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 …

  1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    /blows raspberries

    1. Absent

      Or Chinese

      Voice messaging is hugely popular in apps like WecChat. Typing in Chinese and such character sets isn't that quick so instead of SMS text based style messaging, people now send voice recordings, sometimes just seconds long.

    2. TheVogon Silver badge

      "No, seriously, why are you holding your phone like that?"

      Perfectly normal when you want to send a cleavage shot via Skype.

  2. wurdsmiff

    Talk like an Egyptian

    I noticed on a recent trip to Egypt that whenever anyone answered a call on their Nokia feature phone, they invariably listened and spoke with the buttons outwards. Having experienced more than one dropped call or embarrassing mid-conversation tone from face-pressing, I though that was actually a pretty good idea.

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Talk like an Egyptian

      Maybe a problem for people with thick beards?

      (although AFAIK many Egyptians are - were? - shaved...)

    2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

      Re: Talk like an Egyptian

      Upvote for the title on its own.

    3. getHandle

      Re: Talk like an Egyptian

      Most smart phones have proximity sensors that disable the screen when it's held close to your head.

      It's the people who are left-handed but right-eared, or vice versa, that I feel sorry for - having to hold your phone awkwardly with your arm across your body looks most uncomfortable!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        Re: Talk like an Egyptian

        They hold them like that because that's how the promotional pictures in the adverts show people holding them when selling those stupid edge to edge displays that look all star trek but are utterly useless in real world use...

        I'm glad to see some manufacturers aren't so stupid as to just try and follow the edge to edge notch dad and still actually bother to test real world usability.

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Talk like an Egyptian

          @getHandle - Most smart phones have proximity sensors that disable the screen when it's held close to your head.

          Unfortunately some people seem to have proximity sensors which disable their brain when the phone's held close to their heads...

        2. Mr Flibble
          Thumb Down

          Re: Talk like an Egyptian

          Ah yes, the edge-to-edge displays. I'm convinced that they're intended to cause accidental clicks on adverts which convienently happen to be right at the edge of the display.

          (Well, I say adverts. Could be anything.)

      2. GIRZiM Bronze badge

        Re: Talk like an Egyptian

        It's the people who are left-handed but right-eared, or vice versa, that I feel sorry for - having to hold your phone awkwardly with your arm across your body looks most uncomfortable!

        Neurologically, men generally have a preference for their left ear, whichever hand they favour.

        I certainly do and although I'm (principally, I'm mildly 'ambidextrous') right-handed, I hold my phone to my left ear with my left hand as a result. I do this because, not only is it easier but, if I want to use my right hand to operate my phone (which I do, because I'm principally right handed), it makes more sense to hold it with my left hand, freeing up my right hand for the necessary fine control required to ensure I don't hit the wrong things with my (relatively clumsy) left hand. What kind of simpleton does it the other way?

        Besides, actually I don't even do that but wear an earpiece. Anyone not using a headset/earpiece with a smartphone should just get a phone as dumb as themselves. Seriously, what kind of idiot spends their time trying to copy information on their phone whilst saying "Hang on, I've go to take my phone away from my ear and can't hear you. What? No, I said hang on I can't hear you while I do this. What? No, I didn't hear that bit, you'll have to repeat it. No, wait, not so fast, I can't type that quickly. What?"

        As for those who do it all on speakerphone, well, it's up to them whether they want me to hear the details of their STD/STI test results, isn't it?

        1. the Jim bloke Silver badge
          Meh

          Back in the day..

          before all this automation and on-board processing malarkey, mine surveying used to involve a person at a fixed point throwing a laser beam at a person at the work location - who would bounce it back, and by various arcane mathematic and mechanical rituals, useful information would be derived. As the fixed point and work location could be up to a kilometer or even more apart, a 2-way radio ("walky-talky" for people who like to talk like children) was an essential part of the kit.

          All the 'laser' controls were set up for right handed control, on the other end the laser-bouncy stuff pretty much required being managed by your dominant hand - so the 2-way was held in the left.

          Which is why I talk left-handed.

          ....I want a derail/off-topic icon...

          ......is it even possible to go off-topic from Dabbsy comments ?

          1. onefang Silver badge

            Re: Back in the day..

            Going off topic is mandatory in El Reg, the sooner the better.

            1. Danny 14 Silver badge

              Re: Back in the day..

              i have used the button up method ONLY when im navigating call center stuff. As soon as i hold the phone vertically my phone goes into screen off and ill be damned if i can get the keypad back without terminating the call. I seem to find that the phone decides to bring the screen back wholey dependent on length of time in the queue. 5 mins? yup, screen keypad will return. 40 mins? nope, phone needs just ANY excuse to drop the call.

              to be safe i use phone flat method and it seems to keep the bugger at bay.

            2. Lith

              Re: Back in the day..

              Speaking of off topic, do they still make those topic chocolate bars?

              1. Dave559 Bronze badge

                Re: Back in the day..

                Yes, you can still get Topic chocolate bars, but they don’t seem to be anywhere near as widely stocked as the other Mars confections, sadly (which is a real shame as I like them much better than Mars or Marath\\\\\\Snickers).

                1. Alistair Dabbs

                  Re: Back in the day..

                  Topic = Bill Oddie's last hurrah before turning into a grump.

                  1. Teiwaz Silver badge

                    Re: Back in the day..

                    Bill Oddie was always a Flump

                    There was Goodie episode in which he shaved the beard off.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Back in the day..

            "surveying used to involve a person at a fixed point throwing a laser beam at a person at the work location"

            Luxury! Dumpy level and staff calibrated in decimal feet.

            But in answer to your question at the end: it's mandatory.

          3. Wincerind

            Re: Back in the day..

            "walky-talky" for people who like to talk like children - For those of us of a certain generation who used to watch Forest Rangers in the early sixties, they will forever be "Walky Talkies". "XNY556 A for Apple calling B for Bob"

      3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Talk like an Egyptian

        Most smart phones have proximity sensors that disable the screen when it's held close to your head.

        I think all the smartphones I've owned have claimed to do this, but none were particularly successful at it.

    4. Edwin

      Re: Talk like an Egyptian

      Nokia 9x10 anyone?

    5. remyj

      Re: Talk like an Egyptian

      And clearly the author never had to look at the dialer to navigate a multi layer auto attendant menu while still listening to the phone on speakerphone.

  3. Craigie

    Damn

    I was very anti-Brexit until now, but I think you just swayed me.

    *puts match to EU flag*...damn.

    1. jarfil

      Re: Damn

      I thought Brexit was dumb until now, but making fun of privacy concerns in such a stupid way just swayed me.

      Go kiss your Big Brother's arse.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Damn

        1. That was clearly a funny joke, ya know intended and succeeding at humour.

        2. The article was about phones, it mentioned smart meters but it was not the point of the article or the joke.

        3. Smart meters are simply not the same thing as Facebook, Google, apple, Microsoft and all the other data slurping services you use without a second thought. Smart meters are actually needed to support new technology such and electric cars, energy storage and micro generation to ensure secure uninterrupted supply in the future. People who think their energy supplier can only want to known about their energy usage for marketing purposes demonstrate massive technological illiteracy. It's ok if you don't understand the challenges to modern national energy infrastructure but don't pretend you own weird paranoia is an informed opinion.

        BTW I work in the UK energy sector and a big part of my job for the last couple of years was testing the security of the meters to ensure only authorised users could access the specific data they are allowed, infact legislation was passed to define all this and protect consumers. No matter how highly all the smart meter skeptics think of themselves they are not the first people to think 'hey maybe this new system needs to be secure and protect customer's private data'.

