Vol. 4 No. 9


April, 2005




iTOON on Teleco Capacity

THE REAL NEWS * * * * *





May I take your order?

Are your hamburgers made of real meat?

Excuse me?

Do you use real meat?

No, I don't.

There's no meat in your burgers?

NO, it is against my religion.

Oh. Then are the salads fresh?

We have salads.

Well, how many chicken salads do you have ready to go?

I don't know.

It's not a religious thing is it?

Oh, no sir. May I take your order.

Right. This is a drive-through. Do you have any daily specials?

At this location?


Which location are you at?

The drive-through.


In my car.

In what city, sir?

In the same city you're in!


Bomb who?

India. You can't be here.

I am here in the drive-through placing an order with you, the burger employee.

Actually, I am an independent contractor.

You flip burgers for a living, don't you?

No, I take orders.

Only orders.

Yes, may I take your order?

I like to know whether the buns are fresh today, too.

I don't know.

Can't you go look or ask the manager?

No, I can't.

You can't?

No, I can't.

Then how can you take orders without knowing what's fresh or made or in stock?

I use my touch-screen.

But you're not here.

I am here to take your order sir.

But you're in Bombay.


Taking my order?

Having Visa problems, eh?

No, I live here.

At the drive-through?

No, in India.

But I'm in the United States!

Yes, I am aware of that fact.

So I have to make a long distance call to India to place my order that will be prepared only a few yards from my current location?

Essentially correct. May I take your order now?

So this is a virtual ordering process?

You could call it that if you like. May I take your order?

Will I get a virtual burger?

No, you will receive your order at the next window.

How will you know that I will receive my order at the next window?

Well . . . .

And how will you know that when I get to the next window I will get the right order?

Well . . . .

Because you're half a world away taking my order by a transoceanic telephone call? What's the real deal?

The company has outsourced the order taking process of this restaurant to increase quality control and order processing. It is happening in many industries.

Don't you think this is a little strange?

Well . . . .

You are selling meat patties over the global communication network in a remote call center far away from the actual people buying and selling the food?

Well, it is called progress.

I call it strange. Very strange.

Can I take your order now?

I have to think about the ramifications of this outsourcing the drive-through.

There is nothing to think about. Just order like you used to do.

But have you replaced a worker who used to take the orders?

I suppose.

An American worker.

I suppose. But a minimum wage worker.

Do you get the minimum wage?

Well . . . .

That's the whole purpose of outsourcing and using global communications to eliminate real people from doing real jobs.

I disagree. I believe this is progress. This is how technology works.

What's next? Outsourcing the fry cooks? Will I have to fly to Mexico to pick up my order?

That would be ridiculous.






















Bends & Trends

What has less parts? A bunch of bananas or your assorted monthly phone bills? With the spin-offs, mergers, demergers, reconsolidation and bankruptcy sales, the office now receives separate bills for local, long distance, cellular-wireless, yellowpages; and sub-bills for DSL and internet connection. So much for deregulation. The phone system worked better when Ma Bell was the queen of the castle.
Uncle Sam has his hands out again this month. Income tax time. But the trend toward electronic tax preparation and e-filing returns and payments has lessened the bureaucratic entanglement of trying to fully comprehend every nuance of the Internal Revenue Code. The IRS web site is still one of the better government information sites, as it contains the forms and publications the average person needs to complete his or her returns, It will only take you at least five months to accumulate enough income to pay all of last year's tax obligations.


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You get a tune in your head. An old one. One that you not have heard in years. An obscure local rock band. The way to check the brain blip is to head to the Apple iTunes music store and search the band name. Remember, music marks time through memories.

The band that I thought of on the spur of the moment was from Chicago. As a college music director, I had access to hundreds of new albums a month. A local band got more attention. The band had an album cover of a three white tiger's heads morphed into a snowy mountaintop. The band was called Trillion. Epic records released its first album in 1978. I hold the original vinyl LP in my hand as type in the other hand. On the backside jacket, the band defined Trillion as “ROOT WOOD:THRILL Vibrate; Shake; Warble; Sound; Quaver; Roll;Twirl; Revolve; Trickle. The alternation of two music tones a scale or degree apart. Rapid alternation of the same tone.”

As a music director will tell you, in order to preview the entire album, a record has to catch your attention in the first track. On Trillion's 1978 debut, it achieved its hook with the first song Hold Out. That was the tune that filtered to the surface like methane in the tar pits.

The band faded away a few years later like a sabertooth tiger in history. I suspect that that their record catalogue is out of print (like most of my vinyl record collection). So the search of Trillion in iTunes lead to an interesting result. Trillion appeared in the search window. So I click on the first song. Double take. Female lead vocal. Wrong. The site gave me no information about this Trillion band.

So to the search engines to find out what is up. One search engine hit Trillion. A link to the band's site found that it was a Canadian hard rock tribute band formed in 2001. No lead female singer either. The next search engine popped up a music database/on-line store that had the designation Trillion (1978). Excellent, I thought. The original LP is in digital form. I click on that link and it turns out that it is the iTunes Trillion, not the Chicago band. Scrolling through the other search results to a New Zealand rapper/music producer named Jody Lloyd who was creating his own music apparently under the Trillion name.

Now for those who believe that you can google anything and find the right answer is wrong. More searches and cross links later found me finally finding the Chicago band on, a site composed of information on old or dissolved midwest bands from the 1970s-1990s. Basically, the Chicago Trillion band had two LPs for Epic records and dissolved, with some band members like Patrick Leonard going on to with their music careers with other artists.

But it did not answer the question of the iTunes Trillion. More scrolling the search results and music sites. Then on I found a reference to Trillion. “Modern rock with female lead vocals.” It contained a link to the band itself where I learned that this group is from LA and the lead vocalist is Lina Bruckell. So I find the answer but raises another question.

Since music marks the passage of time in an individual's life, and technology marches ahead into new forms and formats, what happens to the old music of one's youth? Apparently, if you want to find the old vinyl bands, there old recordings are destined only for the dusty milk crates of garage sales or used record shops.

So how do I scratch this brain itch that left me on a safari through numerous search engines? I dust off the diamond tip needle and play the first three minutes twenty-seven seconds of hiss popping vinyl on the ancient living room turntable.

Well, that short diversion took a little longer than planned. The record jacket next to the Trillion LP contained the best Survivor tune, Somewhere in America, from 1979. So I had to play that as well. I realize now that this was probably the city's golden age of rock n roll. Chicago was on the cusp of Disco Demolition. The local live band bar scene was at its zenith. The declining cost of 4 or 8 track recording technology made any talented band demo tape mavens with slick production expertise a quick national record deal. Now, very little of it survives in cyberspace. Pity.




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