August 03, 2008

Do It Yourself Slydial -- Even Dumber Than I Thought!

Greetings. When I wrote last night about the stupidity of Slydial's patent application and proposed a methodology for how their service functioned, it turns out that I was missing one fascinating piece of information.

It appears that I actually gave the Slydial folks too much credit. I've now learned that Slydial does not reliably function for all destination numbers without either leaving a "missed call" indication or actually ringing the destination phone once or twice. As "Emily Litella" used to say, "Oh, that's very different!"

Now we can see the light and can duplicate this functionality with ease. The extremely likely "secret" mechanism: Multiple phone calls!

In fact, earlier today, Bob Frankston had joked with me about the possibility of using two calls to get one to voicemail, but of course we both knew this wouldn't work if there was also the requirement of no ring or other indication to the destination phone of the call, other than a voicemail alert. With this requirement dropped, the procedure becomes clear.

You make two calls (on two lines) to the same destination number at essentially the same time from a single origin point. We'll assume that the first call initiated will complete first -- a very good bet in this circumstance. You probably want to stagger the calls very slightly -- a second or two should be fine. The stagger avoids problems that can occur in same cases when two calls hit the same single line service at the same instant, and also helps to assure that you know which of the calls will go to voicemail and which you want to abandon.

If you're willing to chance ringing the destination phone, just wait until you hear the start of a ring then drop that call. The second call should bounce directly to voicemail. If you want a shot at avoiding the ring, wait a couple of seconds for the connection to likely complete, then drop the first call. Depending on the ring sequencing of the destination carrier/number, a ring can probably be avoided in many cases. There are some other obvious tricks that could make ring avoidance even more certain.

This technique duplicates the Slydial symptoms that I've now seen reported. If you don't drop the first call fast enough, you'll trigger ringing. If you drop during or before the ringing (but after the call completes to the switch) you're likely to trigger a "missed call" indication much of the time. In both cases you may also trigger a caller-ID display (if not blocked by the calling number, of course).

But what about call waiting? We don't care about call waiting! First, if no current call is in progress to the destination phone, call waiting will normally not be triggered. Call #1 is the set up and enters the connect/ringing sequence, and call #2 bounces straight to voicemail. And if a "real" call is in progress, our set up call #1 will simply trigger a call wait beep (but by the time the person called can get to it that set up call will be dropped) and our call #2 will bounce to voicemail -- exactly what we want to happen.

In testing with a couple of landlines and my own cell phone earlier today, I was able to make this work 100% of the time after just a few minutes of "tuning" my technique.

So there you go. You can do it yourself. But, uh, keep in mind that some folks might consider those initial abandoned calls (especially if they ring) to be harassment. You don't need Slydial to pull off this stunt, though obviously they make it easier since you don't have to use a couple of your own lines.

And if any of this tomfoolery rates a patent, then we might as well all pack it in -- the lunatics will have taken absolute and total control.

"Your call cannot be completed as dialed ..."


Posted by Lauren at August 3, 2008 12:31 AM | Permalink
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