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Cellphones Technology

The Cell Phone Has Changed — New Etiquette Needed 585

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the where-is-my-direct-neural-interface dept.
CWmike writes to share a recent manners-rant that has some great gems about how not to be "that guy" on a cell phone. What rules of engagement are absolutely necessary and what social penalties should become standard practice for repeat offenders? "It's easy to be rude with a cell phone. A visitor from another planet might conclude that rudeness is a cell phone's main purpose. Random, annoying ring tones go off unexpectedly. People talk too loudly on cell phones in public because of the challenge of holding a conversation in a noisy environment with someone who's not present. Cell phones need their own rules of etiquette, or we'll descend into social barbarism."
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The Cell Phone Has Changed — New Etiquette Needed

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  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) * on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:01PM (#30897360) Journal
    "Do not use your cell phone while driving"

    Cell phones cause car accidents all the time. Even if you think you're skillful enough to operate a cell phone and drive, doing so can be a role model for someone else who can't do the feat. My friend was even in a bad car accident last week where he says the other driver was on a cell phone. He had some broken ribs, a collar bone, and was pulled out by jaws of life.

    If you get a ring, down answer it. Then find a pull off and call the person back.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:13PM (#30897538)

      I find it easier to justify it if you put it that people can't seem to *walk* and talk at the same time. Walking is something that doesn't require much mental effort, yet people are continually running into things (and other people). Funny enough that people can seem to walk and talk to someone beside them just fine, but give them a cell, and accidents galore (thankfully rarely fatal or injurious unless one walks into a manhole or something). And this is something people do naturally, and now we want to put them in a two-ton vehicle where the outcome is easily death.

      OTOH, I wonder if pickpocketing is on the rise these days - with so many distracted pedestrians, you'd think a downtown core would make a target rich environment for people stealing wallets and such.

      Hell, I've always wanted to grab a digital camera, and when I see people so engrossed with their cellphone texting, snapping a picture and starting a website about it.

      • by antifoidulus (807088) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:21PM (#30897642) Homepage Journal
        The big difference between walking and talking to someone beside you is that:

        They are in the same environment you are, and if need be, can stop you from doing something stupid.

        Since they are in the same environment as you they tend to lull the conversation when you are at a physical location(eg an intersection) where you need to concentrate on not dying.

        Your partner on the cell phone may very well be sitting in their house eating nachos and may start to engage you in a very involving conversation right as you pull up to the intersection, thus your concentration may not be where it needs to be.
        • by ajlisows (768780) on Monday January 25, 2010 @07:27PM (#30898470)

          This is probably especially true in terms of the Slashdot crowd. When you get a call from your boss/coworker/client/relative/friend who has some major computer catastrophe they will be relieved to have gotten through to you and usually blurt out their issue about as frantic as they possibly can. It usually isn't "Hello. I'm having a problem. Do you have a moment?" It is usually "THANK FUCKING GOD YOU ANSWERED MY PRINTER DOESN'T WORK AND IT WORKED THIS MORNING AND I NEED TO GET THESE REPORTS OUT AND I TRIED REBOOTING MY PROCESSOR AND DELETING MY PRINT DRIVER AND CHANGING THE INK IN THE PRINTER AND IT STILL ISN'T WORKING"

          Naturally, trying to parse information being delivered that way is going to be pretty distracting. I usually don't get people I am walking with go into that kind of frantic mode.

          • by rolfwind (528248) on Monday January 25, 2010 @07:35PM (#30898542)

            Solution: Ignore the phone while driving and call back when at your destination.

            Quicker Solution: Answer, say "Hold on for a second", ignore phone until you are safely pulled over somewhere.

            Really, answering the phone is always in your power - and missing a phone call is not the end of the world. Driving the car is the driver's responsibility as well. We can't have excuses on either one, the buck needs to stop at the person with the power to make those decisions.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by adolf (21054)

              Or, perhaps just as important:

              Be willing to toss the phone/headset/whatever into the seat beside you if driving conditions dictate that you need more attention than you have available.

              So what if it's rude? You'll have plenty of to explain your behavior later, after you're someplace more safe/less hairy/stopped. My boss, and my own clients, would much rather I do this and still be able to solve their problem, rather than wind up dead or hospitalized or even just distraught following a collision.

            • by farble1670 (803356) on Monday January 25, 2010 @08:36PM (#30899116)

              the goal here is to avoid being distracted when you are driving.

              finding your phone, looking at it enough so you can find the "answer" button, maybe needing to unlock the phone first or flip it open, then holding the phone close enough where there person can hear you say "hold on" is not a solution.

              and don't give me a bunch of hoopla about how advanced your phone is hands free and you can answer it simply by thinking about it. not everyone has that feature. the vast majority of phones requires you to press a button to answer.

              the OP had it right. just don't answer it.

            • Yes indeed (Score:3, Interesting)

              by fyngyrz (762201)

              Solution: Ignore the phone while driving and call back when at your destination.

