The PhoneBoy Blog


Simplifying Telecom, Mobile Phones, Gadgets, and More!

Naysaying So-Called Innovation

Marcelo's recent post entitled Naysaying Innovation Through Blogging suggests I'm naysaying innovation. The difference here is that Marcelo thinks this is innovation–I don't. This is nothing new, in fact the basics of this service were offered 10 years ago by Webley. Can someone please explain how this is innovative? Anyway, I'm not even going to go into how badly the website works on Firefox. Yes, I know that can be changed and I'm not going to pretend it can't. But still, for a service marketed to techies, you'd think they would have done a better job with initial Firefox support.

Marcelo makes it sound like I connect inbound telephone numbers. There was a time where that was true. It's certainly an occupational hazard of playing with IP-based telephony. But really, I don't want the phone numbers as much as I want to see if anyone's providing any true innovation. Unfortunately, that means signing up and, yes, getting a new number. I don't give the numbers out to anyone except to people I don't care about.

I already have a single inbox for all my numbers. While I do have a lot of numbers, there are only two numbers anyone has: my office landline and my mobile phone. My office landline, between PhoneGnome and Gizmo Project, goes into a single inbox, namely my email. Mobile phone: same thing. Again, thanks to the folks at GotVoice. My other mobile phone? GotVoice. All the other numbers? Either nobody has them (or at least nobody important) or they all manage to make it to my email inbox through call forwarding or because the number emails me the voicemail. While all of that might sound like a management nightmare, it isn't. I've set it once and I forget it. And it doesn't cost me anything.

The only feature I've seen from Grand Central I've seen that looks kind of cool is the "marking a call as spam" thing. If I got enough telephone spam to care, it might be worthwhile to get. Right now, it's not worth the trouble I'd have to go through to train everyone to use my Grand Central number, not to mention the extra cost. And what happens when the next great thing comes along? You know, the thing that's going to blow Grand Central out of the water? You're going to have to train everyone to call you with a new number *again. ** *

And see, that's really the point for me. I don't want to have to train people to communicate with me differently. When I can change communication methods seemlessly without having to change how people communicate with me or changing how I communicate with them, that will be innovation. Until then, I will continue to naysay so-called innovation.


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