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  2. There's a lot more discussion that can be had about the financing of capital improvements in the regulated Bell System vs. the heavily debt-leveraged unregulated cable systems and later cellular phone systems. Bell did not need to supply the phones to continue making a profit, as their rates were regulated to guarantee a "fair" profit. On the negative side, regulation prevented them from cross subsidizing between local service, long distance, and innovative services. Cable TV companies, on the other hand, needed the additional income from set top box rental to help service their tremendous debt for capital expenses, though they stubbornly denied it (probably because they wanted to avoid inviting potential government regulation). When legislation was passed allowing customers to purchase their own cable TV terminal equipment, the cable operators did not make it easy (some would say they deliberately made it nearly impossible). If the cable companies had become regulated, they would still have made a (smaller, guaranteed) profit, like Bell, but their lenders would have done a much smaller business, and the build-out may have been slower. On the other hand, while the Bell monopoly did tremendous research, they mainly applied it to improving POTS (plain old telephone service) over their copper wire home connections.
  3. The New York World's Fair pops notably up in modern media, such as Men in Black, Ironman 2, and Tomorrowland. But occasionally it pops up for a fragment of second as it did for me yesterday while watching, "Three Identical Strangers". It showed one of the triplets (actually quadruplets) with his family (in a home movie) in front of the Solar Fountain. You never know when the Fair will show up.
  4. Holiday wish

    Bill, was this the same model of the Unisphere that was at the Boy Scout's exhibit? You probably saw it more than anyone else.
  5. That's why I listed it at number 3 on my list. It seemed to me that cost was the least likely reason the picturephone did not take off. I remember reading of the introduction of television, where "affluent" people were buying sets even though there were only one or two broadcast stations in their area. Heck, even in my town, one of my neighbors (at about 11 miles away), bought a color television set when only Disney was broadcasting in color. I think the "affluent" people would have bought into the picturephone as one of their "toys", making it more of a success than it was, except for reason number one, but more likely reason number two.
  6. A Picture Phone required 12 voice lines to be banded together for a video call. And that was the B&W model. So any picture call was automatically going to be at least 12 times the cost of a voice call. Since voice long distance was pretty expensive in 1964, it's easy to see why the novelty of a picture call rarely justified the cost.
  7. Why are you interested in the 1964-1965 World's Fair?

    One more voice that feels the same here
  8. Holiday wish

    My guess is around 1/2 acre.
  9. Last week
  10. Holiday wish

    Thanks for the link. Question: Exactly how big was the Boy Scout exhibit? There are three sizes listed in worldsfairphotos.com. attachments. 1 1/2 acres (per The Wonderful World of Scouting--1965), a little over 1/2 acre (26,851 sq ft) (per The Wonderful World of Scouting), and 1/2 acre (per The Christian Science Monitor). Was this a case of a bigger exhibit in the planning stages which later got reduced? From what I remember, it seemed to be about 1/2 acre.
  11. Holiday wish

    Ralph's pictures are here: http://www.worldsfaircommunity.org/topic/16064-be-prepared/?tab=comments#comment-115361
  12. Same feels and much of the same experiences, bro.
  13. Holiday wish

