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Polite Cell Phones

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the don't-be-THAT-guy-at-the-movie-theater dept.

Communications 292

yEvb0 writes "Researchers at Motorola and Carnegie Mellon University are developing more polite cell phones. Strategies include programming the ringer to turn on and off according to the time of day, monitoring sound light levels to determine if the owner is a movie theater or talking to his boss, and even letting callers decide whether they'd like to interrupt based on this information."

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good sales strategy (2, Funny)

rd4tech (711615) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706522)

monitoring sound light levels to determine if the owner is a movie theater

Ok, I'm confused enough, now, where can I buy this cellphone from?

Re:good sales strategy (2, Insightful)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706661)

monitoring sound light levels to determine if the owner is a movie theater


Phones ringing are bad. Yes. But you know what? That's because people are inconsiderate jerks.

I remember going to a couple of movies in a row. Each time, not only did a phone ring, but at least once a guy would answer the phone and start talking in his "cell phone voice." In other words, twice as loud as a person would normally talk. One movie, a guy's phone went off like 5 times. Each time he'd have a loud conversation. Unforunately, this guy was HUGE and mean looking so nobody wanted to be the guy to say "shut up a--hole!"

There's no way to get around people. Even if you have the phone set to vibrate automatically (light+sound, radio flag, or GPS), some jerk will still answer the flipping thing and disturb everyone.

Re:good sales strategy (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706818)

Imho, none of these are solutions - they all require behaviour on the part of the user to be polite. The opposite approach should've been default. A venue should be able to mark themselves as "quiet" or "silent" by having a "venue flag broadcasting device".

The phone would then enter either a "vibrate only" or "pager/SMS only" mode. Doctors and other emergency service personnel could, in turn, get this feature overridden by their provider if they can show need.

Parents, on the other hand, could still recieve text messages and voicemail, allowing them to excuse themselves to return the call.

This stuff, in general, should've been designed into the GSM standard a long time ago.

Re:good sales strategy (2, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706913)

A venue should be able to mark themselves as "quiet" or "silent" by having a "venue flag broadcasting device".

woohoo! Then we could all carry around broadcasters that stop anyone within 200 metres from us from having their phone ring _

I've not actually had any problem with people in cinemas here recently, maybe people are just more polite in the UK (and I've been going to the cinema a LOT in the last few months because I have an 'unlimited' card ^^; )

It's Called 'Vibrate' (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706528)

Set your phone to vibrate. It's been working for me for years. Non-invasive when doing anything in my daily routine.

Is there really a reason I should have to enter my schedule into my phone? Because it's not going to happen.

Re:It's Called 'Vibrate' (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706610)

Some of us use our phones to keep our schedule.

Re:It's Called 'Vibrate' (5, Interesting)

LinuxHam (52232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706611)

Not to mention something Nextel has had for years. If I put my regularly scheduled meetings in my datebook, I can program the phone to switch to vibrate on its own, shut off the two-way radio feature, and even decide who in my phonebook is allowed to ring through, just for the length of the meeting. Its really an excellent feature, and I love it.

Re:It's Called 'Vibrate' (2, Insightful)

LeonGeeste (917243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706621)

Set your phone to vibrate. It's been working for me for years. Non-invasive when doing anything in my daily routine.

Is there really a reason I should have to enter my schedule into my phone?


The idea behind this is that people forget to do this, so the phone does it automatically. That's why they want you to enter your schedule. Of course, people *conscious* of those around them and *concerned* about the impacts of their actions on others probably *already* do this consistently enough not to need one. The people least likely to buy the "polite" phone are the ones who probably need it the most.

Re:It's Called 'Vibrate' (2, Insightful)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706627)

Vibrate is not always the best option:
A couple examples:
At church, during a quiet time, a hip-worn cell vibrating against a Wooden Pew makes a lot of noise...
During one of my MBA classes, one guys phone was always vibrating, and it was distracting. Especially during exams.
There are many more examples, but I have to get back to work...

Re:It's Called 'Vibrate' (4, Funny)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706674)

At church, during a quiet time, a hip-worn cell vibrating against a Wooden Pew makes a lot of noise...

Well, I mean... they already have the crosses and nails there, right? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Re:It's Called 'Vibrate' (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707021)

Very tacky.

But notice that if your insult had targeted an Islamic mosque instead of a Christian church, the targets of your joke would be murdering innocent people right now.

Re:It's Called 'Vibrate' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14707096)

Hey! A thin-skinned, racist Christian!!! Off-topic much?

