Just One More Reason Why I'm Ready for the End of Telephony As We Know It

My reader may remember linking to a now-lost post I once wrote, griping about the continued reliance on strings of digits to identify the source and target of a telephone call.

The telephone number has a long history, rooted in the days when human operators connected each call by hand, and extended into the era of automated switching -- triggered at first by the clicks of a rotary dial, then the tones produced by the pressing of buttons. In those days the audio was transmitted entirely in analog on copper cables. These days it's sent as digital packets over fiber-optic lines, not at all unlike the data packets that criss-cross the internet. In fact the internet itself carries a significant portion of voice traffic these days, and not just for services like Skype or Vonage.

So why is it that on my cell phone call logs, each call is identified only by a ten-digit number, without any associated information?

When I receive an email I can usually glean some relevant information from the source email address. When I receive a phone call or an SMS text, all I have is a string of numerals that is only intelligible if I recognize it as belonging to someone whose number I've had occasion to memorize. It's even worse when I peruse the log and see an outgoing call I don't remember having placed. This happened to me the other day, and the only way to figure out whom I had called more than a week before was to redial the number and wait for someone -- or in this case, some robot -- to answer. Fortunately it wasn't some crook not only spoofing my number (but don't get me started on number-spoofing in the middle of this other rant) to make a call but somehow even hacking my carrier and/or my phone to do it; The call had merely slipped my mind.

As things now stand, with wireless caller ID decades behind its landline counterpart, the only way to make sense of a call log -- for those numbers I don't block, and no, I don't block them all -- is to create a record in my contact list for each call so I can associate a name or description with the number.

There's no reason for this. I should at least be able to add a note to each record in my call log so I can figure out, days or weeks or months later, what it was about.

Someday in the future, voice communication as we know it will be a thing of the past. Our "phone calls" will go to something more like an email address than a phone number. They'll come with headers on them like you can view in your email client, making it that much harder to obscure the true source of the call. Carriers are already at work on integrating the way our various forms of communication are handled and presented, but for some reason our call logs are lagging behind.

Meanwhile my smartphone's contact list is cluttered with entries for people and organizations I really have no reason to keep there, except that my stupid call logs are so damn stupid.

Update, after further investigation: Turns out I can download my call history from my carrier as a .CSV file, which when opened in LibreOffice is editable. So now I have notes -- though only up to tonight, and only with such information about mystery numbers as I was able to dig up online. And only going back six months -- though I suppose I could key in earlier calls from the call log on my phone, which goes back somewhat further, and which I've been keeping backed up in case of bug.

© Thursday,  December 14, 2017  Kevin McGehee

He Won't Last

Alabama elected a pro-abortion Democrat to the Senate today. He will not be re-elected to a full term.

Moore should have been able to weather the storm, but the fact is, he's a bit of a fruitcake. And so is Bannon, who just made it that much harder for the President he supposedly supports, to get his agenda enacted.

Damn fool.

On the bright side, Al Franken has no obvious excuse anymore not to finalize his resignation. He'll have to come up with a new one.

© Tuesday,  December 12, 2017  Kevin McGehee

Whoever Cooked Up That Schumer Hit...

...deserves and needs to go down hard.

Doesn't matter if it was an incompetent Schumer hater who didn't know any better than to try to retail an easily falsified hoax, or a too-clever-by-half SJW false flagger trying to make everyone to the right of Schumer look like incompetent liars. Somebody needs to get to the bottom of it and make the perpetrator pay.

© Tuesday,  December 12, 2017  Kevin McGehee

There's a Moral to This Story

And it is that when you indulge in virtue signaling, nobody respects you.

The mayor [Pete Muldoon, of Jackson, Wyoming] added that he only agreed to take part in the production [aired on whichever late night show is currently afflicted with Stephen Colbert as its host] believing it would focus mainly on his decision to remove the president's portrait from town hall, and the 'friendly' tete-a-tete it set off between the liberal-leaning mayor and Tyler Lindholm, a conservative Wyoming lawmaker from across the state. Lindholm was subsequently edited completely out of the bit.

