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Stopping cell phones from ringing

By ContinuousPark in Technology
Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 07:26:38 AM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)

This NY Times article discusses the problem of cell phones ringing all over the place. It talks about several solutions from no-phone signs to special materials in walls and ceilings to radio jammers. Having seen people shamelessly answer their cell phone almost everywhere and without any consideration for those around them, I wonder which set of solutions is the most appropriate.

The article proposes various solutions. There's a company making some bluetooth devices that emit a signal that turns down (or puts in vibrator mode) the volume of cell phones around it. The advantage is that the cell phone is not completely disabled but it obviously works only with phones capable of understanding the proper signal and going back to normal when finally outside the range of action of the "silencer".

Then there's the C-Guard (link and google cache as it appears to be down at the moment), a so-called cellular firewall, it's a radio jammer, illegal in several countries but apparently quite effective. In Japan, jammers are already licensed and being used successfully in concert halls. But as I see it the problem with jammers is what happens if a really urgent call can't come through? There could be situations where it's necessary for that connection to remain open, that's the reason many people get cell phones in the first place, not to socialize but for important situations.

A third solution I hadnīt heard about is cell phone detectors. Zetron's product can sound an alarm when a cell phone is nearby. It's used in hospitals and places where it becomes imperative to keep these devices away, but could lead to somewhat embarrasing situations if it becomes used in more public places as you would be detected no matter what.

You can also use simple but convincing signs to persuade people from using cell phones in certain areas (dining areas, movie theaters, while driving) and the companies making the cell phones perhaps could be in charge of these education campaigns (after all their products are polluting in some way), but somehow I don't think education is the only answer to this problem.

So should the solution be technological, legal, social or should we just leave it alone and wait for the moment when everyone will be typing on their cell phones rather than talking?


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My cell phone...
o is always on and I will answer it whenever and wherever I want 6%
o could have its volume reduced when in certain places, i wouldn't mind 22%
o can be disabled with a radio jammer and i don't mind 10%
o has been disabled in certain areas and it really pissed me off 0%
o does not exist 47%
o is actually used for text messages so leave me out of this 1%
o is irrelevant, i carry a palm VII 1%
o sucks, my wife/mom/company makes me carry it all the time, why can't they just leave me alone? 10%

Votes: 170
Results | Other Polls

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Stopping cell phones from ringing | 68 comments (66 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
I almost liked the poll (3.00 / 5) (#1)
by Arkady on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 02:27:26 AM EST

I saw the first few options and it looked like a good spread, but when I scrolled down, it wasn't as broad as I'd hoped.

For example, I never recive calls on my cell phone; I have a pager for that (I have to have both since my house is in a cell dead zone). So you don't have any options applicable to me.

Good article, though, especially for being posted as MLP. In this case, it probably stands for "Mindful Link Propagation"? ;-)


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.

The poll (3.66 / 3) (#6)
by odaiwai on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 03:35:01 AM EST

Should have an option for those of us who carry phone permanently set to vibrate and who can see who's calleing and take approriate action depending on how urgent it's likely to be.

-- "They're chefs! Chefs with chainsaws!"
[ Parent ]
Cell phones are the main reason... (3.00 / 6) (#2)
by elenchos on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 02:30:30 AM EST

...we need the Second Amendment. Jammers are only necessary in countries with no handguns (I mean that in a nice way). See my thoughts here, followed by some replies that give some more useful links.


Doesn't sound like a good idea (2.50 / 4) (#3)
by pope nihil on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 02:31:36 AM EST

Personally, I think the best bet would be to have a "no cell phone" policy in businesses where it was undesireable for people to take social calls. Like, if you get caught answering a cell phone, you're asked to leave. That shouldn't bother doctors or other emergency personnel as they will probably be leaving anyway if they get a call.

I voted.

Public executions is the answer (4.50 / 2) (#9)
by vastor on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 04:49:47 AM EST

Or they could say they're not responsible for any damages to cell phones, and if they ring they take the phone and jump up and down on it until it's destroyed.

Enough public executions of phones and people will get the idea. Make public examples of the offenders!

On days where nobody breaks the rule, they could use old phones nobody wants anymore for the demonstrations (and people have been wondering what to do with retired phones - why send them to the dump when you can jump on them in public?!).

If the phone call is indeed urgent, they could let you finish the phone call before the execution commences (clemancy pleas). Antisocial behaviour by electronic devices is simply unacceptable.

[ Parent ]
Fines (none / 0) (#11)
by pete stevens on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 06:51:02 AM EST

One of the pubs near me has a fixed fine of about 5 UK pounds (8$) if your phone rings in the pub.

Works quite well as a deterrent and makes a nice little earner for a local charity.

Amongst my friends I tend to force a round of drinks on cell-phone offenders. Of course this means that every person who carries a cell phone into the pub immediately calls his / her friends in the hope of a free drink :)
.... the Flat Earth Society announced in 1995 that their membership was global
[ Parent ]
Prank public executions (4.00 / 1) (#48)
by driptray on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 10:41:58 PM EST

...they could use old phones nobody wants anymore for the demonstrations...

Even better - have a friend carrying an old phone enter, and then have somebody else ring that phone. When it starts ringing, you leap out and grab the phone and start smashing it to pieces in a frenzy while yelling "No mobile phones in MY theatre!". Then marvel at the scared looks on the faces of witnesses.

This is a reworking of an old tale from ski resorts about queue jumpers. The lift operator arranges for a friend wearing an old sacrificable pair of skis to come into a lift line and start aggressively pushing his way to the front, making sure to attract as much attention as possible from the other people in the line. The lift operator then strides over the queue jumper with an axe in hand and starts chopping off the fronts of his skis, screaming "I will not tolerate people pushing in!".

Harmless fun.

We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]
The problem with jamming (4.42 / 7) (#5)
by onyxruby on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 02:48:39 AM EST

The problem with jamming is you don't know who you are going to jam. People from law enforcement, medical, military, energy systems, telecommunications, fire and even plumbers all have legitimate excuses to carry cell phones with them at all times. Now of course you always want to try a pager first, but in certain professions, getting hold of somebody now is very important. Vibrating cell phones are starting to become standard so this should help the matter somewhat.

Mind, I am quite sympathetic to your plight. People who abuse their cell phone ought to be asked to hang up or leave. I especially don't like people using them while driving. I think the only practical thing that can be done is to politely let these people know they are disturbing others. In short, if your going to employ technological restrictions on their use, you need to cleary post this such that no one can miss it. There is no way of knowing why a person with a cell phone has their phone.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.

This deserves a full discussion/solution (4.60 / 10) (#7)
by yuri on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 03:36:52 AM EST

I agree with pb entirely, this needs to be discussed.