Re:It's Called 'Vibrate' (2, Insightful)

Helios1182 (629010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706979)

Perhaps it would be easy to simply move the cell phone away from the hip? Stick it in a shirt pocket, move it to be on your lap. Some problems are so easily solved without technology. As for the MBA guy, well, I suppose you were lucky it was on vibrate. The prof or you could have mentioned something, especially in the exam. Otherwise, there will always be inconsiderate people, and technology can't fix that.

Stupid charger (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706846)

I leave my phone on vibrate, but I work in a building with radio shielding (we are right next to a major radio broadcast tower). So my phone will often go into searching mode and kill its battery. So I leave it plugged in durring the day. Unfortunately, as soon as you plug the phone into the charger, vibrate mode gets disabled. A royal annoyance.

-Rick

Re:Stupid charger (1)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706925)

Since the building your in has radio shielding, you're not likely to get a call there anyway. So what is the difference between your phone not ringing in "vibrate mode" vs. your phone not ringing in "audible mode"?

Re:Stupid charger (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707035)

The difference is whether or not I have a dead phone when I leave the office. On the rare occurrence that a call does come through during the day my cell phone belts out toccata at max volume and there is no option to change it.

-Rick

Doesn't work for some of us... (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706968)

I work in a high-security building and can't take my cell phone in. Vibrating cell phone on my car seat does not make enough noise to alert me if I have a voicemail left by my wife, kids, etc during the day. Otherwise I am very considerate with my cell phone, but I am also very forgetful ... stuff like this is very useful for the forgetful among us.

Yes, but.. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707048)

Set your phone to vibrate. It's been working for me for years. Non-invasive when doing anything in my daily routine.

The major drawback I've found with the Motorola Razr V3 is the volume control also changes your ring volume, so after each call I have to remember to turn it all the way back down to vibrate. Who thought of that?

vibrate? (1)

schnits0r (633893) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706529)

And this is differnt from telling users to set their phones to vibrate?

Re:vibrate? (3, Interesting)

dave420 (699308) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706898)

It will work regardless of whether the phone owner is rude or not. Like someone on the bus who gets a call they don't want to answer, and their phone is not on silent. They just stare at the phone as it rings and rings. I hate 'em. There is absolutely no reason for phones to have ring tones at all. The amount of intrinsic rudeness in mobile phones is ridiculous.

once again, trying to get machines to "think" (4, Interesting)

acroyear (5882) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706534)

since people obviously don't anymore...

I heard something about this long ago (1)

bilbravo (763359) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706538)

Very similar to this idea... I think (especially with more and more bluetooth phones), it should be possible to turn phones to silent/vibrate (manner mode on my phone) when entering certain places, such as theatres and restaurants. Although, some will cry "invasion of privacy" or "taking away my rights", but I cry "I don't want my movie interrupted by your stupid cell phone".

Re:I heard something about this long ago (3, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706742)

"Taking away my rights" is what happens when I throw their phone in the nearest trashcan, "Invasion of privacy" happens after that, when they feel the sudden impact of my foot in their groin.
Thankfully, restaurants and theaters are allowed to block cellphone transmissions here in the Netherlands.

Re:I heard something about this long ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14706839)

"Taking away my rights" is what happens when I throw their phone in the nearest trashcan, "Invasion of privacy" happens after that, when they feel the sudden impact of my foot in their groin.

Lead poisioning is what will happen to you eventually someday.

Re:I heard something about this long ago (2, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706884)

Thankfully, restaurants and theaters are allowed to block cellphone transmissions here in the Netherlands.

We went to a nice restaurant yesterday morning for breakfast. The building was entirely copper clad. We got no signal inside, and we were just fine with that.

They call themselves "Copper Bleu", but I think a better name for them would be "Faraday's."

Re:I heard something about this long ago (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706939)

> "Taking away my rights" is what happens when I throw their phone in the nearest trashcan, "Invasion of privacy" happens after that, when they feel the sudden impact of my foot in their groin.

Solution obvious: In parallel to the little off-centered cam/motor arrangement used for "vibrate" mode, add a solenoid with a coil and plunger that run the length of the phone.

When you walk into a restaurant or movie theater, your phone obeys a store-owner-generated signal to switch to "cockpunch" mode and broadcast its relative position to nearby phones.

Hey, if someone's showing off how many friends they have by letting their phone ring ("Look at me! People want to talk to me all the time!") I see no reason why we can't all give him a ring.

Re:I heard something about this long ago (1)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706837)

I think it'd be great if the phone had an option I could turn on to say "Respect requests for silence via Bluetooth." Then places where silence is desired (nice restaurants, movie theaters, libraries, churches, funeral homes) could have a Bluetooth transmitter at the entryway saying "Go silent until X:00", or "Go silent for three hours."

