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Time To Get Rid of Telephones

By Fantt in Op-Ed
Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 06:33:28 PM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)

I hate telephones.  I hate being a slave to a dumb box that cries like a baby for attention.  When I'm in the midst of thought, or simply sitting on the toilet, the phone rings to summon me before it.  In this day of nearly unrestrained telemarketing, I dread answering the phone for the fear of the colossal waste of time.  

So, after wasting quite a lot of said time interrupting what I'm working on and answering the phone simply to slam it down again in disgust, I attempted to make a few changes.

First, I signed up for caller-id.  I actually pay money to the phone company for the "privilege" of knowing who's calling before answering the phone.  This really doesn't help very much.  Now, instead of having no idea who is calling, I am informed that "No Name," "Name Blocked," or just "1-877-SEL-STUFF" is calling.  So, instead of answering the phone just to tell a telemarketer to bugger off, I must endure 5 or 6 rings until voice mail picks up.  This is just about as annoying as things were without caller-id considering I still have to run to the phone to see who is calling.  Plus I get saddled with the added annoyance of deleting spam voice mails.

Second, I signed up for Anonymous Call Blocking.  In theory, this service will answer the phone in my stead if someone calls with their name or phone number blocked.  The offending party is told to bugger off and the phone never rings.  That's the theory.  In reality, my list of annoying phone calls goes down maybe 20%.  I just no longer get calls from Mr. Name Blocked.  I still get calls from No Name and 1-877-SEL-STUFF and friends.  I actually pay for this "service" as well.  Silly me.

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate what telephones allow me to do.  I don't dislike the convenience of telephones to connect me with friends and family.  I'm simply tired of telling myself that the hassles are worth the ability to talk to my friends and family.   I want to be able to communicate easily and quickly with the people I care about.  I just don't EVER want to be disturbed by anyone that I don't know.  I can count on one hand the number of times I was glad to receive an unsolicited phone call.  I need a new system.

Here's what I want.  I want to be able to contact my friends and family.  I want them to be able to contact me.  However, if I am busy working, I don't want to be disturbed by a nagging appliance unless there is some form of emergency.  In fact, I don't want any "ringing" at all.  It would be very pleasant to hear something like, "Sir, your mother is calling, would you like to speak with her?"  Whereupon I could answer yes and begin talking or no and she would be switched to voice mail.  If the call is marked urgent, I could be told that as well.

I guess I want to extend to telecommunication the features of internet instant messaging.  I want a buddy list of friends, acquaintances and important contacts (my child's school, my boss, etc) and I want no one else to be able to bother me.  If someone not on the list wishes to contact me, they can leave me voice mail - which will be the only option they will have.  I want to have my voice mail transformed into text and emailed to me (to  my private spam free email address of course) so that I can follow up later if it seems important.

I also want to rid myself of the actual telephone device itself.  The entire receiver microphone torture device is so incredibly awkward and primitive.  I would much rather wear an ear-piece/lapel microphone everywhere I go.  Perhaps this combination can eventually be embedded in clothing or jewelry.  To this end I want an end to the distinction of "home" phone and "cell" phone.  Let's just forget the phone.  Give me a completely unobtrusive communication device that works where ever I am.

Interestingly, the technology for almost all of this exists today.  Now that wireless access to the 'net is popping up everywhere, I am beginning to see the eventual demise of the telephone.  I guess that there must already be people using this technology since most of the major instant messenger players allow for voice communication.  Fire up your laptop at your local Starbucks, plug in your earpiece/microphone and start chatting.  Someone just needs to create a version for the wireless enabled PDA's and complete the end run around the phone companies.  

I predict that within 5 years most high school and college students will communicate exclusively this way and since most universities include wireless access with tuition, the students won't be paying a penny to talk for hours to their friends in Rhode Island or Tokyo.  The tech-savvy amongst the rest of the population will quickly follow suit and as soon as sub-$100 wireless enabled PDAs with this feature hit the market, the rest of the population will follow.  In 15 years telephones will be a distant memory.


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Phones Will Go Away
o Never 63%
o Less than 5 years 5%
o Less than 10 years 8%
o Less than 20 years 22%

Votes: 107
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by Fantt

Display: Sort:
Time To Get Rid of Telephones | 188 comments (184 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Telephones are a temporary expedient. (3.87 / 8) (#1)
by Noam Chompsky on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 01:08:48 AM EST

In the future, we won't have anything to say to each other.

Faster, liberalists, kill kill kill!

Have you tried (4.00 / 3) (#2)
by tzigane on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 01:35:32 AM EST

shutting off the ringer on your phone?

Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises. E. Zimmermann

Well... (none / 0) (#3)
by Fantt on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 01:38:12 AM EST

When I was single and broke and highly in debt, yes.  As a parent though, that's just not feasible...  I shouldn't have to go to that length...

[ Parent ]
I understand! (4.00 / 4) (#7)
by tzigane on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 01:54:40 AM EST

I've got kids too. When the kids are home you can usually ingore the phone but when they're out you can't.

My phone definitions:
One phone = necessity
Two phones = luxury
Three phones = opulence
No phone = paradise.

Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises. E. Zimmermann
[ Parent ]

Ringer off (4.00 / 1) (#155)
by upsilon on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 10:09:25 AM EST

Actually, here's a solution...

My answering machine has a special code that you punch into it if it's an emergency. So somebody calls who needs to reach me, and I have my ringer turned off. They wait until the answering machine picks up, they punch in that code, and the answering machine makes a really loud beep.

You can even mention the code in the answering machine message. Telemarketer auto-diallers hang up on an answering machine, so they'll never punch in the code... thus, only the people who need to reach you will do so.

I should say at this point that I've never used this feature. I don't know if, for example, they can still leave a message if you are genuinely not home. (I should test this.) Should you want to investigate further, it's an AT&T-manufactured answering machine. I don't know the model number.
Once, I was the King of Spain.
[ Parent ]

My solution. (4.28 / 7) (#4)
by ti dave on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 01:38:31 AM EST

I just don't answer my phone.
The ringer's off and I check my messages every couple of days.

People I need to communicate with already know my email addy.

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

same here <nt> (2.00 / 3) (#39)
by CodeWright on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 10:15:58 AM EST

"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
a couple notes (5.00 / 5) (#5)
by athagon on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 01:47:35 AM EST

First of all, your poll is grammatically incorrect. It should read "fewer than..." instead of "less than..."

That nitpick aside, a musing:
What I find interesting is our entire general attitude towards the phone. Let us first consider what a phone call really is. In its barest sense, a phone call is "I would like to make contact with you. If you are able and willing, please answer." That's the whole reason why we have answering machines -- to pick up when we can't, or don't want to.

In fact, people didn't used to call on the phone just to chat, or to sell things. Phones used to be used for emergencies or other urgent situations only.

That, I think, has carried over. In fact, 99.99% of the calls you get today will likely not be an emergency, barring your work being in a hospital or police/fire dispatcher, or other urgent-need job.

Despite this, observe how most people, perhaps even you, act when the phone rings. Unless it's during a meal, you will most likely walk, perhaps even run, to the phone -- often despite whatever you may be doing -- to answer it as quickly as possible; to answer it before the answering machine or voicemail does. Perhaps even if you don't want to talk.

Somewhere, our mentality has shifted from (originally) "There's an emergency!" to (later) "Do I want to talk? Okay, then I'll answer" to (now) "The phone is ringing. I must answer before anyone else, or the machine!"

Perhaps it's subliminal work by advertisers, or our growing acceptance of digital intrusion into our private lives (from pagers to cell phones to PDA email). Perhaps it's the ringer-change: they didn't always used to be the grating, alarm-clock screeching siren they are now. They used to be more pleasant, but still noticeable, bells.

I'm not quite sure what it is, but it certainly is disappointing. And telemarketers realize this: they realize that, most likely, you're going to drop what you're doing and answer then phone. And then they have you.

This is great, except (4.45 / 11) (#8)
by emag on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 01:55:05 AM EST

I tried to shift my attitude several years ago, since I was annoyed at feeling obligated to run to the phone whenever it rang.  I read a comment somewhere about "my phone is for my convenience, not yours", and took it to heart.

About a week later, my girlfriend called me when she knew I was at home.  I didn't have CallerID, was busy with something else, and didn't want to talk to anyone, so I let the machine get it.  Since it was in another room, I didn't even hear the message (I've since turned the volume down even lower).  I checked a few hours later, returned the call, and got chewed out for not answering the phone.  Never being one to know how to quit when only a little behind, I pointed out that I was paying for the phone for my convenience...  Might as well try pouring gasoline on a raging fire to put it out at that point...

I've since upgraded girlfriend models to someone who understands the way I feel about the phone, but since she lives with me, she's not exactly calling me often.

"The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." --H.L. Mencken
[ Parent ]

Fewer vs. Less Than (totally OT) (none / 0) (#25)
by Riktov on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 07:50:08 AM EST

I think in this case "less than" is more appropriate. Years are units of measurement, and they measure a quantity (time).

"Fewer than" is for discrete numbers. There were fewer than twenty people in the room. If "fewer than one" equals "none", than it's "fewer than".

"Less than" is for quantities. I have less than five dollars in my pocket.

And phones will not disappear in less than five years.

[ Parent ]

minor tweak (5.00 / 1) (#142)
by bill_mcgonigle on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 05:38:13 PM EST

> "Less than" is for quantities. I have less than five dollars in my pocket

I'd just change that a bit to say, "less is for continuous values", since quantaties of discrete numbers (quanta) are real.

Non-scientists often understand "enumerable items" better than discrete values.

We're winning this one.  Recently, Price Chopper (NY-based supermarket) changed all its express lines to "n Items or *Fewer*".  Score one for the good guys.

[ Parent ]

My solution: (4.00 / 3) (#6)
by ekips on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 01:48:06 AM EST

A cell phone.

Nice "Accept" and "Refuse" buttons.  I keep mine on vibrate.  If I ever have the ring on, all it does for a ring is one beep, and then starts vibrating.  I absolutely detest loud ringers.

My home phone only rings in one location.  I can hear this throughout the house at a very quiet volume, and often never at all.  If I hear it, I pick up the closest phone.  If I don't, I check my voice mail at least once every two days.


This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. If this had been an actual emergency, do you really think we'd stick around to tell you?

Amen! (none / 0) (#161)
by unDees on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 03:13:42 PM EST

Call-forward the land line to the cell phone. 'Cept something vibrating in my pocket (when I didn't flip a switch to make it do so, heh) is alarming and startling. I'd prefer it if my cell phone could just make a polite throat-clearing noise. Not an early-morning "HHWWWWWWWWWWWWWCK!" but instead a quiet "ahem."

Your account balance is $0.02; to continue receiving our quality opinions, please remit payment as soon as possible.
[ Parent ]
My solution is even better! (3.80 / 5) (#9)
by tftp on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 01:58:42 AM EST

I don't have a land-line phone. I don't need it. Instead, I have a cell phone for all my needs. It costs the same, and I'd need it anyway.

Firstly, cell phone numbers are not published, and more difficult for spammers to obtain. Secondly, it has a choice of ringing modes. Thirdly, I can always turn if off, and free voice mail answers for me. But not a single telemarketer called me on the cell phone, ever.

With modern 3G networks and service plans that include thousands of minutes, who needs an old land-line phone any more?

spammers (4.00 / 2) (#11)
by Danse on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:37:39 AM EST

Since I got my cell phone a few months ago, I've had this one jackass that keeps calling every few weeks. He'll ask for someone named "Kirk Wiley". When I tell him he's got the wrong number, he'll act confused and say, "So this isn't Kirk Wiley?" I say "No." Then he goes into his questions. "Oh, is this a business or a residential number?" I tell him again that he has the wrong number. He tries to ask another question. Something along the lines of "Is this a mobile phone or a landline?" At which point I hang up. I can only assume he's trying to gather information about me as the owner of the number so he can sell it. Anyone else had this happen to them?