              You've got the right idea. Here's what I do:

              • Keep ringer volume near zero, and/or use vibrate.
              • Phone rings during a meal: Don't answer. Perhaps call back later.
              • Phone rings while talking to someone else: Don't answer. Perhaps call back later.
              • Phone rings while driving: Don't answer. Don't pull over. Perhaps return call later.
              • Phone rings, caller id/number hidden: Don't answer. The caller is "That guy." Screw that guy.
              • Never ans
              • One more thing: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by fyngyrz (762201)

                Running a business? Operating a counter? The person you're talking to across the counter is 100x more important than anyone who calls you and they were there first. If the phone rings, either someone else should answer it (preferably elsewhere), or your answer is: Hi, this is Leroy. I have a customer at the counter. You'll be on hold for a while, or you can call back, or come on down. [click]

      • by trentblase (717954) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:23PM (#30897678)
        The other day I was guilty of walking downtown while reading some random slashdot article. Someone coming the other direction tried to grab my phone (I imagine him saying "yoink" in his head) and I kind of instinctually pulled it away and kept reading/walking. Only later did I consider that he may have been trying to rob me. I stopped doing the reading/walking thing shortly thereafter (although I had never run into anything, or anyone... not even a close call as it really wasn't that hard to keep track of things immediately in front of me).
        • . not even a close call as it really wasn't that hard to keep track of things immediately in front of me).

          I would argue that it *was* that hard - if not, he would not have been able to get within yoinking in range without you being aware in the first place.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by gd2shoe (747932)

            if not, he would not have been able to get within yoinking in range without you being aware in the first place.

            Excuse me? When you see someone walking the other way down a sidewalk do you dodge evasively to keep them out of reach at all times? It sounds like the event was immaculately routine until the stranger tried to swipe his phone. You do realize that it could be done very quickly and effectively by someone walking past him?

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @08:57PM (#30899252)

          The reaction probably prevented him from persisting!

          If I were trying to rob someone, grabbed their phone, and all they did was non-chalantly - and without taking their eyes off the screen - pull it back and continue walking casually. I'd be very confused for a moment, then decide they were probably some sort of martial arts master and we're being polite enough not to kick my ass - count myself lucky and be on my way.

          I can just picture the would-be thief: "Dear god, what kind of a badass doesn't even look up at his assailant - or turns their back to them and keeps walking?"

    • by Dotren (1449427)

      "Do not use your cell phone while driving"

      Or get a good Bluetooth headset and a cell phone with voice control.

      My old AT&T tilt worked wonders for this when combined with a good headset (using a Plantronics Voyager 510). Voice dialing could be initiated by taking one hand off the wheel for just a few seconds and I never had to take my eyes off the road.. same thing for hanging up. Answering the phone was even easier.

      Unfortunately, my iPhone 3G is a step backwards in some ways, including the lack of voice dialing without needing to pull out the

      • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary&yahoo,com> on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:25PM (#30897700) Journal

        According to studies, talking on a cellphone is far more distracting than talking on a car. There are many theories as to why that is the case. The other person in the car is, well, in the car. They will notice the same dangers you will, and will start to fear for their own safety if you are too distracted. It takes more brainpower to decipher a phone conversation, with its dropouts, limited bandwidth, and lack of nonverbal cues. Those are the theories, but the facts remain: talking on a cell phone is far more distracting than talking with a passenger.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          If I'm talking on a car, I'm distracted by the fact that I'm riding on top of a bloody car!

        • by Gr8Apes (679165) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:47PM (#30897946)

          Honestly, while watching some people talk by

          A) turn their head to watch the person they're talking to
          B) release steering wheel to emphasize a point with both hands
          C) close eyes and shake head when listening

          all indicate that some people can't do more than one conscious act at a time. They can either talk, listen, or chew gum, but not 2 out of the three. (FYI: talking is the conscious act - the rest are uncontrolled unconscious learned responses)

          These are probably the same people that were talking on cell phones while walking into a telephone pole so hard they wound up in the ER [nytimes.com].

        • by BitZtream (692029) on Monday January 25, 2010 @07:39PM (#30898598)

          Only because no one writes down as the cause of an accident things like:

          'jamming out to the radio'

          'not paying attention to the road because I was looking at the girl walking down the side of the road'

          'talking to my passenger'

          and a handful of other things that are really the same problem just different manifestations.

          The problem being the driver shouldn't be driving because they can't prioritize the situation and they stop focusing on driving.

        • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday January 25, 2010 @08:05PM (#30898874) Homepage

          The other person in the car is, well, in the car. They will notice the same dangers you will, and will start to fear for their own safety if you are too distracted.

          Yeah, I read an article about a study (can't find it) where they basically had two people talking about a set topic while one of them was driving. Sometimes the non-driver was riding shotgun, and sometimes the driver was talking to him via a bluetooth headset. Like many of these studies, they found that talking on the cellphone was more dangerous.

