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nine, nine, nine.

I wanted to make a phone call to a number I often call. The quickest way to get to this number is usually (not always, but i think on average it still is) to press the green button on the phone, and get it from the list of recently called numbers. Often its the first one.

This time the number at the top of the list was 999.

This makes me feel annoyed. and guilty. and annoyed for being made to feel guilty. I think it is an example of really crap design. Being able to call 999 from a mobile may one day be very useful to me. I certainly am not going to suggest that 999 calls from mobile phones should be banned. What confuses me is how someone decides that I cannot lock my phone, and that if the “9” button, whihc is conveniently on one corner of the phone face, accidently gets pressed, then it goes through to the emergency operator. Even if my phone is locked.

Why do designers do this? Their priority seems to be to make a phone be able to call 999. And so this leads to a large proportion of the calls emergency operators recieving being spurious mobile calls. So what if you have to unlock the phone to dial 999? you are still in a “better” position than if you needed to track down the nearest payphone.

Interestingly, it seems that “112” (the new unified european emergency number whihc is preprogrammed into many mobile phones) produces almost entirly spurious calls. Ho Hum….

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