Discussion:
OT Yet another lame product design
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Don Y
2021-04-06 20:58:16 UTC
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Elderly neighbor was complaining about having to carry her cell phone
around the house with her (and her walker). I'd recently poked into
this issue for a colleague and noted that there are cordless phones
that can be paired to a cell phone as if a BT headset. With such
a device, she wouldn't have to carry her cell phone around but could,
instead, scatter the 3/4/5 cordless phones around her house and let
*them* connect to her cell phone -- which she could then leave in
some convenient place for when she's headed "out" (kitchen table?).

Delighted, she bought one (Costco apparently sells some).

She called me, today, complaining that the answering machine
wasn't working: "It's brand new! Do you think I broke it
when I plugged it in?"

<rolls eyes> (of course, as *I* was the one to give her
the suggestion, I am nominated to make it work for her!)

"OK, I'll have a look at it." (she probably doesn't have
it "enabled" or has it set to some high number of rings, etc.)

Manual must be 60 pages. Damn thing will act as a baby monitor,
respond to voice commands ("answer phone"), locate your car keys,
screen calls, internal phonebook, CID, etc.

In the fine print, "the answering machine only works with your
home phone" (i.e., wired PSTN service).

<frown> Why would that be a restriction? If you *don't*
want it to answer the cell phone, just have a setting
to that effect -- or, set "answer on number of rings" to
something like 10 (assuming your voicemail will pickup
anything before that is ever reached).

Explained this to her. She frowned: "So, it won't take messages
for me and tell me (flashing light) when there's a message waiting?
Then why did it tell me to record my outgoing message??"

I looked to see if there was another model that she could
switch to in lieu of the one she'd chosen. Amusingly, they
all seem to have this limitation! (regulation? hard to
imagine -- but, possible).

[Of course, it seems like there are only a couple of
manufacturers and lots of rebranded product!]

So, I called the manufacturer. They confirmed the restriction
and claimed it was because they don't have the ring signal
to trigger the answering machine... (Huh? But, you have the
"ring signal" to drive the *ringer*! I.e., it's just a message
in a protocol. You sound the ringer when you detect that message;
why can't you trigger the answering machine??)

Amazing.

Or, is there some obscure make/model that isn't readily apparent?
Rick C
2021-04-07 14:05:42 UTC
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Post by Don Y
Elderly neighbor was complaining about having to carry her cell phone
around the house with her (and her walker). I'd recently poked into
this issue for a colleague and noted that there are cordless phones
that can be paired to a cell phone as if a BT headset. With such
a device, she wouldn't have to carry her cell phone around but could,
instead, scatter the 3/4/5 cordless phones around her house and let
*them* connect to her cell phone -- which she could then leave in
some convenient place for when she's headed "out" (kitchen table?).
Delighted, she bought one (Costco apparently sells some).
She called me, today, complaining that the answering machine
wasn't working: "It's brand new! Do you think I broke it
when I plugged it in?"
<rolls eyes> (of course, as *I* was the one to give her
the suggestion, I am nominated to make it work for her!)
"OK, I'll have a look at it." (she probably doesn't have
it "enabled" or has it set to some high number of rings, etc.)
Manual must be 60 pages. Damn thing will act as a baby monitor,
respond to voice commands ("answer phone"), locate your car keys,
screen calls, internal phonebook, CID, etc.
In the fine print, "the answering machine only works with your
home phone" (i.e., wired PSTN service).
<frown> Why would that be a restriction? If you *don't*
want it to answer the cell phone, just have a setting
to that effect -- or, set "answer on number of rings" to
something like 10 (assuming your voicemail will pickup
anything before that is ever reached).
Explained this to her. She frowned: "So, it won't take messages
for me and tell me (flashing light) when there's a message waiting?
Then why did it tell me to record my outgoing message??"
I looked to see if there was another model that she could
switch to in lieu of the one she'd chosen. Amusingly, they
all seem to have this limitation! (regulation? hard to
imagine -- but, possible).
[Of course, it seems like there are only a couple of
manufacturers and lots of rebranded product!]
So, I called the manufacturer. They confirmed the restriction
and claimed it was because they don't have the ring signal
to trigger the answering machine... (Huh? But, you have the
"ring signal" to drive the *ringer*! I.e., it's just a message
in a protocol. You sound the ringer when you detect that message;
why can't you trigger the answering machine??)
Amazing.
Or, is there some obscure make/model that isn't readily apparent?
I'm really surprised you got that much information from them. Who were you talking to who knew a ringer signal existed?