Of course I'd like to have a bit more control than that. There are some places where I'd like the phone to go "dead" and others where I'd prefer it to go to vibrate mode. And my choice for behavior probably won't be the same as the institution setting up the transmitters. For example, I would want it to go absolutely silent for a funeral, but I would want vibrate mode if I went into a church.

Anyway, it's not an invasion of privacy if I request the feature and turn it on voluntarily. In that case, it's simply a convenience for me.

They should research (5, Insightful)

endrue (927487) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706540)

a polite human being.
Seriously folks! How hard is it to turn off the ringer? Are we so daft these days that our phones have to be polite for us?

Re:They should research (2, Funny)

thanuk (620203) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706597)

Are we so daft these days that our phones have to be polite for us? Yes. Next question please.

Re:They should research (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706969)

So you've never once forgotten to turn off your cell phone in a meeting?

And the trick, I've found, isn't so much turning the thing to ringer as turning it back afterwards. I'll discover the following day that I've missed a call or two when my phone was out of my pocket and set to buzz.

Perhaps a better (and simpler) algorithm would be to detect if the phone was in close proximity to the user. If it's in my pocket, always vibrate. If it's on the table recharging, always ring. Not perfect, but it sounds more practical.

Re:They should research (1)

zymurgy_cat (627260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707080)

a polite human being. Seriously folks! How hard is it to turn off the ringer? Are we so daft these days that our phones have to be polite for us?

Also, how hard is it to not answer the frickin' phone in the first place when you're doing something else like watching a movie or (gasp!) talking to another human being?

I can understand emergencies or when you're waiting on time-sensitive information, but many rude people would not change their behavior one bit with such "polite" phones.

Great (0, Troll)

scottennis (225462) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706552)

So terrorists will now be able to have a cell-phone bomb detonate based on more specific parameters, like, when the train goes into a tunnel. Or, when there's a lot of people around.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14706599)

shut up - if a terrorist can wire up a cell phone bomb he can wire upa not gate and simple latch

Re:Great (1)

muhgcee (188154) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707031)

Yes, let's restrict technology based on what could be done with it. That has always worked in the past...

best research in a while (1)

abenton (899893) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706557)

About time someone did this, so all these peoples phones dont go off in class or the theatre after 15 mentions of "please disable all cellular phones"

But... (4, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706560)

But can it tell the difference between a movie theater and my pocket?

Re:But... (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706606)

Some people never put their phone in their pockets. They have it surgically attacked to their ear.

Re:But... (2, Interesting)

jrumney (197329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706613)

More to the point, can it tell the difference between my pocket in a cinema, and my pocket in my boss's office?

Re:But... (2, Funny)

precize (83096) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706623)

That's where the artificial butter detector comes in... which should work, unless you keep a lot of that in your pocket, in which case you're probably not the kind of person who minds what other people think of you.

Re:But... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706971)

that is actually a genius idea :) and when it detects a sweaty fat person sitting next near you, it releases some air freshener.. hmm

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14706628)

Wouldn't both places call for vibration? Perhaps, for different reasons...

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14706643)

Why not trying to read the article? They'd already given answer to this, and answer is of course no.

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14706698)

Indeed it can.

It is in fact a simple process, first it monitors for the average dampness of the surrounding area, the number of particles of salt per million, and finally the predominant odour.

It then concludes that it has been placed in a packet of cheese & onion potato chips and reacts accordingly.

Re:But... (1)

steve_l (109732) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707065)

This is exactly the same problem that Nokia's context aware cellphone proto from 1999/2000 had. A dark and quiet environment can mean "phone is in briefcase" or "cinema"

Silent (2)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706563)

even letting callers decide whether they'd like to interrupt based on this information.

How about no? Letting callers decide whether to override YOUR preferences? That'll work well.

How about just put the damn thing on silent/vibrate, and leave the rest of us out of your phone call world. I don't need to hear your l33t ringtone.

Polite is sugestive. (1, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706567)

The problem with this is that you cannot take priority of the call. If I am talking to a Boss and say my Wife calls me to tell me she is having a Baby. I much rather have the phone stop being polite and call me. Also there is an issue of guessing correctly, If you are watching a movie in a theator vs. a home theator, with a good sound system. If you want to make the phone polite keep the vibrator on and make glasses (that are fasionable) that have a screen that can tell you who is calling. Don't bother with the AI Crap which will never work right, just go with a HighTech but simple solution.

Re:Polite is sugestive. (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706719)

If I am talking to a Boss and say my Wife calls me to tell me she is having a Baby. I much rather have the phone stop being polite and call me

And how often does that happen? A span of a week or so, once or twice a lifetime. I'm pretty sure your boss can handle the possible interruption.

