When subtraction means addition

Jeremy Phillips

The highly-publicised 118 800 is “The only directory with millions of mobile numbers” in the United Kingdom, and it is not very popular with those users of mobile phones who appreciate the degree of control over their numbers which the absence of a directory has hitherto given them.

If you wish to remove your number from the directory you can do so by following the instructions on the “remove me” page. Don’t expect a smooth ride, though. Apart from keying in your mobile number, you also have to key in a set of figures which, buried in an image, this user found almost impossible to read (what happens to partially-sighted mobile phone users, one wonders?). Eventually, having part-read and part-guessed a set of characters that corresponded to the greyish blobs on-screen, I was rewarded with a text message containing five further figures which I had to enter into five little boxes. At the third attempt I finally succeeded, receiving the message: “You have been successfully added to our ex-directory list”. I had rather mixed feelings about this, since my aim was to be removed from a list rather than added to one. Anyway, now let’s see if the “remove-me” feature works …

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