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Microsoft Patents Tech That Would Silence Your Phone For You

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the keeping-it-quiet dept.

Microsoft 251

tsamsoniw writes "Microsoft has filed a patent for a mobile technology called Inconspicuous Mode, aimed at helping you not be 'that guy' who disrupts movies, meals, or meetings with noisy, bright-screened phone alerts. It's a setting that would effectively put your phone in stealth mode when the device sensed it was in a movie theater (thanks to location information) and that the lights had gone down. The idea is, you could still receive alerts if a call or text came in, but no one around you would be disturbed by phone sounds or screen flashes."

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251 comments

Already got it. (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#42585027)

I already have a phone that does this. As someone who is aware of my surroundings and generally conscientious, I simply turn my phone to "vibrate" or even - God forbid - OFF... It works very well indeed. And I even still receive alerts if a call or text came in. Amazing technology.

Re:Already got it. (1, Funny)

amRadioHed (463061) | about a year ago | (#42585127)

You turn your phone to off, and still get alerts if a call or text come in? That is amazing!

Re:Already got it. (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year ago | (#42585183)

I sure will, when I turn it back on. And the vibrate mode is a single switch, at least on my phone.

Re:Already got it. (3, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#42585393)

The missus already programmed her Android phone to engage in location based auto configuration. She uses it for power management but certainly the same principles can be use for "do not be a jerk" purposes.

A lame *ss software patent for the USPTO. Whodathunkit?

Re:Already got it. (4, Informative)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year ago | (#42585743)

I love Tasker for this kind of thing.
Turning on wifi at home and at work.
Toggling GPS off when battery power gets low.
Guess though would would need some kind of patent on stuff like this to use it on iOS or Windows Phone 8.
On Android though Tasker has been on every one of my phones for a few years now.

Re:Already got it. (5, Informative)

iamhassi (659463) | about a year ago | (#42585189)

I already have a phone that does this. As someone who is aware of my surroundings and generally conscientious, I simply turn my phone to "vibrate" or even - God forbid - OFF... It works very well indeed. And I even still receive alerts if a call or text came in. Amazing technology.

Yes Apple already patented the technology, silencing the phone based on GPS location. [appleinsider.com] Similar to geofencing that came out in iOS 5

Re:Already got it. (4, Informative)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42585347)

I already have a phone that does this. As someone who is aware of my surroundings and generally conscientious, I simply turn my phone to "vibrate" or even - God forbid - OFF... It works very well indeed. And I even still receive alerts if a call or text came in. Amazing technology.

Yes Apple already patented the technology, silencing the phone based on GPS location. [appleinsider.com] Similar to geofencing that came out in iOS 5

Cute, Apple patents something in 2012 that I've had on my Android phone since 2010 (little app called WhereRing). That sort of thing never happens.

Minor bitch, a script that takes input from existing sensors and uses said input to cause a particular action in existing hardware is not what I would refer to as "technology."

"Bloody obvious" would be a good alternate term.

Re:Already got it. (2)

hondo77 (324058) | about a year ago | (#42585473)

In all fairness to Apple, that patent was filed in 2008.

Re:Already got it. (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42585731)

Not according to the USPTO [uspto.gov]

United States Patent 8,254,902
Bell , et al. August 28, 2012

Re:Already got it. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585791)

Thanks for the link, actually. Yeah, it confirms what the parent said.

Inventors: Bell; Michael (Cupertino, CA), Lovich; Vitali (Toronto, CA)
Assignee: Apple Inc. (Cupertino, CA)
Appl. No.: 12/215,592
Filed: June 26, 2008

Re:Already got it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585843)

I'm looking at what you posted, and if you look further down, it says Filed: June 26, 2008. Perhaps the August 28, 2012 date is the approval date?

United States Patent 8,254,902
Bell , et al. August 28, 2012
Apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device

Appl. No.: 12/215,592
Filed: June 26, 2008

Re:Already got it. (0)

dmbasso (1052166) | about a year ago | (#42585855)

And regardless, isn't it a genial, brilliant idea? Of the kind that even your dog might think while taking a crap. The obviousness of these patents is so clear that it stopped being funny long ago, now it is only outraging.

Re:Already got it. (4, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#42585279)

No, this is also about shutting down somebody else's annoying phone.

Which I can do, too - it's amazing what you can accomplish with a simple sledgehammer.