Re:Polite is sugestive. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707000)

Well it is used as an emergency, the reson why most people use to get Cell Phones for.

Re:Polite is sugestive. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707003)

I would have thought that you'd be making special arrangements around that time, and surely the receptionist could take a message? I think your wife is more likely to phone the hospital if she's having her baby anyway..

In Communist China (1)

nmccart (952969) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706586)

Cell Phones monitor you ...

wait ...

Um, you monitor cell ph ... no

I've got it: Cell Phone tells YOU when to ring!

Re:In Communist China (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706660)

How is that like the american phones. When the vibrate goes off people go and pick up the phone and start talking loudly to it. Many times it is far more interupting then the phone itself.

Re:In Communist China (2, Funny)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706908)

How is that like the american phones. When the vibrate goes off people go and pick up the phone and start talking loudly to it. Many times it is far more interupting then the phone itself.

A lot of people put their phones on vibrate when they go into the movies.

Only to sit there and have a conversation the moment it rings.

Needless to say, movie theaters need to have flamthrowers available to the audience.

duh! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14706591)

How 'bout, when you're in the theatre, you just turn the motherfucker off. Is that so hard?

 

Inside my pocket (1)

mpcooke3 (306161) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706605)

It's dark and there is the sound of rattling change.

Good luck with this one.

Re:Inside my pocket (5, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706765)

It's dark and there is the sound of rattling change.

What? Grues use currency these days, do they?

Pocket Watch (3, Interesting)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706620)


A lot of people use their phone as a watch these days, so it would be nice to have the possibiltiy to turn off the phone functionality but keep the clock functionality. Ditto with phones that have cameras, PDA capabilities, etc. That way you could still use them in aircraft, hospitals etc. without having the problems an active phone are supposed to cause.

All the phones I've had are either fuly ON or fully OFF with maybe juts an alarm fucntion being available.

Re:Pocket Watch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14706745)

There's been an Aircraft option on phones for a few years now.

Re:Pocket Watch (2, Informative)

NiteShaed (315799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706849)

A number of phones now feature "Airplane Mode", which basically shuts off the transmitter part of the phone, and lets you run everything else. As a bonus, I use this when I'm in an area where I know I won't get cellular reception, but I still want to use the MP3 player or camera. The battery life stretches a lot farther, leaving me plenty of power when I turn the transmitter back on.

Re:Pocket Watch (1)

fishbot (301821) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707004)

The new Sony Ericsson W range (W for Walkman) allow you to turn off the phone part so that you can just use the media player, etc.

Wrong, wrong, wrong (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706630)

Every time some newfangled crap tries to anticipate and adapt to my needs, it fails miserably. See also: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel.

No thanks. Like a wise man once said -- If you're hungry, eat. If you're tired, sleep. If you have to go... you know... go. Don't expect Hal to catch these sort of things with any degree of accuracy.

How about human politeness (4, Interesting)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706638)

It seems to me that most of the "rudeness" of phones stems from peoples strange addictions to ringtones. I just leave my phone on silent/vibrate all the time, and just never worry about disturbing anyone. It's sad that so much energy has to be expended to deal with such an issue. Plus, many of those strategies sound iffy at best since, for instance, many women keep their cell phones in their purse/bag, rendering any attempt to guage light or sound pretty much useless. Plus, as far as sound is concerned, how many people are going to feel a bit disturbed by the fact that their phone is now ALWAYS "listening".

That being said I see two useful features (which may have been mentioned in the article that I admit I haven't read). One, simply have the phone check your calendar to see if you have a meeting scheduled. Two, provide some type of "snooze" button. Right now, if you decline a call because you're in a meeting, you still get an annoying beep when they leave a message, or the same damn "ringing" 10 min later when they call again. Why not have a single button basically put the phone in silent mode for the next half/hour/n minutes?

Re:How about human politeness (1)

DudeTheMath (522264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706753)

Keeping the phone in a purse/bag also renders "vibrate" useless. Okay, you might hear the buzz in an otherwise silent situation, but in a noisy restaurant or on the street?

On the other side, though, I don't want my boss calling and being told I'm in a movie; does he want to interrupt?

Re:How about human politeness (1)

Stephen Williams (23750) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706855)

Right now, if you decline a call because you're in a meeting, you still get an annoying beep when they leave a message, or the same damn "ringing" 10 min later when they call again. Why not have a single button basically put the phone in silent mode for the next half/hour/n minutes?

