back to article Hear, hear: The first to invent idiot-cancelling headphones gets my cash

Speak up. (La la la la la.) Say what? (La la la la la.) No, sorry, can't hear a thing. The uniformed gentleman standing by my train seat stops soundlessly moving his lips and begins miming instead. First class is great: a wide seat, an electrical socket all to yourself, and now I'm getting treated to performance art in the …

  1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    That's a winning idea!

    Maybe headphones with #MAKA built in so we can select the idiots we want to dispose of - I'd buy those!

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: That's a winning idea!

      Maybe headphones with #MAKA built in so we can select the idiots we want to dispose of - I'd buy those!

      Wait, Maka built in??? I mean sure she's small, but not that small...

  2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Selective attention

    The resulting claim is that "Opn S users can perform so-called 'selective attention' – they can monitor surroundings and switch attention when focusing on speech, even in noisy environments."

    I'm fairly sure at least half the population would claim the other half has selective attention anyway, although in many cases it may be more accurately described as selective ignorance...

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Selective attention

      I'm fairly sure at least half the population would claim the other half has selective attention anyway

      Humans have always had this.

      No greater example has ever been put forward than the recent Presidental Impeachment.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        Pint

        That is worth way more than just one upvote, so have one on me !

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Selective attention

        That's a recent example, but the US has managed much worse.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Selective attention

      My Grandad used to turn his hearing aid off, so he didn't have to listen to his wife. However, he could still hear Des Lynham or Dickie Davies talking about sport on telly perfectly - by dint of having turned the TV volume up to 11.

      However he could still divine from the ether when a cup of tea was on offer, even if it was happening in a different room.

      1. Fortycoats

        Re: Selective attention

        Reminds me of this Father Jack classic:

        https://youtu.be/DqM_9_5SCdU

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Selective attention

          Tried watching the clip but YouTube reported:

          Video unavailable

          This video contains content from Channel 4, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.

          I'm in the UK using a national ISP (BT). However, firing up a VPN in Germany allowed me to watch! Perhaps Brexit means programmes set in EU countries are no longer permitted!!!!!

          1. David 132 Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Selective attention

            I can't watch it because I'm at work, but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that it's the scene from Father Ted s1e3 The Passion of Saint Tibulus with the candles... "He can hear well enough when he wants to. Watch this. Father Jack, would you like a glass of brandy?" "Yes."

    3. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Selective attention

      I have had that for years, I learnt it from n allegedly deaf aunt. Whenever shelost interest in a conversation she would complain her hearing aid was playing up and she would withdraw from the conversation, however, it would miraculously function if something interesting came up. I can't do conversations with more than two people at s time anyway so people who know me are used to me shutting out a multi channel yak.

    4. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: Selective attention

      My wife claims I have selective attention, apparently anyway, as I never heard her.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Selective attention

        My wife just said "OMG you never listen to me" which seems a very odd way to start a conversation

        1. AndyMulhearn

          Re: Selective attention

          My wife just said "OMG you never listen to me" which seems a very odd way to start a conversation

          I once got a very hard stare, almost Paddingtonesque, for saying "It's not that I couldn't hear you, I just wasn't listening to you".

          Still married fortunately.

          1. Mephistro Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Selective attention

            When my (now ex) SO was brooming the floor, I asked he if she was going out for a ride.

            She hit my head with the broom.

            To be frank, I had stolen the joke from and old Andy Capp comic, and the final result was the same: the machoist oppressor ends up being hit in the head with the broom.

            "Those who don't learn from other people's errors must learn from their own."

    5. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Selective attention

      My hearing is a bit duff.

      I cannot bear being interrupted, it starts me stuttering (and I don't stutter) and breaks train of thought.

      Two people talking at once, I do not even TRY to work out as to me it is a wall of noise.

      I actually have to concentrate to listen to people.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Selective attention

        I can't hear as well due to an eyesight problem.

        I've actually got very good hearing, and yet I was finding that I couldn't hear conversations properly in noisy environments, like pubs and clubs - and yet nobody else was having any problems at all. I wondered if I'd got one of those selective hearing problems where the brain has trouble splitting up all the competing sounds.

        It took me years to work out that people are (partially) lip-reading, even though most are doing it unconsciously. And that the extra information this gives the brain, is enough to allow it to sort through the aural soup that it's having to work with.

        Also, those body language cues of when someone's about to stop talking and who's about to take over just aren't visible to me. So if I want to get a word in edgeways in a group conversation I just have to barge in rudely and say my thing, and then when I realise I've missed that somone else was about to start I have to quickly choose whether to talk over them or shut up and let them have their turn. I'm assuming there's a sort of unconscious negotiation via body language and eye contact going on, within the group as to who goes next.

