Klaus Zimmermann's Corner

Good news: I'm a (temporarily) Free Man!

Yesterday, a simultaneously very good and very bad thing happened: my android phone broke.

What happened is that I locked it in airplane mode before sleeping, and when I woke up, the password prompt to unlock the device would not show the keyboard to type the password. I tried it many times, but the soft keyboard would simply not come up, and even with an external keyboard via USB OTG it still does not type my password.

The device was in Airplane mode before locking so there's no way I can connect a bluetooth keyboard to test. And since I can't even reboot the phone or turn on bluetooth without putting my password, there is literally nothing I can use it for right now - it's functionally bricked.

I spent the better part of this morning metaphorically banging ny head on the wall with respect to this, searching frantically for a solution and am this close to give it up altogether on the otherwise perfectly functioning device. However, where some people would rage loudly and throw the phone out of the window, I came to realize something: you know what? I'm not screwed: I'm free!

I was freed (the hard way!) from pernicious tracking by this device that I cannot ultimately trust for protecting my data (thanks, Airplane mode!), that cannot be made fully free even with so many global efforts trying so. I am free from being tracked every minute that I send or receive data, even in my sleep. And I'm free from having to live a life where I must be 100% of the time connected in order to be socially accepted - my laptop can be put to sleep when I want.

"But how are you going to communicate with the other people?" you may ask. Why, the same way that we've been doing years before cell phones. At home, I can talk. I can use email. I have a landline at work that I can use to call people if needed. IRC and XMPP provide a good way to do real time communication and have even browser-based clients. I can use someone else's phone when I'm out and need to call someone. The possibilities are endless.

Statistically, I'm most of the time either at work or home, and internet is still available at any of these places. I don't need something that wants to know everything about me sitting within 5m of me on a 24/7 basis to live my life.

There are evils in life that may come for good, and I just now realized this is one of these cases. Rejoice, my friends, for I'm now a truly free man once again - or at least I get to repair this issue with my phone.

Last updated on 12/02/20