Or why not just switch the silly thing off before the meeting? Sure, this does require you to remember to do it, but the snooze button has the same drawback. (You also have to remember to switch it back on again afterwards, which might be a problem if your level of scatterbrainedness is anything like mine!)

-Stephen

Re:How about human politeness (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706880)

The snoose button is an excelent idea. But it should put the phone at silent mode. Period. No time-out. When the owner get out of the meeting, he changes the mode himself.

Re:How about human politeness (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706887)

That being said I see two useful features (which may have been mentioned in the article that I admit I haven't read). One, simply have the phone check your calendar to see if you have a meeting scheduled. Two, provide some type of "snooze" button. Right now, if you decline a call because you're in a meeting, you still get an annoying beep when they leave a message, or the same damn "ringing" 10 min later when they call again. Why not have a single button basically put the phone in silent mode for the next half/hour/n minutes?

Better yet, a "Do Not Disturb" feature, that allows you to keep the phone on, see who's calling, but not have to answer it. If the same number tries to call more than once, send it driectly to voice mail and have the phone note the number and times of the calls and display it actively. That way you could have your phone on silent but watch the display for important information.

Still, most of the time you have this problem, it's rude people [news.com.au] , so no amount of technology can cure that.

Re:How about human politeness (0, Redundant)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706905)

It seems to me that most of the "rudeness" of phones stems from peoples strange addictions to ringtones.

It stems from people's strange addiction to using the phone, whenever and wherever they are. The previous poster's assertion that "vibrate" solves the issue is incorrect. It just lessens the initial shock of the phone ringing. It in no way stops them from answering that vibrating phone and then interrupting everyone when they take the call.

Yeah, there area always times when you "must take a call", just do it outside where no one has to hear you.

Common courteosy is the best option.

monitoring WHAT? (3, Interesting)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706647)

monitoring sound light levels to determine

So your phone is constantly 'listening' and evaluating the sound level.

Listening to what, exactly? I can see the headline in a couple of years:
"Your cellphone is listening in to all your conversations"
And thanks to a new virus, is transmitting them!"

This ain't new, folks (1)

Radi-0-head (261712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706700)

I've had several phones and pagers that allow you to set "quiet time", where the phone/pager will automatically put itself in vibrate mode at the times you choose.

More recently, a Hitachi cellphone I used on the Sprint network had a light sensor that muted the ringer the moment it was removed from a pocket. If left on a desk, the ringer volume would be set lower than if it were in a dark place (i.e. your pocket)

So, while this is certainly interesting, there have already been practical applications of such technology.

Re:This ain't new, folks (1)

danlyke (149938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706891)

At the recent Emergening Telephony conference, I've also also seen cell phones that understood calendaring software and information about your contact list, so that if you were in a meeting only close coworkers could ring you, everyone else would get voice mail immediately. Other phones equipped with the same software get a menu suggesting that they IM or email the contact.

So, yeah, the opening scenario of that article? It'll take a little hunting, but you can have one of those today.

Could this be bloat? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706703)

This could be the start of bloated cell phones I regret to note. Once these phones are manufactured, cell phone companies will "force" us to upgrade. I won't forget the experience I had last week when I visited a cell phone supply shop to replace a battery for my phone. The man there looked at it and immediately asked, "Where did you get this?" I had no answer for him. Then he told me that my olny solution was to buy a "new" phone yet my phone was bought three years ago and had served me well since.

Modes are difficult for users (1)

ewg (158266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706707)

Having the device switch modes on its own depending on rules that may or may not be obvious to users will be a problem. Technophobes already complain their phones are too complicated: this is step further away from a simple desk phone people have mastered.

Common courtesy is not a technology problem. (0)

Murmer (96505) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706714)

"A technical solution may be defined as one that requires a change only in the techniques of the natural sciences, demanding little or nothing in the way of change in human values or ideas of morality." - Garrett Hardin, "The Tragedy Of The Commons".

Substitute "technology" in for "natural sciences" and "common courtesy" for "morality" here, and you've got a pretty good idea what my view on this is. The name of this miraculous technology is "set to vibrate plus call display". It takes almost zero effort to use. You think people who don't have the brains or manners to do that are going to tell their cellphone when they're going into a movie theater? Or that a light sensor will work when people carry their phones in their pockets, for that matter? Please.

Try not to be a dick. There's a novel idea.

How about a cell phone with LEDs? (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706724)

Just have the phone light up and vibrate as the default, with the ringer as an option?

Maybe this way it will cut down on the annoying cell music I hear every day?

TMI (1)

LightningBolt! (664763) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706728)

"The Verizon wireless customer you are trying to contact is busy. Based on the motion of his phone and the light level of the room, he appears to be shagging his secretary. Would you like to interrupt and ring his phone?"

