Joe’s Journal

One ringy dingy, two ringy dingy

Ramblings from an old scribbler
Wed, 07/21/2021 - 7:00am

With apology to Lily Tomlin, here are a few thoughts as I try to figure out why we still have an actual landline telephone at our house.

I called the phone service, to which I send a fat check each month, and asked them how much I would save if we canceled the landline. They said no, it would cost the same. But, I suggested, we would get less service, but it would cost the same. It seems like that is wrong.

The pleasant guy on the other side of the conversation said he understood my argument, but there was nothing he could do. Sorry. You have a package of services that cost one price. The internet, television and phone services are "bundled" together. That is the plan you signed up for.

I understood his position. After all, he just works there. He is a worker bee, not a senior vice president in charge of a major division inside a vast corporation.

I get it.

In truth, his company provides a good service. In many ways, a miracle of technology that evolved in ways I couldn't have imagined, say 20 years ago when I watched Capt. James T. Kirk pulling a flip phone out of his sleeve and talking to someone half a galaxy away.

Today, I can pull out my iPhone and talk to someone halfway around the world. I can use it to watch the British Open ... oops ... “The Open” and watch them make birdies and bogies at an authentic links course located across the pond.

I can use the same phone to figure out arithmetic problems, translate currency values and tell me the time and weather forecast. It is a kind of miracle.

I guess I wouldn't mind it a bit paying/not paying for the landline if the big corporation would give me or sell me one more service. I would love it if they pledged to send us calls placed by real people. I mean calls from actual human being type people.

No more robocalls. OK?

I no longer want to listen to "Rachel," the robot that wants to sell me an insurance policy to back up the factory warranty on the vehicle my bride traded in eight years ago.

Yes, Rachel. That factory warranty on the car we no longer own has lapsed. And, frankly, we don't care if it did.

Last week, I got a call from a robot who said he was from Amazon. He didn't give me his name. I assume it was something like R2D2.

The recorded robot said he/she/it called me to let me know that someone made a suspicious purchase on my Amazon account. Robo guy said someone charged $1,000 or so to buy a new iPhone. He said if I wanted to know more about this phantom iPhone purchase, I had to hit key 1 (or was it 2?).

No thanks, I said. Then I hung up and fired up my trusty old Apple computer. A quick check on the Amazon website showed that I had not bought anything in several months. So, I figured the Robo “courtesy” call was a scam to get into my wallet.

About an hour later, I got another call from the same pseudo-Amazon robot guy who repeated the same message.

My phone said both calls originated from a local phone number. They call this spoofing.

I have another request from the bundled phone service provider company. Would they please stop sending me calls from a nice Indian gentleman who told me his name was “Kevin?”

For the record, it was not Kevin Burnham, the intrepid editor of this publication.

This “Kevin” said he was calling to help me get the bad stuff off my computer.

If I gave “Kevin” control of my computer (it would only take a few strokes on my keyboard ), he would tune it up and make sure it would run like new. Oh yes, I would also have to give him my credit card number and ... Sure I will, “Kevin.”

I'm not too fond of the idea of paying for landline telephone service that brings me dozens of annoying scam calls.

In this age of artificial intelligence and magical algorithms, it seems to me that the big phone service provider could filter them out with a couple of strokes on its giant computer.

Don’t you agree?