          According to the article, the researchers observed that when the driver encountered some sort of obstacle or tricky situation, the guy riding shotgun would generally notice the obstacle and shut up on his own. The non-driver on the cell phone wouldn't see the obstacle and would continue talking.

          The researchers hypothesized that, because the cell phone caller continued talking, the drivers attention was split and his reactions were delayed. Even if the driver stopped the caller from talking by saying something like "hold on a second...." as soon as he noticed the obstacle, it meant that there was a significant delay while the driver subconsciously prioritized how much attention to give to the caller vs. the road, made a decision on how to react to the caller, and then say "hold on a second."

        • by D Ninja (825055) on Monday January 25, 2010 @08:32PM (#30899084)

          According to studies, talking on a cellphone is far more distracting than talking on a car.

          You know one of the advantages of talking on a car? Auto-dial.

    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:18PM (#30897604) Journal

      Fully Agreed.

      I saw this test (I don't know whether it was on Mythbusters or some other show or even on the internet) where they were seeing how well a driver can steer a vehicle while not looking out the front windshield. I believe it was mostly about people programming destinations into their GPS while driving instead of doing it before hand - so it could be a few more seconds and such.

      Turns out, a LOT of people can't keep it within their lane after 2 seconds, and even the most skilled people (that they tested) couldn't finish programming the GPS to a destination without being 2 or 3 lanes over.

      Part of it is that your natural motions with your other hand will subliminally affect the other. If you look right, your bound to slightly turn right, its habitual for just about anyone. So that split second you spent turning and grabbing your phone from the passenger seat could mean you just bumped into that guy beside you.

      • by spasm (79260) on Monday January 25, 2010 @08:47PM (#30899184) Homepage

        A standard method for testing the effect of alcohol on reaction time is setting up a chalk 'gun' on the rear bumper of a car and having a driver drive it around a closed course at a fixed speed. The chalk gun fires one pellet at the ground at a randomly determined time; as soon as the driver hits the brake pedal the gun fires a second pellet. You measure the distance between the two chalk spots on the road to get reaction time. You do it several times before alcohol as a control and several times after having a few drinks. It's a great test for those people who claim they're better drivers after a couple of beers, because it inevitably shows a reduced reaction time.

        I always wanted to see this reproduced with a cellphone involved instead of alcohol. Especially for my wife, who claims that she's still a good driver while on the cellphone.

    • "Do not use your cell phone while driving"

      Cell phones cause car accidents all the time. Even if you think you're skillful enough to operate a cell phone and drive, doing so can be a role model for someone else who can't do the feat. My friend was even in a bad car accident last week where he says the other driver was on a cell phone. He had some broken ribs, a collar bone, and was pulled out by jaws of life.

      If you get a ring, down answer it. Then find a pull off and call the person back.

      Of course it can be quite a distraction for many drivers to try and hold a phone to their ear or type out a text while driving, What about hands free, e.g., bluetooth headsets? A quick poke of a button on your ear to answer a call shouldn't be any different than pushing a button to change the channel on your radio. If the phone is set to auto answer, it's not much different than having a conversation with a passenger in the vehicle.

      • by spottedkangaroo (451692) * on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:38PM (#30897834) Homepage

        This is fundamentally incorrect. Talking with another human takes your brain to a place that's outside the car. The radio can do this too, but not to the same extent. And the difference with talking to someone who's in the car is obvious: Their life is in jeopardy along with yours. They are more sensitive to pauses in your speech (which can indicate personal danger for them) and most importantly, they're helping you look at the fucking road.

        If you think talking on a bluetooth headset is better in some way than holding it up to your year, you're dead wrong and studies indicate this (a simple google should do the trick). About the only real difference is that holding it to your head slightly limits your field of vision. It's the conversation that's distracting, not holding up the phone. Sorry.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MrCrassic (994046)

      I second this. It's an especially bad idea when frustrated, as anger easily makes one unfocused on anything but the problem. I've had a few near-hits because of this, and I'm a pretty good driver.

      Heck, with the amount of capabilities phones are having nowadays (and the increasing prevalence of unlimited text/minute bundles), even walking while using the cell phone is dangerous. I've lost count of the amount of time I've almost ran into someone or something simply because I wasn't looking up.

    • Keep with Tradition (Score:3, Interesting)

      by omb (759389)
      First, it would be better to have the Butler answer the phone, then he can screen callers too.

      If that isn't possible NEVER use a handheld or try to text while driving, either is as bad or worse than drunk driving; and the police should pull over those that do.

