Grinch, CTI, VoIP, Seinfeld, Newman, Darth Vader, and all that stuff

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Grinch, CTI, VoIP, Seinfeld, Newman, Darth Vader, and all that stuff

Back in 1998, TMC had a publication called CTI Magazine which covered the convergence of the Computer and Telephony - or Computer Telephony Integration. At the time, Richard "Zippy" Grigonis worked for Harry Newton's publication CT Magazine, TMC's arch-rival publication. Zippy was like my Newman (Seinfeld's arch-rival). Similar to what I do for TMC Labs, he wrote some reviews and did a good job writing technical articles on CT/CTI.

At one point Zippy called me and said that CT Magazine was interested in hiring me away from TMC. In fact, I recall the conversation went something like this, "Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy." I responded, "I'll never join you. I will never join the dark side!" CTI Magazine eventually became Communications Solutions and then was folded into Internet Telephony Magazine. CT Magazine on the other hand was renamed to Communications Convergence and soon after died.

Zippy, an expert in telecom & VoIP was no longer "zipping" out good quality content for one of our main competitors. I no longer had to worry about a competitor cranking out good detailed & technical articles. Soon after, Zippy went to work for a new VoIP magazine startup called VON Magazine, a direct competitor to Internet Telephony Magazine, and reprised his role as Newman. Jerry Seinfeld: Newman!!

Now Zippy was once again working for one of TMC's main competitors and was once again my counterpart on the opposing side. However, as of a few months ago, Zippy left VON Magazine joined the TMC team and order was restored to the galaxy. Now Jerry and Newman are co-workers - our friendly rivalry was no more.

But all this talk about the history of CTI/CT and how CTI evolved into VoIP reminded me of an interesting article I wrote back in 1998. One of CT Magazine's editors or perhaps Harry Newton himself wrote an article claiming that "CT" (computer telephony) was not the same thing as "CTI". I argued in a follow-up article that people were using the terms CT and CTI interchangeably. In fact, in that 1998 article I wrote a humorous poem - a take off of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" in my Cc: column to illustrate the point.

Although CTI has had its hey-day, and VoIP technology has essentially superseded CTI/CT, I thought my humorous poem was still applicable since CTI Expo is now IT Expo and it's an enjoyable read this holiday season. CT/CTI were essentially the precurors to the ultimate convergence - voice onto the IP network. Enjoy everyone and Merry Christmas!

How The Grinch Stole The I In CTI
With apologies to T.G., the good doctor.

Every I
Down in CTI-ville
Liked CTI a lot…

But the Grinch,
Who lived just south of CTI-ville,
Did NOT!

The Grinch hated the I in CTI. The whole I in CTI he despised
Now, please don't ask, "Why?" Many have speculated and surmised.
It could be that his head wasn't screwed on right.

It could be, perhaps, that he simply lacked foresight.
But I think now that he had carved out his niche before the nation,
He feared the calls for the realization of integration.

I've heard many theories, why the Grinch hated the I,
Rumor upon rumor across the Internet would fly.
Could it, could it be that his friend named I betrayed him,
Or was it some nasty little troll that did persuade him,
That wherever there is CT, there is no need for integration?
While others theorized that it was the Grinch on that Grassy Knoll,
Calling out for all to hear, CTI is only call control.
And while more conspiracies than who shot Kennedy abounded,
The Grinch cried out, "I hate CTI!" and on a table his fist he pounded.

But most think it was greed that made the Grinch hate the I in CTI,
He was always thinking of himself, always alone when night grew nigh,
For the Grinch was always saying "What about me?" "What about I?"
And so the Grinch thought he had exclusive rights to the letter I.

He could not, would not be integrated into society,
That was something upon which all in CTI-ville would agree,
So one final theory is that the Grinch hated integration,
Because he lived alone, so far removed from civilization.

But whatever the reason, we knew the Grinch hated that word, integration,
And so he set about his mean plan to forever stop its implementation.
He stood there on the eve of CTI Expo, hating all the I's,
Staring down from his hill at them through his tunnel-visioned beady eyes.
And all the while sunlit San Jose shone, for CTI Expo was in town,
The only emotion to be seen on Grinch's face was his big grouchy frown.
From far away you could not see his seething anger, just his one large protruding tooth,
For he knew all the I's down in CTI-ville were busy preparing each exhibit booth.