        When I was younger and less confident, it just meant I had to shut up in larger groups - but now I'm less worried about the odd minor social faux pas.

        1. ma1010 Silver badge

          Re: Selective attention

          What you say about unconscious lip reading is very interesting. I am totally "tone deaf" to lip reading. My wife used to try to "talk" to me at times by exaggerating her lip movements (such as trying to tell me something when I was on the phone), but I never got it at all and still don't even begin to have a clue.

          Perhaps that explains why I can't have a conversation with anyone in noisy places. The wife and I met a friend in this really noisy place, and for the whole meal, I didn't understand a word either of them said, but they were fine talking to each other.

          1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

            Re: Selective attention

            I learned early on that I lip read quite a bit. It doesn't help that many noisy environments also have low (I think they call it "mood") lighting...

        2. Teiwaz Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Selective attention

          I think I have a similar problem.

          People often commented that I was rude when I started overtalking someone.

          I really couldn't work out when it was the right time to join in, and observations about my rudeness I didn't grok, so I dismissed them.

          Of course, the same people would complain if I sat politely and didn't engage in conversation much.

          Can't win either way.

        3. swm Silver badge

          Re: Selective attention

          When they were developing speech recognition (1970's) they found that they could only recognize about 70% of the words. Then someone had the brilliant idea to see how good humans were so they took a tape of continuous speech and separated out all of the words and presented single words to listeners. They found humans could only do about 70%. Hmmm... That's when they discovered the benefit of context in speech recognition.

        4. RockBurner

          Re: Selective attention

          I have the same thing.

          Drove my (now-ex) wife up the wall until she wrapped me in an envelope marked "asbergers" and suddenly it was an explainable phenomenon. Of course that meant that EVERYTHING I did had to pass through that filter.....

          The fact that she was higher than me on that particular scale had nothing to do with it, naturally.

  3. Teiwaz Silver badge

    idiot cancelling headphones? That'd be nice

    But unlikely, as idiots are so ingenious at being annoying.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: idiot cancelling headphones? That'd be nice

      Have you checked out Joo Jantas catalogue? If they can make Peril Sensitive Sunglasses, Idiot Cancelling Headphones should be a doddle.

  4. Shadow Systems Silver badge
    Joke

    How to silence the idiots...

    An overpowered cattle prod. You just have to wear noseplugs to handle the smell of burning idiot.

    1. D@v3

      Re: How to silence the idiots...

      I love the smell of burning idiots in the morning, smells like...victory

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: How to silence the idiots...

        I love the smell of burning idiots in the morning, smells like...victory

        That can't be upvoted enough. Have one on me.....

    2. David 132 Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: How to silence the idiots...

      Just don't use the same cattle prod as Richie and Eddie..

      https://youtu.be/HY4KVFrTJPc

  5. Franco Silver badge

    I remember once trying to get through a gate at Heathrow using the QR code I had been texted by Virgin and having all sorts of fun. Too much brightness, not enough brightness and for some reason almost any app I've ever used that requires scanning a bar code or QR code seems designed to make the phone's accelerometer crap itself and the screen spin around like Pete Burns in the 80s.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      So what happens if you don't have a smartphone? Are you considered some sort of rabble-rouser and banished to room with single bright light and two guys with assorted implements of destruction?

      1. Franco Silver badge

        I honestly can't remember if that was an option, it was a good few years ago. Virgin took over the old BMI Edinburgh to Heathrow route, but I don't think they ran it for long before folding the subsidiary cos they were trying to run a premium service at budget prices (Little Red or something like that?)

        My main memory of the trip is buying a bacon roll and a coffee in Edinburgh Airport which cost around £10, and then being offered the same for free as soon as I got on the plane. Naturally I decided to have a larger than normal breakfast and skipped lunch!

  6. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Extra points for the IPCRESS reference!

  7. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    I don't have an anger problem, I have an Idiot problem

    Title pretty much says it all...

  8. Bronk's Funeral

    Oh, the singing woman is a thing now? I experienced my first one onna train this week. Well, I say singing, it was more a tuneless hum, with a time signature that would have made Car Bomb scratch their heads in confusion.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Trollface

      You need to create a counterpoint to the caterwailing in an attempt to highlight the underlying metaphor of whatever it is she was trying to sing, or something.

