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Monday, Nov. 5, 2007 at 8:16 am

Can You Hear Me Now? NO!? Gooood…

By Jeffrey Eisenberg
November 5th, 2007

bad signalGoogle will make cellphones even cooler. Yay! Yippee, social media!!!(?)

I already have a leash, model number BlackBerry 8700g. I enjoy guilty introverted fantasies of a device that will allow me to provide a mild-yet-meaningful electric shock to everybody who calls me; not to torture them, but to have them reconsider whether or not it requires a conversation.

With a voice that no librarian could love, I’m certain that I’ve been that cretin who won’t shut up more often than I’m comfortable admitting. Not wanting to be rude, I’ll apologize if I’ve disturbed you. But my liberty should end at the boundaries of your liberty, otherwise just call it license and add it to those “rights” so bellicosely defended by libertines garbed in libertarian costumes.

My friend recently purchased a cell phone jammer. I don’t know if he ever used it but we laughed deviously at its delicious potential during show and tell. Can you imagine?

Cellphones have changed our lives forever. Remember the Seinfeld episode in the Chinese restaurant where they couldn’t reach each other? That episode is about 15 years old and it feels as fresh as the leftovers in the Honeymooners’ icebox.

We love our cellphones and, as they evolve, we can’t imagine life without them. We hate our cellphones as they become more intrusive in our lives and the lives of others.

Do you ever turn off your cell phone? Do you ever ask other people to? What are/should be/might be the rules?

TheNew York Times also got me thinking about this in an article called “Devices Enforce Silence of Cellphones, Illegally“:

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 2 — One afternoon in early September, an architect boarded his commuter train and became a cellphone vigilante. He sat down next to a 20-something woman who he said was “blabbing away” into her phone.

“She was using the word ‘like’ all the time. She sounded like a Valley Girl,” said the architect, Andrew, who declined to give his last name because what he did next was illegal.

Andrew reached into his shirt pocket and pushed a button on a black device the size of a cigarette pack. It sent out a powerful radio signal that cut off the chatterer’s cellphone transmission — and any others in a 30-foot radius.

“She kept talking into her phone for about 30 seconds before she realized there was no one listening on the other end,” he said. His reaction when he first discovered he could wield such power? “Oh, holy moly! Deliverance.”

As cellphone use has skyrocketed, making it hard to avoid hearing half a conversation in many public places, a small but growing band of rebels is turning to a blunt countermeasure: the cellphone jammer, a gadget that renders nearby mobile devices impotent.

The technology is not new… [Read the full article - registration required]

What are the implications of the new Google mobile platform?

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Comments (3)

  1. Ah, yes… the Seinfeld episode in the Chinese restaurant. Network executives at the time almost didn’t even air that episode because they could not imagine an audience watching the characters standing in the restaurant for the entirety of the show. The show was a hit, but we can’t imagine it now either. I watched this episode recently and thought, “All that trouble could have been avoided with a cell phone.” Kids watch it now and ask, “Why didn’t they just use their cell?”

    Hmmm… Interesting though how we:
    1) Quickly embrace convenient technologies, and
    2) Quickly rebuke convenient technologies.

    My wife often uses her cell phone while on the elliptical at the gym and people get violent. But I can exercise next to her and carry on a conversation unscathed. Now what do you suppose we should make of this seemingly double-standard? Perhaps some of us have pent up cellular anger that snarls like Obama when he doesn’t get enough press. But I suppose it’s (what I’ll call) the “Silent Revengers” (like Jeffrey Eisenberg’s friend) that we really need to keep our antennas up for. Ha!

  2. Michael is right – most people can not imagine being without the convenience of a cell phone to simply phone ahead. However, the unfortunate downside to this technology is that it has led to a disconnected society. While Jerry and the gang spent the entire episode standing in line making Seinefeld observations and humor, today you’d have each of the characters having individual one sided conversations into their cell phones, rather than engaging conversation with each other. No fun in that.

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Jeffrey Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark. You can friend him on Facebook.

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