My Treo already does these things... (1)

jerkychew (80913) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706735)

Want the ringer to change based on the time of day? Callfilter. [mytreo.net]

Change the brightness of the screen depending on the surrounding light? BrightCam. [palmgear.com]

Not to mention the nice hardware switch right at the top that lets you choose between silent and ringer modes.

You can do a lot more with a Treo than your standard phone, but it is nice to see manufacturers building these features right into off-the-shelf products.

Why can't the movie theatre _tell_ the phone (5, Insightful)

wfmcwalter (124904) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706743)

Rather than guessing we're in a movie theatre (which is what this amounts to) or places using cell-phone blockers, why can't someone implement a simple scheme to _tell_ the phone not to ring?

Of those phones which do ring in an inappropriate place, the owners of the great majority have simply forgotten to turn their phone off (they're forgetful, not sociopathic). Movie theatres, concert halls, libraries and other please-keep-quiet places could have short-range radio equipment inside which sent a "this is a quiet zone" signal. You'd program your phone (and it would come programmed by default) that when it was receiving that signal it would go onto the vibrate-only ring preference. When the signal was lost, it would revert to your default. So when you entered, and when you left, there would be no need to remember to set the phone correctly (the nagging ads always remind me to turn my phone off, but very often I forget at the end and leave my phone off for the remainder of the day). Similarly noisy places like train stations and airport concourses could broadcast a "this is a noisy environment", which your phone would typically interpret to mean that it should use a loud, shrill ringtone.

There >are Phones should, incidentally, have an "answer with hold" button. So a doctor in the movies whose phone rang (silently) could take it out, notice that it's the hospital's number, and push "answer with hold". The caller would get a short recorded message saying "this person is aware of your call, and will be with you shortly - please hold" - that way the doctor can take the call, but doesn't have to talk into the phone until they've walked into the theatre lobby, where they can take the phone off hold and talk.

Re:Why can't the movie theatre _tell_ the phone (1)

wfmcwalter (124904) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706838)

[urgh, should have previewed] Rather than guessing we're in a movie theatre (which is what this amounts to) or places using cell-phone blockers, why can't someone implement a simple scheme to _tell_ the phone not to ring?

Of those phones which do ring in an inappropriate place, the owners of the great majority have simply forgotten to turn their phone off (they're forgetful, not sociopathic). Movie theatres, concert halls, libraries and other please-keep-quiet places could have short-range radio equipment inside which sent a "this is a quiet zone" signal. You'd program your phone (and it would come programmed by default) that when it was receiving that signal it would go onto the vibrate-only ring preference. When the signal was lost, it would revert to your default. So when you entered, and when you left, there would be no need to remember to set the phone correctly (the nagging ads always remind me to turn my phone off, but very often I forget at the end and leave my phone off for the remainder of the day). Similarly noisy places like train stations and airport concourses could broadcast a "this is a noisy environment", which your phone would typically interpret to mean that it should use a loud, shrill ringtone.

There are people who legitimately (and quite reasonably) should have working cellphones in quiet places - doctors on homecall, standby emergency workers, out-of-hours plumbers, parents who've left their kids with a teenage sitter. Enabling these people to use their phones sensibly while largely preventing accidental annoyances would be a great (and surely hot difficult) idea.

Phones should, incidentally, have an "answer with hold" button. So a doctor in the movies whose phone rang (silently) could take it out, notice that it's the hospital's number, and push "answer with hold". The caller would get a short recorded message saying "this person is aware of your call, and will be with you shortly - please hold" - that way the doctor can take the call, but doesn't have to talk into the phone until they've walked into the theatre lobby, where they can take the phone off hold and talk.

Good Idea; Some Issues (1)

rewinn (647614) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707008)

Your suggestion makes massive sense although of course there are issues. To the extent that a technological solution can be helpful, there are many benefits to letting the owner of a location specify that it is a "quiet place". It can be turned ON or OFF as the situation demands, e.g. after the movie lets out, the theater's CellPhone property could be re-set to "Normal". It could be integrated with the property owner's provision of cellphone signal, to attact customers who want to talk during Normal Time and to have quiet during Quiet Time. I would have concerns that the facility would need some sort of GPS location of the cellphone, to determine for example whether the phone is in the theatre (Quiet) or the adjacent lobby (Normal). There's all sorts of privacy issues there. In the alternative ... I'd love to have a personal cellphone disrupter. I suppose it'd be illegal, but other that little drawback, it sure would be handy to be able to enforce peace & quiet around me.