    Ralph, if you can easily put your hands on the photo, could you repost? I haven't seen many shots of the Boy Scout's exhibit, except for troop patches and merit badges. Being a scout myself, I remember being slightly underwhelmed by the Scout exhibit. I don't remember any drive in my troop for donations or anything like it to make a more impressionable showing at the World's Fair, and I know they didn't have the money to put on a bigger show. I do remember going to the exhibit, and shaking hands with most the scouts there, some from all over the country. That I was encouraged to do by my Scoutmaster before I left Massachusetts to go to the Fair. Fun times.
  14. LIFE, April 13, 1962, mentions the Picturephone at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. I haven't found a reference to the extent of time it was there. At various times it was connected with Disneyland and the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. I once made plans with my cousins in California for them to be at the exhibit in Disneyland when I was at the museum in Chicago. https://books.google.com/books?id=lk4EAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA12&lpg=PA12&dq=picturephone+at+museum+of+science+and+industry+years&source=bl&ots=8_7RZJ_0cW&sig=q0ylZlStusbevRC2U06klVgLIrk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiAu62K-oPeAhURG3wKHbc0AxYQ6AEwFnoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=picturephone at museum of science and industry years&f=false Speaking of advances in technology, a machine that played TIC-TAC-TOE was a long-time part of the Bell exhibit at the museum, but it was built entirely from mechanical relays, not a computer program.
  15. Wasn't born until a more than a decade after the gates closed - I find it a unique spot of optimism in a time when it seemed like the world was going downhill. Also it's interesting to see the origins of much of today's communication and computing technology. I did go to EPCOT Center when it was fairly new (1984) and I'd imagine it had a similar effect on me as the NYWF did for kids then. Sadly, that version of EPCOT is mostly gone too. Ironically, much of my interest in the NYWF came from seeing the Carousel of Progress that still runs at Disney World.
  16. Also, with AT&T as the legal monopoly provider of phone service and reaping a predictable profit from it, there wasn't much corporate interest in taking the risk on building out the infrastructure for a service that was anything but guaranteed success.
  17. In the 70s I belonged to a club that occasionally would meet in the picture phone room - a room with several picture phones that AT&T would rent out for business meetings. We would get to "play" with the picture phones calling each other in the same room. On the models we used, there was a little mirror that would pop out from the camera lens and point to the table. This would allow you to show printed documents to the other callers. The television image would flip when the mirror was engaged. I thought this little add-on had great potential.
  18. These shots always strike me as remarkable in another way. Other than the Unisphere, virtually everything in that photograph is gone. It's all rather strange.
  19. An excellent picture. The relatively sparse visitors at this moment in time lets the eye roam casually from person to person as one takes in the beauty of the scene, an activity not easily available in a bustling crowd. This iconic view says so much about what the fair was all about.
  20. From today's perspective it is easy to view communications in the sixties as crude and expensive, but considering the imposing limitations and costly equipment mandated by the analog technology available at the time, I think the capabilities were worthy of the period. Picturephones required a lot of analog bandwidth, which was in short supply. During the sixties I was busily involved in the telephone company transition from vacuum tubes to transistors, from low bit-rate data communications to speedier modems and early disc hard drives. In fact, I was involved in beta testing of the first FM data transmission technology replacing the ancient DC pulses of the old teletypewriters. It was a fascinating to experience the birthing pains of a whole new way to communicate.
  21. For me it was a great opportunity to exercise my photography skills in a marvelous sensory landscape, and building an extensive and satisfying portfolio of memorabilia. It was also an escape from the eventual boredom of being in town for months on assignment with AT&T.
  22. Holiday wish

    Either that or an identical twin, comparing it to a shot I took.
  23. Holiday wish

    Is this the one that went over to the Boy Scout's exhibit at the Fair?
  24. Someone asked me a variant of this question a couple of days ago. They asked, " So what was it like being at the World's Fair as a 13 year old?" My reply-- "It was like being dropped on Mars"
  25. Interesting link. Thanks for posting. Reading the article it seems there were three reasons for failure of the picturephone in the 60's (and it wasn't the technology): 1) The person you were calling also had to have one. 2) All phone calls are an interruption. Not wanting someone else to see what you look like before you were interrupted. 3) Cost. I think 1 and 2 were more important, because people more affluent would be able to afford these "toys". The marketing was all wrong.
  26. I wonder if the Columbian's attendance numbers were ever clearly recorded as containing the greatest world's fair single day attendance until the second half of the 20th Century. I wonder because the BIE, for whatever it's worth, seems to control such things and there was no BIE in 1893 and, therefore, no officially sanctioned exposition.
  27. We still had a rotary phone service in my house until the mid 1990s because my dad refused to pay extra for touch tone service (another thing the phone company charged for) Yes, AT&T's videophone was phenomenally expensive: https://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/a-brief-history-of-the-videophone-that-almost-was-1214969187 I suppose they could have reduced the price and made up for it in scale, but it would have to be a huge drop
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