Friday, April 5, 2013

Block those pesky robocallers

Nobody likes marketers who cold call your phone, right when you're in the middle of doing something more interesting; and let's be honest, anything is more interesting than listening to a telephone marketeer. But, perhaps the most irritating are robocallers, although at least you can hang up without feeling rude. The US Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday that it was awarding a $50,000 prize to two developers who submitted the best ideas in a contest it announced in October asking for ways to stop robocalls for good. The Washington Post reports that two software developers will each receive $25,000 for their solutions. One simply looks up a black list of numbers to block incoming calls but the other is more inventive. Aaron Foss's solution, called Nomorobo, would use “simultaneous ringing to route incoming calls to a second line. The second line would then be responsible for identifying the bad calls and hanging up on them. The software, he said, identifies robocallers with an algorithm he compared to an e-mail spam filter that looks for specific characteristics of the callers. It will work on both mobile and traditional phones."