Skip to main content

Who's there? Answer friend or foe!

Whenever someone uses a 'rights' defence I get a little uneasy. I have always preferred the concept of responsibilities to rights. Here's one example that drives me crazy.

The phone rings. Who can be disturbing me at this time/at the key point of this really important TV programme/in the middle of a meal? It's okay, I've got caller ID. So I take a look and it says 'Withheld Number' or whatever the message is.

That gets me really mad. It's argued that people should be able to withhold their number because it's their 'right' to remain anonymous. What about my right to know who is ringing me? The only reason I don't have our phone reject all Withheld Number calls is that the telephone company makes it harder to do than to implement any other feature.

Some people will tell you they use Withheld Number because they don't want people making sales calls. What's that all about? How do they think letting me know what their phone number is will result in sales calls? I'm sorry. There's no excuse. It's anti-social, irritating and should be banned forthwith.

Comments

  1. for the last few months in our house, we have taken to religiously ignoring ALL withhelds, no-IDs, confidentials and even numbers we don't recognise (people we want to call us know our mobiles). we thought it would stop the damn things. it has actually made the number of calls increase! still not picking up though.

    ReplyDelete
  2. If you get a lot of commercial calls and are UK based, the telephone preference scheme is very good - we get hardly any sales calls now (those we get are usually from abroad) - you can register at http://www.mpsonline.org.uk/tps/

    ReplyDelete
  3. If I'm busy or doing a Victor Meldrew I won't answer any call where the number is withheld. (BTW how many other words have two H's, says the bookkeeper?) For some reason my mother has now decided to hide behind this device and so whenever she gets through to one of the children (who aren't yet wised up to this problem) I get maternal strife for not having been at home whenever she's called.

    The problem now, of course, is that she doesn't know (or understand) how to remove it...

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Mirror, mirror

A little while ago I had the pleasure of giving a talk at the Royal Institution in London - arguably the greatest location for science communication in the UK. At one point in the talk, I put this photograph on the screen, which for some reason caused some amusement in the audience. But the photo was illustrating a serious point: the odd nature of mirror reflections. I remember back at school being puzzled by a challenge from one of our teachers - why does a mirror swap left and right, but not top and bottom? Clearly there's nothing special about the mirror itself in that direction - if there were, rotating the mirror would change the image. The most immediately obvious 'special' thing about the horizontal direction is that the observer has two eyes oriented in that direction - but it's not as if things change if you close one eye. In reality, the distinction is much more interesting - we fool ourselves into thinking that the image behind the mirror is what's on ou