Things I don’t understand about telecommunications

We still have a good old fashioned land line here. Well, not exactly old fashioned- I mean we have call wating, caller ID, voicemail, and also a second number that we use for a fax (it’s not a second line, just a second number). We maintain a land line because:

  • Our security system uses it
  • Our power goes out not altogether infrequently, and it’s nice to still be able to make a call
  • I work at home, on the phone all day and the land line “just works.”
  • VOIP has a long way to go to come up to good voice quality in my estimation – when I talk to people on VOIP I can’t stand the latency, the voice quality, or the data loss.

Here’s what I really don’t understand. You can buy a gajillion different telephone systems for the home, with multiple handsets, etc. However, they all seem to come with answering systems. Now, most people I know that actually still have land lines use voice mail. So my first question is:

Who are all of these people still using home answering machines?

And my second question is:

Why the hell can’t I find a phone that has no digital answering system and has a voicemail indicator light?

If they can make phones that work with call waiting/caller ID/unique number, why the hell can’t they make phones that integrate with phone company voice mail systems? When I make calls for work, I turn off call waiting. When I get off the phone, I’d like to know if I have a voicemail waiting or not without having to turn the phone back on to hear the tones indicating that I have a voicemail. Is that too much to ask?

Thank you for your consideration.


The Holidays 2007

We spent Thanksgiving in Las Vegas and it was great. No responsibilities, no cooking, no gritting my teeth through political discussions. We stayed at Bally’s, and our friend Bruce also came down. We had a lovely afternoon with Maureen and Carl, who live in Las Vegas. Maureen used to work with Phil, and her husband, Carl, is also a musician. Carl’s parents live in Las Vegas, and his father used to play piano for Sammy Davis Jr. We had cake, listened to music, and Phil and the other musicians talked shop.

We had Thanksgiving dinner at the Steakhouse at Bally’s (you know, I really only eat turkey because it’s traditional!), and we gambled to our hearts content. We saw George Carlin, who, as he says, is an “old fuck,” and as funny as ever. We also saw Steve and Mary. I went to college with Steve (he was a senior, I was a freshman), and I hadn’t seen him in years, but he owns a pizzeria there, and I finally connected with him. He’s as funny and neurotic as ever.

Christmas, I find, is weirder and weirder as I do more personal examinations of my religion. I used to be wary of those who “celebrated Christmas” but didn’t really support the reasons behind it. Now that I find I may be an atheist, I feel uneasy celebrating because I don’t want to be a hypocrite. However, this year I did find gift buying less stressful than it has been in a few years – I was even done sort of early! Go figure.

We spent four days at home just watching TV and playing games and reading, and it was ideal.

New Year’s Eve I celebrated at Bruce’s new house while the Sweetie was playing in Benaroya’s lobby. We were able to actually watch the Space Needle’s fireworks snafu from the top of Greenlake, live! How fun. It was the 40th anniversary of my conception; yes, I really will be 40 this year. Well, as long as I live until October, which I suspect I will.

Now, it’s back to life and reality and concerts and work and auction prep. I’m tired already.

I hope you and yours are safe and happy and let’s hope that 2008 is much better than last year. I can’t wait until the elections!