Apathy - I would hurt a fly

Fitch: @yahoo | @ductape | @hotmail | @beanpole

Upcoming: Defunct Rock, ASCII Games
Currently: Voicemail

Automated Telephone Systems

Voicemail. The bane of all humanity, and I hear other species don't like it either. The definitive quote for this series of links would have to be from Jackie Harvey's "The Outside Scoop" column in the Onion.

"You know, I am just sick to death of voicemail. "Press one for X, press two for Y, press three for Z." How about I just press the disconnect button until you get me a real person to talk to!"

What exactly are the American laws on voicemail spying? Privacy Rights Clearinghouse to the rescue. Bookmark this site; it has got many handy fact sheets dealing with diverse aspects of the privacy realm. Although the Social Security Number discussion is off-topic, it explains the situation very clearly.
Today, we want to investigate: Is There Privacy in the Workplace? According to this document, in most cases email and voicemail are not private. This scares me; of course, if the employer makes any promises about privacy, those take precedence and are legally binding.
This article on Nolo dealing with voicemail privacy points out some twists; if the employer is monitoring the call and it becomes deeply personal, they are obliged to stop.

All we were trying to do was break the voicemail barrier. Is this woman the one that lives inside my phone and talks to me soothingly about deleting messages because I have no more space? No, she's rather more like Homer Simpson's dial-o-matic machine. "The VMB/60 does the most repetitious, tedious part of sales work for you!"
She sure eliminates all that an emotional toll on telemarketers. TSR [tele-sales representative] is a new acronym to me; does this strike a curious old DOS chord with anyone else, where those stupid driver TSRs just wouldn't go away?
Let's hear input on this issue from the human TSR perspective. "Voicemail is a fact of life for sales professionals. Don’t fight it; exploit it as a selling tool to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Use it to create value for your customer." running in fear...

Now the part you were probably expecting: fun and stupid voicemail recordings. First on the conveyor belt, we've got nasty voicemails to Kill Yourself Incorporated from people that don't understand, and are full of hatred in return. Yay!
Rolling down the line, Luser Voicemail documents a great call from someone who thinks the Eudora mail client rhymes with euphoria.
For those spam-lovers in the audience, here's one of your fellows bugging the author of an anti-spam site. He even managed a return call! Reminds me of milling cattle.
Next, Request Line gives us an article about Fun and Games with Voicemail... shudder. Authored by Hans Eisenbeis, [a Suck contributor] who notes that people saying their own names can be hilarious. I concur.

Oddly, some of the few voicemail jokes I ran across happened to come in the form of really bad plays. Compare and contrast What Key to Press? with Play-a-Day's offering. Both one act plays, using many of the same lame punch lines about how complicated automated phone systems can be. Only one includes any kind of author credit. Joke plagiarism for breakfast, anyone? These made me laugh in that meta-funny way; the prose itself is not funny, but the fact that someone thought it would make me laugh, makes me laugh. I am stupid, because it worked.

Blackfamilies.com has a page which is terrifying me: What if God Had Voicemail?

"To find out if a loved one has been assigned to Heaven, press 5, enter his Social Security number followed by the pound key."

I wonder if I can call in and check on my own salvation real quick? They don't list a number, unfortunately. Even more sinister: look down at the bottom of the page, where it has a visitor agreement blurb. By viewing that page, you automatically agreed to the Cox conglomerate's Visitor Manifesto. But luckily, although it's full of express warnings and voided guarantees, it tells me: "Take what you find with a grain of salt." Thanks, Cox Interactive Media Conglomerate. I feel much better now.

Completely not on the voicemail topic, but I found a host of the ol' Pointless Audio pranks, which are quality aural entertainment in the same general vein.

[Friday, October 22, 1999]

all archives
bach and tone

Voicemail annoys me to no end at work. Wading through blank messages, long inaudible messages, and messages that sound like they originated on some alien planet takes far too much time out of my day.

I've figured out the latter of those problems as of this week, though; it turns out one of our kind user ladies is capable of stuttering in a new and unique way. Each syllable is usually started with a different consonant, strings of vowels follow through the range, separated by glottal stops. Very rapidly. It scares me.

Listening to:
(übermelodic punk kick)

  • Limp - Guitarded
  • Millencolin - Same Old Tunes
  • No Use for a Name - More Betterness!
  • Starflyer 59 - Gold
  • Flying Saucer Attack - New Lands
  • Gastr del Sol - Camoufleur
  • Built to Spill - Keep it Like a Secret

Reading stack:

  • Samuel Beckett - Endgame
  • The World's Shortest Stories [waycool]
  • Shawn Wallace - Programming Web Graphics (O'Reilly monkey book)
  • C.S. Lewis - Till We Have Faces
  • Neal Stephenson - Cryptonomicon, again
  • Franz Kafka - The Trial, on loop
  • Franz Kafka - Everyman's Library: Collected Stories

Dan Fitch dgfitch@yahoo.com
Thanks to the wonder-full folk of Pitas.com for hosting my old-fashioned link-list!


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