Carrier Access Codes are a largely dated*, though still functional service to select your long-distance telephone carrier per phone call. In the United States, these "dial-around codes" reached a (commercial) peak in the late 1990s, as seen with ads featuring such semi-notables as Marla Gibbs, Christine Taylor and Reginald VelJohnson, Harry Anderson, John Lithgow, Tony Danza, Doug Flutie, and even Alf and some well-known friends. [more inside]
A series of BBC News Magazine articles on the office as workplace: (i) How the office was invented; (ii) The ancient Chinese exam that inspired modern job recruitment (previously); (iii) The invention of the career ladder; (iv) The arrival of women in the office; (v) Do we still need the telephone?; (vi) Are there too many managers?; (vii) The era of the sexually charged office; (viii) The decline of privacy in open-plan offices; (ix) How the computer changed the office forever and (x) Why did offices become like the home?—by columnist Lucy Kellaway. [more inside]
Shakespeare on Security. In 2007, AT&T produced this nest of corporate videos which posited what would happen if "The Bardster" took a job working in an IT Department. Episodes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8.
Yarchive is one man's collection of UseNET posts on the topics of Air Conditioning; Aircraft; Bicycles; Cars; Chemistry; Computers; Electrical, Electronic; Environment; Explosives, Pyrotechnics; Food; Houses; Guns; Jokes; Medicine; Metalworking; Military; Nuclear; Telephones; Physics; Risks; Security; Space mostly from a select group of authors. It has been updated several times since it first appeared here in 2001 and it never fails to sucker me in for hours every time I stumble upon it from a Google Search. [more inside]
Before the advent of Cellular phones and the internet, cities around the world were entwined with a series of webs hanging precariously overhead. Their function: to relay messages from one part of town to the next. And the pioneers who were put in charge of this arduous task--the Switchboard Operators. The first choice for this new source of employment was a disappointing failure, not surprisingly, but then a new breed of worker emerged on the scene. These hardworking individuals were the epitome of good behaviour and gritty determination. Patient and understanding, they were always expected to fulfill their tasks, no matter what the cost. And, to their credit--they are still remembered today for the unique place they held in some peoples hearts.
Badgers and Bananas. A Flashy Friday contribution mon amis. So we got the Badgers, here's the Cussing CeleBriteez (Yes re-post and NSFW) and finally Fingertips! Do I really need to explain the connection..come on!
Collections: Bakelite telephones, beercans, modified rubix cubes, radios and tubes, insulators (1) (2), minature cars, pens, novelty lamps, nativities (warning: serious eyesore!), bobble heads and handcuffs.
Dial-A-Cheater "proved what I couldn't. After he answered the call I scheduled, I asked him who it was. He lied. I totally busted him out. He was cheating with my best friend!" Kill the illusion of joy with a cell phone (and $1.95 USD).
The Old Telephone Company, Essex, England
Skype, a new P2P Telephony service from the people who created KaZaA. [more inside]
Everything you ever wanted to know about telephones. Really. I went to the list of History of the Telephone links first.
Thought you were rid of the telemarketers? Perhaps not. It looks like they're fighting back to items like the TeleZapper that fake telemarketers into thinking your phone is disconnected by playing the three tones you get if your phone doesn't work. Castel, Inc claims their DirectQuest software defeats devices like Telezapper by reading the connect messages delivered by your public switched telephone network. Fave quote - “It’s a privacy arms race.." Will this ever end?
Among the most confusing dilemmas facing today's consumer is the question of which cell phone carrier is right for you. Even though Consumer Reports just published an article rating different carriers, the results are far from conclusive. I've been searching for web resources to cut through all the crap, and I thought I'd share a couple with the MeFi community, since typing "compare cell phone plans" into Google brings up a load of pop-up laden vendors thinly disguised as dispensers of advice.
- PhoneScoop.com offers the most comprehensive lists of cell phone features I've seen, a handy comparison tool, and a good number of intelligent user reviews.
- LetsTalk.com suffers from a bit of that thinly-disguised-vendor syndrome, but it is useful for comparing different services and getting clearly presented, itemized lists of each service's features. Be wary of the service comparison tool, because it's rather incomplete, but it's a good starting point to compare plans.
Free electricity from the phone company. I already knew that phone lines carry an electrical current, but using it to power devices other than telephones is a new one on me. Some of these are useful, some are interesting, and some are pretty ironic. [via boingboing]
Tools you can use. In my line of work, I'm often tasked with finding out information about local telephone numbers. This website is an invaluable aid to that end such as the ability to type in someone's area code and prefix and find out where the number is located, or to find out all the prefixes in a given area (ratecenter). Now you too can identify strange unidentified phone numbers your Caller ID reports to you.
Hackers target Cell Phones With the connectivity of cell phones to the internet, hackers have begun to target cell phones, programming prank calls, placing calls to wherever and erasing the software in the phone.
555-LIST Insane Collection of 555 phone numbers from TV-Movies-cartoons. 555-6542 Rev. Lovejoy The Simpsons 555-4044 Tanners residence ALF
Call the Vatican. Or Boston Public Library. Or Grand Central Station. A few friends of mine used to use this tactic to see what the weather is like. This is a database of public pay-phone numbers, along with location and occasional sundry information. Read, call, and contribute!
The next time you someone with a finger in their ear they might be on the phone.
I hate telemarketing calls. I've done a number of things to amuse myself in the process of dealing with such calls but that doesn't stop them. Here's how to cut down the calls you receive.
MovieFone (or 777film.com, or AOL/Moviefone if you want to be official) has long been my favorite place to look up movie showtimes, but lately I've been running into problems. The biggest one is this: if you search for movies by theater, then hit "more" a couple times, it reaches a limit of about 12 theaters. Here in LA, that limit corresponds to a 4-5 mile radius. The theater I want to look up movie times at is maybe 7-8 miles away, but no where in the interface is a real "search." It's all just lists and lists. Eventually, I found a list of local theaters (covering about a 20 mile radius) in the theater codes section, but it's not a real search engine, so looking up times at out of town theaters requires you to know the zip code of the place you're going to. I know they're trying to simplify their site by taking out a search engine, but what about the people that know exactly what they want? I use moviefone on the web because using it on a telephone requires you to navigate convoluted menu systems, but they've transferred the phone experience to the web quite well.
This past summer, I bought a Microsoft Cordless Phone, which I fell in love with after seeing all its cool features. My friends snickered when I bought it and they made little jokes about my 'proprietary' phone that would 'crash' during calls, but I defended my MS phone. So now the time has come to upgrade my home win98 box to Win2k, but apparently MS has no intentions of making the phone compatible with Win2k, nor will they ever support it. This phone is less than a year old, and it's going to be useless soon (all the answering and caller ID is software based). Anyone want to buy this $150 paperweight I have sitting here on my desk?
Find the distance between two American telephone exchanges with the Interoffice Mileage Calculator. Find the distance between any two cities in the world with How Far Is It?. The latter also has a full database of American and Canadian towns, so I know that my hometown is 4864 miles from Athens, Greece, and 768 miles from Athens, Georgia.
The Phone Losers of America have recently been floating a bunch of interesting telephony links. First, there's a great tutorial on How Telephones Work. LincMad Telephone Area Codes & Splits covers the Balkanization of American area codes. And of course, there's the ever-present Pay Phone Directory and the Telephone Prefix Location List. Lastly, those ten codes (e.g. 10-10-220, 10-10-321) are covered at The Ten Project.