Re:Already got it. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585285)

It may not be as elegant, but flipping the smartphone to vibrate is good enough for me.

I like having my device notify me on my terms. On Android, I can have the device not ring or alert at certain times of the night. On iOS, Do Not Disturb mode is similar.

Geolocation is interesting, but there are a number of issues. If I'm passing by a movie theater and needing to get an important call, will the device give me the option to ignore the marked location, or will it think it is better than I and mute the phone?

Then, there is the tinfoil hat aspect, which I'm sure others will bring up too... it is far-fetched, but something noteworthy: The same technology that can mute the phone in a theater can be used to disable cameras.

Re:Already got it. (-1, Offtopic)

marshabilly (2815513) | about a year ago | (#42585459)

upto I looked at the check that said $5773, I didn't believe that my neighbour really erning money in there spare time from there labtop.. there friends cousin had bean doing this for only about 13 months and resantly paid the loans on their place and bourt a new Audi Quattro. I went here..http://al.ly/s1D

Re:Already got it. (0)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#42585523)

Given the amount of spelling errors in that post, I assume that the dollar sum was a spelling error, too. The first "7" probably should have been a dot, making the total sum $5.73, which isn't too impressive. ;-)

How can you SURVIVE with your phone OFF!?!?!?!?! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585589)

OMFG!

Someone could TEXT you and you'd not be able to respond UNTIL YOU TURNED YOUR PHONE ON!

Re:Already got it. (1)

future assassin (639396) | about a year ago | (#42585745)

Yup and I can also detect when I'm in a movie theater or automatically adjust it when I see a No Cell Phones signs. Its amazing what we humans can do by ourselves.

Re:Already got it. (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | about a year ago | (#42585829)

Dunno why anybody would need sound or flashes at all. Well, except for when you are home, that is. Otherwise it just annoys people around, while not helping you very much.

this is like trying to make people good drivers (3, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#42585059)

people drive like asswipes because they think the world revolves around them

same here, the people disrupting the movie won't care about this. and probably won't enable it even if their phone had it.

the only solution is to wait two weeks or more until after a movie comes out to see it in an almost empty theater

Re:this is like trying to make people good drivers (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#42585101)

or... you can ignore those people... or you can accidentally trip over them, dislodge their cell phone and step on it... woops.

Re:this is like trying to make people good drivers (2)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#42585219)

or you can grab it off them and throw it against a wall, and then say "oh man i thought you had a spider on you"

Re:this is like trying to make people good drivers (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#42585281)

and they can call the theater security and have them call the cops for stealing and destroying your property

Re:this is like trying to make people good drivers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585487)

What? Impossible! I've deliberately misinterpreted these four highly obscure laws that probably don't even apply in this jurisdiction, so that PROVES I'm completely innocent and morally right, and if the courts say different, that's a blatant miscarriage of justice and reason enough to start the revolution. WHO'S WITH ME???

Re:this is like trying to make people good drivers (0)

IcyNeko (891749) | about a year ago | (#42585421)

Or buy a cell signal inhibitor. They're on sale today!

http://www.cellphoneshop.net/blocker.html [cellphoneshop.net]

Re:this is like trying to make people good drivers (2)

Sable Drakon (831800) | about a year ago | (#42585531)

Too bad they're illegal devices. The FCC and cellular carriers don't take it very well when people use cell site jammers. If you're caught with one, you're looking at fines and potential jail time for disrupting essential services.

Re:this is like trying to make people good drivers (3, Insightful)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about a year ago | (#42585649)

They're illegal for good reason.

Perhaps you've never had an important call before. One of the jobs I interviewed for was Communication Engineer for the Ambulance Service. That job required 24/7/365.24 on-call duties because

when 911 stops working, it has to get the fuck up fucking fast.

Sometimes doctors go home, sometimes MPs will go to a movie.

Re:this is like trying to make people good drivers (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#42585445)

the people disrupting the movie won't care about this.

Even if they did, they'd still answer and say "I can't talk, I'm in the cinema... Really? No way, dude!! Haha. So what did he do next??? You're kidding me!!! " etc.

Re:this is like trying to make people good drivers (0)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#42585617)

Even if they did, they'd still answer and say "I can't talk, I'm in the cinema... Really?...

