Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Just Wondering!

I dialed a long distance number today. It was within my area code, but long distance. I forgot to dial a 1, before dialing the number. The loud, well spoken lady on the recording said, "I'm sorry, you must dial a 1 before dialing this number".
My question is, if you can build a machine to recognize that someone forgot to dial the 1, why not have it say, "Good news, you forgot to dial a 1, so I did it for you!"

15 comments:

Jerry said...

We have been in the "new" area code 765 for 10 years now. Whenever Mom gets the recording, she gets red in the face, and says, "That WOMAN says I dialed the wrong number". Then Mom will set the phone aside in disgust. Poor Mom.

Rachel said...

Now that is a good question Cliff!!

Felecia said...

I think you're on to something here, Cliff! My advice is to contact a paten and trademark attorney immediately and sit back knowing you've made the world of telecommunications a MUCH BETTER PLACE!

Dan said...

I know how you feel, it aggrivates me to no end. They will also tell you when you didn't need to dial a 1. flippin idiots! This voice we hear is the same lady that irritates her used-to-be friends because she won't stop correcting their grammar as they speak.

Mike ( ex scientia, veritas ) said...

I've always wondered why when you look in the index for a particular subject it says, "see this, that or the other thing". Why don't they just print a page number??? In the case of the phone - does that mean you "lost" if you didn't "1" ?

Britmum said...

Yeah why don't they do that for you? It really irks me that I forget sometimes and then I have to dial the whole number again. I also don't understand why when you look at the caller idea the number comes up minus the 1. Whats that all about?

Britmum said...

P.S. Of course I will come back and visit Cliff. Your hat is very becoming.

Take care

John Goerzen said...

I am surprised to hear myself say this, but I actually *like* it that the phone companies do this. I normally detest most things associated with phone companies.

The reason is: this way, I always know that if I dial 1+number, that this is a long distance call and I'll be billed for it unless it's a toll-free number. And if I don't dial with the 1, then it's a local call. (Or an international call, which begins with 011)

But more generally, it's not possible to automate adding the 1 in all cases. Let's say that you tried to dial 213-456-7890. Now, perhaps you live in area code 123, and there is a valid phone number 213-213-4567.

If you dial the digits "2134567" on your phone, there's no way for the phone company's systems to tell whether you have just entered a complete phone number (for 213-213-4567 dialed as a local call) or that you are starting to enter a long-distance number (for 213-456-7890).

The "1" beforehand tells the telco switch to expect 9 more digits exactly.

There was a time, by the way, where it was not possible to have an area code (NPA) number that was the same as a local exchange (the middle 3 digits) number. But due to numbering shortages, those days are long gone.

Even in situations where the telco could resolve the dialing without ambiguity, it may be quite difficult for their systems to do so. Plus, there's a social question: the number may be unambiguous now, but if new area codes or exchanges are added, it could be ambiguous in the future. People's dialing habits could suddenly stop working.

Cliff Morrow said...

I thought you grew up on a farm John. You are never to let logic cloud the issue.
Uh, Mr Chairman, I respectfully withdraw the blog.

Babble said...

I am with you on this one. It should!

terah said...

Cliff, can you guess that John is really into phones? I apologize for him taking the steam out of a wonderful story!

My employer recently signed up with a new "feature" through the phone company. Now we do not have to dial 1 or the area code for any call within our area code, even if it is long distance. Thing is, no one thought to tell the employees to dial differently. But, we did get that helpfully annoying lady who told us that we didn't do it right. Sigh.

Jamie Dawn said...

Good point! Of course, we wouldn't want to be dumbing down society would we?

John Goerzen said...

Cliff,

It seems to run in the family. I just got an e-mail from my dad saying he liked your post and my comment. And also pointing out that I miscounted the number of digits after the "1" -- of course it should be 10.

Wikipedia has a great article on the North American Numbering Plan and its history. Oddly enough, I do find the history of area codes interesting.

Terah is reading what I'm writing. She says that I'm supposed to point out that she's rolling her eyes at me right now.

But I think that you probably could have guessed that.

Cliff Morrow said...

Terah, rolling her eye's. Now that's a surprise. I'll check out the article.

Paul said...

You're hired.