Robo-Call Reminding Me to Vote TOMORROW

IMG_0319I received a voicemail at 2:23 PM today (November 3, 2009 — election day) encouraging me to vote for Tom Menino for mayor of Boston. Not unusual on election day, right?

Right, except that it asked me to vote tomorrow, not today.

I don’t know if this is a case of computer/operator error or a legitimate case of electoral fraud through misinformation, but I was asked to record and share it by a number of people on Twitter, so here it is.

Because it was left today, I could not figure out how to get the voicemail system to say the actual date it was left. If I wait, I can get a properly timestamped version, but that will take a few days. In the meantime, I’ve included a screenshot of my iPhone voicemail screen taken at 2:41 today. I don’t think iPhone screenshots have EXIF data, but it’s the best I can do.

Did anyone else receive one of these calls?

For the record, I didn’t campaign for or support either mayoral candidate this year, so this isn’t an attack on anyone. I just found it curious and thought it was worth sharing.

Click the play button below to play the message.

Apple: Let Us Answer Our iPhones With Gloves On!

iPhone in Gloved HandApple,

Please allow us to use the iPhone’s Home button to answer calls.

I know it doesn’t get that cold in Cupertino, but it sure gets cold in many other parts of the world. In colder climates, the iPhone becomes almost completely unusable for its primary function — a phone — as soon as you put a pair of gloves on. If you don’t have iPhone-compatible headphones on when a call comes in, you have to fish the phone out of your pocket, take off one of your gloves, then “swipe to answer.”

I’ve missed calls doing this. I’ve seen people drop their iPhones doing this. I’ve even seen someone use their (probably runny) nose to swipe on a particularly cold day.

The most frustrating thing about this problem is that there’s an easy fix: the Home button.

The Home button is already multi-talented, but it does nothing when a call is coming in. If you enabled the option to push the home button to answer (or push and hold for one second if you were worried about accidental presses), there would be no need for me to take off my gloves. Sure, I’d still need to use my uncovered fingers for dialing, but I can plan when to dial — and plan to be in a warm place. I don’t have that luxury when it comes to incoming calls.

I love my iPhone, but this one thing is incredibly frustrating for a good chunk of the year here in the Northeast.

Winter is coming. Please don’t force me to use my nose to answer the phone.

Adam Weiss

I submitted this idea to Apple’s iPhone Feedback Page. If you agree with me, please do the same. Feel free to copy and paste from my post if you’d like. I just want this to get fixed.

AmEx Changes Their Terms, But What WERE They?

This letter was in my mailbox today, and it was so ridiculous that I had to share it. American Express wanted to thank me for my continued business, and inform me of some changes to their AutoPay service. These terms of service updates are pretty standard, but the usually come with a copy of the new terms of service.

This letter didn’t have the little booklet that all the ones I’ve ever gotten came with, and didn’t even spell out what most of the changes were:

  • “The last sentence of the first paragraph … is deleted.” What exactly did it say (not just that it refrenced something else that you didn’t send me either), and why has it been deleted?
  • The first sentence of the second paragraph of section 1.C … is changed to read:” Changed from what?
  • All other Program Terms remain unchanged and in effect.” Thanks for the info, but it would be nice to read them for context. A copy of the old terms for comparison would be great, but at the very least, I should get a copy of the new terms.

They say that “In general, the changes clarify certain aspects of the program…” but they did their best to make those changes as unclear as possible.

Letter from American Express

Trying My Hand at Reviews

A while ago, a friend of mine said to me “From now on, I’m just going to buy everything you buy.” He was referring to the fact that the last four or five things I’d shown him had soon ended up in his house as well, and that he’d been happy with every purchase.

He’s not the only one to tell me things like this, so I started to kick around the idea of using this languishing blog as a place to write reviews of products and services. I didn’t like the idea at first, as I felt like I’d just end up advertising for a bunch of things I liked, and I certainly didn’t want to give the impression that I was being influenced by any company. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I didn’t only have to write reviews of products, but also free services, customer service experiences, and even a book review every once in a while.

I’m not sure I’ll end up doing all of these things, but I’d like to at least get my feet wet. So, I’ll be writing some reviews if things I have or use. Please give me feedback on the idea (and the reviews) — maybe together we can make something useful.