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Cell Phone Sommeliers on the Way?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the aged-vintages-not-quite-so-popular-for-some-reason dept.

Communications 159

Japan is reportedly toying with the idea of educating and licensing "sommeliers" to help potential buyers wade through the vast sea of options available for a new cellphone purchase. "Japan's communication ministry is looking to the private sector to manage the potential nightmare exam and certification process, with children's online safety highlighted as an important part of the plan. Mobile sommelier sounds like a pretty sweet title, we can totally feel how an HTC TyTN II might be paired with an earthy unlimited plan followed by the soft nutty finish of a 200-minute a month daytime calling package."

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I agree completely with this idea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22129460)

with children's online safety highlighted as an important part of the plan

God forbid Japanese children should ever come into contact with paedophiles.

Re:I agree completely with this idea (1)

Edie O'Teditor (805662) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130678)

God forbid Japanese children should ever come into contact with paedophiles.
Well said. It would be just wrong in so many ways if their panties were stolen before they could sell them on the internet for 15 dollars (25 if worn during "yucky week". Euuwwwww!).

Er.... so I'm told.

Where's TFA? (3, Insightful)

kabloom (755503) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129470)

Where's the article for this story?

Re:Where's TFA? (2, Insightful)

operagost (62405) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129494)

You might ask: where's the translation for the incomprehensible summary?

Re:Where's TFA? (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129594)

The answer to both of these questions was provided long ago by Wheeler: "Any problem in computer science can be solved with another layer of indirection."
This wisdom befits TFA, as well.

Re:Where's TFA? (2, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130282)

The answer to both of these questions was provided long ago by Wheeler: "Any problem in computer science can be solved with another layer of indirection."


"Except having too many layers of indirection."

Re:Where's TFA? (5, Informative)

Malevolent Tester (1201209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129496)

Here. [yahoo.com]

Re:Where's TFA? (3, Informative)

jhantin (252660) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129500)

TFA would be here [yahoo.com] .

Re:Where's TFA? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22129524)

Why do you need an article ?

Re:Where's TFA? (2, Funny)

Mike Rubits (818811) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129580)

It's actually a trick. By seeing who posts here, we can tell who really DOES read the article!

Re:Where's TFA? (2, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129638)

s/who really DOES read the article/who must be new here/

Re:Where's TFA? (5, Funny)

dattaway (3088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129704)

I thought the whole point of slashdot was to heckle the people who DID read the article!

Re:Where's TFA? (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129928)

Which was the point of my comment.
But, since your user ID beats mine by something like two orders of magnitude, I am clearly the one who is new here. ;)

Re:Where's TFA? (1)

alta (1263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130246)

I got you both beat by ID, although I have no witty comment to go with it. And I don't have any idea WTF a sommiliaerreerr is, and no article to provide conextual clues.

Re:Where's TFA? (2, Funny)

alta (1263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130314)

After the magic of copy/paste and wikipedia via google, I have learned that it's an overpaid and/or overeducated wine waiter. Reading the term in context would not have helped too terribly much as I would have never drawn the connection between CELL phones and wine CELLars.

Re:Where's TFA? (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130944)

And then there's wine SELLers... *cringe*

Re:Where's TFA? (1)

turtledawn (149719) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130330)

Sommelier is a wine waiter, usually only found at fairly posh restaurants. They tend to provide advice on food/wine pairings, to the point of specific vintages and vineyards, and are supposed to be able to tell you what to expect in a particular wine. They tend to the cellaring and corking of the restaurant's collection, and head sommeliers are expected to be able to judge the demand for a particular wine on a particular day so that they open enough bottles at the correct times for each wine to have 'breathed' enough to be at it's best for service.

That's what I've read, anyway. My funding situation doesn't allow me to eat at places nice enough to have sommeliers separate from the regular waitstaff.

Re:Where's TFA? (1)

the_lesser_gatsby (449262) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130960)

so that they open enough bottles at the correct times

Who would buy a bottle of pre-opened wine? That's what decanters are for.

Re:Where's TFA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22130490)

What are they giving them a sommelier for? It might bite them.

It's a dangerous animal - quick, throw it in the trough!

...there is an animal called a sommelier... or did I dream it?

Re:Where's TFA? (2, Informative)

qortra (591818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129714)

Contrary to my siblings, I think the article that was quoted in the summary can be found at Engadget [engadget.com]

Re:Where's TFA? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130666)

Since when did Slashdotters read the article anyway?

