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The End of the Seven-Digit Local Call

Soon you will have to use 10-digits to make a local call the FCC made the change so callers can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988

Memorial Day 2021

Here are six things to know about Arlington National Cemetery this Memorial day

Will Dogecoin Make You Wealthy

Dogecoin is a digital currency that enables peer-to-peer transactions across a decentralized network based on a shibu inu dog meme supported by Elon Musk

VMware Jumped the Shark

VMware jumped the shark with the VMware anthem set to Steppenwolf’s Born to be Wild

Web Pioneers AOL and Yahoo Liquidated

Verizon sold Internet pioneers AOL and Yahoo to PE firm Apollo Global a history of mis-steps & bad timing lead the firms to be sold for pennies of their peak values

The End of the Seven-Digit Local Call

Seven-Digit Local Calls Coming to an EndThe seven-digit local call is doomed. Soon it will no longer be possible to call the next-door neighbor or corner store without an area code. U.S. voice providers – wireline – wireless and cable — have started notifying their customers of the change. Phone users need to start dialing 10-digits whenever they make a call – local or long distance. The FCC is forcing the 10 digit – 3 digit area code plus the 7 digit local number.

FCC commissioner Ajit PeiThe FCC is mandating (FCC Order 20-100) this change to make it possible for callers to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline by just dialing “988.” The federally financed National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The new law will allow states to collect fees from mobile service providers and use the funds to support 988, though it’s unclear how much more funding the fees will generate. 988 will allow a shift from a law enforcement and justice system response to one of immediately connecting to care for individuals in suicidal, mental health, and substance use crises. The number is the first step to make a fundamental shift in how communities engage people in crisis. When you’ve got a police, fire, or rescue emergency, you call 911. When you have an urgent mental health need, you’ll call 988.

National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis LifelineFierce Telecom explains that in July 2020 the FCC established the 988 hotline. The 988 hotline will make it faster for people to connect to crisis counselors and get help without having to remember a longer toll-free number. And now the agency is considering expanding this to require text messaging providers to support text messaging to 988. In its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued in April 2021.

In its order, the FCC noted that text messaging is particularly popular with teenagers and young adults and also those that are deaf or have speech disabilities.

Given the pervasiveness of text messaging, particularly among at-risk groups, we believe it is essential to explore making it as easy as possible to reach the Lifeline by text through the use of the same short, easy-to-remember code by which Americans will be able to call the Lifeline.

Why we need 10-digit dialing

The reason 10-digit dialing is necessary to make the 988 hotline work is because the North American Numbering Plan Administrator has to make sure that calls to 988 get directed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If someone has a seven-digit number that starts with 988, the phone switch will not know whether this call needs to go to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline or to the seven-digit number. By requiring 10-digit dialing, the North American Numbering Plan Administrator is able to prevent any confusion to the system.

When will the local call change begin?

When will the local call change begin?Beginning April 24, you should begin dialing 10 digits (area code plus telephone number) for all local calls. Your call will still get completed if you forget and dial just seven digits.

Beginning Oct. 24, you must dial 10 digits (area code plus telephone number) for all local calls. Calls made with only seven digits may not be completed after Oct, 24. A recording will inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed. You must hang up and dial again using the area code and the seven-digit number.

Beginning July 16, 2022, dialing “988” will route your call to the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline.


Michigan residents impacted by this change are in the 616, 810, 906, 989 area codes. If you live in one of the impacted areas, be sure to include the area code, or they may stop working, including:

  • Medical alert devices,
  • Security systems,
  • Fax machines,
  • Speed dialers,
  • Contact lists,
  • Websites,
  • Stationery, and
  • Advertising.

Hopefully, this will reduce the number of people in a mental health crisis being killed by police not prepared to deal with mental health crises.


Stay safe out there!

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Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers, and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Memorial Day 2021

Memorial Day 2021Every year thousands of visitors attend Memorial Day remembrance services Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington National Cemetery is the final resting place for many of the nation’s greatest heroes. The interred include more than 300,000 veterans of every American conflict, from the Revolutionary War to Iraq and Afghanistan. Some other facts about the national cemetery include:

  1. George Washington Parke Custis, the adopted son of George Washington acquired the land that is now Arlington National Cemetery in 1802.
  2. In 1864 the 200-acre Arlington plantation of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was made a cemetery. The intent was to render the house uninhabitable should the Lee family ever attempt to return.
  3. Private William Christman, 21, of the 67th Pennsylvania Infantry was the first burial at Arlington National Cemetery. Pvt. Christman was buried in a plot on Arlington’s northeast corner on May 13, 1864.
  4. President Herbert Hoover conducted the first national Memorial Day ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1929.
  5. Every tombstone, monument, and columbarium row in the cemetery has a flag placed by them each Memorial Day.
  6. Almost 4,000 former slaves are buried in Section 27, land that was known as Freedman’s Village, Arlington’s first freedpersons neighborhood.

Stay safe out there this Memorial Day !


