Sometimes you need a random number quickly, easily, and without bias. For example, when you and a friend are making an important decision on who gets to keep something.
Flipping a coin is sloppy: Who gets to flip it? How do you know it's a fair coin? What if the flipper flips it poorly or is lying
about the result? What if the coin drops and hits something?
Rolling a die is nice -- if you have one. Even then, the die could be weighted, rolled improperly, etc.
Rock-paper-scissors and 1-2-3-shoot are not truly random: they involve psychology and some people are better at these games than others. The results can be disputed too: did one person "choose" too late?
So, when fairness is paramount, don't reach into your pocket, reach for any phone with speaker-phone capability and call the Random Number Hotline. After a brief random ad, both players will be asked to state their names and press the # key.
The menu will then offer contests such as:
- "flip a coin",
- "roll a 6-sided die",
- "roll two 6-sided dice",
- "rock-paper-scissors" [the computer generates the move for each player and announces who won],
- Eenie meenie miney mo,
- "Pick a number between 1 and 10" [players alternate guesses using the telephone keypad until one guesses the computer's number],
- "I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 100" [closest guess wins]
For example, if "roll a die" is chosen, the computer will announce: "Anne - 3; Bob - 5. Bob wins" (if a tie, the announcement is made and the game re-rolled)
Maybe with some sound effects.
The optional Premium Service allows players to enter an account number, and saves the recordings of all the games they've played and their results, for playback anytime. This is undisputable evidence of the outcome, and can be useful in case a disagreement should arise later.
The Hotline's method of generating random numbers is irrelevant - since neither player knows, the game is completely impartial. They could have humans over there flipping the coins for all we know.
Of course, the phone number for the Hotline is *not* 1-800-RANDOMS, but rather, an unmemorable string of digits with no pattern whatsoever.