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Archive for the 'Telephone' Category

Kurbelinduktor

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

A Kurbelinduktor is a hand-operated dynamo, similar to a crank.  By turning it, an electrical current is generated.

The first telephones required the user to turn the handle to create the current that opened the flap on the Klappenschrank.

These days the Kurbelinduktor technology can be found in wind-up mobile phone chargers and torches.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Klappenschrank

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

A Klappenschrank was a piece of equipment in the early days of the telephone, that was used to connect two subscribers with each other.

It was operated by a Fräulein vom Amt and was effectively a board made up of holes – one hole per line, covered with a small cap.  The caps would flap to show that someone wanted to make a phone call, and often a light bulb would show that a line was still in use.  Two holes would be connected by a wire to establish the call between the two parties.

They stopped being used on the telephone network in the western German states in 1966, and in the GDR in 1987.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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UMTS

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

UMTS stands for Universal Mobile Telecommunications System – and although the German translation would have the same abbreviation it is usually just the term UMTS that is used.  In English it is often referred to as “3G”.

UMTS is a new form of transmitting and receiving data over the mobile phone network.  Unlike GPRS it does not use the same frequencies as GSM, so that in Germany the licenses for UMTS were issued separately from the normal mobile phone ones.

UMTS allows data speeds of up to 7.2MBit/s, as long as the necessary hardware and network are available.  For UMTS-access, most laptops use a special USB-stick, although some of the latest models now have the modules built-in.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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GPRS

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

GPRS is the abbreviation for General Packet Radio Service – the abbreviation is used in its English form in German, but with the letters pronounced the German way.

GPRS is a method of transferring data over a GSM mobile phone network.  Previously, data users had to use a so-called dial-up line to access their e-mails or the internet.  This was similar to using a modem on a land line and was incredibly slow and expensive, as the it was in effect a normal phone call.  GPRS allows the data to be transferred through the network as data, meaning that it is often billed by the kilobyte and no longer by the minute.

GPRS also forms the basis for services such as MMS – multimedia messages that are often used for sending photos from one phone to another.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Hausnotruf

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Hausnotruf is a system offered my organisations such as the German Red Cross (DRK).

People who do not want to move into an old people’s home, but still want the peace of mind of being able call for help in an emergency use the system.  The have a red button on a necklace that they can press in an emergency, which contacts a base station which in turn dials an emergency call centre.  They then send out someone who has a key to the flat or house to help.

Some systems also offer a an option, whereby the user has to press a button on the base station eg. every 24 hours.  If they do not, they receive a call or help is sent out.  This can be useful if they are not able to press their button.

For more details on the Red Cross system, visit www.drk.de.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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