My Son, Mylady...

After my previous post, which was full of angst and turmoil, I thought it was time to go for the "lighter" side of life.  (For those of you just "tuning in," I DO have a lighter side.  For those of you who commented on my last post; thank you for your support.  Overall, I feel our education system is a little wacky to say the least, and parents need to stick together and be involved.  Quality education is something ALL our children deserve, but we need to be active participants.)

Back in August of 2015, I bought my son a smart phone.  In theory, I thought he was a bit young for one and I certainly did not like increasing my monthly cell phone bill. (I'm all about saving money, not spending it; especially on my very limited income.)  But the middle school is not quite a mile away from the house and the walk home would be up a steep hill.  There were clubs and activities after school.  The purpose of having the phone was to be able to call us if he was going to be late or if he needed a ride.  It hasn't exactly worked out like that.  The phone is off all day, as it should be, for school.  But he forgets to turn it back on at the end of the day.  (If he did he would see text reminders that I send at times.  Or he would hear his grandmother's voice mail telling him she was around to pick him up if he wanted a ride.)  We're reminding him that no teacher is going to mind if he uses his phone AFTER school to let us know what is going on.  (Would have saved me from standing out in the cold one afternoon for over 40 minutes.)  What the phone is mostly used for is watching videos (which is ok in moderation) and studying French (his teacher uses a great app which I think has definitely given him a leg up).

But the point of having a phone is to be able to make and receive calls.  I activated the phone in August so that he would have time to get acquainted with it before school started in September.  (I waited as long as I thought I could before activating.  I purchased it back in June when there was a deal going on, but did not activate it; I was trying to be thrifty. It also gave me time to enter important contact information into his phone so that he could easily call his grandparents and us.  I made sure there were home phone numbers and cell phone numbers.)  Right outside of the store I had him call his grandmother (my mother-in-law).  Although she was on her way out of the house, she did pick up, but they only spoke briefly.

When we got home later that day there was a message on our home phone from my mother-in-law.  When my son called her a strange name popped up on her caller id:  Mylady xxxx (I'm leaving off the last name).  I couldn't understand what she was talking about.  When he called my phone it was fine, but then I realized I had already pre-programmed his number into my cell phone.  Then I had him call our home phone and sure enough caller id popped up and said:  Mylady.

So I called the cell phone carrier and told them that the newly activated phone was popping up with the wrong name.  I gave the customer service rep what I wanted to appear and they said it would be taken care of.

A week or so later (still in August), my son and I were traveling to see my parents at the Jersey Shore.  When we were just a few miles away, I had my son call to let them know we were almost there.  While he was on the phone with my mother, I confirmed that the correct name had popped up on the caller id.  It had.  (I shamefully admit that I double checked when we got there.)  My son was Mylady no more...or so I thought.

A month or so later, my son called his paternal grandmother again.  Once again her caller id announced "Mylady." I went back to my mobile carrier again (this time I didn't call, I used their on line customer service so that I could keep record of the discussion).  Again, I had a helpful customer service rep who said they would get the change made.

Once we were done, I decided to do some more research.  Turns out that getting the correct caller id might not be as quick or as easy as I had hope. (From  "Caller ID works by matching the phone number of the person calling with a name obtained from a CNAM database. Caller ID information is typically easier to retrieve in a providers service area, since it is likely that the caller belongs to that provider - the information is located in the provider’s own database. However, if a caller is calling from outside the provider’s service area, or if he/she subscribes to a different provider, the information must be purchased from the caller’s phone company; in some instances the carrier needs to access that information from a third-party database and some database providers charge a small fee for each access to such databases. Phone Power will send your caller ID name to the destination, which may not always be interpreted by the recipient carrier; in which case they will reference a database to retrieve the name associated with that number. This database must be updated periodically (this update is called a 'dip') to remain current and accurate. The frequency of these updates is at the discretion of the carrier and there can be lengthy periods of time between these 'dips', during which information can change, which results in old information being referenced. The end result is that although the caller ID was sent correctly with the call, the recipient carrier referenced a database with old information and displayed that information to the receiving end instead of the correct name. It can also produce inconsistent results, where calls to a specific carrier display incorrect caller ID, but calls to another show correctly as that carrier has updated their database recently. This is the most common cause of complaints about caller ID showing up incorrectly. It is typically not because the wrong name was sent with the call, but that an out-of-date database was used when referencing the name for the calling number."

At that point, I decided that it was out of my hands.  All of my son's contacts knew about Mylady situation and when it came up on their caller id, they'd know who it was.  Anyone who didn't...

As I write this now at the end of February, half a year after activating the phone, Mylady still exists in some places.  If he calls my parents at the Jersey Shore, he is their grandson.  If he calls my in-laws, he is Mylady. Slightly irritating, but not worth fighting over or getting upset about.

I'm always happy to get a call from my son, even if the caller id says he's Mylady.


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