An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
How to deal with them (4.00 / 3) (#12)
by tftp on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:52:24 AM EST

Tell him that yes, you are Kirk Wiley, and you are an assistant District Attorney, and this number is unlisted, and his number is xxx-xxx-xxxx (look at your phone), and demand to know where he got it, and that now he will be investigated by FBI. Or pretend to be an army general, and demand his name, rank and serial number... (talk in background about some super-secret operation in Afghanistan :-) I think this will be a good reason for him to strike your number off of his list :-) And do call your phone company, please, and complain. They will ping the guy, and he will be scared even more.

[ Parent ]
lol (none / 0) (#51)
by Danse on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 12:33:47 PM EST

I'll keep that in mind :)

An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Well... (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by delmoi on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 06:24:20 AM EST

He might just really want to get of this guy. Maybe he's just trying to figure out what's wrong with the number.

Anyway, dosn't he show up on your caller ID? Maybe you can block his number.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
nope (none / 0) (#52)
by Danse on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 12:35:11 PM EST

Shows up as "unknown" on caller-id. I could understand it once. But I got my phone in february and he's called 4 times since then. Same thing every time.

An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Wrong number tip. (4.00 / 1) (#95)
by static on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 09:07:57 PM EST

Ask him what number he dialed.

Although I don't get a lot of wrong numbers, this request generally resets them. If they fumbled they number, they get to realize that themselves. If they actually have it written down or remembered wrong, admittedly it's a harder sell. Usually you have to then ask where he got it from.


[ Parent ]

Try (4.00 / 1) (#118)
by Ubiq on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 09:05:28 AM EST

*click* "I'm sure you don't mind if I make a recording of this conversation, do you?"

[ Parent ]
Also: (none / 0) (#13)
by fluffy grue on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:54:33 AM EST

Most cellphones come with voicemail and caller ID. My current cellphone service is $30/month (Voicestream/T-Mobile, 200 weekday, unlimited weekend), and is loaded with features which would cost well more than that on a landline (caller ID, voicemail, unlimited long distance, etc.), and even just having the capability of rejecting a call is invaluable. Can't or don't want to talk? Just hit 'cancel', and it poots the caller to my voicemail. In comparison, my basic telephone line for Internet dialup costs $21/month and has absolutely nothing aside from basic local call service (and not even very good or reliable service at that; I only get 26kbps and get booted every few hours).

And yeah, I've not had a single telemarketer call on my cellphone (except for one from Capital One, who I had a credit card with - note the past tense), whereas Qwest was actively selling my landline number to lots of people (and of course, Qwest themselves were always trying to sell me worthless, overpriced features and such). It's nice to be totally unlisted (without having to pay extra for the privilege of not being put in the phonebook).

Some people object to the notion of being charged for wrong numbers and so on, but I look at it this way: I'm not charged for airtime, I just have a monthly quota of airtime, and am charged for going over that (and ever since I went to the $30/month service, I've never come even close to going over). Hell, I've even let random people on the street briefly use my phone if their car was broken down or whatever. (Of course I check the number they were calling to make sure they weren't calling a 900 number or whatever. Actually, I think 900 calls are blocked anyway.)
"Is a sentence fragment" is a sentence fragment.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

I wanted to try that (none / 0) (#45)
by Dphitz on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 11:29:56 AM EST

but I went with a crappy service like Cingular and I can barely get a signal at my house, inside most buildings, on a cloudy day, on days ending in "Y", etc.  Most calls drop off without warning.  Others that I know with Cingular have agreed unanimously that they suck more than anything that has ever sucked before (please excuse my rant).

I think I might try your solution if I had a much better service or if the technology were more reliable over-all without spending huge amounts of cash.

God, please save me . . . from your followers

[ Parent ]

Try Verizon... (none / 0) (#135)
by sbalea on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 01:07:26 PM EST

... or other provider that uses CDMA technology. Dropped calls were the reason I gave up Cingular. I used to get at least one dropped call a week, and it was getting worse. With Verizon I think I got a dropped call once, but that was it. I'm not saying they're perfect, but for me, they're the lesser evil...

[ Parent ]
If the phone bothers you THAT much... (3.60 / 5) (#10)
by Trollificus on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:30:19 AM EST

...then turn the ringer off when you don't want to be bothered. If I don't want telemarketters waking me up at 8:30 on a Saturday morning, I turn the ringer off. Problem solved.

It certainly takes less effort to do that than it does to bitch and moan about it on a weblog. ;p~

Now stop wasting your time here and go turn that ringer off!!

"The separation of church and state is a fiction. The nation is the kingdom of God, period."
--Bishop Harold Calvin Ray of West Palm Beach, FL

Home phone/Cell phone (4.25 / 4) (#15)
by alfadir on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 03:54:54 AM EST

I think the difference of Home phone/Cell phone already has started, and the Cell phone is the communication device you are looking for. The Ericsson T66 is one example of the small phones that are comming to the market. I would not carry around a cludgy and big PDA just to be able to call people.

A nice feature is that the mobile phones now have calender. It is not useful to add meetings to, possible, but not very convinient. But if you have it syncronized with your computer calender, then you have no need for a PDA any more.

In Finland, and other countries with a high mobile phone densety, a lot of people don't have a home phone and only a mobile phone. The mobile works at home too so there is no real need for a stationary phone.

Here in Germany a phone company O2, offers you normal stationary phone rate for the base station closest to your home. That means that you can use your mobile phone exactly like your normal phone in this area. This can be a rather large area, in any case larger than your house.

Caller ID is included in the mobile phone, so you can screen calls if you like to.

In Europe there are some differences compared to the US. For example you pay for local calls on the normal phone, so moving to a mobile phone is not that big of a step. Yes it is more expensive but you don't have to pay the mothly fee for having a stationary phone. We don't have any telemarketers here. We also don't pay for incomming calls to the mobile phone, a model I have understood is common in the US.

I don't realy care about the new features like GPRS or things like that. I don't think that ever will be the same success as the ordinary mobile phone was when it came. Most people wants to call. That is enough.

In the past I have been a contractor to Ericsson, (none / 0) (#90)
by Nicht Ausreichend on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 08:42:09 PM EST

... and now I avoid their cellular phones in favor of most anything that's made by some other  vendor.  So do other consumers in the area where I live.

Feel free to assume that I have a grudge against the company, rather than thinking that I've have had problems with the quality of one of its products.

[ Parent ]

Why do phones ring? Historical accident. (4.66 / 9) (#16)
by Blarney on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 04:31:34 AM EST

Phones ring - that is a fact. But it doesn't have to be this way. It only happened because the telephone was invented before the loudspeaker. There were no amplifiers available except for enormous magneto devices - not even vacuum tubes were in use. Due to the low power of telephone audio signals, Bell had to use very weak receivers which had to be held close to the ear in order to be audible. They were not suitable for notifying the recipient of the call that the phone required attention - so he used electrically powered bells to make lots of loud noise. A perfectly valid design decision considering the pre-electronic technology of the time!

Today, cheap small loudspeakers which can efficiently fill a room with sound are widely available. Therefore there is no need for ringing - but voice transmission should begin immediately. That way, you would hear your friend, your mother, or some odious sales pitch before deciding whether to reciprocate contact, or waiting for the caller to sit through your answering machine message.

With modern technology, allowing announcements would take little more of the phone companies precious network resources than the ancient ringing signal - it's not 1876 anymore, when each call required a whole copper wire to itself over it's entire path.

Yes, but... (4.66 / 3) (#18)
by autopr0n on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 05:54:26 AM EST

Then I wouldn't get to hear the theme from super mario brothers when someone calls my cell!

[autopr0n] got pr0n?
autopr0n.com is a categorically searchable database of porn links, updated every day (or so). no popups!
[ Parent ]
whoa (3.66 / 3) (#24)
by tps12 on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 07:15:25 AM EST

That would freak me out.

[ Parent ]
If the signal was the caller's statements... (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by Mysidia on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 08:52:33 AM EST

That is, if i'm hearing you right and you mean the caller would talk (and be heard) before the phone were answered

  • It would be even more distracting than a ring
  • The party calling would have no idea if you're hearing them or even there when they're calling - no way of knowing if they're wasting their breath or not
  • The spammers err... telemarketers could then advertise without you even answering "Hi there, go to www.foo.com"
  • If someone wanted to abuse the phone system to harass you, this would make it a whole lot more annoying: they could jump from pay phone to pay phone calling you, when the phone was to signal you, they'd make embarassing or threatening comments, etc, etc.
  • Loss of control of what/when you hear the phone [although I suppose there could be block or ring options]

[ Parent ]
stalkers (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by xah on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 11:45:40 AM EST

"Clarice? I know you're there, Clarice. I'd like to have you for dinner, Clarice."

[ Parent ]
Phone spam (4.60 / 5) (#17)
by infraoctarine on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 05:17:53 AM EST

In Sweden we have a global opt-out system for telemarketing. It works remarkably well. You simply list your number in the opt-out register, which all marketers are required to check their lists of numbers against. Unless they already have a business relationship with them, they're not allowed to call me. If they still do, I can file a complaint.

At least this removes the problem with annoying telemarketing calls.

And similarly in the United Kingdom (none / 0) (#113)
by thebrix on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 06:43:24 AM EST

And also for junk (postal) mail and junk faxes:

Mailing Preference Service

Telephone Preference Service

Fax Preference Service

I have no fax machine but I subscribe to the other two and they've been great - almost no junk mail and no telemarketing calls at all!

I see that the site design has changed so that you can register online; previously you had to wade through about 10 pages describing how great junk {whatever} is then print out a form, fill it in and send it off by Royal Mail. Nice to see that little trick for putting people off registration has gone :)

[ Parent ]

The really annoying part.. (4.33 / 3) (#19)
by DeadBaby on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 05:59:31 AM EST

Is the overall sound quality of phones. Sometimes you'll get a call from someone who's line is really quiet and you can barely hear them -- sometimes you get calls from people who are so loud they hurt your ears.

Very annoying. I prefer instant messaging or e-mail whenever possible.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan

I *KNOW* (4.50 / 2) (#20)
by delmoi on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 06:19:21 AM EST

Phones have stuck with the crappy quality we're all used to, and it's annoying. I don't see why we don't at lease a higher sample rate and bit depth for the crappy misc we use. Increasing the bit depth would help remove a lot of the static, and increasing the sample rate would improve the highs (or put them in, for that matter :P) and remove the 'muffled' effect.

Of course, the speakers on most phones, especially cells aren't really made for audio quality. Still, an improvement in speaker quality would be nice.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
You can't (5.00 / 2) (#83)
by tzanger on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 05:22:02 PM EST

I don't see why we don't at lease a higher sample rate and bit depth for the crappy misc we use. Increasing the bit depth would help remove a lot of the static, and increasing the sample rate would improve the highs (or put them in, for that matter :P) and remove the 'muffled' effect.

And it would completely break all current telephony and data-carrier standards.

Your phone line is filtered at 4kHz/digitized at 8kHz using linaear 8-bit PCM in order to fit it into standard everyday T1 (and higher) circuits for trunking between COs. 24 voice conversations fit into a T1. Throw in a framing bit and you have 24*8+1 * 8000 or 1.544Mbps -- the exact bit rate of a T1. I could go in to crazy sexy detail but I've done it elsewhere. (there are a few acronym mixups in there but it's otherwise factually correct.)

You'd get faster modem connects too since 56k already tries to work around the robbed-bit signalling the telco uses to supply ringback, busy, etc. Basically if you revamp T1 then you need to revamp DS3, which fits 7 DS2s (which in turn is 4 T1s [really DS1s]) -- which is a colossal task. It's not going to happen.

[ Parent ]
Re: elsewhere (none / 0) (#179)
by wierdo on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 10:12:09 PM EST

Elsewhere is slightly factually incorrect, in that the reason for 56k modems being 56k is not because of robbed bit signaling, but because the digital encoding scheme is not linear, so the lower values are closer together than the higher values. The modem on the analog end simply can't distinguish between them, so the x2/K56Flex/v.90 engineers use only 7 of the 8 bits available.

Also, ISDN is not always 8 bit clean, although it is always B8ZS encoded on your local loop. ISDN can be offered from a DLC, but the loop between the DLC and the CO isn't always 8 bit clean.