        If you're now thinking 'fine we need it but why do I have to have one' then imagine what ancient tribes used to do the caveman who said 'fine we need firewood but why do I have to get it', it probably involved a flaming pointy stick... do you get why they were mandatory in France now? Literally no one else thinks you should get special treatment, you want to use the national grid then you got to follow the rules, or build you own generator, up to you...

        1. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

          Re: Damn

          "testing the security of the meters to ensure only authorised users could access the specific data they are allowed, infact legislation was passed to define all this and protect consumers"

          I suspect it isn't merely ignorance that drives the scepticism, but many years of experience of other "secure" systems. If this is truly secure it would be a first.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Damn

            "many years of experience of other "secure" systems. If this is truly secure it would be a first."

            The first immutable law of security is that perfect security is impossible. The corollary to that is that you are at the most risk the moment you think that you are secure.

          2. veti Silver badge

            Re: Damn

            I'm sure the smart meters can be hacked, if someone with sufficient resources gets sufficient motivation to do it.

            But the resources would need to be high, because the security is pretty good. And it's not clear what the motivation would be, because the information or other benefits they could gain are just not very interesting. Seriously, who do you imagine is willing to spend weeks of their time on finding out whether you get up at 6:00 or 6:30?

            Bad actors have many more tempting targets, that are both less secure and more profitable.

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Smart Meters are a tempting target

              Because if you can get control, you can take down a country.

              Imagine what would happen if an evil actor turned off all the power to 10,000 homes and businesses simultaneously.

              Then back on a few minutes later.

              And yes, this is one of the features of both SMETS1 and SMETS2.

              Aside from that, I change energy supplier almost every year.

              SMETS1 meters cannot change supplier, so if I had one of those it'd be useless the next year.

              And none of the companies publish whether they would fit SMETS1 or SMETS2.

              1. Timbo

                Re: Smart Meters are a tempting target

                "SMETS1 meters cannot change supplier, so if I had one of those it'd be useless the next year.

                And none of the companies publish whether they would fit SMETS1 or SMETS2."

                So, is this why energy firms are SO keen to force smart meters onto UK consumers...because it actually locks you into a supplier?

                What happens to the old meters? Landfill or do they get re-used elsewhere.

                And what about changing suppliers? Can this only happen after the previous energy suppliers meter is removed?

                I'm going to stay clear of these so called "useful" devices as I can gauge all my energy requirements already...as they are only switched ON when *I* decide I need to use an appliance!!

                1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                  Re: Smart Meters are a tempting target

                  Timbo

                  We took a Smart meter - because my wife didn't want to keep sending in meter readings. But the bastards fitted one that only read the electricity - said they couldn't supply one that read the gas meter. . So eventually they had to come around and replace that.

                  By which time we were looking at changing suppliers. The new suppliers can't read from it, So our shiny new meter has been turned into a dumb meter. Or at least the reading display no longer works. And apart from having to look in the-cupboard-under-the-stairs it makes not the blindest bit of difference.

                  The idea, was, I think, that we'd use less fuel. But it won't because it doesn't give an appliance by appliance, or even room reading. So we can't just look and see where we're using too much. - if we were.

                  1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

                    Re: Smart Meters are a tempting target

                    "The idea, was, I think, that we'd use less fuel. But it won't because it doesn't give an appliance by appliance, or even room reading"

                    How would it be able to do that? its not magic.

                    if you want to know how much an appliance uses look at the reading - turn the appliance on - look at the reading again

              2. kain preacher Silver badge

                Re: Smart Meters are a tempting target

                "SMETS1 meters cannot change supplier, so if I had one of those it'd be useless the next year."

                Yes you can, it just turns into a dumb meter .

                https://www.engerati.com/article/uk-energy-suppliers-smets1-smart-meters

                1. Richard 12 Silver badge

                  @kanpreacher

                  Yes, that's what I said.

                  Next year the "smart" meter will be useless, as it'll be worse than the existing dumb meters.

                  The effect of having one installed would be:

                  1) Increase my actual energy consumption by a mean of 5 Watts - 35kWh/year, or £5.60

                  (1W for gas, 4W for electric)

                  2) Make it much harder for me to take readings, as the UI on "smart" meters is universally horrific.

                  3) Overcharge me for the energy I'm using, as these meters are far less accurate for discontinuous loads like SMPS, VFDs and LED lighting - about 70% of my electric load.

                  4) More landfill, as the SMETS1 meters will "probably" need to be replaced before the end of their lifetime.

                  5) More landfill, as these meters do not physically last as long.

                  That's all assuming they actually work to spec.

              3. cyberdemon
                Devil

                (deliberately?) stupid meters

                Apart from the reasons discussed already (1: being switched off remotely, either for "load-shaping" by your supplier, or "cyberattack" by anyone else.. 2: having my data slurped and sold to any and all interested parties 3: being locked into a particular supplier 4: being made to pay a variable rate depending on the suppliers's ability to supply...)

                The other reason I hate smart meters, and would never consensually have one installed, is that I don't trust them to read accurately.

                The old electromagnetic meters read "true RMS" by virtue of a magnetic force acting on a spinning disc -the moment of inertia of the disc will ultimately average out any transients.

                Smart Meters on the other hand, are purely electronic, and don't necessarily read True RMS (because they employ discrete sampling).

                There was a huge fiasco last year with Smart Meters over-reading. I don't know how much of it has been fixed now, and which meters are OK..

                They would sample only at the peak of the mains voltage sine-wave. This is a problem for any device whose front-end component is a bridge rectifier (this includes most LED lights, most laptop power supplies, and cheaper desktop power supplies without PFC).

                Current only flows through the diode bridge when the mains voltage is higher than the DC capacitor voltage, and that only happens at the peak of the mains waveform. But the "smart" meter would sample the peak current, and assume that it was sinusoidal and in-phase with the voltage. But in reality, the current at everywhere else but the sampling point, is near zero.

                Thus, smart meters would over-read by several times for LED lighting in particular.

                see: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/03/06/smart_meters_prove_dim/

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Damn

              "Seriously, who do you imagine is willing to spend weeks of their time on finding out whether you get up at 6:00 or 6:30?"

              Who might be interested in knowing that a house is often unoccupied over the weekend and this weekend appears to be one of them?

            3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Damn

              'm sure the smart meters can be hacked, if someone with sufficient resources gets sufficient motivation to do it.

              But the resources would need to be high, because the security is pretty good.

              In a word: bullshit. Or see here. Or here.

              Bad actors have many more tempting targets, that are both less secure and more profitable.

              Dubious.

              Smart meter security has historically been pretty poor, and there are strong incentives to attack them, which only get stronger the more they're deployed.

          3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Damn

            I suspect it isn't merely ignorance that drives the scepticism, but many years of experience of other "secure" systems.

            And rather fewer, but still too many, years of other experience of other slurping systems which leads to the conviction that at the innocuous end of things it will lead to marketing. But that's just the innocuous aspect.

        2. 9Rune5

          Re: Damn

          People who think their energy supplier can only want to known about their energy usage for marketing purposes demonstrate massive technological illiteracy.

          Which reminds me of a former colleague who faces a £1000 bill because the smart meter kit is too big for his enclosure.

          So now he is trying to push his doctor to diagnose him as sensitive to electricity and radio waves... As that is obviously cheaper than embiggening what needs to be expanded.

          Smart meters are all fine and dandy until you look into the economics. Better to go all nukes and push down the price of energy.

          1. kain preacher Silver badge

            Re: Damn

            ??? If the new meter is bigger than the old, then the power company should pay all things related to it's installation .

          2. Stork Bronze badge

            Re: Damn

            Better to go all nukes and push down the price of energy.

