Sunday, March 11, 2007

Technology comes to 411 Directory Assistance : It's about time

Something that's bothered me for years about directory assistance is what happens when you need to call the number again.  You dial 411 on your cellphone, you get the number, then you have them automatically dial it for you.  This is a good thing.  Except what happens when you don't complete the call for some reason?  It's busy, or you get cut off or you have to call back.   Then what?  Keep calling 411 at a buck a piece?  Once upon a time I wrote up a geek joke about how this situation is handled like a "forward" - you request one number and then on the server they forward you to another - when it would be more useful to handle it like a "redirect", where you request the first number, and then they send the number back to your phone to originate the second call.  That way you have the number in case you need it.

I'm happy to discover that the directory assistance on my cell phone (T-Mobile) now offers exactly this service.  Well, not exactly, but close.  Today I called 411 and was told, "Press 1 to receive a text message of this number."  Neat!  I did, and sure enough I got the number mailed to me.  I'd still have to move it into my speed dial or address book for it to be useful, of course, but at least I've got a record of the number now instead of calling again.  Good idea!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is indeed a neat little trick that T-Mobile's got going, but I can't believe you've actually been paying for 411. You know that's free with 1-800-free411, right? I thought everyone had gotten the memo.