Thursday, September 09, 2010

Explain How This Works Again, Please?

Here's a picture of my desk, cleaned off:

And here's a redacted copy of an email I got from the campus technology folks earlier today:

To use your phone to access your e-mail, calendar, and contacts, call your [Special Email etc Combo Program we've paid big bucks for] Voice Access number and enter your PIN at the prompt.
Your access number(s): [some numbers]
Your number: [some numbers]
Your PIN: [some numbers]

Your [North Woods University] voicemail account is now enabled. You can access your voicemail account by dialing the "Access Number" listed above. More help instructions can be found online at [a URL].

Can you guess the problem?


  1. that phone! doesn't that freak your students out?

  2. I second Kathy A. Also, is there a computer in your office?

    I love that they paid big bucks for this fancy program but are still using a phone from the Mad Men era. I'm curious to see how much longer it will take to *dial* all the numbers you'll need than it would be to press the buttons.

  3. @Undine: I doubt that the voice mail system can understand rotary dial clicks at all.

    @Bardiac: if you have a mobile phone that makes DTMF (touch-tone) sounds, could you hold it up to the handset and see whether that works? For instance, the DTMF Dialer app for the iPhone might work:

  4. i'm sure you can just dial 0, and ernestine will hook you right up with your digital information.

  5. Brian, I thought of that but couldn't believe that the powers that be would have been so stupid!

  6. Tee hee!!! Are they planning to outfit all of you with tone-players (like in the movies, where someone calls on a pay phone and enters tones from a little black box that makes something happen)?

  7. That looks like my office 25 years ago, except my desk was big ugly wood, not metal!
    Rotary phone. Presumably the mandarins in central casting who paid the big bucks for fancy voice mail system don't "know" that you still have a rotary phone in your office. Oy.

  8. I thought my father was the only one who still had a rotary-dial phone. His is mounted on the wall. This is very funny.

  9. Can we talk about the desk for a moment? Because we have a building full of those very sturdy metal desks in a peculiar shade some like to call "celery," which must have been quite chic back in the 1960s because it's all over the place and you can't get rid of it because those sturdy desks REFUSE TO DIE. They hang on so long that they look like dioramas demonstrating the Era of Ugly. And then, to compound the effect, they plop down an old rotary phone in a non-complementary color.

  10. i've got susan's big ugly old wood desk! it was free! and i had versions of bardiac's Era of Ugly desk at two non-profit jobs -- because they were free! they are combat-grade office furniture. the anti-IKEA.

    we still have a rotary phone someplace. those things are indestructable, too. my sister also has one in use, paired with an ancient answering machine that looks like a seismograph; very impressive to the high-schoolers who hang out around her house. they're like museum pieces.

  11. to complete the look, you really need a vintage IBM selectric and a mimeograph machine for "printing."

  12. Ha! I bet most of your students have never seen a phone like that.

    Of course, I looked at the photo and was all, "She has a PHONE?!?" Our department can't afford them any longer, and I don't think any humanities folks still had their phones at my last institution. My new department did offer to buy faculty headsets to use with Skype or Google Voice, but it's not quite the same thing, you know? It feels like working in a call center.