The Unbearable Banishment: my cell phone jammer is outed in public

Friday, February 20, 2009

my cell phone jammer is outed in public

A man walked onto the train, took a seat three rows up from me, popped a Blutooth into his ear and started yammering about market conditions. Do you know how loud you have to talk when using a Blutooth? It was unreal. The woman sitting next to me started to gather her bags to move to another car.

“I have to leave. This guy is going to talk on the phone until we get to New York.”
“No, he’s not. Do you know what this does?”
“No way! Does that really work?”

It was glorious. I was the hero. It takes a certain kind of person to use a Blutooth on a train. It’s the same kind of person who would actually stamp its foot in anger after his call was dropped for the third time.

After that foot stomp, a passenger sitting in the row in front of us slowly raises his hand above the seat back and gave me a thumbs-up. He overheard my boast and approved.

I shouldn’t be so cavalier. What if the guy sitting in front of me was a Verizon executive? What if the guy using the Bluetooth participates in Extreme Wrestling matches?

* * *

A woman became so frustrated at the number of dropped calls on the train that she got her Verizon bill out of her purse, called customer service and started screaming at them. Do you know what? I let her finish that call.

* * *

I’ve had limited success with my cell phone jammer on city buses but on trains, it can’t be beat! Does anyone else have one of these things? If so, does it work for you on buses?



Blogger bob said...

Soon you'll be a superhero: Captain Jammer. I can't wait for the t-shirts.

(and I love mine ... although I don't get to use it as much as you do)

February 20, 2009 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger Jason Quinones said...

how much does one go for? i've often thought about getting one because the nanosecond my train hits daylight people are already dialing digits!

the one time i can recall REALLY WANTING ONE was the time me and my wife were trying to enjoy our dinner in the theater district but couldn't because the guy sitting behind us kept yelling into his cell about how awesome his new play was and how it would play to the elite "literatti" crowd.

total. inconsiderate. asshole.

February 20, 2009 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Bob: But what would be my kryptonite?

Jason: Believe it or not, they only cost a measly $32 here. They’re delicate and if you’re not careful, the break easily. I’m on my second unit. I believe they might be illegal. LET YOUR CONSCIENCE BE YOUR GUIDE.

February 20, 2009 at 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need to make a U-Tube video of one of the episodes. I want to come see you just so we can ride the train for some amusement!

February 20, 2009 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

I'm with anon! I'd love to see this in a video.

I will never tire of these jammer stories!

February 20, 2009 at 1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As one who's in the industry, they're not illegal, yet. But yeah, I'm buying one. Totally awesome. You're a wicked one, Mr. Banishment, but hey, I woulda done the same.


February 20, 2009 at 2:22 PM  
Blogger Jason Quinones said...

32 bucks for such an item does sound like a wise investment.

the legality of purchasing such an item doesn't bother me (thinking about it now i'm sure you could buy it in any spy shop in nyc...and nyc has a few) but it's more the delicacy of the product that bothers me.

sound like something i'd end up breaking as i tend to throw my bag around.

i guess i could use it to hit obnoxious cell phone users over the head with...

February 20, 2009 at 2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally love these stories. I wish I'd had one back in the high school teaching days. Ah, the hours amusement it would have afforded my co-workers and I.

February 20, 2009 at 3:25 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

MT: That would certainly be too dangerous an undertaking!

Jo: See above. Sorry!

SA: Are you certain they’re legal? I was almost sure they were illegal. And, yes, I am wicked to the core.

Jason: Yea, these things can’t really take much of a beating. Still…in the past I've spent more than $32 for stuff that wasn't nearly as entertaining.

Annie: I saw a great YouTube video of a lecturing professor take the cell phone out of the hand of a student mid-call and smashing it on the ground. A jammer would have been less confrontational.

February 20, 2009 at 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think they work in the UK or are we on different frequencies ?

February 20, 2009 at 4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, now I want to know. I'll check it out via industry connections, but my guess it's legal because no one has decided to say, you know what, we oughta outlaw these.


P.S. "ooderlo"

February 20, 2009 at 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Captain Jammer it is!

regarding your Kryptonite? Gotta be active counter-counter measures... in the form of the UFC fighter who is trying to talk to his agent on a train some day.

Go cautiously, Cap'n Jam-a-rific... we need you out there!

February 20, 2009 at 4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dangerous? I am sure you can talk a friend into sitting in the general area to tape of your fellow bloggers possibly? I can always send one of my girls out they would find any excuse to come see all of you.

February 20, 2009 at 5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the jammer stories as well.

I looked into the device per the link you provided to me a while back.

As for legality, what I learned is that there is provision for charges in the US for denying someone a service for which they've paid. Probably difficult to prosecute.

In Canada (where I am) it's a different story. They are illegal to even possess. Add to that an incident in the past year where the safety of a couple of police officers was jeopardized on a traffic stop because the suspects had a jammer that neutralized the police's radio set (couldn't call for back up) and you've got little likelihood for any future relaxation in the laws governing the devices.

Frankly, I'd also be a little concerned about discharging that much RF radiation in close proximity to my groin. I realize that there is no "official proof" linking cell phone use (older, earlier generation phones) with the occurrence of brain tumours, but my adage is "Better safe than sorry."

Food for thought, perhaps.

February 21, 2009 at 11:17 AM  
Blogger mjp said...

Make no mistake, jamming cell phone frequencies is quite illegal. The federal government does not take kindly to citizens disrupting communications on public frequencies.

The jammer has limited appeal here in Los Angeles because we don't like to get as close to each other as you weirdos on the East coast do, so I sent mine to my dad in Wisconsin who has a long commute every morning with a guy who uses the cell phone incessantly and unnecessarily. There, it is a hit.

I have a new cell phone jammer though. My face. When someone is irritating me with a call, I turn, or step up to them and scowl, and I don't turn away until they hang up, or start wrapping up the call. It works 100% of the time, and I've never had to say a word.

Your results with that method may vary. It helps if you look like you may have bodies buried in your yard, I suppose.

February 21, 2009 at 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow everywhere I look I have to import from china I wanted it for a prop in a indie film i am making but there are all kinds of sites saying they are illegal to buy, have (possess), import, and distribute can someone clear this up for me ??

March 7, 2009 at 5:07 PM  

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