Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Cranky Old Man

You know, I hate telephones. I didn't always, but I do now. I hate telephones for a reason. I used to think that it was because I felt I couldn't articulate responses fast enough to technical things in "real time" without (to me) unacceptably long pauses. But no, that's not it. What really ticks me off is how sucky telephones are now.

Back in the olden days (about the time of dinosaurs, shortly after the Constitution was written), telephones worked because a pair of twisted wires came to your house and connected to your telephone. A high(ish) voltage AC current would make the telephone ring, and a low-voltage DC current would sit on the line during the call to operate the phone while you talked. In real time.*

You only had a speed-of-light delay between you talking and the other person hearing you. And with the relatively simple circuits they had in the whole system that meant pretty much they heard you right now.

Between VOIP phones and digital cell phones there must be a 750ms delay in the audio between when they talk and you hear. So you start to respond but your response is now a second-and-a-half off. And that makes. I'm sorry no, you were saying? I said... I... I said... Oh. What? No I was just... I... I was... could you repeat that?

So of course there's no freaking side-tone. Words get dropped in addition to the delay. You just can't talk on 'em! I hate all of them. Phones! A failure to communicate.

So There! Bleh!

Today I started singing a song with the lyrics:

My love, my love, my love
My love is a monorail.


*When I was little my dad once hooked together a couple old phones with a 6-volt battery for me. That's all they needed to be able to talk to one another (the ringers didn't work of course). I thought that was the coolest thing in the world. I still do.

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