      (Thanks DA)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Had a recent train trip myself

    East coast USA. Things must be a bit different here. My coach seat had an outlet, and after the guy across the aisle had been jabbering loudly into his cellphone for an hour (with a couple of nice loud HELLO?s a minute), the conductor strolled by. He had a voice like a drill sergeant, and used it that way too, telling the guy on the phone that THE WHOLE CAR DOES NOT NEED TO HEAR YOUR PHONE CONVERSATION. YOU WILL SPEAK IN A QUIETER TONE OF VOICE. YOU WILL NOT USE SPEAKERPHONE (he wasn't). ANY COMPUTER OR PHONE USE WILL BE WITH HEADPHONES.

    Guy was whispering into his phone for the remainder of his trip...

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Had a recent train trip myself

      Unfortunately these days in the UK that would likely result in the offender bursting into tears and claiming some kind of PTSD from the rail company.

      Shame, because it sounds quite effective.

      1. not.known@this.address Bronze badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Had a recent train trip myself

        What bugs me the most is the increasing number of cyclists who cannot understand that the right place for their two-wheel monstrosities is in the carriage with the fricking BIKE RACK, not blocking the doorways and corridors in all the other carriages. Idiots with loud music, or people discussing the latest episode of Unfaithful Fuckwits On The Beach, pale in comparison with the braindead morons who cannot understand that there often isn't enough room for the passengers who want to get on, and their taking extra 'cabin' space because they cannot be arsed to walk another carriage-length down the platform to the empty space where bikes *should* be shows how ignorant and lazy they really are(*)...

        (*)This doesn't apply to those who have tried to get on the right carriage but cannot because there is no more space. It does apply to the fuckwits on the 7.49 to Eastbourne - but on the other hand, if they did do what they should, I wouldn't have half a carriage to myself (except if there's a wheelchair on board as well)!

        1. Franco Silver badge

          Re: Had a recent train trip myself

          That doesn't annoy me nearly as much as the people who won't take their backpack/rucksack off when the trains are full. Invariably, because it is very heavy, they move constantly and bash in to everyone, but won't do what sensible people do and put it on the floor between their legs to minimse the space they take up. They are like (some) cyclists though, in that they are invariably extremely aggressive and/or condescending to anyone who dares make a comment about their bag.

          1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: Had a recent train trip myself

            The trick there is when they do so, subtly and gently push on the backpack to take advantage of the weight and momentum to just spin them around in a dizzying circle until they get the hint...

          2. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

            Re: Had a recent train trip myself

            If I'm standing on a train, it's because there's nowhere to sit. In which case there might also be nowhere safe to put a backpack down. That is for multiple values of "safe" - risks ranging from theft through accidental damage to the Big One - some innocent stranger getting entangled in an unseen strap when they try to move. The space taken by a backpack is minimised by wearing it.

            Happily I don't seem to encounter such trains any more. I expect avoiding London helps.

            As for a bike, some trains have become hopelessly confusing. As you get on, a station announcement tells you "bike space in zone G". So you go to zone G, only to find it's not there, and there isn't time to go and find it.

        2. Mark 110

          Re: Had a recent train trip myself

          "What bugs me the most is the increasing number of cyclists who cannot understand that the right place for their two-wheel monstrosities is in the carriage with the fricking BIKE RACK,"

          Given that the bike rack tends to be full of one of:

          - people who can't get a seat and look at me blankly when I suggest they let me put my bike in the rack

          - push chairs

          - luggage

          - other bikes

          I find I generally have to make do with what ever space I can find and try andd stay out of peoples way as best as I can.

          And its not a monstrosity.

    2. Franco Silver badge

      Re: Had a recent train trip myself

      I'd love to know what that train company would have made of the woman eating eggs for breakfast, that resulted in a £1500 fine for another woman for hurling abuse at her because of the smell.

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/11/13/woman_fined_for_rage_over_boiled_eggs_on_train/

      1. Andy Non Silver badge

        Re: Had a recent train trip myself

        Don't egg them on, they'll only kick up a stink.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Had a recent train trip myself

      How did the trains figure that an app would be an improvement? Everybody seems to have to fumble around for a couple of minutes to pull up a screen with the code if not longer. This is if they aren't jammin' to some string of obscenities on speaker (I'm in the US where people of color use the forbidden N word in every sentence). If they are polluting the audio environment with the sonorous notes of social unrest, they have to verbally abuse the conductor for being so raciss as to ask for a ticket like dey sum sort of kriminal. I often see the conductor accompanied by a LEO on the weekends when it gets really bad.

