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Homemade Cell Phone Call Blocker? 245

Posted by Cliff
from the if-they-call-don't-bug-me dept.
G)-(ostly asks: "Recently, I've been plagued by a number of calls that were mis-dialed to my cell phone. They're particularly annoying because, being on a cell phone, the wrong number calls follow me everywhere as opposed to just being ignored in an empty house during the day. Verizon, of course, has scripted their drones to claim they can't do anything about it except change the number (or we can turn off the phone), which of course probably wouldn't change anything since we'd just get different mis-dials. However, since it's in my possession, would it be possible to build a software package that could be used to 'screen' unwanted numbers right on the phone? If so, how would one even begin to find APIs for phones, or load the software, once built, onto it?" How long do you figure it will take phone makers to recognize the need for this feature?
A cheap and dirty way to do this would be to add the numbers you wish to block to your phone's contact list and give them a silent ring. However, you then waste the phones memory with a phone-book entry (which can be hundreds of bytes), when all you really need is a list consisting of 10-12 digit numbers (depending on locality). The other drawback to this method is that you might need to use those contact slots, so it isn't a solution for everyone. Still, this sounds like a useful feature, but there is still the issue of how much control the cell phone's OS will give you over its basic operations (blocking messages sent from a specific number, for example). Has anyone tried doing this on their phone? What kind of luck did you have?
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Homemade Cell Phone Call Blocker?

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  • by thrillseeker (518224) on Monday March 27, 2006 @06:18PM (#15007007)
    ... to offer this feature?

    They'll never try to voluntarily assist their customers in limiting the number of air minutes used by their customers.

    • But you don't pay to receive calls, only to send them. So it's the same as setting up a blacklist on a mail server, in effect. The phone checks the number, realises it's on the blacklist and sends back the "not interested" signal. The person dialling gets "number not recognised" or similar, to put them off.

      It seems like a grand idea. Are there any open source phone operating systems that this could be implemented on, or are we at the mercy of the telcos and manufacturers?

      • But you don't pay to receive calls

        I certainly pay to receive calls. I get a certain number of 'minutes' every month. These minutes are spent by sending or receiving calls.

        • You pay to answer calls, not receive them. You can let your phone ring and not pay for the incoming minutes, unless your plan sucks. That's what caller ID / contact lists are for
      • by ArkonChakravanti (953458) on Monday March 27, 2006 @07:02PM (#15007321)
        Actually, in some countries, like Belgium, you don't pay to receive calls, only the caller pays to talk on the phone and you also don't pay to receive text messages...
        In other countries, like the US, you pay for calling and for receiving calls, and for sending and receiving text messages...

        Just FYI
        • Actually, in some countries, like Belgium, you don't pay to receive calls, only the caller pays to talk on the phone and you also don't pay to receive text messages...
          In other countries, like the US, you pay for calling and for receiving calls, and for sending and receiving text messages...

          Just FYI


          In addition to not paying for incoming calls (USCellular), I also do not pay to receive text messages.

          uscc.com even has a tool that lets you send text messages to their customers for free (no one pays for the text
        • What the hell? Who the hell wants to pay to recieve calls? Couldn't someone with a lot more money just call you and cost you heaps of money?
          • Couldn't someone with a lot more money just call you and cost you heaps of money?

            I suppose, as long as they also arranged for someone to hold a gun to your head, thereby forcing you to answer the phone and talk for hours and hours.

            You don't have to answer it just because it rings ;)

            • You don't have to answer it just because it rings ;)

              As obvious as you and I think that statement was, I think there aren't many people who can make that logical leap. If it was an important call, they'll leave a message. Otherwise, just ignore it. It's usually a 1-button tap during the ring to ignore a call... don't be a slave to your phone.
          • Not only this, but on most calling plans in the US, it is free (included in the monthly cost) to make unlimited local calls from a land line. That means you could dial a cell number on a fax machine or modem, set it for unlimited retries, and at no cost to you, the victim's cell phone would just keep ringing, and ringing, and ringing...

            Not that I've ever done this to that dumb son of a bitch who thought it would be funny to prank call me on a Saturday night... Oops... I've said too much. :)
        • *mouth agape*

          In other countries, like the US, you pay for calling and for receiving calls, and for sending and receiving text messages...

