Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Know what I want in a cell phone?

I want a phone where, if the caller ID doesn't click, it at least indicates where the call is originating from based on area code & exchange.

[and if anyone knows how to get this, let me know!]

Philo

Philo
Saturday, May 01, 2004

Caller ID helps to identify (filter) the caller and to chase up missed calls.

I can think of two situations when the caller ID is absent:

1) Caller ID disabled to maintain privacy.  My sister is a police officer and does not want to give her 'clientele' access to her phone number.

Geographical caller ID at the receiver’s discretion is a breach of privacy.  What if the caller could specify an arbitrary caller ID (that does not reveal a phone number)?  It wouldn’t help with missed calls but does give you some ID.

2) Caller’s phone system doesn’t support caller ID.  I've never experienced a PABX that propagates caller ID (I often see the main switch number).  I suppose that new systems support this feature but not everyone has the latest.

Perhaps the telco could implement a caller ID mapping that at the very least provides you with a main switch number.  This would give some coarse-grained identification.  It might help with missed calls…

“Good morning, Monolithic Inc. How may I help you?”
“Um, did you just call me???”

…or not.

Andrew
Saturday, May 01, 2004

I just mean that instead of getting
952-555-1212

I'd like to see
952-555-1212
Minneapolis, MN

You could actually do this with software on the phone, though it would have to be updated once in a while.

Philo

Philo
Saturday, May 01, 2004

That would be cool. In Australia (at least a few years ago when I checked) there was a list of number prefixes to suburbs at the back of the whitepages phone book. So it would just need to be scanned it and looked up.

Matthew Lock
Saturday, May 01, 2004

Thinking further I have often typed in missed call numbers into Google and it's suprising how often they turn up on web pages. Maybe in the future when we can program our own phones and do web lookups we could get the phone to try and summarise some things the web knows about that phone number.

Matthew Lock
Saturday, May 01, 2004

Ahem... number portability?

repu
Saturday, May 01, 2004

For the moment, anyway, number portability only applies to cell phones, which generally have their own unique exchanges. So 952-555-1212 says "Minneapolis, MN" whereas 952-556-1212 (a cell phone exchange) says "Cell Phone User".

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Sunday, May 02, 2004

Why not
952-556-1212
Minneapolis, MN [cell]

?

After all, there area code is generally related to the user in some way...

Philo

Philo
Sunday, May 02, 2004

No problems, per se, although the information is potentially meaningless (and therefore confusing). It's definitely no guarantee of where they're standing at the time, nor even of where they live any more.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Sunday, May 02, 2004

Hey Philo,
  If you're using a Smart Phone, have you checked to see if there is an API call to let you get a hook in for this?
(Honest question - I haven't looked at the Smart Phone API, just the .Net CF framework.)

Unfocused Focused
Sunday, May 02, 2004

The best part is you can refuse to answer service calls from the poorer neighborhoods where the riff raff lives.

anon
Sunday, May 02, 2004

> The best part is you can refuse to answer
> service calls from the poorer neighborhoods
> where the riff raff lives.

Why devolve this into a flame war?  I think Philo's request is a perfectly reasonable one.

Joe Blandy
Sunday, May 02, 2004

I have Sanyo RL-7300 from Sprint PCS. It shows the incoming or outgoing calls in the format

952-555-1212
Minnesota

Anon
Sunday, May 02, 2004

I just signed up for a VOIP service, and one of their features is that you can get a NY (or whatever) area code even if you live in Texas

Jason
Sunday, May 02, 2004

"Caller ID" is useless, as callers _CAN_ specify arbitrary caller-ID.  It's a standard function of ISDN, and telemarketers use it to generate the numbers of their multiple clients from a single call center.

Unscrupulous telemarketers just fake or suppress the caller-ID, period.  As a telemarketing enforcement measure, it's useless.  As long as a caller can arbitarily specify or fake it, it's useless.

If you ABSOLUTELY require reliable caller-ID, then you need to get a 1-800 number and have it forwarded to your cell phone.  The phone companies have a feature called "automatic number identification" (ANI). It's what they use for billing, and it cannot be faked. It is made available to owners of 1-800 and 1-900 numbers. They are considered to be privileged given that they are paying for the call.

Of course, you need to figure out how to get the cell phone to relay the ANI information. By default, no cell phone can receive ANI. Perhaps some entrepreneur will figure out how to forward 1-800 numbers to cell phones and convey the ANI in a format that the cell phone can use.

David Jones
Sunday, May 02, 2004

It would only be useless if most people changed their caller ID  number.

Matthew Lock
Monday, May 03, 2004

BTW, thanks to all the folks who assume the worst from my request.

I just find that when I don't recognize a number and it's not in my phone, knowing where the number's originating (roughly) can help nudge my memory and mentally prepare me for the call.

Philo

Philo
Monday, May 03, 2004

At home, calls from another state come with phone number+state name, like:

(808) 555-1212
Hawaii Call

No city information, though.  What we do have at home is anonymous call screening, where if caller ID information is blocked, the caller must either disclose their number or record their name to be announced.  Perhaps a bit draconian for some, but I can tell you we've had almost no telemarketer problems after this.

Rich
Monday, May 03, 2004

Yeah, it would be really cool if you could set up some kind of script to run each time a new call comes in.  That way, if (say) everyone at my work had (206) 555-XXXX numbers, I could set my ring tone to "it's a call from work" without having to enter all 10,000 forms of XXXX.

Or you could do as you say, lookup in a simple table based on area code and/or prefix and display some text based on that.

Or you could do some kind of time-based thing where at 4am, only calls from certain numbers ring automatically each day without me having to push the "night time" mode each night.

Ideally, it could even synch up with my calendar, so that if I was in a meeting, my phone would enter "meeting" mode automatically w/o me having to remember.  (And leave meething mode again when it's over.)

Or, in combination with bluetooth, the phone could detect when I'm sitting at my desk and ring with a simple "pip" so I don't annoy all my neighbors.

etc, etc... there's lots of cool stuff that could be done if the phone was programmable enough.  This (plus long battery life and good reception) are what I want in a phone.  Not cameras and mp3 players and color screens, etc.

Michael Kale
Monday, May 03, 2004

". By default, no cell phone can receive ANI. Perhaps some entrepreneur will figure out how to forward 1-800 numbers to cell phones and convey the ANI in a format that the cell phone can use. "

That's not true. I have an IVR system that makes 15,000+ phone calls a day and I force the ANI/Caller ID to be what ever number I want it to be.

oldfart
Monday, May 03, 2004

Michael Kale: I've heard that Smartphones and/or Pocket PC phones can turn off their ringer if you have a scheduled meeting, and will turn the ringer back on after the meeting is over.

Anybody do any development for smartphone/pocket pc phones?  I'd be interesting to know if the type of functionality that Michael is asking for is possible.  It _seems_ possible, but since I don't own one of these devices I can't tell.

a
Monday, May 03, 2004

Absolutely someone go write this!  Symbian phones would have no problem coping with this kind of extension btw.

Nice little shareware app to make money..

i like i
Tuesday, May 04, 2004

I had to go check - the methods are there to get the caller ID programatically on a SmartPhone.  Though I doubt you can override the default behavior of the Caller ID functionality on the phone, it should be very easy to produce separate functionality to present custom information based on the calling number.

Unfocused Focused
Thursday, May 06, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home