Cell phones are a huge pain in the concert hall, the lecture hall and many other situations. I was recently at a scientific conference where some sales guy had his phone on, and in the middle of a presentation it rang with one of those annoying tunes..he finally wrestled it out of his pocket and answered the call!!!! The entire audience ~ 600 people stared in amazement as this guy talked about selling something to the caller, finished his call and then decided that he had to leave the room immediately to make more calls, to head office I suppose. In his haste to exit the seminar hall he nearly pushed open an emergency exit door and set off the alarm. I must say that this was the most entertaining event I had witnessed in months...watching him head for the emergency exit, without thought, on a mission to leave the room. Meanwhile the speaker was staring at the guy, flabbergasted, having his presentation ruined and (curteously) waiting for the guy to leave before making a joke about it.

If people can't separate quite situations from their digital devices then we will be forced to separate their connection on their behalf for the good of the community.

I think that jammers should be installed in every car, sure they can be defeated, but at least that cuts the population of drivers on cell phones down to those that care enough to defeat the system.

I think it would be fine to advertise wireless restricted areas and let people chose whether or not to enter based on their need for access.

Caution! You are entering a wireless free zone! All your devices will cease to be connected to the wireless world once you cross this line.

The only other option is metal detectors and we don't want that!

Thank you. (4.00 / 5) (#12)
by pb on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 07:31:45 AM EST

Apparently, you're one of the few that did agree with me; thanks! :)

While I was at the Bluetooth talk, and a couple of times in my classes (in the past few days or so) I've heard those darn things go off. I haven't seen anyone that rude, but a woman almost ran into me yesterday because she couldn't seem to both talk on her phone AND walk gracefully to the bathroom...

So, yes, these things are a distraction. I had to explain to a friend of mine that if she doesn't want to be disturbed during dinner, she should leave the phone in the car, or turn it off. "But what if it's an emergency", she says, "and someone needs to reach me?". "Well," I say, "they can leave a message; it isn't like they'd be able to reach you there normally anyhow."

Most cellphones really shouldn't be used while operating a motor vehicle; let the passenger do that if you have to. I might make an exception if it allowed hands-free operation and wasn't too distracting. I like your "wireless-free zone" idea, and I'd definitely want that in place for movie theaters. :)
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
They can kill, too (3.83 / 6) (#24)
by the coose on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 11:30:59 AM EST

I really despise cell phones - very annoying and distracting and many people become dependent on them for no good reason. But in a vehicle, I'm a firm believer that they should be banned outright. Where I live, a fatal accident happened to a woman who was fumbling with her cell phone while driving; she wasn't paying attention and veered into the left lane of a two lane highway. Right into the path of a tractor-trailer. The truck driver was alright but the woman's vehicle was demolished. It took them hours to get what was left of her out of the crumpled mess that was her car.

However, when I discuss my opinion with friends, I never lecture them on it. As an amateur radio operator (KE4QKT) I always encourage them to use it cause I can monitor their conversations. If they don't believe me I break out my wide range monitor and scan the cell band. Many a boring Saturday nights were spent scanning the cell band in the past. (Of course, I can't monitor the new digital phones but I don't tell them that :-)

[ Parent ]
Darwinism (4.00 / 5) (#38)
by jeffmonks on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 03:01:48 PM EST

Not to be too harsh here, but the woman who killed herself while talking on the phone is a perfect example of Darwinism in action...

The problem lies when people drive while talking on the phone kill others. I have the same feelings about drunk drivers; if we could be assured that they would only hurt themselves, then we'd just be cleaning up the gene pool when these people showed poor judgement and got killed. Since we can't be sure of that, I'm completely in favor of making cell-phone use in moving traffic illegal.

I wouldn't even make an exception for handsfree phones. It seems to me that the majority of the problem lies not with the loss of one free hand, but that most people seem to "tune out" the outside world a bit when they talk on the telephone. A pretty dangerous prospect in 75 mph traffic... I don't know exactly how to explain it, but I've been in cars with people who were able to maintain control just fine while talking to passengers in the car and doing other things (tuning the radio, eating, etc) that require one hand off the wheel. Put a cell phone in that hand and have them carry on a conversation, and they're weaving all over the road.

[ Parent ]
hello? (3.00 / 5) (#43)
by mikpos on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 07:08:32 PM EST

Welcome to the 19th century, where it's been decided that genes don't completely and utterly constitute a person. Unless you have theory and evidence to back up the implication that the tendency to drive while drunk is completely biological, I fear that your plan to clean up the gene pool may fail.

[ Parent ]
"No cell phones" signs are of limited va (4.50 / 4) (#16)
by claudius on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 09:25:08 AM EST

I taught a physics course once at one of those state universities where they corral as many students as possible into a room. (The class had 300+ students enrolled, with another 30 or so sitting in my early afternoon lecture since the lecture for the other section of the course was at 8am). The acoustics were bad in the room, and it was always a struggle for me to speak sufficiently loudly and clearly for the folks in the back rows to hear.

Every day I asked people to turn off/turn down the volume of their pagers and cell phones, and every day my lecture would be interrupted two or three times by the sounds of people's pagers and cell phones. It was even money with cell phones whether the offending student would chat away on the phone for a few minutes rather than hang up or leave the room. I could stop class, stare at them, single them out, whatever. It didn't matter. The first week I was amused. The second, annoyed. After that I just gave up since there was really little I could do--it wasn't that the students were forgetting to turn off the devices, but rather that they simply didn't care about being discourteous to their colleagues and their instructor.

Based on this experience I am inclined to think that "no cell phones" signs are of limited value. Enough people would (and do) ignore them that the restrictions would be pointless. I would suggest a legal fix instead of a technological fix that usurps a person's control of his or her phone. If, for example, a person could be sued for disrupting a concert/lecture/play by taking cell phone calls at inappropriate times, then they would themselves seek a technological solution, such as placing phones/pagers on silent ringer, using phone messaging, and getting up and leaving the concert hall to return the call.

[ Parent ]

Well... (3.50 / 2) (#18)
by YesNoCancel on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 09:49:44 AM EST

In all schools and universities I know, they immediately confiscate your cellphone if it rings during classes/lectures. You get it back afterwards. Seems to be a pretty effective method.

But that's probably not possible in the US -- I guess there are students who would sue their school if their cellphone was taken away ("my teacher infringed my constitutional right to free speech by confiscating my cellphone!").

[ Parent ]

They didn't work because... (4.60 / 5) (#19)
by CrayDrygu on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 09:54:38 AM EST

Based on this experience I am inclined to think that "no cell phones" signs are of limited value.

