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Microsoft Patents Tech That Would Silence Your Phone For You 251

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

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  • by innocent_white_lamb ( 151825 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @04:49PM (#42585245)

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

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

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

  • Re:Already got it. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @04:52PM (#42585285)

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

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

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

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

  • Re:Already got it. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @05:01PM (#42585393) Homepage

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

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

  • by Cajun Hell ( 725246 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @06:15PM (#42586123) Homepage Journal

    As someone who is aware of my surroundings and generally conscientious, I simply turn my phone to "vibrate" or even - God forbid - OFF... It works very well indeed.

    I agree with you, in this particular case. But there will be situations where I find something trivial and obvious that you find to be a pain in the ass, and vice-versa. Once person might say "I'm aware of what I'm watching and it's trivial and foolproof to press fast-forward on my Tivo remote when there's a commercial" and the other person might say "I shouldn't have to do that or think about that, when I'm trying to concentrate on the actresses' boobies, so mythfrontend should automatically commercial-skip for me." One person might say "I want a padlock icon when it is a totally sure thing (except for a glossed-over list of exceptions, all of which I want to always be un-acknowledged) there is no MitM attack, and I want lack of an icon when the certainty is less than 100.00%; I don't want to think about grey areas and degrees of certainty" and another person might prefer a realistic UI which says "MiTM is probably not happening" or "MitM is very very likely not happening" or "The level of conspiracy required for a MitM right now, has precedent." or "You only have one stranger's assurance that nothing shady is going on, and betrayal would require no conspiracy at all."

    We say just a little awareness and common sense solves the problem, maybe because our phones happen to be something we sometimes think about, for whatever reasons that have emerged from our personal quirks. Someone else says "I shouldn't have to be aware of something as unimportant as the current sleep/wake state of one of my pocket computers, among the dozen items I happen to be carrying." If eyeglasses or shoes or hats sometimes spontaneously started screaming in response to external activity, that same person might want the behavior automatically suppressed at some times, whereas you and I would probably raise an eyebrow at the thought of ever buying a screaming hat in the first place, because we already have enough to worry about (our phones) without having to worry about screaming hats.

    Different strokes for different folks.

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