I don't know this is the real answer. More likely the issue is just that cell phones always have their own voice mail so there's no need to include that with the answering machine. Also, when you use it this way, you end up with TWO voice mailboxes. A friend has a phone line from Comcast. He uses the answering machine in his POTS phone to screen calls and get the voice mail when he can't get to the phone. But if you call him when he's on the phone, it goes straight to the Comcast voice mail with no indication other than a stutter tone when he picks up the receiver and listens. So that message may be some time before he gets it.

Two voice mails is not better than one. If the phone answers when your friend doesn't pickup, she will end up having two voice mails to check.
--
Rick C.

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Cydrome Leader
2021-04-07 22:15:48 UTC
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Post by Rick C
Post by Don Y
Elderly neighbor was complaining about having to carry her cell phone
around the house with her (and her walker). I'd recently poked into
this issue for a colleague and noted that there are cordless phones
that can be paired to a cell phone as if a BT headset. With such
a device, she wouldn't have to carry her cell phone around but could,
instead, scatter the 3/4/5 cordless phones around her house and let
*them* connect to her cell phone -- which she could then leave in
some convenient place for when she's headed "out" (kitchen table?).
Delighted, she bought one (Costco apparently sells some).
She called me, today, complaining that the answering machine
wasn't working: "It's brand new! Do you think I broke it
when I plugged it in?"
<rolls eyes> (of course, as *I* was the one to give her
the suggestion, I am nominated to make it work for her!)
"OK, I'll have a look at it." (she probably doesn't have
it "enabled" or has it set to some high number of rings, etc.)
Manual must be 60 pages. Damn thing will act as a baby monitor,
respond to voice commands ("answer phone"), locate your car keys,
screen calls, internal phonebook, CID, etc.
In the fine print, "the answering machine only works with your
home phone" (i.e., wired PSTN service).
<frown> Why would that be a restriction? If you *don't*
want it to answer the cell phone, just have a setting
to that effect -- or, set "answer on number of rings" to
something like 10 (assuming your voicemail will pickup
anything before that is ever reached).
Explained this to her. She frowned: "So, it won't take messages
for me and tell me (flashing light) when there's a message waiting?
Then why did it tell me to record my outgoing message??"
I looked to see if there was another model that she could
switch to in lieu of the one she'd chosen. Amusingly, they
all seem to have this limitation! (regulation? hard to
imagine -- but, possible).
[Of course, it seems like there are only a couple of
manufacturers and lots of rebranded product!]
So, I called the manufacturer. They confirmed the restriction
and claimed it was because they don't have the ring signal
to trigger the answering machine... (Huh? But, you have the
"ring signal" to drive the *ringer*! I.e., it's just a message
in a protocol. You sound the ringer when you detect that message;
why can't you trigger the answering machine??)
Amazing.
Or, is there some obscure make/model that isn't readily apparent?
I'm really surprised you got that much information from them. Who were you talking to who knew a ringer signal existed?
I don't know this is the real answer. More likely the issue is just that cell phones always have their own voice mail so there's no need to include that with the answering machine. Also, when you use it this way, you end up with TWO voice mailboxes. A friend has a phone line from Comcast. He uses the answering machine in his POTS phone to screen calls and get the voice mail when he can't get to the phone. But if you call him when he's on the phone, it goes straight to the Comcast voice mail with no indication other than a stutter tone when he picks up the receiver and listens. So that message may be some time before he gets it.
Two voice mails is not better than one. If the phone answers when your friend doesn't pickup, she will end up having two voice mails to check.
The whole setup is just dumb. The old person just needs a land line, end
of story. A cell phone is clearly too hard for them. If moving a cell
phone around the house with them is too exhaustin, they sure as hell
aren't going anywhere that needs a mobile phone anyways.

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