      I'm very fond of my tiny, cash paid, anonymous slip of paper that can be presented and scanned in seconds with no permanent record in my name.

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Re: Had a recent train trip myself

        Can't speak for other UK train companies, but Scotrail have introduced an RFID smartcard which is tap and go. Works pretty well IME. You buy tickets online or at a ticket office and tap it to a machine to load it up.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Had a recent train trip myself

        "Everybody seems to have to fumble around for a couple of minutes to pull up a screen with the code if not longer."

        That would be the same people who manage to bury their paper/cardboard ticket in the bottom of a bag or forget which the many, many pockets they put in and wait until asked before they start looking.

        It's not hard to be prepared to show your ticket when asked and actually be ready. Unless you happen to be right at the end of the carriage the inspector is starting from.

        1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

          Re: Had a recent train trip myself

          Inspectors used to announce when they enetered the carridge "Ticket inspection. Please have your tickets ready!" But I guess that is negated somewhat by headphones these days...

  10. GlenP Silver badge

    I used an app and online ticket for a train journey last year, largely because the station I was starting from was unmanned and without ticket machines*.

    The person manning the barriers at Shrewsbury was amazed that I managed to get the QR code on the screen recognised, as I approached the barrier phone in hand he was already stepping forward to assist!

    *I was vindicated, someone tried to purchase a ticket on the train with a debit card. The Guard's card reader only works when there's a 4G signal, something which is fairly rare in the Welsh Marches.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Joke

      Too many words..

      "something which is fairly rare in the Welsh Marches Wales."

      1. Steve Lloyd

        Re: Too many words..

        The Welsh marches are not Wales. They are Cheshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire. Formerly designated to keep out Welsh cattle hustlers.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Too many words..

          The residents of Monmouthshire might disagree with you, but then good luck finding someone who lives there who is actually Welsh and not an archetypal little-Englander...

        2. macjules Silver badge

          Re: Too many words..

          You mean rustlers I hope. Unless you really have met someone saying, “Psst boyo, wanna buy a genuine Hereford cow?”

    2. wegie

      QR codes in the Marches?

      The TfW bod at Shrewsbury was getting ready to help you because the sodding QR codes on their own bloody paper tickets, as printed on the train, don't work with the barriers ar Shrewsbury!

      The 4G signal, though, is a *lot* better than it used to be. Up until about 18 months ago, you could tell that you'd got beyond the Shrewsbury ring road because the signal dropped to nothing pretty much until you got to Leominster. And you didn't even think about trying to use your phone on the Heart of Wales line.

  11. SVV Silver badge

    Why 99 smartphones and not, say, a round 100?

    He was trying to demonstrate how flakey Google Maps is.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Why 99 smartphones and not, say, a round 100?

      Nope, didn't get that. Anyone else?

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Why 99 smartphones and not, say, a round 100?

        "99 with a flake in it" is a kind of ice cream.

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: Why 99 smartphones and not, say, a round 100?

          "99 with a flake in it" is a kind of ice cream."

          An ice-cream with a flake, or two, in it is a 99..

          1. Teiwaz Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Why 99 smartphones and not, say, a round 100?

            An ice-cream with a flake, or two, in it is a 99..

            Last time I tried to buy one, they were 2.99.

            And two flakes?

            Maybe prior to decimalisation...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why 99 smartphones and not, say, a round 100?

          Let them melt down into it and call it a 9-11, that drives the septics mental.

        3. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Why 99 smartphones and not, say, a round 100?

          Thanks :)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Anyone else?

        Nein.

        ...

        ...

        ...

        NEIN!

      3. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Why 99 smartphones and not, say, a round 100?

        Make Mine A 99

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Why 99 smartphones and not, say, a round 100?

          I knew what that would be before I clicked on it. Have an upvote. The world needs more KLF (with or without Tammy)

        2. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

          The Justified and Ancient...

          ...Still a masterpiece....

      4. zekepliskin

        Re: Why 99 smartphones and not, say, a round 100?

        99 Luftballoons.

        1. Benson's Cycle

          Re: Why 99 smartphones and not, say, a round 100?

          Ja, genau.

  12. macjules Silver badge

    Not a lot of people know this ..

    There will come a moment when so many motorists on the M25 are using Google Maps that the dark red lines will all join together as one.

    Your ‘smart’ phone will then automatically start the short process of repeating “Hail the Great Beast, Devourer of Worlds.”

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Not a lot of people know this ..

      This is a Good Omens reference and I claim my €5.

    2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Not a lot of people know this ..

