back to article Commuters shouting into their mobiles? Just jam 'em

When a columnist starts off "Silent, but deadly..." you know he's trying to be funny; and Matt Rudd's recent praise for phone radio jammers is, clearly, not based on the fact he doesn't know what SBD actually means. Anti-social behaviour on trains these days isn't limited to producing methane; it is more commonly believed to be …

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tube guy

I have witnessed a slightly drunk guy underground on the Jubilee Line at Waterloo (really quite deep underground) get out his phone and start a very loud conversation to impress a woman nearby...

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my *cough* "friend" has one

Got it for £25, shipped as "LED Flashlight", works best where there is not a strong signal - trains and busses the best. The hardest thing is trying to keep a poker face as you cut people off, then let them talk again, and cut them off again.....

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Flame

Phones are the least problem.

I commute by train every day and, to be perfectly honest, people using their phones are the least annoying part of the whole experience. Far more irritating, IMHO, are:-

Lack of anywhere to sit.

When you do find a free seat its covered in chewing gum or, or worse.

Pricks with iPods at max volume (much more annoying than a phone, IMHO).

Cyclists who block doors so you can't get off without climbing over their bloody contraptions.

Assholes who crowd around outside the door when you are trying to get off.

People who stink. Have a shower for pity's sake!

And, above all of that, the ridiculous price I have to pay in order to enjoy all of the above.

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Anonymous Coward

Title

Doesn't it make them shout all the louder ?

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I fail to see the problem...

When I commute the only sounds I hear on my train journey are produced by my personal stereo -- unless I pause it to listen for announcements. When I travel with a friend, I tend to listen to them talking, and not people on their phones.

Why does it annoy you when people speak on their phones on the train?

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Not the most annoying thing...

The most annoying thing on public transport are the twunts who think that listening to (c)rap music on their phone's tiny tinny underpowered loudspeaker is acceptable. For these, we need some sort of directional EMP device....

Hmmmm.......

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Coat

Trigger Happy

. . . maybe Dom had it right all along?

"hello"

"yeah I'm on the train"

"no, it's rubbish"

-> coat

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Car Controls Near Theatre

With relation to;

[quote].... I happen to know a cinema not far from here where, mysteriously, car alarms won't work in the car park behind the theatres, and while they do ask patrons to switch their phones off, I've yet to hear one ring. Perhaps the patrons are all saintly? [/quote]

Is there, by any chance, a 'Frankie and Benny's' near said cinema, or a similar chain of restaurants?

I have worked out what causes it, but it's not the Mobile Jammer in the cinema. Car keys don't work at mobile phone type frequencies (i.e. 850/900/1800/1900Mhz), but in the general spectrum band at 433Mhz, which just so happens to be the same frequency used by those Jtech 'your table is free' flashing and vibrating pagers they have in the restaurants. Except those things seem to broadcast on such a high power that they end up annihilating all car remote controls in a 50 yard radius.

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Anonymous Coward

Doesn't it make them shout all the louder ?

Not when their signal ceases. They'll bleat on about how their network sucks after that.

:-)

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I swear they have jammers in Tesco

No matter which Tesco I go to, in any part of the country I can never get a phone signal. It's very annoying, especially when I need to check something with She Who Must Be Obeyed. Grrrr.

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Flame

The trouble with phones on trains..

Is no longer people talking on them but the arseholes playing 'music' at full volume (or worse ringtones - which have even less claim to be 'music') or, god-forbid, watching videos (at full volume, of course) and shouting such artistic critique as "fuckin awesome mate, you knocked out all his teeth there" or "ha! brutal dude! - all over her fuckin face!"

Why buy a phone jammer that could just turn out to be an expensive brick when you can pick up a REAL brick for pennies and it can be used to stop all these irritations!

Sure, you don't get to hide behind your magazine or book and snigger at how cool you are for pressing an button but your point will be actually be made because the recipient will be well aware of why their phone is now (permenantly) not working.

In fact the problem is not the phone itself, it's the user - a jammer can't solve that problem for you but a good old fashion brick is much more adaptable in that respect.

