So I'm starting again, and this time I hope I'll be more successful in keeping up with this.
A lot of my devices have changed since I last posted - I'm currently rocking a beautiful HTC One X (I call her Trinity) and have taken quite a liking to the iPad 3 I'm using for my job. The majority of the time I'm actually on one of these devices - the only reason I turn to my Mac is for instant messaging in the evening.
My phone is usually at my side all the time no matter what I'm doing or what device I'm working with, but I've got it on silent all the time since most of the day I'm at work in meetings. This has led to quite a few missed calls from concerned parents, hurried searches around the apartment, and desperate requests to friends to call me so I can locate it.
I wish my phone were smart enough to know when to pipe up and when not to.
Setting sounds is a manual operation on the major mobile OSes, whether it's dedicated hardware buttons or diving into the Settings app and turning the phone on silent. How often do people remember to turn it back on though? People are currently forced to remember that their phone is on silent and to undo it when they're okay with getting audio alerts.
Well then why not make the smartphone 'smarter' and have the user experience seem like the phone can learn when to turn sound on or off? If I'm in a meeting with my boss for example, I probably don't want to know about the text message about my plans for the weekend. It's one of the most common use cases I can think of off the top of my head, but the only way I could see it working is having audio settings as an option in my Calendar events on the phone. In this way, I could tie my phone's silence to a time period.
But that's not the whole picture there: when I take a step back and think about, the first question to ask is "why do people turn their phones on silent?". There are a ton of answers to that boil down to "I'm busy and I can't be interrupted". But there are different things that people are willing to be interrupted for, and what happens when they stop being busy?
Oh the research possibilities.
For the time being, getting my phone to turn the ringer on automatically not baked into my phone, so I'll just have to keep hunting for Trinity and keep trying to remember to turn the ringer on in the evening.