"And they're preparing for a great show," he snarled with a sneer,
"Tomorrow is CTI Expo, the time is growing near."
The Grinch was upset, he fumed, he was really bumming,
"I must find a way to stop CTI Expo from coming!"

And all the CTI men and women would wake bright and early,
They'd rush to the show, creating a great hurly-burley.
They'd hustle in to see the most exciting CTI stuff,
But the Grinch was pretty cocky, as he sat there on his bluff,
"I must stop the I in CTI, this CTI show will I stop.
"I say to you, 'enough is enough,' without the I's it will surely flop."

"Oh that show floor will be bustling with people wanting to buy,
"People pushing and shoving to see the latest in CTI.
"Oh that show floor madness, everyone so busy, it drives me mad,
"Don't they know this CTI thing is nothing, it's just a fad.

"Pushing and pushing, just to get a peek at the latest in CTI.
Oh how they'll jostle en masse, crowding vendors at each booth, to learn and to buy,
Don't these people realize I'm doing it for them, that CTI is evil,
Especially that I in CTI. Just one letter behind all this upheaval."

The noise would rise up slowly from below, down at CTI Expo
Every CTI man would cheer and clap at the close of the show.
And then the Grich would shrink from the words he had come to fear most of all!
"Another resounding success," they'd say, "We had an absolute ball!"

They'd clap! And they'd clap!
And they'd clap! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!
And the more he thought of what the I in CTI would bring,
The more the Grinch thought, "I must put a stop to this whole I thing."
Then he thought, "I know just what I will do: The I, I will eschew.
"I'll tell people the I in CTI is evil, the term CT will do."

And so the night before the show's opening,
Through San Jose he went interloping.
The Grinch snuck into the convention center, evil on his mind,
"I'll blot out all the I's," he said, "each and every one I'll find!"

A paintbrush in one hand, and a bucket of paint in the other,
Grinch to himself thought, "This sure is going to take awhile… Oh brother!"
For he saw hundreds of CTI signs everywhere he looked,
Every last scrap, every inch of floor space must surely be booked.
The Grinch painted all night long, painting over the I's, one by one,
It was early next morning before the Grinch was finally done.

But he missed one gigantic CTI sign
There was one he simply did not find,
It could be seen for miles and miles, just outside the convention hall,
Hanging down outside the building, it could be seen by one and all.

After climbing up a ladder with his final target in sight,
The Grinch's heart swelled up with the most sinister of all delights.
But before he could paint over the I, hanging on the outside wall,
Someone yelled at him, "What are you doing?" causing him to slip and fall.

Off of the ladder he slipped, and down to the pavement he headed most gravely,
When to the rescue came this mysterious figure who caught him safely.
Thankful at having escaped such a sad end,
"My God," exclaimed Grinch, "an angel did Thee send!"

"Not quite," said the mysterious figure, "Why don't you recognize me, Mr. Grinch?"
"No I don't," replied the Grinch. "Are you some sprite or fairy from near Ballynahinch?"
"It's me CTI guy!" Now the Grinch was quite confused how his mortal enemy could save him. "Why did you save me, CTI guy - you could have let me break every limb?"

He continued, "You know I hate CTI, especially that I."
CTI Guy responded,
"Oh Mr. Grinch, how misinformed you are, don't be so despondent,
"Don't you know you can make millions in CTI?
"There is so much technology they need to buy.
"Dataquest claims by 2000, a six-billion-dollar industry it will be.
"So many success stories, Mr. Grinch, just open your eyes and you will see!
"I've got a great idea for a product, I'm willing to give you a piece of the pie.
"Join me and become part of the industry known around the world as CTI."

And the Grinch lit up with dollar signs in his eyes, his eyes on the prize,
He shouted, "Did I say CTI was evil? Someone has fed me lies!
"Let's together, you and I, CTI Guy,
"Celebrate CTI products that everyone buys!"

And so our story concludes happily, and with a little luck,
Mr. Grinch will see the I in each CTI product,
Then joy will reign wide as it does among CTI VARs
So, like Mr. Grinch, just stick with the I and become a CTI star!

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