After Hours

Geek Trivia: The Quibble of the Week for June 24, 2008

This week's quibble comes from the June 17, 2008 edition of Geek Trivia, "A phone to pick with you."

If you uncover a questionable fact or debatable aspect of this week's Geek Trivia, just post it in the discussion area of the article. Every week, yours truly will choose the best quibble from our assembled masses and discuss it in a future edition of Geek Trivia.

This week's quibble comes from the June 17, 2008 edition of Geek Trivia, "A phone to pick with you." TechRepublic member NickNielsen demanded more technical precision than the article provided:

"Telegraph or teletype? You use the terms as if they are interchangeable, but to a communicator, they aren't. Telegraph is dots and dashes created by starting and stopping a carrier signal. Teletype used the Baudot code (among others) to represent letters and numbers and transmitted these signals by modulating an audio carrier (modem)."

TechRepublic member GoodOh explained my vagaries as well as I ever could have:

"The original says that they installed a telegraph LINE and communicated up and down that line using teletype machines. That's an accurate description. Teletype can work over telegraph lines. But the author could have been slightly less exact and more clear by calling it a teletype line. [Reference]."

I'll cop to being a little imprecise. Thanks for keeping me on the technical straight and narrow, and keep those quibbles coming!

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About Jay Garmon

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

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