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I can't figure out my phone

Bjarne Stroustrup said:

I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my telephone; my wish has come true because I can no longer figure out how to use my telephone.

I have to agree. My phone at work is indecipherable. What do these buttons do?

  • PROG
  • Call Park
  • DND
  • VM Transfer
  • AUTO
  • DND/CF
  • EXT
  • Some kind of little squiggle

To the best of my knowledge, there are only so many things you can DO with a phone. It rings, and then you pick it up and talk. Or it rings, you don't pick it up and it goes to voicemail. There are also HOLD and CONF (conference call?) buttons which I never use, but I'll allow that they can be useful. But the rest of those? In my wildest imaginings I can't fathom what they might do.

The phone also has a bunch of lights all over it. Sometimes they light up one color, sometimes another. Sometimes they blink and sometimes they light up steadily. There must be some kind of pattern to them but I don't know it. When lights start lighting up I start pressing buttons and talking to the empty room like a madman, and when someone talks back to me or the lights go out (whichever comes first) I consider that a victory.

What pioneer came up with hidden voicemail options? I call my voicemail, it tells me "To listen to messages, press 1, to do blah blabbity blah, press 2", etc. But there's a HIDDEN OPTION 0 to configure the voicemail, which the disembodied phone demon never tells me about. Why is this knowledge hidden? Is it too powerful for the average phone-user? Do you have to prove yourself worthy of the knowledge first?

I'd like to read a manual for the phone, but I don't think a manual exists. No one knows how the phones work at my job. What knowledge actually exists is sort of spread around via word-of-mouth, like the tribal history of some primitive civilization passed down from generation to generation by village elders telling stories around a campfire.

Is this what people who aren't good at computers feel like when they sit down at a keyboard? Do they look at a screen and see a bunch of meaningless squares and colors and words, where I see buttons and menus and useful GUI widgets?

February 16, 2009 @ 4:36 AM PST
Cateogory: Hardware


Bleys Maynard
Quoth Bleys Maynard on February 16, 2009 @ 11:21 AM PST

Well, Sean can play Dwarf Fortress, and to me it looks like someone rolled their face on the keyboard.

Bleys Maynard
Quoth Bleys Maynard on February 16, 2009 @ 11:21 AM PST

Oh yeah, and originally commented to say <3 the Stroustrup quote--where did you read that?

Quoth Nicole on February 16, 2009 @ 1:53 PM PST

I think you know what the PROG button does.