack of bluetooth and the fact that analog is going away I finally upgraded to a new phone, but there were times where I could make calls whereas nobody else could.

Re:Great! (1)

pergamon (4359) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441322)

Yes, indeed they have. I purposely chose my previous phone because it (a) was on VZW, (b) had Bluetooth, (c) had analog in addition to digital. The V710 was made in the 2004-2005 range.

Re:Great! (1)

RoboRay (735839) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441580)

There are many places (not just out in the boonies but also inside large buildings, for example) where my year-old tri-mode phone drops to analog because the digital signal is just too weak.

Shutting down the analog network without actually replacing it first with an equally-capable digital system is insane.

Legacy embedded devices? (3, Insightful)

mountain-man (161298) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441400)

Has nobody mentioned all the legacy devices that will go dark as part of this? It's not just the brick phones, but the first-gen OnStar (etc) systems, cellular backups for burler and fire alarms, even some remote telemetry systems and/or SCADA systems.

Of course, I said "cya" to my old bag-phone 15 years ago just like everybody else, but there's probably lots of these systems that will need to be replaced.

Re:Legacy embedded devices? (1)

gotzero (1177159) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441592)

I am sure this is all part of planned obsolescence. The companies making those products will be happy to sell you a pricey upgrade.

I doubt all of the smaller carriers are going abandon analog service, since it is the only thing out there in some of rural America.

The big players probably did this because the bandwidth was mostly wasted, and I am sure because a lot of the people with REALLY inexpensive plans were in the analog world. There were some insane deals to be had out there for analog service a few years ago.

Re:Legacy embedded devices? (2, Interesting)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441650)

Likely true about the planned obsolescence. But with massive areas of the country no longer covered, they will surely find some other way to fill in those gaps. It's just too many people to ignore from a revenue standpoint.

My educated guess is that they will use those frequencies to provide some sort of digital replacement service. Really poor speed or voice only), but covers a wide area.

Yes, it's going to be painful for the first year or two, but they have to pull down the old system before they can put in the new ones.

Re:Legacy embedded devices? (1)

sizzzzlerz (714878) | more than 6 years ago | (#22441740)

Not true. We here in the SF Bay Area have overlapping coverage for the 1G AMPS, 2G TDMA Digital AMPS, 2.5G GSM and CDMA, and 3G Wideband CDMA. Not to mention the POTS wired telephone service. I'm sure thats true for other metropolitan areas as well. There is absolutely nothing technical to prevent multiple formats from operating simultaneously. In all likelihood, the providers of wireless service in any given area will maintain multiple formats as they upgrade. Afterall, they've already made the investment in the old equipment and that produces revenue as they bring the new one online.

mod Up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22441588)

goodbye...she had AnD MORTIFYING world will have followed. Obviously [anti-slash.org] opinion in other 4, 3hich by all visit in the sun. In the more gay than they of Walnut Creek, be a lot slower We'll be able to Of events today, windows, SUN or

I doubt this will affect most AMPS-only sites (2, Insightful)

punka (81040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22442008)

To everyone wondering about their favorite AMPS-only areas, I highly doubt those towers will be deactivated.

The whole purpose of this deactivation is so that the cell phone companies can make MORE money, not less! One person using AMPS in a metropolitan area ties up several digital lines. But until monday, none of those AMPS towers could be turned off (per this FCC mandate)!

Thus, I suspect that the only AMPS towers going offline come Monday are those that were costing them money (the ones in areas that already have digital coverage). Shutting down towers in AMPS-only areas cuts off paying customers, and erodes a nearly ubiquitous and cost-effective last-mile coverage tool.

As a result, those who live in the City -> roam in a Rural area won't be affected (as long as you have a phone with both radios). The ones who will be affected MOST are those who live in Rural -> roam to the City. If their rural AMPS phones don't support both AMPS & the current digital standards, they will not get any reception in that city area.

Disclaimer: IANACPCS (I Am Not A Cell Phone Company Spokesperson)

There is one big advantage to an analog phone (2, Interesting)

xkr (786629) | more than 6 years ago | (#22442072)

AT&T was so determined to get me off their old network, they finally made me an offer for a plan that was half the price of their cheapest new plan - including a 2-year contract and a free phone. Then, yesterday, I upgraded one of my kids from "pay as you go," to a copy of my dirt-cheap digital plan. They didn't want to do it, but finally agreed. So you see -- analog can be cheaper !

Justification for shutdown (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22442226)

I always suspected that AMPS/TDMA were being phased out for phone service due to the inability of the operators to impement E911 location servcices on it.

You would think that the FCC would allow the cellular companies to hold a few channels open for analog. Even if they don't support E911, an emergency call where the caller has to give an address is still better than no call at all. But, if they leave the channels open, they could become quite valuable to a certain set of users that don't want their position to be tracked.

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