back to article My Tibetan digital detox lasted one morning, how about yours?

My nuts are freezing. So are my toes and fingertips. It's chilly here on my remote Tibetan mountaintop. Being removed from the hurly burly of everyday modern existence gives me a chance to contemplate the truly important things in life. I exercise mindfulness as my exhalations produce swirling clouds before me. I consider the …


  1. Dr_N Silver badge


    Surfing quietly is fine.

    It's all the interactive shouty Facetimers and people who insist on giving their offspawn games and videos to watch at full volume who are the real menace to society.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Facetimers

      don't forget people that insist on making calls on their speaker phone! No I don't want to know you have a nasty boil on your arse or your internet is down at home and that you're basically a complete tw*t to people on the phone thank you very much.

      1. Jay 2

        Re: Facetimers

        ^This! More so when they hold it horizontally like the vapid, fame-seeking, bollocks-spouting idots on The Apprentice.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Facetimers

          ^A million times this.

        2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

          Re: Facetimers

          Absolutely! Those idiots look they are going to take a bite out of their phone as if it is a sandwich

          I once asked a young lady who was holding her phone horizontally in front of her mouth during a conversation (on speaker mode of course), why she held it that way (after she had finished). The answer was that in that way the radiation from the antenna wasn't as close to her brain.

          I didn't suggest the radiation from the antenna:

          a) might have hard time finding her brain, and

          b) could probably do no worse damage than had apparently already been done.

          I was sorely tempted, I will admit

          1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            Re: Facetimers

            They do it so the phone doesn't screen their faces from the TV cameras. The people who imitate them do it because they think that's the way to behave. And thus stupidity spreads from the boobtube out.

            1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              Re: Facetimers

              They do it so the phone doesn't screen their faces from the TV cameras.

              The last time I checked, my ears were on the side of my face*, so I don't have this problem.

              *This applies to most people I am aware of, with the possible exception of Mr Spock, with Space: The Final Front Ear, and Davy Crocket - King of the Wild Front Ear. These jokes have been brought to you by Christmas crackers from the year 1983.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Facetimers

              Actually, I suspect it's so that the audio guy can get both sides of the conversation (without having to go to a simulated phone call or devising a modified phone). Reality TV creatures aren't good at the Bob Newhart routine.

          2. throe a. wai

            Re: Facetimers

            Should have told her the antennas on the other end

        3. Barry Rueger Silver badge

          Re: Facetimers

          ^ This, while hiking on a forest trail! (Usually after discarding a Starbucks cup in the bushes.) (Because God knows you can't possibly enjoy "nature" without a frappacino and a chat with your BFF.)

        4. DrD'eath

          Re: Facetimers

          ^This! More so when they hold it horizontally like the vapid, fame-seeking, bollocks-spouting idots on The Apprentice.

          This deserves so many more up votes.

          But I need to know, why do they hold it horizontally? It makes no sense.

        5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Facetimers

          "^This! More so when they hold it horizontally like the vapid, fame-seeking, bollocks-spouting idots on The Apprentice."

          I think calls made that way originated on TV as a way for the audience to hear both sides of the conversation, ie a plot device. But people can be dumb, not realise this and copy it because "looks cool". Or something. A bit like the idiots who think holding a gun sideways is a good way to shoot.

          1. veti Silver badge

            Re: Facetimers

            Exactly, because Producers forbid that reality TV audiences should be forced^H^H^H^H^H^H allowed to draw inferences from partial information. If that happened, why, you might see them start to form their own opinions, to realise how inane the "judges" are, or even - worst case - how many more interesting things they could be watching. Like reruns of Columbo, for instance.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge


      A month back I was on a bus in S E Asia... It seems Facetime or similar is the default way people talk on their phones there. They've all talk looking at their phone which they hold 10" from their face.

      That's just an observation, and I offer no possible explanation other than another observation: it's bloody noisy there, from horns on mopeds to music being blasted out of cafes.

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Facetimers

      videos to watch at full volume

      This is particularly annoying in restaurants. Mind you, I probably should patronise restaurants where they don't allow that sort of thing.

    4. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Facetimers

      Oh gawd, remember those asinine push-to-talk devices (with their shrill and annoying roger beep) and the asinine people who used them (with their shrill and annoying screamy-voice?)

      Volume up to 11 so it's so loud you have to hold it at arm's length: check.

      Now have to scream to be heard through naff little mic on the device: check


      I used to have one twat from the network group who walked around our cube farm doing the push-to-scream thing. I would disrupt whatever he was trying to scream by yelling BREAKER ONE-NINE! BREAKER ONE-NINE! WHISKY ALPHA LIMA LIMA YANKEE ON DECK! ANYONE GOT THEIR EARS ON? LOOKS LIKE WE GOT OURSELVES A CONVOY! and so on until he went away.

      One day he stormed up to my desk and shouted that he was trying to do his job. I yelled back that by an odd coincidence so were the seventy or so people surrounding him and could he please take his idiotic beepy-box into the elevator foyer to do his yodelling and hog-calling.