Too many features (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129490)

If you need a professional to pick out the features you need on a phone, chances are you don't need all those features in the first place. If you really needed them, you'd know enough to ask for them in the first place. These guys are just overblown salesmen trying to talk you into something you don't need. As for me, all I ask out of a phone is that it gives me a dial tone when I pick up the receiver.

Uh? (1)

jhantin (252660) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129538)

As for me, all I ask out of a phone is that it gives me a dial tone when I pick up the receiver.

I don't remember a cell phone that actually produced a dial tone; my memory is fuzzy but perhaps some of the older Motorola "brick" analog phones did.

Re:Uh? (4, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129624)

I don't remember a cell phone that actually produced a dial tone

Yes, that was my point. Never had a cell phone, never care to have one.

Re:Uh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22129952)

Do you yell at kids a lot to get of your lawn? Do you wear Depends? Are your teeth held in by what amounts to glue? That sounds about as stupid as saying I don't want a computer or "that fancy internet".

Are you still letting them rape you for a land-line or did you get VoIP for that?

Re:Uh? (2, Insightful)

sYkSh0n3 (722238) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130214)

hey now, didn't anyone ever teach you to respect your elders?

but seriously, i know lots of people that don't want cellphones. They don't like using a phone and don't want one they carry around with with them. Some people aren't all about being connected all of the time. How they manage it, i dont know. but they do, and seem perfectly happy that way. Who are we to judge?

Re:Uh? (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130144)

Yes, that was my point. Never had a cell phone, never care to have one.

I was exactly the same as you till a couple of weeks ago, when some 'concerned friends' bought me one for the first time. I'm wondering what would be an acceptable period of time to wait before 'losing' it. I'm leaning towards a month, two at the most.

In this short time Its already irritated me, going off and distracting me all the time. I prefer email.

Re:Uh? (1)

jdigriz (676802) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130224)

You could just leave it turned off. That way it will be available to you in an emergency, in case you need to make an outgoing call but it won't be an electronic leash to your irritating friends. That's what my parents do.

Re:Uh? (1)

wanderung (221424) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130260)

WTF? They bought you a cell phone? Who gets to pay for that? Did they buy it for you and then say, "Here you go, we were worried you weren't wasting enough money."?!

Anybody who does something as stupid as that isn't really your friend and I wouldn't waste any time 'losing' it.

Re:Uh? (1)

Rob Simpson (533360) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130422)

I hope they paid for your cellphone plan, too, or that's a kinda crappy gift. Anyways, most phones have some sort of privacy mode where it won't ring but will show you if someone's called (if you're interested). Or you could just leave it off and only turn it on if you need to make a call.

Re:Uh? (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130628)

I hope they paid for your cellphone plan, too, or that's a kinda crappy gift.

Nope, its a pay as you go thing, and yes, its a crappy gift.

I have no idea what possessed them to think I want one. I've been into computers and technology for years (being a scientist and all), but, and this is the important part, not all of it. TV also holds no interest more me, but I wouldn't go a day without the internet willingly.

I had an inkling this phone was a gift they intended a while back, and said absolutely no. Then it turned up anyway, accompanied by whines along the lines of 'you missed our call'.

Re:Uh? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130754)

at least my voicemail has e-mail notification with audio file as attachment, that's all you really need instead of cell phone if you're online most of the time

Re:Uh? (4, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129666)

He means he wants one of these [jitterbug.com] , 'cos he's elderly and kind of stuck in his ways.

Re:Uh? (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129980)

Hey! I prefer those phones! NOW GET OFF MY LAWN!

Re:Too many features (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129834)

It's hard to find carriers/phones these days that are simple. It took me four separate calls to AT&T to get text messaging turned off on my phone. I was sick of paying for text messages from friends and from people I've never heard of. 10 for "hey dude whats up u want to grab coffee lmn" is ridiculous and a complete distraction.

I'd give up my cell phone completely if my work permitted it.

Re:Too many features (1)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130692)

Really? You include friends in that description... Is it really "ridiculous" if a friend wants to get coffee and doesn't want to bother you with a phone call? Texting is great because you can get the message just by looking at your phone, whenever you want, rather than answering it, which is often inconvenient and is certainly far more of a distraction than a text is. I'm just curious is all... -Taylor

Re:Too many features (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22129892)

If you need a professional to pick out the features you need on a phone, chances are you don't need all those features in the first place. If you really needed them, you'd know enough to ask for them in the first place.

You know, there are things that you don't know about that you might find useful. You might be aware that blackberries let you send/receive email with strong encryption. You might not know that a blackberry can get google maps, instant messaging, GPS turn-by-turn navigation, tethered internet access, or many other things. Many people would find these features useful, but don't know they exist.

