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August 20, 2010

Voice mail hell: So easy to languish there, even a TechnoDolt™ can do it


Long, long, very long (how many years have I had a cellphone?) story short: The other day I was talking to my friend Cary and he mentioned, in an aside, that he doesn't have to enter a password to listen to his voice mail.


I've been entering mine over and over again every time I listen to my messages since the year 1.

Cary said his daughter had set up his voice mail that way.

I never heard of such a thing.

So I figured hey, that would really improve the quality of my life.

But I didn't have a clue how to do it.

I put my question in the Google search box and got some info but nothing very helpful.

Then I tweeted this:


Paul Biba, of TeleRead fame, replied on Twitter:


So I tried that for about an hour, with all sorts of variations, without success.

Paul suggested attwireless.com.

I tried that but no luck there either.

But at the bottom the page, buried so it was almost impossible to find unless you slowly read down the page line by line, was a link to Site Map.

I clicked and lo and behold, on the very detailed page in the second column from the left there was a link to Support for Wireless.

I clicked on that and was taken to this page, where under Phone/Device Support I clicked on VoiceMail Assistance.

That took me to a page entitled "Answer Center," where under the subheading "Ask a Question" were a number of what appeared to be frequently asked questions.

One of them was "How can I protect my voicemail from unauthorized access?

I clicked on that and found myself on this page in the Answer Center, which proceeded to tell me how to enable or change my password, so I followed the instructions on my phone and indeed finally came to a prompt that said, "Skip password, press 1, use password, press 2."

I pressed 1 and voilà — success.


Then the lady said it's not a good idea to not use a password.


I ended the call, then called my voice mail, and much to my amazement wasn't asked for my password but instead heard my messages begin playing.


It turns out that the sequence of key presses needed to make it happen is precisely that clearly outlined by Paul in his tweet (above).

Why I couldn't do it the first time I tried, following (or at least, thinking I was following) his instructions, I chalk up to the fact that I'm a TechnoDolt™ and these things happen.

Thank you, Paul, for keeping my spirits up during my two-day-long, ultimately successful quest.

August 20, 2010 at 02:31 PM | Permalink


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Most cell phones have this option built in. If you hold down the "1" key on the phone, it will automatically call the voicemail number, and if it sees that it's you calling by caller ID, it doesn't ask for a password.

Unfortunately, a friend of mine uses this trick on his girlfriend's cell phone to listen to her messages....

Posted by: EEJ | Aug 21, 2010 1:23:27 PM

Dang, I thought everybody knew about the power of 1.....

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Aug 21, 2010 1:19:29 PM

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