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NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | November 15, 2012
The city of Baltimore is likely wasting tens of thousands of dollars a month on "phantom" phone lines that are never used, the city's new information technology director said Thursday. Chris Tonjes, who heads the Mayor's Office of Information Technology, said he's discovered 51 idle phone lines in his agency alone. He recommended that the city conduct an audit to review the status of its estimated 14,000 lines - and said that based on audits in other cities, Baltimore probably could save 15 percent of its $16 million annual phone bill.
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NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | April 24, 2013
Baltimore's spending panel agreed Wednesday to hire a consultant in an attempt to save money on the city's outdated phone system - even as agencies say they've identified nearly 1,200 unused phone lines that cost the city $670,000 annually. Comptroller Joan M. Pratt, whose office has traditionally overseen city phones, asked for the contract. Pratt and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake have been in a dispute for months over how best to update the phone system. Without discussion, the Board of Estimates unanimously approved the contract with HPA Consulting Group of Rochester, N.Y., which has previously said the city phone system is wasting as much as $1 million annually.
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BUSINESS
By Leslie Cauley | January 26, 1991
It's enough to make Ray Charles sing the blues: Pepsi-Cola Co. has withdrawn a million-dollar giveaway game originally scheduled to air during commercials for Diet Pepsi during the Super Bowl telecast tomorrow.The ads, featuring Mr. Charles, would have given three viewers a chance to win $1 million by calling a special toll-free number.Callers who didn't hit the jackpot wouldn't have gone away empty-handed: Pepsi had planned to give away a coupon for a free 2-liter Diet Pepsi to all callers who got through.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater and The Baltimore Sun | November 21, 2012
Baltimore Comptroller Joan M. Pratt brought a jumbo check to the city's Board of Estimates meeting Wednesday to represent the $400,000 she says the city is wasting per month on its outdated, expensive phone system. "We are losing $400,000 a month until this is implemented, fully," Pratt said of the conversion to a more-modern phone system. "We need to move beyond this. I am asking, 'Madam Mayor, let's not continue to be stuck in the mud.'" Pratt said her comments were a response to claims made by Chris Tonjes, the mayor's new IT director.
BUSINESS
By Mark Ribbing and Mark Ribbing,SUN STAFF | January 1, 1998
Starting today, you may find yourself paying more for your phone lines.With the coming of the new year, the major phone companies -- including Bell Atlantic Corp., AT&T Corp., MCI Communications Corp., Sprint Corp. and WorldCom Inc. -- are charging customers new monthly fees.Bell Atlantic customers will still pay a $3.50-per-month subscriber line charge for their first, or primary, phone line. However, additional residential lines will now cost $5 per month, up from $3.50. Businesses will have to pay $7.50 per month for each additional line, up from $6.These charges will show up on your Bell Atlantic bill.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | April 24, 2013
Baltimore's spending panel agreed Wednesday to hire a consultant in an attempt to save money on the city's outdated phone system - even as agencies say they've identified nearly 1,200 unused phone lines that cost the city $670,000 annually. Comptroller Joan M. Pratt, whose office has traditionally overseen city phones, asked for the contract. Pratt and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake have been in a dispute for months over how best to update the phone system. Without discussion, the Board of Estimates unanimously approved the contract with HPA Consulting Group of Rochester, N.Y., which has previously said the city phone system is wasting as much as $1 million annually.
BUSINESS
By Liz Bowie and Liz Bowie,SUN STAFF | July 23, 1997
As more people picked up cellular phones and plugged into the Internet from home, Bell Atlantic's second-quarter earnings rose 11 percent, the company said yesterday.The Philadelphia-based firm, which is the dominant local phone company for Maryland, reported profit before a one-time charge rose to $513.9 million, or $1.17 a share, from $463.7 million, or $1.05. Revenue rose 6.7 percent to $3.44 billion from $3.22 billion.The earnings matched analysts' expectations.While Bell Atlantic, like other regional phone companies, has experienced a boost in earnings from new services, the company also said it expects to see a $50 million decrease in revenue each quarter for the next four quarters because of new FCC rules that will cut the fees long-distance companies pay the Baby Bells to have their calls completed.
BUSINESS
By MICHAEL J. HIMOWITZ | February 9, 1997
THE AMERICAN phone network is one of the greatest engineering feats in the history of mankind. Pick up the receiver, punch in a few numbers and a few seconds later, you're chatting with someone across town or halfway around the world.While the system that hurls your voice across continents and oceans is state-of-the-art, the technology that connects it to your home hasn't changed that much in 50 years. It works fine with people on the line, but it wasn't designed for the millions of humans who suddenly want their computers to do the talking.