Instead they are drawn like lemmings to the iphone because it's shiny and has cool ads.

Re:Too many features (2, Funny)

AngryNick (891056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130406)

If you need a professional to pick out the features you need on a phone, chances are you don't need all those features in the first place.

Ahhh...but would you notice the subtle differences in one phone's clever UI for navigating photo storage vs. that employed by another, lesser vintage? Or how about the conditions in which the device was manufactured...would you expect Joe Smo to know the values imparted by the region and year of its birth? I think not! Surely you see the need to protect the uninformed so that they too can feel the joy of an expertly paired bluetooth accessory connecting on the first try.

Then again, it does seem kind of stupid.

Re:Too many features (2, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130480)

If you need a professional to pick out the features you need on a phone, chances are you don't need all those features in the first place. If you really needed them, you'd know enough to ask for them in the first place.
This is not as 'insightful' as it sounds. There's a difference between features and needs. If you're not up to date on cell phone technology, then you won't know what features are out there that actually address a need you have. That's where advice in general helps. You may not know that something exists, that doesn't mean it's not useful to you.

Oenophile on a chip? (3, Funny)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129520)

Here I am, thinking that someone in Japan had come up with a cellphone that could recommend wine pairings.

The software is available... (4, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129642)

For example The Electronic sommelier [gizmag.com] from a couple of years ago...

Now that you have mentioned a consumer demand for it, it will be new cell phone feature soon!

Re:Oenophile on a chip? (1)

ideadude (1224364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130396)

Me too. I actually thought someone had picked up on our mobile product at http://winelog.mobi/ [winelog.mobi] the mobile version of http://www.winelog.net./ [www.winelog.net] Well if I'm lucky, we'll at least get the mention here in this comment. WineLog, both the mobile and www site, is a useful tool for folks who want to keep track of the wine they like, the wine they don't like, and get recommendations for new stuff to try. Check it out. Jason Coleman Co-founder, WineLog.net

how long (2, Insightful)

loafula (1080631) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129540)

till a phone goes back to being just a phone? seems to me that if you need someone's help choosing cell phone features, then there are way too many features available.

Re:how long (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129650)

I take it you've never bought anything more complex than a brick? Well, even that's a bad example because bricks come in a wide variety of styles and colors.
 
Seriously - even with a simple menu of features, not all phone will be alike. This one might have a slightly better screen, this one a keypad that's easier for you to use, etc... etc...

But it's not just the "extra" features ... (3, Interesting)

Bob-taro (996889) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129716)

... the voice plans themselves can be confusing. If you just had a fixed rate per minute, or even a number of included minutes plus a fixed rate per minute thereafter, it wouldn't be that bad, but there are so many kinds of minutes: peak, off-peak, evening (and when does "evening" start?), weekend, same carrier, same account, "friends/family", rollover, etc.

That's in the U.S. I've never looked at a Japanese cell plan. For all I know, they might be even more complicated

Re:But it's not just the "extra" features ... (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130052)

I know! IT would be SO much easier if we had ONE company that set the rules for EVERYONE. Like a mother almost. That all phones would behave in a certain way and you'd know what coverage you'd have with (let's call her "Ma Bell") no matter where you go because it all the same company! Wouldn't that be nice? And "Ma Bell" could just set these rates and services as she wants to make things easier for us... /sarcasm

Don't need one company (1)

Goldarn (922750) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130222)

We don't even need one monopolistic company; we just need one set of standards. For example, how hard is it to tell if some brand of cereal is more nutritious than another? It's easy, 'cause we have a standard way of describing it, right on the side of the box.

In this case, forcing the various companies to adopt one standard is HELPFUL to the oh-so-holy Free Market. It does make things easier for us, the consumer (you all remember the consumers, the very people the Free Market is suppose to be all about?).

If peak, off-peak, evening, weekend, etc. were well-defined terms, so that every phone company had to use them the same way, there'd be no problem comparing them. The cell phone sales part of the industry is just crying out for a little more regulation, to help the Free Market get closer to nirvana.

Re:how long (1)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130790)

I guess that if people need help choosing a car, there are too many features too? And Computers. Oh, and microwaves. Oh, and toasters. Yeah, they all have too many features if anyone exists that doesn't know enough on their own... We should all have the same phone, so no decision is necessary. Oh, and the same cars. And computers. And microwaves. Toasters though, those are okay as is. Variety is good, and not everyone will always know what they need. This is a natural part of a diverse market, and i'm certainly happy about it. I love my phone, but it's complicated as hell, and there are many people i wouldn't recommend it to, but they'd need an "expert" like me to explain why, and that doesn't seem unreasonable to me. If we did was you proposed and simplified them all, i'd be very disappointed... Hardly seems like a good solution then eh? -Taylor

sommeliers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22129564)

What the heck is a "sommelier"?