            Make up your mind. Do you want nukes or cheaper electricity? In all the western countries I know of, nuclear is more expensive than others. At least with the current price of CO2 emissions

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Damn(ed if I do & Damned if I don't)

          Dear "I work in the UK energy sector",

          Now that you have sorted out the security issues of your meters there is 1 more problem you need to solve !!!

          The mobile network is not as ubiquitous as you & I need, therefore many people who would be more than happy to have a 'Smart Meter' cannot have this wonderful secure piece of tech, this includes me.

          Maybe the Energy Companies could encourage the Mobile providers to install a few more cells where people live and their energy is used or we will end up reading the (not so) Smart Meters to send in the data the 'old fashioned' way !!!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Damn(ed if I do & Damned if I don't)

            "there is 1 more problem you need to solve !!! The mobile network is not as ubiquitous as you & I need"

            A friend had a smart meter fitted "in" their flat last year. The meter enclosure is in an "out-house" style brick enclosure attached to the ground floor of the building, with a separate full-size wooden access door. Their flat is on the first floor (i.e. 1 storey up), directly above the meter enclosure. The wireless receiver they were given, which tells you how much electricity you're using, doesn't work. Reason, according to the supplier? It's too far away from the meter!

        4. Loud Speaker

          Re: Damn

          Smart meters are necessary to achieve robust vendor lock-in.

        5. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: Damn

          > was testing the security of the meters to ensure only authorised users could access the specific data they are allowed, infact legislation was passed to define all this and protect consumers.

          And that legislation is merely so much toilet paper to the security services and local councils trying to find out who it is not cleaning up their dogs poop when they take them for a walk. As they are all authorised users. Most 'authorised users' system authorise users, not uses of systems, therefore the cop who's authorised to use the system could look up info on their sisters best friends 3rd cousin's turd boyfriend to see what he's up to.

          Oh, and when was the last time a hacker actually bothered to read the legislation, let alone get authorisation, first?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think the idea is it somehow reduces the amount of radiation exposure to the user

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      They're using it to block UVA?

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge
        Mushroom

        They're using it to block UVA?

        It would probably work better for that than radiation from.. say an a-bomb going off. Or maybe not.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have had many phones - I find the iPhone 6 (and presumably 6s) to be hopeless for making calls - can't get the ear piece loud enough without holding the phone in the dumb manner shown. As far as I remember it's the only phone I've had to do this with - never had an iPhone 7, 8 or X so dunno about them.

    My Sonys, Samsung, HTC, one+, Moto and iPhone 3 never had this issue. Does this weird habit date back to some unfathomable design choice from Cupertino some years back?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Phone reviews

      I always see reams of stuff about the camera quality, but very little about sound quality or the PRIMARY function - to make phone calls.

      My wife has a phone that is so quiet that she never hears it when it rings unless it is in her hand or on a surface in front of her.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Phone reviews

        You might say primary, but that isn't the case for everybody: my primary use for my smartphone is as a more portable tablet ... but that maybe because I also possess a dumbphone for calls :-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Phone reviews

        Get with it dude,. the last thing anyone buys a smartphone for is to make phone calls.

        That's so 20th century man!

        I mean if you must, what else is the headphone socket for?

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

          Re: Phone reviews

          Headphone sockets are soo noughties, dude.

        2. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Phone reviews

          "what else is the headphone socket for?"

          Listening to music.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Phone reviews

          "I mean if you must, what else is the headphone socket for?"

          That more or less confirms DML71's point, Apple having removed the socket.

      3. ilmari

        Re: Phone reviews

        Get her a OnePlus one or a Xiaomi A1. Even at lowest volume setting my eardrums bleed.

        Could anyone give hints on a phone with decent vibrate? The before mentioned vibrate so meekly I can't tell the difference between phone vibrating and my bones creaking.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: Phone reviews

          My Moto G5 is the first phone I've owned where I can't turn the volume all the way up on the ringtone, it's just too bloody loud.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Phone reviews

          "Could anyone give hints on a phone with decent vibrate?"

          Hmm, what are you watching on it?

        3. deltamind

          Re: Phone reviews

          The OnePlus one seriously does that, I got it for my mom like 3 years ago and it still bleeds my ears lol.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Phone reviews

          "Could anyone give hints on a phone with decent vibrate?"

          There are better devices, purposefully designed for this purpose, sometime a smartphone is not the optimal solution.

      4. Arthur the cat Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Phone reviews

        the PRIMARY function - to make phone calls

        But, but, you mean my portable networked computer can make phone calls? I'm flabbergasted!

      5. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Phone reviews

        "very little about sound quality or the PRIMARY function - to make phone calls."

        That ship sailed at least ten years ago. The sound quality for cell phone calls has always been poor from day 1, and has been declining ever since.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Phone reviews

        I know it's incredible stupid but I had two phones give me a nanny warnings about turning the volume up to loud. One required me to go into settings and click an option for me to turn the volume up. When I first got it I had to get get head phones to hear people. I had to use goolge and found out that you had to go to settings and click on option . Then you could turn it up pas 50%

    2. DML71

      The 6S is awful for hearing what the other person is saying. Have to use headphones to make a call.

      I just assumed apple had forget to make sure the phone was fit for purpose as an actual phone.

    3. steamrunner

      You're talking utter tosh, A/C.

      I had a plain iPhone 6 — no S, no plus — for three and a half years (until just a few weeks ago) with no such positional problems. I have a relatively normal sized head, maybe a tad larger than a few (no jokes please!) and I used to put the thing to my ear in the appropriate manner and just talk to the human on the other end of the call... and it basically worked just like a phone should. Every time, every day. Except the few hours it took Apple to replace the old battery because I was too tight to buy a new phone. And the few times when the other person couldn't grok how to use a bloody phone ("Hello? Hello! Hello? Hello? I can't see you hand-waving, you have to talk words.") The design layout really isn't any different from all the other phone slabs out there for the last few years in that regard.

      Maybe you just put it in a crap case, or your ear was in the wrong place?

      SB.

  6. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I saw one during a trip to Paris: The phone was pressed on her face with a selfie stick still attached.

    Classic!

    1. Oliver Mayes

      Was she holding the phone, or the stick? Like a modern take on opera-glasses.

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      I saw one during a trip to Paris: The phone was pressed on her face with a selfie stick still attached.

      I've often said the propr usage of a "selfie stick" is; when you see someone taking a "selfie", you use the stick to beat them until they stop.

  7. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    And the other way I've noticed Johnny Foreigner speak into the phone is to use a earpiece to listen but speak into the mic whilst holding the phone like they're eating a chocolate bar. Best of both worlds?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "[...] the French won't be told what to do."

    It has always seemed to me that the French are anarchists who love to have an authoritarian Establishment. Occasionally they have a popular uprising that goes a tad too far - and they then welcome another authoritarian regime.

    The British used to be different - but I'm not so certain these days.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "the French are anarchists who love to have an authoritarian Establishment. Occasionally they have a popular uprising"

      I suppose if you don't have an authoritarian regime life as an anarchist must seem a bit pointless.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The advantage of flip/slide mobiles that increase their length when used - is that the sensitive bits are protected when not in use.

    My home cordless has a pad button lock feature by holding * for few seconds. Pressing * twice will unlock it.

    For convenience you can receive a call when the pad is locked. The other day the caller was a utility company wanting my meter reading - and offered me several "press button" options. I then discovered that the unlock feature doesn't work while a received call is in progress.

    1. Jedit
      Coat

      "The advantage of flip/slide mobiles"

      Well, we wouldn't want any sensitive bits that increase their length when used to be unprotected, now, would we?

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Re: "The advantage of flip/slide mobiles"

        "Well, we wouldn't want any sensitive bits that increase their length when used to be unprotected, now, would we?"

