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Written By: Gary on May 19, 2010 One Comment

Throughout life, even before cell phones and even before call waiting, I’ve called people on the phone sometimes initiating (but sometimes returning a call) and they don’t answer so I leave (or not leave) a message. I then move on with my day: I hop in the shower, go to work, I start some laundry, go for a bike ride or I might have even placed the call before walking into a meeting of some sort (it’s not like I’m calling people at 4:59 on a business day).

Cell Phone Etiquette: Observations from a Mom Michelle CiminoI can’t tell you the number of times I get a call back within moments and, because I’m not there any more, I can’t take the call so I end up with a message that says “why aren’t you there?”. In most of these cases I have no reason to believe they’ll be calling me back in a few minutes, I have no idea why they didn’t take my call. In a few cases, I’ve even gotten a “I don’t like that you aren’t then when I call you right back!”. I’m not on a tether, I’ve committed no crime…

Isn’t the real question,
“Where were they when I called?”?

If I don’t know you’re calling me back soon, why would I be sitting by the phone? They weren’t sitting by the phone, right? I could be there for hours and still be unavailable when you finally call. Especially these days, many people have call waiting, if they needed to click over just to say “I’ll call you back in 5, unless it’s important”, or they could text back with out even interrupting their call (although I’d prefer “I’ll be done in an hour” compared to “what do you want?”). The other problem is when someone does answer when already on a call, they say they’ll call you back in 5 minutes (or an hour) and triple the time has past. How long do you wait before leaving or calling back? If you leave, are you in trouble because they said they would call?

I’m not a big fan of people clicking over for every incoming call, so if I’m expecting a call I’ll tell a person I’m talking to (at the start of the conversation), “I do need to take a very quick call from so-and-so” or “I’m on my way to meet someone, so if they call I need to take it for a minute”. Otherwise I generally ignore call waiting. Although, when doing a job search, I’m apt to take unknown callers when from area codes of where I’m applying.

Related sidebar: I’ve noticed times that when I don’t leave a message, I think I’m more likely to get a call back when I don’t leave one! But then it doesn’t mean they played the actual message (if I left one) that might have some useful info like “I’m running late, I’m hopping into the shower and I’ll be on my way”.

Written By: Gary on November 30, 2007 No Comment

I finally got the phones in Costa Rica to work again. I’m sure they worked before I just couldn’t get them to work last trip. The trick is to get to an AT&T operator, or at least that’s what I wanted since my calling card is AT&T. So from a phone you just dial

0-800-011-4114

and that gets you an AT&T tone/message and you can dial your 1-800 number that’s on your calling card. Now these are the same notes I had scratched onto my card so I’m not sure if I misread them last time or the new pay phones they put in work more like the much older ones.

Now in the past (when it worked) it always used my minutes conservatively, it said it would use my cards at a 12 to 1 ratio (a 60 minute card would last 5 minutes) but it lasted much longer in the past. Not this time, I only got my 5 minutes that I had on that card (I got the cars from Sam’s Club).

Actually, I only got this to work in Jaco, I tried in Montezuma but no success (yet). I bet they want me to put money in the pay phone, but I’m not certain. Whatever it is, it’s probably the same problem I had last time.

Written By: Gary on May 16, 2006 4 Comments

So I’m sure you’ve heard of Skype, right? You can use it to make “phone calls” from computer to computer for free. I used it to make phone calls from Egypt to the US while I was there, it cost me about 2.1 cents per minute to make a call to any telephone in the US (I could have called another Skype computer for free).

They’ve just made it more free. Yes, I said free, to call the US and Canada for the rest of the year (2006). It shouldn’t matter where you are in the world, to call me would be free for the rest of the year. So download Skype now and give it a try.

FYI, I’ve ditched my landline phone at home and have just my cellular phone. So I programmed Skype with my local police/fire number so if I ever have a crisis I can at least use my computer for an emergency phone call (if needed). I just called up and said, I’ve just got a cell phone what’s the best non-911 number to call when I have an emergency.


Here’s how it normally works, they lease a bunch of phone lines around the world, it’s your job (using the Internet) to place the call using the Internet. Depending on the location they set the price, Egypt for example is 18.5 cents a minute, they don’t care where you are calling from (the USA, Egypt or from the same house you are calling to) it still costs 18.5 cents for them to make that call to Egypt. Except for now, calling to the USA and Canada is FREE.

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Written By: Gary on January 8, 2006 One Comment

So I’m looking for a better land-line phone plan for my Mom (nothing higher tech than that) in Berkley, MI. She’s got nothing special right now but and I was looking at Talk America mainly for it’s wider local non-toll calling (a good chunk of SE Michigan). It’s about 22.95 with a wide non-toll area with toll calls for 7.9 cents and long distance for 6.9 cents (for $5 more you can get Call Waiting, Repeat Dialing, Speed Calling 8, 3-Way Calling, Call Return and Caller ID). She doesn’t do much that falls into those extra fee calls (and she could probably just use a phone card for those at 3.9 cents a minute) so I might just pick Talk America but I know I’ve seen them advertise better promotions in the past. I think it was cheaper when I got it and had 3 extra services included. Anyone know of any offers/promotions to switch? (I think she’s with AT&T now).

Written By: Gary on January 1, 2006 No Comment

So just after midnight last night I tried to make a few New Year’s phone calls. I could get a signal (I had lots of bars signal) but I couldn’t get the network to complete a call, it just timed out. The same thing happened with the analog network but eventually I got through (on analog). Just made me think of disaster and emergencies and times you might really need to make a call…


It was enough to remind me to add the local police department number to my Skype list (done!). I suppose I should check for a different number for the fire department. Just in case there’s a problem, I don’t want to be fumbling around for that.

These days they should really be listing emergency numbers for the police/fire departments that dump you into the 911 bank so that you can call via cell and not have to be routed through the state police.

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