By Cory Doctorow at 10:59 am Wed, Jan 19, 2011
Found this in the manual for my colleague's new Samsung phone
Clearly a user-centered-design team worked on this one…
This feature is on almost all Samsung phones of the last few years. All one has to do is press the ‘down’ button on the side of the phone a few times (it differs; sometimes three, sometimes four), and wait for a couple of minutes (the time can be configured in the phone settings). The phone’ll ring after that time has elapsed, with the caller ID set as “unknown”. You can even record a message to play instead of the ‘other end’ of the line.
I own a Samsung with this feature. It actually allows you to record the fake call in order to fool the eventual eavesdropper.
Unfortunately, I had to deactivate this feature because the “fake call” activation was too simple -just pressing a certain button for a few seconds- and I kept fakecalling myself involuntarily.
They missed the most important instruction: DON’T LET THEM SEE YOU DO IT!
It’s always nice when companies treat me like the mature, sneaky, duplicitous adult that I am.
The best thing about this feature is that if you press the down button for double the required amount of times (and if you have enabled the correct settings), when your fake call comes through if you then press the…
Damn, sorry, got to take this call..
I think there’s an app for this on the Nokia N900.
Yup, I have one of those phones. Cost about $15. Battery lasts for a week. If you pulled it out in a meeting, people are gonna think something is up, no way a dude has a phone that cheap and attends meetings other than those ordered by a Court. ;)
Both Samsung Genio Slides and Samsung Genio QWERTYs do this (I think I have the names right). Me and my friend have those models and he showed me how to do it. I think he had an older model that did it too.
Years ago, I had a phone book that told me that if I wanted to hang up on someone without upsetting them, I should do it while I was speaking so that it would look accidental. Obviously, one of the most useful pieces of advice ever.
Some people fail to grasp what happened though.
I remember having an emotional conversation with a young lady who’s own phone dropped the call, and she thought I did it…on purpose. I got an earful when she called again, but it basically boiled down to “YOU don’t hang up on ME!”
We don’t talk anymore.
Well, this was for a land line. Dropped calls were not a likelihood.
My Samsung Omnia did it, I’m fairly sure my Galaxy does too.
I recently bought a cheap (AU$19) and very basic Alcatel OT-108 phone that has this feature. I sure wish some of the others I’ve owned over the years did it. Don’t think the mighty iPhone has it, and neither does my Nokia 7230 or 6600 fold.
Finally, a good use for a cell phone!
As a technical writer, it warms my heart to see proof that someone out there read their documentation carefully enough to notice this. I’ve often been tempted to drop little tidbits like this into our documentation just to see if anyone would notice.
This is a major problem with some Samsungs.
My Samsung Jet has a fake call that can’t be switched off.
It’s a touch screen phone with two big buttons at the bottom.
Hold one of them down for 2 seconds and you get a fake call.
Fake call bypasses the phone-lock, so this happens pretty much whenever I kneel down or bend over. I have to be very careful about how I orient my phone when I put it in my pocket. The button must be at top of phone and facing away from body, which incidentally is the worst position for accidentally cancelling a call while trying to get the phone out of my pocket.
Also, this happens through the (soft) phone case, and the Jet is not a popular enough phone to get a nice aftermarket hardcase.
The feature is well publicised, so this isn’t some secret engineer-trick that was accidentally put in the manual. Samsung even boasted of it in some adverts.
I have also recorded my custom fake call.
My first message was “FFFFFUUUUUU….” but it became embarassing when passers by would hear my phone ring and assume people were just calling me to hurl abuse at me.
It currently goes, “keep calm, carry on, Samsung engineers are a clueless bunch of c____”
I use this feature. Got me out of a super boring meeting where the client just continued to blah blah about her own personal stuff, bragging about her family trips to the world and shit (and kept showing us the photo albums!!!!!!!)
Fake call saved my day. :P
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