How does that differ in any way from the ones who go "now see, she's going to hide under the bed and the kidnapper still finds her ... that's not very realistic, there's no dust bunnies under that bed ... oh, that had to hurt ... I just love Liam Neeson, he's such a good actor. What was that movie he was in with what's his name? No, not him, I mean the one who was in that other movie with the guy from Rambo. Not Stallone ...", who the theater owners never seem to care about stopping?

Re:this is like trying to make people good drivers (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | about a year ago | (#42585939)

Sometimes my wife freaks me out with this sort of stuff. No, she says it really quiet and does it rarely, but... Like, main character's baby falls off a cliff to a certain death and the superhero rushes to the rescue, she'll be like: "Ooh, I like her shoes, I should get ones like these."

Re:this is like trying to make people good drivers (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#42585483)

the people disrupting the movie won't care about this. and probably won't enable it even if their phone had it.

Most of the people who disrupt movies are not jerks, just forgetful, or they came in a few seconds late and missed the ever present "Cell Phone Off" request that appears on the screen in every theater I've been to in the last 5 years.

This would save a lot of embarrassment and I suspect a lot of people would turn it on if it worked properly.

If they do get it working properly, I'd like to see it on by default, with the setting to turn it off buried 5 menus deep. That would keep the clueless users who can't figure out how to silence their phones from being able to defeat it without the manual.

Re:this is like trying to make people good drivers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585899)

Actually no, in my experience the ones who really disrupt movies are indeed jerks. I'm referring to the girl who sits in the row in front of you and blinds you with her smartphone screen every two seconds, then gets bitchy when loud when you ask her to turn it off. Or the guy a few seats who gets bored in the first 10 minutes and starts texting with the "tick tick tick" button noise on, and then whines at you not be so sensitive when you request that he STFU or leave.

People who have the decency to be embarassed and quickly silence their device deserve sympathy and empathy. They're easily distinguished and not a problem. But the majority of repeat disrupters really are just egocentric jerks.

Re:this is like trying to make people good drivers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585517)

the only solution is to wait two weeks or more until after a movie comes out to see it in an almost empty theater

Honestly entertainment like going to the movie theater is a frill, a luxury I can very easily live without. I have no addiction to it. No need to go there. If there is not a consistently pleasant experience I simply will not go.

The inability of the average American (I say that only because I can't comment on other nations) to act like a decent person in public ruined movie theaters for me a long time ago. I haven't set foot in one in years. If the staff are unwilling to eject loud, unruly, obnoxious, cellphone-addicted annoying people because they fear losing their ticket revenue, that's fine, their alternative is to lose the ticket revenue of myself and those like me. And I suspect a lot more people than me feel this way.

I feel the same way about driving. If I had a good alternative to driving in my area, I'd have sold my car a long time ago so I could eliminate yet another major source of contact with such childish people. Sadly driving is necessary for me and it is one of the only times where I cannot merely choose not to associate with the asshats, as we all share the roads. I practice defensive driving and I have no problem moving out of the way of the aggressive/oblivious jackasses, even when I shouldn't have to, but there are simply too many of them. The state has no real incentive to get them off the road because the state enjoys the tickets and fines they routinely rack up. I seriously cannot wait for Google's (or anyone else's) self-driving cars to become mainstream.

The self-centered assholes who are little more than mental and emotional two-year-olds ("me first! only my needs matter! fuck everybody else! I don't care how my actions affect others! shared/public system means MINE ALL MINE!) in grown-up bodies are destroying Western society. They are the majority and vastly outnumber the adults who make a serious effort not to unnecessarily inconvenience or endanger others. It is most tragic to witness the entirely preventable decline of a once-great civilization.

Re:this is like trying to make people good drivers (5, Funny)

bitt3n (941736) | about a year ago | (#42585833)

the only solution is to wait two weeks or more until after a movie comes out to see it in an almost empty theater

that's what I do. otherwise there's always some jerk who thinks it's funny to throw popcorn at me while I'm trying to talk on the phone.

How does it know when the lights go down..... (5, Insightful)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about a year ago | (#42585061)

as opposed to just sitting in your dark pocket?

Re:How does it know when the lights go down..... (1)

tippe (1136385) | about a year ago | (#42585133)

They're probably assuming that everyone wears sheer dresses... (and pants, and shirts,...).

Seems reasonable...

Re:How does it know when the lights go down..... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42585225)

They're probably assuming that everyone wears sheer dresses... (and pants, and shirts,...).

