My RAZR lies

Filed under: thoughts,useless @ 15:51

I’m convinced that my Motorola RAZR cellphone does not tell time accurately.

The phone has a little external LCD panel that displays the time and other pertinent information so that I don’t have to flip the phone open to check on things. Normally, this panel is not backlit in order to conserve energy, but there’s an easily accessible button on the edge of the phone that lights up the screen. When I hit the button to check the time on my phone, about forty or fifty percent of the time the digital clock ticks over to the next minute.

That’s very odd; I’m not looking at the screen for more than two seconds (max). That means, I’d expect to see the minute change about once every thirty times, assuming the times at which I check the time are uniformly randomly distributed within the sixty second interval between minute digit changes. One out of thirty is not even four percent; there’s an order of magnitude difference between the expected and observed values. I must have checked the time on with the phone more than five hundred times by now, so this is definitely statistically significant. This discrepancy leads me to the following hypothesis.

My RAZR is programmed to change the minute digit on the display when I click the button if its internal clock is within a twenty or thirty second window around the actual time at which the seconds should roll over back to zero.

If true, it’d have to have been a deliberate design decision. Perhaps people remember the time better after reading a digital clock if they see the digits change and Motorola is just helping me out? I haven’t yet thought of a different explanation.


    Steven 04.04.2006 @ 14:44

    Thanks for the fix Stu. I just got the phone on Sunday and realized today that it was not working properly. All is good now.

    a 04.04.2006 @ 15:54

    way to go stu – works great

    M 04.05.2006 @ 06:09

    you the man…I was minutes away from returning it for another.

    BuckleUp 04.08.2006 @ 12:15

    I am having the Mon-Fri alarm clock issue too. It’s set for Mon-Fri but goes off on Saturdays…but doesn’t on Sundays…anyone having this problem? Anyone have any ideas? 6:25a is way to early to get up on a Saturday.

    Gabe 04.09.2006 @ 11:22

    I’m having the exact same problem, I have an alarm set for 5:45am Mon-Fri. Every Saturday it goes off at 5:45am as if the phone thinks it a weekday. This does not happen on Sunday however. Anyone have any solutions. Perhaps Stu has another miracle for us.

    aaron 04.12.2006 @ 21:12

    No, David, I am not an idiot. I am in Satellite Communications, and although cell phones are not do not transmit and recieve data directly from a satellite, the theory of both systems is very similar. When recieving data via satellite, you essentially recieve everything that it broadcasts in its footprint. The equipment then amplifies the low noise floor, pulls the data from your recieve freq, demodulates, removes carrier…. The same thing happens from the cell tower, or cell towers. If you are within the range of two or more towers the timing will be off, as the phone will pull data from various “clocks”, as you so elequently wrote.
    I have noticed that my phones time will stop. I was thinking either the phone has no internal clock as a power save feature, or stopped constantly updating (again, power save). To my knowledge cell phone towers do not ping a time stamp. Maybe you know David

    megan 04.13.2006 @ 06:22

    My i hate my rzr because its always telling me the most fucked TIME! and its got a shitty camera.. if you want to know what a good phone is.. its the motorola….. v360

    John 04.15.2006 @ 10:17

    You are a goldne god. Thanks! worked for me.

    Jeremy 04.15.2006 @ 11:38

    #44, Soach – I have the same problem…My Razr alarm clock that is set for Mon-Fri goes off on Saturday mornings (doesn’t go off on Sundays, interestingly), even though the date/time stamp of the display says Saturday. Did you ever find a solution to this problem? Thanks.

    ben 04.15.2006 @ 17:18

    I have the same problem as robert; I just purchased a brand new RAZR about 3 days ago and whenever it is open it makes a very annoying buzzing whiny sound and when i try to film videos the sound is extremely loud in the video and makes it pointless to film anything. is there any way to fix this?

    Soach 04.16.2006 @ 17:35

    #59 Jeremy – Nope, still does it. I am taking it back to Verizon tomorrow. The first time I tried after the salesman let me go on and on and then I found out there was not a tech in the store. He looked at me as though I was speaking a foreign language, said he’d never heard of any problems. So I am keeping my fingers crossed and plan on trying again. Hopefully I will get someone who knows what is going on.

    I am hoping they will give me a new phone though I don’t think I will feel very confident if it is still going to be a Razr. Funny thing though both my friends just got Razr and have not had the first problem. This makes number 4 for mine – the time stamp, display staying lit at all times, dying without no warning whatsoever and the alarm. I say it is possessed! 

    dave 04.23.2006 @ 23:21

    Thanks stu, my clock was not updating and your method fixed it

    JR 04.24.2006 @ 13:27

    Does anyone know the answers to the following questions?

    1. How do you turn off the low battery audible alarm?

    2. How do you stop the Alarm Clock from going off on Saturday? This happens even when the alarm is set for only Mon-Fri. As stated by others, it does not go off on Sunday morning.