Polite Phones!? How about polite people! (1)

brewer13210 (821462) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706764)

We don't need a machine to be "polite", we need polite people who use them...like people who won't actually answer their cell phones in the middle of a movie in a theater! Who are these bone-heads?

Todd

really (1)

GmAz (916505) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706785)

So what exactly is the silent and vibrate function for...oh wait, I just figured out the vibrate function. Geez, women get everything!

That would be fantastic... (1)

JohnnyDoesLinux (19195) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706798)

Now if they could only get cell phones basic features to work better (like signal quality, buttons you can actually press, not locking up) unlike the junky Motorola flip phones that I have (V60).

Scene and Not Heard (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706801)

How about if the phones just ship set to vibrate only, and people have to learn how to turn the ringer on? Make it simpler to turn the ringer on for a one-time ring on the next call, and just a little less simple to switch from vibrate to ring all the time. The dumber people who can't silence their phones when appropriate will be taken out, rather than me taking them out personally when they ruin a movie again.

A real innovation would be a mode that autoswitches the phone from ring to vibrate on a bluetooth signal. A good phone would authenticate the signal, requiring a senderID authenticated against a third-party DB. Maybe even autoswitch phones from ring to voicemail (or call forward). Then private spaces could control their environment, rather than rely on the politeness of the masses of unsophisticated phone users.

Simple, non-technical solution (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706804)

How about you start charging people who disturb the peace in a movie theatre or another place where silence from the public is the norm? If you get a cell phone call in the middle of a theatre, you have no good excuse to not answer it outside. Sorry, not even having a group of kids under your watch is a good excuse to have a full blown conversation.

Noisy cellphones, 1 advantage (1)

og_sh0x (520297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706825)

I hate noisy cellphones, I think people are rude for thinking they are so important that they can disturb others' peace. Having said that, there is one thing I wish I had when I keep my cell phone on vibrate: a distinctive vibrate "ring." The only thing I think is cool about ringtones is the ability to customize them so you know who is calling without looking at the phone. If I had distinctive vibrate I could definitely say there is no longer any excuse for a noisy phone.

Here's a Thought for Polite Cell Phones (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706834)

How about one that sputters, coughs, and dies verbally "Oh, I'm goin to meet my maker! I love you, Bill G! Tell the wife and microchips I love them!" when I stomp it into the ground after ripping it out of the cell phone user's hands while I'm watching a movie?

Or how about one that apologizes for ten minutes when it's user talks on it while sitting (not standing, sitting) on the toilet in a public restroom? Especially one that comments on the personal hygiene habits of someone even using a phone in a public lavatory?

Quiet times (2, Insightful)

tpr (267368) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706869)

My motorola flip-phone thingy has this delightful habit of starting to bleep (bleat) about the battery charge level and somehow it manages to work out the most annoying possible time at which to start. Say, 2am or so. It very rarely seems to bleat during tpical wake times.

Please, Mr Cellphone software developer, give me an option for a timerange when the phone will be silent. Yes, I'm sure I could turn it off but really, what are the odds of remembering? I know the odds of my wife remembering to turns hers back on are about 0 - from long experience.

Its a start (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706928)

Its a much better direction than those stupid two way radio cellphonamajigs.

*Beep-Berreep!*Yo, were you at?*Beep-Berreep!*

I hate those things!

Re:Its a start (1)

dwayner79 (880742) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707068)

*Beep-Berreep!*WHUUUUZZZZZZZ-UUUUUUUPPPPPPP*Beep-B erreep!*

*Beep-Berreep!*Chillin*Beep-Berreep!*

*Beep-Berreep!*WHUUUUZZZZZZZ-UUUUUUUPPPPPPP*Beep-B erreep!*

*Beep-Berreep!*Watchin the game... Havin' a bud. *Beep-Berreep!*

Oh noes... (1)

jotate (944643) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706936)

I've come to rely on random cell phones to keep me awake during boring lectures.

My treo 650 (2, Informative)

fasuin (532942) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706938)

already is a polite phone. It can be automatically turned on and off, e.g., during a meeting, and change the ringer volume based on the lighting condition... Just use brightcam http://treoware.com/ [treoware.com]

Finally! (sort of) (2, Insightful)

MaceyHW (832021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706941)

I've been wondering for years why cell phones don't allow you to program ring schedules. TFA mentions this feature in passing as something that's already out there, but I've never seen a phone with it. Is it only in top-end phones, or has it trickled down in the 18 months since I bought my last phone? I should say that I've always purchased mid-range cell phones, I only upgrade when my contract is up or the phone breaks, so I never have the latest and greatest.

