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Something is wrong when the ‘telephone app’ on your phone becomes 3rd party (martinruenz.de)
598 points by guy-brush on May 4, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 337 comments

Or that just means that we still call the device in our pocket a "phone" for legacy reasons. If we are okay with having a third party handles our messages, VoIP etc, why not the phone app?

I don't carry a phone in my pocket, I carry a personal computer that also makes voices calls over cellular networks.

I've been joking lately that there is a new one syllable word for "personal computer": phone. At the current rate that's how the language will shift. I suppose we'll know if people start referring to things like "macOS deskphones" and think "laptop" always meant "laptop phone". :)

It's like those futurist ads from the 50s (and 80s/90s) AT&T that soon there will be phones capable of amazing things everywhere in our lives, except they aren't all AT&T branded and most of them started with the name "personal computer". (Though savor the irony that Ma Bell's legacy lives on in Linux by way of Bell Labs' contributions to Unix.)

Then again, I'm also strongly for renaming 3D Printers to facsimile machines because the word fax is too useful to lose to ancient toner-based modem printers.

Mobile phones are called "Handys" in German. It's become such a satisfying and appropriate name for handheld computers, as distinct from traditional personal computers.

In British English, they've always called cellphones "mobiles", which is also a nice short name for mobile computers.

In Chinese it translates to "hand machine," and computer translates to "electric brain"

In American slang, "Handys" are another term for an act with a partner.

Besides referring to the actual product (iPhone or Android etc), I'm not aware if we have a term to replace phone

That's not too well known in American slang, in my experience. I'd never heard that usage before now. Edit -- lots of people here recognize that usage, so I guess I'm just sheltered. Regardless, I hear 'handy' used in the US as an adjective meaning convenient quite often.

But, if so, it's like the reverse of Americans talking about their "fanny pack" while in England.

> But, if so, it's like the reverse of Americans talking about their "fanny pack" while in England.

There was a (funny) local news story in Australia when comedian Will Ferrell accidentally made an off-color "fanny" joke not knowing what the word meant abroad. Shows how slight differences in the same language can mean worlds of difference.

> Regardless, I hear 'handy' used in the US as an adjective meaning convenient quite often.

Yes, as an adjective. As a noun (which is what is being discussed here) there's only one commonly known meaning, and it's that one.

I think everyone here calls them cellphones. I call them mobiles and everyone gets it. Handy... wouldn't work in Canada, and I suspect not in the U.S. either.

Handy (CA, US etc) == handjob (GB etc). Presumably handy is an abbreviation of handjob. I know blowjob is in common parlance at least on both sides of the pond. Perhaps it is just as well DE didn't pick blowey or blowie (those are in use over here in a similar way to handy on the left edge of the pond.)

Handy could work in the UK except that it is extensively used already as an adjective eg: "that's a bit handy" or "you'll find this handy" etc. "That's a handy handy" would be a bit weird and as we already have mobile then there is no need for it. I suspect that "cell" will creep in eventually but not yet.

Etymology can be quite interesting 8)

A mildly interesting dovetail to all that is that a vernacular for phone used to be "the blower". I suspect through comparison of early phones with [ships] communication voice-pipes.

Cf. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speaking_tube#Domestic_use.

Good catch - "blower". I still use that term myself and so do several others in my acquaintance. Even kids understand what I mean so it is definitely embedded in the national conscience here still or at least they get the idea by reference and context.

Without any research whatsoever I'll also venture that "blowing" is what people used to do when they had to rush downstairs to answer the new fangled telephonic device and ended up out of breath. However, again without research, there is a good chance that the RN and co would have referred to the voice tubes on ships as "blowers" because that is the sort of word they would pick. I know a lot of modern matelots and that theory fits nicely.

> blowey or blowie

Although blower is slang for a phone in the UK.

Yeah, we have all of that here, adjective and all.

In American English, a handy means... something else.

Mobile could work, though, and I've heard it used.

In Argentina is "el celular" as in "teléfono celular", or sometimes like in Spain "el móvil" which I like better because it means "the mobile", which in the long term could mean "the mobile computer".

In Polish it's "komórka" which literally means "a cell"(like a cell in your body).

Likewise in French, 'portable', similar to mobile.

Case in point, the term is also used for laptops.

I think this usage is dying out in British English in much the same way as the word "auto" for car. People still speak of "mobile networks" and "auto dealerships", but they buy "phones" and "cars".

Maybe this is a regional thing, but I'm British and I'm not sure I've ever heard a first language British English speaker use the word "auto" for a car. I'd have said that was purely an Americanism.

I concur - native en_GB speaker here. Auto(mobile) is probably avoided as a general synonym for car because we use "automatic" to differentiate from the default "manual" AKA "stick-shift".

Having said that, this is probably only modern usage. The AA (Automobile Association) and RAC (Royal Automobile Club) both feature "automobile" in their names and are both well over 100 years old.

I suppose (without doing any research) car is probably short for carriage.

I think you're right. I am dual nationality US/UK so sometimes I tend to cross my metaphors. Perhaps a better, British example would be the word "motor" instead of "auto". Used in words like "motorway", but I've never heard anyone actually use it to mean "car" outside of 80s cockney rap.

(Which is apparently a thing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/'Ullo_John!_Gotta_New_Motor%3F)

Nah, still pretty widely used in certain circles - even to the extent that you can have a car sales site called motors and it be obvious: http://www.motors.co.uk/

Well that's certainly an interesting example - that website uses the word "car" in every instance except the domain name.

I think as a usage it's regarded as vaguely old fashioned and twee.

For comparison here's https://www.mobiles.co.uk/ - again, in every instance the noun is either "phone" or the fully qualified "mobile phone".

I've most commonly heard motor as referring to an engine (UK english). I'd say a good example might be from french, with the formal and correct "voiture" not commonly being used, with the less formal "bagnole" being much more common.

Motor is the only word used for engine in Swedish, I believe it's the same in other nordic languages.

I've heard "motor" used quite frequently for "car", but only ever hear it from my 70yo father now (UK English).

I'm a native speaker of American English (California dialect) and I have never heard another native speaker use "auto" for a car except in the context of "auto dealership".

I think you misinterpreted the point. As I read it, "car" and "phone" are the terms Americans (and others) use, and that the British sometimes used "auto" and "mobile" but that usage is dying out (which doesn't conflict with you not having heard it).

As an American, "car" and "phone" are definitely the norm. The only time I've ever heard "mobile" is as a prefix to phone, so "mobile phone". It's sometimes used on forms to distinguish between home, work and mobile numbers (like I just did).

"Auto" maybe but "mobile" and "phone" are definitely equally used synonyms along with "mobe" in all the areas of the UK that I have been to (most).

"Landline" is seeing a resurgence as general parlance for the thing gathering dust, which used to be simply _the_ phone.

Much more likely to say "motor".

In the Flemish part of Belgium they're still often referred to as GSMs. My wife and I, however, refer to ours as "gizmos" when talking to each other.

I spent a lot of time (months each year, for 5 years) in Berlin and never heard this... FWIW

I'm pretty sure this will Baader-Meinhoff it into recognition for you. It's in the A1 level vocab, and I would see it on signs outside of Spätis and phone stores on a daily basis.

