From: don (Don Levinstone) Would the invention of the telephone ever have gotten off the ground if Alexander Graham Bell's first call had gone... Bell: Mr. Watson, come here; I want you. Voice: If you know Watson's extension, press 1 now. If you would like to leave a message for Watson, press 2. If you need further assistance, hold the line for the next available representative.... The telephone, which was satisfied for a century or so simply placing and receiving calls, has become a different animal in recent years. These days, everybody has an answering machine, a speakerphone, and a slew of other telecommunication doodads. Call waiting, caller ID, and last-number redial are fine, but here are some options that can't be far behind. ON-HOLD DISRUPT: When someone puts you on hold for more than 15 seconds, a digitized voice blares over his or her speakerphone, "Hey! Remember me? I don't have all day!" (This option also shorts out Muzak if it's being played.) CALL SCHMOOZING: Stuck listening to a long-winded acquaintance? Call schmoozing activates a speech-synthesized voice that sounds just like you and repeats "Uh-huh...I see...right" while the other party babbles on. He or she thinks you're hanging on every word, when you're actually getting your work done. CALL SCHMOOZING PLUS: Your phone places calls to important contacts, trades pleasantries, probes for career-enhancing information, and ends by saying, "You're beautiful. Let's do lunch. Don't ever change." GOSSIP NOTIFICATION: Company rumors are automatically broadcast to selected voice mailboxes. Time once wasted circulating gossip translates into increased productivity. CALL TERMINATE: Imagine being able to fire troublesome employees just by dialing their numbers! An excellent feature for executives with poor confrontation skills. NETWORK EAVESDROP: A must for the paranoid manager. Whenever anyone in the company mentions your name during a phone conversation, a voice-activated tape-recorder stores the call so you can review it later and hear what people are saying about you. SELECTIVE CALL DISCOURAGING: Program the numbers of people you really don't want to speak with. When they dial your number, your phone transmits a mild electric shock through their receivers. CELLULAR CRANK CALL: On command, your car phone can dial any other car phone within a 30-mile radius and tell the driver his muffler looks as though it's about to fall off. CALL REMINDING: Store the birthdays and anniversaries of loved ones in your telephone's memory. On the appropriate days, the phone automatically calls them and relays heartfelt sentiments in a digitized voice simulating your own. CALL INTERRUPT: When you need to end a conversation quickly, a button on your phone causes a fake operator to break in and announce that you have an emergency call on the line from Steve Jobs. SUBLIMINA-CALL: Periodically during a conversation, the phone plays subliminal messages to the other party, such as "Say yes" and "Increase my department's budget." CHARGE-FORWARDING: A quick push of a button charges any long- distance call to the person you're calling or to friends who don't look too closely at their phone bills.
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