          I'm absolutely staggered. I had no idea the mobile phone situation in the States was that screwed up. So if you're on a $10/month texting plan you can find someone you don't like, send him as many messages as you can, and he racks up a huge bill? *shakes head*

          I can confirm that in NZ at least you don't pay to receive any calls or messages of any type.

          Still, the yanks hav
        • Actually as far as i know, in the whole of Europe only the caller pays, not the receiver.

          The only situation in which the receiver pays something is when he's "roaming" (i.e. in a different country from the one were he has his mobile phone contract), altough some trans-national mobile phone companies (Vodafone) now offer no extra costs for "roaming" as long as the country where the reciever is in also has a network from that company.
      • But you don't pay to receive calls, only to send them.
        Not in the US.
      • No, phones are very tightly locked down. PDAs with phone capability have some possibilities (although even then I suspect you won't be able to get at the lower layers), but you won't get into a mobile phone.

        There's two main reasons. Firstly it gives them better security if they know the phones on their network have their software locked down tight; and secondly it lets them charge extra for downloading add-on programs.

        Grab.
    • They'll never try to voluntarily assist their customers in limiting the number of air minutes used by their customers.

      I don't know how wide-spread this is, but on USCellular, so long as you are on their network, incoming calls are free (as in they don't use ANY of your minutes). 24/7/365.

      So what would their incentive be for *not* offering a feature like this? For that matter, why would *any* carrier not offer a feature like this? It's a "feature" they could charge their subscribers monthly to have!
  • Caller ID (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AllMightyPaul (553038)
    My phone has caller ID, so I can see who the number is and if it matches a number in my phone book. I think every cell phone made in the past five years has this. What more do you want?
    • Not only that, but several phones have the ability to select ringing profiles and include certain numbers in the groups and exclude others.

      What works for me is to simply set it up so that all of my friends cause my phone to ring, with a few select people excluded. Everyone else just shows the number and makes the phone vibrate. That is, unless you're someone I know I want to talk to, you're on "silent".

      I'm not sure if all phones offer this, but the last couple of phones I have owned have had this feature.
    • Re:Caller ID (Score:3, Insightful)

      by biocute (936687)
      I got a feeling that the asker wants to block the calls automatically, which I think is a bad idea.

      Unlike spams, the best way to stop wrongnumber-dialers to call you again is to tell them they have got the wrong number.
      • Re:Caller ID (Score:2, Insightful)

        by itwerx (165526)
        ...the best way to stop wrong number-dialers...is to tell them they have got the wrong number.

        Ah, I'm so glad somebody pointed that out.
              I was sitting here trying to wrap my head around how the phone could have a "psychic powers" API to know when a caller had a wrong number! :)
      • Or, send them straight to voicemail, where they'll figure out that you're not the one they were trying to call.
        • This might work in theory, not in practice. I still get tons of voicemails all the time like "Hey Jim, I'm going to be late for our meeting today..." or "Bob, I couldn't find that thing you wanted.." etc... hint: my name is neither Bob or Jim..
    • Caller ID can be turned off by caller (note: this works only for conversations, not text messages).
  • Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Derg (557233) <alex.nunley@gmail.com> on Monday March 27, 2006 @06:22PM (#15007037) Journal
    My old as crap sony ericsson t237 from cingular has a call management feature that lets me select groups to accept calls from. I can select to accept calls from the list, from all, or from none. Why cant you just put all the people you are most commonly expecting calls from in the "whitelist" and select to accept calls only from the list? Any other calls are directed to voicemail, where you can choose to ignore or reply at your leisure. Another benefit of this is that your voicemail message will convey who you are to the caller, and simple misdials will realize and most likely hangup. I do not see what the big deal is? What am I missing?
  • by technoextreme (885694) on Monday March 27, 2006 @06:24PM (#15007048)
    555-filk.
  • O2 (Score:4, Informative)

    by biocute (936687) on Monday March 27, 2006 @06:25PM (#15007049) Homepage
    If wrong numbers are troubling you so much, consider investing in a O2-type smartphone which comes with features to screen/block numbers.
  • by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday March 27, 2006 @06:27PM (#15007070)
    "A cheap and dirty way to do this would be to add the numbers you wish to block to your phone's contact list and give them a silent ring. However, you then waste the phones memory with a phone-book entry (which can be hundreds of bytes),..."