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@ 'the least problem'

Sceptical Bitch, my missus, does an 80-mile peak time daily commute and the experience above matches hers. At least her train is very fast (if it arrives at all, that is) so she can stand in the vestibule or sit on the floor in stinking overcrowded discomfort at 125mph. Personally, I travel off-peak so I always get a seat, usually well away from malodorous fellow passengers.

I object far less to the even-pitched and indecipherable tinny tinkle of a Walkman or iPod than to the loud, obnoxious and invariably inane babbling of mobe users.

It's not even a class thing: you expect that sort of behaviour from underclass chavs but suited businessmen and brittle young PR girls are as bad or worse.

And, of course, it is absolutely unnecessary to shout. On the very rare occasions I use a phone in public, I speak as quietly as possible (and cup my hand over my mouth and the phone if I'm seated). Not because I am polite but because the very last thing I want is every nosey bastard in the train overhearing my conversation.

If I knew where I could buy a reliable effective phone jammer for £25, I'd grab the chance. And, boy, would I use it! "The Quiet Coach"? It would be!

Meanwhile, showing unbridled hostility to inconsiderate bastards on trains often works. A good ploy is repeating - very loudly - everything the moron shouts into their phone then commenting on it to the rest of the passengers. "You're on the train? What a coincidence - so are we" or "You're going to miss your 10am meeting? God, I bet your colleagues are relieved." That sort of thing. In fact, Mrs Sceptical has become a past master of the art.

But be cautious - don't try this on any hooded young scumshite who look as if he'd stab you as soon as look at you.

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Alien

RF is evil

make them all walk around with really long extension cords.

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Sparkplug

I remember when I was at school a physics explaining that you could use a sparkplug to generate interference to normal radio. Presumably it would pulse?

Question is, could something of this nature (a bit more agricultural) be used to interfere with mobile phone signals?

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@ Greg...

"The most annoying thing on public transport are the twunts who think that listening to (c)rap music on their phone's tiny tinny underpowered loudspeaker is acceptable. For these, we need some sort of directional EMP device...."

I think a machinegun would work just fine tbh, and I'm sure David Blunkett would agree with me!

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Flame

My response to Colonel Blimp and his jammer...

...is 'fuck you'. For the simple reason that I would quite like to have my phone working when I'm traveling somewhere, so that I can be contacted by my daughter or her school if she has a problem. Or if my sick grandmother takes a turn for the worse. Or for that matter, to ring up and tell the person with whom I am to meet that the train is inevitably malfunctioning in some non-specific way and I will be late. If you are annoyed by people talking to each other, don't go outside. Wanker.

Apropos the *real* problem of checky-hatted little brutes playing happy hardcore at full volume on their phones, simply threaten them with violence if they don't turn it off. Works for me, but YMMV (you could get the driver of your conveyance to remove them if they won't stop, I suppose).

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I don't have one, but...

I think the best use of these jammers would be to switch one on just long enough to stop the arsehole's current call, and watch him swear, and look at the "Good signal" indicator...

THEN when he reconnects, jam him again just long enough to get a reaction, but again switch off the jammer before he looks at the signal strength indicator...

And so on, and again, and again, until he has a fit and tosses the phone out altogether!

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Boffin

To Cameron Colley : I have a patent idea

Wouldn't it be nice if your PMP could take advantage of Hearing Loop technology to pipe announcements through your headphones? Maybe there's a do-hicky that goes between your PMP and headphones that does it already?

If not, that was my idea

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Ask them nicely to stop

This nearly always works. Book tickets on a quiet carriage aswell, if they persist, get the guard. Reasonable people will stop anyway.

@Cameron Colley - it's the one way nature of the conversation. It's really hard to ignore.

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@Owen Williams

I think do-hickeys have been around for a few decades now so "prior art" or "bleedin' obvious" (I don't know the difference) might prevent your patent succeeding.

My do-hicky keeps the cats off the grass - only it doesn't - they all crowd round it and listen to Radio 1.

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@Owen Williams

Patent it quick, and make it! The nearest I know of is a "Push To Hear" device made by Sure, but your idea is better.

To those with jammers: Piss off! I happen to enjoy browsing the internet or talking on MSN on my commute -- and a jammer would make that a little difficult. If you don't like the sound of other commuters, buy some ear plugs.