      Many moons ago I did some work with a firm of transport consultants, based just outside London. I used to drive there from up here in the the far north, and used to complain about how such a large proportion of my journey was taken up by the M25, and they told me a great piece of trivia.

      If you consider that if someone in front of you puts their brakes on, you see their brake lights and you also brake, and so on through the queue of traffic. Something similar applies for seeing the car in front of you releases their brakes. The thing is, there's a natural inclination to release the brakes more slowly than to apply them. On a circular road like the M25, with sufficient traffic going around it, it's theoretically possible for you to put your brakes on for a bit, the ripple effect go right around and for you to get caught up at the end of a tailback that you started.

      1. Caver_Dave
        Boffin

        Re: Not a lot of people know this ..

        My bit of trivia. The ripple moves backwards as 12mph!

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Not a lot of people know this ..

          So, faster than the traffic moves forward then...

          (only half-joking)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not a lot of people know this ..

          this calls for a SERIOUS scientific research, perhaps even ig-noble award!

          1. Daedalus Silver badge

            Re: Not a lot of people know this ..

            It's been done. A bunch of cars were set around a 50m circle and the drivers told to drive at the best possible speed. Pretty soon they were doing the wave.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Not a lot of people know this ..

          "The ripple moves backwards as 12mph!"

          It depends. There used to be a zebra crossing on the Upper Malone Rd in Belfast. It was quite capable of developing a standing ripple. You drove up and had to stop momentarily because the vehicle in front stopped there because the vehicle in front stopped there because....someone had crossed the road. I suppose the ripple was propagating back relative to the traffic at the same speed as the traffic crawled forward but it could build up a very impressive queue.

      2. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Not a lot of people know this ..

        Which is exactly why you should keep some free space in front of your car so you DON'T have to slam the brakes like everyone else. (Jackoffs cutting into this "free" space notwithstanding. A pox on their houses.)

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Not a lot of people know this ..

          Free space in front of car.

          When a car invades it becomes my crumple zone.

          A lot of people drive crumple zones.

          I would rather not have to replace my bumper, I care more about that than the crumple zone which barged in front.

          1. Alistair Dabbs

            Re: Not a lot of people know this ..

            I've often wondered about the way traffic announcers on the radio blame some traffic jams on "drivers slowing down to look at the accident".

            (1) Is the idea that, as soon as I see flashing police and fire brigade warning lights looming ahead through the fog and a mix of orange cones and broken glass spread across the motorway, I should keep rattling along at the same speed?

            (2) If the cars in front of me have slowed down, should I bomb past them via the hard shoulder or central reservation, maintaining a level 70mph, so as to avoid the risk of looking at what might have caused them to decelerate?

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Not a lot of people know this ..

              No, when they say that on travel announcements, they are talking about the rubberneckers on the opposite carriageway causing a new tailback despite there being no accidents, breakdowns or obstructions on their side. Yet. Their slowing down and causing a tailback will quite possible result in secondary accidents on their side.

              1. Sherrie Ludwig

                Re: Not a lot of people know this ..

                In Chicago, that other side of the road slowdown is called a "gaper's block". It happens so often that the nomenclature has standardized.

        2. 9Rune5 Silver badge

          Re: Not a lot of people know this ..

          Which is exactly why you should keep some free space in front of your car so you DON'T have to slam the brakes like everyone else.

          That rather depends on the speed of the flow. If you're doing 50kph or less, the vast space between you and the car on front of you could perhaps comfortably fit another car. Which translates to less bandwidth. If everybody drives that way, you'll end up gridlocked sooner.

          What I do is keep an eye on the brake lights further up the road. That way I've already slowed down by the time the car in front of me starts responding.

          And I've moved out of the city, so that I'm rarely stuck in traffic these days.

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: Not a lot of people know this ..

            "the vast space between you and the car on front of you could perhaps comfortably fit another car. Which translates to less bandwidth.:"

            You'd be surprised just how little that matters compared to the traffic jam preventing properties of having space available. At 50 kph you should have about 25 meters of space free in front of you. That COULD easily fit another car. But it shouldn't!!

            Even if you DO keep that sensible distance you should be looking further up the road ANYWAY! That's not a replacement for keeping sufficient distance, it's called not driving like a moron.

            1. MJI Silver badge

              Re: Not a lot of people know this ..

              Say you have two car lengths at about 30 and someone dives in the gap, leaving about 3m either end maximum.

              1. imanidiot Silver badge

                Re: Not a lot of people know this ..