        I heartily endorse the protection of sensitive bits. I surely can't be the only person who has jabbed themselves in the testicle with the stubby antenna on a Nokia 5110 back in the day? (note that this happened if not enough care was taken with where and how the phone sat in my pocket when sitting down, and was not an odd masochistic choice)

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: "The advantage of flip/slide mobiles"

          Same here, but with a Philipps C12.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "The advantage of flip/slide mobiles"

        Only a paucity of upvotes for carefully crafting the pun for others to ride? :-)

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "The other day the caller was a utility company wanting my meter reading"

      I just hang up on those.

  10. Admiral Grace Hopper
    Coat

    Marketing

    "Which is precisely the sort of thing we need to know. Do people want fire that can be fitted nasally?".

    Mines the one with the pockets full of leaves.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Marketing

      Mines the one with the pockets full of leaves.

      How many of those have you dug up so far?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mines the one with the pockets full of leaves.

      Ah! I have slightly smaller pockets, but unlike yours, they are full of remains.

  11. Chronos Silver badge

    They have a point.

    About the smart meters, I mean. Anything with a transmitter in it that you can't turn off and transmits without your knowledge is called a bug. Can you sit there with a straight face and tell me some bugger, one day in the not too distant future, will not decide this data is so informative with a few tweaks and an "AI" to infer what's going on behind your closed curtains that it's a crime not to (here comes that bloody word again) "monetise" it and add a continuous development stamp to the consumer-fuckery section of their MBA? That's even before the sods at Snoophenge get hold of it, which will probably be in real-time.

    "Some bugger" makes up a significant portion of the population, Some of them have to be working in telemetrics.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: They have a point.

      Indded.

      In UK you can happily refuse the energy company pleading to install a smart meter. For added bonus amusement, you invite them round to your stone walled house, which meter is in centre of, & get them to do a signal check and they realise no chance of a smart meter (similar variants if meters down in a cellar)

      If I had to have a smart meter installed against my wishes I think I would be doing something about it (do not fancy installing what is essentially a tool for tech skilled burglar to monitor usage and "at a distance" (less suspicious than walking by casing the joint) spot the uninhabited houses)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They have a point.

        Just line your meter cabinet with tinfoil

        1. Chronos Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: They have a point.

          Har har, yes, very funny. Only it won't make the slightest difference with that honking great aerial sticking out of it that you're not allowed to touch. I'm talking about the incoming feed line.

          It's all tinfoil hats and paranoia jokes until the data leaks, isn't it? What was that quote allegedly from Cardinal Richelieu again? I forget...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

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

            If you give me six meter readings from the house of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him? :-)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: If you give me six meter readings from the house of the most honest of men...

              What's this? Six groups of five digits each? Obviously a short encrypted message, probably to some terrorists or drug dealers. I insist you reveal your private key immediately!"

            2. Chronos Silver badge

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

              :-) indeed.

              Don't forget these are almost real-time readings, i.e. "meter point x started drawing 5.1A more at hh:mm:ss for a duration of 2.3¹ minutes." AI says you boiled the kettle with even more certainty because it happened during an ad break on the channel your "smart" TV also told the cloud you were watching. You used too much water for the two people who live in your house because AI says it should only take 1.4 minutes to boil the correct amount so you're either guilty of profligacy and eco-vandalism or you have a visitor. That's a rather mundane example. I have others just as easy to detect and much more embarrassing, especially if you add the card issuers' data into the mix.

              I wasn't saying that the quote applies to smart meters on their own but we're blindly giving far too much away. The above example is just two connected devices being extrapolated. Can you look me in the monitor and state in all honesty that someone, somewhere won't eventually put all this together if we continue to accept ever more leakage of data from our private lives?

              ¹ Numbers from nether region, natch. I'm not breaking out the formulae for boiling a sodding kettle.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

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

                your "smart" TV

                There's your problem.

                Solution, old but dumb TV or just a plain monitor with the smarts provided by Raspberry Pi bolted on the back.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

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

                No if you spent any time looking up the subject you'd know the readings are limited to half hourly summation for exactly that reason. Google DCC SMETS2 and inform yourseves on how it works, it's all public information. You all need to take off your tin foil hats, it's a technology to get relatively fine grained readings so the energy generators, and in the future storers, can predict and respond to real energy demands to provide guaranteed supply. You're meter reading a worth jack all to anyone else and trying to make out it's the next Cambridge analytica when you don't know how it works in the first place does not make you sound as cleaver as you might think.

                1. Chronos Silver badge
                  Meh

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

                  Google DCC SMETS2 and inform yourseves on how it works, it's all public information.

                  Tell me, who is under contract to run DCC? Hint: It starts with Crap and ends in ita. That's how toxic this whole thing is.

                  Will no one rid me of this turbulent contractor?

                2. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

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

                  "it's a technology to get relatively fine grained readings so the energy generators, and in the future storers, can predict and respond to real energy demands to provide guaranteed supply."

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

                  1. Chronos Silver badge

                    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.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      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

                      1. Chronos Silver badge

                        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.

                        1. onefang Silver badge
                          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.

                3. Martin an gof Silver badge

                  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.

                  1. Chronos Silver badge

                    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.

              3. Martin an gof Silver badge

                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.

                1. Chronos Silver badge
                  Thumb Up

                  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 :-)

      2. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: They have a point.

        Most smart meters communicate thought the power lines, not over the air, so I don't think your thick stone walls or underground bunker would help in stopping the smart part without while still letting power into your house.

        On the other hand, if you apply pliers to the power line....

        1. xeroks

          Re: They have a point.

          "Most smart meters communicate thought the power lines, not over the air"

          Apparently not the ones used by scottish power.

          Ours is located in a position where mobile signal cannot be assumed. we explained to the engineer that the older providers - vodaphone etc were OK because we have a signal booster that works over their frequency bands. Other providers - like Three- require other arrangements.

          Of course the engineer (who was not actually from scottish power, but was just contracted to do the job) had no way of testing if the signal was suitable for the meter.

        2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: They have a point.

          Most smart meters communicate thought the power lines,

          Not in the UK. The reason is that in the UK some retarded idiot in their infinite wisdom put a 3 tier regulatory regime - retail, regional franchise and grid with the meter theoretically owned by retail. Theoretically - because retail can be changed at any time by customer and thus does not want to keep meters as capital assets on their books - so it usually outsources it to a fourth entity which rents meters to different retail outfits. Additionally, retail does not WANT to give the regional franchises which own the feed even the smallest leeway. So when the original SM consultations were made, they were not allowed to compete as neutral communications provider (in a very simple way - by mandating that any comms provider operates nationwide). Thus UK ended up with an idiotic GSM based comms solution.

          In the rest of the world there is no end-customer retail tier. It is all owned by the regional franchise which has to regularly reconfirm its license and rights. As a result they can and do use the feed without any issues. They also use other regional comms solutions - meshes, drive-by metering (mesh or short range radio talking to a slowly moving "collection vehicle"), etc.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They have a point.

        "In UK you can happily refuse the energy company pleading to install a smart meter."

        E.ON don't plead. They just write/ring to ask you to select a convenient date for your smart meter to be fitted. No mention of "voluntary" - until you remind them.

        Last time they said it needed changing because the meter was now "past its service date". I pointed out that they had changed the meter for that reason the previous year - and had acceded to my demand then that it not be a smart meter. Silence since then.

        No doubt they will suffer amnesia and keep trying one ploy or another. The gas utility haven't said anything about smart meters yet. It will be interesting where they think they will get the power from for a meter on the outside wall - with no mains supply anywhere near it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They have a point.

          The gas utility haven't said anything about smart meters yet. It will be interesting where they think they will get the power from for a meter on the outside wall - with no mains supply anywhere near it.

