Automatic Dialing

Volume 6, Issue 107; 05 Nov 2003

Point, click, dial, talk. Cool.

The bane of my existence is doing things that I know the computer could do for me.

Dan Connolly

This is a short essay because it’s really just a pointer to something Dan showed me in IRC this afternoon: with a little fiddling (a really remarkably little fiddling, actually), I now have support for tel: URIs on my desktop.

I build web pages from the data in my Palm. For a while now, I’ve been generating proper tel: URIs for the phone numbers, but I’ve never been able to do anything with them.

Now with a few little hacks, I can click on them and DTMF tones come out of the speakers. Hold the handset up and it dials.


I know, I know. I’m easily amused. But Whee!!! This is the way these things are supposed to work. I’m planning to get a Bluetooth USB adapter for my laptop tomorrow. I’ll see if I can’t fiddle this thing to dail my mobile when I’m on the road.

Browser support (the “click” part) relies on the ability to extend the internet protocols that Gnome knows about. (A pretty cool feature in its own right.)

Does anyone know of an easy way to do this in Mozilla? A quick Google turned up some source-level patches to the Mozilla codebase, but that’s a little more hacking than I had in mind.