Saturday, 30 June 2012

Hearing Voices

Do you remember how, not all that long ago, it took some getting used to, that more and more people seemed to be talking to themselves in the street, on the bus, or anywhere?

What I’m referring to is, of course, the introduction of mobile phones. Now, in 2012, I don’t think anyone reacts any more. The streets could be full of people just talking nonsense out loud to themselves, and we’d just assume they’re talking to someone on the phone, even if they’re not actually holding one.

So what’s next? I’ll tell you! It’s now the mobile phones that have started talking to themselves, all on their own. At least mine has! Maybe I’ll grow used to that too eventually, but I’m not so sure I want to…

Four or five times over the last few days, I’ve suddenly been alerted by the sound of talking. When one lives alone, it’s rather scary to suddenly hear voices coming from another room in the flat. If I had a clock radio that would be my first suspect – but I don’t.

The culprit is my Xperia mobile phone.
Or the app installed on it for playing mp3-audio books – Mort.

MortPlayer Music

Mort seems to like reading so much that he has now taken it upon himself to decide when it’s reading time, rather than leaving that up to me. He also doesn’t seem to like it when I abandon one book for another. Or else it is just that he’s really eager to finish one particular book for himself… Anyway, just now he seems quite determined to finish a certain story by Martha Grimes even though I chose to skip to another title.

I thought I’d be able to put a stop to the nonsense by removing that particular book from the phone yesterday. And I thought I had succeeded in doing so…

… until today at 2.30, while I was lying on the sofa in the living room, resting after a walk… suddenly, my handbag out in the hall started talking. It was reading aloud again. From The Man With a Load of Mischief. The book I thought I had deleted from the memory card…

The only way to stop Mort from reading on (when he has started by his own choice) seems to be to shut the phone off completely and then restart it. Then it kept quiet for two hours. However, at 4.30 it started reading again – where it left off. I’ve checked the alarm settings, they do not seem to indicate that I’ve set any alarm by mistake. Pressing the stop button does not help. And if I try to switch to another book – well, then Mort switches into multiple personality mode and manages to read both books aloud at the same time!

I guess I shall have to try some uninstalling and reinstalling of the app and see if that helps…


  1. this is amazing, i did not know phones could talk or read to you. i don't have one so only learn what the do by reading and hearing from others. our new phone in the house, when the phone rings, it goes rinnnnnnn! and the voice says Carter, loretta calling, ringgg carter loretta calling. the first time it talked i said what is that? i can probably turn it off, but have left it for now. the thing is when it is unknown because people have turned off their id, it says ringgggg unknown calling.

    1. I have a display on my house phone, but no voice calling out who it is. One of my best friends is "Unknown" - I always get so terribly disappointed when instead it turns out to be someone I really don't know!

  2. Is Mort a gentleman and a scholar? What an odd situation, he seems determined to read, and at the oddest times. I do like Martha Grimes too and am reading her Richard Jury series in order.

    1. Mort is named (by the creator of the app) after a Terry Pratchett character by that name, in a book that also bears that name. He's Death's apprentice...

  3. How very odd! Must be some bug in the settings of that app, maybe you can change those settings without having to de- and re-install it.
    I'm curious to know why you did not want to finish Martha Grimes' book. The Inspector Jury mysteries are among my favourite books of all times.

    1. Meike, I often alternate between at least two different books. For one thing I find it better to listen to something other than a murder mystery at night before I fall asleep. I did intend to finish the Martha Grimes book - I just prefer being in control of WHEN (lol). For now I've removed it from the phone (I think!) because that was the one that started playing automatically. I've also uninstalled and reinstalled the whole app. I want to see if the problem has disappeared before I try that particular book again (I've lost track of the plot anyway so better start over.) I really only mentioned the title here because I found it so funny that it was the "Load of Mischief" book that started playing of its own accord...

  4. Bizarre. But then so is so much of life and phones do, as you say, seem to have a life of their own.

  5. I think I may just have figured out the "why". It's been a while since it last happened but just now the phone started reading to me again. Harry Potter this time (evidently the most exciting book to be found on the phone since I removed the Martha Grimes story). However, this happened just as a FB message alert showed up and when I clicked on that, the reading stopped. Investigating my FB settings, I found the book (or the audio player) set as ringtone to alert me of FB messages. Not something I did consciously but I suppose I must have accomplished it unwittingly... I've now changed that back to standard and I hope that will be the end of the "ghost" readings!


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