[linux-elitists] Silence! Re: google phones

Karsten M. Self karsten@linuxmafia.com
Tue Nov 6 15:52:30 PST 2007


on Mon, Nov 05, 2007 at 12:41:10AM -0500, Ruben Safir (ruben@mrbrklyn.com) wrote:
> By Leslie Cauley, USA TODAY
>     Breaking news E-mail alerts
> NEW YORK  Google (GOOG) today plans to announce the formation of an
> "open phone" coalition, with the goal of developing an operating
> system for the so-called Google Phone.

In a not-very-linux-or-elitist followup: a friend found themselves, once
again, woken up last night at 1:30 and again at 4:30 am by an
unidentified caller dialing an iPhone.  This has happened a few times.

Let me clarify:  pretty damned near every night.  For a month.


Apparently neither the joy-happy-fun-love folks at Apple, nor our
Monopolistic Overlords at PacBell^W Cingular^W SBC^W AT&T have thought
to implement a pretty bloody obvious feature for a phone, in a world of
increasingly low-cost connectivity:  specified blocklisting (specified
numbers or unidentified numbers), or specified whitelisting (specified
numbers), in particular, one which might be enabled/disabled readily by
the user at various times of the day.

I might, for example, be willing to be awakened at 4 in the morning by
my parents, girlfriend, or children, in the event of a dire emergency,
but not by Joe (or Rajnish or Mei or Ivan) Random Fax Teledialer.  I
might be willing to accept calls from known numbers much of the rest of
the day, and even allow interruptions from unknown numbers for an hour
or so.  Why isn't this functionality available?

Calling AT&T it appears that there is no feature in place to block
specific calls nor are their plans to implement one.  Calling 611 (after
scanning the AT&T website for other ways to deal with this matter)
elicited the suggestion that we visit the website to file a feature
request.  I suggested that the CSR earn her pay by taking the request
over the phone.  And that AT&T get off its fat ass and address this
problem.  We've been dealing with spam in email contexts for nearly two
decades, is it really so hard to realize it's going to hit phones, and
badly, and soon?

There are some other hacks:

  - The iPhone supports "Airplane mode" which apparently disables all
    wireless services, while allowing local phone functionality.
    http://www.theapplepress.com/?p=258

  - Some phones allow selection of custom ringtones for specific numbers
    or classes of numbers (e.g.:  restricted/unidentified numbers).
    Create a silent ringtone and set the "unidentified caller" ringtone
    to this.  Or set the silent tone as your default and change known
    numbers to something slightly more ... noticeable.

    Apparently I'm not the first person to think of this, though the
    referenced silent ringtone link no longer works:
    http://www.textually.org/ringtonia/archives/2003/12/002461.htm

    If your phone can handle MP3 ringtones, I offer the following 0.5
    second (fair use) clip from John Cage's seminal work:

    http://linuxmafia.com/~karsten/silent.mp3

    It's sort of the anti-Steven Colbert of ringtones.

    LMK if that works as I haven't actually tried this yet.

    For details on creating your own ringtone (Linux and Audacity
    elitism utilized):
    http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/commentary/listeningpost/2006/02/70150:w


  - Turn your phone off and buy an alarm clock.


It would be very slick if a combination of open platform OS + system,
and hardware devices, were made available which could address
deficiencies such as this.  I've seen the iPhone (don't use it myself)
and admire its UI advances (many must a matter of thinking about the
user and usbility), but still can't help seeing the device as largely
envisioned as a channel for cramming "content" and costs down the throat
(or up another orifice) of "the user".

Google phone might be part of that solution, anything else there that's
a good base?  And what's the hardware side look like these days?  That
slick handheld touch-screen thingie that got Best of Show at LWESF last
summer looks like a good start.


Peace.

-- 
Karsten M. Self <karsten@linuxmafia.com>        http://linuxmafia.com/~karsten
    Ceterum censeo, Caldera delenda est.
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