      Just talking on a hands free phone is no problem, so long as you strictly prioritise what you are paying attention to, the 'car kit' I have in my light plane works well for this, If there is radio incoming, the phone is -4dB, if you push the radio talk
  • first rule (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:03PM (#30897380)
    1. It is NOT rude to talk on your cell phone in a public place eg on a train or bus or w/e. just like how it isnt rude to have a conversation with a real person there. It pisses me off that on some busses I take they say "please dont use cellphones, it may disturb others" when it doesnt say "people dont talk, it may disturb others". in fact, on a phone there's less talking to be disturbed bya s thre's only 1/2 the conversation.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Agreed. People seem to go far out of their way to become annoyed with people speaking on their cell phone. Sure, there's some rude people out there that are overly loud or obnoxious with their phones, but the majority of people speak normally into their phones and when people don't see the listener of the conversation, it bothers them. Boo hoo.
      • Re:first rule (Score:4, Insightful)

        by GlassHeart (579618) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:10PM (#30899332) Journal

        You may also observe that most complaints against impoliteness can be answered childishly with "boo hoo." Whether you agree or not, etiquette is based on other people's feelings, so if your behavior is bothering other people, you are in fact being rude. We're not talking about a moral failing, but a social one, like slurping your soup or writing your email in caps.

        If your instinct is to answer "boo hoo" to these complaints, then etiquette is simply not for you.

    • by lapsed (1610061)
      That's an easy one. People talking on cell phones are always the loudest people on the bus/streetcar/subway. If you've been told not to talk on your cell phone, it's because you're being annoying.
    • Re:first rule (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sjames (1099) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:14PM (#30897546) Homepage

      It's not that they're talking on their cellphones that makes us say it's rude IT'S HOW THEY ARE YELLING ON THEIR CELLPHONES SO LOUD THE REST OF US CAN'T TALK TO EACH OTHER that makes us say it's rude.

      • Re:first rule (Score:4, Insightful)

        by interkin3tic (1469267) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:33PM (#30897788)

        It's not that they're talking on their cellphones that makes us say it's rude IT'S HOW THEY ARE YELLING ON THEIR CELLPHONES SO LOUD THE REST OF US CAN'T TALK TO EACH OTHER that makes us say it's rude.

        Try riding in a bus with college students or younger. The ones on their cell phones often are the ones who are being -quieter- than their peers talking to other people right next to them. I can only assume this is because they've become more adapted to talking on a phone than talking face to face.

        From my experience, it's often the older crowd that is actually doing much of the cell phone yelling. Judging from my mother, at least some of them are yelling because they don't know how to turn their volume up all the way and/or don't realize that just because they can't hear the other person doesn't mean they themselves can't be heard by the other person. Which is unpleasant for me and anyone who is actually near her.

      • Re:first rule (Score:4, Insightful)

        by residieu (577863) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:45PM (#30897918)
        So complain about the issue that actually bothers you. You're annoyed by LOUD PEOPLE, not by people on cell phones.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ScrewMaster (602015) *

          So complain about the issue that actually bothers you. You're annoyed by LOUD PEOPLE, not by people on cell phones.

          No, I'm pretty much annoyed by people on cell phones whether they're talking or not. They tend not to be aware of what's going on around them, force others to step out of their way to avoid them as if they're some kind of royalty, and rather than admit when they've been acting badly will instead cop an imperious attitude (you know, the old "I'm on the PHONE how dare you interrupt me!" look.)

          Hell, I was leaving the grocery store parking lot in my car, got thumped by this woman in her fifties who was just

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ScrewMaster (602015) *

        It's not that they're talking on their cellphones that makes us say it's rude IT'S HOW THEY ARE YELLING ON THEIR CELLPHONES SO LOUD THE REST OF US CAN'T TALK TO EACH OTHER that makes us say it's rude.

        True, and if you'd like an excellent example of why a new cellphone etiquette is needed, check out this very educational YouTube video [youtube.com] on the subject.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      If you're talking to someone and it's a little noisy, you lean in and speak directly into their ear. If you're talking on a cell phone and it's a little noisy, you speak loudly to compensate. Big difference.

      If I can hear what you're saying from the next seat, next table, or whatever, you're talking too loud. Cellphone or not.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by KlaymenDK (713149)

      My own theory on this particular rule is that it's made by people who are not annoyed by the half-conversation per se, but rather that they're the kind of person who likes to eavesdrop, and eavesdropping on half a conversation just isn't as entertaining.

    • by RichardJenkins (1362463) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:49PM (#30897978)

      Hey loud-mouth, damn right.

      Stop nattering at 7am on the train when I should be in bed. Put your cellphone on vibrate and don't take calls. No loud music either, closed cup headphones or earphones are fine - but so help you if I can hear that the slightest tinny drivel.

      Once you've learnt the art of not yelling at me when I'm forced into proximity with you, keep your arms on your side of the arm rest. Don't lean your elbow out and jab me. Sure as hell don't lean over and actually touch my upper arm with yours. This goes double for your legs. If you must use a laptop, don't keep poking me every few seconds when you try to hit the keys. If your size makes it impossible to sit on one seat: write to the train company and complain, do not force your disgusting fat body on other people. Get your damn luggage off the seat next to you and put it on the floor. If you must eat while sitting next to me (you really don't by the way) make sure it doesn't stink. Fish? No. Eggs? No. Samosa? No. No. No. Food aside, make sure YOU don't stink: showering and deodorant are not optional if you use public transport. It is absolutely not OK force people to smell you. Keep yourself to yourself, do not acknowledge anyone and DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT.

