Telephones Get Smart

With network intelligence, the old handset has become a computer

Roger Goldberger was relaxing at home after work when the phone rang. As soon as he answered, an unfamiliar voice blurted out a string of obscenities, then the caller hung up. Goldberger, a department-store manager in Harrisburg, Pa., calmly pressed *69 on his telephone, triggering an automatic return of the call. A phone rang; the same male voice answered. "You just called my house, and I don't appreciate what you said!" shouted Goldberger. The stunned teenager mumbled an apology and then asked, "How did you know it was me?" "It was easy," Goldberger replied. "My telephone is smarter than you are."