"I was told by the producers that the story was going to be about 'portrait-gate' and how the reaction to it -- including me getting fired from a job and getting death threats -- was really ridiculous," Muldoon shared. "I was hoping there would be some good jokes about that, even if they were at my expense. I was going to be a good sport about it. I don’t know what happened behind the scenes with Bobby and the producers. But I wasn’t expecting that someone I don’t really know and who has zero connection to my campaign, or even the community, would end up appearing in the skit making false statements."

He may have thought the publicity from removing the portrait of President Trump would make him look good to people who didn't like Trump, and ought to have been prepared for a backlash (though getting him fired was way out of line). What he obviously never expected was that to the professional Trump-haters he's just another flyover-country bumpkin. If he'd made his appearance a circus act in which he pissed on a Trump cutout, Colbert's staff probably wouldn't have improvised to the extent they did.

But they still would have used him purely as a punchline, and neither he nor Jackson would have been treated with any respect for it.

This, Mayor Muldoon, is why people supported Trump for the Republican nomination, why more people voted for him in the November election, and why still more who did neither of those other things (including yours truly) now support him as President. Especially when he unloads on the media for the hateful way they depict anyone from between the Hudson River and the Pacific Coast.

© Tuesday,  December 12, 2017  Kevin McGehee

Alternate Theory

Hey, maybe there's an upside to having every corporation, agency, and (intentionally) non-profit organization out there amassing a dossier on you.

Suppose for a moment that, somehow, it's getting around that I not only don't answer cold calls but block repeat offenders, and that I'm not prone to following ad links that turn up in my browser, email, or whatever. This might explain why my volume of spam, either electronic or telephonic, seems to be so much less than everyone else complains about.

As market research trolls become more efficient and detailed in their information collection, those of us who swat them like flies whenever one unwisely attracts our notice, will become less attractive to them. They'll focus on the marks who answer the phone every time it rings without checking the caller ID, and whose response to online ads is ultimately no different from that of Pavlov's dogs.

They'll be the ones polishing their dust bunnies with the dust bunny polisher professionals use! -- and the rest of us will live in peace.

© Monday,  December 11, 2017  Kevin McGehee

Talking Back to Youtube Video Titles, 1

"How Old Is Humanity, REALLY?"

About 12.

© Sunday,  December 10, 2017  Kevin McGehee

Still Snowing

Good morning, world.

It's twenty minutes to eight o'clock in subtropical west Georgia. The ground -- and trees -- are plastered with wet, sticky snow, and it hasn't stopped coming down. You know, I hate to imagine how much snow we'd have, or how early it would have started falling, if it wasn't for global warming.

I asked the ghost of Bing Crosby if it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas. He said, "How did you get this number?"

© Saturday,  December 9, 2017  Kevin McGehee

Told Ya So

Well, it's not quite quarter to 11 in the morning, and it's snowing. Bunches of big, feathery snowflakes are falling on my home acres. Not sticking yet, but if it keeps coming down like this for long enough, it might.

Not-jinxing may just be my superpower.

© Friday,  December 8, 2017  Kevin McGehee

Not Even for a Minute

Because I don't want to jinx it by saying I believe it.

The "S" word has appeared in our local forecast, claiming there's a whiff of a possibility of a potential of a snowflake or two in our area tomorrow and/or Friday.

Yeah, right.

© Wednesday,  December 6, 2017  Kevin McGehee


Yes it's a double standard, but whose?

I -- and all the conservatives I read -- want Franken gone too.

© Wednesday,  December 6, 2017  Kevin McGehee

You've Got It Backwards, There

This is from an AP report, but when I tried to find a similar piece that's not behind a paywall I came up empty, so...

The University of Wyoming has joined colleges around the country in lobbying against any congressional tax legislation that could hurt graduate students' ability to pay for their education.

You want to know what hurts graduate students' ability to pay for their education? The fact you're turning out degree holders with no perceptible advantage in the employment market. The fact you're larding up your payrolls with people who teach identity-group "studies" courses that contribute nothing to the country but division and decline, and administrators who enforce arbitrary and capricious "rules" about "gender pronouns," "safe spaces," and unmerited status tribalism. The fact you've squandered what used to be a near universal esteem for academia in America by transforming your mission from creating world leaders to cranking out culturally illiterate crybabies.

