An Update on 'Take Back the Beep'

Last month, I wrote about David Pogue's "Take Back the Beep" campaign, an effort to get cell-phone companies to remove or make optional those incredibly annoying, 15-second recorded instructions ("Press 5 to send a numeric page," etc.) that accompany most people's voicemail.

Those useless memos have long bugged me, and I was thrilled to see someone finally doing something about it, especially when Pogue revealed the real reason behind them is to make extra cash for the carriers.

Well, two weeks later, Pogue's efforts have resulted in a landslide of consumer protest directed at the four major carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon). In fact, Pogue says the campaign has taken on a life of its own.

The results thus far are somewhat encouraging: AT&T is going to make changes by shortening the messages and making visual voicemail (which doesn't include those messages) available to more subscribers.

T-Mobile is admitting that they're paying attention to the e-mail onslaught they're receiving, and Sprint lets you remove the caller instructions yourself. Verizon hasn't been as helpful, says Pogue.

To learn more, read David Pogue's column for a full "Take Back the Beep" update. I'm looking forward to a world without useless instructions in the near future.