Reaching me by phone

It is no secret that I like technology, and it's no secret that I historically have not been interested in mobile phones because of their ability to let people talk over large distances. I like the technology involved in making that work, and its ability to connect me with computers over large distances much more than the ability to connect me with people. Nevertheless, I've attempted to facilitate my communication with luddites still tied to the plain old telephone system, also known as POTS in the modern world.

The problem with POTS

Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards store a single phone number per entry, associated with a single person (for intents and purposes, we'll say this is the case--it used to be, and in most cases, still is). Rather early on, people realized this was limitting, and did not fit the real world. People (entries) needed multiple numbers, one for at home, one for at work, and one for a mobile which didn't get reception in either of these locations. Tracking down a person could require a call to at least three different numbers.

The answer

Phones eventually allowed users to store multiple numbers ("details") for a single contact, but this doesn't address the actual problem in itself. A user still needs to dial three different numbers in the hypothetical situation. The answer is to call the person, and not the person's phones, and this is why having named identifiers, such as "matt", works so much better. SIP is the answer, along with its eMail-inspired addressing scheme. It also allows for a decentralized communications network that builds on the robustness and reach of the Internet.

The solution

The problem is that many people do not know how to make a SIP call, and do not feel like installing or configuring new software (even though most phones sold these days suppot SIP out of the box, and a user need not configure much if anything to make a SIP call). This means that the SIP solution must integrated with POTS, a subject upon which I have written before. (I will continue to recommend and endorse Vitelity for United States-based numbers.)

The following are locations or phones which I may wish to use, would expect to receive a call, and would not want to force someone trying to contact me to necessarily remember or try:

  • My old mobile line, a number I've had for over a decade.
  • A new, local mobile which saves me from pulling the former SIM out of my mobile Internet device
  • At home, on either my Aastra base station or one of the wireless handsets; logistically, these are the same.
  • On a prepaid SIM card I use for international travel, but not in the United States
My phone set-up

Either by calling over SIP, or by dialing a specified number on the old POTS, the same effect is reached in that all four of these devices ring. A user now needs to only remember one number, and needed worry if I'm even in the country.