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Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers, and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Will Dogecoin Make You Wealthy

The cryptocurrency world is chaos. There are over 4,000 different cryptocurrencies. They go up and down. One day Bitcoin is down 50%, and Dogecoin goes up after a tweet. Dogecoin is the trendy cryptocurrency de jour. Where did it come from?

Dogecoin is digital moneyCNET explains that Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency, a form of digital money that, much like bitcoin, enables peer-to-peer transactions across a decentralized network, based on a meme. There are differences in cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is the original blockchain proof of concept. True believers say Bitcoin can transform how money works in the 21st century. Dogecoin is a digital coin with a picture of a dog on it.

Dogecoin’s most well-known supporters are multi-billionaires Mark Cuban and Elon Musk. Mr. Musk, the CEO of Tesla Inc. (TSLA) and SpaceX has used his tweets to his 50 million followers to send the cryptocurrency surging. In April, when Mr. Musk tweeted “Doge Barking at the moon” and shared a photo of a painting by Spanish artist Joan Miró, and the cryptocurrency took off. Now Mr. Musk is at it again. He hosted Saturday Night Live and plugged Dogecoin. Most recently he tweeted about taking dogecoin payments for a new Tesla and SpaceX, just revealed it will allow a customer launching a payload on an upcoming lunar mission to pay in dogecoin.

Where did Dogecoin come from?

Dogecoin valueDogecoin has become one of the buzziest cryptocurrencies. Its price has surged more than 10,000% so far in 2021. Dogecoin has a murky history at best. Its first exchange is wrapped up in charges of fraud, extortion, and assault. While Dogecoin has gotten all the attention, the original cybercurrency – Bitcoin continues. But the two cryptocurrencies have major differences. There are three important distinctions between dogecoin and bitcoin, according to CNBC.

Dogecoin is inflationary

Meltem Demirors, CoinShares chief strategy officer calls Dogecoin inflationary. She told CNBC,

Dogecoin is inflationary…more doge is printed every minute of every day, giving doge a potentially infinite supply … every minute of every day, 10,000 more dogecoin are issued. That equates to nearly 15 million doge per day or over 5 billion doge per year.

An unlimited cap on supply can negatively impact value over time.

On the other hand, Bitcoin has a finite supply of 21 million. James Ledbetter, editor of fintech newsletter FIN told CNBC the finite quantity creates a “built-in scarcity … akin to the way that gold or diamonds are valuable because they are scarce.” He explained that because Bitcoin is limited, as demand increases, the price of bitcoin should also increase

Dogecoin was ‘created for sillies’

original image of the doge memeAnother difference between dogecoin and bitcoin is the reason each was created. Bitcoin launched in 2009 to become a decentralized digital currency. Bitcoin supporters see the cryptocurrency as digital gold and a hedge against inflation. Trust in bitcoin has grown with investors during its 12-year run, which led to the cryptocurrency selling for record-high prices this year.

In comparison, dogecoin was created as a joke. In 2013, IBM software engineer Billy Markus and Adobe developer Jackson Palmer, based the cryptocurrency on the “Doge” meme. The  meme involves the inner monologue of a shibu inu dog expressed in comic sans with broken modifiers: “so scare,” “much noble,” “wow.”  In a Reddit post, Mr. Markus explained the cryptocurrency  was “created for sillies.”  He continues. “… I threw it together, without any expectation or plan. It took about 3 hours to make.” As a result, dogecoin lacks technical development and isn’t as secure as bitcoin.

Dogecoin is missing an ecosystem

Dogecoin is missing an ecosystemBitcoin has an extensive and well-funded ecosystem that does not exist with dogecoin. Mike Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Digital, told CNBC that bitcoin is “a well-thought-out, well-distributed store of value that’s lasted for 12 years and is growing in adoption, where dogecoin literally has two guys that own 30% of the entire supply.” He continues;

… there’s no developers on it, there’s no institutions coming in. But it’s got this moniker of the people’s coin right now … It’s a little bit of a middle finger to the system. I think it’s dangerous because once that enthusiasm dies, if it dies, you could have a long way down…

A find-and-replace job

Dogecoin was a find-and-replace jobCNET reports that most of dogecoin is a copy and replace job from the bitcoin. Most of the development was Ctrl+F ‘Bitcoin,’ replace with ‘Dogecoin.’ Mr. Markus says, “…from ‘that seems like it’s funny’ to actually doing it, took about three hours. It’s almost trivial to create a new cryptocurrency.

Mr. Markus admits he knew enough to change a few core elements for Dogecoin. For example, Mr. Markus created 100 billion dogecoins (as opposed to bitcoin’s 21 million) and made them easier to mine. (Dogecoin is already close to being mined out, while bitcoin’s final coin will be mined in 2140.) He changed the font (to comic sans of course) and changed every mention of the word ‘mine’ to ‘dig’ (because dogs don’t mine, they dig…).