Mobile is short for mobile phone. I think most people are most likely to say "bring your phone", rather than "bring your mobile".

Depends on a country. Mobile is popular as well.

I feel like when I think of "mobile", I can only see a European person saying it. In the US it's usually "phone" or "cell phone".

In the U.K. I'd say it's mobile and phone pretty much interchangeably (possibly more phone than mobile nowadays as proposed by ancestor comment). If anyone says cell phone then you can immediately spot that they're american.

Yeah. Mobile and cell are both popular in India , in that order

There's actually a wonderful and very generic word that was invented for these devices back in 1965 (!): "joymaker".


That's surprisingly prescient!

Before laptops became physically possible due to LCDs there were portable computers [1] (yes, I played with one my high school lab had).

I suspect in the future we'll have curious historians trying to figure out how the phrase "personal computer" ended up being shortened to "phone".

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_computer

I like how minicomputer used to mean "computer that's only as big as a chest freezer." Every now and then I hear laypeople use the term "mini-computer" to mean a computer that's really small by their standards, like a raspberry Pi.

And then we had "microcomputers" (desktop PC sized). Rather disappointed we didn't call laptops "nanocomputers" and phones "picocomputers" :)

In Swedish, the term "stordator", literally "big computer" refers to a mainframe.

I really like your idea of nano and picocomputers. It's consistent, and really reflects on the miniaturisation that we have seen since since the invention of the computer.

Since "computer" pre-dates digital, it might be a good time to come up with a more apt base term too. It's not as if most people's usage of them (at least as far as they know!) is performing arithmetic.

In Norwegian, it's "stormaskin" for mainframe.

So, would a smartwatch be an "attocomputer"?

> I've been joking lately that there is a new one syllable word for "personal computer": phone.

I wouldn't be surprised. I suspect that a smartphone is the only computer very large majority of today's children has ever used.

Something I never really thought of but that definitely looks like the trend: http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/29/technology-device-owne...

Ever seen a two year old use a tablet? Don't be shocked if in ten to twelve years we have teenagers who can only use a touch interface and can't type or hate using a mouse.

That is exactly my grandchildren. My grandson is four and has been using smartphones for three years. He's had his own for one. Color me shocked when, at three, he asked me to connect his phone to my wifi. They're bright enough kids but far from exceptional/genius. Its just how it is now.

By the way, when you make the off/end button big and red, it is nigh impossible to convince a little boy not to press it. Over and over.

It's more fun when they try to swipe the TV and can't understand why it doesn't work the same way.

People laughed when in a Windows 8 keynote a Microsoft exec said, "To a kid, a screen without touch is broken."

I think that was pretty spot on. Touch is a very primal way to interact with things.

I've seen a toddler try to swipe on a magazine. It was both hilarious and enlightening.

I recently caught myself holding my finger on a paper book and waiting for the translation dialog to pop up. Guess too much time spent reading on a Kindle.

I sometimes do miss the functionality of touching/swiping my laptop.

I was about to comment, it is very annoying to write on a tablet for any kind of school length work. I would hate to write an essay on a tablet.

Then I realized I have installed Dragon on this computer, and there wasn't even a reason for me to type this reply. So I will risk a guess and assume that in the future essays will be spoken, not written. No doubt there will be an epic fight over this, as people try to defend why children of the future will have to learn to type. I will hazard one more prediction: they will lose.

Hello, computer.

Integer main open parenthesis void close parenthesis open squigly brace. Newline.

Bob, find some earphones and stop complaining. I'm​ not the one that pushed for open-plan.

Computer, please delete the previous paragraph.

Standard colon colon cee out less than less than double quote capital hello world exclamation point double quote semi-colon. Newline.

Close squigly brace.

See this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SkdfdXWYaI

> In a fast-paced live demo, I will create a small system using Python, plus a few other languages for good measure, and deploy it without touching the keyboard. The demo gods will make a scheduled appearance. I hope to convince you that voice recognition is no longer a crutch for the disabled or limited to plain prose. It's now a highly effective tool that could benefit all programmers.

Turns out it's doable, you just need to invent your own language.

That was horrible, but I couldn't stop watching!

A good voice ide would handle the boilerplate

Hello computer

new function returning void print hello world end function

You're assuming writing is a highly linear process, which has pretty much never been the case. When dictating memos was a thing, even that took practice. Anything more complex has always involved huge amounts of cutting and pasting--whether literally or digitally.

Given good enough voice recognition and good enough touch interfaces that work in concert (and ignoring the many situations where speaking is an issue), it's possible. But it's not an easy path.

Great, so in the future we're going to have to listen to people writing their pretentious novels in cafes. With any luck, I'll be deaf by then.

With any luck, they'll be subvocalizing.

Interesting - especially the using the mouse/trackpad part. They're going to want pro tablets. Some of those two year olds of yore are now seven - and elementary schools in the U.S. are still very tablet focused. It'll be interesting to see what happens in four or so years when they start middle school and are expected to use traditional laptops.

> Then again, I'm also strongly for renaming 3D Printers to facsimile machines because the word fax is too useful to lose to ancient toner-based modem printers.

Then maybe we really will be able to "receive a fax at the beach"[1] in the future!

[1]: http://mentalfloss.com/article/50105/you-willsend-fax-beach

man, as soon as that ad began playing, I remembered it... Remember the PS9 ad? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRJXLu3YVpM

My two-year-old son calls my DSLR "phone". So I guess you're right. Just like "WiFi cable".

"I'm also strongly for renaming 3D Printers to facsimile machines" Wouldn't you need a 3D Scanner/Printer to really be a facsimile machine?

It's not a strong requirement in my mind, but again I'm posturing that the original term fax was far too explicitly framed when it is more useful as a very generic term.

Bell Lab's legacy lives on in a lot more than just linux...

the transistor and information theory are both the foundation for these phones we're talking about

Let's call it a "phown" as a clue to the future generations that nothing is to be considered private any longer :)

i like the term pda better that also happens to be a phone.

Obligatory link to Cory Doctorow's 'War on General Computing': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUEvRyemKSg

This was new to me, thank you!

The video helpfully has a transcript: https://github.com/jwise/28c3-doctorow/blob/master/transcrip...

I refer to it occasionally as my hand terminal.

That said, it sucks as a hand terminal, because everything it does everything through vendor-locked, cloud-enabled shitty apps with almost no interoperability. If this is how future of computing is going to look, then I'm sorely disappointed.

What sort of interoperability are you lacking? I have apps on my phone that can view or edit most of the file formats I use regularly, and transferring files is easy enough (with or without a network connection). The apps are not as full featured as the equivalent desktop program, but I don't need them to be.

Sig. other and I call it "device" as in "did you see where I put my device?"

In the early 2000s I was excited about the potential of networked handhelds. Then disappointed when it turned out they'd be phones. I wonder if there's some branch of the wave function where an open PC-style architecture won.

Not sure if having the public consciousness think of these devices differently would help to stop the gross freedom violations they impose. Even traditional IBM PCs are trending towards draconian lockdown to one OS with an extraordinary amount of proprietary code run in firmware and even in the CPU itself, much like how cellular modems (and SSD controllers) work.