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Coat

Re: The trouble with phones on trains..

"In fact the problem is not the phone itself, it's the user"

Absolutely right - god bless the '9mm behavioural aid'!

EAfH.

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Coat

The most annoying thing....

when I'm using public transport is the cancer I'm getting from all these irate passengers activating their phone jammers.....

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Happy

Sceptical Bastard

You wouldn't be referring to the GNER service would you? I catch that daily too...

A phone jammer would be so coooool! Even better if I could shut the announcement about the multitude of fkin tickets up - we have saver, super saver, apex, off-peak, business, yada yada - no wonder people get confused and then stung exortionate 'penalty' fares.

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mine works

I bought one in '98 and mine definitely does work - although i stopped carrying it around with me after 9/11 as it would have been even harder to explain what the suspicious non-branded box with 2 arials was doing in my coat pocket ;-)

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Cat scarers

My neighbour bought a mass of these to keep our cat off his petunias.

I don't have the heart to tell him the cat is stone deaf.

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Boffin

@Stuart Harrison

Tesco (and other giant supermarkets) don't tend to need to have jammers. Take a look upwards next time you're in one - many of them have open ceilings that let you look up into the giant gridwork of girders keeping the thing up; it allows them to have rolling aisles and big spaces without pillars. However between that and the shelves there's so much metal around that it begins to resemble a Faraday cage, with enough loss in reception and signal clarity to lose the connection with the nearest tower.

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I can see it now...

"I tried dialling 999, but for some reason I couldn't get any signal... I've never had that problem around here before....."

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@ Gilbert Wham

"I would quite like to have my phone working when I'm traveling somewhere, so that I can be contacted by my daughter or her school if she has a problem. Or if my sick grandmother takes a turn for the worse. Or for that matter, to ring up and tell the person with whom I am to meet that the train is inevitably malfunctioning in some non-specific way and I will be late. If you are annoyed by people talking to each other, don't go outside. Wanker."

Nope. It's not quite that simple, is it? It's not about just "going outside", it's about sitting on a train or a bus, sharing a space with others and having some consideration for their peace of mind while they travel too.

For my money, it's the arrogant tossers who sit in the "quiet carriage" and then ignore its designation that deserve nothing but a good bricking.

I you get on a train and sit in the "Quiet Carriage", I don't give a flying fox whether your family has been kidnapped by the Shining Path, your house is under seige by the Met with guns, or your daughter's school is in flames.

Don't. Sit. In. The. Bloody. Quiet. Carriage. If. You. Wish. To. Take. Calls.

In fact, switch the damn thing off or sit elsewhere.

And if you're not in the "Quiet Carriage", and your phone does ring, or if you want to make a call yourself, sod off to the vestibule for the conversation, we don't want to hear it.

We've all paid for our tickets, the same as you. We don't reserve the right to interrupt your train of thought, or your reading, or your crossword, or even your chat with your friends, so don't think you have the right to demand the ability to interrupt ours.

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Law
Paris Hilton

erm

I tend to text on trains.... it's easier and keeps me busy for longer than trying to shout over the noise of a carriage.... ofcourse, some busy-body elderly woman was having a shouting match with her friend in the seat next to her about "hasn't joan lost weight recently" at the top of their voices, then both made a snide comment when they saw me tapping quietly on my phone, with the phone on silent.

This is why we need to have those fabled phone-tasers.... then if somebody with tinny earphones at max, or chatting to somebody at the top of their voice, or keep pushing up against you when not needed, you can just press the "annoyance" button, and after the initial "Dont taze be bro" screams, all will be silent and personal space restored again! :)

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Trigger Happy and phones in Tesco

Yep Dom did have it right (coat unhooked and hung over arm)

As for phones in Tesco I have the same issue, I think it must be due to the construction of the building as mine goes when you are in the middle of the store.

(coat on)

Pctechxp has lef Vulture Central.

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Dam

illegal and unwanted

So what ?

You're at the movies, you switch your phone to oh-yeah-babe-vibrate to not annoy other people.

