back to article No, seriously, why are you holding your phone like that?

I don't like to do it sideways. I won't do it at any fancy angle. Call me conventional but what can I say? I'm a straight-talking kind of guy. How hard does it have to be to get a firm grip on it… and hold it against the side of your face? Oh right. Put that yoga manual down, you might have misunderstood my meaning. I was …

Meters with displays? I remember them!

Swapping out the existing gas meter at my mum's house seems to have become something of a saga. The current device, not the first one to occupy the small cupboard by the front wall, lost its display about three years ago, its "10 year" battery having become exhausted.

There have now been over 20 abortive visits by various engineers. It seems that the neat 1990s model of meter has been replaced in the manufacturer's catalogue by one double the volume. Whereas in electronics, new kit is smaller and uses less power to do the same job as old kit, for gas the opposite is true.

The corresponding "smart" meter is bigger still - they say they only have one model, which presumably has to be able to cope with the gas consumption of a large factory rather than just a pensioner's bungalow.

The obvious solution would be to replace the meter with another of the same model fitted with a new battery, but it seems they carefully destroyed every single one.

Naturally, the supplier has been "estimating" the consumption, and they are really good at that, aren't they?

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Re: What was that quote allegedly from Cardinal Richelieu again?

I'm not breaking out the formulae for boiling a sodding kettle.

Nah, but it would have been a good excuse to make a cuppa and glance at the clock... hang on...

...full pot of tea made. 2.5kW kettle, half full, boiled in about 2m15s

:-)

M.

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Re: What was that quote allegedly from Cardinal Richelieu again?

the readings are limited to half hourly

Just because they are now, doesn't mean they will be forever. The meter is capable of sending readings as often as it is programmed to (though whether the mobile network uplink will cope if every meter sends readings every 30 seconds is another matter). Our "smart" meters at work have been logging readings with 5-minute resolution for perhaps 10 years now. I don't think they upload each individual reading, probably buffering a bunch and sending them together, but the point is that it can be done, if someone decides it's necessary.

M.

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Re: What was that quote allegedly from Cardinal Richelieu again?

Nah, but it would have been a good excuse to make a cuppa and glance at the clock... hang on...

I'm very ashamed I missed that opportunity. Well spotted, sir. I worry that the AI won't take into account the water used to warm the pot, too :-)

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Re: Meters with displays? I remember them!

The corresponding "smart" meter is bigger still - they say they only have one model, which presumably has to be able to cope with the gas consumption of a large factory rather than just a pensioner's bungalow.

Exclusively designed for residential and SOHO customers. But if you imagine how big a ten year design life battery needs to be (even if it doesn't last) you'll understand. You're looking at around 10 Ah capacity, 3V, sealed unit and a very conservative cell design to support the intended design life and potential use in temperature ranges +45C to -25C.

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Re: What was that quote allegedly from Cardinal Richelieu again?

Why would this have to be per-household rather than per-substation if that is its main purpose?

I suspect at least partly because of this 'leccy car fad they're expecting people to provide their own multi-kWh storage that they can raid because they've sold off public infrastructure and haven't planned for the future. The problem with that is every charge/discharge cycle is one more step toward the grave for the most expensive part in your unicornmobile, which is a good thing for the manufacturer and The Economy™ but bloody awful for the poor sods who have to pay for it and accept the feature disparity between grandiose milk floats and proper internal combustion.

I do hope everyone caught the "mandatory smart¹ elctrojalopy charge point in every new build" proposal. When you gather all the evidence together it becomes obvious.

¹ Monitors and reports energy used to charge, storage capacity and so on. They then know where all the big capacitors are. I give it five minutes until they start collecting geodata, timing and usage stats for road pricing through the same pipe.

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Re: What was that quote allegedly from Cardinal Richelieu again?

probably buffering a bunch and sending them together

That's exactly how it will be done or, instead of a fat (relatively) pipe cellular link, they'd be using LoRa or similar for the last half hour usage reading which, unless you're running multiple flux capacitors, should fit into a float().

When I said "real-time" I probably should have said time stamped events. After all, they don't want to be snooping on everyone immediately, just a nice virtual paper trail to look back upon should the need arise and a great big database they can broker access to. With SMETS2, the central database multiple client structure is already there, ostensibly to enable competition in the energy sector.

