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September 13, 2011 / 74

The Digital Age – Our Fingers Made the Transition, But Our Brains Haven’t

One of the joys of living in the middle of nowhere is that you don’t generally have to put up with a lot of idiots on the radio as you drive around. You only have to put up with a FEW idiots.

The idiot in question at the moment is Sean Hannity. Now I’m sure many of you can think of lots of reasons that you would use to justify calling Sean Hannity an idiot, but for this thing it’s all the same.

On his radio show yesterday, I’m listening and he says people should call in, then he gives his phone number. “800-941-SEAN”. Since it’s five or ten minutes until his show is over, I figure I’ll call in to see what happens, thinking there’s no WAY I’ll actually get on the air – ’cause I have nothing to say anyway. So I dial – and I get a bunch of odd gibberish on my cell phone screen. I try it again – same thing.

Then it hits me – I’m using a Blackberry 3G phone. I look at the keyboard and sure enough, when I tried to dial “S-E-A-N” I actually dialed “4-2-A-N” because on a phone with a keyboard the numbers under the S and E are 4 and 2, and there are no numbers under the letters A and N. What Mr Hannity WANTED me to dial was “7-3-2-6” which is what would happen on an old dial or push-button phone.  So if you try to “dial” “S-e-a-n” you don’t GET his number.

Or maybe *I’m* the idiot because he said “DIAL”??? And I “Keyed!”

So Mr Hannity? Your phone number is cute – but it doesn’t work anymore. Sucks to be you. I hope you didn’t have to pay extra for that number!

And the rest of you should remember this little cautionary tale… if you’re running for office, or selling something, make sure that if you’re going to use the name of your product (or YOUR name), the letters should correspond to the numbers on BOTH dial phones and cell phones with keyboards. If your name happens to be something like “Operator” then you can do it. Otherwise, there is no letter that corresponds on both types of phones with the number.

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