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Friday 8th November 2013

I've not been sleeping too well and was trying to work in Pret. So I was a bit distracted when a man sat right next to me and started texting and it became apparent that he'd never turned off the keyboard sound effect that comes as default on some phones. So every letter he typed was accompanied by an annoying beep. Admittedly I was in a slightly frazzled mood which made it worse, but I can't understand how that wouldn't annoy him as much as me. Does he not know that he can switch it off? Or does he like it? I tweeted about it and some people said that they found the noise reassuring (and one claimed that on their old phone it wasn't possible to disable the noise), but I don't think it's really acceptable to be doing anything with your phone (apart from receiving a call or  a text) which makes a noise in public. If you really like the keyboard tapping noise then you should put in headphones. It's just rude.

It's not as bad as the middle-aged men who I sat next to on the tube recently who were playing a driving game on their phones with the sound full on. I don't know how someone can have been alive for four or five decades and not realised that not everyone has to share everything you're doing. Teenagers occasionally play their own music out loud due to selfishness or defiance or the belief that their musical taste trumps everything else that's going on. But proper grown-ups should have more shame.

I felt like telling the man that he could turn off the keyboard sound and that not only that, he should, but he was quite tough looking and I thought he'd probably punch me, so I suffered in silence. I was worried I might snap and punch him myself, or that he might follow me on Twitter and see the critical things I was saying. But I was not man enough to ask him what he thought he was doing? Or just to point out that he could turn off the effect or mute his phone. But one suspects that there is an element of entrapment in all of this. Was he trying to create a situation where he upset someone enough that they stood up to him so that he in turn could act aggrieved himself and start a fight? I make a living from my beautiful face and can't take the risk. But surely one day he will come up against someone who is not so fearful and it can only end in his bloody death.

Turn off your sound effects folks.

And more news on the Android/iTunes offer to put up 5 star reviews and likes in return for cold hard cash. You will recall that I got an email asking if I wanted to take advantage of this and that I had then asked whether it was possible to use the dodgy service to put 1 star reviews and bad comments on the pages of my rivals. A couple of days ago I got a response from Ilia who said,

"Hi Richard,
Thanks for replying!
Adding 1-star ratings/comments would be possible for the same price.
We can add 300 ratings per day or spread then out, however you like.
Let us know.

So yup, it's totally possible to sabotage an enemy or a rival by using this service. We can't trust anything we read. Today I responded,

Thanks for letting me know.
How ethical is this though? Will we get into trouble if it's found out what we've done or are you able to hide the source of the ratings? Obviously it could be devastating for my own business if I was found out to be sabotaging my rivals. So what guarantees do you give that this can't come back to me?

Ilia came straight back to say,

"Hi Rich,
We are communicating without using gmail addresses so Google can’t trance us. It would be next to impossible to track you as the source.
The ratings will be placed from India and 3 other countries using 15 devices with a new Google account for each account.
There is no way that they could track the ratings, the worst that could happen is that the ratings would get removed, but that only happen 2 times in the last year that we have been in this business.
Let me know if you have any further questions.

So there you have it. Unsurprisingly perhaps Ilia and his company have no issue with what they're doing as long as they are making money, though I do quite like his or her honesty about the fact that sometimes the reviews get taken down. They're just trying to make a living, but in doing soare totally devaluing the system and their own service. I don't think I will take them up on it, but it's interesting stuff. And I am like the internet version of Watchdog!

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