Bitcoin vs. Dogecoin

Year developed20092013
Initial purposeCreated to be used as a currency or store of valueCreated as a joke spoof of Bitcoin and the doge meme
Approximate market capitalization*$1.02 trillion$41.4 billion
Number of coins*18.69 million129.24 billion
Maximum number of coins21 millionUnlimited


While it may be nice to buy a Slim Jim with a dogecoin or go to a basketball game or ship things to the moon – there is no real reason to buy into dogecoin. 

In Economics terms – Is Dogecoin (or any cryptocurrency) liquid? How easy is it to buy a gallon of gas, your dry cleaning or a Slurpee with the cryptocurrency de jour? 

Until the day when it is easy to convert a dogecoin to something I want when I want it – dogecoin is nothing more than a speculative play for redddiers and billionaires – who can afford to lose their investments.

Stay safe out there!

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Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers, and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

VMware Jumped the Shark

VMware Jumped the SharkWikipedia says an organization has jumped the shark when it uses an out of character gimmick in an attempt to generate new publicity. The phrase “jump the shark” evolved from a 1977 episode of Happy Days, in which Fonzie jumps over a shark while on water-skis. The Free Encyclopedia say this gimmick strayed absurdly outside the original storyline of the sitcom. 

VMware logoVMware (VMW) has jumped the shark. The virtualization giant now has its own anthem. The VMware anthem performed by The Viarengo Band, is set to Steppenwolf’s 1968 hit Born to be Wild. The song was most famously featured in the 1969 film Easy Rider.

Dell Technologies (DELL) stablemate EMC (EMC) jumped the shark in 2011. The storage provider staged an event where motorcycle daredevil Bubba Blackwell jumped over a parking lot of EMC Symmetrix storage units.


Stay safe out there !

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Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him at LinkedInFacebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Web Pioneers AOL and Yahoo Liquidated

Web Pioneers AOL and Yahoo LiquidatedWeb pioneers AOL and Yahoo have been sold. Verizon sold the two early Internet powerhouses to the private equity firm Apollo Global Management. For these once tech titans, the deal represents failure to adapt and thrive as the internet evolved. A history of mis-steps and bad timing lead both AOL and Yahoo to be sold for 10% of their peak values

America Online

AOL, founded in 1991 as a BBS for Commodore 64 computers, went public in 1992. Estimates put AOL’s value at $226 billion by 2001. Over 35 million users accessed the Internet via AOL. The firm had a history of preventing users canceling their subscriptions. In 2001 America Online bought Time Warner for $182 billion in cash and stock. The move buried the company in debt just before the dotcom bubble burst and the rise of broadband made AOL’s dial-up services virtually obsolete. AOL languished until Verizon bought the property in 2015 


Yahoo (YHOO), founded in 1994 had 3 billion users at its peak. It had a total revenue of over $1.8 billion at it peak in 2008. Yahoo has a history of misses as well. In 1999 it spent nearly $10 billion to buy GeoCities and Broadcast.com, both of which the company eventually shut down. It spent $1.1 billion on Tumblr in 2013, and sold it for less than $3 million in 2019. The Internet pioneer rejected a $44.6 billion takeover offer from Microsoft in 2008, only to sell to Verizon for 10% of that value less than ten years later. Yahoo has the dubious honor of enabling the largest know data breach – leaking all 3 billion accounts. Verizon bought Yahoo in 2017 for $4.5 billion.

Verizon (VZ) sold the Verizon Media group for $4.25 billion in cash and a 10% stake in the new company. The former internet empires will be rebranded “Yahoo,” according to the announcement. Verizon said they expect the sale to close in the second half of 2021. The sale includes online news outlets TechCrunch, Yahoo Finance, and Engadget.

Verizon is cutting its losses

The deal values the former powerhouse businesses at significantly lower prices than Verizon paid just a few years ago.

David Sambur, co-head of private equity at Apollo, said in a statement touted the company’s strong recent recovery from last year’s lows in CEO-speak;

We are big believers in the growth prospects of Yahoo and the macro tailwinds driving growth in digital media, advertising technology and consumer internet platforms.

The deal is Verizon’s latest step toward exiting the media market. Verizon sold HuffPost to BuzzFeed last year. it also shut down other popular properties including Yahoo Answers.


Call me cynical, but what happens to the few remaining staff? The PE playbook says to remove assets and pump in debt to either spin-out the remains in an IPO or go bankrupt and write off the debt in a fire sale. Meanwhile Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan gets to keep his CEO position at the new Yahoo.

Hopefully Verizon will focus on its core wireless networks business and other internet provider businesses. Opensignal reports that 5G connections are still rare for U.S. consumers. They found that users connected to mmWave 5G less than 1% of the time. Verizon was the “best” for time connected – a whopping 0.8%, compared to 0.5% for both AT&T and T-Mobile users. 

Yahoo and AOL were early tech titans as the consumer internet formed, but have now fallen into the hands of private equity.

Stay safe out there !

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Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him at LinkedInFacebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.