    Heather 04.25.2006 @ 11:44

    I spoke with Verizon & Motorola today regarding the time not updating automatically on my RAZR, and Motorola indicated a patch was released this past friday to resolve that issue and others. My local Verizon store confirmed they now have a software patch that a technician can download to the phone. Hope it works!

    SWC 04.26.2006 @ 07:23

    your razr has a clock? bad ass

    Kyle 04.26.2006 @ 13:56

    thanks alot stu, stupid ass piece of shit clock wasnt workin and i was about to throw it at a car, but i found this in the nick of time

    Charlie 04.28.2006 @ 09:36

    My Verizon Razr was losing time for the past week. Sometimes 5 minutes and sometimes 2 or 3 hours. I brought to Verizon and they had to flash the firmware. Phone is only 20 days. Ahhh Motorola quality. It appears to have fixed the problem. WARNING: you need to sign a release because there is a very small chance that the upgrade will “fry” your phone and you will lose EVERYTHING.

    THJ 05.07.2006 @ 18:10

    Same clock problem — noticed on my wife’s new phone the next morning. Stu’s fix worked like a charm. Someone else commented on the power of the internet . . . so true. The more we talk, the more collective experience and knowledge, the better.

    mike 05.17.2006 @ 15:04

    stu, you are the man. you should know that you’re headed straight to the 7th level of heaven, just from the good karma off this post.

    my $300 phone can now tell time. awesome!

    and verizon doesn’t even charge for it. hey dinosaurs at verizon – new revune stream possiblity! milk us for every dollar. yummm milk – real competitive cell market with a whole _4_ providers, only of which 2 have networks that don’t suck – and they both are from a mindset and business model of a cable company or a power utility. this is captialism gone wrong – there’s no competition. and that’s why we end up with phones that can’t tell time. thanks FTC, you suck. ma bell, ma bell…

    peter 06.05.2006 @ 06:32

    today i woke up at 8:30 to head out to an appointment with my trainer at 9. but when i headed out my RAZR read an hour off of every clock in the house- but it even updated every minute to the same time as other clocks, but an hour earlier. i ended up solidly missing the appointment. i went through a battery cycle and switched up the battery save, and that fixed the problem, but this seems to be a pretty egregrious mistake, regardless if it was isolated to my cell phone tower, with the amount of people who use their cell phones as their only means of keeping time.

    Carlos 06.08.2006 @ 17:34

    Responding to the Saturday alarm problem. What version of the RAZR are you guys running?

    pete 06.09.2006 @ 08:43

    my razr has a black spot on the screen which grows larger every day. Spot is centered in the middle of the screen and little black worms crawl into it from the edge of the screen mostly from the top.

    MDA 06.09.2006 @ 09:54

    Your phone is possesed by the devil; it must not be allowed to live.

    Ed 06.09.2006 @ 14:41

    That’s genuinely frightening. Plus, how could you possibly dispose of a phone that’s been afflicted by the dark magic of the prince of demons? Is such condition covered under warranty? Or do you need to purchase the extended coverage plan? I believe that the instructions plainly say not to dispose of the equipment in fire. Maybe bury it? But then you run the risk of allowing the vile taint to fester in the earth, to continue to draw from the evil powers of Abaddon itself, until one day it’s excavated by some unsuspecting soul who will be unable to stand against the torrent of unmitigated, raw power. What results will be a foul flood of doom and despair that enshrouds the planet in a final, grim dark age where pain is the only currency and the wailing of the tormented hangs on the air in a wretched symphony born of Hell.

    HAA 06.09.2006 @ 16:49

    So, just to be clear: that’s bad, right?

    pete 06.10.2006 @ 04:31

    Never thought of the dark magic aspect, suspected a virus, but in retrospect that is the same thing, right?. I need to find me excommunicated priest to excorsise the beast, lest as you say it floods the earth with a foul flood of umitigated raw power, bury it I shall not, burn it I surely will, but then the beast within may enjoy the flames, and draw even more power to infect all, maybe drown it in the depths of the ocean? What do you think?.

    Ryan 06.10.2006 @ 08:48

    This is the only blogwaffe page ive visited, and i thank stu for the solution, but the author of this blog isn’t smart. to believe this flaw was intentional gives far too much credit to motorola, why the heck would not showing the correct time be a valued attribute to any electronic device?

    Ryan 06.10.2006 @ 09:25

    I revise my statement: what the author posted wasn’t very smart

    MDA 06.10.2006 @ 12:45

    Ryan, Stu’s problem and mine were completely different and, at best, tangentially related. I do, however, agree that my original hypothesis (though still interesting to me) is incorrect. To say that it was not smart, however, is … ‘misinformed’ is the most polite way I can think to put it.