    Hundreds of bytes? Spare me the drama. If you're the type of person with the wherewithal to even think about developing a number-blocking app for your phone, then you probably have the type of phone where hundreds of bytes isn't going to matter. What you call a "cheap and dirty" solution I'd call "cheap and simple." My "cheap" referring to less use of my time thinking about the problem.
       
    • Some phones don't care how much free space you have, they still limit the number of phonebook entries. Mine for example has several megs of free space, but limits the phone book to 200 entries. Why the OP is concerned about bytes is beyond me, but I can understand wasting phone book entries when you have a limited hard-coded amount.

      A java app would work better for me if I had that problem, because I have loads of free space for apps, but not for the addressbook.

  • by Dave_B93 (528595) on Monday March 27, 2006 @06:30PM (#15007084)
    I used to have someone doing this all the time and so added them to my phone book as 'wrong number #1' and just not answering it. Do you really have more than the 250 or so numbers that your sim card can hold ( or more if you're using phone memory? ) An alternative would be to have caller groups and only having it ring if it was a known number, but then you have to know everyone who calls you. If they're calling from a Private Number then you're really screwed.
  • by localman (111171) on Monday March 27, 2006 @06:31PM (#15007092) Homepage
    I once had a cell phone where I would get at least four wrong numbers per day. I'd never had that much trouble before, and never again after I changed numbers. Everyone calling was asking for a different person, so it wasn't because I had a number similar to a popular business (though that happened to me once before too).

    Eventually I figured out the reason for the many wrong numbers: my exchange matched a nearby area code, and the first three digits of the rest of my number were an exchange within that area code. So, for example, let's say my number was 555 1234, there were a thousand valid numbers in the format 1 (555) 123 4###. What that meant was that anytime someone in my area code forgot to dial 1 when dialing one of those 1000 numbers, it resulted in a wrong number to me.

    Once I figured that out, I got my number changed and things got much better. Don't know if that's what's happening to you, but I thought I'd mention it. If you think it is something like this, be sure to change exchanges too, not just the last four digits. Make sure the exchange does not match a nearby area code.

    Cheers.
    • I've noticed that numbers with repeated digits, like XXX-X77X, get more misdialed calls.
      • I've noticed that numbers with repeated digits, like XXX-X77X, get more misdialed calls.

        I've always wondered why we can't have a check digit (to make the number add to zero, for example) added at the end to prevent misdials. They're just numbers - we've got more of 'em in storage. if we want.

    • by fm6 (162816) on Monday March 27, 2006 @07:03PM (#15007323) Homepage Journal
      I once had a similar issue with my landline. The problem was that if you swapped two digits while dialing a certain motel, you'd get my number. Not only did I get a lot of calls from people who were just sloppy dialing, but I got a lot of calls from one particular flake who misdialed the number quite consistently. Never did find out why he called the motel so much, though his attitude and way of talking made me think his drug connection must have worked there. He'd refuse to believe me when I told him he had the wrong number, and get really nasty when I'd remind him that this was the umpteenth time he'd done so.

      Once I answered the phone, got the usual idiot. I said, "Asshole!" and hung up. He speed-dialed me until I got tired of hanging up on him, then left a 20-minute rant on my answering machine.

      Eventually, I moved to a different area code and had to change my number. Had Pacific Bell notify callers of my new number. Came home one day to find a message on my machine: "What the fuck?" Yep, same guy. I'll always wonder: did he think the motel had moved across state or what?

      • I was getting really obscene wrong number calls with people leaving messages on my machine.
        They were german, and calling from overseas, via collect call, which cost me money - How did they get my answering machine to accept a collect call? Simple - they had another person on the extension (of [hreaked into the connection somehow) pose as me and say yes to accepting the call. So they would leave messages on my machine about raping and killing women, discussing where they buried the body, etc...
        And it turns o
  • My cell phone lets me:

    - set a custom riner for each person in my address book.

    - set a DIFFERENT ringer for numbers that are *Unavailable*

    - set another ringer for numbers that aren't in my Phonebook.

    That way I can ignore it based on the ringer.