Re:sommeliers (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22129840)

RTFA. It's a person that taints meat products.

A future scene..... (5, Funny)

Urger (817972) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129610)

Though the original stock comes from Scandinavia the terroir of this particular batch came from Shanghai. You can smell the rich, earthy aroma of circuits left on the assembly line until they were perfectly ripe. Taste high-impact plastic exterior, make sure you taste it on the back of your tongue. As you can tell it's quite a balanced flavor. Quite correct sir, vintage 2002. It takes time to bring a phone to that level of complexity.

Happy James Earl Ray day (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22129672)

Did you know MLK couldn't handle his alchohol? He had one shot and it went straight to his head.

Sommeliers vs. Sommeil? (1, Offtopic)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129684)

I took French in high school, but I've always been confused by the term "Sommelier". I remember that "Sommeil" means "sleep", as in J'ai sommeil, maman! ("I'm sleepy, mama!"). So a "sommelier", it would seem, would be an expert in helping you go to sleep.

Of course, in the US, there would be no difference. Any discussion of cellphone features would be so boring, thanks to our provider-mandated crippled (but free) hardware, that it would put the most tragic insomniac into a deep slumber. "CallerTunes lets you subject inbound callers to your poor musical tastes!" "ZZZZzzzzzzzz"

Re:Sommeliers vs. Sommeil? (4, Informative)

wcbarksdale (621327) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129748)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sommelier [wikipedia.org] :

A sommelier (pronounced /smlje/ or suh-mal-'yAy), or wine steward, is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, commonly working in fine restaurants, who specializes in all facets of wine service. The role is more specialized and informed than that of a wine waiter. French, from Middle French, court official charged with transportation of supplies, pack animal driver, from Old Provençal saumalier pack animal driver, from sauma pack animal, load of a pack animal, from Late Latin sagma packsaddle.

Re:Sommeliers vs. Sommeil? (2, Funny)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130070)

Ahh. So they get you drunk with wine before having you sign a cell phone plan. Genius!

Re:Sommeliers vs. Sommeil? (3, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129752)

I took French in high school, but I've always been confused by the term "Sommelier". I remember that "Sommeil" means "sleep", as in J'ai sommeil, maman! ("I'm sleepy, mama!"). So a "sommelier", it would seem, would be an expert in helping you go to sleep.

Well, if we trust the results of a google search, it comes from a coarser latin a very long time ago. No idea if it's true, but here's a link [alphadictionary.com] . From the linked article:

the title doesn't reflect the inattentiveness of some sommeliers (sommeil means "sleepy" in French), it is an alteration of sommerier "packhorse driver", a noun derived from sommier "beast of burden". French inherited sommier from Vulgar (street) Latin *saumarius, itself a corruption of sagmarius "packhorse", based on Greek sagma "packsaddle". Sumpter "packhorse driver" is a variant of the same word.


Cheers

Re:Sommeliers vs. Sommeil? (1)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129762)

From Wikipedia: French, from Middle French, court official charged with transportation of supplies, pack animal driver, from Old Provençal saumalier pack animal driver, from sauma pack animal, load of a pack animal, from Late Latin sagma packsaddle.

Re:Sommeliers vs. Sommeil? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130064)

Or maybe our workforce isn't so culturally conditioned to work themselves to death for the corporation that they get so hopped up on "power" drinks containing a heart mugging mix of nicotine, caffeine and so much sugar it spontaneously crystallizes when you open the can. Therefore, we can generally get through a day without a portable uber-entertainment minicomplex strapped to our bodies to feed a stress addled attention span.

Or not. Who cares?

Seriously, what mystical amazing powers does your cell phone need? And how did you live before the cell phone?

As for them needing help to sleep:
http://www.smh.com.au/news/depression/submerged-stress-in-japan/2006/06/14/1149964602274.html [smh.com.au]

Used Car Salesmen-Like People More Likely (5, Interesting)

celest (100606) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129734)

It's far more likely that this will just result in more used car salesmen-types in the cell phone sales market. The sommelier analogy is almost offensive to real sommeliers. Certified or not. You are not going to get people who truly understand the intricacies of cell phone technology, features, software, services, plans to take a retail sales job. It just doesn't work that way. Sommeliers are a respected profession that requires years of apprenticeship. It is about culture and tradition.

