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August 27, 2003



I don't know what you're talking about. Just earlier, I confessed with tears how little was my worth to breathe the air of this golden century...and that's just the second time I've gotten an ovation in a public restroom.

Hilary Wade

Mind you, you know, even E. Nesbit wasn't totally averse to inflicting stuff like this on the public now and again. Personally I found her vision of an orderly future London (in one of the Psammead books) faintly nightmarish. She comes across as having had something of a thing for H.G. Wells, whose own, edifying, notion of a socialist Utopia can be found in "Men Like Gods".

Gez Smith

interesting points, only marred by the slight problem that the US you laud has just adopted one national number for directory enquiries.



When at length I raised my bowed head and looked forth from the window, Edith, fresh as the morning, had come into the garden and was gathering flowers. I hastened to descend to her. Kneeling before her, with my face in the dust, I confessed with tears how little was my worth to breathe the air of this golden century, and how infinitely less to wear upon my breast its consummate flower. Fortunate is he who, with a case so desperate as mine, finds a judge so merciful. And then, killer robots armed with chainguns and rocket launchers entered the garden, and killed everybody. The end.

Happy ending! ;)

Oliver Kamm

Gez - I'm sure there are many things that mar my writing, but I don't believe this is one of them. E.g., the regional Bell operators all have their own directory assistance numbers.


Yeah, in the US, while it's the same number (411), it's your phone company that does it. If you use the number for long distance, 1+area code+555-1212, then it's done by your long distance company.

But most of them charge you for it, usually around 50 cents, so most people use these things called phone books, or yellow/white pages.

Cell phone companies also do it themselves.

But back when AT&T was the only phone company, yeah, it was like the UK was. You also couldn't buy phones - you could only rent them.

Squander Two


Maybe I'm missing something, but, while Oliver certainly does say in his post that having more than one number for directory enquiries is better than having a monopoly, he makes no mention of the American directory enquiries system or whether it's better or worse than the British system. So I fail to see how your point, whether it's true or not, mars Oliver's point about competition.

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