h a l f b a k e r y
The phrase 'crumpled heap' comes to mind.
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I'm not sure quite how you'd implement this (and make it easy enough for those people who still haven't gotten the hang of regular machines), but I'd like to see a machine that lets you call back and erase a message you left earlier. I know I'd use this function on a regular basis, either because I'm
playing telephone-tag with several people at once while trying to coordinate things, or because I realize I said something stupid in the message (I thought of this idea after leaving several worried messages on a friend's machine because I forgot she was out of town for the weekend).
I'd buy such a machine because I don't particularly like wading through multiple messages on the same subject ("Hi, it's 9:00. Call me." "Hi, it's 10:30. Call me." "Hi, it's 11:30. Call me." "Hi, it's 12:30. Don't call tonight.").
Maybe this could be integrated with caller ID and let messages from the same phone be superseded. This isn't perfect, because phone != person, though (and could be used detrimentally by snooping family members). A callback function would also be nice, as long as it could be turned off and/or limited to local calls.
||Nice idea. Perhaps it could prompt you for a numeric password. I would like the addition of it calling you back to let you know that they got the message and when (that would certainly eliminate the 'no I didn't get the message' scenario). Not the sort of thing I suspect would be economically possibly in your average home based answer phone, but maybe the sort of feature we will see from the Telco based call taker systems. Any Telco's taking note?