Saucers of Mud

July 16, 2008

Still a Few Bugs in the System

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 5:27 pm

I have Vonage phone service, which I’ve liked very much so far, and one of the nice features is that they e-mail me my voicemail. Recently they’ve introduced a service that automatically transcribes the messages for me. Today I received two messages (lightly edited to remove identifying information).

Message one:

“Good afternoon, this message is meant for (Mathew Winer?). Mister (Winer?) this is [redacted] calling from (Gyco?) regarding the accident that occurred on July 5th. Please return our phone call at the phone number of [redacted for no particular reason]. When calling again please reference number [redacted]. We are available to you 24 hours a day 7 days a week and we do work as a team. So, anyone here in the department will be able to assist you. I thank you for your time, I’m looking forward from hearing from you. Thank you and have your self a great day. Thank you. Bye-bye.”

(If you’re my mom and you just panicked, the car got its bumper scraped in a parking lot.)

Message two:

“Hey, it’s [string of phonemes vaguely resembling caller’s very common name]. I hope your … regards Mr. (Adrian?) had to call. I don’t … but anyway I was just on 53rd street avenue. And I love … east and even know incredible hot this right. We will see Miriam hi. Could save as … just giving (back feelings?) … dry and clear and green is day and I think is maybe think to you. So just want to call to say hi. And I’ll talk to you. Okay, bye.”

No one named Adrian or Miriam was involved in this phone call. I think the moral may be that customer service reps articulate more clearly than real people.



  1. I wonder if there’s also a cell/landline division here.

    Comment by andrew — July 16, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

  2. There may be text-to-speech services that place calls for you. We need one that works via email. That way, I could email a message to it, it could call your Vonage “line” (through the internet, of course), read my message to your voice mail, and then you’d get the auto-transcribed version in your email.

    Comment by Ben — July 17, 2008 @ 2:47 am

  3. There may be text-to-speech services that place calls for you.

    I think that’s what Ted does for a living.

    (For more on Mr. Tusks go here and to the next couple of strips.)

    Comment by matt w — July 17, 2008 @ 5:56 am

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