          The gas meters have a sealed battery, with an alleged ten year life. By the time the battery is expected to run out the meter will be due for recalibration, so it'll be swapped out for a new unit or a recalibrated unit with a new battery. Of course, that'll be some time around 2028, and since the technological standards of smart meters are effective froze in circa 2007, people will be wondering (even more than now) why the government bothered with such a half witted idea in the first place.

          The reason the suppliers are pushing customers to have smart meters is that they're working under threat of heavy fines from Ofgem, so they're very keen to show that they have fitted smart meters, or they have seriously tried (that's why they keep coming back to you).

          1. Andy A

            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?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              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.

        2. Wellyboot Silver badge

          Re: They have a point.

          I've also had the same regular calls from e-on.

          During each call I told them I'm not interested and please don't ring again. At the end of the initial contract year I enjoyed telling the poor sales bod that I was changing supplier entirely because of the repeated ignoring of my requests.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            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”.

      4. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: They have a point.

        You can also invite them around and let them discover their spy kit is too big to physically fit.

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: They have a point.

      +100 for 'Snoophenge '

  12. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    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.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      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...

      1. James 51 Silver badge

        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.

      2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: Only yesterday...

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

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        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.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Tautomerism alert

          vacuous "fashion concious"

    2. VinceH Silver badge

      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.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    5. keith_w

      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.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Only yesterday...

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

        Ahh, so it is a useful idiot indicator.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        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.

        1. onefang Silver badge

          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...

  13. Martin an gof Silver badge

    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.

    1. Richard 81

      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.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        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.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Slight variation

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

          A bucket of water - or something - would help.

          1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Slight variation

            A super soaker might be simpler.

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

            1. Anonymous Coward
              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?

    2. BigAndos

      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!

  14. Giovani Tapini

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  15. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Flame

    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

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Linky = Come home to a real fire

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

      With or without assistant.

      1. Richard Jones 1
        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.

        1. VinceH Silver badge
          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?

        2. Terry 6 Silver badge

          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.

  16. Commswonk Silver badge

    ...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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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"

      1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

        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.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "get"

          twat: I'm good.

          Alternative:

          Twat: Are you good?

          Person: How can I possibly answer that?

          1. Alister Silver badge

            Re: "get"

            Twat: Are you good?

            Person: How can I possibly answer that?

            "I'm normally fairly well behaved, thank you"

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: "get"

              "I'm normally fairly well behaved, thank you"

              Ah, but you're implying you have a shared scale of values with the person who asked. Only if you do are you able to provide an assessment meaningful to them.

        2. David Roberts Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: "get" - I'm good

          Nice to know that the entire population of NZ are twats by your rules.

          1. Graham Dawson

            Re: "get" - I'm good

            Australia seems to think so.

      2. Martin
        Thumb Up

        Re: "get"

        twat: "can I get a latte?"

        It may be apocryphal, but I like the story of the sign in the coffee shop:-

        A latte, please - £2

        Can I get a latte? - £3

        Gimme a latte - £4

    2. Tchou

      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

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      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.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        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.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

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

            "The problem is the subtitles which are all too often unreadable."

            Just watched it on iPlayer. The subtitles were good - with none of the typo's you often see on iPlayer's optional subtitles. There were a few Finnish words that I recognised eg the city name "Turku" was repeated several times in quick succession. The subtitle appeared first - so I had the chance to listen for the recognised word the same number of times in the verbal stream. My pedantic interest was whether she actually said the Finnish name "Turku" or the Swedish-Finnish name "Åbo".

            Many Finns of that generation learned English as a second language at school. My Finnish friends - from the 1970s and their children now - all speak English fluently. The programme was presumably made for Finnish TV - with an international audience as a secondary potential.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

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

              To be really pedantic, would English not be the third language that the Finns learned at school? (The second being Swedish or Finnish, depending on the linguistic background of the individual.)

      2. Flakk Silver badge

        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.

    4. Richard 81

      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.

      1. Commswonk Silver badge
        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.

        1. Justicesays
          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.

  17. chivo243 Silver badge
    Trollface

    The Dabsy

    Extending the range of "Farting in your general direction"

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge

      Re: The Dabsy

      This thought occurred to me too, if they (France) win the world cup, the wind direction is currently unfavourable to us.

  18. Chris G Silver badge

    Sweaty

    I first noticed this style of use about four years ago, the user was our very gay HR guy, I thought he was just trying to be different then I noticed a ot of people doing it.

    A Spanish mate explained that holding the screen to your face could activate apps, he apparently had a conversation with his girlfriend while studying her earwax.

    Maybe the warmer climate generates more facial sweat which in turn makes the face more reactive with smart phone screens.

    Being English, I hold my end up, hearing end to the ear, speaking end to my jaw.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Sweaty

      "holding the screen to your face could activate apps"

      If that's happening, it's because the proximity detector is broken and the phone is in need of repair or replacement.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Sweaty

        Some cheapies don't have them, but it's rare nowadays.

  19. Claverhouse Bronze badge
    WTF?

    Smart meter installation engineers in France have been given unprecedented legal rights to enter private properties without permission, break open locked energy meter cabinets and fine citizens who deny them access.

    I don't know about countries outside Europe --- like America, where private companies are given rights governments are not --- but in Britain I'm utterly certain anyone connected with electricity ( or gas etc. ) supply, governmental or utility, retains a complete right to enter your properties, examine/remove/alter your meters, and do anything necessary: all without warrants.

    A little thought will reveal why this tyrannical overreach is a necessity.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Spain is like France with one difference - the percentage of the population who actually give a toss about it is far smaller.

    2. GlenP Silver badge

      in Britain I'm utterly certain anyone connected with electricity ( or gas etc. ) supply, governmental or utility, retains a complete right to enter your properties, examine/remove/alter your meters, and do anything necessary: all without warrants.

      Only in an emergency, otherwise they need consent or a warrant:

      Rights of Entry (Gas and Electricity Boards) Act 1954

      1 Restriction on exercise of rights of entry.

      (1) No right of entry to which this Act applies shall be exercisable in respect of any premises except—

      (a) with consent given by or on behalf of the occupier of the premises, or

      (b) under the authority of a warrant granted under the next following section:

      .

      Provided that this subsection shall not apply where entry is required in a case of emergency.

  20. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Is all this bitterness the consequence of the World Cup semi-finals results? ^^

    The traditional way of holding a phone has a strange side effect with my physical configuration: I tend to launch unexpected actions with my ear during a phone call. It's the downside of having Buddha-like ears...

    That's why I use more and more the new way of holding it with the speaker on (when I'm alone, of course): no more side effects!

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge

      you likely have something wrong with your tilt switches (accelerometer my ass), not your ears.

  21. Baudwalk
    Paris Hilton

    Say Mr. Dabbsy, anyone ever tell you...

    ...your stubbly self looks a wee bit like Detective Miller from The Expanse?

  22. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

    Monkey see, monkey do

    I first saw this way of holding a phone on TV shows such as The Apprentice. I assumed it was dictated by the programme makers, who are keen to capture every nuance of emotion betrayed by facial expression, for the purpose of not obscuring the faces of the participants. As is so often the case, it was then mindlessly aped by the legions of proles who love a good affectation. I haven't been to foreign parts since before smartphones were a thing so I'm speaking from a position of having seen it frequently here in Blighty for several years. FWIW I think they look like idiots.

    1. fuzzie

      Re: Monkey see, monkey do

      That's my theory as well. TV shows/movies have long shown people using phones in hands free mode. It's an easy fix to get the audience in on both sides of the conversation. On a related note, there are some neat tricks used to show SMS/text conversations, e.g. miniature speech bubbles. Between the the "bad example" set by media, and "cell phone radiation fries your brain", I can see such silly habits developing.