Of course you found them to be of "limited value" -- you made no effort at all to enforce them. And no, stopping class, staring, and singling out do not constitute enforcement. Imagine if shoplifting rules were "enforced" by having a few cops come stare at you for a minute!

In your position, I would have made it clear the first day of class (and the second, just to be sure) that if your cell phone or pager disrupts my class, you will be asked to leave, and not let back in until class was over. If anyone complained it was unfair, I'd simply remind them that having my lecture interrupted because they can't stand to be out of reach for 1-2 hours is also unfair.

I would suggest a legal fix instead of a technological fix that usurps a person's control of his or her phone.

I agree with this, too. While some people may be rude about it, I know that if I have my cell phone turned on in some place where it might be "inappropriate", it's for a damn good reason, and I'm sure there are many other people who would agree. I'm good about mine -- I always turn it off before going into a library or movie theatre (I'd set it to vibrate, but my Nokia 5160 needs an $80 battery to do that), pull over when I make/recieve a call in my car, things like that. One little nitpick, though -- getting sued for using your cell phone in a "no cell" zone? That's more of a hassle for both parties than it's worth. I think a fine would be a better solution. However, I doubt this would get into law any time soon.

[ Parent ]

Cell phones in class. (4.66 / 3) (#21)
by claudius on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 10:28:45 AM EST

In your position, I would have made it clear the first day of class (and the second, just to be sure) that if your cell phone or pager disrupts my class, you will be asked to leave, and not let back in until class was over. If anyone complained it was unfair, I'd simply remind them that having my lecture interrupted because they can't stand to be out of reach for 1-2 hours is also unfair.

Unfortunately, being the most junior lecturer in the department at the time, I had to defer questions like "What do I do about cell phones?" to the dept. Vice Chair for Academic Affairs. His claim was that the university had no set policy at the time for use of cell phones and pagers (though one was in the process of being drafted), and since no formal University policy was on the books I couldn't just make up a policy without running the risk of a lawsuit being brought the student. I argued that "disrupting class" should be grounds for reprisal, but in the end we decided it just wasn't worth the hassle. Bogus though this may seem, the university simply wasn't paying me enough to warrant my worrying about it.

As an aside, the students paid more for "web fees" for the course than they did for their instructor's compensation. (I did the math--it worked out that they each spent less than $0.25 / lecture for my compensation, and $0.45 / lecture for the web fees). I suppose that's where the real learning must take place now in universities--with the online lecture notes and problem set solutions rather than in the classroom lectures and discussions.

[ Parent ]

Simply embarrass them. (4.66 / 3) (#26)
by squigly on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 11:44:07 AM EST

Its a bit priggish, but you could simply stop, and say "Excuse me, can you speak up, we can't all hear you" or something. This puts them in the awkward position of everyone listening to their conversation, and having to end it as quickly as possible. Permit them to leave and return if they have a vibrating ringer.

People who sig other people have nothing intelligent to say for themselves - anonimouse
[ Parent ]
Ouch (4.00 / 1) (#44)
by CrayDrygu on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 07:59:17 PM EST

Unfortunately, being the most junior lecturer in the department at the time, I had to defer questions like "What do I do about cell phones?" to the dept. Vice Chair for Academic Affairs. [snip rest of story]

Ouch. That hurts. Still, just staring at them isn't likely to do much. They probably didn't even notice, and besides, now it's nice and quiet for them to make their call.

As squigly suggested, though, making them feel awkward about it could work nicely. If it weren't for the bad acoustics, I'd suggest just ignoring them, even speaking louder. Couldn't get a little P.A. system to put in there?

[ Parent ]

Or, you could write their names on the board (none / 0) (#57)
by Karmakaze on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 09:40:56 AM EST

This is also priggish, and a little bit primary school, but you could keep a box on the board and write the person's name on the board. That way, not only does your class know who the disruption is, so does every other class in that room until the board is washed.

[ Parent ]
Flunk them (5.00 / 2) (#32)
by sugarman on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 01:19:36 PM EST

Make it painfully clear that if a phone rings during your lecture, the offender will lose a letter grade. For each occurence. If you absolutely must get a call, either get a vibrating ring, or don't show up. Hopefully, that will get the message across.

[ Parent ]
Flunk them? (none / 0) (#59)
by Eccles on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 04:52:57 PM EST

This was a class with 300 students. You think he actually knew all their names?

[ Parent ]
Maybe not... (none / 0) (#67)
by sugarman on Mon Jan 15, 2001 at 04:32:29 PM EST

But I'm betting he'd have no problem remembering the faces of anyone who starts chatting on a phone in his class. Especially after giving them a the 'stare' for a good minute or two.

Just keep watch of who hands in what, and after the first quiz or paper things should start sorting themselves out. =)

[ Parent ]

actually, the technology is there... (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by chopper on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 11:42:32 AM EST

working with patents, i've seen several examples of shielding or silencing devices.

for example, patent #5,442,805 (i'd provide a link but the site is too long, check out the patent office and check the database) discusses a method for automatically inhibiting communication with a phone in certain areas; the inhibiting may be accomplished via a command from a base station after the handset is properly located in a specified area. pretty simple. plus, there are tons of other inventions that are similar, muting a phone, inhibiting transmissions over a certain power, etc.

problem is, nobody seems to want to implement it. you know how it is, companies dive over each other to be the first to patent or publish something, then never make and/or sell it.

hopefully, with the advent of Bluetooth, stuff like this will be far easier to implement in the future. myself, it's pretty easy. just remember to turn of yer fuckin phone when you go to a movie.


give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish
[ Parent ]

Ugh (2.00 / 2) (#49)
by tzanger on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 11:19:10 PM EST

I think that jammers should be installed in every car, sure they can be defeated, but at least that cuts the population of drivers on cell phones down to those that care enough to defeat the system.

Consider this a polite "fuck you."

Why should I not be allowed to drive and talk just because some nimrod can't do so? People are allowed to eat and drive, have their finger so far up their nose that all you see is the first knuckle and drive, shave and drive, read and drive... Don't invade my car because you (or Joe Sixpack) can't do it. Banning cell phones in cars is one of the most idiotic plans I have come across.

If someone is causing trouble because they are too busy talking to pay attention to the road, then pull them over and investigate. This isn't like drunk driving where alcohol impairs everyone, this is something that some can and some can't do.

I can't walk and chew bubblegum. Does that mean that it should be banned for everyone? How about peeing standing up? Talking on a phone and walking?

Yeah, as you can tell it's a touchy subject with me. I'm tired of the lowest common denominator being given control over those who can do more. It's not elitism, it's anger over stupidity.

[ Parent ]
No kidding (none / 0) (#60)
by Smiles on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 05:58:15 AM EST

A couple of years ago, not long after I got my new SUV, I was driving on a local Interstate at about 80mph, in traffic. Yes, I was on the phone, talking to my business partner. In the fast lane, natch.