                So you shake your head, back of the throttle a little bit and let the gap grow again. It's not hard. (And no, this doesn't mean "you can't move at all because people keep diving into the gap". In reality most people on the road aren't total bellends despite what it feels like.)

                Btw, at 30kph, 2 second rule means you should be keeping about 16 meters distance. Which is more than 2 car lengths. (2 car lengths is almost never enough!)

    3. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Not a lot of people know this ..

      So much for "Don't Be Evil" then.

    4. David 132 Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Not a lot of people know this ..

      All those phones in cars? I bet they'd need a lot of wire...

      Icon: Ligur -->

  13. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Recommendations

    So dear commentariat, are there any 'good' ones? I looked at the comments from the article from two weeks back and nobody dared to suggest anything. I ask because one of two things will happen:

    1) I will have no time at all, head for Amazon, search for "noise cancelling headphones", pick the Happy Lucky Golden Rainbow Dragon Noise Cancelling headphones with hundreds of five-star reviews and the coveted "Amazon Choice" badge and they will fall apart or explode in a week.

    2) I will somehow find time to thoroughly research, carefully make my choice, purchase, and then find that what I wanted to buy on Amazon has been ASIN hijacked and I will end up being delivered some Happy Lucky Golden Rainbow Dragon Noise Cancelling headphones which fall apart or explode in a week.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Recommendations

      I got some cheapo "MPOW" ones for $seasonal_holiday, they seem to work reasonably well, once I managed to get them to pair with the PC (it turns out that if you buy a bluetooth dongle and forget you already had one plugged into a USB socket in the back, that you got a few years back, Windows gets somewhat confused).

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Recommendations

      Only actually good choices I have experience with Bose QuietComfort 35s or Sony WH-1000XM3. Choice depends on comfort and tolerance for Bose. (IF you get the Bose ones, don't EVER be tempted to update the firmware). I went with the QC35s because they fit me more comfortably, but a coworker is very happy with his Sony pair, both are in a similar price range.

      In cheaper price ranges, you usually get what you pay for.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Recommendations

      Simple answer: Don't buy from Amazon, buy from a reputable seller who actually uses known suppliers. I've found walmart.com to be surprisingly good in the US.

      1. Allonymous Coward

        Re: Recommendations

        In the UK, Argos has become my go-to online retailer for the same reason.

        I still get stuff off Amazon (Argos don't sell SSDs for example) but I tend to look other places first.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Recommendations

          Yes, what happened to Amazon? Once upon a time you could buy decent stuff from it, but now it does seem to be mostly an anonymous tat bazaar, and anything that you might try to search for is swamped out by dozens of anonymous (and not always even reasonable quality) Chinese "brands", and even half of those appear to just be rebrands of identical products from the other half (the ones that failed quality checking, perhaps, but which ones are which?)...

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Recommendations

        Yes, I know, but it still sucks you in. I found not continuing my subscription to prime (after navigating the dark pattern UI) was a good way to wean me off of a lot of it.

        Thanks for the recommendations in this thread, I'll take a look at them.

    4. Jan 0

      Re: Recommendations

      I suggest that you start with a manufacturer that already makes excellent headphones. It's not a good start if their expertise lies elsewhere, for example, in reflecting sound of walls.

  14. John Robson Silver badge

    As a hearing aid user...

    I can say that the tech they are trying to put into the next gen aids is quite spectacular... And needed.

    It's not a case of having an annoying drone in the background, but literally not being able to parse the conversation that it taking place with the person sat in front of you...

    Hearing aids do not, and cannot, correct hearing in the way glasses correct eyesight.

  15. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    I've

    got an idiot canceling hammer if thats any help...

    <<<<currently wanting to cancel "loose nuts" the apprentice

    1. Ken 16 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Thor, is that you?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    99 camel toes - IFTFY

    "It would have been much more fun to traipse across Berlin with 99 camels in tow."

  17. MJI Silver badge

    Last time I traveled first class

    Was a long time ago.

    Operator was called BR and the power cars still had Valentas.

    But no mobiles, it was great.

    1. Tim99 Silver badge

      Re: Last time I traveled first class

      Unfortunately, from the mid 1980s the merchant banker/ commodity trader type of passenger with his £2000+ mobile brick phone started to infect 1st class. Their conversations were mostly “Can you speak up, I’m on the train - Sorry the reception isn’t very good”. Some wanna-be wankers even bought dummy phones so they could have loud pretend conversations to try to impress with their “big deals”. The Loadsamoney meme soon followed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Last time I traveled first class

        We used to get memos from our director telling us what he'd heard company staff discussing on the train to London, and making it clear that if he heard it again someone would be looking for a new job.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: Last time I traveled first class

          The cow-orker across from my desk once overheard a phone conversation between a fellow in uniform and with several adornments on his epaulettes. That phone conversation soon moved to subjects that had better not be discussed in public, or even outside of a staff room.