1/ It tickles you, you're hard, you go out and answer: your fiancee's had an accident, you rush to the hospital, stopping only to buy a Wii before they're outta supply.

2/ It's jammed, it doesn't ring, your fiancee dies and you couldn't be with her for the last moments (and you forgot to buy a Wii to top it off).

Tbh in case #2 I'm suing the theater for literally millions.

If people won't silence their phone in places they're asked to, boot them out, period.

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True poetic justice...

... would be for anyone owning and using one of these jammers to have a heart attack while doing so.

Spending the last minutes of your life wondering whether you would have survived if somebody nearby had been able to call an ambulance on their mobile phone must be very rewarding...

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Try considering people need to use their phones?

If my mobile phone ever rings (on a train or otherwise), its usually because someone NEEDS to speak to me, or I NEED to speak to them. Like someone telling me don't get off at x stop, get off at the stop before as the meeting has been moved. Or there is a problem at the office that NEEDs to be sorted out now and someone NEEDs to speak to me urgently to get authorisation. I don't use a phone to chat to friends about what they did on the weekend.

Also I think I have the right to be able to check my e-mail as and when I see fit, without some complete TW@T with a jammer in their pocket making it impossible.

I personally have never had a problem with people talking on their phones, its the drunken Bull$hitters in suits, that you get on every train journey, that like to tell you about how they were the director or ICI until yesterday, and now they are looking for a "new project" to keep them out of the house, then they start swapping business cards with other Bull$hitters and before you know it there are 4-5 peope all competing in volume to let the entire train know about the bilions of pounds of shares they buy and sell every day.

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Coat

I wonder what happened?

Before the advent of the mobile phone, I suppose peoples relatives just died alone in hospital, peoples children weren't left at home unattended and trains were late!

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Outraged of Tunbridge Wells

I think there are some things that some people just don't get when using communication devices. Namely, shouting down the mouthpiece does not actually make it any louder or easier to understand at the other end. You can witness this in offices. There's always the prize div who, when s/he picks up the phone (fixed or mobile) assumes a strange, laboured way of talking and at a volume several dB's louder than normal.

@Kevin Sedgley - is absolutely right. There must be some psychological reason for this, but it's downright impossible to tune out a one-sided conversation.

As for the burgeoning, tinny, (c)rap music being played (mostly upstairs on buses it seems) the perps should be taken outside and pelted with their own shit, IMO.

Of course in the old days, when the interweb was in black and white, we had inspectors on buses and trains. Any miscreants failing to toe the line were sharply dealt with and no mistake.

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Anonymous Coward

GSM 1800

A note for the author of the article - the jammer would block off GSM 1800 completely, because the whole downlink is in the jammed frequency range. And, without a downlink, there's no conversation.

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Happy

Jam brains, not phones....

One previous work colleague had a good approach to loud phone users on the train. He'd ask them, or the person they were talking to, for answers to crossword puzzles, because "I heard your conversation, and it sounds like you'll know this one..."

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Yay for the minority

Sounds like a case of ban it for the majority, because of the inconsiderate minority. Mobile tech is useful and doesn't need to be loud, you have text messages, emails and even IM. Loud twats will always exist, deal with them and their lack of consideration. I personally don't want to be cut off from the world because you might encounter someone who doesn't respect your set of social rules.

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Stop

If you use them, it could be you, just not the sort of lottery you want to come up in...

I am a volunteer ambulance officer. I was deployed to both Ladbroke Grove (the "Paddington" Train Crash), numerous bombings (real and suspected) and 7/7 by mobile phone, which I use to contact and provide initial situation reports to wifey, an ambulance service doctor (volunteer) who came to some of the same. For several of these I was on public transport when called and changed trains/bus etc at the next available stop to get to my muster points or deployed directly. We get lots of other activations the same way.

We can't carry service radios with us at all times and in any event couldn't/wouldn't listen to general ambulance traffic on the off chance there was a call for us, we need something of a life as well as day jobs to pay the bills (I work in IT, any IT giant/minnow want to sponsor our response vehicles or buy us some kit? I am sure el-reg will pass me your details...) so a mobile telephone is necessary for our deployments and so I can cascade information to other appropriate members of my units. I try to use mine in a socially responsible manner, but I was on the tube behind one which derailed a few months ago. Had there been a signal (and admitedly in that case I don't think there was) and had I been on it, would you have wanted my initial sitrep to be stuffed by someone who was unconcious having hit his head on impact, after having unbeknownst to me activated his jammer on the beginning of the trip?