A few cars ahead of me, the brakes get slammed on. Because I'm not an incompetent driver, I made sure that (a) I was paying attention to the road, an (b) I had more than average braking distance because of the additional fraction of a second it might take me to respond and because the SUV has longer braking distances.

I stopped with plenty of space between the me and the minivan ahead of me. While on the phone.

So what happens next? Three seconds later some asshole in a BMW slams into my rear-end. He had the more capable vehicle, and he wasn't on the phone. (Hit me so hard my SUV got pushed into the minivan, and someone rear-ended him.)

Cellphones while driving shouldn't be outlawed. Incompetence, on the other hand ...

And I can't understand why people think cellphones are such a big problem. I've been far less attentive while messing with the radio controls (thank goodness for steering wheel mounted ones!) or eating. And smokers - holy cow - drop some of that ash on your legs and the road will be the last thing you're thinking about. Yet I don't see people jumping up and down about those issues.

[ Parent ]

A better idea.. (none / 0) (#66)
by PenguinWrangler on Mon Jan 15, 2001 at 06:09:33 AM EST

If people can't separate quiet situations from their digital devices then we will be forced to separate their connection on their behalf for the good of the community.

Forget separating their connection, I'm in favour of separating their head from their body. Chuck their phone in the basket and see if their severed head can still yell "I'm in the basket!" at it...
Tough, but fair...

"Information wants to be paid"
[ Parent ]
Huh? (3.42 / 7) (#10)
by UrLord on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 05:32:38 AM EST

What is the problem with cellphones? I can see having problems with someone not turning thier cellphone off (or to vibrate) in a movie theater or something, but in a restaraunt? Cellphones dont bother me unless they are not turned off/vibrate in movie theaters or when people look at thier rining phones without answering, turning it off, or just pressing end. Also when people with those newer phones (Nokia's especially) listen to _EVERY_ one of the _THOUSAND_ rings on thier phone. I have the volume on my cellphone turned down so it wont ring very loud and I frequently turn it on vibrate depending on where Ill be.

I just think everyone needs to respect everyone else. Make your phone stop rining if its ringing, _ESPECIALLY_ in movie theaters and the like. And _DONT_ play with the billion rings on your new phone.

We can't change society in a day, we have to change ourselves first from the inside out.

Its not really the individuals (3.50 / 2) (#13)
by squigly on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 08:19:33 AM EST

Its just that repetition of the minor irritations starts to grate. I can tolerate a conversation along the lines of "Hello?.....I'm on the train.....10 minutes.....yes please..... Bye....." from time to time. The third time it happens on a train journey, I'm a little less tolerant. After several train journeys, I start getting murderous thoughts.

But the really irritating one is people who don't hear it ring, and don't answer it. Or have to rummage in their bags for ages to get the thing.

People who sig other people have nothing intelligent to say for themselves - anonimouse
[ Parent ]
Why is that worse than a regular conversation? (4.00 / 3) (#28)
by Karmakaze on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 11:57:40 AM EST

Its just that repetition of the minor irritations starts to grate. I can tolerate a conversation along the lines of "Hello?.....I'm on the train.....10 minutes.....yes please..... Bye....." from time to time. The third time it happens on a train journey, I'm a little less tolerant. After several train journeys, I start getting murderous thoughts.

Why is that conversation any worse to listen to than any other conversation you can hear on the train between people actually present? I regularly overhear the details of other people's office aggravations on my daily commute.

I actually am one of the train cell offenders. I'll apologize to anyone sharing a seat and make the following call. "Yes ... I'm on the 6:20 train today and we're only five minutes late. We should be in at 6:55 ... yes, the regular place ... thanks! bye."

I never know whether I'll make my train until I get on it, and the trains run randomly anything from on time to twenty minutes late. If I don't call from the train, either the person who kindly offered to give me a ride has to wait up to an hour, with no idea what train I'm on, or I have to stand a half hour with no shelter after calling from the station.

In fact, one of the reasons I got a cell phone in the first place was so I could coordinate with other people when I'm using mass transit. Back when I could drive, I had little use for a cell phone.

But the really irritating one is people who don't hear it ring, and don't answer it. Or have to rummage in their bags for ages to get the thing.

I will grant you this one. If you do not intend to take calls, you should turn off the ringer. Testing the multiple ring function is also something to be saved for home.

[ Parent ]
A whole conversation is better than a half (3.00 / 1) (#54)
by squigly on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 03:28:53 AM EST

I really can't tell you why. I do somehow find that hearing half a conversation is far harder to ignore than a whole conversation.

I might even be tarring all mobile users with the same brush. Some people seem to shout. And I realise that I'm being slightly unfair on the users who have to respond to the questions "Where are you" "How long are you going to be". I still can't really help being irritated.

Personaly I tend to use the text facility for this sort of thing. That still leaves evedryone with the ringing tone (and the SMS tone seems to have been designed to suggest that all messages are urgent), but people aren't subjected to my banter, and I know people aren't going ot be eavesdropping.

People who sig other people have nothing intelligent to say for themselves - anonimouse
[ Parent ]
Text messaging - and a digression (none / 0) (#56)
by Karmakaze on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 09:36:34 AM EST

Personaly I tend to use the text facility for this sort of thing. That still leaves evedryone with the ringing tone (and the SMS tone seems to have been designed to suggest that all messages are urgent), but people aren't subjected to my banter, and I know people aren't going to be eavesdropping.

Text messaging, of course, only works if both parties involved have the technology and are both online at the same time. Some of my friends don't even have a computer at home (how do they stand it?) let alone a text-capable mobile device. Others need to fight their teenaged spawn for every second of connectivity. On the other hand, practically everyone has a voice-based land line.

It's a bit the same issue with the people who suggest using the "vibrate" mode on their phones. I don't have a vibrate function (it cost too much) and if I did, I wouldn't be able to feel a phone vibrate from my purse pouch anyway. What do I do when I'm someplace where a phone ringing would be inappropriate? I turn the ringer off (takes all of five seconds, people, it's not that hard). There are very few calls so important they can't wait until I check my messages.