It is more that the broad userbase doesn't care, and there isn't enough "putting money where your mouth is" to get good economies of scale on freedom respecting computer hardware, regardless of form factor.

So the lockdown of "phones" is more a symptom of broad technological illiteracy rather than a cause.

I carry a small personal computer with a data-only cell-tower connection, that sometimes receives voice calls by talking to an SIP server over the Internet, which I pay for separately to my cell service. At this point, the "phone" is more the SIP app itself than the device it's on.

For me, the feature that keeps it in my pocket every day, versus being able to ditch it when I feel like being in the real world, is the phone part. If it was just a PDA I'd leave it at home most of the time.

"voices calls" is such a fine term if you're phone-call averse.

Its a computer with a photon transceiver.

I've mostly deprecated phone numbers as a way of reaching me for the following reasons:

- Representing a person by a country-specific number is a horrible UX. All of my contact methods besides phone number remain the same no matter where I am in the world. Several of my contact methods (Facebook, LinkedIn) enable directly "dialing" my real name and intelligently locating me by social proximity instead of asking the customer to program in a stupid number (or multiple numbers) for every contact. A few (Skype, Hangouts) at least allow for alphanumeric, easy-to-remember identifiers instead of numbers. Aren't we in 2017 already?

- I want information to flow with me, not be tied to a particular device. Ideally, I should not have to carry any particular device, but rather present my credentials to any device I own (be that a computer, one of my many phones, tablets, or smartwatches). All of my contact methods besides phone number and WeChat are device-independent and align with this vision.

- E-mail replaces SMS. It supports >140 bytes. In fact, it can comfortably support several MEGAbytes per message! Isn't that mind-blowing? There is ZERO reason to continue to use a stupid old technology with a 140-byte limitation. As part of the deprecation process, I have all SMS go to my e-mail inbox instead of using the SMS interface on the phone.

- I don't take unscheduled voice calls. In general, if my day is going as planned, 95% of the time I am doing something where I shouldn't be picking up a phone (either for my own safety or due to etiquette). That includes machining metal, having dinner with real people, listening to concerts, meditating, coding, hiking (usually without reception), biking, whatever. Unscheduled voice calls are incompatible with my lifestyle.

- When scheduled, I do video calls more often than phone calls.

As such I'm totally fine with a phone app being third-party. A phone number is not the main reason I have an LTE device in my pocket.

In fact, of my multiple LTE-capable devices, only one is capable of receiving phone number calls. The rest have data-only SIMs.

> Representing a person by a country-specific number is a horrible UX

Phone numbers (and physical addresses) are examples of semi and fully federated systems. You use the standard and establish contracts and your teleco or post office and connect to anyone else in the world.

Your Google Hangouts/Skype/Facebook are closed, walled garden, proprietary systems.

Keep that in mind.

I do hate the walled garden aspect of them. I agree they are far, far, far from innocent.

But from a UX standpoint they are vastly superior to having to deal with people trying to reach me on my US number while I'm in China, or trying to reach one cell phone when I'm carrying another.

Also, the telco operators love to nickel-and-dime consumers for things like roaming charges. I'd love to see more competitors come out and overthrow those rascals by doing everything over IP, creating worldwide MVNOs and slashing all roaming charges to essentially zero. Google Fi has done a nice job. Granted they exist to promote Android, but when I tell friends I have LTE data in 100+ countries without roaming charges, international voice calls for pennies directly from my cell phone, and viewing voice charges in real-time, they are all astounded. Unfortunately yes they too are a walled garden, but the user experience is amazing.

Set up a (sub)domain that DNS resolves to your phone number.

Anecdotally everything has moved to WhatsApp and the like even for voice calls. Even more interesting, there seems to be a trend to not even make calls and just go for chat most of the time!

That said, while phone calling has fallen out of favor, phone numbers are still the main form of 'identity' people have, and if anything the dominance of WhatsApp/Messenger has made it more common in my circles to share a phone number rather than a FB username.

Ah Whatsapp - the app that demands full accesss to all your friends,family and work contacts just to work. Nope.

I mostly use data-only SIMs on my phone and make/receive the very few calls I need to via VOIP, which is almost certainly the near future.

For instance in Myanmar, where they have only had widespread mobile phone service for a couple of years, the most popular phone plans from Oodooroo are sold as data-only, and include info for downloading a VOIP app for legacy calls. I had an amusing time in one of their stores watching a perplexed staff try to deal with an older foreign man who frustratingly demanded to know how much he would need to pay for 100 "minutes". They just keept referring him to the chart that showed plans ranked only by the number of GBs.

LTE phones pass your voice calls over VoIP behind the scenes, it's just hidden from the user. They call it VoLTE.

So.. even data-only sims have an actual phone number right? That's baked into the GSM/HSDPA protocols right? (IIRC only WiMAX and LTE allow IP only without a number). So even those data-only plans must still have a number, that either never connects or cost something insane like 100MB worth per-min?

Yeah there is a phone number. Usually it doesn't work for calls or SMS, or you can have that blocked for it. It's not worth using or thinking about. IMessage and Facetime work with email addresses, whatsapp and signal can be associated with any phone number, and don't need to use the one on your SIM card.

Doing FaceTime audio or a VOIP service is at most half-a-MB per minute, and th call quality usually way better than regular cellular. Cheap over LTE, and inconsequential over wifi.

Imagine the same situation with other "core" component of smartphone — browser. That you have TrueExplorer Pro that sends each visited url and form data to central server and has broken https. And that you can't replace it with Chrome/Firefox/Opera. It will be worse than custom caller.

It sends each URL already, they call it "safe browsing"...

Actually, I don't think this is true - I think safe browsing is implemented via checking a bloom filter locally first and then checking google if a match is made on the bloom filter.

You could call it a mobile, which is about as common in Britain as calling it a phone. (The full name being a mobile phone.)

My boss, an old fashioned English gentleman, uses the full name 'mobile telephone' in everyday conversation.

Same in phone "portable" for "telephone portable" (portable can also refer to laptops, for "ordinateur portable"). The word convergence is coming, and the answer might be neither computer nor phone.

The German word, "Handy" is also good. They are very handy, after all.

Paul Graham nailed it: If the iPad had come out before the iPhone, we'd all be calling them "tablets".


You mean, like the Newton? ;)

It's a small tablet, really.

A phablet?

I call the device in my pocket an iPad mini, and it doesn't even come with a 1st party phone app (unless you count FaceTime audio).

I can still make/receive occasional calls on it via Google Voice. But I use it much more as a mobile computer, and appreciate the bigger screen.

> If we are okay with having a third party handles our messages, VoIP etc, why not the phone app?

Because of the privacy implications, as the author wrote in the article.

I completely disagree with the title. The fact that "telephony" can be an app on the phone is a WONDERFUL thing. It means that the author of this article has a choice, as opposed to NOT having a choice.

I'll be Mr. Reasonable Compromise. It's both a wonderful thing and a risk. Which of those two it becomes depends on the entire ecosystem around installable apps, trust and verification.

I've never had a problem with 3rd party dialers on Android. But I can smell a scam and I'm technically literate.

