Hacking Phones

So I didn’t post anything here (not sure why), but I recently left SealingTech and joined Splunk. I’ve been a user of Splunk for nearly a decade and love it. It was a bit of luck, but as I was looking at possible opportunities, I decided to see what they had available and came across an opening for a Solutions Engineer manager supporting the intel community.

Today’s post is going to be very different than most of my normal ones (not that I’ve written a lot lately). Being that I am now customer facing (although I’ve been customer facing for a while), I needed to make sure that I was able to pass out my phone number.

Year’s ago I came across Google Voice. It is a Voice Over IP service that allows you to get a separate phone number (I of course realize that because I’m writing this, its entirely likely that Google will kill it like they do everything else that is good). The number can be used through their app, or it can also forward to other phones. I started using a Google voice number when I started at SealingTech because I wanted to be able to get rid of the number when I would eventually (2.5 years later as it would turn out) leave the company.

Getting A Number

I went to Google Voice and started looking for a new number. Because this number would be used by a large number of people, I wanted to make sure that I had something that was memorable. As luck would have it “Splunk” is 6 letters long, that gets us pretty close. Now if only I could find a number that spells it out (775865). Fortunately Google Voice allows you to search for available numbers. Wouldn’t you know it, there were a couple of numbers that fit the pattern to include one based out of Augusta. So I snagged the number. Problem solved……right?

Distinguishing A Number

So now that I have a number, it would be fantastic if I could distinguish it when it rings vs my personal phone number. That should be easy right? NOPE! Because Voice forward the call to my phone, my phone itself actually just sees an incoming call. I can obviously set a ring tone based on the incoming number, but that means I need to already know anyone who is going to call me, add them to my contacts, and set a personalized ring tone. That’s a pain in the ass and not workable.

Voice allows you to configure it so that your Voice number shows up as the incoming number instead of the actual callers, which means I just need to set a personalized ringtone for a single number (my own), but then I don’t see the Caller ID for the person actually calling me and have no idea who it is (even assuming I have them in my contacts) until I answer and say “hello”. Still not ideal.

E-SIM For The Win?

I have a Pixel 7 phone. My primary number operates using a physical SIM card, but it turns out that the phone is also able to support a E-SIM. For those of you who aren’t familiar (I really wasn’t), an E-SIM is just a virtualized SIM card that an be programmed on the fly with just a QR Code. So I logged into Verizon (my phone carrier) and registered a third phone number to an E-SIM and attached it to my phone. Because there’s no new service, just a 2nd number its a nominal cost. So my idea is to take the Google Voice, number and forward it to my new(est) number which lives on a separate SIM on the phone itself. Because it’s a completely different number, even for the phone, on a completely different SIM, it should be a piece of cake to add a 2nd ringtone for it. Problem solved…..right?

There’s An App For That

Turns out that Pixel completely lacks a way to set a dedicated ringtone based on the receiving phone number as well as the receiving SIM (because you know why not). I did some Googling and apparently this is a common problem. It seems like a no brainer, if you give the ability to have a second SIM, why not give the ability to configure it and it’s services separately as well?

Somewhere deep in the bowels of the Internet, I came across a post for an App called Automate by LlamaLab. It uses a simple drag and drop type GUI to build some pretty complex and interesting workflows. They have a huge collection of workflows created by fellow users. I found one that does exactly what I am looking for. It listens for the phone to ring, looks to see which SIM the call is coming in on, and the changes the ringtone to the appropriate one. So with that, I finally have a separate phone number with a dedicated ringtone, all in way to many steps.

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