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Mute Switches

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In my iPhone X review, I wrote:

And for reasons I’ve never been able to understand, Android handset makers seem willing to copy everything and anything from Apple they can get away with (and even things they can’t get away with), but [almost] none have copied the iPhone’s mute switch, despite the fact that it’s a brilliant idea.

I didn’t mean to imply that the iPhone was the first device or first phone to include a mute switch, but I can see how “it’s a brilliant idea” could be taken that way. I’ve changed that to “despite the fact that it’s extremely useful”.

On Twitter, Dieter Bohn pointed out that nearly every phone Palm ever made included a hardware ringer switch. Seth Weintraub pointed back to the 1985 Trimline — a landline phone that included a ringer switch. (When I was a kid, the only way you could keep a telephone from ringing was to take it off the hook, which prevented any incoming calls from getting through.)

What I think Apple deserves credit for is defining which hardware buttons were necessary for the modern smartphone: home, power, volume up/down, and mute. Every other button moved to software, inside apps on the touchscreen. It was considered somewhat radical that the iPhone omitted the Send/End (green/red) hardware buttons that were present on just about every cell phone ever made prior to the iPhone. If Apple, the most hardware-button-averse company in the industry, has always included a mute switch, why don’t Android handset makers?

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superlopuh
22 days ago
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The mute switch has been consistently the first thing to break on all my iPhones. Volume buttons should go too, the volume model is broken on iPhone.
samuel
22 days ago
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A very good point.
The Haight in San Francisco
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satadru
22 days ago
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The usual Gruber selective memory. Google moved away from even the home button years ago, well before Apple did with the iPhone X.

And is the mute switch really essential?
More phones are sold without a mute button than with. Sure I started by missing the mute button, but I've kept my android phones on permanently vibrate mode for incoming calls for years now.
New York, NY
dvenema
22 days ago
Turning the ringer on/off can be important if you don't always carry your phone in your pocket. For example, it can be hard to notice a phone vibrate if it's inside a purse.
lasombra
22 days ago
The thing here is that the iPhone's volume buttons, by default, only change the media volume, as Android users would call it, and you have to dig through the settings to change the ring volume. You can make the volume buttons control the ringer volume as well, but then you can only control the media volume when media is playing. I think the Android 6+ solution is perfect, meaning, the notification panel for volume can be expanded to control alarm, ringer and media volumes at once. I always thought Android OEMs never had a hardware mute button because of patents.
wreichard
22 days ago
I had a laptop of a brand I can’t even remember now that had an actual volume wheel in the front under the mousepad. Loved it.
eviljim
22 days ago
@lasombra it's been a lot easier since a handful of versions ago; when you volume up/down it controls a single volume but there's a little toggle to expand to see all three volumes. Not that this is a super awesome UI or super intuitive, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy to access. (Also, the volume controls media if media is playing, otherwise it controls the ringer. So it's somewhat context aware which can be confusing.)
wim_s
22 days ago
It's not that you can change from ring to vibrate using a hardware button, it's that you can check if your phone is on vibrate without having to take it out of your pocket.
satadru
21 days ago
There can't be an Apple patent on the mute switch though, since as Gruber points out prior art goes back to 1985. (And yes I have fond memories of the Treo 650 and its mute switch.) But then volume down past zero to vibrate has always maintained state for me over the years on Android too. I wonder if mute is most useful when you really don't trust the OS and the apps that can control volume to leave the device silent when you want it to stay silent. I can't remember the last time I accidentally had my phone make noises when I didn't want it to. (Android's Do Not Disturb settings, with automatic silent based on rules like time probably help that.) While we're at it, can we get TV & Movie script writers to stop using "phone accidentally left off silent" as a plot device? That's getting pretty tiresome.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - AI

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And how does 'please don't kill me, robot master' make you feel?

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superlopuh
47 days ago
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Oct 27th, 2017: SNEKs

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Mark Laita is a long time photographer fascinated by the shapes and colors of snakes, preferably just
after shedding when the colors are most vibrant.



Quote:

Handlers assisted him in laying each snake on a piece of black velvet, which slowed these fast movers enough to grab the photographs. The dark background also allowed the eye to focus on the form, texture, and color of the species. “By putting it on a black background, it removes all of the variables. It makes it just about the snake,” shared Laita. “If it is a red snake in the shape of a figure eight, all you have is this red swipe of color.”


Quote:

While photographing a black mamba at a facility in Central America, the deadly snake struck. “It was a very docile snake,” he recalls. “It just happened to move close to my feet at some point. The handler brought his hook in to move the snake, and he inadvertently snagged the cord from my camera. That scared the snake, and then it struck where it was warm. That happened to be the artery in my calf.” Miraculously, though the blood soaked through his socks and shoes, he survived the bite.


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Considering the black mamba's venom is deadly and can potentially make a person collapse within 45 minutes, Laita is extremely lucky. In fact, he was so preoccupied with the shoot, he didn't realize he'd been bitten until the handler told him. After 20 minutes of feeling ok, he decided not to seek medical attention—something herpetologists later told him was a big mistake because something could have happened even hours later. It was only the next day he realized he'd actually snapped a photograph of the bite as it occurred.
When will people realize sneks are sneaky, slimy, agents of Evil from Hell. :smack:
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samuel
73 days ago
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Omg
The Haight in San Francisco
superlopuh
73 days ago
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skittone
73 days ago
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That guy was luuuuuucky!

‘Inside the Great Poop Emoji Feud’

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Charlie Warzel, reporting for BuzzFeed:

The debate appears to be between some of Unicode’s most prolific contributors and typographers (Unicode was initially established to develop standards for translating alphabets into code that can be read across all computers and operating systems), and those in the consortium who focus primarily on the evolution of emojis. The two chief critics — Michael Everson and Andrew West, both typographers — say that the emoji proposal process has become too commercial and frivolous, thereby cheapening the Unicode Consortium’s long body of work.

Their argument centers around “Frowning Pile Of Poo,” one of the emojis under consideration for the June 2018 class. In an Oct. 22 memo to the Unicode Technical Committee, Everson tore into the committee over the submission calling it “damaging … to the Unicode standard.”

“Organic waste isn’t cute,” Everson wrote, aghast that the technical committee would even deign to consider additional excremoji. “It is bad enough that the [Emoji Subcommittee] came up with it, but it beggars belief that the [Unicode Technical Committee] actually approved it,” he wrote. Everson continued:

“The idea that our 5 committees would sanction further cute graphic characters based on this should embarrass absolutely everyone who votes yes on such an excrescence. Will we have a CRYING PILE OF POO next? PILE OF POO WITH TONGUE STICKING OUT? PILE OF POO WITH QUESTION MARKS FOR EYES? PILE OF POO WITH KARAOKE MIC? Will we have to encode a neutral FACELESS PILE OF POO?”

I’m all for taking most of the Unicode Consortium’s work deliberately and seriously, but emoji are inherently frivolous. The frivolity of emoji is why they’re so sensationally popular.

Also, Simon Willison:

I love how the fact that unicode chars are referred to by their name IN CAPS makes everyone seem even more angry.

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superlopuh
77 days ago
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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Listening

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Back in my day, we only gave corporations 70 percent of our data, and that's the way we liked it!

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superlopuh
220 days ago
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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Epsilon

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That's actually the calculus teacher's assigned uniform.

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superlopuh
236 days ago
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fxer
235 days ago
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Seems derivative
Bend, Oregon
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