    If someone I know calls, but I didn't know they called, then they can leave a voicemail, and I can add them to my Address Book. Hunt around. Play with phones before you buy them. Some have options like this, some dont.
  • by mkcmkc (197982) on Monday March 27, 2006 @06:38PM (#15007143)
    I'm not sure blocking on the phone will help much, since you're probably getting these calls from an assortment of differing numbers that you can't predict.

    What you really need is a "magic number" (a simple password, basically) that callers have to enter to get access to your line, after they've reached you. This would block out everyone except the people you want to talk to (who you've told your magic number). A little unfriendly maybe, but not much different than having an extension that people need to remember.

    Coincidentally, I used to work on the email-to-phone interface for a major cell carrier. Since their numbers were assigned in blocks, the system was trivial to spam. This wasn't considered to be a problem until the executives of the company started receiving it. ;-). Anyway, I suggested a magic word solution similar to the above for that case. Instead they spent megabucks on some antispam solution. No idea if it works--I have text messaging for my phone permanently disabled...

    • Actually AT&T (or SBC or whom ever they are now) I belive has something similar to this offered for their land lines. It was something like, if you called with caller id blocked you could either punch in a magic number - or - anounce your name to the recording system. That system would then ring the home line and play that recorded name back to you - so you could answer it if you wanted to or not.

      Extremly unfriendly, but I hear it helped some people.
    • Every Nokia phone I had (I had ten to twelve of them) had a "profiles" option, and inside each profile "rings for" where you can select which of your caller groups your phone rings for.
      Simple.
      Already exists.
      It works.
      For instance, I have a profile called "in class", that is absolutely silent... except if my (39 weeks pregnant) wife calls -- and if she does, it vibrates. If anyone else calls, too bad...
      • Sounds great, but it solves a different problem. Specifically, it only really works if you know the phone numbers of the people you want to talk to (or block). Doesn't help for people calling from arbitrary numbers, which is the problem the "magic number" technique is appropriate for.
  • VOIP solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hlh_nospam (178327) <concealedhandgun@nOSPAM.gmail.com> on Monday March 27, 2006 @06:40PM (#15007154) Homepage Journal
    I determined long ago that I did not want to be a captive to a cell phone company, so I got an inexpensive VOIP number to forward to my cell phone. I do not give out my cell phone number at all, but I forward my VOIP phone to my cell phone (most of the time). In addition to being able to ditch my cell phone company at any time without having any hassles over notifying people of my new number, I can also go online anytime I want to 1) get a complete list of calling stats, 2) set filters to weed out unwanted calls, and 3) set timers on various other features.

    My favorite feature is the ability to assign any number that I don't want to answer again a permanent busy signal. That, BTW, includes *any* call with a blocked caller ID. I get a little kick out of seeing in my log some low-life telemarketing company trying unsuccessfully to reach me hundreds of times. I can also set timers to go directly to voicemail during certain hours (like when I want to sleep), and I can selectively filter important callers (like my family) to ring through anyway.

    Costs about $15/month. Oh, yes, I can also use the VOIP phone as originally intended, too.

    Nowadays, with local number portability, the 'captive' part is less of a problem, but the other features make keeping a VOIP service worthwhile.

    • Interesting, can I ask which VOIP company you use?
      • Re:VOIP solution (Score:3, Informative)

        by hlh_nospam (178327)
        VoicePulse [voicepulse.com]. I got the $14.99 account with unlimited local calls and 200 long distance minutes, of which I rarely use more than 20 or 30. Only problem I've had was when I was with Comcast, the bandwidth that Comcast provided after 5pm in the evening was not sufficient to use the VOIP line. However, since Verizon came to my neighborhood with FiOS, Comcast is now history as far as I'm concerned; good riddance.

        VoicePulse does not pay referral fees, so my recommendation is a freebie. Probably better that way...

    • Even with number portability - some carriers (sprint was one when I checked) won't give you any incentive to continue with them ($200 rebate or whatever) after your contract has expired. You can get the discount - but you have to get a new number.
      Not sure why, it is easier and cheaper to go with another provider because of stuff like this, but sprint does what sprint does.
    • My favorite feature is the ability to assign any number that I don't want to answer again a permanent busy signal. That, BTW, includes *any* call with a blocked caller ID. I get a little kick out of seeing in my log some low-life telemarketing company trying unsuccessfully to reach me hundreds of times.

      I went for Disney's "It's a Small World After All" with the gain set high on a continuous loop.