      Side point... (cold(er)) glass against your face is probably less tactilely pleasant than warm(er) plastics. Add in the occasional flakey proximity sensors to the mix.

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Monkey see, monkey do

        "Add in the occasional flakey proximity sensors to the mix."

        The proximity sensor on my last smart phone was permanently flaky, it always thought it was pressed against my face. Which made it tricky to hang up after phone calls, I had to pull the battery. Luckily the phone had a removable battery, and I rarely have phone calls anyway.

    2. Metalhed666
      Thumb Up

      Re: Monkey see, monkey do

      This! I believe the reason was that the 'contestant' could talk into the mic and the sound operator's boom mic above them would pick up the sound from the speaker better. How is it even cool to be on The Apprentice let alone to PRETEND to be - Donald Trump presented it in the US FFS!

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Monkey see, monkey do

      "FWIW I think they look like idiots."

      But being idiots they don't know that.

      That's the trouble with us, we're too reserved. A bit of pointing and laughing would do them a power of good.

    4. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Monkey see, monkey do

      "I assumed it was dictated by the programme makers, who are keen to capture every nuance of emotion"

      Coudn't be. "The Apprentice" doesn't do nuance.

  23. m-k

    re. why are you holding your phone like that?

    you might laugh, I might quote the beeb:

    "It can be how quickly do you type the keys, are you holding the device in your right or left hand. How an individual uses a device acts as a second layer of identity and a different kind of fingerprint."

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-44438808

    Think BIG (data!) Think all the TERRORISTS we can catch now (which politician's not going to bite this!), because we know that when they hold their phone with their right hand, they tilt it at this unique angle. Think of the CHILDREN too (Crapita certainly does!). Is your dahling really working hard with that pen, or is he / she dicking around, literally? There's an app to verify that (soon, if not yet).

    p.s. is the way you're holding your phone covered by the GDPR? Spooks and your local council don't want to know, they already do.

  24. steamrunner

    I attribute this "hold the phone flat, talk into the bottom, have speakerphone on" thing to The Apprentice. In said TV extravagana, you would typically see all the little proto twa... I mean, developing business people... in their team-taxi zooming around Lahndan moaning at some remote, lost team member via a 'speakerphone' call on their team mobile so that everyone in the taxi and the entire bloody nation could hear what's going on. F*ck that sh*t.

    [EDIT: someone beat me to the same post :-) ]

    SB

  25. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    addressing the communion plate.

    I attribute it to Catholicism, but then, I was scarred for life as a child.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: addressing the communion plate.

      You're lucky scarring was all the Catholic church did to you as a child.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Engie's linky

    "Worse, they fear the energy companies will collaborate with the government to send consumers text messages telling them to turn their thermostats down and put on a jumper instead."

    That's in no way the worse ! The suckers are gonna cut off remotely people who are exactly 4 hours late in the last payment and cap consumption for ease of management of the network.

    They may send an SMS prior to that, indeed. Like 2 mins before :)

  27. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Apparently, idiots hold their phones like this, because they have seen it done this way on tripe like The Apprentice, not realising that the 'contestants' have been told to do it this way so that the studio mics can pick up both sides of the staged phone conversations.

    edit - apologies to the two posters above who beat me to it!

  28. DropBear Silver badge
    Trollface

    Seeing as how Mr. Dabbs left me not much to add on how a phone should be held properly in the modern world, I choose instead to signal my profound uniqueness and originality by disrupting customs tied to another device: the humble old infrared remote control. See, lots of misguided people seem to think you point these directly at your device of interest - which is just so horribly wrong. The correct way is obviously to hold them vertically in front of you, beaming your invisible rays straight up. Of course, some might argue that not only does this make seeing what button you want to press a lot easier but it also makes reception much more reliable for the IR sensor laying flat on top of my HTPC (with a splendid view of my blank ceiling more than happy to reflect all that IR goodness, especially considering my blanket would often obscure a direct view between it and my bed) - but that's not the real reason, clearly. Vertical is simply the proper way of doing that sort of thing these days...

    1. Mr Flibble
      Headmaster

      How much flat has it laid?

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Happy

        Awww shucks, you got me. Next time I feel vague discomfort about a word I write maybe I should actually look it up...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    last photo

    I presume the last photo is the trumpian way of talking on the phone, only way anyone would hear the shit he talks....

  30. Corwin_X

    Those who play music and videos, loudly, on public transport without headphones should:

    a) Be publically flogged; and

    b) Have said device surgically installed into their anus.

    I've come close to a few actual fights - but the twats always back down unfortunately.

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Those who play music and videos, loudly, on public transport

      My eldest travels to school on a bus where one of his schoolmates is in the habit of playing (bad) music loudly on a Bluetooth speaker.

      Eldest thus took it upon himself to load up his phone with all sorts of "worthy" choonz (everything from Fleetwood Mac and Abba right on to Thomas the Tank Engine) and hijack the BT speaker as often as possible.

      He's been doing this all year, and the miscreant still hasn't twigged and seems to think there's something wrong with his speaker...

      M.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Eldest thus took it upon himself to load up his phone with all sorts of "worthy" choonz (everything from Fleetwood Mac and Abba right on to Thomas the Tank Engine) and hijack the BT speaker as often as possible

        Do it right. The complete Ring cycle. That should cover a good few school trips. Or 4'33" for shorter trips.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Agreed. And I'll add to that list people who insist on using the speakerphone function on their cell phone while they're in public.

  31. Dwarf Silver badge

    Dead giveaway

    It should be a dead giveaway that they are doing it wrong when they have to turn the volume up to maximum to hear the phone when its flat to their face like they are trying to eat the phone.

    I told a chap in the office to turn it down the other day, when he was sat opposite me on max volume holding a conf. call for a while. I pointed out where the mic and speaker was and why its traditional to hold it flat to your face.

    The response - I keep getting new phones as the speaker keeps breaking.Well, there's a surprise when you run it flat out on calls rather than holding it in the expected manner.

    Perhaps phones should come with an instruction manual or "how to hold your phone" poster.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Dead giveaway

      "how to hold your phone" poster.

      I saw one of those once in a large open plan office. Apparently a few twats were annoying about 50 other people.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's well weapon

    What you complainin' about Dabbsy, I always hold my Wasp T12 Speechtool like that.

  33. skalamanga

    It's obfiously a variation on Nokia's Side Talking

    Remember the N-Gage?

    https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/sidetalking-n-gage

    1. MiniVan
      Facepalm

      Re: It's obfiously a variation on Nokia's Side Talking

      Was just thinking about this the other day, side talking for n-gage was bad, but seems that if you don't hold your phone like platter the audio is crap these days.

  34. Camilla Smythe Silver badge

    Question?

    Not being a Smart Phone owner myself how does everyone else cope with earwax, skin grease, snot, drool and pubic hair?

    I suppose having mentioned pubic hair then I should include genital excretions and, thanks for the lead Mr Dabbs, dingleberries?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Question?

      Pubic hair? Umm, you’re supposed to put your phone in your pocket, not inside your underpants!

      1. Camilla Smythe Silver badge

        Re: Question?

        I usually take both sets down when snapping a few knob pictures.

  35. Artaxerxes

    My phone has an unfortunate habit of disconnecting when held to my ear because it assumes my ear is pressing the red disconnect button, it also has the weakest speaker I've ever heard so if its not on speaker phone and I'm in even light traffic then the other person cannot be heard at all.

    I do try and use headphones and then hold the phone like a mic at a gig (upside down of course) as much as possible but sometimes the headphones go walkies so I'm forced to have a speaker phone conversation.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      "so I'm forced to have a speaker phone conversation."

