Neal Stephenson Explains What’s Wrong with Mobile Phones

From io9:

I couldn’t live without mine. But the etiquette and the interface are lagging behind the technology. Introduction of new technology often leads to disruptions in manners that can take a generation or more to play out. We’re in one of those awkward times now.

I’ve got Anathem and am counting the minutes until it is released. I hope I’m not setting myself up for a huge disappointment.


  1. We don’t have to answer the phone when it rings or vibrates. The chief benefit of my cell is simply that I don’t have to go somewhere to pick up voicemail.
    The beauty of text messaging is that is sits there until you are ready to handle it– the arrival of a message is not a command abandon your concentration on dinner companions, work, or driving.
    We have to learn that the cell phones exists for OUR convenience, not the other way around.

  2. I was in a movie theater today when someone’s phone rang. I don’t think she was being a jerk; I think she just forgot to turn it off, since she dug it out of her purse and very quietly (I only heard her clearly because I was directly across the aisle), in the space of about ten seconds, said, “Hello?…I’m in a movie, can I call you back?…Thanks, bye.” Certainly better than some idiot answering the phone and having an in-depth conversation in normal tones, but, given that the phone was somewhat muffled in her purse and given that it had already rung four times by the time she managed to find it, would it have been better to just let it finish ringing and go into voice mail, then take out the phone and put it on vibrate?

  3. One of the best features of the iPhone is the little switch on the side that lets you put the phone on vibrate without powering it on. It also makes it so easy to check the mode it’s in.

Comments are closed.