Thank you for “upgrading my voice mail system”:http://juniorbird.com/archive/001818.php. I very much appreciate that you managed to replace a simple, effective old system with something that is new, annoying, and not nearly as well-suited to the usage patterns of any conceivable user of your services.
It’s actually difficult for me to decide where to start when considering how awful my new voicemail is, you’ve just given me so many different and distinct kinds of crappiness to consider. A few mis-features that particularly stand out are:
* Your persistence in announcing the number of the caller before I listen to their voicemail. This is potentially useful in, say, a large company’s voicemail system, because then I can hear “new message from Joe Argleburtz, in Materials Engineering” — that’s useful. But, statistically, most calls to me will be coming from outside of the Cingular network, so, instead, I’ll just get the phone number. Now, it might be fine if you announced the phone number in a chunked way — 310 555 1212, you know? That’s how people think of phone numbers and have tough of phone numbers since mine changed from “CLeveland 9-5777″:http://www.laalmanac.com/communications/cm01e.htm . Instead, your computer reads a number off as 3105551212, which makes it essentially incomprehensible. It does, however, take up time before I get to the message, and both I and the person who called me would like to get to the message as soon as possible.
* Once I do get to that message, my controls don’t include “delete” or “save”; I need to listen to the entire message before I can do anything to it. I can apparently hit the 3 key repeatedly to skip through the message but this strikes me as a lot of work, when, in most cases, I want to listen to the important beginning of the message and call back (or ignore the caller).
* I suppose it is possible that there is some button that will delete messages while they’re playing, or skip straight to the end, or even a way that I can turn off the phone number announcement. However, there are “two downloadable guides”:http://www.cingular.com/customer_service/common_voice_mail#guide for the system, based on what geographical area you’re in; neither covers California, however, which strikes me as a bit of an oversight.
* The current system only keeps messages 14 days. Which is fine, actually; the old system didn’t keep messages very long either (although I think it may have kept them for 30 days). However, the old system played new messages first, followed by old messages; this one plays old messages first, followed by new messages, when I call in. This strikes me as a rather brain-dead choice, as I’ve already heard that old message and had 14 days in which to do something with it, while the new message is of unknown urgency and could be important. Also, it’s super-annoying since it’s hard to skip messages.
* Password-free access. If I call voicemail from my phone, I get straight into my voicemail. This seems like a substantial security risk, should my phone be lost or stolen. I’ve had a Cingular phone since 1998 and I never noticed that keying in my password was a hassle.
All that said, I do appreciate the system that allows me to check my voicemail from another phone, and I really appreciate that you gave me complete Bluetooth 1.2 on my phone, including full OBEX. Thanks, Cingular!