To the best of my knowledge there's never been a major dialler related security mishap. In fact much of the panic about Android's "malware ridden ecosystem" seems overblown. Nobody I know has ever had an issue to the best of my knowledge.

But it's definitely a possibility and it's highly probable that eventually something bad will happen on a large scale without some better controls - albeit hopefully not the type that Apple imposes. Cost vs benefit and all that.

More choice always means more responsibility. You could argue against democracy with the same idea - what happens if the voters choose someone not worthy? A lunatic or someone downright malicious?

> Nobody I know has ever had an issue to the best of my knowledge.

Well, pack it in, fellas. We're done here. :D

But if you read the article, it's all about not having a choice. Gosh, HN can be so ideological...

I would have loved to read the article but it's currently down.

The tl;dr is the manufacturer of OP's phone just used some random app as the dialer. The app was stealing all of OPs data and selling it to who knows who. They admit to doing this in the privacy policy of the app. But as it was installed by default, OP never agreed to it. And he had a lot of trouble removing it from his phone and finding a replacement.

This is the problem with choice. All your choices are secretly malicious and have incentives to violate your privacy. Remember those flashlight apps that ran in the background consuming CPU/data and stole users' personal information? It's just generally a bad idea to rely on untrusted third parties for core functionality.

Part of the requirement for the contract made by a sale of goods to be valid is a meeting of the minds: that both parties share the same concept of what is being transferred by each party to the other.

I would argue that, if you really want to talk about people "having a choice", you need a similar concept: that you are "free to choose" if-and-only-if your choices are indeed what you understand them to be. Which means some form of regulation or curation needs to happen to enforce that.

Of course, this doesn't have to be at all the same thing as the sort of "curation for quality" that the iOS App Store gets up to. Instead, more like FDA labelling requirements on drugs: list your active ingredients or get out.

Consider a hypothetical policy: "whatever misapprehensions a consumer has, due to your marketing, are your fault; a complaint about misapprehensions about your software that cites your own marketing, and which we ascertain as being valid, will result in a ban of all your apps from the store."

Can you make the "I Am Rich" app? Sure; it does what it says on the tin—proves you're rich with a $10k IAP. Can you make a Flashlight app that asks for your contact info? Nope; customers weren't expecting the app to ask. Banned. Even if you never send that info anywhere.

Every choice induces stress. Sometimes we really need to be able to make that choice, but requiring choice or having too much choice overwhelms people.

Which would be an issue if Android came without any defaults and gave you a debilitating number of setup options.

But it doesn't, and the stress of choice is only undergone voluntarily when someone volunteers to choose. Otherwise, defaults are king.

I agree. There could be a lot of improvements that can be done to telephone. Of course, they might have tradeoffs (privacy vs. convenience). That's where providing multiple options to the user comes handy.

Some of the improvements (just top of my mind): crowd-sourced list of scammers, telemarketers. For outgoing calls: automapping phone numbers to business/user names, automatically using the best way to route the call based on call rates (WiFi vs cellular vs. multipath TCP) etc.

The problem is that it was switched to a 3rd-party app that collects and shares data without the user's knowledge or permission, and is rather difficult to switch back.

How about the choice to use the default phone app that doesn't phone (sorry) home?

So, out of curiosity, at this point what are his choices?

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.and... . This is the "Google Dialer".

This is one example; there are dozens more.

The Google Dialer only works on Stock Android. Which is a shame.

Only from the Play Store. The APK can be installed on any device with the same architecture as it's built for. I have it on my LG G4.

Ahh, good point, I forgot about sideloading.

This could be fixed if Google considers this a problem.

Remember when they added Google calendar to Play to fight Samsungs BS?

To be fair, the "Samsung BS" was them trying to setup a separate ecosystem that was just as good in case they needed to break from Google. I really hope Samsung does this at some point too. I feel there are enough people that don't want eyeProducts that we'd finally see some innovation in 3rd party markets ... or everyone would just install Samsung/Google/Amazon stores ..

>This app is incompatible with all of your devices.

My device is a Wiley Fox Swift.

They can't uninstall the app that comes, and it was forced on them through an update. That's a terrible thing, no matter how you try and spin it.

So when Google updated the Nexus dialer to include search-based "Caller ID" that was a bad thing? Or when Google upgraded Messenger to include RCS support?

It is worth noting how we got here:

- Someone said having multiple options for a phone dialer is a wonderful thing.

- Someone else pointed out that the article isn't about a choice, the dialer was forced on the user.

- The parent asks if it is bad that Google updates apps in a tone that strongly hints that they can't imagine how the answer could be yes.

Far too many conversations go like this here.

To (try to) get back on topic, of course the Google can update their apps. I'm pretty sure the number of people here who would answer this negatively at a rounding error away from zero. But that is entirely beside the point.

The point is the author of the article doesn't want a dialer that surveils them and spews their private conversation details (along with everything else of note stored on the phone) to the "trusted partners" of the surveillance firm who wrote it. And yet it was forced on him.

This is ironic and sad to anyone who considers phones to be things that one might have private conversations on. (Insert opportunity to talk about how old-school talking on phones is.)

And again, it is just another reason to be very, very careful with whom you "do business" (which includes third-party private-surveillance firms, the names of which you may not have a way of determining before purchase).

For me, this dictates I won't use consumer software from a large number of current producers. Google included. Not everyone has my requirements, I get that, and that's fine.

But there is exactly nothing wrong with wanting a phone that doesn't spy on you.

> - Someone else pointed out that the article isn't about a choice, the dialer was forced on the user.

If you want the phone to come with a dialer (I think most people do), then some dialer will inevitably be forced on people. And unless you think phone calls are an optional feature, it makes perfect sense that the dialer cannot be deleted.

The only complaint I can see here is that phone manufacturers can make bad choices for their default, undeleteable dialers. Well, yes, just like they can make bad choices for other software on the phone. The only reasonable remedy for that is to buy a phone from a manufacturer that makes software choices you like.

That phone manufacturers can make bad software choices is not an argument against having replaceable dialers. Quite the opposite. A manufacturer can make the exact same bad dialer choice if the dialer isn't replaceable. The only difference is that if the dialer is replaceable you might be able to do something about their bad choice some of the time.

> And unless you think phone calls are an optional feature, it makes perfect sense that the dialer cannot be deleted.

I don't see the connection here. Why shouldn't people be able to delete the dialer if they don't like the phone company's choice? I understand preinstalling one, but preventing people from choosing another if they want seems unnecessary.

As a practical matter, I don't think either the phone manufacturer or the phone company want to be in the position of certifying that every replacement dialer meets regulatory requirements (911, for example). If customers can always roll back to the preinstalled one, they don't need to.

The author explicitly chose to avoid Google because for him, the data protection was insufficient. So I'd say, yes, for privacy-conscious users, it was a bad thing.

> This leaves me in an unpleasant spot as I, where I can, avoid using google services and now need to find an alternative dialling application. Isn’t this sweet? I am searching for a dialling application for my smartphone. A DIALLING application

You bought a Google phone and don't want to use Google services, but complain that the dialler can be provided by a third party? Isn't that a good thing?

> You bought a Google phone

Wileyfox make their own phones and Android rom. It's not really a Google phone (it may have Google Play Services, but that's different).