[ Parent ]
Not so sure... (none / 0) (#180)
by tzanger on Sat Aug 31, 2002 at 09:57:50 PM EST

in that the reason for 56k modems being 56k is not because of robbed bit signaling, but because the digital encoding scheme is not linear, so the lower values are closer together than the higher values.

I'm pretty sure that it's encoded linearly as 8 bit PCM, but I may be mistaken. It would certainly make sense to be log encoded but that would put the low-end samples farther apart than the high-end ones.

At any rate I had heard (on the Cisco-NAS list) that the various 56k implementations all worked to detect when the bits were being robbed during trainup but it didn't make sense to go for broke and do 56k 1/12th of the time and 64k for the remainder; it wouldn't have been reliable enough for the work involved.

Also, ISDN is not always 8 bit clean, although it is always B8ZS encoded on your local loop. ISDN can be offered from a DLC, but the loop between the DLC and the CO isn't always 8 bit clean.

Seems like a real gyp to me... :-) Thanks for the corrections though.

[ Parent ]
Re: PCM encoding (none / 0) (#184)
by wierdo on Sun Sep 01, 2002 at 05:03:14 PM EST

I'm pretty sure that it's encoded linearly as 8 bit PCM, but I may be mistaken. It would certainly make sense to be log encoded but that would put the low-end samples farther apart than the high-end ones.

I may have the order wrong, but I am positive that at one end of the scale there is little differentiation between bits, and that is why there is a 56K max on an analog phone line. Well, that's not why. The reason why is that the modem manufacturers can't build a cheap circuit that can differentiate the slightly different sounds they have. With good equipment, and an extremely clean line, one could probably eke the full 64K or something close to it out of the analog line..in one direction anyway.


[ Parent ]
Simple, Cheap Answer (5.00 / 3) (#22)
by DarkZero on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 06:42:42 AM EST

All of these solutions are too costly and too ineffective to solve the problem of being bothered by telephones. Just do what I do: Buy an answering machine, set it to low, and turn the ringers off on all of your phones. No more running to the phone whenever it summons you or checking the caller ID and hoping that the person doesn't hang up while you're trying to see what the number is. They call, they leave a message, you call them back. People learn that you hate the telephone and that this is how it works and they get used to it, if they even notice it at all (no one that calls my house seems to have noticed it yet).

Even better, it reduces your interaction with telemarketers more than any other solution. Not only do they not get to talk to you, but they don't even get to make your phone ring, and since they usually don't leave messages, you don't even know whether or not they've called to harass you. They might as well not be calling at all.

Doesn't scale. (4.50 / 2) (#29)
by dark on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 08:40:32 AM EST

What will you do if your friends adopt this system too? You call a friend, and leave a message. Friend calls you back... and leaves a message. You call friend back... you get the idea.

[ Parent ]
Doesn't scale (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by clover_kicker on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 09:01:53 AM EST

>What will you do if your friends adopt this system
>too? You call a friend, and leave a message. Friend
>calls you back... and leaves a message. You call
>friend back... you get the idea.


If I'm not expecting a call, I usually let it go to the answering machine.

If I'm expecting a call, I pick up the phone.

I'm not running a set of firewall rules, I exercise my judgement. (Admittedly a mixed blessing...)
I am the very model of a K5 personality.
I intersperse obscenity with tedious banality.

[ Parent ]

The parent actually turned the ringers off. (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by dark on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 09:19:57 AM EST

Buy an answering machine, set it to low, and turn the ringers off on all of your phones.
Good luck even noticing that you're getting a call, expected or not. You could sit next to the phone, I guess, but you won't know when to expect the call, because that depends on when your friend checks for messages.

[ Parent ]
Expected Call (3.00 / 1) (#79)
by DarkZero on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 04:07:11 PM EST

If you're expecting a call, such as shortly after you called your friend and left a message for them to call you back, you just turn one of the ringers back on and take the risk of dealing with telemarketers for all of about two hours. That, or as I sometimes do, you could just turn the sound on the answering machine up loud enough that you can hear it from wherever you are in the house. If you hear a beep followed by, "Hi, this is Pete..." and you had just called Pete a little while ago and asked him to call you back, you just pick the phone up and most answering machines will immediately stop recording and let the phone act normally.

But besides those solutions, there's also that fact that, for the most part, this idea doesn't really have to scale. People that hate phones are a pretty breed. They're the freakish geeks and control freaks that can't stand the idea of a piece of technology wielding THEM, rather than them wielding IT. In other words, they're the types of people that cluster together on K5. In the real world, I have yet to meet anyone that shares my loathing of phones.

Oh, and one last thing: "Turning the ringer off" varies in difficulty from person to person. For me, it's a matter of reaching slightly to the right of my computer chair and flicking a switch. In fact, it's much easier than dialing or picking up the phone. For some, however, turning the ringer off is a painful ordeal that involves lifting their phone off its wall mount, flipping it upside down, and then trying to figure out which of the tiny unmarked switches on the bottom of the phone is the ringer. So obviously, the ease of this solution varies between households.

[ Parent ]

Leave a meaningful message... (none / 0) (#128)
by Kintanon on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 11:59:32 AM EST

How about if people leave meaningful messages instead of the "It's bob, call me." crap I usually get? I always leave a message with my name, my number, the time, and the reason for my call including details. If someone calls me back and gets my answering machine I expect them to leave a message which answers whatever question I asked in my message, or in some way is relevant to the conversation.


[ Parent ]

Some people don't like answering machines. (none / 0) (#163)
by dark on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 05:31:01 PM EST

If I get an answering machine, I usually just hang up. Sometimes I'll say why I called. I never leave my phone number or the time that I called; recording that is the answering machine's job, and I'm not responsible for the quality of your machine.

I don't see the point of creating a conversation out of answering machine messages. Email or SMS would be much more efficient for that kind of conversation.

[ Parent ]
You defeat the purpose (none / 0) (#165)
by Kintanon on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 12:16:00 PM EST

People like you defeat the entire purpose of answering machines. My thought is that if it's not important enough for the person calling to leave a detailed message, then it's not important enough for me to care about.


[ Parent ]

It's not about the phones (5.00 / 4) (#23)
by Sleepy on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 06:59:28 AM EST

We don't get plagued by telemarketers because we have telephones. They do this do us because they can make money from it, and because it is perfectly legal and possible for them to do so.

So what we need is not to get rid of telephones. We need to get rid of the unsolicited attempts to make money off us. Personally, I don't really see a problem with simply making this practice illegal.

Just a thought.

same with SPAM, postal mail, etc, etc. (none / 0) (#76)
by Burning Straw Man on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 03:36:53 PM EST

A business should never be allowed to solicit customers via phone, e-mail, post, etc. That is what TV, Magazine, Newspaper, and Radio advertising are for -- to get customers to contact the business. I solicit their advertising when I turn on the TV to a station which carries advertisements. If I receive unsolicited postal mail, e-mail, or phone messages, there should be easy remedies, such as simply forwarding the mail or message to the appropriate agency.
your straw man is on fire...
[ Parent ]
Breaking phone discipline (4.25 / 4) (#26)
by IHCOYC on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 07:52:01 AM EST

The one thing that telemarketing has achieved for us is that the obnoxious practice has allowed us to break the habit of phone discipline. When the alarm on the damned thing goes off, no one around here dives at it anymore. It does not instantly cut off live conversations. When it is the slightest inconvenience, let the machine speak.

In a well-run polity, telemarketing would be a felony, punishable by Islamic justice. The fact that it seems impossible simply to ban the practice entirely is a measure of how the government is no longer on our side.

GraySkull is home to the anima, the all-knowing woman who gives power to the otherwise ineffectual man. -- Jeff Coleman

Question: (4.00 / 1) (#85)
by RofGilead on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 07:17:30 PM EST

The only thing that I question about the statement about government being no longer on our side because they refuse to simply make telemarketing illegal is this:

What about freedom of speech?  Does this cover telemarketing, as I think it does?  They have a right to expound speech to anyone they want to, but the listener doesn't have to listen, or even give them the chance.

If telemarketing was made illegal, wouldn't that be akin to not allowing ads for Ross Perot on television, because he is annoying too?

-= RofGilead =-

Remember, you're unique, just like everyone else. -BlueOregon
[ Parent ]

Freedom of speech applies to people (none / 0) (#122)
by sab39 on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 10:38:31 AM EST

... And contrary to what the courts have upheld, corporations are not people.

Sure, the poor saps making the calls are people, but the individual saps would be allowed to make any call they wanted to. It would be the corporate practice of paying them to make particular calls that would be illegal.

I'd like to see advertising made illegal period (it performs the sole function of working against the checks and balances implicit in a free market) but I haven't yet been able to figure out an elegant way to square that with free speech. I suspect you could do something along the same lines (it would be illegal to pay someone to broadcast or display particular speech, including your own employees). The difficulty is that of course in certain situations (conferences, one-on-one sales, discussions with clients, press releases, etc) you really do need an employee to be able to speak for the company; My intuition says that there's a way to draw the line that makes sense, but I haven't yet been able to pin it down.

Telemarketing, though, is easy :)

"Forty-two" -- Deep Thought
"Quinze" -- Amélie

[ Parent ]

Free speech stops at my doorstep. (none / 0) (#124)
by IHCOYC on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 10:50:54 AM EST

Free speech is for public places. My telephone is not in such a place. No one's right to speak freely includes a right to make an alarm go off in my house, so that I must listen to an advertisement to stop it. You have no right to make your speech a burden on others.

The abuse of the phone system by telemarketers is eroding the usefuless of the voice telephone network. You cannot use the system to deliver desired personal communications, because too many people have been burned and will not answer the damned thing anymore.

GraySkull is home to the anima, the all-knowing woman who gives power to the otherwise ineffectual man. -- Jeff Coleman
[ Parent ]

Recent US cases (none / 0) (#164)
by PerlStalker on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 06:54:17 PM EST

This has actually come up in the US courts recently. Colorado passed a law that forbid companies from to call any number on a 'no-call' list. (It's an opt-out system.) IIRC, around 300,000 people signed up for the list within a couple of months. (BTW, the list is numbers only. No personal information.) Of course, every marketing company with a lawyer tryied to get the law overturned on free speach grounds.

The court ruled that free speach doesn't allow anyone to enter your home and start talking about whatever they want without your permission. (Sorry, I'm too lazy to find a link to the ruling. Try at http://www.courts.state.co.us/)

-- "Work is the miracle by which talent is brought to the surface and dreams become reality." - Gordon B. Hinkley
[ Parent ]
Politicians work for us, right? (none / 0) (#172)
by phliar on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 05:08:46 PM EST

What about freedom of speech? Does this cover telemarketing, as I think it does?
Why should it?
  1. A company does not have free speech rights. For example, we've decided (in the US) on various restrictions on advertising by tobacco and liquor companies.
  2. I pay for my phone and my email. A company does not have the right to use that for their marketing. I do not pay to receive snail mail so it's ok that they can use that to send me advertising. (Ignoring for now 3rd class presort mail that companies can use but I can't.)
Politicians refuse to make telemarketing illegal because telemarketers pay them more than ordinary people do.

Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

A cheaper solution... (4.75 / 4) (#27)
by SanSeveroPrince on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 08:04:43 AM EST

...would be to buy a cell phone with a pre-paid service. Your number is not listed anywhere, so spammers can't get to you, you can give the number to whoever you want, and whenever you need to think or spend some quality time on the toilet, you can switch it off.

You don't even have to bring the blasted thing out with you.. just leave it at home.

The problem with telemarketeers is very real however, and the internet spam phenomenon is just the logical extension of that shady business practice. What makes you think that wireless communication will not be plagued by banners, ads and people butting in your call to offer their services? Now, isn't that a scary prospect? Knowing human nature, however, I will not be surprised.

We need properly regulated privacy boundaries. The internet, and the communications boom, have sprung the old Global Village concept on us way before we were ready for it. The infrastructure is there for a massive and awesome communications network, and what do we do with it? We use it to send sexy unsolicited underwear catalogues from Kansas to Holland. Yeah.

On the other hand, that kind of regulation would severly limit our freedom online, and I could no longer download MP... ehm, exchange ideas with people in foreign parts.