Cell phones have always been about fads and over-hyped widgets. It's all about pushing out the current model and signing people up as fast as possible. The market is too cutthroat to allow for anything else. For this same reason, sommeliers don't stand around selling wine at your local grocery store.

I walked into a supposedly high-end cell phone store a few months back. They had towering signs that said things like "Ask our experts anything! They will help you figure everything out!". I walked up to one of the reps who wore a big badge saying "I'm a cell phone expert, ask me anything!". I asked a simple question: "Which devices do you have that run Symbian OS?". I received a blank stare and "What's a simmian?" in response. Followed by "We have lots of phones with cameras and MP3 players. Do you want one of those?"

I'm not holding my breath that this program will make any difference.

Re:Used Car Salesmen-Like People More Likely (4, Interesting)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129874)

I understand your annoyance, but this kind of stuff is old news. Sommeliers, or people who act like them for technology usually service high end clientel...Just like the traditional ones. I know because I do this day in, and day out. It's just not my entire line of work. I deal with mid to high end real estate agents, small to midsize business owners, and the like usually. Anyone below that line usually can't afford someone who's intelligent enough to understand technology, and how it will fit with a client. These people don't care about price, what makes it work, or where they can get it. Just that it works, it can be a status icon (first on the block with one) and will make their life as easy as possible. Anyone who goes into a retail cellphone store would love that kind of service, but they are in a retail store for a reason. Price matters way too much for them.

Re:Used Car Salesmen-Like People More Likely (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129902)

Oh, and this kind of thing is fairly common in Japan more often than not. People are used to getting rapped on anything they pay for. Better service that costs just a little more is something they happily pay for all the time. Having some beauty following you around at most decent clothing store you walk into trying to help you decide on things does get a bit weird though.

Pretentious wankery (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130040)

My father is a so-called wine guru. In reality he's just an alcoholic who has a way with words. Around him you can't use straight forward terms like sweet, dry, fruity etc and just enjoy the taste. Nope, it's hazelnuts, apple, ....

While the wine snobs might think this is all great, it is just wankery that does not help the average Joe enjoy their wine. In fact it often detracts from Joe's enjoyment because he's stressing as to whether that's blackberry or raspberry he's tasting.

Doing the same for phones will not help Joe public.

Re:Pretentious wankery (2, Informative)

celest (100606) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130142)

To be fair, sommelier != "wine guru".

Sommeliers train for a long time to understand the entire wine-making process from beginning to end, and all the factors that contribute to a good wine.

A true sommelier isn't someone who nitpicks about whether it is "sweet" or "honeydew" favour in the wine. A true sommelier can tell you how much rain fell in 1968 in a particular region of Western France and how it affected the acidity of the soil in which the grapes grew.

That being said, I agree with the parent that such things will not help "joe average" in the cell phone market and likely have no place.

That's exactly what people don't need (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130204)

So the guy can tell you which factory your phone was built in, how much the people in the factory get paid and the value or resistor R607?

I think more likely they're going to be like trained line wine stewards: trying to upsell customers to get them to to spend more than they would normally.

"Ah, I see sir has chosen the black briefcase, may I recommend the Nokia 7745 to go with that."

Re:Used Car Salesmen-Like People More Likely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22130154)

I'm a used car salesman, you insensitive clod!

Re:Used Car Salesmen-Like People More Likely (2, Funny)

celest (100606) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130186)

Apparently not a very good one. I don't see your specials of the week in your sig.

^_^

Re:Used Car Salesmen-Like People More Likely (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130534)

"We have lots of phones with cameras and MP3 players. Do you want one of those?"
There is some annoying commercial on U.S. Tv right now with a similar setup to your story. A guy comes in to get a cell phone and she asks him about his interests. He says something about liking to jog, to which she offers him a phone that has a built-in mp3 player. I don't know what jogging has to do with music, but I would assume if he likes music then he probably has a playback device with much better quality. Then he says he likes photography, to which she insults him by trying to sell him a cellphone with a camera in it. Cell phone cameras are worse quality than even the crappiest cheap digital camera. I forget what the third interest is that he tells her, but she has an equally inane suggestion for that. Something like he likes to keep track of stocks or something, and she tries to sell him a phone with e-mail.
All I am looking for in a phone is a large phonebook memory space and a free way to prevent people from text messaging me.

sommelier? (1, Informative)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129738)

I had to look it up:

"sommelier

A restaurant employee who orders and maintains the wines sold in the restaurant and usually has extensive knowledge about wine and food pairings."