Seems reasonable...

Hey, if that's the NWO dress code, I take back everything bad I ever said about our mysterious overlords!


On second thought... how the heck am I supposed to hide a boner in sheers?

Re:How does it know when the lights go down..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585491)

On second thought... how the heck am I supposed to hide a boner in sheers?

You? I guess you could put a Post-It note in your pocket.

Re:How does it know when the lights go down..... (1)

suutar (1860506) | about a year ago | (#42585883)

There's a large fraction of the population that I don't want to see in sheers...

Re:How does it know when the lights go down..... (1)

Farmer Pete (1350093) | about a year ago | (#42585299)

Everyone will have some of THESE [cnet.com]

Just when you thought they had already invented every phone accessory possible, the come up with special pants.

Re:How does it know when the lights go down..... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42585701)

Everyone will have some of THESE [cnet.com] Just when you thought they had already invented every phone accessory possible, the come up with special pants.

Kneejerk reaction: That's got to be the dumbest, first-world-problem product I've ever seen!

Secondary reaction: Hey, those would be damn handy for secret games of Angry Birds on those "Death By Meeting" days...

Re:How does it know when the lights go down..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585345)

Do you really think people who disrupt movies keep their phone in a pocket? A phone is made to be shown and not hidden!

Re:How does it know when the lights go down..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585519)

blueraytooth

Re:How does it know when the lights go down..... (2)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year ago | (#42585711)

3. The one or more computer-readable storage media of claim 1 wherein the at least one ambient condition is selected from the group consisting of ambient light and ambient sound.
6. The one or more computer-readable storage media of claim 1 further comprising: detecting a signal from a wireless local area network communication having a network identifier indicating that the mobile communication device should enter the inconspicuous mode; and switching to the inconspicuous mode when the signal is detected.

Claim 3 and 6 of the patent indicate it is looking at light, sound, or a wifi signal.

Meaningless Patents (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | about a year ago | (#42585063)

....but I guess you have to play the game.

Re:Meaningless Patents (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42585253)

....but I guess you have to play the game.

Only if you intend to perpetuate it.

"I must do evil, because everyone else does" is not a valid excuse, and only serves to eternalize douche-baggery.

Re:Meaningless Patents (1)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | about a year ago | (#42585431)

Sorry, that's not how it works. People with power and money make the rules, and you don't get power or money without playing the game. Resistance is futile if they get violent, unless you get violent back. (See: World War II. Unless you want to live in a world run by the Nazi Party, "doing evil" in the form of killing was the right thing to do. No, this is not invoking Godwin.)

Mistakes happen... (1)

drc003 (738548) | about a year ago | (#42585091)

Inevitably people occassionally forget to switch to silent mode in theaters, meetings etc. I guess this feature would be nice to have but nothing to really get overly excited about.

Re:Mistakes happen... (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#42585557)

It couldn't possibly detect meetings, or pocket/purse with any reliability.

Theaters, maybe, but even that will be unreliable.

What is needed is the presence of some inexpensive low power transmitter (wifi access point, Bluetooth, Simulated Cell Tower CID, that can't actually be connected to, but which triggers phone silencing/dimming behavior. Users would probably still demand the ability to override this feature.

Re:Mistakes happen... (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#42585723)

It couldn't possibly detect meetings, or pocket/purse with any reliability.

Theaters, maybe, but even that will be unreliable.

What is needed is the presence of some inexpensive low power transmitter (wifi access point, Bluetooth, Simulated Cell Tower CID, that can't actually be connected to, but which triggers phone silencing/dimming behavior. Users would probably still demand the ability to override this feature.

My phone automatically detects when I'm in a meeting and silences the ringer.... at least, it does so as long as my calendar is up to date.

When the lights go down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585097)

I can't wait to see how they plan to implement ambient light sensing from inside my pocket.

Couple that with the "Standing outside the theater waiting for someone and cannot hear my phone ringing because it thinks I'm at the theater when my friend calls to update me on when she'll be here" and you have a really great feature. Way to go MS!

Re:When the lights go down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585321)

Couple that with the "Standing outside the theater waiting for someone and cannot hear my phone ringing because it thinks I'm at the theater when my friend calls to update me on when she'll be here" and you have a really great feature. Way to go MS!

This I think illustrates the main problem. People want their tools to behave predictably and constantly.