[ Parent ]
Re:Its not really the individuals (none / 0) (#53)
by UrLord on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 02:34:49 AM EST

Maybe it is just me but Ive learned to not hear a conversation Im not involved in (and some that I am). Sometimes I cant help but over hear things, but usually I can ignore the conversation if Im not part of it. Maybe it comes from the fact that my friends who have had cellphones for a while frequently ignore me in the middle of a sentance to gossip with someone on thier cellphone for 15min. *shrug*

We can't change society in a day, we have to change ourselves first from the inside out.
[ Parent ]

You forget that people are not ignorant (3.00 / 3) (#14)
by dabadab on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 09:21:07 AM EST

I found nowhere the "social" solution: "I am not a jerk, so I turn off my cellphone when it should not ring".
It works.
(Of course, I'm from Europe where everybody and his dog has a cell, so people HAD to come up with something to handle this problem)
Real life is overrated.
I want to know how to make a jammer... (3.80 / 10) (#15)
by theboz on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 09:22:47 AM EST

I saw the link to the C-Guard Cellular Firewall and think it's a good idea but possibly expensive. I don't know how legal this is, but I would want to build a portable version that I can take around with me to have in a vehicle, or carry with me when I go to the movies, etc.

I have threatened people who answer their phones in the movies before. Of course, even before that I have told people to shut up so it's not a big stretch. Anyways, I think it's a big problem that people seem to not be able to disconnect the phone from their hands and ears.

But what about all the people driving while using their phones? If it's not an emergency, they shouldn't be doing it. And by emergency I don't mean that your wife wants you to get milk and bread at the store on the way home. I mean your house is on fire, wife is having a baby, etc. In my opinion it is as dangerous to drive while on the cellphone as it is to drive while sleeping, drunk, etc. It is probably more dangerous than playing with a loaded gun since you can kill more people from driving recklessly than you can with a bullet.

We have punishments for people that point loaded guns at other people. Those who talk on the phone while driving should have the same punishment. Just because one way of being stupid seems to be more socially acceptable than another in our culture is no reason that these people should get away with it. There has always been far more fatalities from car accidents than guns already, and the injuries are often much worse. So with cars already a more dangerous weapon than a machine specifically designed for killing, why do we let these people get away with using it recklessly? They are killing themselves and those that they run into and nothing is being done about it. They run off the road because they are not paying attention and hit children walking to school. These people are worse and more prevalent than drunk drivers. At least the drunks have a chemical reason for being mentally impaired. People who talk while driving are just selfish idiots.

If you disagree with any of this, keep in mind I live in Atlanta, which has worse traffic than Los Angeles.

For more information go to http://www.285sucks.com/.


jamming several frequencies (3.00 / 3) (#31)
by doormat on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 01:03:40 PM EST

The thing with cellphones is that there are many frequencies they can operate on, like 800mhz, 900mhz, 1800mhz, and it also depends on where you are in the world. So you would need to jam about 3 or 4 bands to block all cellphone traffic.

[ Parent ]
Cell Phones and Driving: Saw a cliche one day... (3.75 / 4) (#35)
by cr0sh on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 01:51:11 PM EST

I was going to work one day down the freeway. Soon I came upon a large SUV in front of me, weaving around quite a bit. I look through the rear view window, and what did I see? A blonde woman, talking on the cell phone, looking in the rear-view mirror, and putting on makeup.

Seeing that she wasn't steering properly at all - I quickly made up my mind to get off at the next exit, and take a different route to work...

[ Parent ]

by thebox's reasoning, I'd better stop flying (4.00 / 2) (#42)
by mr death on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 06:59:01 PM EST

Thus spake theboz:

But what about all the people driving while using their phones? If it's not an emergency, they shouldn't be doing it. <...> In my opinion it is as dangerous to drive while on the cellphone as it is to drive while sleeping, drunk, etc.

Funny, I manage to pilot an aircraft (in 3 space), navigate to where I am going, and talk on the radio. Controlling a vehicle and communicating is possible. Am I dangerous? Am I hazarding thousands of people? I think not, and neither does the FAA (the guys who issued my pilot's license.)

The real problem with cellphones is driver judgement. Too often, drivers don't prioritize their tasks (a previous poster mentioned the proverbial blonde bimbo applying makeup, talking on the phone, and swerving -- paying attention to everything _except_ driving.) That's where the danger lies.

If the government licensed drivers in the same manner as pilots, we wouldn't have this problem.

[ Parent ]

flying vs. driving (4.50 / 2) (#47)
by theboz on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 09:34:30 PM EST

Flying and driving are very different, as well as talking on a cell phone and talking on the radio. From what I know (having grown up around planes and flown some myself), you usually aren't talking about what groceries to get, you aren't arguing with your wife about who is going to pick up the kids, and you aren't wheeling and dealing real estate and stocks. The radio conversation is usually pertaining to what you are doing and you are able to concentrate on flying. Also, at least while cruising, aircraft generally have more time to react to something. While driving it can be less than a second and some idiot cuts you off. Or maybe the person you are following slams on their brakes, and because you are talking and daydreaming you rear end them.

Also, you mentioned the real problem...driver judgement. You do have to go through a lot more to get a pilot's license than you do for a car. In getting training to fly a plane your instructor is a lot more involved, and you have to have a lot more time flying than you do for driving. When I was in high school taking driver's ed, I basically had two afternoons driving where I took turns with another guy in my class. Basically, it was a total of 5 hours per day where we did about 2.5 each per day. So, that just sucked and we didn't learn as much about driving as we should have. There definitely seems to be a big problem with driver judgement in general, but I think the cellphone issue just makes it worse. I can't talk on the phone, brush my teeth, and get dressed all at the same time at home, much less while driving.

[ Parent ]

I take pains to be polite (3.50 / 4) (#17)
by jbridge21 on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 09:43:41 AM EST

Growing up in a polite family, I take pains to be polite to others. Cell phone etiquette is just a small part of this.

I turn down the ringer to zero when I'm somewhere it shouldn't ring, that way I can only know about incoming calls if I look at the thing. It would be nice to have a vibrator in it, but the lack of one is still no excuse for turning the volume to anything above zero.

So while others are rude, I tend not to be, and I think I would find it somewhat offensive if my cell phone was forcefully blocked in some manner. I guess it's kind of like speeding... an overwhelming number of people go to fast in their cars, I almost never do, but there's a solution to this in the form of cops with speed measuring instruments.

Perhaps what is needed is for business/whatever establishments to make their own rules, and punish people when they BREAK them, because preemptively striking out all cell phones would not be acceptable in my eyes...

Cell phone etiquette (none / 0) (#68)
by dbeery on Thu Jan 18, 2001 at 06:47:31 AM EST

Many people do not understand the concept of Cell phone etiquette but it is a concept that I full heartly attempt to follow in my everyday life. When I am in public establishments, I might or might not turn the ringer off(no vibrator in mine) but I will often turn down the ringers volume. When I answer the phone I will often go to a out of the way place or outside as to not disturb others around me. If, by chance I am listening to music with headphones on, I will turn the ringer off - who knows how long the phone could ring without my knowledge....