      Scattered applause from hidden colleagues and that was the last we heard from him.

      1. ma1010 Silver badge

        Re: Facetimers


        YES! I absolutely despised those damn things. "Push to scream" is so very true!

        Have an upvote and a virtual brew on me.

  2. Franco Silver badge

    "live experiences "such as music concerts and theatre"."

    Every time I go to one of these I get stuck behind some toolbag who watches the whole thing through the screen of their smartphone anyway.

    I definitely don't want to go back to the days of non-smartphones though, because then at every station you have people calling their other halves to inform them that the train is entering the station (Insert sex pun here, after all this is SFTWS) as if the trains are quiet and hard to spot. The greatest invention of the smartphone was killing the "I'm almost home" call.

    1. rmason Silver badge


      Came here to say that.

      Even when you do goto a gig you have to find somewhere that isn't directly behind someone or many someones who are, inexplicably, using an iPad to film the event.

      Even see it at live football matches too.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge


        I am working on a design for a glink pistol - a small water pistol embedded in my glasses that identifies phone screens held between me and a stage so it can fire some incredibly sticky black glink onto the screen so that I can actually watch what I came to see and not some twats bingo wings.

        I may look for public funding on Inkygogofuckoff with your money for this.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Every time I go to one of these I get stuck behind some toolbag who watches the whole thing through the screen of their smartphone anyway

      Fortunately, this is pretty rare at Prog gigs. Sadly, the moth-breathing muppets who come along and spend the entire gig talking/shouting to their friends are not.

      At times I wonder about smuggling in a BOFH-spec cattle prod. But since using it would probably get me kicked out of the gig (even though I'm performing a valuable public service) I've managed to resist so far.

      1. ravenviz Silver badge

        +1 for prog reference.

        At Marillion shows you could hear a pin drop during quieter moments of the set. In fact if some did drop a pin they’d get frowned at. ;)

      2. pxd

        Mouth breathing muppets - I've been there

        I did once ask a twat chatting loudly with his fellow MBMs at the back of a venue if he'd like me to ask the band (The Stranglers, ffs!) to play more quietly. I pointed out that the loud music was clearly causing him all sorts of inconvenience, as he had to shout to be heard over them. I think my eyes might have been glowing a bit red around the edges, because instead of giving me back a few choice expletives, he just shut up and edged away. Public service, indeed . . . pxd

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Mouth breathing muppets - I've been there

          I followed the Strangs around for a couple months (or so) after seeing them open for The Ramones in 1976 ... I'm surprised Burnel didn't politely[0] ask the boor to shut up. Virtual beer's on me; I'd have bought you a real one if I'd noticed your public service.

          [0] Yes, politely. Amazing what a good education will do ...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "[...] the train is entering the station [...]"

      IIRC Monty Python that was considered rather risque for a late night sketch involving a train entering a tunnel - and finally a factory chimney stack collapsing as it was demolished? There were probably more visual innuendoes that I have forgotten in the best part of 50 years.

    4. Anonymous C0ward

      The worst thing is when people wave their phones about with the flash on, instead of lighters. It's just not right.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I am the type of person who would rather watch live stuff through my eyes than the phone screen, but I have to ask, should we force our way of life onto others. Should we prevent them from being able to watch their videos in the future and reminiscing about something they attended, provided it doesnt affect others?

      1. jake Silver badge

        No, of course we shouldn't ...

        ... "prevent them from being able to watch their videos in the future ". More power to them. Record away, if that's your thing.

        However, "provided it doesnt affect others" is key. In other words, keep your bloody iFad the fuck out of my line of sight, dammit! I came to see a gig, not your device's display.

        1. Franco Silver badge

          Re: No, of course we shouldn't ...

          You pretty much covered what I wanted to say Jake.

          If you want to watch a gig through your phone, fine. However don't do it at the expense of other people who want to enjoy the show.

          In ye olden days certain bands (The Grateful Dead and Metallica are 2 I can think of) had a dedicated "tapers" ticket and area for people who wanted to record the shows. Metallica (and no doubt others) also sell MP3s of their gigs recorded from the desk so of a much higher quality than you could get from a phone.

  3. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Zen out

    OK, so I'm not in Tibet but I did spend the last 30 minutes in the next best thing: my spare room at home where it can get a bit chilly and the Wi-Fi struggles to connect.

    I bet your wi-fi password is 'Shambhala'.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Zen out

      Bizzarely enough, Shambala (without the H) is a music festival in the UK where mobile phones see little use. Partly it's that the organisers don't bother sticking in Pico-cells (so that a 2G SMS might take up to 5 minutes to send, given there's an extra 15,000 handsets in what is normally an unpopulated field), partly it's because the general culture there is about getting dressed up and being lovely to everyone. People there just don't bother taking photos on their phones.

      The scale of the festival is such that if you wander around for an hour or two - or just sit outside the pub tent - you'll find your friends without needing a phone to arrange a rendezvous.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Zen out

        A choir that performs rarely in their home UK - but travels the world extensively - asks people not to use their cameras during a performance. Live indoor videos that escape onto YouTube always seem to come from Far East fans. I believe Japanese copyright law is somewhat different from UK law.