Now if I could fit one to my car to "aim" at drivers ahead still using their handhelds (but only when I could "know" it was idle chit-chat), then that would be of interest.....

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Bronze badge

One-sided conversations...

@ Kevin Sedgley

Personally, I find those damned phones with the "press to talk" walkie-talkie functions even more annoying than standard phone conversations - first off, because of that #%^&* annoyingly loud *BEEP* and, secondly, because it's just so depressing to discover that there's another, equally inane, idiot at the other end of the call.

@ Luke Wells

"If my mobile phone ever rings (on a train or otherwise), its usually because someone NEEDS to speak to me, or I NEED to speak to them. Like someone telling me don't get off at x stop, get off at the stop before as the meeting has been moved. Or there is a problem at the office that NEEDs to be sorted out now and someone NEEDs to speak to me urgently to get authorisation. I don't use a phone to chat to friends about what they did on the weekend."

Good for you. Generally, the "Get off at X stop" calls can be done in 10 seconds -"Hello? It has? Right. It's coming up next. Bye."

Too damned many people, however, go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and... well, you get the point.

And, when you're in, say, a theatre or restaurant, you have your phone on "vibrate" and leave the area when you get that important call, right?

(And - just to clarify - when "...there is a problem at the office that NEEDs to be sorted out now," your end of the conversation doesn't involve terms equivalent to: "They !@@#$%%ing WHAT? You stupid &^$%ing @$$hole! I $%#^ing TOLD YOU TO...", do they? Because, if they do , then -yes - you ARE part of the problem and should maybe move closer to the office, since you're so impo'tant.)

"Also I think I have the right to be able to check my e-mail as and when I see fit, without some complete TW@T with a jammer in their pocket making it impossible."

It's unclear from the article whether the portable jammers are momentary-on or always-on switches. If it's a momentary-on type then, assuming that the user doesn't sit holding the button down for the whole trip, texting or checking e-mail shouldn't be a problem.

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i've got 2 words for all y'all . . . .

BUS UNCLE: LOL now that's some quality fun:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bus_Uncle

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@ dam

."

2/ It's jammed, it doesn't ring, your fiancee dies and you couldn't be with her for the last moments (and you forgot to buy a Wii to top it off).

Tbh in case #2 I'm suing the theater for literally millions.

"

Would you still sue if they had installed a mesh cage in the wall and tied it to ground ?? If they did that you will never get a signal

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Complain to Ofcom

You could discuss the cinema's jammers with Ofcom, although they seem to only want to hear from the operator, not end users:

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/complain/

I wonder whether the mobile operators pursue sites with fixed jammers legally, or whether they just avoid poking that sort of wasps nest?

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Don't you think the train operators might be p***ed off ...

... when you stop the R-GSM working? So if the twonk with the leaky earbuds turns round and lumps you one when you complain the train staff (yeah well, I know, probability vanishingly small) won't be able to shop him to the BTP.

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Reg

If you want to use your mobile, don't sit in Quiet Carriage

My train has 8 carriages, only one that is Quiet. Why do all the noisy people insist in sitting in it when there are seats elsewhere? Why object when you are informed that the carriage is Quiet? Is it because you cannot afford a phone with a quiet/vibrate option? Or, are you ignorant or unspeakably arrogant? Why do you need to say your train is pulling up every night when you are on a short part of the journey and those of us with another 90 minutes to go are trying to concentrate, read, or sleep?

Why sit in the same Quiet carriage three weeks running and say 'You don't understand what's happening in my life' and then chat up anybody you can in the loudest voice you can muster?

Why cannot you see everyone else cringing as your phone rings at the loudest level?

Unfortunately, the 'British' attitude is not to complain, and is not helped by the unsociallably loud announcements that the carriage is a 'Quiet' Carriage from the train staff.

Rant over, for noe...

