Bunsen (bunsen_h) wrote,

Instantaneous communications

Our home phone rang.  Just the once.  The caller was gone long before I could get to the phone, before even the call-display thing was able to get the phone number.  The call doesn't even register in the call history.

Hardly the first time, though usually the phone spammers at least connect long enough to have the call register.  But what's the point of making such calls?  It's not like they're going to get a lot of people responding.  Reacting, certainly, with annoyance.  But picking up the phone and hearing the spiel?  Not so much.

But I'm reminded of a little thing that has bugged me about a number of SF shows as far back as I've watched them, Star Trek being the first one that came to my attention in this way.  It's one thing to make a phone call, wait until someone picks up the phone, and say something like "Kirk to Engineering".  If you're not already talking to someone in that department, you're talking with someone who will forward the call.  It's quite another to activate a communicator, say "Kirk to Engineering", and expect that you will immediately be talking with someone in that department.  That would require you to have an open line to everyone you might need to talk to, and have them all waiting on your word.  Otherwise... until you say that magic word "Engineering", how can the system know how to route your call?  How can the recipient know instantly who's calling?  It would be somewhat better to say something like "Engineering, this is Kirk".  At least that way, your call can be going to the right person before you get on with the rest.  But you'd still probably need a few seconds for someone to respond, because they at least have to listen to your message before they respond to it.

Tags: sci-fi
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