      An interesting conclusion. If I had that problem with my phone, I'd conclude that I'm forced to get a new phone.

    2. Camilla Smythe Silver badge

      Light Traffic

      So if its not on speaker phone and I'm in even light traffic then the other person cannot be heard at all.

      Dude... You may not know but faffing about with your mobile phone whilst driving qualifies you for a stupid award plus your local Constabulary might slap you with an on the spot fine and put a couple of points on your license.

      YMMV if you are not in the UK.

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: Light Traffic

        These days more like 6 points...

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Light Traffic

        "faffing about with your mobile phone whilst driving"

        That was my reaction but then I realised it didn't say whether this was either as a driver or passenger.

  36. onefang Silver badge

    They are holding it wrong.

    Had to be said. Though perhaps that IS the correct way to hold an iPhone? Are these things printed in the manuals? Do iPhones come with manuals?

  37. Dr_N Silver badge
    Go

    Trust In Apple

    The sooner Apple delete the mic & earpiece from their phone designs and force everyone to use a headset the better.

    Or the death penalty is introduced for sodcasting or talking on speakerphone in public.

    And it's not just the young. Old people have taken to viewing videos in groups at cafes and bars in France AT FULL VOLUME now too.

  38. JohnFen Silver badge

    Then why do I see it so much in the US?

    It's very common in my part of the US, too. It utterly and completely baffles me.

  39. doubled1

    I can meet you and raise you

    While I completely agree that this trend is absurd I have found hear in the US we have managed to take it one step further. I regularly see during my commute and while running various errands, this exact same thing going on in cars that I KNOW have good quality integrated bluetooth. I watched a lady the other day behind me doing this in her brand new Cadillac. It just struck me as so absurd I had to laugh out loud - I hope she noticed me laughing at her :-) .

  40. Kenny_10_Bellys

    Colonial Pillocks

    I'm not long back from California and I can confirm that the habit of holding your phone like a waiter bringing a tray has taken over our colonial cousins. They're not right in the head, I tells yee!

  41. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    There's also the reacharound, where they hold the phone in hand A pressed against ear B.

    And the spit-tray, where the phone is held horizontally about a foot in front of the mouth in a way that makes it look like it's infectious.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "There's also the reacharound, where they hold the phone in hand A pressed against ear B."

      That gave me an interesting observation of how reading works. My brain had obviously taken in an overview of key words in that sentence before attempting to parse it.

      There was then a jarring sensation when old pennies did not appear in the predicted context triggered by the sequence of words "phone", "A", "pressed", and "B".

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "And the spit-tray, where the phone is held horizontally about a foot in front of the mouth in a way that makes it look like it's infectious."

      Ever since we got rid of all those pesky telephone sanitisers :-)

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Photo 2

    I thought holding it like that came about from people wearing headphones which don't have a mic?

    Obviously the better solution would be to take the headphones out and use the phone as designed, but let's not get too adventurous now

  43. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    Nice pics

    I predict some good memes using those pics.

  44. Simon M.

    >> unprecedented legal rights to enter private properties without permission, break open locked energy meter cabinets and fine citizens who deny them access.

    One shudders to think what they do to not-so-fine citizens!

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Pirate

      Employ them to do the entering?

  45. Phil Endecott Silver badge

    OVER

    Do they have to say OVER when they move the phone from mouth to ear?

  46. Ken Mitchell

    Cheek - Mute

    When I hold my conventional Android phone (from my first HTC Evo to my Google Nexus 6 to my current Essential PH1) up to my head in the ordinary way, I frequently have problems. Because the "Mute" button on the phone's touchscreen is positioned so that my cheek often touches the Mute button.

    I know, the phone is SUPPOSED to blank the screen when it's next to my head - but it often takes a significant fraction of a second to do so, and during that period it's susceptible to "Cheek Mute".

    That's one reason why I prefer using a headset, either BlueTooth or wired.

  47. IGnatius T Foobar ✅

    broken

    For four years I had a Nexus 5. As with all Nexus 5 handsets, the microphone broke and the only way I was able to conduct a conversation was with the speakerphone. Combined with the woefully underpowererd speaker, this made me hold the handset in the position shown in this article's first photo if I wanted to hear anything at all if I was in a noisy area.

  48. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Deaf from too much metal \m/

    It's because some crappy metal phones have front-facing antennas under the earpiece. Putting the phone to your face or putting it in your pocket causes it to lose some radio frequency bands. If there's no working band to jump to, it's dead. I had to resort to such hipster looking grips on my Axon 7 when it need to use LTE band 4.

  49. Ozumo

    What are French citizens getting so upset about? Well, they believe Linky is prying into their daily habits ... (to) sell the data to corporations who will target them with adverts for ... soap.

    GLWTS

  50. David Rickard

    I blame TV

    It's reality TV causing people to do it, IMHO. They put phones on speakerphone so the viewer can hear both sides of the conversation. A great deal of folk are a bit dimwitted though, and assume everything they see on TV is the 'right' way to do things (or it just looks cool), so they do it too. I just assume most folk holding their phones in a goofy way, on speakerphone, think they're on The Apprentice.

    I've got news for those people - we don't give a toss about your phone call, so turn it off, numbnuts. We can blame so many things on The Apprentice...

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: I blame TV

      "assume everything they see on TV is the 'right' way to do things"

      I also blame TV for the world being full of people being crappy to each other. Apparently drama is the most entertaining thing, so people assume that they need more drama in their lives, and go out of their way to cause it as often as possible, coz That's Entertainment!

  51. LisaJK

    China

    I first noticed this weird practice in China a few years ago.

    I couldn't understand why they were doing it then and was even more surprised when I saw the practice had made its way across the globe.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: China

      Visiting Hong Kong in 1993 we were surprised to see locals using "brick" mobiles in the street. Why weren't they using the compact ones as in the UK?

      Our host told us the answer was cultural - and presumably applies to mainland China too. It is considered essential to flaunt your apparent wealth.

      For the same reason they had fake Rolex watches and drove big cars in a city whose streets were more suited to a Mini. Shops specialised in funeral decorations of fake money and paper facsimiles of luxury items - presumably burned as part of a cremation. The terracotta warriors writ small.

  52. jonnyu1

    And courtesy/consideration?

    Superb! You have just stated most things I wanted to say about how people use thieir phones but never dared to... The only addition I would add is a desire to shove it up their derriere if they shout loudly into it and have the speaker audible with total disregard to all around them .

    Mind you, it can be a useful way to get all their bank details...

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Huh, I didn't expect biting commentary on Linky criticism from the land of "two separate bills because Photo ID scares us". Maybe it's just tinfoil trilby vs tinfoil beret?

  54. theunregistered

    I use phone boxes...remember them?....and hold the phone any damn way and you know what?... it doesn't seem to affect the way it works at all, because it doesn't work at all,

  55. MatsSvensson

    Slow

    newsday

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Slow

      to realise this isn't a news story but a weekly humour column that's been running for years.

  56. Nematode

    Smart-"Phones" ?! Ha! Voice quality absolutely pants; you'd think in these days of incredible technology they'd get the mic right. My son has the latest i-thing-phone and I can never hear him. Get your act together "phone" makers.

    Other beef: DECT phones fightign each other, or fighting smartphones - "No, I can't hear you so I'll turn you up so I can hear you, oh, I'll also turn up the background noise too" "And I'll foof a lot" "Fffff ffff ffffff pub ffff foof ffff fooooffff you know"

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "My son has the latest i-thing-phone and I can never hear him."

      Or maybe he mumbles.

  57. dnicholas Bronze badge

    Progress...?

    I distinctly remember the first time I saw someone walking down the street with a hands free earphone on a mobile. I didn't clock the headset for a while, just thought he was a crazy talking to himself.