Thorny, eh? Stick to the pre-paid cell phone :)


Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think

Did you forget... (4.00 / 2) (#40)
by mattwnet on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 10:22:24 AM EST

that prepaid wireless costs about fifty cents per minute?

[ Parent ]
Bzzt. Not quite. (none / 0) (#47)
by SDrifter on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 11:49:35 AM EST


Their 300 minute prepaid card is 80 dollars. That works out to approx. 27 cents per minute, half of what you stated.
It burns!!!
It's loaded with wasabi!
[ Parent ]

still expensive (none / 0) (#61)
by ceejayoz on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:02:23 PM EST

That's still very expensive, considering my Sprint plan costs me $0.02 per minute on average.

[ Parent ]
Money (none / 0) (#110)
by SanSeveroPrince on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 05:18:24 AM EST

Well, monetary concerns did not seem to be an issue in the original article.. a laptop works out to a hell of a lot of minutes at 27 c/min....


Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think

[ Parent ]
It takes a while (2.50 / 2) (#28)
by DesiredUsername on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 08:20:09 AM EST

but eventually the flood lessens: "Please put me on your Do-Not-Call list."

Play 囲碁
Or (3.00 / 2) (#32)
by wiredog on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 09:13:59 AM EST

Have the answering maching pick them all up. Eventually you end up on the no-hit list.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
Have the answering machine pick them up (5.00 / 2) (#63)
by acceleriter on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:13:30 PM EST

and start your message with the "Operator intercept" special information tones (which sequential dialers use to mark a number not-in-service--here's a pointer to a US version from Compulore.). This, in combination with Caller-ID, anonymous call blocking, and my state's do not call list, have reduced telemarketing calls to near zero.

[ Parent ]
Automated telemarketers (none / 0) (#137)
by Arcadio on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 03:41:11 PM EST

Most of the phone spam I get is recorded messages. I get home and on my answering machine is a recording telling me aboue a vacation or something that just goes on and on. And my caller ID just says, "Out of Area." I can't exactly tell the recording to stop calling me.

Are these things even legal?


[ Parent ]
Sufficiently advanced technology... my it is magic (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by hairyian on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 09:17:27 AM EST

You can have what you want /now/. (Well, with some development time.) Here's the ingredients:

o a decent voice/fax/modem with caller-id ability
o a device connected to said modem (which may or may not be a PC, but for now, a big ass computer might be sensible especially since you probably already own one)
o some decent speech synthesis software. I've had some fun with Festival in the past. http://www.cstr.ed.ac.uk/projects/festival/
o some limitted dictionary, speaker independant VR software. I've had some success with CMU's Sphinx in the past. http://www.speech.cs.cmu.edu/sphinx/
o some microphones/speaker set up, or the wireless mic/speaker combo you've suggested.
o some software to tie it all together

With this mish mash and some cool glue software you can get the system you've requested in a man-month or two. Most of the hard bits have already been done by components in the system! Again, with the same hardware and a 'net or wifi connection, you could tunnel your phone based calls over the IP to your wearable comms hardware.

I'd certainly be interested in a system like this.

Already some stuff very close to what you want... (4.00 / 1) (#42)
by graal on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 10:44:04 AM EST

A quick google search uncovered speakcid., which logs caller-id info to a database, then uses PHP to serve the numbers back out.

For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)
[ Parent ]

Distinctive rings (4.00 / 1) (#35)
by Stavr0 on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 09:25:00 AM EST

There's a feature called 'Ident-a-call' which is distinctive rings for extra phone numbers. The idea is that you can give out an extra phone number to family and friends, and a last one for fax/data calls.

Coupled with ring discriminators, you can totally filter out unsolicited calls to the answering machine, while always answering to people that matter.
- - -
All your posse are belong to Andre the Giant

Unpublished/non-listed plus the SIT tones.... (4.66 / 3) (#36)
by graal on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 10:07:24 AM EST

We pay a little extra for a non-published unlisted number, and hardly get any telemarketing calls at all. The few that do come are from companies we already do business with (usually the phone company or American Express trying to upsell us on something).

You can accomplish the same thing as the Telezapper widget by prepending these tones (the same tones that announce the 'The following number...is out of service') to the beginning of your answering machine message, although even that's not entirely foolproof.

For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)

I tried that... (none / 0) (#50)
by br284 on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 12:23:33 PM EST

... the unlisted thing, I mean. However, I'm finding that I'm getting junk calls for the guy that had the number befor me.

I can never win...


[ Parent ]

get a new number (5.00 / 1) (#53)
by speek on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 12:35:14 PM EST

Then, don't ever give it out except to friends. Any business that asks for your number - that say's it's "required" can simply be told you don't have a phone. So sorry. On web forms, you can either leave those fields blank, put in 555-5555, or put in your email address (that should provide a good hint). No one really needs your phone number. It is, after all, perfectly legal not to own a phone.

what would be cool, is if there was like a bat signal for tombuck - [ Parent ]

Bah (1.66 / 3) (#37)
by chbm on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 10:08:53 AM EST

You obviously need a better phone and a better carrier. -1

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
Simple solution to all your problems (4.40 / 5) (#38)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 10:11:44 AM EST

Turn your ringer off.

Solved (4.00 / 1) (#43)
by psicE on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 10:56:02 AM EST

The TreoTM communicator is the one device that does it all.  So you'll have your phone, Palm OS® organizer, email, SMS text messaging and wireless web all in one incredibly compact device.**

The Nokia 9290 Communicator is the wireless device that brings it all together, combining PDA , wireless office, messaging and e-mail, Internet access and mobile phone.

Everyone always talked about getting rid of phones, getting Net2Phone, installing that on a laptop, and making/receiving all your calls on that. Of course, they forgot how awkward that would be.

Now we have the Treo, and even better, Symbian-based devices like the 9290. This is the true one device. Sure, it costs $600 (though you can get a PalmOS-based Treo for $400 at the cheapest), but it's good - and it's the only device you need carry around with you.

I believe that, eventually, both the desktop and laptop as we know it will disappear. In their place, we'll have OLED screens that fit on the size of, and are as flexible as, paper; and which, with Bluetooth, can act as a screen extension for mobile devices like the 9290. People are starting to realize that the only thing "mobile" about a laptop is that it's easier to move from one room to another than a desktop; the true mobile devices are the ones that you can use on the subway, walking down the street, at work, at home, absolutely anywhere.

Wireless everywhere? (4.50 / 2) (#44)
by psicE on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 11:11:43 AM EST

Starbucks used to have wireless internet in a lot of places. I guess it cost too much, because they cut them off. But now, they're reinstating it - except this time, with an (IIRC) $30 monthly access fee.

T-Mobile, the only pure GSM carrier in the US, offers 802.11 access over a large portion of the US. However, not only does that cost $30/mo too, but there's quite low data transfer limits. Not low for email and web, and it is T1 speeds, but low for making voice calls.

What you're saying is feasible, and quite a good idea. Unfortunately, it requires universally-accessible, free wireless networking. And because of the nature of the Internet, ad-supporting it is impossible. So there's only one group that can set that up: the government.

Right now there's many waves travelling throughout the atmosphere; television, radio, cellular; the list goes on. All of these services, when IPv6 becomes a reality, could just as easily (if not more easily) be done over the Internet. And to replace all of the wireless signals being taken off the air, a public universal 802.11 signal (or maybe a different technology with a longer range for people in the boonies) could be broadcast, so that anyone, anywhere can use all the features of the Internet without paying a dime.

And then, people could use Jabber or similar technologies, which now no longer have to be advertising-funded because there's no bandwidth to pay for, and do voice communication over that. And then, wireless-handset companies can build Symbian-based devices like the Treo or 9290 that use Jabber instead of GSM, and don't cost a penny for connectivity.

Of course, all of this depends on the government funding free wireless internet. And there aren't many expenses involved. There's the one-time cost of deploying the hubs; and there's maintenance/upkeep charges, and power charges. And there's also the costs for transmitting data over huge, transcontinental cables; although possibly, countries could work out a deal by which they trade connectivity on the cables for free. But that's all the government would have to pay.

And if they don't, this plan won't work; it will be nothing more than a new cellular technology, with charges by the Kb instead of by the minute, that are even more confusing to customers.

Automatic telephone exchange (4.66 / 3) (#48)
by QuickFox on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 12:13:49 PM EST

In my home I have this little automatic telephone exchange which you can program to connect all calls from known numbers (friends, family, employer) to a telephone, and connect all other calls to an answering machine.

I haven't tested using the exchange this way, because here in Sweden we have efficient opt-out, but I think this solution would help you quite nicely.

I dread answering the phone for the fear of the colossal waste of time.

Before the Swedish opt-out appeared I received lots of sales calls but never allowed them to waste much time. As soon as I noticed it was a sales call I immediately interrupted "Sorry, I never buy things offered by phone." If the caller said "Oh, sorry, goodbye" I said goodbye very politely and hung up. If the caller tried to keep talking I interrupted with a sharp and impatient "goodbye" and hung up.

I've never understood why people spend more time than that on those calls.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi

I think his point is.. (none / 0) (#162)
by PrettyBoyTim on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 04:00:48 PM EST

I think his point is that he's getting rather a lot of these calls. Therefore chances are when his phone rings it's a telemarketer. It's not so much the time on the phone, but the pain of having to go and answer it at all when most of the time it's someone he'd rather not talk to.

[ Parent ]
[OT] (none / 0) (#178)
by mr strange on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 09:56:08 PM EST

I'm really enjoying this mobile phone topic, but I couldn't resist a digression...

> Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach
> him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a
> lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him
> your fish.

Give a man a match and he'll be warm for an hour... Set him on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.


intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
[ Parent ]

Power company (3.00 / 1) (#49)
by br284 on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 12:19:51 PM EST

How do you call the power company then to let them know that you've lost juice? With a computer, you are SOL. However, the phone almost always works.


Get a laptop... and some spare batteries... (n/t) (none / 0) (#56)
by bigbtommy on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 01:40:15 PM EST

-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
[ Parent ]
What's the problem (none / 0) (#77)
by SecretFire on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 03:51:02 PM EST

In most cases, the power companies already knows, or someone else will call them. You could even use a cell phone, in this case. (If the pwer outage is severe enoguh to knock out cellphone service, then obviously the power co. knows about it)
--- Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is a step beyond logic.
[ Parent ]
Problem (none / 0) (#81)
by br284 on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 04:36:09 PM EST

The problem was that they thought that I was the person who did't pay the bill, while it was one of my neighbors. They cut the power and I was screwed until they fixed it again.

Of course, it is a limited case, but one I ran up against recently.


[ Parent ]

Returning Calls (none / 0) (#54)
by MicroGlyphics on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 12:43:30 PM EST

My therapist refuses to have his number listed, so if I block all calls, I cannot get a call back. Oops! doesn't work.

Simple solution: (none / 0) (#70)
by acceleriter on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:33:39 PM EST

Get a therapist with enough respect for his patients to not block his outbound number.

[ Parent ]
But they must have a published number (none / 0) (#105)
by sal5ero on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 02:39:57 AM EST

they must have a listed number so they can get clients. more likely the blocking of the number during a call out by them is because the phone s/he called from is behind an exchange. they don't want to hide their number, but the setup of the exchange they are on drops the source number. i get this a lot from calls from friends from their workplace. either a "number withheld" or "isdn caller" replaces the number.

[ Parent ]
not always true (none / 0) (#129)
by miratim on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 12:03:59 PM EST

Or, perhaps, the therapist is calling from another number (like his home number) and only wants clients to have his official public office number.

[ Parent ]
true (none / 0) (#175)
by sal5ero on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 10:19:09 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Sequential diallers (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by tzigane on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 12:57:35 PM EST

are used by a lot of telemarketers. They dial a block of munbers in order 555-0000 then 555-0001 and so on.

I still get spam calls on my unlisted home phone and on my cell phone. Any spammer unlucky enough to have me answer the phone gets ranted at.

Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises. E. Zimmermann

Useless comment (2.00 / 1) (#57)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 01:43:51 PM EST

It is rather amusing (in a quaint kinda way) to read a whole story and comments on "future" technologies that have been in everyday use for months or even years in Europe, Hong Kong and Japan.

