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Feb 01

Bluetooth Blues

I really like my Bluetooth, that shiny black thing that I wear in my right ear when I drive. It was a Christmas gift from our son a couple years ago. It helps keep me safe when I drive because I can keep both hands on the steering wheel while I talk on my cell phone. That is pretty important on days like today when the roads are icy. It also keeps my right arm from going numb from holding the phone to my ear during the long conversations with my folks as I drive home from work each day.

My Bluetooth worked perfectly with my old flip phone. It was voice activated and I all I had to do was press it and say “call Joe” or “call Miller” and a nice lady (or at least a nice lady’s voice) would ask “did you say call Joe?” and I would reply “yes” and Joe would answer within a few moments. All I had to do was to say their contact name and Bluetooth would dial their number. I could also reply “no” and the call would be canceled. You would think that as technology improves this Bluetooth calling feature would also improve. Not so!

Last July I got a Droid phone. The helpful Verizon salesperson said that my Bluetooth would work with my Droid but that I would have to dial the number physically. How primitive! I was used to just speaking a contact name and then having my call answered. Joe and I decided that there had to be a way to get the Droid/Bluetooth combination to recognize my voice commands. After much searching we did find a way, but it has never worked as good as the Flip phone/Bluetooth pairing.

The problem is that I when I command Bluetooth to call one of my contacts by name, I never know who will answer. I commanded it to “call Joe” one morning at 7:00 on my way to work. The pleasant lady replied “calling —–“.  I could not understand who she said but I do know that the name was not Joe. I held my breath as the phone rang and I waited to see who would answer.  Luckily it was a co-worker who had already left for work, too. I got to talk to her answering machine that morning. The “call” command has never called the intended person with the Droid/Bluetooth combination. I usually try to disconnect the call, hopefully before it ever rings on their end. There is one of my contacts that Bluetooth likes to route the calls to the most—Janet H. I will say “call Miller” and the lady will reply “calling Janet H.” This has happened numerous times as I tried to call various contacts. I quit trying to use this feature some time ago.

However, I discovered that if I say the command “DIAL 555-555-5555” (say the actual number I want to reach, not really all those 5s…) it will usually dial the number I want. The nice lady’s voice always repeats the number back, even though she does not allow me to respond yes or no. There is no going back with these calls. Occasionally, if I talk too fast, she will say the incorrect number and I try to disconnect the call immediately. It is also very difficult to remember the phone numbers of all my contacts.

But today, on my way home from work, there was yet another development in my Bluetooth calling. I commanded “dial (my parents’ number)” and the lady said “calling Janet H.” I tried to hang up immediately, but I heard her phone ringing!  I’m so sorry Janet!

I apologize in advance to any of my contacts who receive a call from me at an unexpected hour and a big apology to Janet H for all the past calls.

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