Now having the phone context aware enough that it can self-silence when in a context where unexpected noise is anti-socially disruptive, would be a nice improvement. However in practice this will mean that whenever your phone is close enough to a flagged "quiet zone" it will silence, regardless of actual appropriateness, whereas whenever it is in an area not flagged as such (in it's central database of places to be quiet in) it will not change it's behavior. net result: people getting frustrated because their phone when to silent while they were in the shop next to the theater and other's phones causing disruptions because they assumed it would auto-silence but it did not.

Re:When the lights go down? (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#42585587)

You can surely feel your phone buzzing, can't you?
Maybe you need to try putting the phone in a MORE inside pocket.

Use Locale! (1)

jomcty (806483) | about a year ago | (#42585107)

I've been doing this for a long while now using Locale on my Android phone.

Re:Use Locale! (1)

MrDoh! (71235) | about a year ago | (#42585129)

Yup, so MS have patented existing tech. I expect Tasker to be getting a notification about this any moment.

Re:Use Locale! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585409)

Don't worry. It will turn out that Microsoft actually started the patent process for this in 1953, meaning that Locale and other programs are simply cheap, anti-capitalist, bigoted ripoffs of Microsoft's innovative and widely hailed ... err, what was the product that had this that MS makes, again?

It's called vibrate you fuckwits (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585111)

What the flipping fuck is going on with this planet so that some of us are stuck doing meaningless, useless fucking shit like this?

This world is crap. Give us a new one.

A hammer? (1)

cruff (171569) | about a year ago | (#42585115)

I thought hammers have been known for centuries, how did they manage a patent on that?

Re:A hammer? (2)

Minwee (522556) | about a year ago | (#42585235)

I thought hammers have been known for centuries, how did they manage a patent on that?

The same way you patent anything else, by adding the words "over the Internet" to its description.

Patent Worthy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585207)

Does this really qualify as a patentable "new technology"?

This is genius... wait a minute... obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585243)

Yawn

Turn it off, or leave (5, Interesting)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | about a year ago | (#42585245)

I own and operate a movie theatre. I have policy trailers that I play before every show telling you to turn your cell phone off. If I see a light from a cell phone while the show is on, I'll go in and ask you to turn it off until the show is over. If I see your light again, I'll ask you to come to the lobby with me, and when you get there I'll tell you to go home.

Since I have been doing this for years, ever since cell phones existed, I have very little problem with cell phones here.

Consistent enforcement is the answer. I have to tell maybe one or two people a month to turn their phones off, sometimes I can go a few months without having to do it once. And I can't remember the last time I threw someone out for that -- it's been at least a couple of years.

Re:Turn it off, or leave (1)

futhermocker (2667575) | about a year ago | (#42585335)

Thought about installing a GSM and WiFi jammer? Personally I don't mind, hate people using phones during any gig...

Re:Turn it off, or leave (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#42585565)

Thought about installing a GSM and WiFi jammer?
Personally I don't mind, hate people using phones during any gig...

I doubt a theater owner wants to open himself up to FCC liability for running an illegal jammer.

But if it becomes legal and theaters start doing this, then I'll stop going to movies entirely - I *want* the babysitter to be able to call me in case of emergency, that's why I give her my cell number.

I own and operate a movie theatre. I have policy trailers that I play before every show telling you to turn your cell phone off. If I see a light from a cell phone while the show is on, I'll go in and ask you to turn it off until the show is over. If I see your light again, I'll ask you to come to the lobby with me, and when you get there I'll tell you to go home.

I'm surprised you can stay in business with such a small theater - at the big multiplex theaters, they can't even spare the staff to sit through the first few minutes of a film to make sure the sound is running during a movie, relying on a viewer to complain in case of problems. Having someone sit through the entire movie to watch for cell phones seems like it would be cost prohibitive.

Re:Turn it off, or leave (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#42585567)

Thought about installing a GSM and WiFi jammer?
Personally I don't mind, hate people using phones during any gig...

Why should he install a device which gets him into legal trouble if his simpler method is very effective?

Re:Turn it off, or leave (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#42585571)

Thought about installing a GSM and WiFi jammer?

If you're going to break federal law like that, why not just shoot the bastards? I bet you'd have a zero percent recidivism rate after once, maybe twice, you did that.

Personally I don't mind, hate people using phones during any gig...