      Unless you're a girl? Then you're all good.

    • Re:first rule (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:53PM (#30898034) Journal

      1. It is NOT rude to talk on your cell phone in a public place eg on a train or bus or w/e. just like how it isnt rude to have a conversation with a real person there. It pisses me off that on some busses I take they say "please dont use cellphones, it may disturb others" when it doesnt say "people dont talk, it may disturb others". in fact, on a phone there's less talking to be disturbed bya s thre's only 1/2 the conversation.

      You are completely, absolutely, positively 100% incorrect. Studies have been done to prove it. It is WAY more irritating when you can only hear one side of the conversation, irritation amplified by the need that people have to raise their voices on a cellphone since they don't have the feedback that old analog landlines had. If you're not irritated by Incosiderate Cell Phone Man, you, sir, are in a small minority.

      Incidentally, from TFA:

      * 1. Lower your voice when taking calls in public.
      * 2. Avoid personal topics when others can hear you.
      * 3. Avoid taking calls when you're already engaged in a face-to-face conversation.
      * 4. If you do take a call, ask permission of the people with you.
      * 5. Avoid texting during a face-to-face conversations.
      * 6. Put your phone's ringer on "silent" in theaters and restaurants.
      * 7. Don't light up your phone's screen in a dark theater.
      * 8. Hang up and drive.
      * 9. Acknowledge the delay
      * 10. Don't use Google Voice call screening with family and close friends
      * 11. Don't blame the other guy for a dropped call
      * 12. Avoid looking things up during a conversation
      * 13. Be mindful about Facebook tagging
      * 14. Avoid inappropriate profile pictures

      At first glance I thought this article would be stating the obvious, but it's got some good stuff when you get past 8. Acknowledging the delay and reassuring the other person that you're not talking over the top of him is a great start, although I must say I haven't had that problem so much since I switched from Verizon. The delay on that service was so bad I ended up dreading every call.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by indiechild (541156)

        Does anyone know why mobile phones have so little feedback compared to most landline phones? Is it a technical obstacle, or do manufacturers just do it for the hell of it? If it's such an important issue, why do we still get it so wrong?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by petermgreen (876956)

          I suspect it's because the people designing the phones don't really think about it and/or consider it a defect.

          Conventional analogue phones have a lot of "feedback" (signal passing from the microphone to the earpeice) because the circuits in them that split incoming and outgoing signals are somewhere between non-existent and poor.

          Digital phones (whether cell, ISDN or VOIP) don't have "feedback" unless the manufacturer explicitly adds it so many of them have none of it at all and if they do have it "artifici

    • Re:first rule (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Monday January 25, 2010 @07:30PM (#30898498)
      The problem is that people talking on a cell phone generally speak much louder than someone who is talking to a person next to them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Speaking loudly to someone next to you is also rude. This doesn't mean that speaking loudly into a cell phone is not rude -- and despite what you think, you're *probably* talking loudly. More so than you would on a land line. I don't know whether or not it's necessary, but I think this a natural function of modern cell phones: your mouth is several inches in front of where you assume the mic to be - where it would be for a land line. Maybe kids growing up on cell phones now won't have this problem ...

  • by Kell Bengal (711123) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:06PM (#30897416)
    It's not just cellphones. All technology has an integral etiquette, from cars to scissors. If you think about it, you can find examples for pretty much anything on your desk, and can probably come up with good reasons for why we have the social mores that we do. Everything from not chewing on other people's pencils to not touching someone else's monitor screen.

    Cellphones only draw our attention because they're fairly new technology (compared to, say, pencils) and the offenses commitable with a phone can be extremely annoying and in some cases deadly.

    This is a much broader topic if you take the time to look into it.
  • Phones. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reason58 (775044) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:07PM (#30897432)
    People who speak twice as loudly on the phone as they do in person bug the hell out of me. Also, people who pull their phones out during a movie to text, seemingly unaware that their phone is like a laser straight into our eyeballs.
    • Re:Phones. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by trentblase (717954) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:29PM (#30897752)
      When the hell are phone manufacturers going to provide microphone feedback so you can hear your own voice in the earpiece? It's not like it's hard. (And I'm not talking about the half-second-delay echo of my own voice that I sometimes get on AT&T)
    • Re:Phones. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lottameez (816335) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:58PM (#30898108)
      I've stopped going to theater; I just get redbox instead...Why pay $10 so I can be distracted by self-absorbed morons who can't go 20 minutes without checking their messages? Yes, it's a pet peeve. One of many.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Antony-Kyre (807195)

      How anyone can carry a 'conversation' on a cell phone next to any other person is beyond me.