      I've only put two telemarketer numbers on that. One took two calls to stop. The other only took one. (This was
  • by evilad (87480) on Monday March 27, 2006 @06:44PM (#15007182)
    One checksum digit would eliminate *every* one-digit-wrong misdialed number. Why why why don't phone numbers have checksum digits?
    • Because they're running out of numbers, and need to use every one they can.

      The other problem here is the crazy North American idea of having cell phone numbers in the same area codes as landlines, but requiring the receiver to pay for incoming calls. If all mobile providers were on their own recognizable area codes, and the caller knew that calling a mobile number was expensive, there'd be a lot fewer of these wrong numbers.
      • Because they're running out of numbers, and need to use every one they can.

        Incorrect. http://www.nanpa.com/pdf/NRUF/October_2005_NPA_Exh aust_Analysis.pdf [nanpa.com] Most area codes will not be exhausted for many years. The reason we are seeing new area codes is that it is easier to create new area codes for the cellular networks than to reassign existing area codes and exchanges. Most exchanges are not even full.

        A single exchange contains 10,000 numbers and therefore an area code contains up to 10,000,000 numbers. Th

      • The other problem here is the crazy North American idea of having cell phone numbers in the same area codes as landlines, but requiring the receiver to pay for incoming calls. If all mobile providers were on their own recognizable area codes, and the caller knew that calling a mobile number was expensive, there'd be a lot fewer of these wrong numbers.

        The advantage of this, of course, is that it costs the same to call a landline as it does to call a cellphone. In Europe, for example, it generally costs more
        • The advantage of this, of course, is that it costs the same to call a landline as it does to call a cellphone. In Europe, for example, it generally costs more to call a cellphone.

          No, it costs more to call a cellphone. But the owner of the cellphone pays the extra cost.
      • The european approach is better...
        Mobiles cost more for you to call, but incoming calls to your mobile are free. At least one operator in the UK actually gives you a cut of the call costs when someone calls you.
        So marketting companies have to pay to talk to you, they have to pay if they get your voicemail and if your lucky you might actually get some of that money.
        I would have no issues receiving marketting calls on a premium rate number.
    • Because most people would rather misdial once in every 100 phone calls than have to remember an extra digit for all 100 phone calls.

      Besides, many people would skip remembering the extra digit and calculate it on the fly, which would lead to a correctly checksummed wrong number.

      And we'd still be dialing an extra digit because some geek doesn't like the occasional misdial. What he doesn't know, however, is that there's a good chance the misdial is in his general area, and stands a good chance at being
    • Who says it's misdialed? I get calls from collection agencies because some asshat has given them my number (I assume they picked it out of the air).
    • No, not funny. Actually an extremely good idea. Patent it immediately. +5 insightful imho. Truly
  • Number Re-assignment (Score:3, Informative)

    by rueger (210566) on Monday March 27, 2006 @06:44PM (#15007184) Homepage
    Part of your problem is that phone companies, and cel providers in particular are re-assigning numbers faster than before.

    In days of yore when you surrendered a phone number it would sit dormant for enough time that callers would stop using it.

    These days your "new" number may have belonged to someone else only a few weeks ago. Consequently you get calls from people that they knew. Usually at 3 AM.

    I had one phone that got calls every few hours from one particular phone number, but from different people. Near as I can tell it had been written on a washroom wall, right by the pay phone...

    • That happened with my Cingular line. The funniest thing was that they didn't delete the "say your name" recording that the previous number had. Moussad Arryah (something like that.. really thick arabic accent).
      I really enjoyed leaving messages to other Cingular customers because it left Moussad's greeting and it was ominous. The downside is that I occasioanlly got calls from his creditors.
    • 867-5309 (Score:2, Funny)

      by Samurai (26257)
      Jenny? Is that you?
    • A friend of mine actually met a pretty cool chick one time like this. He called his brother's old cell phone number by mistake and ended up talking to and going to meet this girl who now had the same number. Not sure what actually ended up happening between the two of them, though.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday March 27, 2006 @06:45PM (#15007194)
    The phone# of a friend of mine is one digit different from the one for Ticket Master.

