Wednesday, February 28, 2007

When you need to talk to a human being

Have you ever been horribly frustrated while trying to navigate the voice prompt maze of a business, desperately wanting to speak to a human being instead of a soul-less, clueless recorded voice?

Ironically, I am that recorded voice on a few voice prompt systems, including that of my own employer. I wonder how many people I've inadvertently caused to cuss.

But seriously, there is a website that aims to help you reach a human. It's actually called (Hat tip to 101QFL morning show host, Darren Marlar.)

From the site: "The gethuman project is a consumer movement to improve the quality of phone support in the US. This free website is run by volunteers and is powered by over one million consumers who demand high quality phone support from the companies that they use."

Pretty good idea...and the list of companies on the site is pretty comprehensive.

(For a humorous take on voice prompt systems, read this James Lileks column.)

Video tombstones?

You knew it was bound to happen.

A Wausau, Wisconsin cemetery monument company is now the distributor of what they call a "serenity panel." A solar-powered video screen, mounted into an upright gravestone, plays a personalized video tribute or shows pictures of the deceased, set to music. The video screens are weather-resistant and tamper-proof.

At first glance, it seems like kind of a cool idea. But have you thought about how, if it becomes widespread, it will forever change cemeteries?

Cemeteries are sort of the last bastion of peace and silence. One goes to the cemetery to quietly honor the memory of your friends and loved ones and reflect on their lives and your memories. Key word: quietly. Can you imagine if several musical video tributes are playing at once?

I guess they could get around that by offering headphones.

If you're interested, you can go to the website of Vidstone, the company that developed the product.

Way-Back Wednesday

Haven't done this in a while, but a year ago in February, I blogged about why I am an Anglophile.

I won't take the space to copy it here, but do check it out if you get the time. And let me know what YOU were blogging about a year ago!

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