Hi. I'm Mike. This isn't updated often.

Tag: phone

No Phone, No Cable… Living Just Fine

I just saw this report over on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website talking about the cancellation/removal of land-line phones in favor of cell-phone-only service. We are apparently at a point where one-in-five American homes have removed their plain ol’ telephone service in favor of exclusively using cell phones. The wife and I have been this way since 2004 when we moved into our first apartment, and continue to be this way in the new house. In addition to that, we also canceled our cable television service shortly before moving, and continue to operate with no traditional television service.

You know what? Things are just fine.

In terms of telephone service, it makes complete sense to abandon the land lines. While the quality of cell phone calls still leaves a lot to be desired, it suffices more than enough for my phone conversation purposes, which typically do not last longer than one minute unless I am calling my parents. If I am on the road or otherwise out and cannot be reached, my simply not answering the phone is exactly the same thing as someone calling me and not being home to pick up the phone. Combine that with text messages that completely replace voice mail in terms of disseminating tiny bits of information in quick, easily-digestible form… well, you’ve got a winner.

As for television, it is equally fine without it. We have enough things to keep us busy after the move that we have no time to just sit around and mindlessly watch television, anyway. Once things settle back down a little bit (which they are already beginning to do), we still have more than enough viewable-passive-media to keep us entertained until the ends of time without needing to obtain anything else. Throw video games into the mix, and I have a hard time understanding why I would ever actually need cable service on my television. In fact, the word “television” does not accurately describe that 50″ Kuro in my living room now, since everything from that to the “old TV” to the computer monitors are really nothing more than display surfaces of varying sizes and aged technology. Whether it’s a video game, a DVD, a Blu-ray, episodes downloaded online and burned to DVD+RW for viewing on the PS3 or 360… all of these display surfaces act in exactly the same way without needing to pay someone to be constantly broadcasting a live signal to them which I have no interest in tuning into, anyway.

I will admit there is a strange sort of “learning curve” to not being able to just sit down, hit a power button, and expect an in-progress video. Everything must be manually initiated. In the long run, I prefer this. Beyond the cost savings, I find that I gain precious minutes here and there that might otherwise be spent mindlessly flipping channels before realizing there is nothing to watch and starting up some other activity. Now-a-days, I just go right into whatever that “something else” would have been.

I’m constantly reminded of that Seinfeld episode where Kramer wants to cancel his mail. Can we do that, yet?

Annoying Phone Messages

While on the way to work (at precisely 8:21 am), I received a call from “Unknown” which I promptly ignored. They left a message (as I expected they would), so I checked it out. Below is a transcription of that (pre-recorded) message:

Hello. Today is Monday, December 15th. We are calling regarding an important, personal business matter. This call is NOT a sales or solicitation call and requires your immediate attention. Please return this call before end-of-business Tuesday, December the 16th, to 1-877-857-9756. You may return this call between the hours of 8 AM and 9 PM eastern standard time. Again, that number is 1-877-857-9756. Thank you.

Please note today’s date. Yes, today is January 21st… not December 15th. There’s strike number one. OK, fine. Strike number one was even calling me in the first place, and this was a strike after many strikes within the actual voice message. But still… seriously? And you’re calling before your actual “business hours” even start…?

When you Google around with the phone number, you get a variety of responses on forums and “Who called me?”-type sites. Some claim it’s a scam, some claim it’s a hijacked (but legitimate) number, some claim it’s a debt collection agency, etc.

Being that I don’t exactly owe anyone any money, that’s certainly not the case with me.

I received a couple of these a few months back, but with personal voice messages as opposed to this pre-recorded one. While en-route between the ceremony and reception for the wedding of a couple friends a couple months back, I decided to actually return the call from that previous annoyance. A very grumpy lady answered with no identification. I explained to her that I kept receiving calls from this number and I would like them to immediately cease. She asked me to confirm my phone number. I told her that if she was unable to see which number I was calling from, there was little chance that they were any sort of legitimate organization and I had no desire and was under absolutely no obligation to divulge any information about myself. She (obviously) started getting very angry, and refused to identify herself or her organization despite my repeated attempts at asking, claiming they “represent” many organizations. I ended up hanging up on her since I was getting nowhere, and I hadn’t received any calls from them since.

I wonder if this is the same place, or if I am just cooincidentally getting hit up again? I know there has been yet another disastrous credit leak due to a keylogger inside the Heartland systems, so everyone should be on their toes with nonsense like this.

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