So, here I am trying to contact a VERY important person, but someone who's not so important that they don't have an assistant or receptionist actually answer the phone. Cost cutting has given us a very dependable but very inflexible voicemail attendant. So, here's me without the person's direct extension calling from my Blackberry Pearl. Dial by name directory. Great, no problem. Oh yes, problem.
My Blackberry has a keyboard with numbers and letters on it, but it's sure not the same layout as a touch-tone phone - different numbers, different letters. The touchtone has 10 numbers and 26 letters, the Blackberry has the same, but many more actual keys. And, a standard touch-tone phone is nowhere in sight, as I'm in my car. I try my best to remember which letters are on which number keys - does A, B, C start on 1 or is it 2? and where's the Q? and the 9 has four letters, W, X, Y, Z?
Old school technology, meet cool, new school technology. Same for the iPhone, same for the new G1. As phones get to be more like computers and less like phones, we'll need to rethink voicemail systems and the antiquated touch tone technologies that drive them.
Its basic stuff, but I had to wait until I got to my office before I could call the person back. So, for everyone out there who's trying to convert their Blackberry keyboard to standard phone keyboards, here's a touchtone helper image. It's tough to do in your head.