Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Not that I don’t like a crappy tune now and again...

Everywhere I go, I see a common problem. Lots of people don't know how to:

  1. Silence the ringers on their mobile phones
  2. Stop them mid-ring once they begin ringing

This morning, for example, I was in line at the doctor's office and the woman in front of me got a phone call. She didn't want to answer it, didn't want to open up her flip phone to stop if for fear that opening the phone might answer the call, and didn't know what else to do.

So, we all sat and listened to her ringer for 5 cycles of the song ("Livin' la vida loca") while she squirmed and looked around uncomfortably. I offered to show her how to mute it, but she just wanted to be invisible and pretend it never happened.

Now, I happen to be lucky enough to own a Treo 650 which has the smartest thing I've ever seen on a phone: An external switch that mutes the ringer and speaker on the phone. No digging through a zillion menus, etc. -- just click it off like a light switch.

If you aren't so fortunate, please take a few minutes to learn how to turn off the ringer on your phone (warning: you may actually have to read the manual - don't worry, most phone vendors have PDF copies online).

Invoking blessed silence:

The technique will vary depending on the phone you own:

  • On some phones, you must create a "Silent" profile and switch to it when you want to be quiet
  • On some phones, there is a shortcut key you can hold (often the # key) to toggle between vibrating alerts and audible alerts
  • On others, you may have to hit a few buttons to get down into the depths of your phone's menus to turn off the audible ringer

There are other alternatives, too:

  • Some phones (some Motorola models, for example) have ring modes that begin as a vibrating alert, then transition to an audible ring if they aren't answered - best of both worlds, and another excellent feature implementation.
  • Choose a ring tone that doesn't make a lot of noise at the beginning but gets a bit louder as it goes on (Nokia's "Persuasion" comes to mind)

But I've forgotten to do that and the darn thing is ringing - what do I do?

Yes, I've forgotten to turn off my ringer from time to time and I understand you want the noise to stop, too. But there are alternatives to listening to 6 repeats of the electronic theme from Baywatch.

Most important take away of this rant - most mobile phones will immediately stop ringing mid-ring when you do one of two things:

  1. Press the volume key on the side of the phone
  2. Press the "End Call" button (usually a button with a little red handset on it)

So give it a try this weekend. Call your mobile phone from home and see how quickly you can mute it - it's a wonderful skill to have.