Dial Zero
A look at what's surprising, silly, scary or stupid in telecommunications and data

Friday, March 28, 2014

Cops called because someone STUNK

People call 911 for all kinds of real or perceived problems. There are fires, car crashes, car thefts, burglaries, heists, heart attacks, poisonings, floods, mudslides, missing pets, drownings, shootings, stabbings, domestic disputes, cats in trees, rowdy kids, loud music and even shortages of ketchup in fast food restaurants.

A few days ago police in Hannibal, MO twice responded to peace disturbance calls because someone in Hannibal's city hall smelled really bad.

“A Hannibal officer was called to 320 Broadway Tuesday morning in reference to peace disturbance. The officer was contacted by several employees who complained of a subject emitting an odor that was deemed to be significantly noxious and offensive,” said Lt. John Zerbonia of the Police Department, according to the Hannibal Courier-Post.

According to Hannibal Municipal ordinance 16-162, subjects can be cited for peace disturbance because of a “noxious and offensive” odor.

The stinker, whose identity was not revealed by authorities, was no stranger to city hall. “He’s been here on numerous occasions,” said the city staffer. “He did not appear to be conducting any business at city hall. He was just sitting.” According to Zerbonia, the “subject was asked (by the officer) to leave the premises and attend to the issue.”

While the individual left city hall, the story doesn’t end there. At 10:26 a.m., police received another peace disturbance call, this time from 113 N. Third St. “After leaving 320 Broadway the subject entered a neighboring business and was asked to leave there as well, due to the offensive odor,” said Zerbonia.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Turkish leader plans to eradicate Twitter. YouTube was previously banned. Facebook was threatened.

Turkey has blocked access to Twitter. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan boasted, “We now have a court order. We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic,” Erdoğan said at a campaign rally on March 20, 10 days before the upcoming local elections, according to the Hurriyet Daily News.

The Press Advisory of the Prime Ministry later clarified Erdoğan's statement, arguing that Twitter officials currently "ignore" some court rulings in Turkey, which order the social media platform to "remove some links" as per the complaints filed by Turkish citizens.

"[In Erdoğan's speech] it is stated that as long as Twitter fails to change its attitude of ignoring court rulings and not doing what is necessary according to the law, technically, there might not be a remedy but to block access in order to relieve our citizens," the statement said.

On Feb. 25, Erdoğan had accused a “robot lobby” of targeting the government through Twitter messages, while strongly denying the authenticity of new phone recordings leaked onto the Internet and implicating his government in corruption allegations.

During protests last June, Erdoğan described the microblogging website as a “trouble,” claiming that “unmitigated lies are there [on Twitter].”

On March 6, Turkey’s premier had also threatened to shut down Facebook and YouTube “if necessary,” via the controversial law. YouTube has been repeatedly banned in Turkey in the past decade.

Meanwhile, Twitter has recently started to remove fake accounts created in Turkey with allegedly “manipulative” political motives. Twitter has become an increasingly bitter battleground between pro and anti-government forces in Turkey in recent months.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Plumbers fought over Tommy Tutone's famous phone number

One-hit wonder Tommy Tutone made the phone number 867-5309 famous in the band's 1982 hit single, which uses the digits over and over in its catchy refrain: "Jenny don't change your number, 8675309." A Rhode Island company and a national company battled over the right to use the number, which doesn't reach "Jenny," but could connect callers to a plumber.

Gem Plumbing & Heating of Lincoln, RI, trademarked the easily-tapped phone number, which reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Gem acquired the number in Rhode Island when its original owner, Brown University, gave up 867-5309 after growing weary of the constant prank calls.

Gem's number worked in the 401 area code in Rhode Island and the 617 area code in Massachusetts.

But Florida-based Clockwork Home Services, also a plumbing company, used a toll-free version of 867-5309 in New England. 

In 2007, Gem brought suit against Clockwork Home Services, alleging a violation of its trademark. Clockwork contended that Gem's trademark was invalid. They argued that a company can only trademark a vanity number, like 1-800-FLOWERS. Effective in May 2007, Clockwork was ordered by a court to stop using the number in New England. As of today, it is used by Gem.

Tommy "Tutone" Heath said that he'd prefer that neither company use the number. "It's ridiculous," said Heath. "If I wanted to get into it, I could probably take the number away from both of them." (info from The Associated Press and Wikipedia)

CLICK for more about the song and its impact

Monday, March 03, 2014

Not a Chinese virus. Twitter was brought down by Ellen's Oscar selfie

Samsung was one sponsor of last night's Academy Awards broadcast, and host Ellen DeGeneres used a white Samsung Galaxy Note 3 smartphone to take selfies with celebs in the audience. She said she wanted to set a record for re-tweeting.  CLICK for video of selfie session.
The group photo was quickly retweeted more than two million times, breaking the previous record set by President Obama with the picture of him hugging FLOTUS Michelle after his 2012 re-election.
Twitter tweeted an apology because the Oscar retweeting disrupted service for more than 20 minutes. Chinese hackers: take note.