      About the movie theatre thing, people should just turn them off. It seems rude to be doing other things when people are there to enjoy a movie. Of course, one fun thing one might do would be to challenge the movie theatre. Like, if someone is using the cell, even if just texting, during the movie, get up, seek a manager, and ask for a refund for the movie for permitting such a thing to go on. Make a big deal about it

  • by PhantomHarlock (189617) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:09PM (#30897462)

    I've noticed that people needlessly talk very loud on celphones. People underestimate how well modern cel phones will isolate your voice from medium-noisy background pratter. People automatically compensate for the person not being in the room without even thinking about it.

    If I'm in a public place such as a casual restaurant and I need to take a brief call, I answer in very low tones and the person on the other end can understand me just as well. My tone of voice is indistinguishable from other conversations happening in the area, and in fact is usually quieter.

    Try it sometime as an experiment if you are used to speaking up on the phone, you'll find you can be heard just as well. I have a friend who literally doubles her volume on the phone. It's quite amusing and I have to remind her that she's doing it.

    Also, if you have any kind of music as your ringtone (except for the harp sound on the iPhone) you should be shot. A phone should sound like a phone, not a disco.

    • by igadget78 (1698420) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:13PM (#30897530)

      I've noticed that people needlessly talk very loud on celphones. People underestimate how well modern cel phones will isolate your voice from medium-noisy background pratter. People automatically compensate for the person not being in the room without even thinking about it.

      WHATS THAT HONEY? YOU WANT ME TO PICK UP TAMPONS ON THE WAY HOME?

    • by ignavusinfo (883331) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:14PM (#30897562) Journal
      s/(I've noticed that people needlessly talk).+/$1./
    • by CAFED00D (1337179) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:14PM (#30897564)
      Most landline phones echo your voice into the earpiece. Cell phones do not do this, so many people raise their voice to compensate for the fact that they can't hear their own voice coming from the phone. Still, it's very annoying.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Also, if you have any kind of music as your ringtone (except for the harp sound on the iPhone) you should be shot. A phone should sound like a phone, not a disco.

      IMO, I think Ringtones are the least annoying part about a phone, its just their volume that gets annoying. Much like someone talking too loud I don't want their ringtone to disrupt me either. However, if someone has a rap/punk/rock/pop/techno/classical/retro song for their ringtone, I have no issue with it whatsoever.

      Then again - I'm sort of a people watcher. Sitting on the bus I'll look at people (trying not to stare of course) and figure out as much about that person as I possibly can. So if I'm in the m

      • by idontgno (624372) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:46PM (#30897928) Journal

        IMO, I think Ringtones are the least annoying part about a phone, its just their volume that gets annoying. Much like someone talking too loud I don't want their ringtone to disrupt me either. However, if someone has a rap/punk/rock/pop/techno/classical/retro song for their ringtone, I have no issue with it whatsoever.

        So, if someone's cell starts beltin' out Achy Breaky Heart, you do have an issue? Then J. Random OldDude probably has an issue with rap/punk/rock/pop/techno/classical/retro. Or one of those.

        Besides, even if the ringtone is based on something I like, why is it a favor to me to hear a truncated, low-fidelity, looping fragment of it?

        Sorry, a ringtone is a signal to the user of the cellphone that they have a call or message. Anything else is an abuse of the concept.

        It is not a personal statement to every unfortunate within earshot, because in truth they don't give a rat's metric ass about you as a person, or about any statement you wish to make about yourself. You're a part of the scenery, and if your ringtone is loud, you're an annoying part of the scenery.

        I'm 6'7" (2m to the US Customary challenged) tall, but I don't run around yelling I'm really tall. I like Metallica and Alan Parsons Project, but I don't blast either out of my cellphone. I really enjoy the occasional dram, but I don't slosh Laphroaig at folks with me at the bar because I think it's vitally important for me to make a personal statement about my superior tastes in whisky.

        Sometimes I think the entire "Buy this ringtone and customize your phone to represent YOU" scam is one of the telecom industry's biggest worthless marketing success.

    • by tlambert (566799) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:59PM (#30898134)

      Music as a ring tone...

      Also, if you have any kind of music as your ringtone (except for the harp sound on the iPhone) you should be shot. A phone should sound like a phone, not a disco.

      Actually, the first day we (all Apple employees at the time)m got our iPhones, we immediately hacked different ring tones onto them. Like less than an hour after we had them. With only the 25 original ring tones and a cafeteria that holds 1600 people, well you do the birthday paradox math.

      -- Terry

    • by ericfitz (59316) on Monday January 25, 2010 @08:00PM (#30898824)

      Misdiagnosis.

      It's not because people underestimate noise cancellation. It's because cell phones lack sidetone [wikipedia.org].

      Telephone manufacturers have known for a century that sidetone is necessary for people to regulate their voice volume effectively.

  • It seems to be so prevalent because cellphones don't appear to feed back what you're talking into the earpiece of your handset.

