From Sourcebook Magazine, Summer 1990, By Dan Gutma

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From Sourcebook Magazine, Summer 1990, by Dan Gutman:
Would the invention of the telephone ever have gotten off the ground
if Alexander Graham Bell's first call had gone ...
Bell: Mr. Watson, come here; I want you.
Voice: If you know Watson's extension, press 1 now. If you would like
to leave a message for Watson, press 2 now ...
The telephone, which was satisfied for a century or so simply placing
and receiving calls, has become a different animal in recent years.
These days everybody has an answering machine, a speakerphone, and a
slew of other telecommunication doodads. Call waiting, Caller ID, and
last number redial are fine, but here are some options that can't be
far behind:
ON-HOLD DISRUPT. When someone puts you on hold for more than 15
seconds, a digitized voice blares over their speakerphone, "Hey!
Remember me? I don't have all day!" This option also shorts out Muzak
if it's being played.
CALL SCHMOOZING. Stuck listening to a long-winded acquaintance? Call
Schmoozing activates a speech-synthesized voice that sounds just like
you and repeats, "Uh-huh ... I see ... right" while the other party
babbles on. They think you're hanging on every word, when you're
actually getting some work done.
CALL SCHMOOZING PLUS. Your phone places call to important contacts,
trades pleasantries, probes for career-enhancing information, and ends
by saying, "You're beautiful. Let's do lunch. Don't ever change."
GOSSIP NOTIFICATION. Company rumors are automatically broadcast to
selected voice mailboxes. Time once wasted circulating gossip
translates into increased productivity.
CALL TERMINATE. Imagine being able to fire troublesome employees just
by dialing their numbers! An excellent feature for executives with
poor confrontation skills.
NETWORK EAVESDROP. A must for the paranoid manager. Whenever anyone in
the company mentions your name during a phone conversation, a voice-
activated tape recorder stores the call so you can review it later and
hear what people say about you.
SELECTIVE CALL DISCOURAGING. Program the numbers of people you
_really_ don't want to speak with. When they dial your number, your
phone transmits a mild electric shock through their receivers.
CELLULAR CRANK CALL. On command, your car phone can dial any other car
phone within a 30-mile radius and tell the driver his muffler looks as
though it's about to fall off.
CALL REMINDING. Store the birthdays and anniversaries of loved ones in
your telephone's memory. On the appropriate days, the phone
automatically calls them and relays heartfelt sentiments in a
digitized voice resembling yours.
CALL INTERRUPT. When you need to end a conversation quickly, a button
on your phone causes a fake operator to break in and announce that you
have an emergency call on the line from Steve Jobs.
SUBLIMINA-CALL. Periodically during a conversation, the phone plays
subliminal messages to the other party, such as "Say yes" and
"Increase my department's budget."
CHARGE FORWARDING. A quick push of a button charges any long-distance
call to the person you're calling or to friends who don't look too
closely at their phone bills.