ENTERTAINMENT
By James Coates and James Coates,Chicago Tribune | July 26, 1999
We are planning a three-month-long trip to a warmer climate this winter via travel trailer. But I realize I will miss my e-mail contacts, and we're wondering if a laptop would be a good idea, given the space required for a regular setup. Can we use a cell phone to connect a laptop? My own efforts to review cell phone-modem products have failed to find anything reliable because of frequent lost signals while attempting to maintain an Internet connection. May I suggest instead a slick little device called PocketMail?
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | December 26, 1995
For Guy Phillips, life with a single telephone line finally became untenable eight months ago.Mr. Phillips, the host of a radio-talk show in St. Louis, said he could no longer chat on the phone at home without the constant interruptions of calls for his wife or three children. He was also tying up the line for two hours a day, sending and receiving electronic mail on his computer.So the Phillipses did what nearly 7 million other American families have done this year. They had additional lines installed.
NEWS
November 16, 2012
WEATHER: Cloudy, then sunny, with a high near 54 . Tonight is expected to be mostly clear, low around 39. TRAFFIC: Check our traffic updates for this morning's issues. TOP NEWS Mayor's office: City wastes money on 'phantom' phone lines : The city of Baltimore is likely wasting tens of thousands of dollars a month on phone lines that are never used, the city's new information technology director said Thursday. Fraud allegations shock Morgan State students : After a Morgan State professor was indicted on charges that he defrauded the National Science Foundation of hundreds of thousands of dollars, students were "in shock.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | November 15, 2012
The city of Baltimore is likely wasting tens of thousands of dollars a month on "phantom" phone lines that are never used, the city's new information technology director said Thursday. Chris Tonjes, who heads the Mayor's Office of Information Technology, said he's discovered 51 idle phone lines in his agency alone. He recommended that the city conduct an audit to review the status of its estimated 14,000 lines - and said that based on audits in other cities, Baltimore probably could save 15 percent of its $16 million annual phone bill.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | October 25, 2012
Baltimore is wasting about $400,000 every month it does not install a new phone system, a lawyer for Comptroller Joan M. Pratt argued in court Thursday. But the mayor's lawyers argued that Pratt has no legal right to sue the city because she is a city officer. Pratt and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake have been sparring for months over who should upgrade the city's phone system, leading to a war of words, an investigation by the city's inspector general and now a court battle. "The city is throwing money down the drain," said Pratt's attorney, Charles G. Bernstein, a former city judge who works for Orioles owner Peter Angelos' law firm.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | October 12, 2012
Baltimore Comptroller Joan M. Pratt filed a lawsuit Friday seeking to stop Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's technology office from installing a new phone system, alleging the administration used an "underhanded, illegal technique" to bypass the competitive bidding process. The suit seeks a temporary restraining order against the Rawlings-Blake administration to prevent the Mayor's Office of Information Technology from using existing contracts with Digicon Corp. to install a Voice over Internet Protocol phone system.
SPORTS
By Matt Vensel, The Baltimore Sun | April 15, 2012
At some point in next week's NFL draft, the Ravens will get the itch. It's usually a good itch, and few teams, if any, have been as successful at scratching it as they have been the past two decades. That's why during the draft it has become a question of when, not if, the Ravens will swap one of their picks. They have made at least one trade in each of the past 10 drafts and 14 of 16 overall. Their preference has been to trade down, but they can be aggressive when trying to secure a player they believe is special.
BUSINESS
By Gus G. Sentementes, The Baltimore Sun | August 23, 2011
Moments after the Virginia earthquake hit Tuesday afternoon, Kafi D'Ambrosio tried calling her daughter's day care but couldn't get through. So instead, she turned to Facebook. The 38-year-old Hamilton resident posted a message on her day-care provider's Facebook page: "Can't reach you on the phone. Are the kids okay? Is Sofia okay?" Within minutes, the provider responded over Facebook: "Yes, everyone okay. The kids are laying down for their nap. Are you okay?" As Marylanders reached for their cellphones to communicate with friends and family, they found it easier to get peace of mind through text messages, emails and Facebook updates than through calls.
NEWS
July 10, 1996
Police logLong Reach: 8300 block of Benson Drive: Someone pried open a rear door at Bob Evans restaurant Sunday or Monday, kicked open an office door and ripped out phone lines. Nothing was taken.Pub Date: 7/10/96
BUSINESS
By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun | August 11, 2011
It's been five days since 85-year-old Odra Pickeral has had phone service in her residence. Macular degeneration makes seeing a keypad tough, and her home's phone is programmed for frequently dialed numbers. Pickeral is one of more than 100 residents at Heartlands Senior Living Village in Ellicott City who has had to share community phones for almost a week because of the Verizon Communications Inc. worker strike. "I have to ask someone to dial the phone for me," she said. "My daughter tried to call the other day to see if I needed groceries, medications, and couldn't get through.
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