The third party dialler app in this case was not provided by the ROM maker, but by a third party who gathers tracking data from usage of the dialler app. The ROM maker disabled/removed the stock dialler app from their ROM.

If it was an opt in feature, then I believe OP would be happy with that.

I understand. At the end of the article, he tries to make the point that having everything pluggable is a problem with Android devices. In reality, it's that flexibility that enables a manufacturer like Wileyfox to even release a unique product.

He seemed to be making a slightly different point: allowing core functionality to be completely removed makes the user experience less reliable.

Why is dialing a phone a "Google Service"?

The AOSP dialer is not a Google Service, it comes with android.

Google phones have use a different launcher (Which might be a modified version of the AOSP launcher, haven't used AOSP in a while) that provides unknown number names, access to the voicemail-to-text feature of Project Fi (and probably Google Voice), and probably a couple more things.

BTW, from the little I know, seeing google contacts in the dialer doesn't mean that it's talking to google. Google services adds the contacts to the phone's centralized contact management and the dialer gets them from there.

..but the point is the manufacture didn't provide the AOSP dialer. They added a 3rd party dialer that you have to root the phone to disable and you need to install a non-privacy invasive dialer either by finding an apk for the AOSP version, using F-droid or using Google Play/AmazonApp services.

Why shouldn't it be? Having google search directly in the dialer app is incredibly convenient - instead of searching for a phone number and then typing the number into your phone, you search for a business and call them directly.

Because you're dialing a phone. Nowhere does that require Google's involvement.

The search feature should not be any more than an optional point of integration. Is nothing sacred anymore?

Unfortunatly, that is not the case.

Running cyanogenmod here, stock dialer.

Open up the dialer. Go to settings. Oh, look: "phone number lookup". I wonder what that could be. Hmmm.

Click. What is that? "Forward lookup - Show nearby places when searching in the dialer". Ticked on by default.

"People lookup"? On by default.

Reverse lookup? On by default.

Default lookup provider? Google.

By default, it looms like the standard dialer app in android sends every call made or received to Google.

I hate how when you add a Google account, it auotmagically autosyncs. I have to disable sync for Calendar/Contacts/Everything, install Contact Delete, remove all my contacts, then install DavDroid off F-Droid and connect to my Radicale server.

This keeps some of my information away from Google. No normal person will go through this process.

All of the above is Google value-add. None of that is necessary.

Also, none of those options appear on my phone in the dialer settings (Android 6, Motorola phone), so either they've been moved or we're looking at different software. (Per another comment, likely I'm using the AOSP dialer, which thankfully lacks those "features")

It doesn't require it, but Google makes it better. If you're just looking to make your life easier and not paranoid, there's no downside to having google in your dialer.

and no, i'm pretty sure there's nothing "sacred" about your phone.

This is exactly the problem with technology. Asshole companies have to productify everything. It's not about being paranoid, it's about operational simplicity. Dialing a phone is dialing a phone; not everyone wants Google to think for them

The act of punching in a number should not require any outside services or assistance or requirements. If there are value-added components to add then they can manifest as modular extras or in another part of the device. This is a violation of user expectations and runs contrary to 75+ years of muscle memory. (And to add... dialing a phone should be a core, fundamental, and inviable aspect of smartPHONE and its OS, not something OEMs can swap out)

Watching technology companies supplant (erm, "disrupt") established and proven tech with their crap is extremely depressing. We had nice things, and then we threw them away because we are stupid and lazy. Why do "technologists" ruin everything?

"Smart" my ass.

"Dialing" a phone is niche functionality that most people don't use anymore - generally, people don't know phone numbers anymore, they don't really see them, and they definitely don't use them, they just tap on a name or face in their contact list.

A phone number is an identifier that you use once when obtaining a contact (or it gets shared by someone, so you don't enter it even that one time). If a phone actually required you to dial a number, for many people it wouldn't be usable as a phone to call their friends.

This means that integration with wherever users have stored their contracts (and right not it's generally one of the cloud services) is a key component of the dialer app, possibly the main one - a contact app without phone features can be used to communicate with everyone (using the multitude of VOIP services available, skype calls or whatever) but a dialer without contacts isn't sufficient for communication.

Not so sure about this... just yesterday I got stuck behind a freight forwarding truck that was labelled with only the company name, a list of destination ports, and a phone number.

Lawyers, doctors, and bail-bondsmen still advertise via their phone number. Entire generations still go to phone numbers as their primary means of reaching someone remotely.

Yes, this is the (rare) use case for the first call you make to a stranger. If you have a pre-existing relationship with a particular lawyer or doctor, you tap on their name or face in the contacts app.

Like, thinking about this I understood that don't know the phone number of my wife. I (probably?) have it written down somewhere outside my phone, I had known it by heart many years ago, but life was different back then, and as far as I recall it may be that I have not used it in any meaningful way for more than full ten years.

I recall that I have given her phone number to others on some occasions, but it involved sending a contact - possibly the number was displayed at the screen during that process, but neither I nor the receiver really read it, and it that way even before smartphones were a thing and sharing a contact happened over SMS.

> This is exactly the problem with technology.

This is YOUR problem with the technology. Normal muggles care for none of this conversation. They want something that works, which is what modern smartphones do. They like that the dialer provides fancy stuff like visual voicemail, automatic transcription, phone-number-to-business-name mapping, etc.

Most people don't care about trying to avoid Google Services, in fact most people don't use smart phones as phones. In a way, luddites that hate techologists have it nice. You can use an old flip phone that is just a phone and that thing will last forever! It's use assholes who need to keep charging them every day.

> Normal muggles care for none of this conversation.

If only because the same companies are training users to require all these extras, by effectively (and mostly inadvertently) erasing past knowledge. I'm sure Google would love it if their engineers could remove dialing entirely, what number could you possibly want to call that's not listed in Google somewhere?

A lot of those same muggles were/are fine before these services came along and many likely want it to stay the same.

> They want something that works, which is what modern smartphones do.

Ha! You're funny.

Look at one process I'm sure most of us are familiar with: getting a cute girl's (or guy's) phone number. With flip phones this was simple- pull up the dialer, punch in the number, hit save instead of dial, done (or just dial and save later). No waiting, no fuss. Now with my smartphone that same process is:

* key in my passcode / fingerprint / whatever

* wait for UI to animate, notifications to process, and for the OS to catch up (cause powersave is now off). 3-10 seconds on average of awkwardly staring at the screen and apologizing for the phone's slowness

* hit phone icon, wait another second for my touch to register than another 5-20 seconds for phone app to start

* enter number, hit Add To Contacts, meanwhile all inputs are lagging about a half second behind my actions. Wait for contact screen to appear (another 3-10 seconds)

* enter her name, maybe snap a photo (about the only real value-add in this process), hit Save, again waiting half a second or so for UI lag after each touch

If going out with a flip phone didn't make one such a large target socially you can be sure more would be rockin' it.

It sounds like you have a really slow smartphone.

This has been my experience with EVERY smartphone after six months or so. Unless a 2015 Moto Pure X is considered slow now? (It wouldn't be, IMO, if Android didn't somehow eat 60% of RAM with nothing running)

I have run all kinds of app loads, with stock and hacked operating systems, and things ALWAYS end up this way. The only way to avoid it seems to be to install barely anything.