Why don't they use something that is related, in English, or at least a bit more understandable, do the Japanese speak French? Probably some English lit major justifying his/her degree/salary. These are probably the same people who make up all that management speak, like instead of chart or table they use 'matrix'

Any of these would have been much more understandable: specialist, expert, buff, genius, nerd, advocate, certified authority, professional.

Re:sommelier? (1)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129866)

"Any of these would have been much more understandable: specialist, expert, buff, genius, nerd, advocate, certified authority, professional."

... I can see the demand for some asian in the buff showing people which cell phone plan to pick ...

Re:sommelier? (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129954)

...for some Asian in the buff showing people...

I was thinking about the Seinfeld episode where one of the characters wanted to be a 'buff' after talking with a Civil War buff.

Re:sommelier? (2, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129904)

Maybe the word 'sommelier' is actually more commonly used in Tokyo than it is in Dullard, USA. They have the word in EDICT as a borrowed word, a common dictionary for English speakers studying Japanese language, anyway. Tokyo and Paris vie for top position in culinary arts, and there's a lot of Fine European dining available there too.

Re:sommelier? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22130112)

Ah yes. Take a shot at overuse of relatively unused words in the English language, get modded Troll. Take a shot at the US and get modded Insightful. Seriously, I get a bit tired of a lot of the perceived US bashing going on around here. Like some of the other countries don't have their own sets of problems. Is it really that hard to look at yourselves in the mirror that you have to instead look at the US and say look how bad and stupid they are?

Re:sommelier? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22130256)

Er, actually, I'm FROM the USA and still think that most of my country is idiots, from the rulers on down. There is a very strong anti-intellectual current. It's really embarrassingly easy to outdo 99.9% of the population without actually being a genius or even trying very hard. Sturgeon's Law has nothing on the intelligence curve of America.

Re:sommelier? (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129958)

Why don't they use something that is related, in English, or at least a bit more understandable, do the Japanese speak French? Probably some English lit major justifying his/her degree/salary. These are probably the same people who make up all that management speak, like instead of chart or table they use 'matrix'

Because, sometimes English words don't exist which have the nuance of a foreign word -- they can lack that certain "je ne sais qua". :-P

A highly trained individual whose job it is to help you select from a wide array of choices ... I can't think of a specific word short of "expert" or "salesman" (both of which can have negative connotations, or might just lack the dignity implied by the French word) which exactly conveys what that word says. :-P

I once had a native speaker of French as me for the English word for "gourmet", to which I had to explain that we had never come up with a single word which conveyed as much as "gourmet", so we stuck with it. The word carries with it a lot of implied meaning and suggestion that aficionado or whatever wouldn't convey.

Let's face it, English is just plain littered with words which have never really been translated. Sommelier is one of them. If you need to express a particular connotation or inference which is attached to a certain word, using substitutes makes the word understandable to more people, but might lessen the actual intended meaning. Subtle nuance is something which is difficult to replace with a synonym.

Words from other languages which have been kept intact aren't that uncommon.

Cheers

Re:sommelier? (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130384)

Your response makes much sense, and fits into a theory I've had for many years about the creation of an "information class" that sits in between upper and lower class, but is lightly higher than middle class.

Joe sixpack doesn't care about wines the same way a food conneseuer (sp?) does. Joe cares about getting drunk, or having it "taste good." A foodie, OTOH, cares about pairings and body and the appropriate time to open it. They will often "treat" the wine properly by decanting a well aged red before drinking it. Joe doesn't need a sommelier, the foodie respects their input.

I see technology going this way quickly. As geeks, we have to realize that we actually exist on the very beginning of the technological bell curve's meteoric rise. The stuff is getting very intertwined, very quickly, and increasingly complex to boot. At the same time related scholastic disciplines, social castes, and non contradictory moral and ethical structures are beginning to track their influence on each other using these increasingly complex tools and services.

As geeks, it is easy for us to keep abreast of much of the consumer level technologies that we find, or would find, appealing and useful. We can do this because in the scope of things our existing choices are very limited. Very soon this will not be the case. The sheer number of options out there will be too much for us to determine which options create the "best" pairing, or for us to even create comparisons on points of equal value. Let's not even get into technologies that will have to morph between productivity and entertainment devices.

I've read many people who equate this idea to another "salesman" or some other such nonsense. That is not the case at all. I think your example of vocabulary can be extended to social functions. For high income citizens, or for people with very very specific tastes, personal shoppers are the norm. Now, personal style is a very one dimensional trait. Your adornments either fit or don't fit with your personal motifs, complex consumer technology OTOH has multiple facets that can be viewed much in the same manner as a wine pairing.

Why recreate the wheel when a functional social entity already exists?