Yeah, you're rights are more important than anyone else's. How DARE someone want to be reachable in an emergency and still have a life?

"Any gig" makes you sound like a performer of some kind. Yes, I'd sure hate, as a performer, to have someone in the audience texting something like "Am seeing awsome performer, you gotta come see the act..." to their friends while I'm performing. How dare they! Of course, you probably don't have that problem. More like "this show sux, let's split lol".

Re:Turn it off, or leave (2)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#42585507)

If I see a light from a cell phone while the show is on, I'll go in and ask you to turn it off until the show is over.

How do you handle it when the theatre is near full and the offender is in the middle of a row?

How do you handle it when the customer declines to get up out of his chair and leave the theatre at your request?

Forgive my skepticism, but the approach you outline here sounds like it would only work on people who are courteous enough not to use their phones in a theate in the first place.

Re:Turn it off, or leave (1)

sdguero (1112795) | about a year ago | (#42585817)

I saw The Hobbit at an AMC theater a couple weeks ago with my girl. A young couple came in about 5 minutes after the movie started, sat in front of us, then proceeded to start taking flash photos of themselves with both of their phones. Other than people in the audience, who were blinded by the flash, nobody from the theater said anything to them. They also talked continuously until they walked out, about 45 minutes later.

This last weekend I saw Django Unchained with my girl. The theater was almost full so we ended up sitting in the handicap row, which is allowed for non-handicappers once the movie starts. About 10 minutes after it started an obese guy with a cane showed up and stood over us, staring like we killed his dog (we were sitting in the center handicap seats). He then hurumphed and sat off to the side. 5 minutes later he was asleep, snoring loudly enough for people three rows in front of him to turn around. I made a game of tossing raisonettes into his open mouth.After the third "score" he gave up sleeping and left, this was about an hour into the film.

While the raisonette game was fun, but these people are why I don't go to the theaters very often.

This Already Exists... (3, Informative)

Farmer Pete (1350093) | about a year ago | (#42585255)

There are several programs that can be set to automate your phone like this. The problem is that location awareness isn't as good inside a movie theater as you might hope. For instance, I live about a half a mile away from the nearest megaplex. I setup a rule on my phone to turn off the ringer and wifi when the phone is at the address of the cinema. However, the rule kept triggering when I was sitting in my living room. Even if I didn't live so close, if I was shopping at the stores next door, my phone would be going to vibrate mode automatically. I've found that doing location based things only works well if your location isn't near anything else. For instance, I work in the middle of nowhere. I set a rule to turn off WiFi & bluetooth from 8am to 4:45pm when I'm at my work location. Works great to save battery. But for the movies, I still set it manually.

Re:This Already Exists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585677)

It might have something to do with using WIFI for location assistance. It would work something like this.

  1. GPS reads you are in a certain area with a +/- of lets say 100 yards/meters
  2. WIFI refines the +/- to about 10 yards/meters
  3. Refined location data gets sent out to all listening applications

If your WIFI radio is turns off or is busy (re)connecting your location shifts gets fed to listeners and locks your WIFI/Bluetooth/Cellular. GPS is still active but since it is not able to refine your location via WiFi it remains in stasis.

Location services isn't that accurate (2)

jonbryce (703250) | about a year ago | (#42585261)

Currently, using wifi location, my phone thinks it is on the other side of the road from where it actually is. Accurate enough to find the nearest bus stop or whatever I'm looking for, but certainly not accurate enough to know that I am actually inside a particular screening room of a theatre rather than out in the foyer or in a shop next door. As I'm indoors, GPS or Glonass location isn't an option, and even if it was, it still isn't accurate enough for that.

HMS Dumbass feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585267)

Where would we be without ya, MS?

What I'd like... (1)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about a year ago | (#42585275)

The room should tell my phone that there's a movie, meeting, et al. going on (based on a published schedule)

Calls should have a priority

The phone should respond appropriately based on the situation and priority of the call

For example: a low priority call might go to voice mail if I'm in the middle of a meeting, but make the phone ring if the same call happened after the meeting is over. A high priority call could make the phone vibrate or ring depending on the situation and my preferences.

Re:What I'd like... (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#42585635)

The room should tell my phone that there's a movie, meeting, et al. going on (based on a published schedule)

Calls should have a priority

The phone should respond appropriately based on the situation and priority of the call

For example: a low priority call might go to voice mail if I'm in the middle of a meeting, but make the phone ring if the same call happened after the meeting is over. A high priority call could make the phone vibrate or ring depending on the situation and my preferences.