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Coat

doh

..yes, i just realised the spy.. thingy one covers 2100MHz, mine doesnt.

pwnt.

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Boffin

@ Mike Moyle

"It's unclear from the article whether the portable jammers are momentary-on or always-on switches. If it's a momentary-on type then, assuming that the user doesn't sit holding the button down for the whole trip, texting or checking e-mail shouldn't be a problem"

i.. erm.. don't own one of these.. non-existent.. devices.. and they are indeed momentary only (well, the one i don't own is.. um..isn't.. anyway). and thank christ someone finally contemplated the possibility that these things are point-and-shoot as opposed to nuke from orbit. feh.

i find.. i mean, i would imagine, simply dropping the call a few times would is enough of a deterrent, and i have seen.. i mean, its safe to say, people would send a text message anyway, assuming the coverage was shite. if i'm in close enough range to hear the convo (which for some people is 14.4 brontosaurii) im close enough to get a jist of the call. if it sounds work related, or family related, it gets left alone, and generally these calls don't go for more than 60 seconds anyway. there have also been the odd occasions where an innocent second user, chatting away quietly, would be at risk of having their convo dropped at which times i have refrained as well.. i mean, would have refrained.. if i had one.. which i don't.. again, the momentary action of the device i don't own means inbound and outbound calls are fine to set up, but woe betide you if you start telling someone with some sort of pride about getting drunk and throwing up all over some poor bastard on the night ride home last night.

here in AU, a lot of operators have moved to 3G (adding 2100MHz and busting up some of the 1900MHz band for 3G time channel and data use), and being the tech deprived fools we are, users are lapping it up like kittens on milk. assuming the time divide channels are set up on 1900MHz as it is with Optus here in AU, these beasties should nuke 3G as well. hopefully someones working on one for the 2100MHz band (how 1337 would that be, unmarked black box with 4 antennas on it. i hear ASIO calling already *jammed*)

i do have a problem with continuous jamming though, as mentioned above, due to the possibility an emergency call etc will be blocked. it is a powerful weapon we.. don't.. wield, and it must be used fairly and with the (sometimes undeserved) safety of the general public in mind.

in other news, i have always thought being able to break into a mobile call would be a lot more fun.. "yeah hi, andy was it? look, we here on the 7:45 all to central wish you all the best with your herpes problem, as it turns out we have passed a hat around and hooked you up some cash to get yourself sorted.." that would totally float my boat.

ohh ohh, and a fun game i play with these hellspawn who play music on their iSheeps at stratospheric levels is to stand as close as possible and sing/hum along and/or dance to what they are listening to. when they stop and ask wtf you're doing, tell them you figured that as they were broadcasting to the carriage, you may as well enjoy it. not only do they often turn it down, they will usually walk about 3 carriages away as well. maybe they only do that cuz i wear chains, enough rings in my face to keep sonic going for years and a dead chicken stapled to my forehead.. *shrugs*

this story would have been better if lester wrote it. in his absence i have chosen the sexy goggle dude to man up the article a bit. im going to make an ASCII art "i want lester" image. then you'll all pay..

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I'd prefer....

....a device that was directional and powerful enough at close range to fully relax the sphincter in an offenders bladder .....

"oooh, gotta go, no really, oooerr....!"

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Anonymous Coward

Emergencies?

Just how important do mobile users think they are. Nothing that happens at work is so important that it can't wait the 1/2 hr, 1 hr or whatever it takes for the train ride to be over. If they were that important they wouldn't be on public transport in the first place. If you are in cattle class it's because thats about how important you are.

If an emergency happens at school what exactly do you think you can do about it? Give resuscitation advice over the phone, direct the fire department or manage an evacuation? Twats. Why spend the remainder of whatever hellish journey the rail companies are inflicting on you worrying about something you can do nothing about.

Even the volunteer ambulance man is not as vital as he would like to believe. he mentions the cascade system of phone call outs. The worst that happens is that who ever tries to call him simply moves on to the next link in chain if he is unavailable. He gets his missed call message at his stop and does what ever he needs to then.

If you must use your phone on public transport, use vibrate and send texts you inconsiderate bastards.

Dons flameproof vests and heads for door at speed.

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