With that one exception, the features described in TFA seem virtually worthless. Is it really worth feeding my cell phone speed and breaking information from my car so that it doesn't ring for the 15 seconds out of the day that I'm breaking hard? Yes maybe some day when my phone already connects to my car and it's trivial to pass this information along, but such a small percentage of cars and phones interact with eachother now that it seems ridiculous.

Certainly there are some features that could prevent phones from ringing at impolite times, for example, Wired article from like 1998 talked about how this emerging standard called 'bluetooth' would allow theaters and other areas to set up "quiet zones" which you could set your phone to automatically respect and switch to silent or vibrate. There's no need for my phone to have a set of expensive sensors to help it guess what I'm doing at the moment. KISS.

The real problem with cell phone politness is the user. If people could just remember that answering a cell phone implies that the conversation is more important than what they're doing at the moment, and then stop and decide if it actually is, 90% of cell phone annoyance would disappear. Also, learn to love vibrate mode. /rant.

Always thought that this would be a good BT profil (2, Interesting)

Scyber (539694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14706976)

Silent or something like that. A device could be installed in locations that would try and pair with any bluetooth devices. You could allow the device the first time, and then everytime you visit that location again, it would automatically shift your phone into silent mode. Would be great for meeting rooms & movie theaters.

I See You're Trying To Make A Phone Call (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707001)

From a crowded movie theater?

Would you like me to Dial 9-1-1 or Check on your insurance?

Notify your next of kin?

synchronous and asynchronous (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707009)

the greatest thing about email is it is asynchronous. i can communicate with someone else on my schedule, without my thoughts being interrupted by random claptrap. that's why my first cell phone ever was a blackberry, and before that the idea of a cellphone in my life horrified me. it didn't represent freedom to me, it represented being chained whereever i went. even now, my blackberry is silent, no ring or vibrate whatsoever, i just look at the screen every 5 minutes or so. i can't imagine a life interrupted and ruled by the random claptrap of a cellphone ringing

Ringer On / Off (1)

redmerlin (560307) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707020)

If all cell phones had a switch like the Treo to easily silence the ringer the world would be a better place!

Vibrating rin (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707026)

I've always had a problem with vibrating ring in that

1- you have to be in contact with the phone to feel the vibrations, and I'm a teeny paranoid about microwave radiation & illnesses, so I keep my phone in my bag if I have one, leaving it a few more inches away. Other people don't always have pockets, and people in general miss vibrating rings because they don't feel them.

2- they aren't that quiet if you've got your phone on a table and it starts vibrating like mad, causing a rattle that's as annoying as some ringtones.

In trying to come up with a solution, my own idea is to have a discreet wireless (bluetooth) wristband that passes a tiny electrical pulse across your skin to alert you of an incoming call. The tingle would be something similar to the effect of TENS ( http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=tens&btnG=Goo gle+Search [google.com] )but obviously not enough to stimulate the muscles in the area & therefore cause involuntary movement of the limb :0) Having used TENS for back pain, it's not an unpleasant tingling, and can be scaled down to the point where it just feels like someone's pressing your skin lightly with their thumb.

It would be a completely noisless alarm that alerts only the mobile phone user without creating any light. The only problem might be powering the device (normal TENS machines for medicine use 9v batteries) & making sure the wearer doesn't look like a complete twit, as is the case with a lot of bluetooth headsets.

My cell phone goes to a lot of movies, I guess (2, Interesting)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707029)

If (as TFA suggests), monitoring the ambient light is an indication of cinema-ness, then my phone, which spends many hours in my coat pocket or in a flap-covered holster, must think I'm the most entertained guy in the world.

BTW, if they're going to allow scheduled ring times, I think that's great. But (especially relative to the movie scenario) a very short keystroke sequence that says "don't ring for the next 1/2/4 hours" would be used 100 times more often than TOD programmability, IMHO.

Why dont they just get kicked out (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707058)

That would be excellent if the theater people just simply kicked the person out with the loud phone. with no refund, and it doesnt matter if it is 10 seconds after that "please turn phones off" screen.

Kick them out, without a refund (they can do that). And who gives a shit about that person not coming back, the rest of the audience will more than make up for it.

Polite phones don't help when people are rude. (3, Insightful)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707064)

http://www.dailytelegraph.news.com.au/story/0,2028 1,18104683-5001022,00.html [news.com.au]

Seriously, the problem isn't the gadgetry, it's the people who use the gadgetry. In the link above, a woman's cell phone rings in a movie theater, then she whips it out and starts talking on it during the movie. Polite ringers won't do a damn thing when it's people that are the problem.

Idea for next invention... (2, Insightful)

corellon13 (922091) | more than 8 years ago | (#14707095)

Let's invent polite people. Problem solved.
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