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CHamilton

The Metroliner and the genesis of cell phones

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An interesting item from 1966 in Jon Gertner's book The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation.

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A Bell Labs project, paid for by the U.S. Department of Transportation, involved putting pay phones on the Metroliner, a new express train that would run between Union Station in Washington, D.C., and Penn Station in New York City. This was a simplified application of the cellular idea. The Metroliner route was divided into cells of different frequencies. Markers were put on the tracks—coils, actually—that could be tripped by the train as it passed; these signaled that a call had to be handed off from one cell, and one frequency, to another. “It was not great technology,” Frenkiel recalls, “but it was the first cellular system.”

 

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11 minutes ago, CHamilton said:

An interesting item from 1966 in Jon Gertner's book The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation.

 

I remember it well! Never used it myself since I was a poor Civil Servant but the Politicos and High Rollers were using it constantly!

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So...uh...was that a 30-minute commercial for Amtrak? (No, I did not watch the whole thing...that kid's wooden delivery of his lines quickly offset the novelty of seeing what Amtrak looked like 26 years ago...)

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On 2/7/2019 at 3:56 AM, NorthShore said:

It is pretty insane that she ended up on House of Cards.

And that is indeed that Jim, BTW. As listed there, he (somehow) ended up in Wes Anderson’s pretty mediocre film Bottle Rocket, playing the character “Applejack”. :huh:

applejack1.jpg

Edited by cpotisch

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1 hour ago, fairviewroad said:

So...uh...was that a 30-minute commercial for Amtrak? (No, I did not watch the whole thing...that kid's wooden delivery of his lines quickly offset the novelty of seeing what Amtrak looked like 26 years ago...)

Yep, a 34 minute poorly shot and cast Amtrak promo. I actually love it mainly because of the ridiculous dialogue and acting. In fact, I actually spent like four months creating a fake horror film trailer about “Jim”, because of how ridiculous and decently creepy this video is. :cool:

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