Random thoughts on phones

Some things kind of make me shake my head. When we were at the MVP summit, we think we left Dee's cell phone charger at the hotel. So we headed down to our local dealer to see how much it was going to cost to replace it. $45. Ouch. Or… we could get a new phone for $40, which came with a charger. That seemed like a no-brainer, as Dee didn't like sending text messages on her old phone anyway since it didn't have a full keyboard. So now she's sporting a nice new Samsung cell phone.

As nice as it is to have a shiny new phone, it does kind of make you shake your head at how disposable technology is though. And why does every different phone, even within the same supplier's lines, have a different charger? Why can't they all standardize on USB or something? That's pretty irritating, IMO, and leads to a ton of unnecessary e-waste.

On a note that doesn't seem related, but will be by the end of the post… (Relatively) recently, Canada put in place a "Do Not Call" list. We signed up right away, and it worked for a bit. Then slowly we started getting calls again. As it turns out, the CRTC doesn't do any vetting of who buys the lists as every agency has an obligation to know who NOT to call. Sadly though, this means that bad companies can buy lists that only contain valid phone numbers. Arrgh! So go figure that my cell phone, whose number is only 11 months old, is now getting 2-3 "FO" calls per week.

What really gets my goat though, is what my phone company (Telus) did when I tried to deal with one. The calls I get on my cell are from an "agency" who asks me to dial 9 to speak to a representative. This is a well-known scam that allows them to make long distance calls on your number. The best part, though, is that the number shows up on call display on my phone. So I phoned Telus to let them know that I had the number for a scam artist. After all, they only control the entire phone system in BC and Alberta. They didn't want to hear about it. I basically got the impression that they don't give a crap what scam their customers may fall into, so long as they get their long distance funds. That is pretty piss poor in my opinion, as they should be able to turn them over to the RCMP or something, and make the phone lines safer for everyone. It's a typical Telus attitude though, and the reason that the only Telus service in my house is the cell the company pays for. (I switched to Shaw's home phone service the day it was finally available in my area.)

Now, back to Dee's phone for a second… One really cool thing that I stumbled on is that she can actually put in a list of blocked numbers. How cool is that? We haven't explored it in detail, but that got me thinking…

I'd LOVE to see a feature in my Windows Mobile device that would allow me to blacklist a number. And I'd like this blacklist to be serious enough not to just ignore a call, but rather a list of calls to discard completely. As it is, not only do I get the irritating ring, but the jerks leave me a message. In order to clear the voicemail icon, so that I know that I actually don't have any unheard messages, I have to burn up cell time… and that costs me money. It would also have huge benefits to those who end up with social issues in their lives like harassment. Just blacklist the number and it's done. Granted, you can phone the cell carrier and block a number for a fee per month, but let's make this self serve and easy to implement. I'd rather burn my cell time making calls, rather than dealing with scam artists.

Granted, I'm not sure how practical it is for Microsoft to deal with, or if they'd have to reinvent the phone company. They are the largest software company in the world, though, so you'd hope that they could influence the future tech direction of a phone carrier.

5 thoughts on “Random thoughts on phones

  1. Re: phone charger standardization: until that day comes, I suggest you check out the iGo adapters. I've seen them at The Source, WalMart and Future Shop. Maybe elsewhere?

  2. Can you add those phone numbers to a specific group?

    Can you give that group its own ringtone?

    Can you upload a quiet (no sound at all) clip to use as that ringtone?

  3. @ Chris: That's cool! So there is hope after all!

    @ Drake: Thanks, I may do that if we lose another charger.

    @ Dave: Good thought... I don't know about adding contacts to a specific group, but I could upload a "silent" ring tone. It does only get me halfway to my ultimate dream, as I'll still see a missed call and have to nuke their message. Regardless, it might be a good workaround for now. Thanks!

  4. I saw a canon printer in my local supermarket recently that was very cheap, so cheap that it was less than a replacement set of ink cartridges, and as it comes with a full set ... you can guess the rest.

    Madness. No wonder mankind's time on this planet is limited.

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