On Friday 7 November at 1pm GIST will be treated to a talk by Barry Brown, based on his paper "Why don't telephones have off switches?".
Barry has a first degree in computer science, but is currently writing up a PhD in Sociology. So he is a rare and valuable person. But is this phone switch business (not part of his PhD) a joke? or does it just show how off-the-wall sociologists are? Our chance to put him right, or alternatively to get into a completely different kind of HCI analysis.
I should say I am planning to write a paper with or in response to his; but this is his talk. Your contributions will help us. The best I've had so far is someone who said there was no need for an off switch: you just redirect your office phone to an out-of-service number: you are free of all calls, you can still make them yourself, and you conform to the social norm Barry is talking about.