"He who would be merciful to the wicked will end up being merciless to the innocent."
-- Israeli saying

Explain please (NT) (none / 0) (#58)
by Fantt on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 01:48:37 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Explanation (5.00 / 3) (#62)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:08:35 PM EST

Cell phones. I'm talking about the digital GSM ones that are not widely spread in the US. With services that are not at all available in US, or with a high price-tag. The following is a list of what I get in Finland, everything included in the service (which is ~10€/mo, same in USD):
  • Caller-ID for free. Ability to send annoying people to voice-mail with a push of a button.
  • Sending non-IDd numbers, certain groups or certain people straight to voice-mail or blocking them altogether. And I get an sms (text message) every time someone leaves a message in my voice-mail so I don't have to check it all the time.
  • Different ring-tones for different people or groups. You can get thousands of ringtones from "Ride of the Valkyries" to birdcalls. Some phones allow you to record your own "Sir, you have a call" message.
  • Instant text messaging. Cheap at 10 eurocents (same in USD) or so per message.
  • Hands-free (earplug) systems that have either a wired connection to the phone or a bluetooth wireless one.
  • GPRS phones have access to email and a limited access to the net for a flat fee of ~10€/mo. Again, the phone lets you know when you have a new mail so you don't have to check it all the time, 24/7.
  • I can buy movie tickets, a gym pass or a soda with a text message or phone. I can get the address of the nearest liquor store or drug store with an SMS or phone. And you don't need a GPS-equipped phone for that, although some have those, too. Weather reports, lottery numbers, voting in tv shows, posting messages to a national tv text chat (off-hours moneymaker for the channels), etc. etc. via SMS.
  • and more, I only mentioned the most common services.
And yes, these are easy to use, uncomplicated technologies that people over here use all the time.

Amazing, this Old World, isn't it ;-)

"He who would be merciful to the wicked will end up being merciless to the innocent."
-- Israeli saying

[ Parent ]
They have all these on US cell phones, too. (none / 0) (#67)
by jjayson on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:26:32 PM EST

"I'm the crazy doped-out drug manic with red-rimmed eyes and semen on the front of his pants from excessive masturbation!" — Parent ]
Yep, (none / 0) (#72)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:34:43 PM EST

but only in parts of the country, accessible only to part of the population in urban areas, service is spotty, there is no wide standardization, and when (if) you get good services like I talked about they come at indecent prices, at least compared to European prices. Even in big cities the services are behind Europe 2-5 years in terms of market penetration.

Just face it, cell phone service in the US plain sucks. There are good reasons for that, but it still sucks.

My bodyweight is muscle and cock MMM
Tenured K5 uberdouchebag Herr mirleid
Meatgazer Frau gr3y

[ Parent ]
Good reason? (none / 0) (#82)
by steveftoth on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 05:06:59 PM EST

Do you mean that the reason is justfiable? Thre really should be no good reason, we should have this kind of service in america but we don't.

[ Parent ]
The reasons I saw. (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by static on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 08:52:13 PM EST

When GSM first came on the map, the US cell phone industry decided they didn't like it and wouldn't support it. Some of those initial objections were technological (GSM has different signal propogation characteristics than AMPS) but some were not (GSM was intended to be a global standard for world-travellers). However, there was too much global momentum and support behind GSM for the US to topple it. Obviously things have changed as GSM is appearing across the US now.

I'm probably simplifying horribly, but that's what it looked like from outside the US. It was a bit like a repeat of the modem standards from 20 years ago. "We are going to be different because we can be" :-)

Wade, who actually has no particular anti-US bias.

[ Parent ]

Sheer land area (none / 0) (#144)
by ZanThrax on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 07:38:54 PM EST

may have some effect on the deployment of new technology. The USA is far far larger than any European nation (barring Russia, of course, but no one's really expecting a clear signal in the middle of Siberia anyhow...)

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.
[ Parent ]

Australia (none / 0) (#145)
by iwnbap on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 08:39:50 PM EST

You can get pretty reasonable coverage in Australia via GSM.  Little country towns can be a bit of a pain, but on major highways between population centres (so for 95% of the population say) it's pretty good. AUD $50/month includes most of the swanky GSM features, and a free phone on a two year contract.

[ Parent ]
Australia's situation is similar to Canada's (none / 0) (#146)
by ZanThrax on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 08:49:55 PM EST

though; lots of area, with people only in s small portion of it. Easy enough to give them all coverage, whereas the US is fairly populated throughout (except the southwestern deserts)

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.
[ Parent ]

ya but not for $10/m (none / 0) (#73)
by nodsmasher on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:38:16 PM EST

hell my phone which only has text messaging and talk is more then $10/m
Most people don't realise just how funny cannibalism can actually be.
[ Parent ]
Total cost. (none / 0) (#88)
by pschap on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 08:34:14 PM EST

So here's a question for you.  When you tally up all the charges for phone calls, sms messages, and GPRS charges[*], download fees for the ringtones, the 10 euro line charge, and taxes, how much does your total bill for a month usually come to?

[*]They charge by the meg for the GPRS here.

"In 1991, we had almost nothing. We'd only begun building cocks. After just 10 years, we have a very robust, active cock."

[ Parent ]

The bill (none / 0) (#108)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 04:26:47 AM EST

comes to 25-50€ per month, which doesn't include calls/services related to work. This is obviously wildly dependant on how much you use the phone and various services. I know a couple of women who get bills up to ten times that high, but that's because they're yap yap yapping in the phone all the time. For these people there is at least one cellphoneco that offers a service with unlimited calls between its customers for a flat fee of 39€.

I'd like to point out that Finland has one of the lowest (in some respects the lowest) cellular phone call and service rates in the world, so YMMV.

"He who would be merciful to the wicked will end up being merciless to the innocent."
-- Israeli saying

[ Parent ]
To be honest... (none / 0) (#138)
by pschap on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 04:05:08 PM EST

...it doesn't really sound all that different in the  bottom line than the plans we get here.  I pay about 45 dollars a month for a plan that includes enough minutes that I almost never go over and has sms messaging included for similar per message fees.

The major differences between US services and european ones (from what you're describing) seem to be that 1) the european services will give you the phone for a much lower monthly fee and then include very little, where as the US companies tend to give you a bigger package for more money (which of course causes problems if you don't plan on using it that much). 2) the GSM coverage in the US is much spottier than it is in Europe.

"In 1991, we had almost nothing. We'd only begun building cocks. After just 10 years, we have a very robust, active cock."

[ Parent ]

wildfire (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by adamrice on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:00:20 PM EST

There's a service out there called wilfdfire that acts as a sort of intermediary or automated secretary. It's "out in the system" so it's not tied to a particular piece of hardware. It can do some nifty things--take voicemail for you, and if it's your mom, break into an ongoing conversation and notify you "hey, your mom is calling, do you want to take the call?" Yes, this is another thing to pay for, and no, we shouldn't need to pay cash money to shield ourselves from these intrusive annoyances...but it is an option. I live in Texas, which recently instituted an opt out program. My telemarketing calls have been reduced a lot since I signed up. Not entirely, but enough so that I don't dread answering the land-line.

wildfire (4.00 / 1) (#60)
by adamrice on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:01:25 PM EST

There's a service out there called wilfdfire that acts as a sort of intermediary or automated secretary. It's "out in the system" so it's not tied to a particular piece of hardware. It can do some nifty things--take voicemail for you, and if it's your mom, break into an ongoing conversation and notify you "hey, your mom is calling, do you want to take the call?"

Yes, this is another thing to pay for, and no, we shouldn't need to pay cash money to shield ourselves from these intrusive annoyances...but it is an option.

I live in Texas, which recently instituted an opt out program. My telemarketing calls have been reduced a lot since I signed up. Not entirely, but enough so that I don't dread answering the land-line.

Audio instant messaging (4.00 / 2) (#64)
by nsayer on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:14:41 PM EST

My wife and I use Nextel phones. I sort of refer to them as "audio instant messaging" devices, since they act far more like Jabber or Yahoo Messenger than phones.

I believe that the future for the telephone lies in VoIPv6 combined with dynamic "address" resolution. That is, the telephone "number" will be replaced by a sort of presence registration server. You will call 'nsayer@mumble' and the 'mumble' server will tell you that I am currently accepting calls at 3ffe:1200:301b:4:a00:20ff:feab:cdef. If I turn my cell phone on, then that address will change to whatever address my cell phone gets. If my cell phone moves to a place where it gets a different address, then the registration will follow. This is more or less how cell phones work now, except that they relate phone numbers to proprietary addressing schemes. Same thing with IMs.

Like IMs, you could have various levels of accessability. You could relegate unknown contacts to voicemail only, but set up a whitelist of acceptable callers.

This scheme would also represent the final divorce between voice communication and the infrastructure. The wire coming in from the street would provide broadband connectivity. If you have 4 teenage daughters, it would be the same wire as if you had k5 in your basement. :-)

But Nextels are just so fucking annoying. (4.20 / 5) (#99)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 10:19:16 PM EST

Guess what?

The people around you don't want to hear your entire stilted walkie-talkie type conversation, and they especially don't want to hear that fucking "bleep" every time someone finishes their sentence.

"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

When you assume.... (4.00 / 1) (#107)
by nsayer on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 02:54:39 AM EST

99% of the time, I am in the car when my wife beeps me. The fellow in the next lane has never appeared to be offended by this, certainly not as offended as you seem to be. The other 1% of the time, I turn the speaker off and offend those around me no more than anyone else with a cell phone. And of course, I don't bring it into theaters or art galleries or places where luddites get bent out of shape by a better mousetrap.


[ Parent ]

Maybe you don't... (none / 0) (#123)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 10:40:56 AM EST

... but entirely too many other people do.

"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

And this is my fault exactly how? (none / 0) (#125)
by nsayer on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 11:13:37 AM EST

You started off by tearing me a new hole for behaviour you observed in others. What other stereotypes do you harbor? I'm guessing quite a few about people whose skin color is different than yours.

'nuff said.

[ Parent ]

Subject (none / 0) (#141)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 04:59:48 PM EST

The "your" and "you" in this conversation was intended to be generic to anyone who is an annoying fucktard with their Nextel cellular phone. If you are not in this group, kindly exclude yourself from the new-hole tearing.

I also really don't see the need to bring racism in out of nowhere.

"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

Pick your words more carefully. (none / 0) (#151)
by nsayer on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 01:43:11 AM EST

The "your" and "you" in this conversation was intended to be generic

Funny. In English, that's not actually the case. "Your" is the 2nd person posessive adjective and "you" is the 2nd person pronoun. They refer to the person or persons to whom you are speaking. Perhaps English isn't your native tongue?

I also really don't see the need to bring racism in out of nowhere.

Pot, kettle, black. You tarred me with a stereotypical brush. Now you know what it feels like.

[ Parent ]

Funny (none / 0) (#171)
by mindstrm on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 03:46:04 PM EST

Because I agree with him. You and Your do have a more generic meaning in some cases.. not the textbook meaning you seem to quote.

Of course, you probably wouldn't agree that english is an evolving language, and not strictly defined by some textbook.

[ Parent ]

Come on now (none / 0) (#174)
by nsayer on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 07:46:52 PM EST

Let's compare:

You are a scumbag because you use your nextel phone's walkie-talkie feature in public without turning the loudspeaker off.


Nextel users who use their walkie-talkie feature in public without turning the loudspeaker off are scumbags.

The former accuses the listener of the offense and the latter does not. Clearly unless one has evidence that I exhibit the behavior in question, form #1 (which more or less paraphrases the remark that started this thread) is damn rude.

[ Parent ]

I beg to differ. (none / 0) (#181)
by mindstrm on Sun Sep 01, 2002 at 01:22:34 AM EST

It depends on the context, and on the conversation at hand. "You" is often an anonymous, fictional, invisible entity to whom the article is referring... I'm sorry, I don't know the proper literary term for it.