If my phone is Jammed without my knowledge I would be upset, but I have no problem having the ringer volume automaticly adjusted by some RF device.

[ Parent ]
Distruptive Ringing (4.00 / 5) (#20)
by MIss Congeniality on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 10:07:39 AM EST

Despite the fact that cell phones are nearly as common as 'walkmen'
in the US among 20-somethings, people still seem to view them as status symbols. They like to get get calls in public as if to say "I am an important person"

Even worse are the overly loud people who elaborate on personal
details of thier life in places where you are stuck listening to them, like
public transportation. I think that cell phones allow some people to indulge
an subconscious exhibitionist streak in this way.

I can no longer study in my University library due to the incessant
ringing and loud conversations. I've even seen people take calls
in the classroom during lecture, and not bother to even leave the
classroom during thier conversation. Some of my classes are under 40 people, so it's very difficult to be discreet.

I'm a huge fan of new and cool toys, I've got no discipline at all when it
comes to buying gadgets. I wonder if since these devices are new, no one
has been raised with any manners regarding their usage. ..so it doesn't
occur to them to be polite at all.

Insensitive people... (none / 0) (#34)
by cr0sh on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 01:47:06 PM EST

My GF has a cell phone, and likes it. I have thought about getting one, but the fact is, when I am away from the phone - I don't want to be contacted: Let them find me. My GF tries to be discreet with her phone though - even still, it has led to strange situations...

One that was particularly strange was when she was on the phone to her brother-in-law in a grocery store. We are all kinda hillbillyish around here, and her brother-in-law said something "wrong" (ie, a mispronunciation), and she mocked him, then dropped into "hillbilly" mode. Well, some guy near her tried to correct her, she told him to get away, was getting angry with the man - the man started following her around the store, badgering her about the issue (crazy, eh? What made it more funny was that her brother-in-law thought it was me who was badgering her, and that we were having an, ahem, "domestic dispute" - needless to say, I wasn't even there!). Eventually, she found the manager and had the man thrown out of the store...

Strange world, huh?

[ Parent ]

Fight fire with fire? (none / 0) (#52)
by adamsc on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 02:00:02 AM EST

Even worse are the overly loud people who elaborate on personal details of thier life in places where you are stuck listening to them

Perhaps the answer is to fight fire with fire: loudly expound on just how annoying they are. Ask the person on the other end about what they're talking about - especially if it's personal. After all, if they're inconveniencing everyone in the theater or class, they probably won't care until you make it their problem.

[ Parent ]
Before cell phones (4.44 / 9) (#22)
by flieghund on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 10:42:32 AM EST

...what happens if a really urgent call can't come through?

Probably exactly the same thing that happened before cell phones were invented. If you needed to reach Mr. X very urgently, and you knew he was at the opera, you called the opera house, which would then send an usher to inform Mr. X that he has a very important telephone call waiting for him on the house line. (These ushers tend to be quiet and discreet, unlike cell users who set their ringers to play the 1812 Concerto at max volume...)

But wait! you scream. What if you didn't know Mr. X was at the opera? Sucks to be you, my friend. Wait until tomorrow morning when Mr. X arrives at his office. (Or, if it was such a critical issue to be able to contact Mr. X at any time of the day, you do have his home phone number, right?) Such a concept is completely alien to a lot of people, but remember there are persons alive today that remember a time before telephones themselves were in wide use. Like most technology, cell phones are a luxury, not a requirement for living.

Cell phones have become one of the biggest privacy invasion tools ever invented. I have seriously considered getting a cell phone several times, but I always come back to the realization that there are distinct times I want to be contacted, and these very neatly coincide with times that I have access to a land-line telephone.

Using a Macintosh is like picking your nose: everyone likes to do it, but no one will admit to it.
Convenient (3.20 / 5) (#23)
by kovacsp on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 11:17:01 AM EST

You forget, you can always turn your phone off, a feature lacking in every landline I've ever seen.

Personally, I always leave my phone in vibrate mode and stick it in my pocket. The only time I would take it off vibrate is when I'm driving -- when its hard to differentiate between the vibrations of the car and my phone, or I take it out of my pocket for easy access. (And no, I rarely talk on my phone when I drive, and when I do, the conversations are usually about 10secs in length).

Finally, cell phones tend to have a great value-added proposition. For most casual users (like me) the bundled airtime is more than enough, and my local calling area is very expansive. I can call virtually everybody I know (or would want to talk to on the phone) for free.

Besides which, its not about always being availble, its about being able to make a call whenever and whereever you need to. Those people who can't determine when to turn off/down/vibrate their cell phones deserve to have them confiscated.

[ Parent ]

Sure you can turn it off! (3.00 / 3) (#29)
by Karmakaze on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 12:14:49 PM EST

You forget, you can always turn your phone off, a feature lacking in every landline I've ever seen.

My phone at work has a button called "send all calls" which prevents it from ringing and send a call directly to voice mail. If I like, I can set my home voice mail to pick up after one ring, with similar effect.

You don't have to answer a call if you don't want to, land line or cell.

[ Parent ]
Hmmm... (3.00 / 3) (#33)
by cr0sh on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 01:39:08 PM EST

Unless the land-line phone in question is a payphone bolted to a concrete wall, there most definitely is a way to "turn it off" - unplug it...

[ Parent ]
Pagers Too (3.00 / 2) (#36)
by retinaburn on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 02:20:36 PM EST

Most pagers (if not all) have a vibrate function if you HAVE to be reached get one of those instead...then use your cell phone in a proper area (phonebooth ;) to call the person back.

Just because someone needs to be reached in an emergency does not mean a one-one(-everyone around you) call is neccessary.

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho

[ Parent ]
You don't have to answer _every_ call. (4.00 / 2) (#39)
by jtown@punk.net on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 03:06:32 PM EST

You're not obligated to answer the phone just because it rings. If you don't want to answer a call, don't do it. That's what voicemail is for.

If you ever have the need for a cell phone, get one. Don't bitch and moan about it being a "privacy invasion tool". It only works that way if you let it happen. With callerID, you know who's calling. Don't want to talk to the boss at 9pm? Don't answer the phone when he calls. "I must've been out of range."

I don't leave the house without mine simply because it's better to have the option of using a phone anytime/anywhere than to not have the option. When I'm out of the house, I just don't answer the phone unless callerID says it's someone I want to talk to. If I want to verify that my last deposit posted before making an impulse purchase, no problem. If I want to find out what's playing at the movies, no problem. If a friend wants to get together for dinner, no problem.

A cell phone is what you make it. It only becomes a leash if you allow it to happen.