          Cow-orker happened to know someone in security at the base where he expected Loudmouth to be based (and if he wasn't, Security Guy would certainly be able to find out where Loudmouth was based, and hand over the LARTing to his counterpart). Security Guy was informed of the conversation, with sufficient detail to make it stick.

          A few days later cow-orker was informed that Loudmouth had JUST managed to avoid an epaulette-adornment reduction.

          1. Benson's Cycle

            Re: Last time I traveled first class

            OT, but our local HVAC engineer once told me of how he was installing equipment in a certain secret underground base during the unpleasantness in Iraq. He and his assistant had to go down to the lowest, most secure level to deal with a faulty piece of equipment. When they entered, a pair of generals took not the slightest notice and continued with their discussion, which was of a sensitive nature (the guy would know, he is ex-Forces.)

            Security is for the plebs.

        2. wegie

          Re: Last time I traveled first class

          I always just used to take notes of the business conversations in first class and relay them to him indoors.

          Just because the woman across the aisle looks like some scruffy tech/academic doesn't mean him indoors isn't an investment banker.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Last time I traveled first class

            I always just used to take notes of the business conversations in first class and relay them to him indoors.

            I do something similar, but when they person speaking makes it obvious who they work for the I relay the information back to that company via the "Contact Us" form on their website.

            For example, I passed an evening in a Premier Inn bar relaying details of an easily-overheard conversation, along the lines of "I am interested in learning more about your company, From what I've heard about you from the overly loud conversation being conducted by <insert description here> in the public bar of <insert location here> you sound like an interesting organisation. I'm particularly impressed that your client list includes <insert list of names he's been reeling off> and I'm especially impressed that you were prepared to go the extra mile to secure the custom of <name withheld here to protect the guilty> by bypassing the normal procurement process by having senior management agree the deal between themselves on the golf course."

            I left the message around 10pm and got a call at 10 the next morning to thank me for bringing this to their attention and to say that the individual in question had just experienced an involuntary career event.

  18. imanidiot Silver badge

    Wishful thinking

    Things like inductive loops for hearing aid users already exist. Couldn't they implement that tech into NC headphones so things like train announcements get through? Would also benefit the users of hearing aids that get better sound quality over the din inside the train.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Wishful thinking

      That would be good, and inexpensive...

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Wishful thinking

        That would be a "No", then. Shame!

  19. vtcodger Silver badge

    99 Smart phones?

    Weckert managed to get 99 cell phones running and accessing Google Maps AT THE SAME TIME from the same location. All before the batteries in the first one faded. The guy is clearly some sort of genius. Warped, but none the less a genius.

    A statue is probably in order.

  20. G R Goslin

    Go by car

    Go by car. It's cheaper, quieter, and you get the carriage to yourself. Even better, it starts where you are and ends where you want to be.

    1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: Go by car

      Or even better - work from home.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Go by car

        "Or even better - work from home."

        Unless you are an architectural photographer. You would only be able to take jobs you can see from your home. Perhaps even from your roof, but telephoto lens purchases could negate any savings for buildings further along.

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Go by car

          Just tap into the CCTV camera in the area. You'll be able to provide photos from 100 different angles ...

  21. baud Bronze badge

    > launching the ticket booking app on my smartphone, navigating to my bookings, the app spontaneously quitting, relaunching it, being prompted to sign in again, browsing my password vault for the appropriate ID, finding the right one after three or four attempts, then watching the inspector make multiple impotent attempts to bleep it from different angles because his little light-gun barcode reader

    And that's why I always print my ticket in advance, saving me the hassle of ever having to install another app programmed on the other side of the world by the lowest bidder.

    1. baud Bronze badge

      I also received the bar/qr code by mail once or twice, so I could just use my email app to show it to the inspector. But I like having a paper backup, even if between the outlet and wifi in the train, there's no issue retrieving it. Though if you absolutely want to use your fondleslab and are worried about network access, you can retrieve the code where you got a good access, then do a screenshot. Even easier to show the code to the inspector.

  22. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    just a damned reference...

    And props for the vid with The Captain and Dolly Mixture...

  23. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Call that a noisy carriage? BR DMU days, first off-peak in the morning, ladies group going up to London from High Wycombe on a day out. That was noisy.