So, regardless of the frequency of actual uploads, the data is captured in real time. Same data, less snoopmatics talking all at once.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They have a point.

You answer phone calls from unexpected phone numbers? Don’t, it only encourages that sort of behaviour.

Any business wishing to communicate with me shall do so by letter, email (or, if they really must, SMS) that I can ignore or respond to at a convenient time of my choosing, and they shall address me respectfully as “Dear Mr Coward”, and never “Hello Anonymous”.

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Re: What was that quote allegedly from Cardinal Richelieu again?

I suspect at least partly because of this 'leccy car fad they're expecting people to provide their own multi-kWh storage that they can raid because they've sold off public infrastructure and haven't planned for the future.

There's a lot of truth in that, but the academic evidence shows that "asset management" of vehicle batteries actually prolongs their life. I'm in the industry, I have a professional interest in these things, and I can assure you I was staggered when the research came out. But that's how it is.

Whether that's enough to make up for the failures of energy policy over a decade, well, that's another question

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Re: What was that quote allegedly from Cardinal Richelieu again?

There's a lot of truth in that, but the academic evidence shows that "asset management" of vehicle batteries actually prolongs their life. I'm in the industry, I have a professional interest in these things, and I can assure you I was staggered when the research came out. But that's how it is.

Whether that's enough to make up for the failures of energy policy over a decade, well, that's another question

Very interesting, thanks for that insight. While I don't doubt that keeping cells active improves their lifespan, especially where they are kept from sitting at full charge for prolonged periods in the specific case of lithium ion cells¹, surely there are efficiency issues? Genuine question, not gainsaying your point.

¹ Roughly 85% charge is where they may be stored with minimal degradation. This has been known for years.

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Boffin

Re: What was that quote allegedly from Cardinal Richelieu again?

There seems to be some question regarding exactly what levels to keep lithium-ion batteries at. My understanding, and my long habit, is discharge to around 40%, then charge to around 95%, which is why I have my androids programmed to speak up at those levels. 40 to 50% charge when storing, and store them cool (I've seen recommendations of "in the 'fridge"). Motorola Moto Z series battery mods (batteries that clip on the back and charge the phones internal battery) are programmed to keep the internal battery charged at 80%. I guess they know more about their batteries than I do. I doubt if keeping them "active" helps prolong life, they do have a limited number of charge / discharge cycles.

Apparently lithium-titanium batteries have none of those limits, though I've not found a lot of info about them. On the other hand, it's always the way, new battery technologies claim to have none of the limitations of the old tech they are replacing, until everyone's been using them for a decade, then we find their limits the hard way. Lithium-ion has half the energy density of lithium-ion, but if you are keeping your lithium-ions between 40 and 95%, then you're only using about half the energy density anyway.

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Only yesterday...

... I ventured into the local supermarket, and saw some young girl talking into her phone, with the phone flat, mic towards her face, speaker outwards. I really don't understand this, it seems little more than a affectation to me.

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Trollface

Re: Only yesterday...

"The Apprentice" and its vain morons who don't want to risk the phone obscuring their face from the camera has a lot to answer for, this being one of the worst trends...

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Re: Only yesterday...

While I would happily blame the apprentice for the black death, in that instance they're using the phone in hand free mode so they can have a group conversation.

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Re: Only yesterday...

I used to work with someone who used his phone like that (Dabbsy's second picture in the article). I didn't realise he was doing it at first; whenever I spoke to him on the phone, the background noise/echo etc made it obvious he was using it in hands free mode (i.e. using the loudspeaker), and he was always very loud himself - often ridiculously so (I had to move the phone away from my ear).

Then I was in the office with him when he was on the phone to someone else and the reason became obvious: He was holding the phone like that, in hands free mode so the person at the other end was on loudspeaker and he could hear them; the mic was very close to his mouth, and he was shouting into the phone.

Pillock.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: design fault?

Most phones actually have gone insane and go for looks over function. Thus the mic is hidden in the underside. I can see that angle actually working better than the supposed default of holding it to your ear.

