Strange remote control and smart phone behavior today

Today I was down in the basement to ride the stationary bike. I had Looney Toons on mute on the TV and was listening to Kesha on my phone while I was working out. I tried to change the channel on the tv, but the remote for the cable box wouldn’t respond, and when it did, it was slow to do so. I figured either the remote or the cable box itself froze as they’re known to do on occasion. My workout ended about five minutes later, so I tried unlocking my phone by drawing a pattern on a 3 by 3 grid in order to stop the music. However, the phone was acting like I was moving my finger in all sorts of crazy directions on the unlock screen. When I did manage to get in, everything was either very slow to respond or didn’t work at all. Finally after a few minutes my phone acted normally again. Were these two events linked, or was it a pure coincidence? I had the remote and the phone inches apart from each other during the workout.

I blame Ke$ha.

Hmmmm, unless you, cough, sweated all over them both I can’t see any way they’d be related. One is an IR transmitter and the other a touchscreen, not (electronically) related at all.

There could be electrical interference of some sort causing both to act up, but it’s unlikely.

I have seen weird behavior on touch screens. I have a prototype device at the house (very similar to the shipping version) that when I plug in a third party charger, the touch screen acts like it is not calibrated. If I plug in the proper charger, it works fine. In my years of developing touch screen (and non-touch screen) products, I hadn’t run into that combination.

Ponch8, next time you exercise, try the same stuff…see if it’s reproducable.

I won’t be able to reproduce it for a while, because I spent the week at my parents’ house for vacation and I’m back at my own place now. (No exercise bike in my place.) I suppose I could just put my own remote and phone together, but I’ve done it dozens of times before with no problem. Maybe the problem was that I didn’t listen to enough Kesha songs.

Are you sure the bike was stationary? I know sometimes when I get going really fast, time gets a bit wonky. That could explain why your electronic devices were responding so slowly. (The other option involves a ‘yo momma’ joke and reference to gravitational fields.)

I have an HTC Desire and I charge it with whatever micro USB charger is available at the time (I have tons of them from various phones). Never had a problem, apart not charging fast enough with some of them.

But there is this cheap chinese USB charger that came free with a solar panel charger that will make the screen act erratically, similarly to what you describe. I wish I had an oscilloscope to test that charger because I can’t believe this behavior is caused just by over/under voltage.

Yeah…I keep wanting to take my tablet in to the office and “debug” the behavior.
It might be easier to debug the charger, though. I have a multi meter at home…no o’scope here. Now I just need to have my sister bring the charger over - it was hers.

What kind of phone is it? If it’s not a multi-touch screen, you can get funky behavior if just a little bit of a hand or finger is barely touching the screen while another finger is trying to control the phone. If a little skin from your palm is wrapping around and touching one corner, it will register the touch then when your finger touches the middle of the screen, it will connect the two and act as if you swiped from lower left to the middle.

I had a Nexus One (same as the Desire I think) and it infamously had touch problems at times. Simply turning off the screen and turning it back on always fixed it.