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Babies Stopped Apple Co-founder from using his Phone Number

Babies Stopped Apple Co-founder from using his Phone Number

My younger brother, who helps us with CorVoIP, was very excited about meeting the Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak – the other Steve besides Steve Jobs – in person. He was talking about his meeting with him during an event at Georgia State University and there was a fun fact I would like to share with you today, along with the jokes he cracked in the VIP meeting room. It is about how babies stopped him from using his own phone number he owned for more than 20 years. It is an interesting story with a take-home lesson.

How Babies Stopped Steve

Apparently everyone who got to meet Steve Wozniak inside the VIP room got a business card made of metal. This business card had the logo of his personal site similar to the one in his old business cards, along with his number written using IBM’s punch-card system. This is basically a matrix with 10 rows and 10 columns and in each column there is one number that has a hole punched on it to indicate the digit of the phone number at that place. Interesting isn’t it? Think about how he gets away with a metal business card while flying – he did mention pretending to shave using it in-flight and then putting some pepper in his tray to make it appear to the air hostess that he was actually shaving his facial hairs. Funny guy.

When he handed the card to the last person he asked the person to read his number aloud. The person did. The number is made up of all same digits (except the area code). Sorry stalkers, we are not going to put out the number out there for you. Then Steve went on to tell everyone how he owned the number for over 20 years, but could not use it because babies would pick up their home phones and start pushing one button randomly and eventually he would get 100 calls a day from such random dialing. Their parents also might not be happy as I assume they did not have free home phones that time as we do now.

Wrong Number Problem Solved and Take Home Lesson

Then he found out about Toktumi (now Line 2) which let him screen the callers. He set it such that the users will be asked to press 1 to speak with Steve. Now babies can press random numbers but not the one they are asked to. Hence his calls were routed to him only when he wanted and not otherwise. The take home lesson that I have for you is that keep a check on your babies. Well, not really. The thing is don’t fancy a vanity number that is too easy to be dialed by a baby. Moreover, you can use Google voice to screen the callers for free, so if you are facing the same problem give Google Voice a try. By the way, in a different context Mr. Wozniak accepted that he carried an Android along with an iPhone, and that he now has Google (Voice) app on his iPhone.

The Jokes

It would be bad if I did not tell you about the jokes he cracked during the meeting. The first one was decent and it was about a phone number he owned (at least he claimed) which read 256ME. If you are a computer enthusiast you might figure out that 256 is a byte in computer lingo. Get it now? Funny, right? The second one was little inappropriate but not any less hilarious than the previous one. It was about how he would make fliers with a picture of a hand followed by a picture of Steve Jobs. I am not going to explain that one here though.



About Mukesh Agarwal

Mukesh Agarwal is a VoIP enthusiast and a passionate blogger. He speaks at VoIP conferences worldwide advocating the advancement of VoIP technology to convert this world into a global village.

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