    1. Dr_N Silver badge

      Doctor Syntax> ladies group going up to London from High Wycombe on a day out. That was noisy

      Was it The Spice Girls out on an Away Day?

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Was it The Spice Girls out on an Away Day?

        Or a group of bored housewives on a Have It Away Day?

  24. ma1010 Silver badge

    Comfortable earbuds

    I can't speak to headphones, but I sometimes leave my earbuds in for 8+ hours at a time. That used to kill my ears until I found a company called Comply Foam that makes replacement earbud tips out of memory foam. They have different styles (I use the "comfort" style), and they are comfortable all day and have the added advantage of muffling background noise. I love them. The only bad thing is that the foam does wear out after a while, but they usually last several months if you're gentle with them.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Comfortable earbuds

      Custom fitted ear monitors are very nice. It's what musical performers use now in place of on-stage monitors. A little spendy, but very good quality.

  25. Celeste Reinard

    Shad up... (hou je bek...)

    I walk with a cane that has I HIT KIDS in pink writing on it. It has also tigerprinting on the handle.

    I walk with a cane that has I HIT KIDS in Pink Writing on it, as my balance organ on my left side is damaged. This is due to an incessant stream of idiocy and verbal abuse in, mostly, my left ear, during years. By, (the doctor, thaumaturg said I couldn't use such language, so I repeat it because why not (hè whât?)) indeed, a drunken eff-ing idiot. (A heavily challenged person.)

    That is besides the kids outside, wth 4 (!) trampolines in a radius of 50 meters (have a nice day). The neighboor with his friggin' drill on rainy days. The fr... stairlift (beep beep beep, kgrrrrrrr, click, tack, clack - tack tack tack - ni ni ni ni ni nini) 20, 30 times day. The fagging piano (Ah! You go to bed, then I can practice...) For good measure, we throw in these bl.... birds. And 26 Clocks. Ding ding dong for 7 minutes every half hour. With the tick-tack inbetween.

    I am sure I forget things.

    Electric and internal combustion engines that go beep. The artificial parasite that makes us do things we otherwise wouldn't do. And does beep. Is the undoing of this planet, and is a co-evolution - a lifeform in its own. I wonder how many I use every day - too many.

    I also have developped a worse than demonic cackle. That would scare the living daylights out of Granny Weatherwax (Mémé Ciredutemps). I am very proud of that.

    I go shopping with earplugs.

    I dream regularly of modding my rod with a visor, a trigger, and a clip, just to make a statement.

    Silence is precious, innocent, and butchered to death by any passing idiot. Indeed.

    The inhouse philosopher of Throbbing Gristle, Genesis P. Orridge, is quite eloquent and to the point, when he sings about Discipline.

    Love.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8klW9trVTQ

  26. Blackjack

    Using Nuise-a Cuonceleeng heedphunes in uny plece-a vit ouzeer peuple-a juost mekes it iesier tu get yuour vellet stulee-a. Nut yuour Smertphune-a, is nut leeke-a peuple-a ifers stup huldeeng thuse-a zeengs in zeeur huonds vhee-a zeey ire-a suoppused tu be-a telkeeng tu ouzeer peuple-a zeet ictuoelly neer zeem, right? Bork Bork Bork!

  27. Muscleguy Silver badge

    Hmmm

    I'm a home woodworker and I recall over a decade ago the availability of noise cancelling ear defenders tuned to protect your ears from loud machinery in the workshop but still hear someone talking to you (when the machines stop but you're still wearing them).

    Though that is just a loudness filter and wouldn't help you with the singing woman.

    There was a guy on the bus the other day who thought he has a good singing voice who would sing various pop songs, but only bits of them as though his memory for lyrics was only partial. Almost enought to make my dig out my earphones and play music on my phone. Except my battery is dying and I have my bus tickets on my phone and I don't want to risk it dying just as the bus home pulls up (that's happened, the bus drivers here are very accommodating though, I got on on spec while I booted my phone from the battery pack and loaded my ticket for him).

    I can understand your frustration though. The technology is not quite there yet.

  28. Badbob

    Every time you make something...

    ... “idiot proof”. They make a better idiot.

  29. Aussie Doc
    Coat

    Please

    "...idiot-cancelling headphones..."

    Shaddup and take my money. Please. It's in my pocket ---->

  30. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Should you require exceptional sound insulation...

    ... I can highly recommend Koss 'The Plug' earphones, they have a foam surround to exclude environmental sound, and generic ear defenders over the top. About twenty pounds for the earphones and a fiver for the ear defenders.

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