Don't be a techhole: A common sense guide to tech courtesy

Google issued guidelines to help Google Glass users not be "Glassholes," but why stop there? Here's the missing manual to put an end to some top technology peeves.

The "iPad Is Not A Camera" site has many examples of iPads blocking views when used for photography. iPad Is Not A Camera

This week, Google decided that some people were giving Google Glass such a bad name that it had to release an official guide to good behavior. That got me thinking. There's plenty of bad behavior with tech gadgets and services outside of Glass. Maybe other companies should be offering advice to their users. If so, here are a few pet peeves from me and others that might be worth including.

To make this list, I asked for suggestions from people on Twitter, Facebook and Google+, along with my own. I'm sure there's plenty not covered, so please, add your own annoyances in the comments.

1) The iPad is not your camera
If Google feels bad that some people are turning into "Glassholes," it can console itself by knowing that there are plenty of iPadholes out there as well. You'll spot them at any concert, waving around iPads to get a picture or video of the event. It's my top tech pet peeve. Can I get an Apple shout-out telling iPad owners to just say no to such behavior?

I know the iPad has a camera, but trying to use it as one in a public setting often means you're blocking the view for others. Don't do it. Especially don't do it if you have a case that flips open and takes up even more space. If you're interested in clicking through an entire Web site of people behaving like iPadholes (or dumb with any tablet, not just Apple's), I recommend iPad Is Not A Camera.

2) Your smartphone's speaker isn't for public use
More than anything else, people responded to my call on Twitter for their top tech annoyances with a cry for speakerphones to be silenced in public. They really hate it.

People don't want to hear you having a loud conversation and especially don't want that in close quarters, such as in planes or restaurants. They also don't want to hear music being played or the audio to some video that you're watching.

So, get a headset and talk softly.

3) Holding your "hands-free" phone while driving
Many US states and countries require that phones only be used in hands-free mode while driving. But for some, hands-free seems to be "ears-free." Some people seems to think that as long as the phone isn't actually being held next to their ears, that counts as hands-free.

It doesn't -- and it's very annoying to see. Plenty of people are willing to risk a ticket -- or worse, an accident from being distracted -- to use their phones. That's their choice. If you're going to take these risks, at least don't look so dumb in your car. Just because your phone is being held slightly away from your face doesn't make it hands-free.

4) Walking & anything else
I've long joked that the one of the best smartphone features would be a special camera that projects a view onto your screen of what you're walking toward. Many of us stare at our screens as we're walking -- and then walk into other people, fixed objects, and or worse. So when you're walking, maybe you should try to focus on that.

After all, you don't want to be like Cathy Cruz Marrero, who was famously filmed in 2011 by a mall security camera walking into a fountain. As she says in this news report on her fall, "texting and walking, take it from me, is dangerous."

I have to confess: I'm a long-time offender of this rule. I probably will continue to walk while using my smartphone, as I imagine many others will also do. Still, maybe I'll be sure to look up much more.

5) Turn off the sound effects
Sound effects are for what happens in TV shows and movies, not or notifications and other actions on your smartphone. In public, such as in meetings or elsewhere, it can be annoying when every e-mail you close makes a "whoosh" sound or each new text message arrives with a ping.

Considering silencing your phone, especially if you're about to do a lot of e-mail or texting that will produce a new sound with each action.

6) So social you're anti-social
You're out with friends or family, but you're not really there. You're too busy using your phone (or tablet) to update your status or share photos with your social networks to see what else is going on. I'm a terrible offender of this one, and I'm working on it. So should you if this tech peeve resonates. Be social with the people you're being social with at the moment, face-to-face.

Need help? Coca Cola recently did a spoof video about a "Social Media Guard," a dog-collar type device that "takes the social out of media and puts it back into your life."

It's just one of a series of spoofs from companies about our social-media addictions, such as this "Get Off The Phone" video done for Buick by comedy duo Rhett & Link:

7) Shooting video in portrait mode
I suppose this one really doesn't bother other people around you, as is the case with the examples above. But why make people feel annoyed when watching your video, because you shot it in "portrait" or "vertical" mode when you could turn your phone lengthwise to shoot video as the big-time directors do, in landscape mode -- where the video is longer than it is taller.

Need more help? Here's a video on avoiding "Vertical Video Syndrome."

Just use your common sense
As for Google Glass abuse, I'm one of the Explorer group with a pair. I've never had a problem with anyone thinking I'm a "Glasshole" because I've tried to use common sense when wearing them.

If I'm talking to someone while wearing Glass, I push them up on my head. Even if I'm not actively using Glass, why seem potentially impolite? If I'm walking into a bathroom, up on my head they also go. In fact, I generally don't wear them unless there's some particular activity where I think having them on makes sense.

Certainly people can overreact. A handful of bars banned Glass before it was even commonly available (and still really isn't). There was also the movie theater that called in law enforcement to interrogate a man wearing Google Glass simply as prescription glasses -- terrible.

I've also seen people with Google Glass overreact to people concerned about a new technology pointed their way. A little common sense on both sides would help with this new technology -- and it would help with some of our old technology, as well.

 

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