[ Parent ]
Go look at the context. (none / 0) (#183)
by nsayer on Sun Sep 01, 2002 at 04:41:17 AM EST

The context in this case is laid bare for all to see. Hit 'parent' a few times and you'll find it. I think it speaks for itself. I mentioned Nextel phone only in passing in my comments about the future of phones, and was labeled as being rude for behavior of which I am not guilty. When I said as much, I was not offered any sort of appology, but instead was told to shut up for daring to defend myself.

[ Parent ]
Solution... (3.66 / 3) (#65)
by nomayo on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:16:11 PM EST

1. Create an opt-in list.

2. Charge Telemarketers fees for access to the list.

3. Use the money to subsidize the phone costs of those on the list.

4. Place heavy $$$ penalties on calls to people that are not on the list payable to the recipient of the call, as well as penalties paid to subsidize the program.

If 25% of my phone bill was subsidized by telemarketers, I could handle saying 'I'm not interested' a few times a week. I'd even do it with a smile rather than the evil, contemptuous attitude they get now. Hell, I'd even stop threatening their families...

Just for fun, next time they call... Tell em you moved and give them your new number. This of course is the number of a local politician who votes in support of the telemarketers. These numbers are easy to find with a simple search. Another good thing to do is to find a telemarketing company and look up their board members/primaries. Do a quick switchboard.com lookup on them and voila.


You know that there is no law against (3.00 / 1) (#66)
by Jman1 on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:18:17 PM EST

hanging up on telemarketers, right? Phone rings, I say hello, they say, "Hello Mr. X, I'm calling on behalf of," and I go "click." Elapsed time, 4 seconds.

Actually Its Worse Than That (5.00 / 1) (#68)
by Fantt on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:33:33 PM EST

If only it were that simple. If I'm busy concentrating on work or a great movie or something I don't want to hear that damned phone ringing unless it is something really important like a family emergency. I hate having to pause the Tivo, leap up from the sofa and run around trying to find the phone only to discover that No Name is calling to sell me something. I already hang the phone up, but I shouldn't be bothered in the first place.

[ Parent ]
Is this worth trying? (none / 0) (#89)
by static on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 08:41:58 PM EST

Could you try taking the phone off the hook for those times when you don't want to be interrupted by it? Like when watching a movie or favourite TV program.


[ Parent ]

Emergencies (none / 0) (#104)
by sal5ero on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 02:33:06 AM EST

But you *DO* still want to be interrupted for emergencies.

[ Parent ]
Yah. (none / 0) (#149)
by static on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 10:06:08 PM EST

Spotted that after I posted. :-)


[ Parent ]

Phones off the hook (4.00 / 2) (#112)
by PenguinWrangler on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 06:14:00 AM EST

In the UK at least, if a phone is taken off the hook it will after some time start making a loud warbling noise through the earpiece. So that wouldn't work.

Easier by far is to just unplug the phone from the wall...
"Information wants to be paid"
[ Parent ]

Tivo? You mean TV? (1.00 / 3) (#114)
by Graham Thomas on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 07:07:17 AM EST

I hate having to pause the Tivo, leap up from the sofa and run around trying to find the phone only to discover that No Name is calling to sell me something.

Why don't you turn the TV off and go and do something more wholesome with your spare time, like playing golf, or going horse riding? Take a cellular phone out with you for taking any private calls if you really need to be contacted.

[ Parent ]
Here's your solution (4.00 / 2) (#69)
by jayhawk88 on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:33:35 PM EST

Step 1: Call up your local BabyBell or whomever runs your local service, and tell them to fuck off. You no longer want or require their service, starting today.

Step 2: Go walk 20 steps in any direction from any point in your city, and you will find yourself in front a place that will sell you a mobile phone. Get an ultra-cheap basic phone, or splurge and get one that offers wireless internet, text messaging, etc. Both Kyocera and Samsung will soon have out new Palm/Phone combo units that are looking very nice indeed. Go checkout PalmInfoCenter for more information on the upcoming models.

Step 3: Don't give our your number to anyone but those you trust with it.

Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web? -- John Ashcroft
Can't Do That (none / 0) (#71)
by Fantt on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:34:41 PM EST

I must keep my "home" phone to keep my phone company controlled DSL line. I have no other broadband options.

[ Parent ]
Same here, and also ... (5.00 / 1) (#74)
by Burning Straw Man on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 03:07:55 PM EST

... no guaranteed 911 access on your cell phone. also, the location of this 911 phone call from your cell phone is not easily traced.

If I had better access to better broadband, and a real solution for 911 access, then, and only then, can I cut loose Baby Bell.
your straw man is on fire...
[ Parent ]

911 access (none / 0) (#133)
by ethereal on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 12:58:21 PM EST

also, the location of this 911 phone call from your cell phone is not easily traced.

That's a feature, not a bug. Or were you looking forward to being instantly trackable by the phone company, or anyone else with a warrant?

Until e911 location services can be disabled unless you've actually dialed 911, I won't buy a phone that supports this.

The DSL thing sucks, though. My condolences.


Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

Alternate Steps (none / 0) (#80)
by DarkZero on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 04:18:45 PM EST

Step 2a: Live in a place like New Jersey. Be completely fucked when it comes to trying to get cell phone service that works in residential areas or doesn't disconnect whenever you breathe on it too hard.

Step 3a (not connected in any way to 2a): Don't give out your number to anyone but those you trust with it, but then end this policy a couple of months later when you find out that your cellphone company is not only willing to send advertisements to you either on your phone, in your voice mail, or in your text messages, but to also sell your number out to "trustworthy companies" (aka the highest bidders).

Step 4: Decide that you don't like your cellphone. Think back to the mandatory two year service contract that you signed when you didn't foresee this event coming. Bend over.

Cell phones sound like a great idea, but I'd recommend that people try something safer and less expensive like caller ID, call blocking, or just turning the ringer off first. Generally, those solutions have far fewer potential pitfalls (if any), even if they lack the added features that a good cellphone service will give them.

[ Parent ]

Not quite true (none / 0) (#131)
by sbalea on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 12:48:43 PM EST

I'm living in NJ and I've had a cell phone for more than two years (two years with Cingular/CellularOne and another 5 months with Verizon). I've NEVER received ANY telemarketing call, text message or voice mail. My phone works pretty realiably at home and I can take it pretty much wherever I want. So the "get rid of the land line" idea is pretty appealing to me, unfortunately I do a lot of international calls and to get best rates you need a land line.

[ Parent ]
phone options (none / 0) (#84)
by F a l c o n on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 05:30:33 PM EST

yes, there are a lot of options mission from the phone. for example, I always miss the "bugger off" switch, which would turn of the ringer, but not tell the other side that you're home (i.e. to him it keeps ringing). or a single switch (on/off) to turn the phone off or switch to the answering machine when you're busy.

now, the problem is that most people want different features, and want them in different ways. so I guess the solution is to turn the phone into free software.

you may actually have that option. there's a free software ISDN phone switching software, it may offer these features. never used it, no URL, sorry. ask google.
what I have done is using my household server as an answering machine. very nice, displays who called, when and how long a message they left in a nice list. no need to even listen to the msg itself if you don't want to.

Back in Beta (too many new features added): BattleMaster

Douglas Adams again (2.50 / 2) (#86)
by rdskutter on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 07:47:14 PM EST

Q: What's better than a phone that never rings?

A: Ten phones that never ring.

(On the Goglafrichan ship)

If you're a jock, inflict some pain / If you're a nerd then use your brain - DAPHNE AND CELESTE

talking caller-id box (none / 0) (#87)
by bandy on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 08:26:37 PM EST

Dude you need a talking caller-id box and to turn off your phones bells.  The talking caller-id boxes let you record your voice for a given person's name or number.  Anything without a pre-recorded name gets announced as a ten-digit number in a woman's voice.  Easy to ignore, easy to know who is calling, etc.

I bought mine on a whim years ago because I found it in the discount bin at the local Target for only $15.  It's easily worth ten times that much in saved frustration and the avoided mad dash to the phone to read the caller-id display.
Marlboro: War ich Rindveh bin.

Get a cell phone (5.00 / 2) (#93)
by jtown@punk.net on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 09:03:38 PM EST

So you need your phone line for DSL.  Fine.  Change it to metered service, drop all the extra features, and pay $12-15/month for the line.  Unplug everything but a cheap answering machine and your DSL box.

Then go out and get your cell phone.  Don't worry about giving out the number.  Heck, put it on your answering machine's outgoing message.  Telemarketers are not allowed to call cell phones unless you have an existing relationship with them and no entry in the "do not call list".  And, yes, they can easily rid their call lists of cell phone numbers.  All they have to do is delete areacode/prefix combo that's assinged to a cellular carrier.  Sure, there are a few out there that don't clean up their lists but they don't last long.  If you don't believe that (or just don't want to risk it), don't give out the number to anyone but friends and family.  Let the businesses leave messages.

I've been using a cell phone exclusively for years and I can still count the telemarketing calls on one hand.  And most of those were from my credit card companies.  They stopped when I asked them to.  Even found out that they'll stop stuffing my bills with advertisements if I ask.  My only real complaint is losing my number if I want to get a better deal from another carrier.  Fortunately, that should be a thing of the past in a year or two when cellular carriers are forced to let people take their numbers to other carriers.

Every time I read one of these stories, I'm reminded that I've totally missed out the telemarketing experience.  I used to get a few calls a month on my old land line but things really started picking up after I ditched the morons at PacBell.

You answered your own question... (4.66 / 3) (#94)
by dipierro on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 09:05:31 PM EST

Just use a cell phone. I got rid of my land based phone service over a year ago, and I have only gotten two phone solicitations (from my credit card companies) since. I told them I was on a cell phone, and they never called me again. If I really wanted to I probably could have sued them and gotten $500 a pop out of it. Caller ID is built in. I never receive calls for other members of my household. I can turn it off in one location when I'm busy working. People can send me text messages through MSN Messenger. I could use the earpiece lapel thing if I didn't find them annoying as hell. And it's available whenever I travel. Not just in the car, but when I move I can keep the same number, when I go on vacation, whatever.

Finding Forrester solution (4.00 / 1) (#96)
by X-Nc on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 09:09:28 PM EST

In the movie Finding Forrester, Sean's title character took the ringer out of his phone. This allowed him to call out when he needed to but kept the interruptions out of his live. I'm pretty sure that I will do this, myself, in the not to distant future.

Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.
Slight problem (none / 0) (#166)
by slippytoad on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 12:28:24 PM EST

If everyone does as you say, pretty soon no one will answer the phone, so dialing out will just get you nothing. You might as well go back to using mail, since you'd end up exchanging voice mails with all your friends.

If we had legal public lynchings of telemarketers, on the other hand, the phone service could be returned to the useful and valid purposes it once had, rather than the gaping sewer of spam it is now.
If I were the al Qaeda people right now I would be planning a lot of attacks in the next few days and weeks -- John "Bring 'em On" McCain
[ Parent ]

A perfect solution already exists. (5.00 / 1) (#97)
by Keepiru on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 09:41:55 PM EST

Hire a secretary.  They're great at this stuff.



Insensitive. (1.00 / 1) (#117)
by Adolf Nigger on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 08:21:24 AM EST

It's "administrative assistant". GOD

[ Parent ]
Dear Adolf Nigger, (none / 0) (#167)
by Meatbomb on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 02:54:39 PM EST

Gee, you must get a lot of grief with a name like that, ever considered changing it? (hahaha)


Good News for Liberal Democracy!

[ Parent ]
Tons of options (none / 0) (#98)
by cgenman on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 10:04:51 PM EST

Consider this another vote for cell phone.  Find a subtly vibrating battery (or a "silent" phone that beeps with voicemail), use it, and ignore anything you don't feel up to dealing with.  To turn off the ringer, just quickly pop out the battery.  

You could also consider keeping a ringerless phone at your home, without voicemail, and get a vibrating pager number just for those people you want to contact you.

Get a PDA with messaging.  They're not hard to find in major cities.

Get a cell and convince your friends to text you.

Get a new unlisted number.


... And by the way, always tell telemarketers to put you on the do not call list.  I believe it is NY that requires a do-not-call list, and most call centers call across the US.  Do not call lists seem to be far more effective than being removed from lists, because do-not-call lists are "sticky" and they won't call you every time they buy numbers.  I've had fairly good luck with them.