Anon, because I'm not against the joke, but actually take it meta and now phones are designed to be used like you are insane.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Only yesterday...

"[...] with the phone flat, mic towards her face, [...]"

Possibly she was squinting to watch a streamed video at the same time - multi-tasking and all that.

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Re: Only yesterday...

I see that one a lot. I think it is to prevent the radio waves from microwaving the brain. I also see people with wired headsets ) where the microphone is embedded in the wire (the sort that come with phones)holding the microphone close to their mouths.

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Re: Only yesterday...

How the farking zarquon do you obstruct your FACE by using a telephone?

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Re: Only yesterday...

"I think it is to prevent the radio waves from microwaving the brain"

Ahh, so it is a useful idiot indicator.

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Re: Only yesterday...

"The Apprentice" and its vain morons who don't want to risk the phone obscuring their face from the camera has a lot to answer for, this being one of the worst trends...

It pre-dates The Apprentice. Holding it flat in front of the mouth while on speaker-phone was a device the TV production companies came up with (AFAIK) so in both fiction and documentaries, the viewer gets to hear both sides of the phone conversation. For the vacuous "fashion concious" types, copying their TV and Film heros/s'lebs is seen as the cool thing to do.

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Re: Only yesterday...

"I think it is to prevent the radio waves from microwaving the brain."

Despite there being little damage that could be caused.

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Tautomerism alert

vacuous "fashion concious"

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Re: Only yesterday...

"Despite there being little damage that could be caused."

It might be little damage, but if a little brain is all they have...

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Slight variation

I think there are two variations on the basic method. In the first, the phone is still in "normal" mode. In other words, in this mode you are working in "half duplex" where only one party can communicate at a time. Marvellous for making sure it's impossible to be interrupted.

But by far the most annoying mode is when the phone is in "speakerphone" mode. When used like this, it's less important exactly how the phone is held relative to the ear or the mouth, but now - instead of just catching half the conversation - anyone nearby can hear the whole blasted, boring, inane twaddle from both parties.

You have to wonder if the person at the other end knows that their conversation is being broadcast to anyone within listening radius, and some phones in speaker mode can be quite loud these days...

M.

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Re: Slight variation

There is a special corner of Hell reserved for people who have speaker phone conversations in public, with especially creative forms of torment for those who hold such conversations on the bus.

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Pirate

Re: Slight variation

If they're being particularly obnoxious it's fun just to join in and make your own comments loud enough to be heard by the remote party too. And of course make them as brain-dead and sarcastic as you can.

Even the most thick-headed moron will usually get that kind of hint that they've become a freakshow. And if all else fails you can just say you thought it was an open party line that anyone could join in as you're being forced to listen to it anyway.

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Re: Slight variation

I've noticed an unfortunately increase in people doing this on the train, usually whoever is doing feels the need the shout as the speakerphone picks up all the background noise of the train. I don't understand how people can be so oblivious or uncaring of those around them!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Slight variation

"There is a special corner of Hell reserved for people who have speaker phone conversations in public, [...]"

People from a nearby multi-occupancy house do that while walking up and down on the pavement outside - at 5.00am. In this hot weather with windows open - it is driving their neighbours mad.

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Re: Slight variation

" In this hot weather with windows open - it is driving their neighbours mad."

A bucket of water - or something - would help.

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Trollface

Re: Slight variation

A super soaker might be simpler.

What you fill it with depends on how annoying they've been...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Slight variation

"What you fill it with depends on how annoying they've been..."

Is one still obliged to yell "Gardyloo!" as you pour?

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Yeeooowch

[How hard does it have to be to get a firm grip on it… and hold it against the side of your face?]

I can't get the image out of my head now. I must say I would probably need an ambulance for the shattered vertebrae and torn muscles. I am not even sure it is physically possible (unless you are a cat)

The element Dabsy failed to spot is the phones are always on speaker mode so you can hear the infantile conversations from some distance while they shout into the end of the phone they believe the microphone is in. In a worrying number of cases, they are indeed shouting into the wrong end as the microphone is now a discreet pinprick while they shout into the speaker. I don't know if I should laugh, cry, or try to help.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yeeooowch

" they are indeed shouting into the wrong end as the microphone is now a discreet pinprick while they shout into the speaker."