    Sometimes I long for the time that if you weren't at work or at home no one could contact you

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: Progress...?

      Worth telling this again...

      I distinctly remember the first time I bought a hands free earphone, back in the day when no one knew what they where. I have a big bushy beard, which naturally hides the wires quite well. So I have my brand new earphones in, while standing at the busy bus stop just outside the large shopping centre I had just bought them at. And my mother rings me. Queue lots of odd looks at the crazy guy talking to his mother who isn't there.

  58. Bryan B

    Walkie-talkies?

    Sometimes it's because they're making a video call, but most of the people I see holding a phone out in front of them have it in speakerphone mode. Do they think it's a walkie-talkie, perhaps?

    1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      Re: Walkie-talkies?

      Using a phone while driving. In jurisdictions with laws against this. People put the phone on speaker and then hold it down where they think the police can't see it. Cabin noise and crappy speakers conspire to move the phone closer to one's mouth/ears and there you are.

  59. DemeterLast

    Nextel had the best teleconference phones

    n/t

    (But for real, nobody wants to listen to you on the phone, therefore we need to initiate summary executions.)

  60. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Linky - coming to UK soon

    And with a cutoff relay too.

    Do the math on what happens when coal stations go away and electric cars become more common.

  61. NordieBoy

    Phone position

    Left ear, left hand.

    Then you can write, oops, sorry, tap, with your right digits on your tablet.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd always assumed the people walking round with a headset and the phone held horizontally in front of their mouth didn't realise that there was a mic in the little pod on the headset cable containing the buttons so they thought they had to talk to the mic in the phone.

    People walking around or sitting on the train alone and using speaker phone, that really does annoy me. Them compromising the other person's privacy (It's the other person's audio they're causing to be exposed) is a matter between the two parties on the call but I really don't want to have to listen to gossip about the drama from what Tracey posted on Facebook.

  63. streaky Silver badge

    Uhm..

    I've seen literally every single one of these on display in London with zero sense of irony. People do not know how to use a phone, it's bizzare.

  64. JoeStoner

    My 6S is SO quiet I have to use it on Loudspeaker and balanced on my duvet with the mic at mouth level for the other person to hear me!!!!!!!

  65. Cranky_Yank
    Go

    WWKSD?

    What would Keyser Soze do? Remember how Keyser (Verbal) held his cigarette in the car? I wonder how he would hold his mobile phone?

  66. John 61

    It's marketing; stemming from an innate belief in adverts being reality.

    Back in 1999 I remember some bits of a conversation about a Motorola Razr 3.

    "I can take pictures with it; I can browse the internet; I can do this, that and the other!"

    "Can you make calls with it?"

    Since then, remember the adverts for Surface laptops full of street dancing kids waving them about and not actually using them? People flying around (unaided) in operating system ads? Madonna/Rolling Stones? It's the same with phones. As other posters have mentioned, stuff like the Apprentice has encouraged silly poses as if their users are in some kind of awe of these devices.

    Look at me, I am supremely important in my worship of my device, that is why I'm adopting such a strange pose. I've spent all this money on it! Look! I'm really dead dead important having a conversation about buying cheap sausages from Lidl. What is cash? Oy! Mr Mopedmugger… come back!

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: It's marketing; stemming from an innate belief in adverts being reality.

      "Oy! Mr Mopedmugger… come back!"

      I think you have stumbled across the real reason people hold them that way. Makes it easier for drive by muggers to grab the phone. Which means more sales of replacement phones. I'll bet the marketdroid that came up with this particular subtle ploy is laughing all the way to the bank.

  67. TimBiller

    I blame Alan Sugar

    This ridiculous method of holding a phone was introduced, pioneered and continues to be used by contestants in "The Apprentice" as a way to get both sides of the conversation recorded, despite the programme shooting both sides of the call locally anyway.

    I continue to point and laugh at anyone I see doing this. And you should too.

  68. JaitcH
    Happy

    You Forgot The Motorcycle Helmet Option

    The overwhelming vehicle in VietNam, which is hardly surprising since import duties on cars range up to 100%, is the motorcycle. For those who don't use such vehicles, the right hand controls both the accelerator and the front brake.

    As in most countries, use of cell handsets is forbidden whilst vehicles are in motion.

    The ever ingenious motorcycle driver dials, or answers calls, they stuff the handset in the chin strap, really high up, so they can communicate quite effectively - and keep BOTH hands on the handlebars.

  69. Glenturret Single Malt

    What happens when (as often occurs), the people involved in the call make a series of short comments in reply to each other. I would guess that the phone slips out of your hand and down the toilet.

  70. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

    Dabbsy has one detail wrong.

    I live in northern France, near the border with [REDACTED](1), and I have to say, having watched people around me, that he has one important bit wrong in his analysis of people using the ends of the phone.

    There are many around me who speak into the end where the speaker is, with the microphone pointing away from them, and then switch ends to listen to the microphone.

    (It is sometimes not obvious, but sometimes they hold the phone far enough away from horizontal that the home button can be clearly seen on the end away from their mouth when they speak, and/or on the end near their ear when they listen.)

    (1) Douglas Adams assured me that the name of this other country is, in fact, a very rude word, so I thought it would be polite to spare your collective blushes.

    1. onefang Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Dabbsy has one detail wrong.

      Perhaps these people have heard that any speaker can act as a (piss poor) microphone, and any microphone can act as a (piss poor) speaker, and some one has reversed the polarity of their phones?

      Not sure what sort of coat the new Doctor will be wearing this season, but I'm happy to get it for her.

  71. Luiz Abdala

    All generations below mine...

    ...abhor actual phone calls and send voice messages through Whatsapp instead.

    Which kinda makes sense, because actual phone calls are charged by the second, take longer to negotiate and are prone to failure, while compressed audio through whatsapp media is charged by the kilobyte in their data plan, is time-delayed instead of simply failing to transmit, and the net result is actually cheaper. Plus, the interlopers can repeat the messages to their hearts content, and those messages can be checked, before sending, for clarity.

    Here is the jump to the topic: the messages are recorded using those 90 degree angles so they can see the screen at the same time they are recording, just in case the other party decides to send an emoji or (gasp!) text at the precise moment they are recording.

    And during playback, they turn the volume of the phone down, in order to attain some privacy, and again hold the phone at that odd angle so they can hear the media like it was an actual phone conversation, but not being bothered by actual headphones, bluetooth or otherwise, while keeping the hand position to resume typing, or access once again the record button, at record speeds, no pun intended.

    1 hour lost in my commute, observing 5 people doing those actions at the same time, in the metro, allowed this observation.

  72. Daedalus Silver badge

    By George I've got it!

    Why do they hold their phones that way? Because they're not thinking of them as phones anymore! The things are text messagers, video viewers and music players. Heck, add a drug dispensing option and you've got Fred Pohl's "Joymaker"! Seriously, we've reached the era of The Phoning Dead, with dedicated Phone Zombie lanes in cities for those too fascinated by their screens to register that there is a world around them. Personally I'd mine the lanes or install leg traps, but you can't have everything.

    So pity the horizontal slab wielders. They have passed beyond humanity and joined the Overmind. Let's hope they get raptured soon.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hands up

    I realised I do this the other day, but only if the phone is on speaker phone, as the sound then comes out the bottom of my phone where the mic is, so i hold that end up near my face, generally when on the toilet?! not a public one

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Duh...

    the phone is held flat so as not to infringe on privacy of others. Douche bags might pretend to be speaking while using video to record others, so as an act of 'respect' the phone isn't pointed at you.

    Right?

    Plus monkey see monkey do, though not all understand why, just do. (sniffs finger).

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