I previously blogged about getting utility service at a new location. I finally have telephone service, but had to expend some effort to get it.
The hardest part of moving is getting the public utilities at the new location.
If you live in a country or area that is at all non-monolingual, you will encounter telephone trees where the first prompt requests you specify your language. For example, in the United States, it is usually Spanish.
Unfortunately this does not scale well. If you have to deal with even, say, the UN languages, that’s 6 possibilities. Further, they are rarely standardized, so for one firm, you key in “6” to get Spanish. For another it’s “2”, etc.
I propose this:
- A universally understood tone or sequence of tones that means “specify your language” (SYL). These would be tones that a computer could recognize, like SITs. In this way, a person could specify to their phone/phone company what their language was and have them automatically reply.
- A universally standardized mapping of languages and dialects to numbers. For example, en-US = 1033 (Microsoft LCID).
This would result in the following pass:
- Caller dials some number with a phone tree.
- Called party PBX picks up.
- Called party PBX plays SYL SIT.
- Caller (or caller’s phone/phone company) recognizes the SIT.
- Caller (or caller’s phone/phone company) responds with language code
- This would include a termination character, like # or *.
- Called party PBX connects the caller to the phone tree or operator of that language.
Of course, even the UN isn’t going to maintain an operator for every possible language, so in those cases, a fail-gracefully routing tree would be set up so that the nearest neighbor language would be selected instead. As an example, if en-GB (2057) wasn’t supported, but en-US was (1033), the call would be routed there. Alternately, a message could be prerecorded in that language, telling the called party that their language wasn’t supported.
What do you think?
I have an old rotary dial telephone sitting on top of my PC. Not only does it ring REALLY LOUDLY (because I set it that way) and makes me anxious, I can tell when someone else is on the line!
For example, someone starts dialing a number on another extension, I can hear the clapper in mine click out the numbers. This requires the other extension to also be a dial phone. Also, when someone picks up other extensions (dial or touch tone) I can hear this one go “click!”
If I wanted to I could offencively spy on everything going on around here. (:<