Why Smart Phones Aren't - Reason #5

The quotes below are real(ish).

"Hi honey, did you just call me? I got a weird message that sounded like you were in some kind of trouble. All I could hear was traffic noise and sirens..."

"I'm sorry. I must have dialed your number by mistake. I'm not in the habit of dialing my ex-boyfriends, but since you asked, would you like to go out with me again? One more try?"

"Once a friend called me and I heard him fighting with his wife. It sounded pretty bad."

"I got a voicemail one time and it was this guy yelling at me in Hindi for almost 5 minutes. The strange thing is, I don't speak Hindi."

"I remember once my friend dialed me. I called back and left a message asking whether it was actually the owner or...

...the butt."


It's called "butt dialing" in my parts of the world, or "purse dialing" (if one carries a purse), or sometimes just called pocket dialing: That accidental event where something presses the phone and it dials a number in memory without the knowlege of its owner.

After hearing these phone stories, I'm reminded that humanity isn't perfect. Among other things, we have worries, regrets, ex's, outbursts, frustrations, and maybe even laziness. One might be inclined to write these occurrences off as natural or inevitable. But, let's reflect a little. Were the people that this happened to any happier for it? Did it improve their lives? I tend to think it created unnecessary stress. Were they to blame? Was this preventable?

"Smart" phones. I'm inclined to call you what you are: The butt of technology.

We're not living in the 90's anymore. Sure, there was a time when phones had real keys and possibly weren't lockable and maybe were even prone to the occasional purse dial. Those days are long gone. "Smart" phones, you know when you're in a pocket or a purse. Deal with it. You are as dumb as my first feature phone. Actually, you are dumber. At least my first feature phone had a keyboard cover.

Folks, I hope that in my lifetime we'll actually see a phone that is truly smart. Perhaps the Ubuntu Phone will make that hope a reality.

I can see the billboards now. "Ubuntu Phone. It Will Save Your Butt." (Insert your imagined inappropriate billboard photo alongside the caption. ;)

Do you have a great butt dialing story? Please share it in the comments.

--


No people were harmed in the making of this article. And not one person who shared their story is or was a "user". They are real people that were simply excluded from the decisions that made their phones dumb.

Image: Gwyneth Anne Bronwynne Jones (The Daring Librarian), CC BY-SA 2.0
https://www.flickr.com/photos/info_grrl/

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Excellent post and I thank you for keeping the heat on the phone industry.

 
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Is it really wise to bash all the established mobile device ecosystems, and praise the Ubuntu Phone instead – if we are not 100% sure we are about to fulfill the here raised hopes?

These are certainly good ideas and creativity is essential for innovation. When reading the articles I feel somehow a bit smack of negativity about the current situation, but no deeper focus on what our strategy for a solution is. To avoid the impression that we produce vapor, could we demonstrate with follow-up articles (later) how our open source strategy takes up and discusses ideas? (And for successful ideas: how they are submitted as feature requests or code commits.)

 
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Though I am an Ubuntu supporter, I'm not praising the Ubuntu Phone because it somehow solves these problems. (It currently does not). I am pointing out that it offers us hope.

I do have suggestions though, and I like your idea of demonstrating how feedback can affect development. Thanks.

 
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I use my phone as an alarm. Sometimes I'm good at turning off the alarm in my sleep. To fix that I put the phone on the other side of the room.

One morning I woke up, with the phone near me, and it was dialing a friend of mine...WHAT?

Please make it stop.

 

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