Mystery Cell Phone Display Question
June 15, 2011 8:41 AM   Subscribe

I was with a person that had an older style cell phone, I think it was an LG, but not sure. He was showing me pictures, but I was distracted with a series of around 10-12 numbers that were displayed on the screen, to the left and top of the picture area (not inside). They kept changing about once a second, each digit with no regularity. One would think that it may have been GPS coordinates but the numbers were too random and not changing in any particular sequence. What the heck was that? A tracking device? When I asked him what it was he very quickly deflected the question.
posted by ~Sushma~ to Technology (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It sounds like numbers for two factor authentication, which is a way to login to some high security systems with a piece of ever changing information that only you should possess (the numbers) plus a password known only to you. More information is here
posted by tcskeptic at 8:56 AM on June 15, 2011

Most phones have a field test mode that can be unlocked with a specific sequence. My old Nokia will display a variety of numbers showing signal strength, tower IDs, board temperature, etc. This PDF gives the codes and a bit of information on various models.
posted by ChrisHartley at 9:20 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Do you know whether this person works in security or technology or the phone industry or anything like that?
posted by box at 3:28 PM on June 15, 2011

Not exactly sure what you mean by this, but are you saying he was showing you pictures he took with his phone? I invariably pick the cheapest and least advanced cell phones whenever the one I have breaks down. In the one I have now, when I view pictures I've taken the images are assigned a 10-digit numerical ID unless I re-name them manually. But when I'm in picture viewing mode or whatever, it only shows like 5 or 6 digits of the number at a time, so unless you were really honing in on it, it kinda just looks like there's a forever scrolling number across the top of an image.

(If this totally isn't even close to what you're talking about, nevermind!)
posted by hegemone at 3:57 PM on June 15, 2011

Response by poster: The man is a bit sketchy, prison-worthy perhaps. Ostensibly was a tree contractor. The numbers didn't scroll, the just changed like a slot machine, never slowing down, never stopping, like a marquee. The numbers show up even if there are no pictures on the screen, and they were taken by the device, not uploaded. If it was two factor authentication, I wonder what he has it for? He doesn't seem to be very intelligent or tech savvy. Quite mysterious!
posted by ~Sushma~ at 7:56 PM on June 15, 2011

Best answer: Possibly, he found or stole the phone and actually has no idea what they're for. That's why he's evasive.
posted by klanawa at 10:31 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Still Not resolved.
posted by ~Sushma~ at 8:53 AM on August 30, 2011

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