Yeah, I'd rather see this - have businesses install a short-range beacon to announce itself along with information I might be interested in (hours, movie times, etc) and then my phone can do what I want with the information. Though I suppose it could easily be done with geolocation if it worked indoors.

Re:What I'd like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585707)

They could use a WIFI hotspot as a trigger or better yet put a cradle or compartment on the arm rest/table that has a RFID tag for NFC.

More overhead for someone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585289)

So who is going to volunteer to maintain a list of every movie theater's latitude and longitude? How will they be paid? Will this sort of "location aware" 'feature' be turned into a premium cost of a few pennies per user that is silently added to every smartphone with it enabled (or, with licensing, a few dollars)? What happens when whoever decides to maintain this list doesn't feel like it anymore?

Re:More overhead for someone (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#42585433)

Sounds a lot like basic mapping features that date back to Mapquest.

"Am I in a theater" is the same problem as "are we there yet" or "where can I see the latest special effects spectacular".

Re:More overhead for someone (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#42585591)

So who is going to volunteer to maintain a list of every movie theater's latitude and longitude? How will they be paid? Will this sort of "location aware" 'feature' be turned into a premium cost of a few pennies per user that is silently added to every smartphone with it enabled (or, with licensing, a few dollars)? What happens when whoever decides to maintain this list doesn't feel like it anymore?

If Google can publish photos of every business, including photos from the *inside* of many businesses, it doesn't seem unreasonable for them to add a field to describe the business type (theater, school, hospital, fire station, etc) in their map database.

Wait what? (1)

TheRecklessWanderer (929556) | about a year ago | (#42585361)

So the idea is that Microsoft will know your location at all times? And i'm sure they won't sell that information to interested 3rd parties. It'll turn the phone into a bratty little brother/sister who reports everything you do to home base.

what (1)

um... Lucas (13147) | about a year ago | (#42585439)

If the phone is in your pocket (or purse) how can the phone determine if the lights have gone down? Does is see through cloth and leather?

What if microsofts location information turns out to be as accurate as Apple Maps? Will phones randomly go silent?

why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585533)

the fuck do I even read this god forsaken site? fuck this place, never coming back

Well, (1)

RLU486983 (1792220) | about a year ago | (#42585549)

many phone models already have some sort of functionality similar/same as this.

Most assuredly, as with many other phone features available, this is something that will have a ON/OFF toggle function and many people will simply have it set to OFF no different than the similar functionality is currently set to on their phones today.

Not disturb by phone sounds? (1)

houghi (78078) | about a year ago | (#42585581)

The phone sounds that disturb me are not coming from the phone. It is the people USING the phone.
And most of the time this is not even the sound that disturb me.
It is people who I am trying to have a conversation with, but they pick up their phone every 30 seconds and answer some message.
Then when you wait till they are finished, they say: pleas go on, I am listening. In reality they answer each question with 'huh?'.
Perhaps next time I should take out my phone, keep on talking and texting them that they are extremely rude.

When the lights have gone down? (1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year ago | (#42585603)

Do they mean, when the person puts the phone away in his or her pocket? I'm not sure exactly how light sensing is a good method of telling anything about the location of a phone, even when combined with GPS data...

A high school kid did this. (1)

JATMON (995758) | about a year ago | (#42585713)

A couple years ago I was a judge for a county science fair and one of the entrants was kid that wrote an app that did this. He did it so that he would not get his phone taken away while he was in school.

wait... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#42585857)

Can this device also detect when any of my friends are around and hide the microsoft/windows logo and show an Android one instead?

WOW! (not really...) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42585887)

Thats the sort of app that "some guy", or Jeddiah's wife (http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3381701&cid=42585393) could produce and release for free, but if a megacorp think of it, they have to patent it.

I leave my phone at home when I go to the cinema, nobody's that important that I want to ruin my movie by listening to them, *and* look pike a p***k in front of a theatre full of people. They can leave a message...

Movies, meals or meetings (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#42585947)

That's going to be one heck of a database. Every little bistro, conference hall, concert hall, tavern with live music, etc.

Why not some short range (Bluetooth?) protocol on a device that broadcasts a "please use quiet mode" signal?

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