You want to keep that from getting worse? Take the impact of this tax plan as a warning shot across your bow because you've been sailing toward an abyss from which you soon won't be able to turn back. Change course before technology and the times make your imminent destruction more of a boon to the future of civilization that it's already promising to be.

© Monday,  December 4, 2017  Kevin McGehee

Talking Back to Youtube Comment Sections, Evergreen

Why does every single goddamn song from the 1960s and early '70s have to be about Vietnam, or drugs, or both? Why can't you just take the goddamn songwriter's goddamn word for it, what the goddamn song is about, goddamn it?

© Sunday,  December 3, 2017  Kevin McGehee

For the Record

A month ago, when I posted this, I think I was reacting to the backlash against Harvey Weinstein's (and others') accusers.

Since then, of course, the hunt has turned the other way, snagging Al Franken, John Conyers, Matt Lauer -- even Garrison Keillor, along with dozens of less prominent targets in a wide range of industries and positions. They tried to drag Roy Moore into it as well, but once Gloria Allred got involved that one pretty much dried up, I think. My advice to any future accuser who wants to retain her credibility is to block Allred's number as soon as it appears on your caller ID.

I don't think I have anything worthwhile to say about the causes nor where it will likely end, but the whole thing reminds me of a game of Minesweeper -- how when you set off one mine, they all go off.

© Saturday,  December 2, 2017  Kevin McGehee

"Your Second Post of the New Month Is About This!? Seriously!?"

You get what you pay for.

So, it's finally down to the end for Peter Capaldi as The Doctor. On Christmas Day, BBC America (and presumably BBC Not America) will air the Doctor Who Christmas Special that will end with his regeneration to female form.

Given the recent history of gender reassignment among fictional characters, it's easy to suspect this is solely for political correctness and isn't actually meant to serve the franchise except as a reason for those running it to pat themselves on the back at their cocktail parties. But let's not forget that the reimagining of old male characters as female goes back a ways. If "Battlestar Galactica" hadn't made Starbuck a woman, we might never have gotten so well acquainted with Katie Sackhoff. And Grace Park's Boomer (depicted in the original series by male actor Herbert Jefferson, Jr.) wasn't just a woman, but a Cylon "skinjob." That ain't hay. And it worked.

I've been watching Doctor Who's second incarnation from the beginning. I thought Christopher Eccleston left the show too soon; that David Tennant's version went too heartthrobby; that Matt Smith's Doctor brought the character back closer to what it had been over the course of its original run; and that Peter Capaldi somehow honed in even a little more on that track.

I also thought that the stories lost something when they went from multi-episode arcs to one-hour adventures -- violating the age-old rule of "show, don't tell" by suddenly having The Doctor already know, or easily able to figure out, what was going on so he could explain it all in a few minutes while he tried to decide what to do about it. The latter became the heart of the show, so that instead of focusing on the stakes in whatever peril was afoot, we focus now on The Doctor's reaction to those stakes. As a result, The Doctor's character -- always essential to the franchise, obviously -- has now become its sole focus, with companions and other characters merely plot devices, when they're not just shadows on the cave wall (though Nardole was a refreshing counterpoint to this trend -- but he's already gone).

Anyway, I'll watch the new she-Doctor. If it flies, it flies. If it bombs, it bombs. If the franchise can regenerate once after being off the air for a decade and a half, it can again.

© Friday,  December 1, 2017  Kevin McGehee

New Frontiers in Oxymorons

It's been shipped, but hasn't shipped yet. It's supposed to arrive anytime between today and a week from today, but is expected to arrive on the 9th.

This vendor has nothing but five-star reviews on Amazon. That will almost certainly change sometime between right now and a week from tomorrow. I'm sure glad I placed this order the day after Thanksgiving, and not two or three weeks later.

© Friday,  December 1, 2017  Kevin McGehee


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