Like most digital cameras, my new one has a feature that provides a shutter sound when I take a picture. The sound really serves no purpose, but it makes me feel comfortable that it is actually doing something.
I have not have had cable TV service at home since 1998 (a DirecTV subscriber). I swore to my wife that I would never let a cable installer in my house again. We suffered with a land line for network connectivity until 2001 when we finally bit the bullet an allowed the cable TV installer in the house to install a broadband connection.
In 2004, we decided to further reduce monthly telecom costs and switched from a traditional service to Vonage's voice over IP. I wish I could drop our land line all together, but we can't.
DirecTV requires a land line connection in order to set up its service. They have not embraced the IP concerpt - yet. The DirecTivo service we subscribe to requires a land line so the built-in modem can call out to update the box and service information. DirecTivo prefers a traditional land line over voice over IP since the internal 56k modem speed can not be slowed down to deal with the VOIP service. It works about 25% of the time, which is good enough. The box/service does not have IP capabilities, nor will it (this is really a topic in of itself).
Another thing that keeps us from dropping our land line is my wife's 89-year-old grandmother. Call forwarding confuses her enough when she calls the house and we pick it up in the car, let alone the concept of us not having a phone in the house.
I imagine if phone-based services survive at all they will do so as some form of emulation, generating a fake dial tone on a digital network. The sound will really serve no purpose, but it will make us feel comfortable that it is actually doing something.
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