- This Sig is a mnemonic device designed to allow you to recognize this author in the future. This is only a device.

It's Federal (none / 0) (#101)
by Biff Cool on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 11:29:04 PM EST

It's a nationwide law that a telemarketer must have a do not call list. Certain states have a state-wide do not call list that the telemarketers have to preprocess and not call, but anyone soliciting to you over the phone has to keep a list they can put you on so as not to call you again.

Mind you this is a do-not-call list for the company selling the product not the company doing the calling which are quite frequently different things. As far as I know the company doing the calling doesn't have any obligation to keep a do not call list of their own.

Okay I admit it I work for telemarketers... I'm sorry.

My ass. It's code, with pictures of fish attached. Get over it. --trhurler

[ Parent ]
Answering machine message (4.00 / 1) (#126)
by Kintanon on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 11:33:04 AM EST

Ever since I put, "If you are a telemarketer, or telephone solicitor of any kind I am not interested in your product and would like to be removed from your list, thank you." on my answering machine I get a lot fewer telemarketing calls.


[ Parent ]

Simple solution (4.33 / 3) (#100)
by KnightStalker on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 11:03:30 PM EST

Step 1: Get rid of your DSL, cable modem, wireless, or whatever you yuppies are using these days.
Step 2: Get a dialup connection.
Step 3: Go back to staying online all the time.

Problem Solved, no more telemarketers. Next...

How about... (4.66 / 3) (#102)
by mercutio on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 11:35:59 PM EST

They do what they do when you call 411.
For instance, in Toronto, when I call 411 it says:
"For what city?"
I answer "Toronto."
"For what name?"
I answer "Smith."
"For what address?"
I answer "1 One Street."
"One moment please."
Then it rings and I am connected to an operator who either asks for a clarification (if I mumbled) or tells me the number.

This could be translated to the aforementionned problem by making an automated assistant ask:
"May I ask whose calling?"
"Valu Vacuums"
"One moment Please."

Then, in your house, depending on your settings, either a light would blink somewhere or there would be some sort of pleasant chime and then a calming female voice saying "Would you like to accept a call from..." then in the rough telemarketer voice "Valu Vacuums."

"Would you like to block calls from this number in the future?" (This would only happen for new numbers.)
"Thank you."

And the dickhead telemarker would be disconnected.

Of course this would all be highly configurable via a computer interface.

Drive it further (5.00 / 3) (#109)
by CaptainZapp on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 05:10:38 AM EST

And the dickhead telemarker would be disconnected.

No!no!no! You don't understand! The proper solution (provided that speech synthesis is making a few strides forward) is an automated voice system picking up the call and sounding like a naive house wif^H^H^H person. You know, the kind that orders the abdominum cracker or the genuine circonium ring from your local shopping channel.

The speech computer (acting extremely interested on the fine wares that Valu Vacuums has to offer) then engages the sales rep into a 40 minute conversation always giving the implication that you want to buy until the conversation can't be extended anymore.

Then the friendly speech computer barks a nasty HO!HO! before slamming the connection with an audible BANG!

No need to thank me...

[ Parent ]

Eliza? (5.00 / 1) (#115)
by meaningless pseudonym on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 07:59:45 AM EST

Anonymous speech recognition and text-to-speech seem to be getting better, so how long are we from being able to send a call to an Eliza bot sending IO through a speech interface to the phone and try and have a conversation that way?

Would be fun :-)

[ Parent ]

Yeah, and it wouldn't even have to be smart. (none / 0) (#148)
by Perianwyr on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 09:42:16 PM EST

All it would need to say is "Go on" and various hemmings, hawwings, and quizzical grunts. The best thing would be to make it start going off into wacky eliza-land after 5 minutes. There's no need for a bang and a ho-ho- just mindless, meandering garbage-chat. They'd get the point about their inability to close eventually.

[ Parent ]
That is how all phones once worked. (4.00 / 1) (#147)
by Perianwyr on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 09:36:16 PM EST

You'd pick up the phone and get the switchboard. You'd tell the switchboard operator "I want to talk to whoever". Phone numbers  They'd put your cable into the hole that goes to the other side, their phone would ring, and then you'd talk.

When the human element was removed (electronic switches and wardialers) so were the human benefits.

I think we're seeing a change back to human configuration of smarter technology, especially where communication is concerned. Thank goodness.

[ Parent ]

Get a modem (4.00 / 1) (#103)
by majubma on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 12:39:56 AM EST

and a cheap PC. The modem will be able to read Caller ID signals if it is recent enough. Then turn off the ringers on all your phones and let the PC make noise if the caller ID meets your criteria--or leave it to go silently to voice mail otherwise.

You get an added benefit in that the PC's caller ID display can be big and bright enough to see anywhere in your living room.

It's not very hard--my dad collected the shareware/freeware to do this, on a Macintosh fer cryin' out loud. He even has it announce the name of the caller using text-to-speech--he hasn't got it running speech recognition/speakerphone like in your scenario, but it wouldn't be too hard to set up given a good microphone.

--Thaddeus Q. Thaddelonium, the most crookedest octopus lawyer in the West.

the next real step in communications (3.00 / 1) (#106)
by sarunas on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 02:42:03 AM EST

what i believe shouldwill happen eventually is all the problem-specific modes of communication (think telephone lines, faxes, etc) will be
replaced by a uniform data delivery service (ie the internet).  

there are two parts of this change.  first is abstracting the physical layer.  make it unimportant how fast or reliable you're connected, just so you are guaranteed to get the data eventually.  so basically anywhere you
can get an internet connection, you'll be set.

the second is creating a the software infrastructure for communications.  right now we have all the problem-specifics done fairly
well (ftp, email, etc).  but what we need is a meta layer that includes more richly defined information (both for the computer and the humans'
benefit).  this meta layer will allow for all sorts of interesting things.  you could define all sorts of application specific solutions within
it.  think of it as developing an analog of tcpip.  one of the requirements could be having to have everything authorized - having signatures and keys for things to pass.  for instance,
you could provide a signature to a particular company for a particular list of theirs.  it's like taking the responsibility for an opt-in away
from the companies (who we distrust) and putting it in your lap.  if someone tries to send you something without the proper authorization,
it rejected.  this has a nice benefit of making spam really difficult.

ones you have these two changes, communication can be far more reliable.  it's more or less reduced to how well the human can communicate
(or how good their microphones are).  it also makes services as easy as installing a piece of software, or upgrading your computer.  want to define all sorts of special rules for people contacting you? no sweat, type them up in your pdaphone and you'll never be bothered in the theater again.  want to share your trip pictures without having to worry about teaching relatives to use different pieces of software?  just forward them a meta-link to your web site and have it automatically download the required viewing software to their computer and display the slide-show.  maybe it could even call you when it's done and they're viewing it so you can comment.  basically, the sky is the limit when you break the threshold removing the specialty communications.

Use the mobile (none / 0) (#111)
by S1ack3rThanThou on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 06:11:31 AM EST

My mobile (cell for you USians) fone does all of the above things if I so want it to. I no longer have a land line. I pay an extra mebbe 10 quid a month for this priviledge. I suggest we all do that. But I do realise the US is about ten years behind the rest of the world in cell fone land.

"Remember what the dormouse said, feed your head..."
cell phones (none / 0) (#134)
by Altus on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 01:06:52 PM EST

while it is true that the US is behind the rest of the world in cell phone technology, it is quite possible for most people to use their cell phone as their primary line.  I do it.  it costs me about the same amount as a land line would when you factor in the free long distance that I get with the cell phone.

the only real disadvantage is that I dont have a good way of making international calls (since I have no land line) but that hasnt been an issue.

no admitedly, if you live in a rural area, or some suburban areas (the ones that wont let companies put up cell towers) your coverage will suck, and you cant do this... but this is probably not the case for most poeple.

"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women..." -H. Simpson
[ Parent ]

Has downsides in some places. (none / 0) (#150)
by rodgerd on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 12:54:41 AM EST

I have an alarm system that phones home, so it needs a phone line. Might as well plug a handset in as well.

Here in New Zealand, local calls are free. So if I told all my friends that I only had a cellphone, they'd be paying to call me at home, which seems like an imposition.

Finally, the major telcos here offer decent toll call (long distance call) rates - for example, in the evening a toll call is capped to a few bucks. I can call friends in other cities, natter for a few hours, and pay a coupla bucks. My parents can ring and do the same. I can call people overseas for a few bucks, for that matter. But it only works landline to landline, so a cellphone would make life more expensive.

[ Parent ]
Yeh (none / 0) (#154)
by S1ack3rThanThou on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 05:05:51 AM EST

My g/f is from n/z. And she used to call me all the time for nearly no cost. But then the U.K. costs on land lines anyway.

"Remember what the dormouse said, feed your head..."
[ Parent ]
Weird. (none / 0) (#170)
by mindstrm on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 03:42:50 PM EST

The alarm system can be hooked to a cellular unit. This is very common as a backup to landlines.

So you mean in NZ, if you call a cellphone from a landline, the CALLER pays a fee? That's goofy.

[ Parent ]

Goofy? Why? (none / 0) (#173)
by rodgerd on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 05:55:11 PM EST

Seems reasonable to me, and is the same as the UK (and possibly Australia). It means, for one thing, that someone can't cost me money by calling me repeatedly.

OTOH, I never pay to recieve calls on a cellphone. I've always thought the US standard where the sender and the reciever can pay seemed insane 8).

[ Parent ]
I think it makes perfect sense. (none / 0) (#182)
by mindstrm on Sun Sep 01, 2002 at 01:26:27 AM EST

You pay for airtime. Period. If you don't want to, you use a landline.

I think it makes perfect sense, as long as cellular phones are viewed as an option and not a necessity.

I suppose both systems make sense.

If all calls are tarriffed, then it makes sense that only either the originator or the receiver should pay.

[ Parent ]

US Thing? (3.00 / 1) (#116)
by meaningless pseudonym on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 08:08:13 AM EST

Right, I've lived at my current place for nearly 2 years, the phone number isn't listed in the POTS directory because my $$^%*ing phone company (NTL) don't appear to have got round to it. Definitely no funny instructions, though.

My mobile has been on the same number for well over a year. Phone company definitely have its number, as do many websites, my reasoning that CallerID made it pretty safe.

I can count the number of unsolicited calls I've received on either on my hands, probably only one of them. I get the occasional spam SMS - maybe one a month or so - but they're free to me, read at my convenience and easy to delete so no real hassle.

OK, I'm out a lot but I'll normally dial 1471 on my return and I _very_ rarely hear a call centre call recorded as the last, so I don't think it's that I'm missing them.

Am I that unusual?

I've been thinking about this (5.00 / 1) (#119)
by titivillus on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 09:33:54 AM EST

And there's things you can do. First of all, there's the Telezapper, which I have, use and enjoy. Most telemarketers' calls are originated with a dialing computer, and when you pick up the phone, it beeps with the tone that says to the computer "This line doesn't exist". The downside is that it needs to answer to work, so you need an answering, not voice mail. Generally a step back, not forward, but still, it works.

I have seen computer interfaces for caller ID. I think I've seen TV interfaces for caller ID. The TV interface takes an RCA in and an RCA out, so it works mainly if you use your TV as a monitor and channel switch with your VCR or cable box. I'm thinking of getting one for the main TV in the house, because that's the one where we use the TV as a monitor and only switch with the VCR. I'm sure there's a way you can set up a computer with linux and a caller-id card so that it talks only if it is a number that you told it to look for (such as friends, relatives and the emergency line from work) or to automatically deny if it's something you automatically block, such as someone who won't tell you who they are.

I'm going to have to do some Linux telephony work sometime, to set up something like this. The key is, if it bother you, you can do something about it. The first key to freeing yourself from the tyranny of the phone is to realize that you don't have to answer it. Voice mail and answering machines are the first step.

You got the wrong service (5.00 / 1) (#120)
by Fon2d2 on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 09:50:35 AM EST

You need the service that says to press 1 if the call is not a solicitation and only then does the phone ring.

