Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Like Nelson Says, "HA HA": As you probably know by now, I hate spammers. I think they should all be drawn and quartered. No - drawn and sixteenthed, just for good measure. Equally evil are their spiritual forefathers, telemarketers. There is a $50 device called the Zapper which theoretically sends a signal back to the telemarketer over your phone line that automatically removes you from the calling list. Interesting, but it sounds kind of suspicious, doesn't it? Well, here's how it works and how you can duplicate it for free. (I got this via email, but I think it came from Wired.)
Junk mail can be tossed and spam can be filtered, but telemarketing has always had a technological edge. At least until the TeleZapper. The device - AS SEEN ON TV! - promises to erase you from telemarketers' lists and stop the unsolicited solicitations. And it works, at least until the industry devises a workaround. But why spend $50 for uninterrupted evenings? The fledgling Telemarketing Resistance has banded together online to help you do it for free. Just follow the steps below.

1. Get the Audio: The TeleZapper fools telemarketers' autodialing equipment by emitting the ascending three-note special-information tone you hear before, "We're sorry, the number you have reached has been disconnected." You can download this tone from the Web. Do a Google search for "sit.wav" to find one of these audiofiles.

2. Chop It Down: Open sit.wav in an audio-editing program like Microsoft Sound Recorder. Edit out the second and third notes. (You don't actually need those, and they're sure to annoy family and friends.) Save the WAV file.

3. Press Record: Play that one note on your computer and record it as the first sound on your answering machine's outgoing message. Follow with an oh-so-witty greeting.

4. Enjoy the Silence: Now sit back and screen those calls. Over time, telemarketers will get the "zapping" tone and take you off their lists.