    They can start with doing just that. Bonus: recognize high levels of noise in the environment (nowadays often not having much impact on the actual transmission due to noise suppression) and yank your volume in the speaker even more, to combat the reflex of talking even more loud.

    Though I'm not sure how to make people understand that talking clearly is better than just being loud. Si

  • Look at Japan (Score:5, Informative)

    by corsec67 (627446) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:10PM (#30897488) Homepage Journal

    Japan seems to have this issue solved.

    Everyone texts on their cell phone, voice conversations in public are fairly uncommon. On a train, they have announcements to silence your phone, which most people do.

    Even the crappiest prepaid phone has unlimited messaging/email for 300 yen a month, taken out of the 1,500 yen monthly fee, while voice is very expensive on that phone (90yen/minute).

  • by gimmebeer (1648629) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:11PM (#30897490)
    Walking down the street laughing and talking to an invisible friend without holding anything up to their ear. It's just not right.
  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:11PM (#30897492) Journal

    Have you ever had a conversation with someone, only to find out a few seconds later they were on a Bluetooth talking to someone else?

    That happened to me the other day - saw an old friend from Highschool on the train, he was half facing the other way because it was crowded.

    I somehow went 3 whole minutes of conversation seeming completely fluid and comprehensible, only to see him turn and be like "Wow I haven't seen you since High School!"

    You can imagine my baffled reaction.

  • Loudness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by russotto (537200) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:12PM (#30897516) Journal
    The reason people talk louder on cell phones is probably the same reason they used to talk louder on landlines: Sidetone, or the lack thereof. When you don't hear yourself over the phone, you speak louder to compensate. I've noticed cell phones, especially the really tiny ones, have almost no sidetone.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by flabordec (984984)
      There's also the matter of visual feedback, knowing that the other person actually received whatever you told him and he is thinking of an answer instead of a communications failure. That happens to me a lot specially in areas with lousy reception or with bad cell phones, when I know the other person is probably not hearing me well.
  • by thesandtiger (819476) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:18PM (#30897610)

    "Don't be a loud, obnoxious asshole." Works for phones or any kind of conversation you're having in a public space.

    "Don't drive like an asshole." Works for phones, texting, or just generally not paying attention to the multi-ton machine you're controlling while it hurtles down the road.

    "Don't pull the asshole move of interrupting someone who is speaking to you by doing something else." Works for people who get a call in the middle of a conversation.

    Really, "Don't be an asshole" is about all the etiquette we really need, and it's a lot simpler than trying to remember Emily Post.

  • How about everyone text? Its generally more efficient (no miscommunication), easier to be safer (when you text you still have the message hours down the line and can respond instantly), and in all honesty a lot less rude to the other person. With a phone call, you expect the other person to drop everything and devote at least 75% of their attention to you, with texting it requires a lot less attention.
  • A friend who works the pharmacy at Walgreens has some very entertaining stories to relate. Despite signs posted otherwise, people will pull up to the drive-through, with other customers waiting behind them, and continue conversations for a few minutes before turning to the pneumatic tube. Once, my friend asked one of these folks if there was anything they could do and received a lecture about how rude it is to interrupt someone's conversation.

    Similarly, I see this waiting in line at restaurants all the ti

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:33PM (#30897782) Homepage Journal

    I think every row of cubicles at my work should have a bucket of water for the storage of unattended ringing mobiles. Presumably the person at the other end assumes the owner of the phone can't hear the ring to they keep trying. First offence: I remove the back and the battery. Second offence: into the drink.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
      There's a pub where I used to live which used to have a "no mobile phone" policy. Everyone knew not to get the mobile phone out while in the pub, and they were always put on silent / turned off before entering. Signs behind the bar stated that any phone which went off would be thrown in the waste tray. Enforcement was carried out by locals who lacked a couple of teeth and enjoyed shooting creatures your girlfriend would call "cute" at the weekend.

      This had the added advantage of keeping yuppies from local b
  • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:39PM (#30897854)

    Lazlow: Ants, killer bees, fat people, what's plaguing you? Call now! Chatterbox, hello, you're on the air.
    Caller: Err yes, I'd like to say something about these damn people on trains and buses in this city who yammer on and on into their cell phones. I'm really glad to hear about what your having for dinner! What we should do, is herd them up, and put them on an island. I am the President of a group called Citizens Raging Against Phones.
    Lazlow: CRAP?!?
    Caller: Exactly!
    Lazlow: Your organization's called 'CRAP' ... wh-- what kind of moron are you, you wanna round people up for using a phone?!? But you-- your calling up on a phone t-- to tell the world about it! I, I mean, how many people are there in this 'CRAP'?
    Caller: Citizens are raging against phones, Lazlow!!
    Lazlow: How many people?
    Caller: There are three of us. It's hard organizing meetings without the phones though. We've had to resort to carrier pigeons, and they keep disappearing.
    Lazlow: What are you speaking to me on? What-- what's that in your hand?
    Caller: I am not the problem! You are! And you're perpetuating the downfall of mankind! Liberty City was great before phones ruined everything.
    Lazlow: Liberty City was a church, a cow pasture and three houses when the telephone was invented!
    Caller: Liar!!
    Lazlow: You're the liar!
    Caller: Liar, liar, pants on fire!
    Lazlow: What are... are you three years old?!?
    Caller: Lazlow's a liar, Lazlow's a liar!! I bet that isn't even your real name.
    Lazlow: Shut up!!
    Caller: You shut up!!
    Lazlow: Stupid!
    Caller: Nanny nanny boo-boo, stick your head in doo-doo!
    Lazlow: Ohh...we're going to commercials!

