This is better than slamming the phone down on a robocall

Tired of getting a phone call at an odd hour and answering only to be greeted with that infamous silence while the computer system scrambles to connect you with a disembodied voice assuring you this is "just a courtesy call"?

Those used to drive me nuts. Especially the ones intimating I had a credit problem that needed to be taken care of immediately. Or the ones selling aluminum siding for my brick facade home.

It ended when I cut the landline and got an iPhone. iPhones let you easily block unwanted callers, but some phone companies don't allow this technology. Some even were spreading the news that they were illegal.

Consumer Union, the independent testing lab that publishes Consumer Reports, is challenging that notion. And it's about to deliver a half-million petition signatures to the phone companies demanding they offer call blocking technologies.

"By putting intense consumer pressure on the phone companies and government, and pushing for improved technology, we can end illegal robocalls," CU writes at  "Join the movement, and let's get results."

Signing the petition is so easy, I think even a presidential candidate could manage it.

As of 9:30 Thursday morning, they had 479,000 signatures. The site also offers a lot of ways to deal with robocalls.

Now, famed numbers guy Nate Silver and other pollsters argue that putting an end to robocalls would deprive number crunchers the fuel for their polls.

But, if someone doesn't want to take your poll, they just hang up. If they then block the call, you won't have to waste time with them.

I like polls, too. I just got tired of hearing about free cruises and burglars lurking right outside the door. Other then on my landline at work, I haven't had a robocall in almost a year.

It's been a good year.

If you'd like to sign the petition, or learn more about the movement, go here.