Re:sommelier? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22130092)

Admittedly, there is not TFA, found - http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080121/tc_afp/lifestylejapanittelecom [yahoo.com] - but the japanese agency behind this is self-consciously modeling the program after the certification process of sommeliers. Also, there is good reason to use the word - a sommelier not only describes someone with vast knowledge of their product, but a specific licensed job title where a person is supposed to objectively pair the desires and taste of their customer with a product - in this case I imagine they would have to interview the customer about their phone usage, and then present a selection of phones and phone plans that compliment their "lifestyle."

sommelier? (0, Troll)

StevenABallmer (1224134) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130288)

Nonelier is more like it!

Curious analogy (2, Interesting)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129888)

The analogy between cell phones and wine seems rather strained to me.

The reason that individuals can offer credentialed expertise in wine as a restaurant service is because they can base it on a body of knowledge which goes back some 9000 years. Yes, wines are complex, tasting is subjective. To that extent, the analogy holds. But unlike the cell phone market, the characteristics of wine, and the particular requirements of fine wine, are stable and well understood. Therefore, both the somellier and the patron gain an enduring advantage through cultivating their wine expertise over time, and the dialogue between them can be efficient and meaningful.

Cell phone capabilities and services, on the other hand, are so extremely volatile that there can be no ground for consensus. It's still possible to go through the exercise of gathering requirements and outlining solutions, an activity which has already been given the name System Analysis. Let's call it what it is, because that tells us what we can reasonably expect from it.

Re:Curious analogy (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129988)

The analogy between cell phones and wine seems rather strained to me.
Not at all. Obligatory bad car analogy: Neither mix well with driving.

Re:Curious analogy (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130850)

The analogy between cell phones and wine seems rather strained to me.
Not at all. Obligatory bad car analogy: Neither mix well with driving.
But can they blend?

Re:Curious analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22130452)

It all depends on your definition of sommelier. I think this one is a perfect fit.

sommelier
noun

from Old French, pack animal driver


Although, I think that shepherd would probably be a great job title as well.

Websites exist to do this ... (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129890)

I had issues looking for a cell phone with at least as long of talk time as what I currently have, specifically _without_ a camera, due to security requirements with places I occasionally travel to. Here are a couple that I found. (note -- I got different results with them, so they might not all know about all currently available phones):

  • http://www.phonescoop.com/phones/finder.php
  • http://myrateplan.com/cellphones/

The Communication Age (4, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129924)

we can totally feel how an HTC TyTN II might be paired with an earthy unlimited plan followed by the soft nutty finish of a 200-minute a month daytime calling package."

What the fu-

What is this?

WHAT LANGUAGE IS THIS?

Re:The Communication Age (1)

ODiV (51631) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130080)

It's American.

Please drive through.

Re:The Communication Age (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130506)

I speak fluent American, and this ain't makin' no sense.

Re:The Communication Age (2, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130868)

It's mocking the high end wine & beer culture, as well as probably mocking the phone geek culture too. "nutty" and "earthy" are adjectives used to describe the tastes of some alcoholic beverages.

This article sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22130100)

EOF

Usually called a consultant... (1)

PeterChenoweth (603694) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130130)

Maybe I'm stereotyping, but perhaps the /. crowd doesn't get out and live in the 'real world' often enough. I think most people will know what a sommelier is. Perhaps not your 'Joe Six-Pack' shopping at Wal-Mart, but most folks who are in the market for a higher-end cell phone probably will. Perhaps sommelier isn't the best term, but it's the right idea. A sommelier at a winery will tell you how this wine has a hint of peach, or that wine has lingering chocolate flavor, etc. Some of it is kind of smoke-and-mirrors if you're not really into wine. A sommelier at a good restaurant can make valuable suggestions of what to have with your dinner, because different wine goes with different things. The most general rule would be like whites for fish, reds for beef. But it gets far more complicated than that to a sommelier. "Eating the Chilean Sea Bass special? I'd recommend this such-and-such wine because it compliments the wasabi sauce, blah blah blah". Again, it's only as important as you want it to be. Some people care, some don't.

I know of a lot of upper-middle class (and up) people who want a nice phone (TV, stereo, car, toaster, etc) but have no idea what the features are or what they want. I'm talking about doctors, lawyers, successful business owners, politicians, etc. They want a nice, new, shiny phone, but have no idea what bluetooth is, or what SMS means, or why they should care that a certain phone is a quad-band. These are the the same sorts of people that pay thousands of dollars to have someone set up their Home Theater and program $1,500 touch-screen with icons for 'FOX', 'NBC', etc, on it. They want the best, they're not afraid to pay through the nose, but they want it to 'just work'. I would imagine that this class of people would gladly pay for a cell-phone 'sommelier'. Someone of who understands the difference between, say, how eMail works on a Blackberry vs. how it works on an iPhone and could set it up for them. Yes, yes, RTFM, but why do that if you can pay someone else to do it for them? I would imagine that in larger cities, one could probably earn a nice living if they were in the right 'circle'.