  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:47PM (#30897934)

    While taking the bus to work, I endured about 10 minutes of non-stop, high-volume chatter about matters far too intimate for public exhibition. I finally reached my limit...couldn't concentrate to read, had forgotten my headphones, couldn't ignore the conversation (which was carried on at a near-shout). The offender was clearly a Jerry Springer fugitive, and if she wasn't a star of that People of WalMart site, her attire was such that it's only a matter of time. The faces of the other transit riders made it obvious I wasn't the only one offended by a conversation that included the woman's current sex life, how she enjoyed suckering her sister into babysitting so she could go clubbing, and some lovely racial stereotyping about her child's absentee father.

    I pulled out my cell phone and began to carry on a fake conversation about the woman. I'll admit that I was pretty far over the top, but I was also seriously pissed. The other riders caught on pretty fast and started laughing. For at least a couple of minutes the woman was oblivious. Gradually, though, it sunk in...I think it was when I mentioned how lucky she was that the bus came along before that Inuit with a harpoon caught up with her.

    She wound up cursing at me, but that was fine. A lot of people were laughing at her, which was exactly what I had in mind. She got off the bus pretty quickly after that. I don't know if it was her stop; I hope not.

    I wouldn't recommend this course of action except under ideal circumstances, but I don't regret it.

  • by ickleberry (864871) <web@pineapple.vg> on Monday January 25, 2010 @06:56PM (#30898074) Homepage
    Back in the winter of 1999 the Irish GSM network Eircell first allowed prepaid users to send SMS - they were free to send and receive and very few people especially my age didn't have phones at the time. Most people switched their phones off at night to save battery or whatever so as long as you weren't deliberately trying to piss someone off you could text who you liked, when you liked. It was mostly just a bit of fun, a new and unusual method to communicate with fellow GSM handset owners.



    But its no longer the case, texting has become a more widespread method of communication and therefore more formal. Especially since about 2006/7 when everybody started moving to Facebook with private profile, switched off Bluetooth and basically refused to talk to randomers anymore due to their paranoia.

    Now if I meet a girl there is a perfect interval I have to wait
    1. Before sending the first text
    2. Before replying to a text
    3. Before sending a second text after no reply (much longer)
    4. Random 'padding' time in addition to these. A constant delay = freaky/stalker-ish

    There is also the number of texts I can send without reply before I have to assume she wants absolutely nothing to do with me anymore ever or risk being publicly denounced as a stalker/rapist type person. (usually only 2 or 3)

    Before I could send someone a text and they would get it when they are available and have their phone switched on. Now if I wake up at 4am and think of something I have to tell them I have to use a PyS60 script to schedule the text to be sent at a sociable time. Otherwise the person will go around saying "omg, he sent me a text at 4am!!! the crazy stalker, he is awake and thinking about me at 4am! how obsessive! lets call cops now pls kthbai!"

    Voice calls are not immune either - I cant call someone out of the blue for a chat, before I could but now they assume there is something wrong with me if I do that. In the early 00's I could call people and talk about an hour and they'd think nothing of it. Now its common to text before call

    When you send a text there is also risk that someone wishing to stir up some drama can isolate that particular text from the rest of the conversation and try to pass you off as a bad person.
  • by oljanx (1318801) on Monday January 25, 2010 @07:04PM (#30898190)
    When talking into your blue-tooth headset, DO NOT make eye contact with people in the grocery store. I'm tired of strange people asking me if we need milk, damnit.
  • Here's a few (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Monday January 25, 2010 @07:45PM (#30898668) Homepage

    When checking out at any store, do NOT ignore the cashier while talking on the phone. The rest of us would like to check out as well.

    When talking and pacing, try not to trample people around you.

    If you're talking to someone in person and get a phone call, either politely end your face to face conversation or tell the caller you'll call back later. Do not put the actual person in front of you "on hold" and expect them to just stand there while you shoot the bull with your buds on the phone.

    Do NOT expect to have privacy while yelling into your cellphone out in public. If your conversation is not for public consumption, go somewhere private. If your side of your "private" conversation suggests that you have the clap, I reserve the right to point, laugh, and make snide comments to my friends.

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