By Harry McCracken | Thursday, July 30, 2009 at 12:17 pm
My friend David Pogue of the New York Times is a man on a mission. He’s become irate over the time that cell phone company voicemail systems spend playing a recorded message telling you to leave a message, explaining how to send a page, and suggesting that you hang up when you’re done leaving the message. The messages are pointless little annoyances every time you hear them–and since they take fifteen seconds or so to play, they eat up the monthly minutes of the person who called.
David is trying to rally phone users to bury carriers in such a surging sea of complaints that they enter the 21st century by ditching these obsolete recorded messages. It’s a great idea. His post about all this includes instructions on how to tell your carrier you’re part of the crusade.
Of course, it’s not just that 15-second message that’s irritating–voicemail systems in general tend to sport the most aggravating user interfaces this side of automated supermarket checkouts. One of the nice things about using an iPhone and/or Google Voice is getting to avoid those convoluted menus…and David says that Apple insisted that AT&T eliminate the 15-second message for iPhone voicemail. Which proves it can be done–you know of anyone who’s called an iPhone owner, been bounced into voicemail, and gotten confused by the lack of instructions?