With signal analysis it should be possible to make the speaker a concurrent microphone.

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Linky = Come home to a real fire

Notwithstanding the privacy implications, apparently the Linkys also have an unfortunate habit of catching fire:

https://www.60millions-mag.com/2017/12/11/linky-des-cas-d-incendies-qui-inquietent-11492

https://www.ladepeche.fr/article/2018/04/20/2783721-son-compteur-linky-prend-feu.html

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Re: Linky = Come home to a real fire

"the Linkys also have an unfortunate habit of catching fire"

With or without assistant.

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WTF?

Re: Linky = Come home to a real fire

I understand that thanks to the highly skilled(?) fitters used it has been known for some of those in the UK to allegedly at as fire raising agents.

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Facepalm

Re: Linky = Come home to a real fire

I think that's linked to one of the supposed benefits of smart meters. Some of the advertising claims they can help you to save money on your gas/electricity bills - I guess they do this by spontaneously helping to keep you extra warm and toasty.

And if you live through that, your house has been burned down, so you now have no more gas/electricity bills: a 100% saving. What could possibly be wrong with that?

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Re: Linky = Come home to a real fire

Or explode, since a goodly number seem to have developed gas leaks, due I gather to the speed of installation required. And when they come to fix these leaks they sometimes seem to find extra faults that no one had noticed previously (including when the original installation was done just three weeks before), that aren't covered so you need a qualified gas man to find a resolve the problem before they can put it back on, but Hey, they have a repair service you can pay to fix it.

And yes, this did happen to us, but no we didn't have to rely on them, we got our friendly local Gas Safe engineer to check it out for us. Who found nothing.

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...why are you holding your phone like that?

I have always assumed that it is because those doing it are pretentious poseurs who saw someone else doing it and decided that it was de rigeur to hold a phone that way.

Much like those who rather than ask "may I have a <choice of> coffee, please, ask if they can "get" one.

I have lost count of the number of times I have come close to being arrested for grabbing such twats and throwing them to the back of the queue; so far I have been able to resist, but the day fast cometh...

And I can always dream of course.

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Anonymous Coward

"get"

twat: "can I get a latte?"

barista: "no, but if you order one I'll be happy to get it for you"

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Re: ...why are you holding your phone like that?

used to think that too, until I came to use a phone with such a shitty mic it have to be in front of your mouth to function properly

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Re: ...why are you holding your phone like that?

To think the Nokia nGage didn't sell because you had to hold it sideways with the display facing forward while calling and you looked stupid using it. Looks positively intelligent these days.

Get off my lawn.

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Re: ...why are you holding your phone like that?

@Dan 55

There's a rather good documentary on BBC iPlayer at the mo about the rise and fall of Nokia. A range of Nokia phones - not just the nGage - that were held sideways against the head were used to illustrate Nokia's hubristic period.

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Re: ...why are you holding your phone like that?

I'm afraid I often say "can I get", without meaning to. I put it down to years of exposure to American television. Friends has a lot to answer for.

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Re: "get"

Similarly...

person: How are you?

twat: I'm good.

person: That should stand you in good stead if there turns out to be an afterlife.

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Devil

Re: ...why are you holding your phone like that?

@ Richard 81: Friends has a lot to answer for.

Part of me wants to correct that to "Friends have a lot to answer for", but I recognise that in this case that would be wrong.

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Re: ...why are you holding your phone like that?

To think the Nokia nGage didn't sell because you had to hold it sideways

I almost bought one because the nGage got an exclusive "Elder Scrolls" game. SO glad I didn't. The game supposedly wasn't very good.

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Headmaster

Re: ...why are you holding your phone like that?

"Part of me wants to correct that to "Friends have a lot to answer for", but I recognise that in this case that would be wrong."

The correct correction(?) should be

Friends has a lot to answer for.

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Re: ...why are you holding your phone like that?

"good documentary"

Documentary? Yes. Good? It depends on whether you can speak Finnish as a lot of it's in that language, including the contribution of the lawyer who was recruited because she was a fluent English speaker. The problem is the subtitles which are all too often unreadable. Should have either taken more care with that or dubbed it.

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