Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Bobcast: Ring, ring ring (Ha, ha, hey)

UPDATE: It's official. Get those dialing fingers ready.

Latest Bobcast is up. Listen here or read below.

To handle increased phone usage in Alabama’s 256 area code, state utility regulators are considering a fix that would require 10-digit dialing for all calls, even local ones.

Nobody likes change, especially when it comes to telephones. But in an earlier time 10-digit dialing would have been far more daunting. Those three extra digits will be a pain, but imagine doing it on those ancient rotary dial contraptions. It would make one long for the days when a caller picked up the phone and say, "Hey, Sarah, get me Mount Pilot."

Estimates project that more than 8-in-10 Americans own mobile phones today. By 2013, one industry observer predicts, that figure will move to 100 percent. Already in some parts of Europe there are more mobile phones than people.

On mobile phones, the digits used can range from one – to call a friend's number stored in memory – to scores when using the text-message function.

In Japan, a recent craze is cell phone novels. A young woman with time on her hands pounded out a novel using the keypad on her mobile in 2007. When the book called “Dreaming Firefly” was published, it became a bestseller, thus spawning many more cell-phone novelists.

Compared to all this, 10-digit dialing looks like practically nothing.