I was driving to Kam's this evening, running a little late. I thought of calling to tell her I was running a little late, but a complete phone call always seems like a lot of overhead for a quick little message. The dialing, the ringing, the inconvenience to the other person of having to find and answer their phone, the hello/hello/how-are-you handshake, the delivery of the message, the goodbye—it all adds up to taking several times as long as the message itself, if the message is just "Be there in ten minutes." It's not that the time it takes is all that onerous, of course; it just seems like a lot of fuss to deliver a very brief and simple message.

The obvious alternative is sending a text message. But in California, it's now illegal to text while operating a car (even while stopped at a stoplight). I could have pulled over and stopped the car, but that too seems like adding a lot of overhead to a quick little message.

It occurred to me that what I really wanted was the audio equivalent of a text message. Call it a voiceblip. You speak for up to 10 seconds (or maybe 5 seconds, which is still enough for about 20 words, more than enough to say "I'm running late, be there soon") and it immediately goes straight to the person's voicemail, or to their voiceblip application on a smartphone. Their phone lets them know they've got a blip, just like it announces the arrival of a text message, and they can listen to it, secure in the knowledge that it won't be one of those long rambling voicemails that go on for minutes.

I dunno, maybe I'm the only audience for this. And for that matter, in most contexts I strongly prefer text to voice. Easier to scan, easier to archive, easier to search, smaller number of bytes per word.

But sometimes being able to send a voiceblip would come in handy.

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