    Here, I am not arguing that I am or that my statements are smart or not (indeed, I’d be tempted to argue for the case you propose in your first comment, though with decidedly more information than you have at your disposal). I am simply arguing that your rationale is ill-founded.

    As a side note, I should point out that I believe my situation is most likely explained by my second hypothesis, which, if correct, implies that my first idea was, in part, surprisingly accurate. It would also imply that not showing the correct time would be a “valued attribute” for this particular electronic device: since it can operate at a lower refresh rate and still show a time that is not too incorrect, the phone can conserve battery life. A trade off, you see.

    To settle this, I propose the following.

    I will make a announcement detailing my belief in the idea that you are a douche bag. I can do so here or perhaps publicly in the city of your choice. It is my understanding you live in or near Houston; it would take some convincing on your part to get me to make the trip, but I admit the possibility.

    joe 06.22.2006 @ 23:41

    I just got a razor and I was deleteing text messages from my inbox and the phone locked up, Now I cant get into my inbox at all, when I click on the inbox it locks up, I have to press end to get out of it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Jon 06.27.2006 @ 20:41

    I just bought a new Razr from Alltel, I haven’t had any problems with the clock on either display and it keeps time to the second along side my computer and atomic time radio wall clock, but the alarm clock on the phone does not go off after I have set it before I go to sleep. The alarm has actually gone off two times, on time, for a week and a half of setting it. The alarm will go off if I set it for a minute, five, etc, but not all night mostly.

    the 06.27.2006 @ 21:17

    hey david guess what? aaron was right. your an idiot. Contrary to your belief cell phones dont work on theories, they work on protocol. Yea they recieve packets of info. and in the packet is the time. only there is hardly a noise floor, or equipment in a cell phone that would amplify it, for they aren’t anaolg. they’re digital. they either recieve the packet or they don’t. its really very basic. and your assinged to a tower, through this incredibly basic system, so you dont get updates from 2 towers. just one. and if you did get 2 updates? it;d be a repetition of the same packet! and you say “were it different?” itd look at the TIMESTAMP of the packet, and use the most recent. not mix and match them. your clock stopped working cuz its broken. not having a internal clokc, would seriuosly save about .2 nanoseconds of battery life. think about it, your cmos battery will hold the time for 3 years. unless your phones clock runs on tubes with point point hand wired circuirty, id say you;ve run into what we call a “bug” btw where did you get your almight satelitte certs? ITT TECH?

    DereK 07.30.2006 @ 18:13

    I happen to own one of these razr phones, and I’ve always wondered where I need to go to get the time displayed in seconds. Do I need a java app for this? Where might I find one?

    Dan 09.03.2006 @ 16:02

    This is just a thought, but maybe to save more power from the battery, the external screen has a lower refresh rate when not lit. So maybe, every 25 seconds instead of every 2 seconds the screen will update. That could leave a delay if the refresh rate and don’t conflict exactly at the change of a minute (So when the time would update, the right time on the screen wouldn’t show it for another few seconds). Then when you turn on the backlit, the refresh rate increases and then updates the time.

    A theory I guess :/ You could probably look it up on the internet somewhere, ha.

    Michael Jackson 09.24.2006 @ 18:22

    hehe PENIS!

    Anonymous 12.18.2006 @ 17:18

    stu’s shit worked for me

    ArtVandelay 01.05.2007 @ 17:11


    My V3T does not have the battery save option listed in the initial setup screen!

    Lena 01.06.2007 @ 19:21

    A couple of people on here mentioned the annoying buzzing sound, I just got a RAZR today, and it’s doing the same thing, do they all do that? I was thinking about taking it back and exchanging it tomorrow, but if they all buzz like that, then that would be pointless. Anyone???

    Lena 01.08.2007 @ 13:04

    Ok, here is another one, why does my phone change style ring to Loud every time I plug the charger in? (I usually have it set on vibe and ring)Oh yeah, and the buzzing from key pad is normal, as they say, it’c caused by the light, and it only buzzes while the light is on.

    Anonymous 03.11.2007 @ 08:52

    My razr does that as well.

    Anonymous 04.20.2007 @ 23:09

    What are you smoking??? Weed? My friend I took 4 college courses in advance statistics (econometrics) and what you say doesn’t make sense at all. Stop watching your phone clock so much and get a date (A real one, not one in myspace of face book, but you can actually touch)

    mj 08.05.2007 @ 17:59

    my raz wont let me send text messages or get online even though i have it on my plan. i just got it from ebay and i dont know what to do. can anyone help me?

    lee 01.12.2008 @ 16:18

    mine lies to me too!
    It must be SATAN!

    amanda 01.22.2008 @ 09:04

    someone look at #63!! turning off low battery beeping!!!! anyone?! this drives me crazy as my battery could take up to 4 hours to die.

    also FUNNY but annoying razr fact that you should all appreciate… i set my alarm and it doesn’t go off until THREE DAYS LATER. pos.

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