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Friday, October 13, 2006

Conveniences of the future

Okay, not a technology post, really. Just some light-hearted cynicism. We haven't had one of those posts for a while now. Life is not all about technology, ya know ?

Yes, yes, I know, with the advent of the all pervasive IP pipe, you are going to able able to wave a hand and discover your friend's contact from google with its advanced mindreader engine. You will be able to click on a webpage and call your friend (let's not worry about minor details like how your friend's contact would be on the web in the first place and whether he really wants that or not). You will be able to discover his presence and call him when he is free and all that good stuff. Ofcourse, there is IM as well, and you could just IM me your contact. Great stuff!

But in the meantime, let us assume that a vast majority of the users, who still use a phone as we know it, start getting used to this new world... After all ,why blame them ? Most of the devices I see today have a dialpad on them, even if it happens to be a soft-phone. So till UI innovations come in, I'd expect people's usability pattern will remain the same for a while.

Since the dawn of VoIP, people have been constantly saying that with VoIP telephony, you can now dial by user names, and it makes life so much simpler than remembering a number.

1. Have you ever tried typing '' on your phone vs. 3101457865?

2. Do you really believe that when this form of identity becomes popular, you will actually get an easy to remember email like 'billybob' ? I'd bet it would be more like 'billybob_0012'. If you work for Tier 1 companies with 10,000+ employees, you probably know that already, looking at your email. In this case, we are talking about subscribers 10x - 100x that size.

3. Do you really think people will remember who is who, when you have addresses like,, ?

4. If you believe that no one will dial user names, and that it would all be in an address book, then whether its numbers or user names, it doesn't really matter now, does it ? And incidentally, I can bet you make several sporadic phone calls to people you don't want in your address book.

old-me: What's your contact no.?
old-you: 3011563865
old-me: I'm sorry, thats 301-15-what ?
old-you: 301-15-..6...3...8..6...5
old-me: thanks

Next generation conversation:
me: what's your contact ?
me: Is that suzie with a 'z' or an 's' ?
you: 'z'
me: Is that suzie 81264?
you: No, 281264. Its my birthday -that was the best id I got that was available.
me: I am sorry, I couldn't understand your accent following the @, it is 'aim' ?
you: No, the letter 'aym'
me: underscore or dash ?
you: What's that ?
me: I mean, the symbol after the @ and before 'world'. What is it ?
you: Oh ok, it is a hyphen. What's a dash ?
me: Never mind
me: great suzie281264@m-world.attnet
you: no, 'att DOT net'
me: cr*p. Do you have a phone number ?


  1. WOW, that is fun :) But ones could always get an allias of their contacts :)

  2. But an alias is only a local representation of an existing contact :-) The situation described here is one which tries to get that first contact ID :-)

  3. They do have option of using contact number, don't they? So that he can either be contacted via softphone using or contact number via ATE.

  4. Yes, ofcourse they do :-)
    The scope of this post was the travails of exchanging contact URLs vs. contact phone #s

  5. People should hire other peoples to organize/move their contacts :)

  6. Pff, I don't check my posts for mistakes too :)

  7. [...] Conveniences of the Future - A funny look at URL based dialing. Whoever said it is more intuitive than phone numbers ? [...]

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