Services? (none / 0) (#176)
by PigleT on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 10:58:58 AM EST

I don't understand all the references to "signed up for" various "services" like caller-ID and blocking anonymous calls.

I've always had the best way of handling these things, anyway - on the phone. My mobile is quite capable of recognizing incoming phone#s if I've put them in the addressbook, has groups of callers like VIP/family/friends/Work/others and the ability to map ring-tunes to groups, including no ringing at all, just vibrating (meetings) or nothing ("other" calls when in the right profile).

And if I push the hangup button on an incoming call, it goes straight through to voicemail, no problems.

Last I checked, all nokias and motorolas have had this for at least 3 years here in the UK.

So what on earth is the poster complaining about?

~Tim -- We stood in the moonlight and the river flowed
[ Parent ]

I haven't had a phone solicitor call in months (5.00 / 1) (#121)
by ceallach on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 10:31:55 AM EST

The solution ? New unlisted phone number ... and never put this phone number down on paper !!! Use your work number for every form, account etc. Most companies (incl. utilities, cable, credit cards, ad nauseum) WILL SELL your contact information to telemarketers. The only sales calls I got were from AT&T (apparently SBC doesn't think unlisted applies to it's competitors ? Or maybe there is a federal reg on that issue ...) and when I requested to be on the AT&T "don't call" list those phone calls went away.


More smoke! The mirrors aren't working!!!

War dialers (none / 0) (#139)
by Mitheral on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 04:10:28 PM EST

This doesn't work for those poor saps hired to make cold calls from a war dialer. Three roommates and I at one time had six consecutive (555-1234, 555-1235 etc.) phone numbers (one for each of us and two for my BBS). After the second answered call we knew not to answer the next call to each number.

[ Parent ]
the problem with callerid (3.00 / 1) (#127)
by pheta on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 11:53:59 AM EST

I found the problem with callerid in the US is that often times people who I know who are calling long distance come up as "Unknown" or "Out of Area". Sometimes sprintpcs numbers come in as unknown as well. This is annoying because you can't screen telemarketers this way since it may be someone you know. This is with local phone service with SWBell.

I also have a sprintpcs phone. It irks me that the callers name doesn't come in when someone calls you. You only see the phone number (unless the number is in your phone book in which it matches the number with the name).

i use this feature to my advantage (5.00 / 1) (#132)
by jcs on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 12:56:22 PM EST

if you call my cell phone and i don't see a name appear with the number, i don't answer it.  it goes to voicemail, and if i know you, i'll call you back.  if you have a new number, i'll just add it to my phone book so you appear the next time you call.

i don't even have a home phone anymore; i use a cell phone for everything.  telemarketers don't call numbers in the allocated cell phone ranges and i've never received a telemarketing call on my cell phone in the 2+ years i've had it.  i give out my cell phone number as my "home phone" for everything that requires it.

[ Parent ]

Therapist's Telephone Number (2.00 / 1) (#130)
by MicroGlyphics on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 12:12:07 PM EST

Of course I have his work phone number, but when he returns a call from home (typically at the end of a day), he does not prefer to have his home number known. Given the nature of his clientel, I can certainly see why and respect that, but this still does not allow me to block anonymous calls because of instances like these--limited as they might be.

No more phone numbers... (none / 0) (#136)
by DrEvil on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 02:50:38 PM EST

I'd also like to see the system switch to e-mail addresses (or equivalent) for dialing.  Why should I have to remember 555-1010 and jsmith@somehost.com?  Dialing jsmith@somehost.com will get me in touch with that person, and e-mailing jsmith@somehost.com would accomplish the same.  

Maybe some of this could be built upon Jabber or SMTP.  The phone system just has to query that address to grab the telephone number, and then it would dial the phone number as usual.  That way no major infrastructure changes are needed.

The advantage of this system is not only not having to remember a phone number, but if you get a new phone number, the address need not change.  You could move across the world and still have the same calling address.

Technical problems... (none / 0) (#153)
by pla on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 04:59:34 AM EST

Maybe some of this could be built upon Jabber or SMTP

Unfortunately, most internet telephony solutions have one major problem - Humans tend to talk back-to-back, often cutting each other off. A delay of more than 150ms will cause a noticeable lag in dialog (and according to a recent Slashdot article, mean internet ping times have gone up to over twice that).

VoIP somewhat circumvents this problem, but if you throw in too much "intelligence", you end up with the same problem, though from a processing rather than network lag bottleneck. Same result either way, conversation sounds halting and "broken".

Not to say, though, that a system such as the parent article suggests could not exist today. I only mean to say that implementing it over the internet just *begs* for it to fail. Adding intelligence to POTS endpoints (ie, ergonomic, "smart", but otherwise normal, telephones) would go quite a lot further.

[ Parent ]
my problem (none / 0) (#140)
by Phantros on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 04:39:58 PM EST

As others mentioned, a cell phone is the perfect solution. In my state at least (Michigan) telemarketers do not call cell phones.

My main problem with cell phones is that they are over-used. I went out to dinner last night and saw four people on their cell phones at the restaurant. Either I have a very subpar social life (possible), or other people are becoming far too addicted to their gadgets, if they can't take time out when eating in a nice restaurant to not talk on the phone.

4Literature - 2,000 books online and Scoop to discuss them with

cells in restaurants (none / 0) (#177)
by adequate nathan on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 02:53:39 PM EST

People talking on their cells in restaurants, for extended periods, as opposed to quickly taking that hypothetical "Joe didn't make it - you have to come in" call, are just trying to impress themselves and others.

"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Put "Do Not Call" on your answering mach (5.00 / 1) (#143)
by bill_mcgonigle on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 06:01:46 PM EST

I changed my home recording to:

"Hi, <2 second pause>, if this is a Telemarketer,  put us on your don't call list.  Otherwise, please leave a message."

The two second pause is necessary to get connected to a real person by the autodialer (Hello? <pause>)".

Tracking my CallerID logs, this has brought down my telemarketing calls from 6 per day to 2 per month over the past 6 months.

Strangely enough, most telemarketers call me during the day.  My dog is the primary beneficiary of this system.

That worked? (none / 0) (#152)
by pla on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 04:51:35 AM EST

Wow. You lucked out. I've had a similar message on my machine in the past, and after two months, it had not changed the number of telemarketing calls I receive at all.

So now my machine just says that by calling me for any unsolicited commercial communications, the caller agrees to trade me their soul in exchange for the honor of listening to my answering machine message.

This hasn't changed the number of calls I get either, but at least I can delude myself into thinking that perhaps I have at least made a few of the more religious among the swine-who-call ponder whether or not the gods enforce click-wrap licenses.

That, and it entertains the more easily amused among my friends (I do change it occasionally, but usually stick to variations on a theme for a few months at a time).

[ Parent ]
You have to do it right. (4.00 / 1) (#159)
by jtown@punk.net on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 02:05:43 PM EST

The magic phrase is "put me on your do not call list".  If you don't say that, you've said nothing relevant.  If you ask to be put on their "do not call" list, they must put you on the "do not call" list.  If you put a joke message on your machine, then they're not required to do anything.

[ Parent ]
5 to 6 rings? (none / 0) (#156)
by Inoshiro on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 10:41:09 AM EST

Personally, I don't sweat it. If I'm not answering after 2 rings, I'm not answering. Set your voicemail to 3 rings and be done with it. Also, I've not had problems with telemarketters. This might be because I'm in Canada, or it might be because I troll (in one case making a woman freak out over a quarter) or ask to not be called by the telemarketters on pains of logal prosecution.

[ イノシロ ]
It's Canda.. (none / 0) (#169)
by mindstrm on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 03:38:31 PM EST

where, at least, it's still illegal to telemarket to cellular phones. Completely.

[ Parent ]
We gotta set our priorities. (none / 0) (#186)
by Rock Joe on Mon Sep 02, 2002 at 04:02:52 PM EST

I don't think that something should be made illegal based solely on the fact that it's annoying. But that's just me. Having to delete 10 e-mails before starting to read my mail is just a part of the e-mail process now. Sad but true.

Signatures are for losers!
--Rock Joe
[ Parent ]
Not illegal? Why not? (none / 0) (#187)
by Inoshiro on Wed Sep 04, 2002 at 11:55:56 PM EST

"I don't think that something should be made illegal based solely on the fact that it's annoying." Laws exist to help enforce implicit social contracts that people have with each other, without which we would not be able to function in society as well (if at all). Why shouldn't we use laws to enforce it? I mean, if it's common courtesy to not do it, why do we have laws against murder?

[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Because. :o) (none / 0) (#188)
by Rock Joe on Thu Sep 05, 2002 at 12:37:23 AM EST

Laws exist to help enforce implicit social contracts that people have with each other, without which we would not be able to function in society as well (if at all). Why shouldn't we use laws to enforce it? I mean, if it's common courtesy to not do it, why do we have laws against murder? Murder has nothing to do with courtesy. The victim in the case of murder is left in a far worse state than merely annoyed. My only problem is that if we start banning annoying things, that could lead us down a slippery slope that'll lead us places we can't even imagine. What if enough people started finding Heavy Metal annoying? The same could happen for all other types of music, making it all illegal in time. If the victim is fine, then it's not a crime. Johnny Cockran (spelling?), eat your heart out! :o)

Signatures are for losers!
--Rock Joe
[ Parent ]
Coming faster than you think... (none / 0) (#157)
by nsgnfcnt1 on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 01:01:14 PM EST

A telecom in Europe (who shall remain nameless - NDA stuff) has been working on a system that integrates features of IM into their mobile phone system. The idea is to be able to program your mobile to "moods" (1: Anyone can contact me, 2: Only people on my "buddy" list can contact me, 3: Only mom can call me, and so on...). Another part of the whole scheme was to have auto translation of e-mail messages into voice-mails, and vice-versa (the wonders of speech recognition never cease). So, from one mobile phone, you could have complete control over all forms of electronic communication (textos, e-mail, voice-mail) as well as the standard WAP (crap?) browsing. Unfortunately, it's a complicated system and from what I remember it was a long way off.

Wow.. (none / 0) (#168)
by mindstrm on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 03:37:48 PM EST

So your NDA lets you disclose the details of what they are doing, but not who they are?
Are you sure you don't have it backwards?

[ Parent ]
Phone (none / 0) (#158)
by AnalogBoy on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 01:33:14 PM EST

With the advent of cell phones, people are more and more demanding you be available and attached to the phone at all times.

2 years ago the idea of using a cell phone as my primary phone seemed a bit alien, and pizza places wouldn't even take the number - it had to be a land line.   Now, nobody has a problem, and indeed if you dont answer the phone when someone calls you (mom) you get berated.. "Why do you have a cell phone anyways?"  

I turn my cell phone off or leave it on the charger more and more now.  I've come full circle.   My work telephone more than makes up for this though, with the Nextel Direct-Connect feature, were you dont even have to ACKNOWLEDGE the other end intruding on you.   How convienient.

Now, if only cell phone charges would become reasonable (Per minute, roaming, and long distance charges are so.. not cool anymore), id be happier.
Save the environment, plant a Bush back in Texas.
Religous Tolerance (And click a banner while you're there)

some companies still have problems (none / 0) (#160)
by jtown@punk.net on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 02:16:05 PM EST

Pizza Hut still wouldn't accept cell phones the last time I tried (about 6 months ago).  Not a big problem since there are plenty of pizza places that are glad to have my business (tho my pizza purchases have dropped dramatically in the last few months).

And, yes, I could just give them a fake number but they wouldn't be able to contact me if there's a problem.  Nothing more annoying than waiting an hour for a pizza only to find that the new driver got lost and couldn't get directions because you gave them your office fax number to get around their rigid phone system.

[ Parent ]

In the mean time... (none / 0) (#185)
by Rock Joe on Mon Sep 02, 2002 at 03:58:51 PM EST

... here's an option that will give you most of the functionnality you desire. All you need is a pager and a bunch of quarters. :o)

That being said, hearing a phone ring, being bothered by telemarketers, and having to hold a receiver to your ear in order to speak to someone who may not even be in the same country as you: if these are the worst of your problems, you don't have any.

Signatures are for losers!
--Rock Joe

Time To Get Rid of Telephones | 188 comments (184 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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