> Look at one process I'm sure most of us are familiar with: getting a cute girl's (or guy's) phone number

People still get phone numbers? I just get LINE user names (which you exchange by scanning a QR code). I'm sure in other countries it's WhatsApp or Facebook accounts...

A lot of these people were fine before smartphones themselves came along. A lot of people were fine before phones. A lot of people were fine before agriculture or stone tools. Does that mean much?

It does when the replacements make life appreciably worse or more complicated, and it matters even more when the old ways are deprecated, made unfashionable, or just flat-out unavailable.

Look at John Deere.... we went from "software on tractors" to what is shaping up to look like a massive battle over intellectual property rights. Those new Deere tractors are superior in almost every appreciable way and yet we have another case of the OEM inserting themselves way too far into something that they do not belong in. Are farmers luddites for rejecting Deere's bullshit?

> the replacements make life ... more complicated

It's a long-held belief of mine that (what society considers) neurotypical people, enjoy making their lives more complicated. They pursue things that do so. (It's half the point of the societal encouragement to have kids the moment you get married: it keeps life challenging by adding complexity faster than the added stability of life-partnership can take complexity away.)

> Are farmers luddites for rejecting Deere's bullshit?

I'm not totally sure; don't know that much about this story. (Do you have a link? Maybe submit it as an article!)

My entirely-uninformed intuition is that agro-tech generally is such a different thing now than it was in the past, that legal precedents from the past won't serve us very well.

We don't just have fancier tractors now; we effectively have "a crop-growing+harvesting system in a box—just add ops staff." The modern large-scale farmer is now doing a job that bears less resemblance to the act of classical subsistence farming, than it does to the act of being a feudal lord with serfs. The serfs are robots made by John Deere. Does that give John Deere some different rights than they had when they just made tools for humans to operate? I'm not sure. I can be certain that it's not an "easy, obvious" question, though.

But the farmer is purchasing physical property with a software component. John Deere is abusing the software industry's history of license agreements to further its business objectives of controlling repair revenue. While many here seem to take the notion of ownership for granted we forget that it is one of the few things that elevate us above modern feudalism. An attack on ownership is an attack on many of the freedoms that underpin modern life today.






This looks a lot like the relationship between Apple or Google and their customers.

Like I said, totally uninformed—but I can see the analogy to, say, driverless cars. I don't expect that, in the long term, people will really "own" driverless cars—they require too much dealer-side maintenance, and Bad Things can happen if the "owner" of a driverless car prevents a software update from happening (things that can take the car from road-legal to not, where the law would place the blame for that status on the manufacturer.)

More likely, I think driverless cars will just be rented to people. And most of them won't even be that; the manufacturers will just build pools of them and hire them out, in the mode of taxis. The owner and "driver" will be the manufacturer; the people benefitting will be purely passengers.

I don't see what invalidates that logic when translated over to agro-tech: there's no reason John Deere will end up selling tractors, when they could instead contract them out, just as a temp agency contracts out their employees. They'd be the owner and the operator, insofar as they programmed the things and they're mostly running on automatic. The control buttons on such robots would just be for making "requests", and the owner would be free to ignore them. ("Don't like it? Hire someone else!")

Of course, for now, they're trying to get the benefits of being in that hypothetical world, while still existing in our own, which seems a bit silly. :)

It is my hope that there will be a contingent of people that can effectively resist, or maybe even destroy, this coming wave of rentals. If not, people will more often find themselves at the mercy of far more, and far larger, organizations that are not likely to care about them. You can see this already with Apple's App Store and the like

You guys have digressed a bit from the original topic, but I wanted to jump in and say that I agree with you, and so do a lot of other people.

I go to great lengths to keep Google and the like out of my life, and I find it really strange how accepting, and even defensive, people are with these intrusive services. It's a Brave New World, and Stallman was right.

I am not so sure do _normals_ care or dont't know. Do all alcholics think they have a problem? Can mass of people beat any single person on chess? I think that trusting for feelings of masses as facts is quite dangerous thinking.

We're not just talking about dialing a phone; we're talking about a Phone app. Which is—besides being a dialer—also a call history list, and a notification UI that appears when you receive a call to let you decide whether to accept it or not. Both of those use-cases benefit far more from looking up numbers than dialing does.

As it is, if I'm sitting at my desk with my iPhone and get a call from a number I don't recognize, I literally take a second to Google the numbers on my laptop before accepting the call on my phone. I wish iOS (or any VoIP app for iOS; I use Bria) had this integration, optional or not.

iOS do have this integration in the form of Caller Identification. An app can provide a caller information to the Phone app (I believe in a form of a database, rather than sending each call to remote server) and it will show up in the caller screen. Any VoIP app that integrate with CallKit will automatically get this functionality as well.

Whoscall is one example and is pretty popular in Asia.

Huh, neat. I guess I never really thought about how large phone storage has gotten. (A thought—if they're doing this all-locally, then they don't technically even need a separate API: phone number databases could just act as Contacts sources, with each virtual contact containing a field denoting "not actually someone I know, just someone who is calling me" so they won't show up in the Contacts app.)

No. Google does not "make it better".

And no. It's not "paranoid" to want to dial your phone without onerous terms of service.

And yes. There is something sacred about our phones and their privacy. It's 2017. Without privacy on your mobile device, you effectively have no privacy at all.

I'm not sure your comment could have a higher degree of wrongness. Every single part of it is wrong.

If you live in a world of "should be"s, it would be safest for you to assume that nothing was ever sacred, no. There were just opportunities being passed up or that weren't feasible until now.

It needs to access your contact book at contacts.google.com.

Who exactly do you think is going to provide the dialer? Are you also surprised to hear that the dialer on an iphone is an "Apple Service"?

That sounds like little more than semantics to me.

I take the complaint as different: he _can't_ replace the dialer. WileyFox replaced the dialer with one that snoops, presumably WF was paid compensation for the switch, the poster can't uninstall or change.

While WF's choice is perhaps sad, the plug gable architecture should allow the poster to switch --- but the dialer can't be switched!

It's always been a "telephone app", on smart phones. And in many cases, it's already been somewhat "3rd party" because in reality it's from the ODM who made your phone or the SOC vendor, not the company that branded your phone. The author is only just becoming aware that this is "3P" because he happens to have a branded dialer added on his phone, versus a "white label" dialer that was already there.

I'm fairly certain Wileyfox didn't make the dialer that previously came with his phone, either. (They're a smaller OEM.) They probably just used the one provided by the ODM assembling the device for them.

It's a real problem. Are there any voice dialing programs for Android phones which do voice recognition locally and don't require Google services? That's the way it used to work until Google broke it so they could monitor all your dialing.

Google in 2007: Do no evil.

Google in 2017: Skynet didn't build itself people! We need more ML training data!

Skynet v. 0.1 didn't build itself. Clearly, though, once it becomes a minimum viable product, it will produce the next generations of itself.

Or will it? If it's an AI intent on approximating human speech processing, why should it be any good at programming? See also https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9658524/1/Branches-on-the-Tree-....

