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Dream of Smacking Your Cell Phone to Shut it Up? Microsoft Wants to Patent That

Where's the most embarrassing place your phone has gone off? Would you use an app that lets you silence your device with a quick whack?

It happens to everyone at some point or another.

You're in a movie theater, the plot is thickening, the suspense is building, and all of a sudden, you hear a dreaded melody coming from your purse.

Amid glares from everyone seated around you, you scramble to locate your phone, which seems to take an eternity. Then, even worse, you have to pull it from your bag and frantically reach for the magical silent button as the familiar tune of "Call Me Maybe" (or something else equally horrifying) grows even louder.

Where's the most embarrassing place your phone has gone off in public? Tell us in the comments section.

Now it appears Microsoft is working on a solution to at least shorten the duration of the uncomfortable but common situation. As GeekWire reports, the software company has filed a patent for a “whack-based audio control module” that would apparently enable app users to smack their phones into silent mode.

Unlike similar technology that lets users hit a button or turn their phone upside down to put it in silent mode, this feature would make it possible to end the noise while the device is still in your bag or pocket. But, as GeekWire notes, playing Whack-a-Mole with your purse might cause more of a disruption than the phone itself.

It's not clear at this point whether Microsoft will actually end up marketing the technology. Read the GeekWire post for more details.

Ken Campbell September 18, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Sort of like the times we used to slam the receiver down on those pesky desk top phones!
Greg Johnston (Editor) September 18, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Agree Ken, the smack silencer would probably release a bit of frustration too. Reminds me of the story about Elvis shooting his television!
Jeanne Gustafson September 18, 2012 at 03:59 PM
I remember when everyone used to use music for their ringtones. Now, like me, we seem to favor the old-fashioned ringtone, which is much less annoying. I'm wondering if they can come up with something better than the vibrating phone, though--I swear I can "feel" it when my upstairs neighbor's phone vibrates!
Margaret Santjer September 18, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Jeanne, a lot of us apparently have that "phantom vibration" problem (me included). http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9227184/Cellphone_vibration_syndrome_and_other_signs_of_tech_addiction As to embarrassing places for a phone to go off, I swear this wasn't me, but someone's did go off during the pastor's sermon once. No embarrassing ringtone that I recall, but a bunch of people then reached for their purses or in their pockets to make sure theirs were off.
Jeanne Gustafson September 18, 2012 at 06:11 PM
I've heard of this syndrome, Margaret, but I think mine is real. I don't often use vibrate on my own phone or carry it in my pocket. I really think the vibration of my neighbor's phone carries through the wall--not that I don't believe I'm tech obsessed...
Brent Champaco September 18, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Exactly, Ken
Brian Soergel September 18, 2012 at 09:43 PM
I felt the vibration on my right leg for about a week AFTER I took phone out of pocket...
Margaret Santjer September 18, 2012 at 09:45 PM
I believe that -- if it's on a nightstand, the whole thing probably vibrates. Maybe it's touching the wall.
Joan S. Dentler (Editor) September 19, 2012 at 02:50 PM
My iPhone ring tone is the sharp bark of a dog (why I chose that one I have no idea). So no matter where I am when it goes off it's a bit embarrassing, yet no one seems to know it's a phone and they look around for a dog on the lose.
steve swortz September 22, 2012 at 02:19 PM
I have birds chirping , people always look out the window.

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