EJM Designs Limited Blog

Monday, August 16, 2010

Videos for Monday: Star Wars, Catnip Tigers, Piggies

This week, let's start it off with some videos. Little thinking, lots of smiling.

A couple years old, but classic.

I've always wondered this...

...and the last commercial that made me LOL:

Make it a great week!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cincinnati Bell - Family & Technology FAIL

Cincinnati Bell

My wife and I have a 14 year old daughter. With having a 14 year old daughter comes some of the complications implicit in raising a teenage girl. Namely: goofy boys. They're mind-boggled, silly, and still growing up. Yes, even I was one once.

And boys will be boys. Prank calls will be made. But there is a line. And this is where technology comes in and Cincinnati Bell falls flat on its face in the protection of families.


Since there have been phones there have been prank calls. I'd bet after the famous "Mr. Watson come here I want you," when Watson was settled back in the other room the second call was "Watson, is the refrigerator running?" (anachronism noted - I can't even do Prince Albert in the Can!). So on occasion, if we get a prank call with some boys goofing off, I don't pay much mind and just hang up.

But about 2 months ago, the calls - though still rare - started to become more malicious. They started edging towards the middle of the night. And knowing my daughter was not allowed to talk on the phone that late, became targeted at myself and my wife with specific reference towards our daughter. Last Saturday night / Sunday morning was the last straw. Someone called our home and when I told them our daughter could not speak, they proceeded to become - let's just say sexually explicit. It was not nice. And as the father of the 14 year old girl, I was not happy.

The Research

I called Cincinnati Bell on two different occasions because the simple fact is that despite the caller(s) using *67 to block their identity, there's a server somewhere with that phone number on it. And living in a small community with responsive parents, the easiest way to deal with the situation would be to get the phone number and have a parent-to-parent talk. Not happening.

Harassing phone calls are a crime as soon as they're made, so Cincinnati Bell's policy for harassing - and even life-threating - phone calls is as follows:

No prior harassing calls made can be tracked (read: looked up). Period. It is my responsibility to talk to the police and file an official police report. It is the police department's responsibility to contact Cincinnati Bell and request a tap on the phone. At that time, Cincinnati Bell will place a tap on my phone (read: press a button or click a checkbox) for 21 days. It is my responsibility, when the next harassing call comes through, to myself make a phone call to a special voicemail box to log the time of the call as well as keep a written record. At the end of that 21 days, they will remove the tap and forward the list of phone numbers to the investigating officer. And then it becomes a legal matter.

However, if the calls become more threatening or more graphic or more frequent, nothing still happens for those 3 weeks. If the pranking trolls don't call in those 3 weeks? Nothing. I'll have to wait for another harassing call, file another police report, rinse and repeat.

The Conclusion

This is both lazy and unacceptable on the part of Cincinnati Bell. It would be like if your house was robbed and you had the license plate of the getaway car and the police said "Here's our policy: I know you've been violated, so we're going to install a camera across the street. If they come back, leave us a voicemail so we can timecode the rough time of the crime, and after three weeks we'll take a look. If they don't come back in that window, nothing we can do. But we'll come back to put up that camera if they come back after that."

They have that number on file somewhere that can easily be referenced with knowing the time of the call(s). Once there is (reluctantly) police involvement, there should be no issue of digging backwards. Unfortunately for all of their customers, with Cincinnati Bell, an efficient method of family protection is not anywhere on their agenda.

So what are your thoughts? Should retrieval of a phone number be available to civilians? To police upon request? Is the 21-day tap reasonable? Is Cincinnati Bell protecting privacy or being lazy? What if it was your child?

Lots of issues here - can't wait to hear your thoughts!

Monday, August 2, 2010


Tom Petty

A couple weeks ago I had the wonderful experience of seeing Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers with my wife from ten rows back at the Riverbend Arena. It was amazing.

But as I was standing there in awe of the sound and talent, of the music coming from the stage, I saw many, many people looking around and even straight at the stage with a blank or even guarded look on their faces.

And the only thing I thought was "Why aren't you smiling?"

I had a giant grin on my face from the moment we walked through the gates - and got to hang in the VIP area - to when we drove out of the parking lot. It was a stunning performance, even if they ran a little short of expectation.

And I wondered about those people who had things on their mind other than the experience, other than just focusing on the moment itself. And I felt bad for them.

So for your own sake and the sake of those around you, express yourself! If you're having a great time at a concert, smile. If you're having a good day, smile. If you're enjoying that sandwich: SMILE! You will not only brighten your own experience, but you'll pass it on. And what a gift that can be.