I wonder what makes people think that an AI needs to be able to code to improve itself. I don't see infant brains "programming" themselves to get better.

The next step in programming is probably not anything like programming. Machine learning certainly isn't. Creating a neural net that achieves superhuman image recognition takes 30 lines of code in keras. And terabytes of training data. But the programming doesn't look anything like someone in the 90s would have thought. Except maybe for a bunch of AI researchers.

> I wonder what makes people think that an AI needs to be able to code to improve itself. I don't see infant brains "programming" themselves to get better.

That's largely because you haven't looked. Infants are constantly developing and pruning pathways and connections in their brain, which effectively changes both the hardware and the software.

They don't do that consciously (with an agenda). Infants are just being infants. If an AI just needs to keep doing AI things to "reprogram" itself, then theres no barrier for it to do that.

Infants also don't survive by themselves. Leave an infant alone and it will die.

im just saying that infants are learning a whole lot without consciously making an effort to do so. they just provide data through their sensors by existing.

You build a metaoptimizer. The metaoptimizer decides which new layers are necessary, and whether the cost of "buying new neurons" ( adding compute instances & storage ) is worth the benefits to the high level optimization functions. ( or pruning / reallocating ). Meta-optimization is clearly a thing, it's in the research papers, and once you build a good one, you're done programming.

My new prediction is Skynet will come out of the financial bots. It solves the money problem, because those bots will become financially self-sufficient quickly.

Regrettably, the target function is "make money" which will cause our next-gen species to be psychopathic and uninterested in human life, except, in the short term, as a market to be plundered. Not a good outcome.

Thinking about the way we learn, I'd say it is a LOT like programming ourselves. Study and Practice both have aspects of learning to do steps in a mechanism to achieve an outcome, and each of us has to build that mechanism from scratch. The difference is that not all of us need to be self aware for the process to continue working. However, the best of us seem to have very detailed systems worked out for "programming ourselves".

But we are talking about literal programming here. Not conceptual programming.

I dont think that an AI will program itself anything like we program computers.

People who "program" themselves really just provide good data. Positive reinforcement, "healthy thoughts", "gaining valuable reference experiences", things like that. When you want to learn a new language, at the simplest level, you can immerse yourself in that countries culture and you will learn automatically. You don't hop inside your brain and move the axons around. You just provide good data and let the engine do its job, and why would an AI be incapable of doing that?

They already do that. "Backprop" is that mechanism. Not yet on a really advanced level, but a machine learning algorithm already introduces its learning back into itself and incrementally improves on that.

The most obvious source of runaway (as opposed to incremental) improvement would be an AI written by humans that is better at writing AIs than humans are. It could then write an AI even better than itself recursively until diminishing returns are reached, causing a near instantaneous jump in its intelligence.

I don't know, Rogue One had a droid typing on a keyboard /s

That's a pretty interesting interpretation of the Terminator story and rules. I hadn't seen that one before, thanks for the link!

But ... ugh, rationalist fiction always makes me a little sad. I share the motivation, the annoyance at how pervasive the plot driven unrealistically stupid decision is in fiction. I want to like it, but it's always so saturated with authorial naivete, inexperience and smugness.

I guess I just wish they'd revere Iain M. Banks more and Yudkowsky less.

> I guess I just wish they'd revere Iain M. Banks more and Yudkowsky less.

Definitely. Though Banks doesn't have quite the Internet following, possibly because he was publishing before the Internet took off and compounded by the fact that I can't link to a free, online copy of his work.

> Skynet v. 0.1 didn't build itself.

v. 0.1 was based on the chip from the Terminator that had been sent back in time by Skynet. Humans otherwise were decades away from being able to design something like that.

I think it's reasonable to say that Skynet built itself.

> Or will it? If it's an AI intent on approximating human speech processing, why should it be any good at programming?

Exactly! Any sophisticated machine will be as full of errors as a human, just different kinds of errors. Unless it's a Godel machine [1].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del_machine

From that last question, I imagined an AI having a hell of a time trying to figure out programming. Haha..

I think ideas like shoehorning SMS into Hangouts (or vice versa?) are driven more by misguided bonus formulas than any overtly evil intent.

This holds for virtually all evil.

Generally speaking, people aren't out there to screw you over. Voice recognition happening on Google servers is many many times better than what can be achieved on your tiny phone. Your phone doesn't even have the storage to store the models used for phoneme decoding on state of the arts speech recognition systems.

Speech recognition ain't like dusting crops, boy.



>Choose precisely the data you wish to share; protect apps with additional PINs; prevent spam with Truecaller Integrated Dialler.

So their idea of privacy is privacy from everyone except the manufacturer (and "trusted" third parties)

>Of course, you can always root the phone and install custom roms. But this process takes some time and the development and compatibility with these roms is less than satisfactory.

Maybe he shouldn't have bought a device with such a small userbase?

> Maybe he shouldn't have bought a device with such a small userbase?

Yes, I think I did a mistake there. On the other hand, there are small brands which are incredibly open about hardware and software development, such as [1]. I want to stress that the current state of compatibility to smartphone operating systems is really not satisfying.

[1] https://www.fairphone.com/en/

FWIW their phones originally ran CyanogenOS. They're in the process of updating to stock android [1], after cyanogen's recent layoffs/pivot/rebranding/disaster [2].

[1] http://www.androidpolice.com/2016/12/31/after-cyanogen-colla... [2] http://www.androidpolice.com/2016/11/28/cyanogen-inc-will-sh...


CyanogenOS couldn't make money, and WF has trouble making money, because everyone else subsidises the cost of the handset and software by selling data.

If you want to provide what they claim - unparalleled security and privacy - you have to charge more, or charge a phone subscription fee for updates, or something.

One can't expect to get subsidized-by-data-selling prices, and have no data selling.

Yeah and they don't make the phones they just slap a logo and a rom in a Chinese made phone probably from Pegatron.

I don't agree. It's simply that some vendors are untrustworthy.

Frankly if the telephone app on my "phone" stopped working I wonder how long it would take me to notice.

If the dialer stopped working I'd never notice, but if the phone app broke entirely I'd stop getting calls from telemarketers and loan scams.

And vacation sweepstakes, and shitty recruiters, and IRS scams, and...

This must be the elephant in the room. Traditional telephony has become dominated by bad actors. They hit a critical mass and now my phone app is a waste of space.

I've always found it weird how everyone I know seems much more cautious about phone usage than me: for example, I've never understood why people don't answer numbers they don't recognize.

I'm slowly realizing that this is because apparently people are inundated with spam calls? I think I may have received one solitary spam call in my entire life. I can't really account for the discrepancy

> I've always found it weird how everyone I know seems much more cautious about phone usage than me

I wouldn't say I'm cautious, it's simply that if it were important, why would you call?

I basically consider phone calls as unimportant as paper letters. Check in on them every few weeks.

> I wouldn't say I'm cautious, it's simply that if it were important, why would you call?

Claiming this in general is trivially rebuttable by the fact that I know many people who feel precisely the opposite: if it's important you call, if not you text.

If anything, that view is less irrational than yours: a mode of communication that's immediate, loud, sustained for many seconds, and hits a device that most people have on them constantly fits far more easily with realtime urgency than any other mode of communication.