An argument for consumer-protection legislation (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130170)

What we need is not used-car salesmen with delusions of grandeur. What we need is better truth-in-advertising regulation. Like this:

  • The use of the phrase "up to" or synonym thereof in connection with any service quantity is per se deceptive, unless an "at least" guaranteed value is also provided and given equal or greater prominence.
  • The advertisement of an introductory rate is per se deceptive, unless the highest rate after the introductory period is also provided and given equal or greater prominence.
  • Advertised rates must include all charges and taxes except for state and local sales taxes.
  • Advertisements mentioning "rebates" must mention the non-rebate price more prominently than the price after rebate, unless absolutely no conditions are attached to the rebate offer and the rebate offer does not require the consumer to pay, at the time of sale, a price higher than the after-rebate price.
  • Any customer contract which allows the carrier to change the terms of the contract during the period of the agreement is void as against public policy.
  • Advertisements must use generic terms for features, rather than proprietary terms, to allow comparisons between vendors. (For example, "World Wide Web access" rather than "Sprint PCS Vision", and "Push to talk intercom" instead of "ReadyLink")

Re:An argument for consumer-protection legislation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22130658)

I just bought some lightbulbs a few days ago that are guaranteed to last up to 9 years.

Japanese Retail Smiles (5, Informative)

writerjosh (862522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130174)

We have to remember a couple things:

1. Japan is very far ahead of us as far as cell-phone technology is concerned. They've had fully-functional video phones for at least a year or two, for example (as in, you can communicate via real-time video).

2. Japanese retail is much more about service than most US retail. We just want to get in and get the product, but the Japanese are all about greeting you at the door, pleasant smiles, and all of that.

Therefore, a sommelier isn't all that strange in the context of Japanese retail. It's strange to Americans, but to the Japanese, it must make sense, otherwise they wouldn't bother.

Re:Japanese Retail Smiles (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130846)

It doesn't make sense from the perspective that the Japanese customers should already be getting that kind of service if what you say is true.

Re:Japanese Retail Smiles (1)

ddrichardson (869910) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130896)

to the Japanese, it must make sense, otherwise they wouldn't bother.

While a salient point, I politely refer the gentlemen to this. [kanojotoys.com]

A "sea of options"? (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130194)

I have Verizon. My options are crappy phone or less-crappy phone. In either case, I get a really crappy OS/UI.

Sales? (1)

KillerCow (213458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130500)

educating and licensing "sommeliers" to help potential buyers wade through the vast sea of options available


Where I am from, we call them "sales staff." Imagine: the staff on the sales floor actually helping you buy instead of just regurgitating the price sticker or sending you to the right aisle.

What? (0, Offtopic)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130730)

Do they speak English in WHAT motherfucker?

What a rotten post! (1)

Count Sessine (1135193) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130756)

1. No link to the article 2. No explanation of the term "sommelier" 3. Obscure reference to wine snobbery 4. Wine-flavour metaphor that the author no doubt thought was awfully clever but is actually trite

a jumped up title for "geek" (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130802)

It always pays to bring an expert along when you are an unskilled customer. If I'm buying a used car not backed by a factory warranty, I'm going to have my mechanic look the thing over first. If I'm buying a new car, I'm going to talk to people who know cars and see what they like, I'll talk to people who own the model and see if they have complaints. I like computer stuff but there's no way I can keep up with all of the hardware advances. If I were building a desktop, I'd go directly to the geek boards and find out if they have a recommended build for the month or else ask the question myself. If we're talking prebuilts, I'm usually the person people I know ask and there I am again, trying to find out which manufacturer is turning out the stinkers this month.

Ideally, the sales rep at the store should be doing this for the customer. Since retailers put a premium on fucking the customer out of as much money as possible, the real title of the story should be "Customers are now going to have to pay people to do what a sales rep is supposed to get a commission for." Circuit City had the brilliant idea of firing everyone on the sales floor with an IQ above room temperature; they should call up CompUSELESS and see how boneheaded strategies like that worked out for 'em.

ah (1)

jovius (974690) | more than 6 years ago | (#22131026)

I guess, that most of them go well with the fish.
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