    After walking with him for a while, you'd start to think his name is "wrong number".
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Ooh baby, teach him to answer by saying "can I have your credit card number please?" Only tell people it's a wrong number after they give it. Those people will dial carefully after that. Also, he will probably be able to afford another phone.
  • symbian (Score:2, Informative)

    by peu (163472)
    there is software for symbian phones that allow you to decide, by a set of rules the behaviour of your phone asnwering status, it can even tell the caller the line is busy
  • How many wrong numbers do you get? I get about two a month it seems, so I really don't care. I understand if your phone number is one digit of the local Pizza King, or is in fact the same number with one digit different in the prefix (556-1234, instead of 555-1234) and you're getting dozens of calls you don't want. I guess what I'm saying is if you really get so many wrong numbers it's a big problem then probably the underlying root cause here is something that could be addressed more easily than by inventi
  • by stienman (51024) <adavis AT ubasics DOT com> on Monday March 27, 2006 @06:55PM (#15007267) Homepage Journal
    A misdial looks exactly like an intentional dial to the phone company. There is no way that you or the phone company can prevent someone from dialing your number.

    Your phone already supports basic white list or blacklist functionality. If the same people keep misdialing your number, then you'll want to blacklist them using the method sugested in the editorial portion of this article.

    If, however, you get misdials from different phone numbers then you'll need to add everyone to your phone book that you want to know about immediately, and set the general ring to silent. In this way you'll still get voicemail if the caller left a message (typically misdials won't leave voice mail if you set up your outgoing message well) so you won't be completely out of the loop with a real caller from an unfamiliar phone number.

    I don't see how custom software will solve this any better than the phone book will. You have four different scenarios:
    1) Someone who does want to talk to you dials correctly and reaches you
    2) Someone who does NOT want to talk to you dials correctly and doesn't reach you
    3) Someone who does want to talk to you misdials and doesn't reach you
    4) Someone who does NOT want to talk to you misdials and reaches you

    Only calls from #1 and #4 reach you. There are two further possibilities:
    A) The person calls from a number in your phone book
    B) The person calls from a number not in your phone book (or is blocked)

    A person who does want to talk to you and is not in your phone book (payphone, friend's phone, etc) looks exactly like a person who does not want to talk to you and is not in your phone book. Therefore, as far as the phone company, your phone, and any possible software you could invent knows, 1B == 4B.

    Therefore the problem cannot be solved any better than it is right now with the built in phone's whitelist and blacklist. Either you will only accept calls from those you've programmed, shoving everyone else to voice mail, or you will accept calls from anyone who does not match a set of frequent misdiallers.

    In the old days before caller ID one could purchase an answering machine that would not allow the home phones to ring unless the caller pressed a sequence of touchtone keys. You may be able to make software do that, but generally those devices failed in the marketplace because it was too much hassle.

    Of course, this doesn't answer your question. I suppose what I'm trying to accomplish here is to ask you a question:

    What does your proposed software do that your phone and/or phone company cannot already do? Are you simply suggesting an easier to maintain or more explicit blacklist/whitelist, or do you have a novel method that actually does what I suggest is impossible given the information the phone is provided? If so, getting the software onto the phone is trivial once you've convinced a few key people that what you've invented actually works.

    -Adam
    • Are you simply suggesting an easier to maintain or more explicit blacklist/whitelist, or do you have a novel method that actually does what I suggest is impossible given the information the phone is provided?

      The ideal solution to this is for the software to have limited telepathic abilities. It should query the caller to find out who they are, then poke in your head to find out if you want to talk to that person. Then the phone only rings if it's a person you want to talk to. If it is someone you don't want
    • This makes me think of something I've thought would be nice to have. Something like voicemail that would go along the lines of "Hi, this is such and such, I'm busy right now. If it's important press 1 to ring me anyway; otherwise press 2 to leave me a message.". It would be sort of like the phone equivilent of an away message. You could use it when you were busy enough that you didn't want to be interrupted for something unimportant, but not so busy as to necessitate turning you're phone off (e.g. layin
  • by christefano (899436) on Monday March 27, 2006 @07:16PM (#15007431) Homepage
    Its too bad you didnt say what phone you have.

    I havent used it myself but Ive heard good things about CallShield [mantragroup.com], a utility I came across when I had a Treo about two years ago. It sounds precisely what youre looking for.
  • Something else to consider is if it's the same number that keeps calling you, inform your local police. Print your phone log and show it to them. It's called harassment, and yes, it's a crime.

