Friday, March 31, 2017

Going Beyond the Do-Not-Call List

You've listed all your phone numbers on the Do Not Call list and you're still getting phone calls that you don't want. I know you feel guilty about asking your favorite organization to stop calling every week and while you shouldn't feel guilty about asking for peace and quiet there are some relatively simple ways to achieve less interruption.

First double-check that your phone is on the do-not-call list by checking here:

https://www.donotcall.gov/
and you can verify your phone number (any phone number) or register an new ones.

The following strategy assumes: 

 - you have caller id. This is a fairly common, essential tool for avoiding phone calls you don't want to answer. 

 - you have a phone that can keep a history of phone calls. I use Panasonic for our house line, but most phones will work fine.

 - you can use an answering machine for screening calls, but it's optional as most calling services do not leave messages.

Do this around once a week. Weekends are best since there is no one to answer the phone, but most of these types of places just answer with voicemail 24x7 so you shouldn't have to worry about that.

Take a look at your phone's call history.
When you see a number you don't recognize and there's no obvious name on the ID, call the number. Sometimes you will get a business name and a message about their service. If it's one of the many calling services, at the end of the message they will offer you an option to have your number removed from their service (e.g. "press 9 to be removed.") Since I leave my caller id exposed, I don't even have to enter my phone number as they already have it.

Some of the services won't even bother telling you who they are they just immediately offer you an option for removal (because that's the only reason you would be calling them.)

I am keeping a call log of the numbers I've requested removal from to see if they reoccur. One new trick I've seen is people using individual cell phone numbers. For now, I'm just writing those down to see if they reoccur and will report more if I learn anything new.


Monday, January 02, 2017

I Hate My Smart-ass Prius

My Prius is driving me crazy.

First that incessant reverse beeping which I realize I can get turned off, but that's just the beginning. I like how you just have to have the key on you. Until you actually need to find the key, which is usually during one of those times where my wife and I are out somewhere and I want to leave most of my purse in the car. Nope. Stop right there. Can't lock the door with a key inside. That's nice, but hey smart-thing can't you tell there's a key on the outside? So because we're late for our dinner reservations, we have to stop and search for which pocket (tm) the blasted Prius key has migrated to. Yes, it has a standard place in my purse, but it likes to travel like everything else.

I feel like I'm traumatizing the poor thing when it beeps back about that duplicate key, and refuses to lock the door and I start publically yelling "I hate this car." [Kick tire.] Or when I have the car on and running and I put it in Park to get out of the car to do something and it starts pathetically beeping because, horrors, its precious key has left the safety of the perimeter. There are other variations of this that get it upset. I think I should put it and I into therapy though it might try to have me arrested for being a bad, bad owner.

When driving it's usually fine except for all the times I drag it on the ground. If I could have another inch or two of clearance, our relationship would be all the easier. It's not like I'm going to stop trying to go all the places I need to go. Drag. Drag. Scrape.

The display is a little busy, but I've switched it to something more tolerable.
The vent placement is terrible for me but that's probably just me.
The rear window doesn't count as a window at all and why bother have a windshield wiper that can only cover half of the windshield?

And who put on contract out on this car? It's been hit three times. All brilliantly repaired, but what a horrible CarFax report. My Scion xB has only been hit once and when that happened they totaled it. No ding and swak sorry-about-that-didn't-see-you nonsense. Next hoity-toity ecologic car is going to be bright yellow or hot pink. Something that says "Don't touch me. I'm poisonous. ."

But this isn't meant as a car review--more like how a Toyota car designer and I need to have a long talk about usability and doing what's easier on the can it not necessarily easier on the person.