Nineteen years ago, Harry Newton was a telephone consultant with an eye on the growing telecom landscape and a bright idea for helping ordinary people navigate the complex world of tele-speak. The native Aussie started compiling telecommunications terms from company glossaries and service manuals and called the result The Teleconnect Telecom Dictionary.
The name has changed: Its now Newtons Telecom Dictionary. And its grown from a book that could fit in your shirt pocket to a behemoth of over 1,000 pages headed toward its 17th printing and anticipated new sales of another 100,000 copies. That would bring the total to a half-million.
Newton, 58, understands the gravity of telecom, but approaches its complex workings with a little levity. His book is a must-read for anyone who wants to pierce the veil of the Internets inner workings and the telecom networks on which it thrives.
The business-journalist-turned-consultant-turned-lexicographer is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable people in Internet-related industries. That has made him a popular speaker. He bills himself on the lecture circuit as “Harry the Hurricane.” Hes also created Telecom Library, a publishing concern that produces magazines and technical titles, for which technology publisher CMP Media reportedly paid him some $130 million four years ago.
Newtons dictionary not only gives novices to the industry a roadmap, but provides accessible information for experts as well. It starts with an essay by Newton on the explosion in telecom, and ends with ink drawings that can help you find the port in which to plug your computer keyboard.
If you doubt a telecom dictionary can be wacky, try page 558 in the 16th edition. Youll find “Mickey” defined as the unit of space in which a mouse moves (1/200th of an inch) and “MIC” defined as a microphone. In between is “Michael,” defined as “Harrys favorite son. His only one.”