[ Parent ]

Loss of Privacy (2.00 / 2) (#41)
by Morn on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 06:22:30 PM EST

I usually leave my mobile at home, unless I think I might need to call someone. It confuses people when they first hear about it, but they get used to the idea (though I think they still think of it as a little weird),

[ Parent ]
Why Invent New Things in the First Place? (5.00 / 2) (#51)
by DigDug on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 01:33:12 AM EST

Your post sounds a bit like those when-I-was-your-age comments. Before cell phones were invented, it was much harder to reach a person, but people managed somehow anyway. So?

Before cars were invented, people traveled by foot or bicycle and still managed somehow. Does that mean that you shouldn't get a car? Before the 'Net was invented, most people sent mail by the post. Does that mean that we don't really need email? Sure, we can manage without those things, and without many more. But is that the point of gradual advancement, to make things easier?

I am in no way saying that it is OK to leave your cell phone turned on at the Opera house. By all means, it should be set to vibrate, and you should leave the concert hall before answering it or returning the call.

Yavista - if you haven't found a nice homepage yet.

[ Parent ]

Vibrate mode? (2.80 / 5) (#27)
by Jeremy Mooney on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 11:53:31 AM EST

People need to learn to use vibrate mode more... My phone has the ringer set to off and vibrate on. It never bothers anyone else, and doesn't interupt conversations if I don't want it to (people have this wierd thing where if the phone rings they *have* to answer it - apparently they don't believe that a in-person conversation can be more important than phone). The bigest advantage to me is I can go to class or into a quiet room and not have to worry about turning it down. I can also go to a game or something and not worry about not hearing it. Maybe using bluetooth or something to force the phone into vibrate only would be a good solution?

yafiygi.com - Randomization in web design
solution: the american way (3.42 / 7) (#30)
by chimera on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 12:28:39 PM EST

Living in a city which is in the absolute top of the world in terms of mobile phone usage (and ringing), namely Stockholm, Sweden - I can tell you there is only one solution to this. It has to be done the american way; guns, lots of guns. Tech is good, people suck!

Wouldn't it be nice? (3.00 / 1) (#37)
by djkimmel on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 02:46:36 PM EST

Wouldn't it be nice if people would be a little more considerate?

About a year ago, I got my first cell phone with a vibrating ringer. I loved it because nobody around knew I had a cell phone, since it was kept in my pocket and never made any noise. I've since replaced that cell phone, a Nokia 6188, with a Motorola Timeport and I don't even know what the ringer on the new phone sounds like!

In fact, during one movie I was at, I got three phone calls and nobody, not even the person in the seat right next to me, except me knew about it. I didn't answer the calls, so I didn't disturb anyone with conversation.

If its really urgent that someone contact me, they can send a text message or leave a voice message.

And don't get me started on cell phones in cars...
-- Dave
Public areas and Cell phones, pagers ,etc (2.66 / 3) (#40)
by kwhite on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 04:03:57 PM EST

Here is a great idea I saw that I think you be a great idea and one wouldn't miss a call ,page, etc. I went out to listen to the symphony and at the concert hall where I went at the Coat check area they also had a Cell Phone, pager check. No they would not just keep it, but if you wanted they would give you one of those small devices that vibrates to let you know you had a call, kinda like the ones you see at "Franchise" restaurants to let you know your table is ready. To me this was a great idea since it meant that the person "HAD" to get up and leave in order for them to take the call, so all the suddent it was there choice. Not only that but the place had a noce phone/pager policy and would kick you out of the hall without a refund. You would be surprised how many people actually went for this. I actually saw a longer line at the phone/pager check then the coat check, and it was noticably a cool night out.

If you're ever in Chicago, IL. Check out a Deli called Perry's. Its on the loop area of the city. The man who runs the establishment has signs up all over his place that say: "If you are using a cellphone, then you are too good to eat here." Not only that, but he would kick you out of line if he saw you talking on your phone. And it worked to, many of the people that came to eat there would have phone, and as soon as they were at the door they would get off and go inside. I actually did see him kick a gentleman out of line for use of the phone, needless to say he got off and waited in line for one of the best sandwiches in Chicago.

Just a couple anecdotes on ways to get around cell phone use.

Ken White
Life is a journey, not a guided tour.

My cell phone... (3.66 / 3) (#45)
by Sax Maniac on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 08:22:55 PM EST

...is never on unless I'm making an outgoing call, because I don't have to be chained to a phone.

Some people seem to think getting a call is a status symbol, but all it says to me is that they're insecure and are at the beck and call of someone else. Screw that.

My sister is the worst example: she leaves it on all the time, and will answer it anywhere. You could be at a restaurant with her deep in conversation, she'll get a call, answer it, and start chatting. When people do this, they are saying: "I don't care if I'm next to you. This other person is far more important, and I'm going to ignore you for a few minutes."

This is why I don't have, and hate, call waiting: I've been abused too much. You're talking to someone and and click ... wait an eternity ... "Oh, sorry, someone more imporatant than you called. Get lost." click. Well, maybe they don't say that exactly, but that's sure what it feels like.

Bah. Technology is no excuse to be rude.

Stop screwing around with printf and gdb and get a debugger that doesn't suck.

Simple Solution... (3.00 / 1) (#50)
by DAldredge on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 11:32:23 PM EST

Get up from the table and leave. If being put "on hold" bothers you then hang up. People will get the message sooner or later!

The word is American, not USian.
American \A*mer"i*can\, n. A native of America; -- originally applied to the aboriginal inhabitants, but now applied to the descendants of Europeans born in America, and especially to the citizens of the US
[ Parent ]
Cell Phones are irritating (3.50 / 2) (#46)
by telosphilos on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 08:48:31 PM EST

Cell phones are irritating, but for many people very necessary. My husband got a cell phone for his work so that we would not have to stay home if he was on-call. (We did that once for an entire weekend and it was not fun.) It seems like that is the reason why a lot of people get the phones in the first place, but then they start using it for personal stuff.

I have a cell phone. I started out not using it at all because I hate the way people behave with the things. Now, I use it more often. We only have one car so my husband calls me to tell me when he wants me to pick him up from work. A couple friends of ours are in need of friends that can be there on a moment's notice. They have my number and my phone is always on in the hopes that they won't need it. So, now I find myself sliding into more use of the little gadget and I can't turn it off.

What I really hope is that my practice of self-restraint with the thing will never be broken down. I do not like having it ring when I am in the car. I drive a small car with a baby in the back seat. I cannot explain just how angry I get at those awful people, usually women simillarly situated, in their big SUVs talking on their phones make me. I have had far too many near misses with them. It should say something that the last time Dallas iced over, about a month ago now, people could not make cell calls because everyone was calling home to say that they were going to be late. It made the radio news. I laughed until I realized just how many phones that takes.

