Feature request

Sometime yesterday I set my mobile phone to silent. Later I left it somewhere in my house. This morning I couldn’t find it, even by calling it with the cordless phone on our land line. My other mobile was meanwhile in the back of the car, being driven around by my wife. I had two appointments this morning (or thought I did… couldn’t tell for sure) both of which required phone coordination. Neither worked out. When the bus was late I tried sending an email to my first appointment, using EvDO on my laptop. But the bus came in the middle of the mail session and I had to close the lid. That crashed the laptop, which was flaky in the first place. My other laptop is semi-retired, with no replacement chosen yet. (Though I’m falling in like with the Asus Eee PC, which I met for the first time yesterday.)

Anyway, here’s what I want (besides a less forgetful brain, which I’ll never get): a cell phone silencing option that un-silences the phone after a certain number of hours, making it easier to find when you call it.


  1. Ruby Sinreich’s avatar

    I just got an Eee last week and I am really loving it. Finally true portability!

  2. Luke Gedeon’s avatar

    Hear! Hear!

    That is a absolutely great suggestion and should be very easy to implement. Let’s hope they do it.

  3. Kellie Miller’s avatar

    How about the ability to send yourself an SMS that unsilences the phone. You set up the “pass phrase” that does the trick. Then, you send yourself an SMS via the email gateway and viola!

    I think the message here is that we want our phones more customizable. Ideally, we’d like to come up with the customizations ourselves, not wait for some lab geek to think them up for us. I’m guardedly optimistic about the potential for Android to solve some of these issues for us, if the phone companies don’t figure out a way to chain it up as well.

  4. Stefan Constantinescu’s avatar

    Any Nokia phone running S40 has this feature and S60 3.2 devices will support this feature when it comes out. Let me be the first to say however that the whole point of having silent mode is so that the phone vibrates hence you keep it in your pocket. No need to over technologize you loosing things in the house 😉

  5. Kyle Kinnaman’s avatar

    Why not have it ring after a specific number of calls in rapid succession? That way you can find it if lost and you can be reached in emergencies. I would hate to miss the birth of my child/death of a loved one because I was in a meeting.

    First three calls are silent, but the fourth (and each thereafter) rings.

  6. Brian Benz’s avatar

    Excellent idea – I’d also like that integrated with an alarm, so when I’m in a hotel room it shuts off until the next morning, then sends me an alarm and reactivates the sound to a profile of my choosing.

  7. William

    If _my_ feeble memory doesn’t fail me the Nokia 3595 had that “wake-up” feature. Set it on silence or even vibrate and then tell it when to revert back to normal. It was a blessing.

  8. John Magnus’s avatar

    Or go for a Windows Mobile device that can switch to the “silent” profile when in meetings (info from the calendar) and switches back once the meeting has ended. Saves you all the hassle. It will even save you the embarrassment of forgetting to set your phone to the silent profile when in *that* important meeting…

  9. Paul Ding’s avatar

    Another reason why we should be able to buy open phones, and install our own software, that does what we want.

    There’s a *bleep* that’s called me about 300 times since Christmas. Just calls and says nothing. Federal law says that’s illegal, but the FBI won’t do anything. The guy lives across the country, so local cops don’t have jurisdiction. The folks at Vonage and the folks at AT&T Mobile both say that they can’t block individual numbers, and only have the ability to block calls without caller ID. So when he gets on a streak, I call-forward the calls to *his* local police department, and everyone else that calls me gets annoyed, but he just waits an hour for me to decide I want to be able to receive incoming calls again, and then he starts acting like a *bleep* again.

    Instead of having a “vibrate” setting that automatically goes back to audible, I’d like the ability to call the cell-phone number and set it back to audible by punching in a sekrit code – but if we controlled the software in our phones, we could both have what we like.

    Did you see Red Green, where he fastened his keys to the cell phone so he could find his keys? The phone was set on vibrate, and it was set on the toilet tank. After a few calls, everything went swimming….

  10. Technical Writing Geek’s avatar

    My cell phone makes me dial in for voice mail messages. I think this menu is completely underused, since it could offer more information and features.

    It would not be difficult to program the phone to ring if called by a certain number, say from customer support’s automated fone finder line.

  11. Paul M. Watson’s avatar

    How about just having one of those key finders that beep and flash when you whistle.

    But I’m with you guys. Lets have some fun with this. The iPhone runs Apache fine so we could have it accepting incoming HTTP, mapped through to certain commands. Use the accelerometer too. If it detects it hasn’t moved for several hours it reactivates its finder service/de-silences.

  12. Buzz Bruggeman’s avatar

    How about also having the default be that when your phone is being charged that the default is to ring, and not to be silent.

    i miss calls because my phone is charging, and i didnt hear i vibrate, while if i had it in my pocket, e.eg. not charging i could at least feel it.

  13. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Great suggestions, all.

    Paul, I think there are possibilities with the iPhone plus any relatively open phone, along the same lines. I like the idle accellerometer idea.

  14. JTH (Chip)’s avatar

    Looks like the ground is pretty well covered

    Software fix… my old Treo has manual switch
    iPhone – would be good feature to add

    Calling Steve Jobs …
    Upgrade time

  15. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Chip, my phone happens to be a Treo, which seems to want to do most things in software, other than silencing, which it does with a switch on top of the phone.

    Can’t wait to get rid of it. I like the fact that it has a keyboard, which is good for texting; and its sound, which is very good. Otherwise, it’s a failure-prone pain in the ass.

  16. Trump’s avatar

    OK…….waited long enough for the punchline. Where was the phone when you found it?? OR did you?

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