      2. ravenviz Silver badge

        Re: Zen out

        At Glastonury Festival in the early 2000’s we used to time stamp SMS’s in the text itself because they took so long to arrive. Just stopped people turning up at meeting points for an act after it had finished!

    2. rmason Silver badge

      Re: Zen out

      @Rich 11

      Bad form mate.

      Now he'll have to change it to Shambhala1

    3. Dr_N Silver badge

      Re: Zen out

      Friday beer for the Doctor Strange reference.

  4. Chronos Silver badge

    Fifty shades of tea

    Earl bloody Grey should have kept that muck to himself. I've had un-rinsed mugs that made tea taste better and Tesco's everyday basic floor-sweepings bags taste exactly like it: Slightly floral with a hint of Toilet Duck. Sir Patrick has a lot to answer for, making that gunk Picard's favourite brew.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Fifty shades of tea

      A PROPER earl gray is quite drinkable. It's just that the swill most people call tea isn't, let alone so called "earl gray" often offered nowadays.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Fifty shades of tea

      *Proper* Earl Grey is surprisingly drinkable. But, since proper Earl Grey doesn't come in tea bags (like most proper tea), very few people experience it.

      And drink it without cow-juice - that masks and mutates the taste.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Fifty shades of tea

        "And drink it without cow-juice"

        Applies to al types of tea. If you have tea that can actually be improved by milk you should get rid of it and buy something better.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Note: WITH milk

          “No,” he said, “look, it’s very, very simple ... all I want ... is a cup of tea. You are going to make one for me. Keep quiet and listen.”

          And he sat. He told the Nutri-Matic about India, he told it about China, told it about Ceylon. He told it about broad leaves drying in the sun. He toit about silver teapots. He told it about summer afternoons on the lawn. Htold it about putting in the milk before the tea so it wouldn’t get scalded. Heven told it (briefly) about the history of the East India Company.

          “So that’s it, is it?” said the Nutri-Matic when he had finished.

          “Yes,” said Arthur, “that is what I want.”

          “You want the taste of dried leaves boiled in water?”

          “Er, yes. With milk.”

          “Squirted out of a cow?”

          “Well, in a manner of speaking I suppose ...”

      2. Graham Dawson

        Re: Fifty shades of tea

        I prefer George orwell's view on the matter.

        1. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: Fifty shades of tea

          Anything is fine as long as it's not Redbush. Ever tasted that? It's a bit like what you'd get if you found a thirty year old PG tips box in a long abandoned mildewy caravan, took a bag out and mopped the floor with it before dropping it into hot water. I've fallen face first in the muck heap more than once and would take that over another cup of redbush in a heartbeat.

          1. BrownishMonstr

            Re: Fifty shades of tea

            I find redbush has a hint of honey taste and naturally sweet. But can get quite nauseously sweet a bit too quick.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Fifty shades of tea

              Tastes like a cross between yerba mate and jamaica to me. Not exactly my cuppa tea. As it were.

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Fifty shades of tea

      Tea should be made in a teapot. With loose leaves. Then strained - unless you've got one of those lift-out baskety things. And you need a tea cosy, because the second cup from the pot is usually the nicest.

      Earl Grey is nice for a change. But it does get a bit soapy if you over-brew it. I think it wants no more than a minute or two to brew.

      1. tinman

        Re: Fifty shades of tea

        if you want it right every time then you need to work to a standard so here it is...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          And with that link two hours of my life disappears.

  5. Aaiieeee

    Rein in your notification settings!

    I think there is value in managing the 'smartphone' element of life. For example I have very carefully curated my notification settings so that only SMS, phone calls and apps I explicitly want a notification from (authenticator tokens etc) have free rein; everything else is disabled. I couldn't care less if an app needs updating, or how many unread emails I have, or for any "you havn't checked into our app today" messages.

    I have absolutely no message counters visible; as soon as I see one I have a desire/need to check it which ruins productivity, and otherwise its unsigntly, so they all are hidden. I'll check when I am good and ready thank you.

    The scope of some permissions and notifications is quite extensive, requiring dilligent hunting in all settings screens both in the app, the app store, the phone, and hidden areas of the phone settings.

    I really rely on my smart phone for organisation and managing my life and its utility (I have a metronome) is unequalled.

    Everyone has different use cases, mine is more practical. I'm not in constant contact with anyone except my girlfriend and even then I prefer to just hang out and chat. I'm not really popular enough that the fear of missing out requires me to be plugged in; nobody I know is going to require me to respond instantly!

    Managing head space is important to me and it doesn't have to be done in Tibet or with chanting.

    1. Keven E

      Re: Rein in your notification settings!

      "The scope of some permissions and notifications is quite extensive, requiring dilligent hunting in all settings screens both in the app, the app store, the phone, and hidden areas of the phone settings."

      My gmail really, really wants access to my body sensors for some reason.

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Rein in your notification settings!

        "My gmail really, really wants access to my body sensors for some reason."

        Hoping to find the gspot?


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