“Fixing Idiots” or “Have you ever even SEEN pager data?”

August 14, 2010 at 19:15 Leave a comment

Not all bloggers are technically oriented. Not all technically oriented people blog.

Remember these lines. They will come in handy with what is to follow.

Soooo, another month, another blog post. I really should commit myself to once a week, but by the time I sit down to post, my damn ADHD gets in the way and…hey, what’s that shiny thing?! *wanders off*

In a moment where my ADHD wasn’t acting up, I was doing some research into that pager data that Wikileaks released a while back and having done some work with pager traffic and networks in the past, I wanted to dig a little deeper into the data to see if I could find anything interesting that no one had found yet. Needle, meet haystack, then meet Jay, so to speak.

I didn’t even make it to the data. I got sidetracked. No, it wasn’t the usual kitty or pony or tomato plant distraction. It wasn’t even my notorious ADHD. Nope. I ‘Googled’ the string “pager data”. I got to the results page. I scrolled down and saw “Serious Doubts About Supposed 9-11 Pager Data”. Ok, being the curious bastard that I am, as well as my aforementioned pager experience, I had to read it. It turns out it’s a reader’s blog on the far-LEFT (you know, the supposed intelligent ones?) leaning TalkingPointsMemo website (itself a blog/news site).

Bo Obama is the bloggers name. (The President’s DOG? Really? S-R-S-L-Y?!) His writing in this article/blog, to the untrained eye, seems intelligent, thought-provoking, and thorough. BUUUUUUT it isn’t. Not by a long shot. As a matter of fact, let me conduct this visual experiment to show you how close this guy/girl/thing is to correct anywhere in his/her/its article. Here’s the ballpark *points to close object*, and here’s where the article went instead *points to Neptune*.


Let’s start with my initial observation about the data itself. It looks to have been captured by either PDW or Poc32, 2 popular pager decoding applications. (And before Mr./Ms./Creature Obama says anything, yes, both of those programs were freely available WAAAAAY back in 2001.)

Let’s now tear down the mighty blogger’s observations, one by one.

#1: “One of the problems with the supposed pager messages is that the listed phone numbers, in some cases, do not geographically match the locations listed in mapping software or the phone book.”

A: You know, we have had virtual numbers since (at least) the 70’s, right? Little known fact: 1-800/877/866/855 numbers HAVE to have a linked actual phone number because all the 800/888/877/866/855 number is is a virtual door to the real number.

#2: “(BEGIN PAGE)2001-09-11 09:37:50 Arch [0471527] B ALPHA 22-PLS CALL JO ANN HSING 408-398-0348 (END PAGE) The phone number is for “Cisco”, but if you compare the geo-location for the phone number, with the listed information for Cisco, the two do not reconcile. The difference is several miles.”

A: Really? My phone number puts me in the middle of town, but my address is in the suburbs *2* municipalities away from where my phone number puts me. Hmm, must be a glitch in the Matrix. Most phone number “geo-location” is done using the NPA-NXX. These numbers are also known by their more contemporary names “Area Code” and “Exchange”. If I search location for the number 212-555-1234, it more than likely checks where the central telephone company office is for NPA 212 and NXX 555. If my number is published, and I check the address listed for the phone number itself by either calling directory assistance or using WhitePages.com, it’ll show the address that I gave my telco when I signed up. Which *checks Google Maps* is about 2-3 miles away from the Central Office.

#3: “Some of the provided phone numbers do not reconcile with any valid phone number; but there is no evidence of a resend or correction of that apparent wrong/invalid information. Example: Furmen and 252-4411 do not match, from: 09:20:31 Skytel [002377219]. This many years after 2001, if Furmen and the number were real, there should be an overlap with the search engine. The point is that this happens multiple times with other name-number combinations: The data doesn’t exist in any public forum except for wikileaks. This consistent problem raises doubts about the veracity of the supposed data.”

A: It’s a known fact that, with few exceptions, most people who use alphanumeric pagers are either medical staff or office professionals. Now, does the damned yellow pages or Google have YOUR direct office line? I know mine doesn’t. Even so, do YOU still have the same office number you did back in 2001? It’s been 9 years man, you can’t really expect Furmen to be sitting at the same desk all these years.

#4: “Consistent Headline Problem. (O)ne would think that a high profile event — 9-11, plane crashes — would have been archived. However, there’s limited public use of the following phrase: Yahoo Alert, Plane crashes into second World Trade Center tower. One problem is that the public information about this phrase is from the AP.

A: Yeah, now you’re not using your noodle at all. Yahoo is a, say it with me kids, NEWS AGGREGATOR. They compile news from other sources. What is a big news source that likes to be aggregated? The ASSOCIATED PRESS. Hell, I can get AP headlines and auto-send them to MY pager as an alert. ON MY OWN. NO CORRELATION NEEDED. Not every little incarnation of everything from that day is archived, contrary to this guys beliefs.

#5: “Notice the way the pager message are sent: They’re usually plain-text. Meaning, they’re readable. However, in 2001, people sometimes used abbreviations and private codes, to save space, shorten text, and fit more information in a short space of a pager window. A long, wordy, non-abbreviated message wasn’t practical in 2001.”

A: Really? POCSAG and FLEX, the 2 most used pager traffic protocols in the world have been around since at least the mid 1990s (or earlier in POCSAG’s case) and can handle a METRIC FUCKTON of data in one page. The pager I carry (Motorola/Unication Advisor Elite Gold) has been around itself since the late 1990s. My pager can do about 15/20 lines per page at about 40-50 characters per line. Yeah. Long messages were not only practical in 2001, they were the NORM.

FINALLY, #6: “At worst, until the data and information content within the supposed pager data is independently verified as correct, the information can mislead and confuse researchers.”

A: Ummm…firstly, the capture of this data is technically illegal anyway. Secondly, barring the arrest of whomever captures the data, the ONLY way to verify the data independently is for the verifier to be IN THE ROOM when the data is captured. Now, looking at the pager data on the Wikileaks site, and having been in the room when this type of decoding/capture is done, I can tell you it is about as authentic as it gets. Try contacting someone in the know next time you open your mouth, Mr. Bo Obama, that way, you won’t be tasting shoe, like you are right now because of me.

Okay, enough of the Q and A, get to the point already!

IN CONCLUSION, Bo Obama, reader-blogger from TPM, YOU get my bad-researcher-of-the-month award for excellence in spewing BS without REAL fact checking required to make you even remotely look like you know what you are doing. I am revoking your blogging license until such tome as you can demonstrate an ability to, at the very least, use GOOGLE properly.

See you people in September, or maybe sooner.


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“Let’s screw something up WORSE!” or “How the hell do Republicans exist?!” “Plate-Spotting Fun (?)” or “I should have known better.”

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