Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What if technology really did help me?

I’ve mentioned before how frustrating I find ‘helpful’ technology.

Cordless phones for instance.

They are helpful because now you can have a phone ANYWHERE. The problem is that now you have phones that could be ANYWHERE & you can’t actually find them when they start ringing because whoever used them last set them down where ever they happened to be when they were done talking.

And an amazing number of people in my house seem to be in linen closets when this occurs.

Or under small tables with 2” of clearance.

Then there is my wireless router.

It helpfully scans the airways for a good transmission band to send my signal. Only half the time the phone likes that band too so when you actually find a phone & answer it, the internet cuts out.

Getting a phone that can be told to leave that band alone would solve that problem, but not the problem of locating it in the first place.

Plugging the router directly into my computer would also solve the internet problem, at least for me, others would continue to suffer, but I’m on the computer the most so it should be me that gets the cable connection. But I still don’t know where the phone is.

What I want, what would be really, honest and for true helpful, would be to combine these problems for a solution.

The phone & the router obviously use the same band. OK fine. So why can’t a caller ID box pop up on my computer when the phone rings? My DirectTV receiver does it on my TV so I know it can be done. This would let me know if it’s even worth making the effort of looking for the phone. And since they are exchanging this bit of information, why not put a chip or something in the phones that will also relay location information?

So I’d get a box that said

John Smith


#1 Main bathroom linen closet

#2 Under kitchen table

when the phone rang and could then decide whether I really want to talk to John badly enough to get up and go to the main bathroom or the kitchen to answer the phone.  I’d also know which was closer, saving me time.

Obviously some set up would be required so the software knew the various locations in my house. Some form of highly localized GPS probably.

But it would need the internet to work so that particular disconnect glitch would need to fixed to make it work properly.

Here is the interesting thing…

I know people who could make this work if I could catch their interest with it. I just need to decide which approach would work better…appealing to their avarice by suggesting it could make a lot of money, or appealing to their need to be right by suggesting it absolutely cannot be done.

So for the sake of approach #1, would you be interested in this helpful bit of technology or would you be too worried that a security breach might let the whole interwebs know the exact location of your linen closet to give it a try?


SciFi Dad said...

I'm an engineer (which, according to today's Dilbert, has been classified as a disease).

GPS uses triangulation to locate you. Basically, it takes a look at the distance between you and three satellites, then, based on their (known) location, it can determine yours. So, what you're proposing would require the installation of three fixed position wireless units that communicate via radio frequencies (for your situation, you would need a lower frequency to overcome that thick wall). These would be used to locate the missing cordless phones.

Integrating the television into the mix would require the use of a common signal for all three (ala cable, some satellite providers), or obtaining all tv via the internet and using a media center PC for display, which would then be able to act as your on-screen caller ID.

In short, it's do-able, but I think the cost might be prohibitive to most consumers.

scrapchick said...

lol, too funny! The places we find things!

Andrea @ The Creative Junkie said...

omg, I would love to have caller id on my computer screen and technology to tell me where my phones are. OMG. Seriously LOVE IT.

Lizziemade said...

Well, thanks for explaining why our internet often cuts out when the phone rings...

I don't have so much problem locating the phone, since I seem to be the only person in the house that answers when it rings. So, if it's missing, I can look in one of 3 places to locate it - #1 - Kitchen, #2 - My Studio (on my desk, under the piles of paper), #3 - on the small sofa in the lounge. Anyway, we have enough cordless phones around the house, for me to be able to trot to another room and answer it there...

Still, your idea about a Caller ID device for your PC would be good. It's probably possible, by connecting the phone to some software on your pc. But I wouldn't know how.

Perhaps I could make you a 3D paper version of the telephone though, to act as a decoy for family members with a habit of swiping your real phone. It just might work...

humel said...

I am avaricious AND I need to be right, but unfortunately I don't have the technological skills. Dang! :-(