David Pogue, the NY Times personal tech columnist, is fed up with the hoops that cell phone companies make us jump through to leave voice mail or retrieve our messages. As he explained to me on KTRS/St. Louis today, the reason is money — by taking up 15 seconds of air time to explain to you “if you’d like to leave a message…if you’d like to leave a numeric page…if you’d like more options…etc” each time, the carriers rack up millions of dollars more per year.

This is not a huge matter, but it is one of those nagging petty annoyances that’s part of all of our daily lives, so Pogue has started a campaign (“Take Back The Beep”) to convince the phone companies to knock it off.

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Pogue has more on the campaign on his blog. His rant that first alerted me to this, along with some tricks for your cell phone, is here.