I personally would love to see that silencer technology put into action. I just would not want to miss an emergency call because of it. It should say something that churches specifically request people shut them off or at least turn the ringer off. =P

-- Peace and quiet is a sleeping baby.
Get an alarm (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by job on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 09:06:15 AM EST

You don't have to jam cellphones, it is often enough to force people to turn them off. I live in Stockholm, a town with very many cellphones (it is very unusual not to have one if you are age 15-80, and I'm not kidding about those old people) and study at the university.

The library there has 20k people passing there everyday, and the problems with cellphones ringing used to be enormous. (A library should preferrably be quiet.)

Then they got a mobile phone guard. Is has proven to be very effective. It looks like an alarm for a store with two metal things placed on both sides of the entrance, emitting a beep when detecting a switched-on cell phone. There are warning signs outside the door, too.

Of course, sometimes this alarm annoys people a little bit as well, but it is much less annoying than those constantly ringing cellphones (with all the stupid melodies!).

How about a law banning "ringing" cell p (3.00 / 2) (#58)
by Daemin on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 03:21:49 PM EST

Allow ONLY vibrating cell phones and remove that part of the problem entierly.

I dont have a cell phone, but i do have a pager, and its ALWAYS on silent. Not out of consideration of other people, but because i find its ring to be very annoying, but its the same for most loud sudden noises for me (the fact that i can still hear it vibrate is another matter entierly).

Im agreeable to the idea of a jammer to prevent them working in certain areas. If you think an emergency is going to come up in an no-phone area... Well then dont go! I can think of few emergencys where me being contaced immediatley would be of any constructive value. My brother got into a car accident is in that hospital in emergency surgery. Now if i go to the hospital, what am i going to do? Sit there for the next 10 hours waiting. Does it matter if i get there in 5 mins or two hours? (i dont have a car anyway, i use public transportation, so getting around is a long process as is).

Its very irrating when people have their phones buried in their book bags when the go off in class. Sitting there hearing the first 10 notes of FUr Else, or Mozarts Symphony No. 40 played out in loud annoying beeps for five mins as they dig through their bag looking for it is annoying/rude/blah blah blah blah.

I think its too late for a social fix. If a social fix would work, i dont think the problem would exist to begin with.

Perhaps a notice saying "SET ALL WIRELESS COMMUNCATION DEVICES TO SILENT MODE. $50 FINE FOR VIOLATION" and then ENFORCE IT would work for places like concert halls and movies, but that would requier a staffer to be present to catch offenders (though the fine could cover the cost...)

Not a good idea (none / 0) (#62)
by DickBreath on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 12:34:56 PM EST

When I DON'T have my cell phone on my person, like at home, I WANT it to ring.

When I DO have my phone on my person and am out in public, I want it to vibrate.

So... I wish someone would make a fone that could be put into one of three modes..

1. Always RING
3. Vibrate if the phone is on my person, otherwise ring.

This raises the question, how to detect when the fone is on my person.

[ Parent ]
Maybe we can make special isolated boxes for em =P (none / 0) (#65)
by Daemin on Sun Jan 14, 2001 at 10:02:31 PM EST


[ Parent ]
a proposal (none / 0) (#61)
by greentea on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 09:05:06 AM EST

bah. Netscape killed my more eloquent writeup as i was bout to push "preview", so here's the short and stout of it.
two electrodes connected to your dermis. It would slightly shock you or buzz you when you had a call. Nothing painful, just something to let you know that your phone is trying to get your attention.
you know. cause sometimes, you're listening to musics really loud in yo9ur car, and you can't hear the ringer, and the vibrate feels like car noise.

cell phones are useful, good, and necessary. (none / 0) (#64)
by quesera on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 11:37:57 PM EST

where i live, *everyone* has a cell phone. it's not a status symbol at all. it's just the way you communicate. many people i know don't even have home telephone lines. they all have dsl, of course, but no analog lines.

they ring everywhere. people are generally courteous enough to turn their ringers off in movies and concert halls and quiet restaurants (if not, no big deal). at work and in clubs and bars and noisy restaurants and supermarkets and on sidewalks, they ring and people answer them and the people around them are uniformly *not* bothered by the whole process.

i've often wondered (in the past, in different cities) why some people feel such antipathy toward others around them who are talking on cell phones. the whole status symbol thing gets marched out...but do you all resent people who drive fancy cars too? maybe some of you do. then there's the "respectfulness" argument: as if someone around you who is talking to someone else who is not you is somehow disrespectful to you. (sure, talking loudly on the bus or talking at all in certain quiet environments is annoying, and talking while driving is demonstrably distracting, but i mean in a loud restaurant, or walking down the sidewalk..).

i think it says a lot more about the complainer than it does about the the complainee...

nowadays, not having a cell phone feels like not having an answering machine did ten years ago...not so much that i fear missing a screamingly important message as that i'm often not around any other sort of communication device...either to get in touch with someone for my own convenience, or to be reachable to others -- and i do want to be reachable, because i like my friends.

notably, and this may be the crux of it all:
twenty years ago, my social life was based around school. all of my friends were there, and i was at home most evenings. i was easy to reach by all of the people i knew i didn't care about answering machines or cell phones.

ten years ago, i still saw most of my friends at school, plus a contingent of others that lived out of the area or had jobs. my primary social circle was still pretty tightly knit around a student organization, but the others could get in touch with me at home, where i found myself every other night or so...cell phones weren't all that important, but an answering machine was vital. most of my friends did not have email at that point, and those that did occupied a whole different social circle (USENET, mailing lists) that *never* crossed over into the real world.

today, my friends are scattered everywhere, all around the world. even the ones that i spend the most time with are scattered across the city. not all of us work together or especially nearby, not all of us live together or especially nearby, and no one goes home right after work. they all have email addresses now, so that is the channel of choice when we're roughly in the "at-work" time frame, but even then, not everyone works in an office or near a computer. if you want to get in touch with someone, their cell phone is the expected and only reasonable way to do it. they have caller-id, and if they need to *not* answer while dealing with something else, no one gets miffed about it. it's also no insult (to either the caller or any physically-present people) to answer the call, determine if it's important or just conversational, and make plans to call back later.

people move into new apartments and change jobs too often to bother keeping track of their landline phone numbers -- but when people switch cell phone carriers, it's a big deal. :-)

cell phones and the various "always-on-net" handhelds are trending toward more subtle ways of alerting their owners when messages are received. that's a welcome refinement, and no one will miss the cell phone ringer cacaphony that happens in public places sometimes, nor the "whose phone is that?" searches when in large groups, but if you're annoyed by people who courteously use these things in public places, all i can says is: ask yourself what about it *really* bothers you, then get over it.

Stopping cell phones from ringing | 68 comments (66 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
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