On top of THAT, there are still stupid legacy systems (that are nonetheless important) that use old forms of communication. My insurance was cancelled while I was on a backpacking trip and they called me and sent me a letter without bothering to send me an email. The fact that Blue Shield are fucking idiots doesn't change the fact that I was without proper medical insurance for th rest of the year (due to ACA enrollment limits). I could easily see the same being true of phone calls.

What would you expect me to do if it were important?

It seems to me I can either call, which most likely causes a loud and persistent ringing noise that signals "someone wants to talk to you right now, please pick up the phone". Or I can send you a text which will make a quick beep on your phone and then go away.

I can deal with the text when I want -- or not at all. Whereas the call arrives when you want.

I actually adopted the "don't answer the phone" strategy about 20 years ago, when first I got voice mail. I wish everyone had. But nowadays I don't even listen to my voice mail.

In my case it seems to be a random anxiety. I don't want to make calls. Oddly, I'm basically OK with receiving them, thought spam calls are unreasonably annoying.

Where do you live? I'm the same, 0 spam calls ever, but I live in NZ.

Looking over my call log, I have five incoming from humans I wanted to hear from over the last seven days.

I have 27 from random numbers/places that I know from experience are scams. This is a US number.

If you find your life lacking opportunities to get in to obscenity shouting matches with random con artists, it is great! Otherwise, not so much.

Wow, that's terrible. No wonder Google Dialer has a spam filter - I never understood the point of it but now I do.

Swede here, and non-private number (indexed by hitta.se, etc). Getting roughly 1 spam call per year, and that's a high estimate.

California, USA

This must be an American thing. In New Zealand I still use the phone app for talking to people. I've never recieved a spam call - a few calls from companies I already donate too asking for more etc, but that's it. How many "bad" calls do you get a month?

10-15, which is far more than I get legitimate phone calls

I have never received one. Ever. I have had a mobile phone for twenty years. This problem seems very specific to the US.

I don't think it is specific to only US, in India i get on average 10/week, I never had a problem in Germany though.. it depends on regulations i guess

It is an American thing. I had 2 degrees and Telecom (or Spark or whatever the fuck they are now) and never had any spam that I recall. Coming back to the US, my number got text spam on a number I literally gave to no one. -_-

I get about 2 per week. This was true in Canada & the US -- Canada used to be much worse but has gotten better.

However, in both cases, it was nearly 100% spam. I talk to family via video chats, and friends via facebook, hangouts, whatsapp, etc.

I get more of those on my Google Voice/Hangouts number than my actual phone number .. and I still get them on my actual phone number, even though I have given that information to NO ONE! -_- ... fuck you Cricket (really ATT).

The irony is TrueCaller was originally created to combat telemarketing calls..

I'd only notice when other people start complaining they can't get hold of me... which frankly I'd be okay with 99% of the time. The thing I hate about the phone is the expectation that I'll reply right away and participate in a phone call that's intrusive of my time. Frankly, I find a lot of people feel the same way about texting or emails. I have quite a lot of people that text me and if I haven't replied within a minute or two I get the "well?" or "can I get a response?"... "Yes, and I'll respond when I'm good and ready! Lest I need to remind you that my phone is for my benefit, not everyone else's!"

I have never heard of a "Wileyfox Swift". If you need an awesome and capable Android 7.0 based dual SIM phone with zero carrier crapware/bloatware and a close to stock Android experience, the OnePlus 3T (64 or 128GB version) is a good choice.

Since Oneplus' falling out with Cyanogen Inc, and the financial failure of Cyanogen, Oneplus' own OxygenOS is essentially a re-implemented CyanogenMod that has all of the same features.

I've almost buyed the Wileyfox Swift last week, but I'm glad that I've seen discussions around Truecaller and the Zen ads, which changed my mind and opted for a BQ Aquaris X5 Plus instead.

I recently bought a Swift 2+. I still like it.

Hopefully, Zen can be disabled with the next update: https://www.reddit.com/r/wileyfox/comments/64xga8/it_should_...

Zen can already be disabled. Long-tap the launcher background, tap settings, and there should be a toggle labelled "Wileyfox Zen".

The thing about that was, Cyanogen stayed very silent and OnePlus's entire advertising strategy was very dodgy. I suspect Cyanogen was just sick of OnePlus's shit when they signed with that 2nd Indian distributor.

Now that the Cyanogen company is dissolved, who knows what the truth was.

Lately I've started using CarbonRom. It's pretty nice.

no, it's actually the reverse, oneplus got sick of cyanogen's shit when cyanogen threatened to sue them for selling oneplus phones in India, which is a huge market. Cyanogen (Incorporated) claimed they had an exclusive agreement with an Indian company called Micromax to sell cynaogenOS phones in India. Oneplus got fed up and re-implemented all of the great features of cyanogenmod in their own fork of android (OxygenOS/HydrogenOS, respectively for english and chinese language markets).

Cyanogen Inc ran themselves into the ground with dodgy business practices and threatening all of their partners, which resulted in no reputable phone manufacturer wanting to put their OS on any new models of phones.

This why we need [edit] GDPR.

Next time someone tries to harvest my personal data using an "all-inclusive" EULA I'm going to sue his ass in EU-land.

GPDR is actually GDPR in case you are trying to read up on what that means and don't know already.

Which is the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)[0]

[0] - http://www.eugdpr.org

Thanks. I like GDPR anyway. Makes me think God Damn Privacy Rules, and we're increasingly lacking in effective ones.

i just bought a Volkswagen, which comes with Car-Net, which apparently relays telemetry to Verizon Telematics via a 3G connection. oh and there's a gps reciever and an in-car microphone.

their privacy policy is scary.


dealer refuses to disable or remove this carnet module. their "solution" is to tell me just not to sign up for the services. ummm..lol no. needless to say i'm taking matters into my own hands via vw message boards and:


may have to physically remove the module and/or neuter the antenna.

Found myself in the exact same situation (have a WileyFox, updated and ended up with the awful true caller app as the default dialler + found I couldn't use the default google dialler), I've since been using: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.contapps.a... but it does have adverts, I'd welcome any other suggestions (aside from re-flash).

Only today I was joking about how absurd it is that I was struggling with such a fundamental feature.

Which is why I switched to Google-made phones (Nexus). No bloat, frequent security up dates and default apps. Sure, Google knows what I'm having for dinner, but it's a single entity I trust. At least I don't go about moving through apps, reading their TnCs.

Too much traffic -- couldn't access the page.

Here's the cached version: http://archive.is/vs4a7

Looking at my cell phone bill I use far more data than I do actual voice a month. It's kind of an anachronism to call it a phone anymore. It's a pocket computer.

This is why I ported my phone number to Twilio and now I get an email when someone calls me with an mp3 of voicemail + transcription. And I make free outgoing calls with Google Dialer.

And yet calling it Pocket PC would be frowned upon :-)

Can someone recommend a good, safe, privacy-respecting 3rd party phone app for Android, preferably for Cyanogenmod or LineageOS?

You're not only using Android, but you're using an Android phone from a smaller company.

While this is bad, it's not really unexpected.

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