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Oct 10, 2008

A question I get every now and again is “I called your telephone number and a message says that the number is out of service. What’s going on?”

The short story is that you are calling from a telephone that does not broadcast valid caller ID information and my voicemail system is rejecting the call. Please try to contact me through the website form.

The longer story: when I set up shop in Western Massachusetts in 2004, I signed up for telephone service and selected numbers for my voice and fax lines. Of course I unknowingly wound up picking a telephone number that was previously owned by a deadbeat. The collection calls began immediately and haven’t stopped.

I signed up for the Do-Not-Call list, and I’ve tried speaking with the collection agencies to inform them that “Ms. Martinez” no longer has this number, but the calls kept coming. After many, many months of putting up with these calls, I decided I wasn’t going to take it any more. The great majority of the collection agencies were calling from lines without valid Caller ID information - Caller ID reports “Out of Area”, “Unknown” or even just blank info with “000” area codes and the like. So I programmed my voicemail system to play a disconnect message and hang up upon receiving any call without invalid Caller ID info.

Most callers transmit some sort of legitimate Caller ID info; even most callers behind PBX systems have the calls routed through trunk lines that provide a valid number, and those calls will all go through. Unfortunately there are some legitimate telephone systems out there that won’t provide Caller ID info, or only do so within their home state. Those callers will run into my phone block, and for that I apologize.

For now, if my phone system is blocking your calls, please send me an email through the contact form and I will respond to your inquiry ASAP. Again I apologize for the inconvenience and I hope that I won’t have to resort to these methods for much longer.

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The San Francisco Chronicle, the same paper that I have previously lauded for it’s coverage on noisy restaurants, is tackling the health effects of traffic noise in San Francisco:

Noise - especially at night - can keep people awake, adding to their stress level. And that, in turn, can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and digestive problems, said Rivard, pointing to findings by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

It’s nice to see an acknowledgment of the negative affects of noise in residential and institutional spaces:

Rivard predicts that noise pollution will continue to affect more and more people, in part due to refashioned building codes. In Chinatown, for instance, the new public library branch there has a ventilation and air conditioning system that is drawing noise complaints from neighbors. A similar problem has cropped up at the City College branch on Valencia Street in the Mission District. The new surge of residential development projects in such areas as the South of Market, Mission Bay and the Bayview, also will add to the city’s noise problems.

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