    I understand the occasional wrong number; someone misdials and honestly doesn't realize it, phones broken and hitting a 9 actually dials a 6 (you laugh, my old landline phone did this and since there was no screen to see what you entered, it took me a little while to realize what the problem was, I feel bad for the

  • I have had some *CRAZY* stuff happen with sprint. I recieve txt messages for other people. Sometimes people call my phone and it goes straight to voicemail. I receive txt messages weeks late. People leave messages which I never get. I get calls for other people both right and wrong numbers.

    Come to think of it, why do I put up with this...

  • Sounds like one of those things "Smartphones" don't do [slashdot.org]!

    There are some replies that will point you to shareware applications (which may or may not be for your kind of "Smartphone") that claim to address the issue for a low, one-time (per phone) fee!
  • If I don't recognize a phone number (what cell phone plan doesn't have CallerID now?), I press "ignore" and let it go to voicemail.

    Taking it one step further, set all rings to silent, and wait for the legit callers to leave a voicemail - then call them back.

    I really wish my phone let me set ringers for each group of contacts so I didn't have to do it for each person on a one-by-one basis.
  • I use Asterisk. Don't ever give out your actual cell phone number -- just give out your Asterisk server's number. If Asterisk accepts the caller (password, IVR option, whatever) then Asterisk can forward the caller to your cell phone, announcing the calling phone number / name with Festival text-to-speech. It costs extra and requires some technical work, but nothing the Slashdot crowd can't handle. Right?
  • Phones suck. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xamomike (831092) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @12:17AM (#15008697) Homepage
    Remember the good ol' days when we didn't have these little boxes tied to our hip all day, when no one could get ahold of you when you weren't home or at work? Ah life was good then. Now people just get mad when I don't answer the phone because they neglected to call from a number I know, or expect like I have nothing better to do than take their call. Phones suck.
    • Re:Phones suck. (Score:3, Informative)

      by TeknoHog (164938)
      You know, my phone has an on/off button. It's up to me to decide when I want to be available. I can be unavailable at home, or available in the pub, if that's how I want it. That's the kind of freedom your good old phone cannot provide.
  • I don't have a cell phone so I can't try it, but I'd be willing to bet that on many of today's phones (probably most phones made in the last 5 years or so) you can run a Java app on them that can do this sort of thing. Most newer phones have Java capabilities - that's how they can have games and stuff.

    Maybe a good way to do it would be to have the program kick in when someone calls who's not in your address book, and have it make a special beep or vibration pattern, then if you don't hit a certain butto

  • My Nextel i830 can be restricted to only answer calls from numbers stored in my contacts list, but I'd never enable that feature because I often have people that I know call me from other numbers. I personally don't see a need to call block anyone, but if the same few numbers are calling over and over the silent ring would probably be best. Most phones allow you to store a few numbers for each contact so you could save space by combining the numbers that you wanted to have a silent ring into one contact.
  • If you get one of the great phones running Symbian OS [symbian.com], you can buy/download several programs that will do the job (such as BlackBaller [allaboutsymbian.com]). Unlike other phone operating systems, you also have the opportunity to write your own software that has access to the telephony features of the phone.
  • by prefect42 (141309) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @03:38AM (#15009159)
    If you're trying to weed out frequent misdialers, then add them to your phonebook, create a group "misdialers" and set the ring volume to 0 for the caller group. If you can't set a ring volume but have got a shiny phone, upload an empty.mp3 as a ringtone. Works on my old Nokia 6210 just nicely.
  • My bottom of the range Nokia phone cost me £20 sterling, I bought it because it was the cheapest I could find. It has number blocking - I thought they all did! Writing your own number blocking software just seems like insane overkill.
  • If you were just incredibly offensive to whoever dialled you up, I'm sure the message would get back to whoever it was who was giving out the wrong number
  • Get a series 60 phone. It's powered by Symbian, and you get a full C++ development kit (and cross compilers etc), as well as a fairly full featured Python library. You can hook into all sorts of places with your own code.

    There are a few programs out there for series 60 that block/filter calls, and it's not that hard to write your own if you don't fancy any of them.

I have never seen anything fill up a vacuum so fast and still suck. -- Rob Pike, on X.

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