iPhone Feature Suggestion: Mark Number as spam

Mark Number as spamWhen you receive a call from a number that is unidentified, if would be brilliant if we had an option to mark the number as a telemarketer once the call was completed.

I wouldn’t open the system up to allow users to arbitrarily add numbers that hadn’t called as that could would lead to people gaming the system.

This data could then be then shared up to the cloud, processed, and build a fairly-accurate list of telemarketers and spammers that could be redistributed to users to mark incoming unknown calls.

This data could also be shared with the CRTC, FCC and other governmental organizations who manage do not call lists for verification. For example, if I added myself to the do not call list and ABC company calls me, the appropriate agency could be automatically notified.

Obviously, this wouldn’t stop companies that fake call display / CallerID, but it would certainly help, but at this point, anything would be great. Currently about sixty percent of calls I get on my main number are telemarketing/spam/scam calls, so anything that Apple – or anyone else – can do about it would be fantastic.

iPhone feature request: Hold music interception.

Passing through one hour, fifty minutes on hold for @Primus_Business. WTH?We’ve all been where I am right now, on hold for what seems like forever, being tortured by absolutely terrible quality hold music, that goes on and on, punctuated by a variation of “thanks for holding”, which by the tenth time you’ve heard are ready to commit acts of unspeakable violence.

So here’s the idea:

When placed on hold, the iPhone detects that you’ve been put on hold and instead of allowing the user to be subjected to low-quality hold music, the iPhone offers to play music (or podcast / audiobook) that is on your phone until the other party returns. If the user doesn’t want music, the iPhone could keep an eye on the call and alert them when the other party came back on the line.

The catch would be for the iPhone to not return any false-positives from the “thanks for holding” messages.

This would prevent 96% of all hold-music-caused homicides.

iPhone feature request: Hold music interception.

And yes, I had to sit on hold for 110+ minutes. Primus hasn’t answered any email tickets, so I phoned. And waited, but that’s another post.

The Great Echofon Conspiracy (feedback, of a sort)

In the past, I’ve been a pretty vocal fan of Echofon for my iPhone.  It’s slick-looking, fast, and has cool features like tag muting and photo uploads to Flickr. I liked it so much I happily paid $4.99 for the ad-free version.

And do I ever love the Flickr integration; I’ve posted over 750 790 photos to Flickr since I started using it.

I often sent in bug reports and feature requests like this one, suggesting that they add the Flickr upload utility to the Mac desktop version of Echofon.  While naan studio has online support forums, although marked as public discussions, all current discussions are actually private and only are readable by their staff and the user that created it.  This effectively eliminates any “me too” comments by users.

However, with the release of version 5 (back in October 2011), naan studio dropped the Flickr integration (and ping.fm) and made other changes. Photo uploads defaulted to Lockerz which caught me (and many others) by surprise.

I’ve contacted the developers a few times since October, asking they put Flickr back in. Nada.

Obviously, as of the time of this writing, they haven’t. Which leads me to wonder *why* they removed something that do many people used?  A quick check shows over four hundred thousand photos have been taken with Echofon and uploaded to Flickr.

Stop, put on your tinfoil hat, and read on.

Now, we know the Flickr integration worked, and worked well, so it stands to reason that they didn’t remove it because it worked. Something had to make them change it.

I will float the conspiratorial idea the developers worked out some kind of deal (revenue share?) with Lockrz in exchange for dumping Flickr.  Or, they could be in league with aliens who don’t want us to use Flickr.

I did warn you to our your tinfoil hat on, didn’t I? ;-)

From my perspective, they dumped Flickr, pushed users to Lockerz without notifying them that their photos were now going to Lockerz, effectively halving the awesomeness that is echofon.

When I found out that my photos were being dumped on Lockerz, I had to create an account, find a way to link it to my photos, delete them, and then manually upload them to Flickr.

Next up was to get the old version of Echofon back. I fired up Time Machine, found the old version of Echofon, nuked 5.x off my iPhone, then reinstalled 4.x onto my phone, and reconfigured Echofon and Flickr. That takes about twenty minutes.

All of this said, I believe this is one of the larger software development blunders I have seen lately.

Okay, I guess you’re right. That isn’t much of a conspiracy theory.  But it is sad, because now I have to find an iOS Twitter client that has Flickr uploading built in. Suggestions?

Feedback: iOS Passcode Lock enhancement

I think this would be particularly handy:

Having a setting in iOS to designate safe zones like home or work (designated by GPS, wifi hotspots, and maybe Bluetooth), and when the iOS device was within that zone (say 50-100 metres of the spot) the iOS passcode lock would automatically disengage.

This would encourage iOS users to use the passcode lock while away from these zones (increasing security), while easing the security when the device was “safe”.

Posting feedback.

Those who know me have heard me talk about providing feedback to software developers and other companies.

What I will be attempting is each time I send feedback, be it about hardware, software, a service, or even a meal, I will repost it here, unless it could affect security or if it is harsh (in my mind, although I have rarely had to send anything with scathing nuclear-holocaust-like comments).

I would enjoy your opinions on any of the feedback I post.